menghai tea factory( dragon tea house)
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Recent Tasting Notes
Brew of the mid day here.
Broke this one out an in between on fermentation. It is said to be an only slightly ripened/cooked/shou that doesn’t have as much shou kick to it.
Got 12 grams off the cake , it is pretty tightly compressed cake and it took a bit to pry off a chunk. Brewed up it has the “metallic” aroma of some shou. Taste of the brew gives a bit of stone fruit ansd plum notes with enough of the raw material blended in to give a hint of sheng to it. A deep and full textured tea that sits and drinks nice in the cup.Some hints of molasses and sweet chocolate mixed in.
This robust tea is to be savored and contemplated. Smooth with slight astringency in early steeps. This raw puerh cake has a pleasing mineral flavor and is very easy to drink.
I began with what has become my routine process with puerh cakes (both sheng and shou): boiling water; two 5s rinses; then let it sit for 15m to loosen the chunks and open up the leaf. Dark golden tea soup with the tiniest bit of cloudiness. First sip hits the tongue and mouth with lots of mineral flavor; easy to swallow; just a hint of light astringency; drying in the mouth and tongue. Softens and mellows with successive infusions moving towards vegetal flavor rather than honey sweetness – I’ve been through seven so far and this tea has more to give so I’ll likely continue tomorrow.
This one brewed smells kind of like pond water. I don’t mean fishy. I mean the scent of green wet leaves. This is definitely sheng. The taste is mineral and a bit bright. It does not have an astringent bite but is slightly drying. There is a slight sweetness and a hint of fruity or floral late in the sip but not strong enough to identify.
Now the real enjoyment for me with this one comes after sipping. There is a deep inside cooling sensation without any menthol scent that makes my lungs feel fresh, free, and alive. This lingers on and on long after swallowing. There is also the tummy rumble that I love. I find sheng is more likely to have this affect on me than any other type tea. I can literally feel it working its healthy benefits on me. Excellent good tea energy here!
I am so endebted to eurasia-cafe for selling me this nicely bundled tea. It was not a dark brew at first, and I could tell from the inital clarity of the liqour in colour that it was free of the additives and carmel colors associated with poorer quality leafs, et al. Descriptors abound when drinking chinese black tea, but let’s steep to the high path and talk about the velvety mouthfeel and moist Earth and eucalytptus flavors in every cup. It decreases amplitude and then the bitterness increases at a pace relative to the amount of water per brew you use. In the end it comes out of the pot looking like dried chinese prunes, and you better believe they’re still pretty bitter and could go in there again.
Flavors: Earth, Seaweed
Continuing this week’s focus on shengs, I’ve been working on this Menghai over the course of four days. The aroma of both the dry leaf and the brew is at first a bit leather-like. The tea yields a clear golden broth. The sip is smooth and richly textured – complex flavors with some aged undertones leaving a pleasant robust mouthfeel. The brew softens with more steeps and sweetens a bit. Although I have really enjoyed this one, I feel that I have alot to learn about the finer points of shengs.
I have been working this one for three days now. It is a truly amazing tea. The strength of this one is amazing. It comes across with a mineral, citrus and honey notes. At times it has hits of camphor and “saltiness” that stays on the tip of the tongue. You can feel this one way down after drinking. I wish I had made some notes of the earlier steeping s. I plan to brew this one till it has nothing left as I think it will continue to yield more. This is probably the oldest sheng I have had and I can understand why people talk about aged sheng. Pure unadulterated Menghai at its best before the commercialization of it the following year. I think a whole beeng of this is on the shopping list.
Brewing the “ripe” version tonight. 15 grams in the easy gaiwan. Gave a 10 second rinse and let the tea set a few minutes to open up. Brews a nice color in the cup not sure about the “secret fragrance” part of this as it has the aroma of any normal shou. First infusion almost lychee like (an oriental fruit similar to a cross between a peach and strawberry). Second steep opens up much more with hints of oak and and apple with some dryness to it. Rich and dark but not overly strong with a single taste that stands out. Pleasant without being overpowering. Scoring both the raw and ripe with the same score as both are pretty good.
Got this in a sample pack to try. Using a gaiwan to keep this one pure. It is called “Secret fragrance” I wish i had an aroma cup for this but I lack one. Goes on shopping list. The first infusion brewed a light pale green color and gave a small hit of tobacco. Second infusion give a deeper golden color and brings out some citrus notes to go with the hit of astringency and tobacco. Interesting on the palate, makes the tongue tingle a bit.It has a small bit of astringency but seems to coat the mouth with an aftertaste of the citrus that lingers for a while. It almost seems to have some floral between the layers of tobacco and citrus. A very interesting sheng. I brewed 13 grams of it in the pot.