301 Tasting Notes

This is a tea with a roasted, earthy aroma and a mellow, creamy balanced taste. The dry leaves are very dark in appearance (even darker after being steeped) indicating the careful cooking process and twelve years of aging. The crystal clear tea soup looks like a fine burgundy. The sip offers a rounded sweetness with a light hint of vanilla. The quality of the leaf seems to offer power and durability – seven infusions and I’ve only used 5s or 10s steepings. I plan to continue tomorrow for another six or seven times. This tea has both age and beauty and deserves to be savored and enjoyed.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Nice cake made of high quality first flush tea leaves. The cake has a pleasant light and fresh aroma. Clear dark gold liquor. In terms of flavor, there is a lovely forest honey sweetness in the sip without any bitterness or smoke. While very sweet, I did not detect any fruit. Sometimes able to detect the floral of meadow flowers. This is definitely a rather light and gentle cup with a clean and lingering finish and a pleasant aftertaste. Overall a very enjoyable Menghai Dayi product. I went light on the leaf this time but plan to increase the dry leaf by 50% the next time I prepare a cup.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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What a nice tea surprise! This is White2Tea’s latest value-priced find for everyday enjoyment – definitely a great value given that it is quite nice material with a good amount of age. The expected dark leaves of a fine shou offer an aroma with clean notes (sweet and earthy with a slight hint of mustiness) and produce a dark orangish-brown tea soup which is very clear. No sign of fermentation remains and I detected absolutely no bitterness – a very pleasant sip. Overall impression: bold dark leaves of good size and integrity; thick but smooth body; hints of vanilla; dried fruit flavor (raisins or dates); the feeling in the mouth and throat is decent. I definitely want to have this shou on hand so I am quite sure I’ll purchase more very soon.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I am waiting on this one to arrive. Thanks for a pre arrival review.

DigniTea

Yep. It’s a good one! I think you’ll enjoy it as well.

Cwyn

Got a lucky sample of this with an order, have been airing it out. Am looking forward to trying it. Thanks from me too!

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I have grown quite fond of shengs from Mengku and YongDe. This “DaXueShan” tea does not have too much age on it but 5 years is worth something for decent sheng leaf in terms of development. This is an appealing tea – very smooth; many whole leaves; thick soup; decent body; pleasant sweetness. I should clearly note that there is a bit of lingering bitterness although this is light. In my opinion, overall mouhwatering tea with a pleasant aroma and an enticing kuwei which adds to the complexity. I quite enjoyed this cup and now I’m anxious to see how the profile improves in another 2-3 years.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Continuing my tour of European black teas and this morning I chose MF’s French Breakfast. Another tea about which I’ve been quite curious but unfortunately I think I may have over-steeped or over-leafed (3.5 g in 9.5 oz for 3m 45s) and there is a little too much astringency for me detect the richness of flavors described by others. Grateful to have the chance to enjoy this gift sample and I’ll try to improve upon the cup a few days from now.

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A very nice Assam! I have been curious about this one for some time and now thanks to a wonderful new Steepster tea friend I was able to taste it for myself. Bold and rich, malty with just enough natural sweetness. A smooth and enjoyable cuppa!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Golden Monkey by Fortnum & Mason
301 tasting notes

Yesterday I received a wonderful box full of high quality European Black teas to enjoy – what a treat! I could not decide where to begin so I randomly picked a bag for my first sample. F&M’s Golden Monkey was the choice and I sipped on it throughout the morning as my Sunday “breakfast” tea. Malted grain sweetness with dark chocolate flavors coming through. A richly bold morning tea. Many thanks to NofarS for sharing this one!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 9 OZ / 266 ML

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A lovely morning with an elder member of the Menghai family. At first, the wet leaves smell spicy and sweet; in later steepings, the aroma shifts to grains and honey. The taste conveys red berries, sweet wood, and grain. Offers hints of a calming qi and a cooling/tingling sensation throughout the body. I was left with a pleasant long-term aftertaste.
Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
mrmopar

Yep this is a good one. Asample from Fine Puerh? If so I had the same one. Very nice.

