Mad Monk Tea
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Recent Tasting Notes
A wonderful treat and great value from Mad Monk Tea Shop in Sand Diego, CA. This “Seven Color” collection is produced by the Chunming Tea Factory in Yunnan. I had a very hard time locating information about the tea and the actual tea factory, but that is the case many times with Pu-erh, especially when specifically trying to locate information on tea produced 7 years ago and not being able to read Yunnan! This tea was gifted to me so I had to contact Mad Monk by email to ask what it was… they did not know and thought it was produced in 2005 by the Menghai Tea Factory (maybe they were just trying to get rid of me, haha). Anyways after looking at hundreds of pictures of labels I found that it was indeed a “Seven Color” produced by The Chunming Tea Factory (The little elephant’s backside logo on the label was the key). Although I am not positive about the 2007 date logged by a fellow steepster, I am sure we are in the ballpark.
After a good 5 second rinse of the tea, the first steep released a wonderful earthy wet barn aroma and a flavorful persistent round cup with classic notes of beetroot and forest floor with very light astringency. Multiple steepings are possible, I lost track of how many I did. Great tea for a hangover and just a nice treat for the price. As stated by the previous reviewer it was “bitter”… I think its possible that it was just bad luck because the one I have was quite enjoyable.
This is my first time trying out this companies tea in the San Diego area. Overall, I love this tea. Its sweet and robust, and makes you feel great for the rest of the day. They recommend brewing at 175 degrees for 1 minute, but I tend to like it even stronger, so i brew mine at around 190 degrees for 1 minute. Including all the benefits of this tea, they also get there tea straight from the source. You can also brew this tea at least 3 times from what I have noticed.
No guilt, no bitter, complete satisfaction.
The only reason this isn’t a straight 100 is that I have the summer pickings, and have not had the opportunity to try the first flush (which Mad Monk Tea also stocks). This tea really exudes quality in every aspect: it retains flavor for many brewings (the highest I’ve gone up to is seven), the leaves are whole and beautiful, and the taste… my god, the taste… The first brewing has the most sublime buttery mouth-feel I’ve ever encountered, and the taste is sweet and divine. I’d say it tastes almost between a milk oolong and a ti-gwan-yin; it’s not as creamy as a milk oolong, but has that some of that sweetness that I haven’t tasted in a TGY. Subsequent brewings lack the strength of the initial thick oily mouth-feeling, and the vegetal side of the tea gets more pronounced. If this tea didn’t cost such a pretty penny, (which honestly, for the number of infusions you can get out of the leaves, isn’t that much at all), I’d probably drink way too much of it.
I must admit, I was very excited to try this Puerh, especially when I first unwrapped it. There wasn’t really a strong smell at all but I was not expecting much from the 2007 sheng.
The first brew was, how do I put this lightly…..terrible! Boy was it unbelievably astringent and just bitter. Ok, there was a hint of fruity sweetness to it, but it did not make up for the bitterness that came before and after. After the 4th infusion, the tea became far more palatable. Either that, or my taste buds just conformed to the astringency. 5th brew was definitely the best (and that’s not saying much), but I was only able to get about 8 infusions.
Still, I am sure this pu will age rather well. I’ll give it another shot several months from now.