Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)

Recent Tasting Notes

Delicious shou! Completely funk-free with some nice raisin notes. Very nice stuff :)

Cheri

funk free is always important

Starfevre

don’t you want to get down in funkytown?

Stephanie

lol…I enjoy funkytown just not in my shou! ;)

mrmopar

They tend to lose the “funk” as they age. Some producers "hold"their tea to market to allow some of this to dissipate. This is a really nice one.

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88

Yummy yummy. Menghai makes some good tea.

I tell you what, I think this might be the best Shou I’ve tasted so far. There’s different kind of Shou for different kind of folks.

For me, this is what I like. No funkiness, very little wood, slight hit of sweetness, smooth and creamy.

Wet leaves are just like freshly polished shoe leather. You get a little bit of that in the flavor. Cake is real tight but I got off a nice couple chunks with a knife.

This is all good and a quality product from Mandala.

Flavors: Creamy, Leather, Raisins

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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93

YUM! boychik has sent me some of the best shus!

This one is smooth and SWEET. It is lightly earthy and has a dark fruity note floating around. I did a long-ish steep and I’m really enjoying the bold flavor :)

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Thanks to mrmopar for this sample. It’s a mellow and woody tea with a hint of cinnamon. The liquor is rich and dark, like coffee. There is some earthiness there, and no off flavours at all. I would say that this is a very comfortable tea to drink, and I have been very comfortable drinking it since yesterday.

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I believe Bonnie wrote the definitive tasting note on this one two years ago. As I was writing my own review for my blog I kept noticing how nearly identical my experience was to hers – minus the sexy dating analogy (wow, hot stuff). For me this was a necessary session to overcome yesterday’s over indulgences. Way over did it. This one helped calm the stomach and left me with a pleasant calming peace that was remarkable spiritual like. I have never thought to actually use puerh in my private devotion time but maybe I will give it a go one day soon. Anyway, starts mellow with mineral, cedar, and horse tack notes. Blossoms later with bold flavors of browned cedar and horse tack. Then drifts back into more mellow but pronounced mineral and cedar, and ending with pleasant leather notes. Excellent cha qi.

TheTeaFairy

Inspirational.

mrmopar

Yum Yum!

gmathis

1 Timothy 6:17 …. the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy. Pu-erh counts!

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i enjoyed this tea for 2 days.
100ml gaiwan 5g 212F
Rinse, rest, 5/5/10/10/15/15/20/20/ etc
Wet leaves smell of prunes and apricots. this tea is very clean, burgundy clear, no off taste . It is sweet with some spice notes,maybe like cinnamon. had a tingling sensation. Also this tea is very creamy. call me crazy but i can compare all those notes to plum pudding.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Stephanie

Sounds wonderful :)

DeliriumsFrogs

Did you say Plum Pudding!? Yum! This sounds absolutely fantastic!

boychik

i think i’ll buy the whole cake.

DeliriumsFrogs

Yeah, this is definitely going on my ‘wish list’… I’m just staring at it on the site right now. lol

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88

I’ve been working on this one all day – most enjoyable with good flavor in every cup. Boiling water; (2) 5 second rinses; 30s steep; another 10 seconds added for each steep after the first. Earthy then buttery then creamy. I’m going to order another cake so that I can keep this around for a long time.

mrmopar

Oh yes this is a good one!

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93

This is my first tea picked by my homemade randomizer. It was one of the ones I was hoping to squirrel but the randomizer picked it and I am a slave to the system. I also didn’t take detailed notes about each steep because I am lazy.

I absolutely loved this tea based completely on the superficial. It’s adorable. It’s so tiny and pretty and the box is purple. The look of it made me happy. Brewed, it’s just magnificent. So sweet and creamy. There are times when I sip this tea and it’s just notes of caramelized dates with that smooth creaminess and it was just perfect. Pure perfection. This is one of the smoothest ripe pu’ers I have ever tried.

