King Tea Mall included a sample of their 2018 Autumn Na Ka Gu Shu puerh with my last order and I was quite excited to give it a try. I have heard many people praise Naka teas but they are usually out of my price range so I haven’t pulled the trigge on any. I have had a handful of autumn puerhs and have never had my hair blown back by them, but I am happy to test this one to see if it piques my interest.
The leaves seem quite dry and loosely compressed, although it’s hard to say for sure with the sample. They have a bright fruity smell out of the sample pack, that turns turns deep and rich after a rinse. The aroma is overwhelmingly fruity, with notes of apricot, raisin and plum.
This session isn’t as precisely measured as normal, due to the sample size being 2.8 grams. I am using my 55ml gaiwan and eyeballing the water level to be closer to a 1:15-ish leaf-to-water ratio. I gave the leaves one quick rinse then start the session with a five second infusion and increase by five seconds each steeping.
The first infusion is soft but already has a bigger aftertaste than many other puerhs peak at. The returning sweetness hits quickly and lasts forever, making your mouth water for minutes. The second infusion gains a spice note and a bit of a plum flavour, and the third infusion is reminiscent of pear. All of the tasting notes come on slowly and subtley. It takes a few sips of each steeping before you notice anything new.
The mouthfeel is beginning to thicken up and become oily during the fourth and firfth infusions. The pear note takes centre stage and the spiciness levels off. The sixth infusion has an slight drop in flavour, and the tea becomes extremely sweet.
The seventh infusion takes a nose dive in power and by the eight infusion the session is done. Despite the sudden drop off, the aftertaste is still going strong with a rich sweetness that doesn’t let go.
While the flavour of this tea is fine, this is more of a sensation tea than a flavour tea. With a strong huigan, full body warmth, little bit of tongue tingling, and intense mouth watering qualities, King Tea Mall’s 2018 Autumn Na Ka Gu Shu hits all the marks for what I like to experience while drinking a puerh. The length of the session leaves something to be desired, but at $30 USD for a 100g cake I could still see myself adding this to my pumidor. This is the first autumn tea that I’d be happy to cake and it has me wanting to pick up some more Naka puerhs in the near future.