I had a session of 2017 Nannuo Mini Mushroom Shou Puer when I met up with Crimson Lotus Tea doing tastings at Phoenix Tea. I was impressed with the shou and was given three shrooms to play with. I was warned that one mushroom is plenty for a session, but I can try two at my own risk. I drank all three Nannuo Mini Mushrooms and had to have more. I beelined to their booth at the Northwest Tea Festival and bought 2 packages.
The 2017 Nannuo Mini Mushrooms is made up of a blend of aged material, some as old as 20 years old. This blend of material makes it more interesting vs simply young 2017 shou Nannuo.
Dry leaf and Steeping Instructions
Crimson Lotus Tea’s site states each mushroom is around 4 grams. I weighed all mine and they ranged from 4.7 to 4.2 grams.
The suggested brewing instructions of a single 4 grams of shou brewed in 75-150ml is quite light of a ratio for my personal and usual shou gongfu brewing tastes. However, these mini mushrooms pack a punch so I just used only one mushroom. I went with an equivalent of 1 gram of leaf to 27ml of vessel, steeped in boiling water, with a single rinse.
The Nannuo mini mushrooms smell little different than other shous. The hot leaf smells strongly leafy medicinal and earthy.
Tasting of Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2017 Nannuo Mini Mushrooms
First and Second Infusions: The Nannuo mini mushroom tastes creamy like real vanilla beans. I first worried my teaware was contaminated, as the vanilla flavor was quite profound. The background is earthy, woodsy sweet, with a bit of an abrasive throat feel after each sip. It does taste a little watery right now like the flavor hasn’t figured things out and isn’t bound together.
After the first infusion, the mushroom dissolved. The fast shape loss was a surprise as often balled puer takes forever to fall apart.
Third and Fourth Infusions: You know a shou is good when it is inky black – and this colour is crazy as I am using less tea than usual. The flavor is creamy smooth and lightly earthy. The main flavor is a light vanilla sweetness.
Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Infusions: That vanilla is starting to kick back and let in a more abrasive side through. Nannuo Mini Mushrooms are so easy to drink that I’ve been slamming back the infusions instead of writing about it. The body is slick in the mouth but goes lightly sticking down the throat. It is a cold Autumn day, so the shou is making me feel nicely warm. The aftertaste is subtle with a bit of creamy, but after some time it leaves a clean feeling in the mouth.
The 7th infusion I decided to compare with silver, which is how I originally sampled this tea back with Crimson Lotus Tea at the store tasting. In the regular cup, the tea is vanilla, soft, lightly earthy and sweet. In silver it is a different animal – it is bright, no vanilla, but sharply almost medicinal herb and creamy.
Eighth and Ninth Infusions:
I did around 15-minute infusions. I’m not 100% that is how long I steeped as I got distracted. Either way, I drank the shou so fast. The flavor was milky, slightly herby, and sweet. The aftertaste is slightly green and medicinal and reminds me that this shou isn’t fully fermented and young in some places. Looking at the steeped out leaf, the variety of material is confirmed as it is greenish in some parts, and other parts are dark.
1 mini mushroom is easy drinking, smooth and sweet. An awesome workhorse shou with forgiving flavor and steeping. 4 grams for a 110ml pot is pretty good and economical, especially since I got 9 good infusions.
Of course, I do like a strong shou. I was warned 2 mini mushroom is insane. Let’s do it.
Double Nannuo Mini Mushroom!
I used two 2017 Nannuo Mini Mushrooms, so around 1 gram to 13/14ml of vessel ratio, which is around what I usually do for shou puer.
The Nannuo Mini Mushroom gets quite strong, ultra dark, and thick by infusion 2. I got at least 10 infusions, many incredibly strong, rich, creamy, and herby tasting. It does have a strong young shou wet pile note through many of the early infusions, so it is noticeably funky whereas single mushroom did not have that problem.
What isn’t captured in this review tasting is I found each Nannuo Mini Mushroom can range a bit in taste, swapping stronger on some notes than others, as I’ve had some more leaning on the green medicinal herb note than creamy. There is a blend of different Nannuo material packed into a tiny size, so likely some mushrooms roll the dice on a different flavor.
I think one Nannuo Mini Mushroom per session does the trick as it is plenty flavorful and dark. Steeping with two Nannuo shrooms would be a great option for you ultra-dark shou drinkers once it has lost the recent pressing/wet pile note, which shouldn’t take too long due to the size. If you don’t want to wait for it, just rinse the mushrooms a couple extra times.
Either way, Crimson Lotus Tea’s 2017 Nannuo Mini Mushrooms are pretty tasty. They have some pleasing comfort notes many new and old tea drinkers would enjoy. Some may dig the uncommon herb notes and super dark steep potential. Hopefully, you readers who buy this tea leave some for me, as I haven’t fully hoarded a stash of shrooms to my comfort level.
(tea originally provided for review, however I ended up buying more before I wrote this review)