I don’t think this will be an everyday tea. Not because I don’t love it to bits and pieces but I want it to last. I am tempted in a big way to buy another one of these and a Red Rhyme.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

I need to pull this one out, it’s been awhile since I drank it!

mrmopar

This is a good one! Had this myself a while back.

MsWhatsit

I’m a sucker for pretty tea boxes. Glad to hear the tea in it is good too.

mrmopar

Yep the tea is superb in this pretty little box. The have one called “Red Rhyme” that is superb also!

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81

I am digging this one. I’ve been drinking steeps of this over the morning in an effort to hold to my goal of getting through the samples that terri sent me of a variety of puerhs! Initial impressions, so that i don’t lose that is that this is a very creamy puerh. I’m going to toss the leaves to cold brew once i’m done with them just to see how that works but overall impressions of this so far is that this is just delicious!

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Finishing off my sample of this, swiped from the Here’s Hoping teabox!

Man, being sick sucks, but my yixing pot is loving it! I’ve been steeping pu’er for like 3 days and the pot isn’t flavor sucking now. My yixing pot is having a grand time spending time with me, with the other pots getting all jealous.

Man, this is good, I could buy more of this pu’er. Maybe next Mandala order!

Oh man, this is good!

I snagged this tea out of the Here’s Hoping Teabox. This pu’er is really mellow with a sweet cedar taste end of sip. There is a lingering aftertaste of earthy that is really good. No fermentation taste, not mushroomy or smokey. I could be convinced to buy a cake of this, crap, and I just did a Mandala order too. Oh well, next order then.

My husband (he doesn’t like tea) said this one tastes like overly strong chinese restaurant tea. LOL

mrmopar

I just started on a brewing of this Friday and on a cup now. Is there a government conspiracy or something I need to know about? LOL!

mrmopar

The 2010 version of this tea got me started into puerh.

Awkward Soul / Oolong Owl

I’m still working on this pu’er, it just keeps going with just slight changes to flavor. Yeah, for my first shu cake I was eyeing all Menghais – this one, the purple rhyme and a yellow 100g one, and I ended up with the yellow one, kinda wish I got all 3 lol! (I still need to try the yellow one)

Terri HarpLady

I’ve been eyeing the 3 pack… And the patty cake II … And….

mrmopar

Menghai is pretty good tea. They take a lot of steps to insure their product is not “forged”. If you need any tips or help hit me up I have a small puerh stock and may be able to direct you to some good ones.

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100 Grams is really not a very big tea cake, however at 5 G per session, it will make tea 20 times, & of course each session will make many cups of tea to savor. I weighed it, & it actually weighed in at 92G, but my guess is that it was originally 100, & lost weight as it aged.

I started with a rinse, which admittedly, I drank, savoring the gentle essence of semolina & vanilla cake. The wet leaves smell of Kugle. What’s Kugle? It’s a dish made with buttery noodles & custard, which can be made either sweet or savory. I used to make it for my kids when they were young, everyone loved it so. In this case, I’m thinking of the sweet kind, with vanilla.
Here’s my impression of the steepings:
1. 10 sec: It’s so creamy & sweet, & it’s Kugle!
2. 15 sec: Even creamier & sweeter!
3 – 5 at 20, 25, & 30 sec were combined into a pitcher, to enjoy while I was teaching a student, & the flavors continued.
6. 45 sec: the butteriness is replaced by a golden sensation, as if my tongue were covered in a sleeve of pure thin gold. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the only way I can describe it. Still sweet.
7. 1 minute: It feels like I’m drinking cream. The flavor is of a brown crust of WW bread.

I had to leave for awhile, but when I got home, I ran through several more steepings, & could probably continue, but I have somewhere to be, so maybe tomorrow? This is a very nice tea!
7.

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I have mentioned that my youngest daughter has become obsessed with cooking. I feel so spoiled! And she asks to drink puerh with me often now. This has led to a slight problem in supply. I am on my last cake of Mandala Tea ripe puerh. I do have a little loose puerh, and I have two flavored ones, and I have two green or sheng puerh remaining. Still….this is LOW SUPPLY! ALARM! ALARM!

