Bitterleaf Teas released their 2018 spring productions just a few weeks ago. After teasing their new releases for the past few months on social media, I had no other option but to dive in and buy a few things from their site… Okay, to be honest, it was one hell of a doom-cart (which means shopping cart of doom). So my doom-cart included three beengs, five dragon balls, two mini bricks, and a lot of samples. A part of this mega-haul included one of their most expensive offerings to date — 2018 Naka sheng puer. This tea comes in two different forms: a beeng and a dragon ball. Since i’ve been a fan of this region, I decided to snag some of the dragon balls and an entire beeng for myself. Since it’s Bitterleaf Tea’s second most expensive tea in their 2018 spring lineup, what’s it all about? Well, lets find out!
Dimensions — 7g tea ball for a 70ml shibo
Beeng Price — $128.00
Water Temperature - 190ºf
Number of Steeps - 22
Steeps 1 - 10
In this session I brewed a dragon ball of Naka. Anyways, on the first infusion, Naka immediately gave off an oil-like texture with a faint tasting note of green grass. After another infusion, this tea ball quickly thickened up, and brought forth an undertone of sugarcane which left a thick and humid impression on the back of the throat. Naka continued to open up with a thick and viscous body, which brought a medicinal forefront with a light floral and sweet undertone. By this point (around the 6th infusion), this tea already hit a bliss point with its combination of flavors.
However, by the 8th infusion, this tea continued to change, as its texture turned more milk-creamy and vegetal, as compared to it’s oiliness. By the tenth infusion, Naka was leaving a steamy aftertaste that continued to linger longer and longer in the back of the throat.
Steeps 11 - 22
Naka’s creamy medicinal body kept leaving a trail of light green grass, sugar-snap peas, and a very faint tasting note of flowers behind it. Infusion after infusion, this tea kept going and didn’t let up. Its bliss point kept going on and on, and by the fifteenth infusion, it was just as creamy and rich as it was in its earlier infusions. However, by this point, I was starting to feel heavy in the head and broke out in a hot sweat. This tea’s energy was creeping its way all over my body as I was overcome with a sense of placidness.
However, by the 20th infusion, this tea was already at the 8 minute mark and was starting to dilute. By the 22nd infusion (the 12 minute mark), this tea had given its all and it was time to be put away….
2018 Naka is a spring tea released by Bitterleaf Teas, and is the second most expensive tea in their 2018 spring production. One thing I liked about Naka was that its hella complex, and right when I though I figured it out, it subtly changed again (for the better). This tea’s body was right-off-the-bat thick, which continued to get stronger and creamier as the infusions went on. Another aspect about this tea that I liked was that it left a heavy fragrant aftertaste in the back of the throat, and the longer the infusion, the longer the aftertaste. However, I tried this tea at a boiling temperature for one infusion and it came off very aggressive. Since this tea is still so fresh, I highly recommend brewing it at a lower temperature (like 190ºf).
In conclusion, Naka is a tea that needs a lot of careful attention when brewing. Considering that this tea is so complex (and when considering its price point), this isn’t just something that you can brew on the go. This tea needs careful attention to be fully appreciated. While that might be off-putting for some, taking your time with this tea will only add to your experience because the more you put into it, the more it’ll give back. So when you go to brew this tea, close the curtains, put on a favorite record, turn off your cellphone, take a deep breath, and close yourself off from the world and let yourself be consumed by Naka…