DigniTea

This one is from FinePuer. But I must tell you that I do not know which of their selections I enjoyed more this week – this 2003 Menghai Red Mark or the 2006 CNNP Yiwu Wild Arbor. Both treated me quite well and I hope to drink their YongDe DXS later today or tomorrow.

mrmopar

I agree. I just placed another order with them Friday. Their service is really good. I have the 2006 but I haven’t gotten in it yet. The 2003 was fantastic as you found out also. The 2005 7542 is nice too.

Asaf Mazar

I am am glad to read two positive confirmations on the 2003 as I loved the 2004 sample and just ordered a full piece of the 2003 without realizing that its not exactly the same vintage. the 2006 yiwu wild arbor is 1/2 the price of the red mark… if its similar quality than it sounds like a no-brainier. unfortunately I delete this exact sample from my shopping cart to make room for a 2006 snow mark sample. make sure you order the free sample 97 brick shu its great. Has some fermentation smell but also a wonderful rich vaporous quality very much like a good aged sheng!

DigniTea

I’ve not had the 2004 red mark so I am unable to compare. I can only say that I definitely enjoyed the 2003 and I am happy to have the whole cake in my collection. Personally I do not feel that the yiwu is quite as powerful as the red mark but I tried them both during the same week of tea drining and I still feel that both are good cakes for me to own. Hope you enjoy the red mark!

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This sheng is sweet and inviting; a bit darker generally (than other Yiwus I have enjoyed), and with lower-register notes which I quite enjoy. The flavor arrives in waves and layers, bouncing around the mouth. After two quick rinses I quickly detect aromas of plums, hay and vanilla. Liquor is clean with a dark golden color. As I sip the tea, I feel both a calming qi and a bit of energy with each cup. While very smooth, the tea soup offers a strong presence and pleasant sweetness. After enjoying six cups, I am left to ponder the joys of tea – feeling content and wanting to share this experience with others. A nice semi-aged pu-erh with quality and good potential for long-term aging.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Clean dry leaves with a woody, sweet nose offering a hint of incense. Golden liquor with good clarity. Vegetal flavor and a touch of mushroom with a touch of sweetness; tiny amount of bitterness in the first two cups. Smooth with definite character in later cups. Ample complexity beginning in the third infusion and lasting through the remaining six resteeps. Good aftertaste in the mouth. Potential to continue improving with age.
Note: good tea but not my favorite Mengku and not even my favorite Arbor King from Mengku.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
jschergen

Out of curiosity what are some of your favorite Mengkus?

DigniTea

James – when I made that comment I was thinking of the Mengku Daxueshan and Mu Shu Cha cakes I have liked. Also I actually enjoyed a recent tea session with the 2011 Arbor King more than this particular session. Since this is the award winning formula in the award year, I am thinking that I need to try another session or two with this 2006 Arbor King before I draw any real conclusions. The subjectivity of tea evaluations including my own sessions from time 1 to time 2 is the very reason I stopped assigning numerical ratings to my tea notes. Things change; I change - we all learn as we mature and grow through our tea experiences (particularly puerh). IMHO.

jschergen

I agree with your philosophy on rating teas and have had similar experiences with dramatically varying sessions. It seems silly to rate teas on a scale very seriously, especially one as granular as 0-100!

Thanks for sharing :). I was mainly curious for my own reference as I have yet to seriously dive into the Northern regions or Mengku. Will keep my eyes out for those teas.

Cheers!

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Profile

Bio

For me, tea is magical with its ability to transform by bringing one back to center and inspiring both peace and contentment.

Reformed coffee drinker. Switched to tea as part of my goal to work on living a healthier, more balanced life — haven’t looked back since. I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs and seldom drink anything else. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging.

I no longer assign numerical ratings to teas because our enjoyment of tea is very subjective. Reactions to a particular tea vary from person to person and within the same person across different tasting sessions. My tea notes are now simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are useful to me and if they happen to be helpful to someone else that is good.

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