Hubby was in den, so I shouted from the living room that puerh makes a great anniversary gift. He asked me where this great gift would come from, and I told him not to worry, I would order it myself! Am I a low maintenance wife or what? I will even open it before I wrap it and make sure it is good! :D

As to taste: I used about a teaspoon, maybe a bit more, in my tiny eight ounce pot. We had a liter glass kettle of water. The flavor lasted for steep after steep. It was earthy and warm.
Youngest remarked that she particularly enjoyed this session. I think that is a pretty good recommendation.

mrmopar

I know where you can get this if Garrett is out of stock on it. He would be the first choice and if not message me and I will hook you up. P.S. ain’t it great when the kids and grand-kids like our tea! :)

ashmanra

Mrmopar, it warms the cockles of my heart that my kids are all drinking tea now! And two of them are drinking a LOT of it, and my eldest daughter married a fellow from Ireland and naturally he drinks lots of tea! Bliss!

mrmopar

Agreed on the warming of the heart! :)

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Drumroll, please! There is another puerh convert in my house! Hooray!!!!!!

My youngest daughter has become obsessed, obsessed I say!, with cooking and with trying new things. What a wonderful time when kids hit that ultra adventurous stage. Up to now her favorite teas were Vanilla Black by Harney, any Lapsang but especially Black Dragon from Upton, Baker Street Afternoon Blend from Upton, and Yunnan Golden Tips.

A couple of months ago she cut back on sugar in her tea and finally weaned herself off of it entirely. Then she started cooking and was wanting to try lots of new foods. She discovered that she liked nearly everything she tried. She started trying new teas, and re-tasting ones that she had not cared for long ago.

I nearly fell over last week when I made puerh at my son’s request last week and she asked if there was enough for her, too. Then twice this week she has asked if the two of us could share a pot together.

Today’s choice was Purple Rhyme. I made it western style in my 22 ounce pot and poured it into a larger pot. I used boiling water and steeped for about four minutes, until it was almost inky black! I made a second steep right away which is as dark as the first and combined them. There was no rinse.

This is so good, very smooth and full bodied. This is earthy with a high tang. We drank about 35 ounces of it today. I saved the leaves and expect to get at least another two western steeps out of it tomorrow. I am so happy to have another puerh drinker in the house.

Ubacat

Tea tastes even better when you share.

mrmopar

Yay! And a good one to share.

Sarsonator

This is awesome! I admit I’m a little jealous! My boyfriend enjoys tea, but he’s pretty meh about the pu’erhs. LOL

ashmanra

Mrmopar: I can thank you that we had this good tea to share. You helped me pick my Christmas gifts from hubby and this was one of them!

We are drinking this again today, this time with my eldest daughter.

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I want to thank Bonnie over and over again for saying she puts her puerh leaves in the fridge to cold steep after she has had some hot steeps of it. I did that two days ago and just let it sit in a big pitcher. I am finally drinking it today and I have to say it is one of the most refreshing things you could possibly imagine.

I posted a link to the recipe for Ent Draught last week, but to me, THIS is what Ent Draught would taste like. It is so perfectly light, refreshing, and clean, clean, clean, while at the same time tasting of purest earth. I think I could actually gulp down the whole pitcher in a very short time, and it is so cooling and uplifting. There is not even a tad of sugar in it. It doesn’t need it.

Ent Draught is supposed to be clear, thus the distilling process, but this is the taste it should have! The color of the cold brew puerh is gorgeous – so orange and clear. It looks like really good Southern sweet tea. I would much rather have this, though.

I am almost looking forward to our sticky summer weather just so I can drink gallons of this!

