227 Tasting Notes

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!

Asaf Mazar

sipping this lovely tea as I type. just picked up the beeng from the post office this morning. Its much more aged than the 2004 that I sampled a year ago

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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
jschergen

I’m late to this party, but am sipping this now. Good stuff. Great stuff considering the eye-poppingly low price. Someone should pickup those last two cakes soon..

Agree with your notes. It’s been a while but it reminds me a bit of the 2005 Mengku Daxueshan, with a few more herbal notes.

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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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What an enjoyable shou. The dark leaves yield a dark red tea broth with smooth and mellow flavor. Layers of flavors to enjoy and the finish is sweet in the throat. One of the deepest ripe puerhs I have enjoyed. Definitely no fermentation taste left – none of the wo dui flavor common in heavily fermented shou. In addition, I do not detect the typical woody flavors – this one is more like dark cocoa and minimally sweetened biscuits. This is a good one!

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

I got this one and I really need to try it now.

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A fruity sheng made entirely from You Le Mountain tea leaves now aged over 10 years – a very nice tea for a decent price! Tightly compressed cake with many whole leaves and buds throughout. The material used is from an autumn picking and yields a clear golden yellow tea liquor with a spicy scent. The first infusions offer a fruity flavored tea but it carries a tart sweetness (a sweetness with a bite). Later cups are more mellow and fruity – berries and peaches. The aftertaste is long and sweet.
Produced in the Jinuo Mountain tea factory of Xi Shuang Banna. Handmade by the Jinuo minority group inhabiting the You Le Mountain area. Cakes are made using classic traditional methods developed over hundreds of years of tea growing.

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

How is shipping from them to our side?

DigniTea

I’ve been paying for EMS Small Packet ($20-$25).

Cwyn

I guess this was dry stored, cuz it is still giving yellow color?

DigniTea

Cwyn – stored in Kunming

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This Nannuo Mountain tea is sun-dried and fairly potent yet easy to drink. There is an appealing bitterness and it provides a surprising spectrum of tastes – aged-worn leather, forest wood and tobacco but there is also a bit of fruity sweetness (maybe plum) present. The gold tea soup was a tad cloudy and there were a few stem pieces in the mixture of leaves I picked off from the moderately compressed cake. Nice huigan which builds throughout the session leaving an aftertaste which offered a pleasant cooling effect. I found this tea very easy to like. A good moderately aged tea at the very fair price of $39 for the 357g cake.

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

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A Dayi factory cake with fairly tight compression. Warm and rich aroma which is strongly earthy yet a bit sweet. Leaves used seem to be of a high grade. Ruby red tea soup with an aromatic and pleasant scent. First sips are quite mellow with a full and woodsy taste. Later infusions yield a gentle creamy and bittersweet flavor. Nice sweet finish in the aftertaste. No fermentation smell or taste left in this one. A lovely Menghai Dayi shou worth owning.

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

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Known for its gentle and mild character, I am a fan of most teas from Yiwu (like so many people). This cake is rather dark and mysterious and it holds a special place in my collection. The raw material is from purely Yi Wu old-growth tea trees (reported to be over 1000 years old). The giant whole leaves are clearly hand arranged and wrapped to form the cake – unlike anything I have seen before and when I opened the cake wrapper I was reminded a little of the grapevine wreaths you buy from craft stores.
The cake has a lovely loose compression of large dark leaves and I found a rather pleasing damp yet light aroma of sweetness (perhaps a bit like fresh hay). The wet leaf produces the scent of sweetness mixed with roasted grains and a clear gold tea soup. This is certainly not the most flavorful YiWu tea I have but with a bit of age on them, the leaves produce extremely smooth, sweet and buttery sips with decent cha-qi. This is not a particularly thick tea soup and I have enjoyed eight quite pleasant cups today. There is definitely a dose of caffeine in each cup but the tea leaves me calmed and comforted. I like this one!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This shou is very easy to drink. From the steeping leaves, you pick up the scents of wet wood and leather. Dark brown tea soup yields a sweet and fairly mellow sip – woody and earthy with a definite dark chocolate overtone. Absolutely no bitterness found. The leaf seems to have staying power – 8 steeps in and the cup is still very flavorful with a 20s steep time.

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

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Manzhuan + Spring + gushu. What’s not to like? This tea is even better than I expected (since it is a new 2014 tea, I figured I would try it just for fun and then wait a few years to enjoy it). The dry leaf looks very nice; the aroma of the brew is pleasantly fresh and sweet; the liquor is a clear yellow; the flavor of the sip is smooth, sweet, and slightly fruity. This tea is lovely and very easy to drink. What a lovely sheng to own (even though it is rather pricey)!! I rather doubt this particular cake gets much age because I am likely to pull it out frequently to pick off more leaf.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cwyn

This one makes me sooo tea drunk, hahaha!

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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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