Bonnie

Someone actually did this! When I made the note I doubted that anyone would make it. (Being a puer after all) I live in a very arid zone at 5000 ft. and hydration is important. The chilled puer IS refreshing and calms your stomach.

ashmanra

This isn’t the first time I have done it since I first saw it in one of your posts, but everytime I do this I think of you! It is the most refreshing thing I think I had ever had. It tastes like the purest water on earth, infused with the flavor of pristine earth and trees! I really want to try to make it as a clear Ent Draught sometime!

Terri HarpLady

I will be trying this soon!

Em

Sounds like something I’d be interested in trying. How long do you let the leaves steep?

Bonnie

For all my cupboard stash, what you don’t see is how frugal I am. My bins are salad containers, half my stash are samples from friends and trades. I don’t throw out tea leaves that still have goodness in them that can be used for cold brewing. My budget has been $15-$20 a month for tea and sometimes I’m down to nothing for months other than going for tea in town which is about $4 a week. It’s my only entertainment outside of TV, so I think people who complain about prices can have lots of tea for less probably if they plan for quality not just quantity. You should explain Ent Draught so others know what that means. We all learn from each other! Maybe when the weather gets warm, we can have a cold tea thread and share what we do!

Bonnie

Oh- I use that bottle top thing that the Tea Spot invented to filter the leaves. What do you use?

ashmanra

Em: I let this steep for two days so far, but I will keep it going in the refrigerator until I drink it all, even if that is a few more days. It was ready to drink probably six or eight hours after putting it in, since it had already been heated once, so the leaves were “open” and saturated and ready to give up their flavor! I also use a glass container because it conducts temp so well and the tea is so very cold.

Ent Draught was a drink described in The Lord of the Rings. The Ents were the ancient tree shepherds and looked like trees themselves. When the Hobbits drank the crystal clear draught, they grew instantly taller. There were two different times it as served to them, and each time it tasted different. I had posted a link to a site where someone had tried to create their own versions of Ent Draught using tea and herbs, but since it was described as being clear they distilled the tea on the stovetop! If I find the link again, I will post it here,

ashmanra

I found a couple of Bodum iced tea pitchers with filter in the lid at TJ Maxx a while back for a really good sale price! That is what I use for cold brewing.

ashmanra

http://foodthroughthepages.com/2012/12/18/ent-draught-the-lord-of-the-rings/
There it is! The description from the book as well as the recipe to imitate are here, but I really truly feel this is a description of white tea for the first, perhaps infused with flowers like jasmine or osmanthus, and jerk tea for the second drink that was given to them.

cryptickoi

cold shu is great…a little citrus(yuzu) in it is good too…

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I drank one steep of my Southern Season puerh and then put the leaves in the fridge to cold brew a pitcher of iced tea. I was feeling unsatisfied, puerh-wise, so I decided to treat myself to several steeps of Purple Rhyme.

I love the box it came in, the careful wrapping of the paper with such beautiful, uniform folds, the stamp that holds the paper tight. I love the care used to present this product to me.

The tea is really dark, because I love strong, smooth puerh and I let it steep longer than most people do. The taste is fresh and so clean.

Bonnie

Pour me a cup!

ashmanra

Come on over! Do you like to make cards and dance with the dog?

K S

Are you setting her up for a bad date?

ashmanra

Nope, for a good time! :D

Bonnie

I can think of a better time than dancing with the dog! I’ll take the tea and dance with K S! (Any other offers?!)

K S

Bonnie, if I could dance it would be my honor. Can we still have puerh?

gmathis

Cutting and gluing party at ashmanra’s house! I’ll start packing!

mrmopar

Ha, I am in for that one! This is a really good pu-erh I enjoy this one a lot.

ashmanra

Woo hoo! This is gonna be the most exciting weekend I have ever had!

mrmopar

Yes but with good pu-erh there will always be a crowd!

mrmopar

The heck with the cup! Can i have the whole pot?

ashmanra

LOL! Sure! We’ll make several pots! Look what you started, Garret.

Bonnie

Hey,if Garret’s coming he can bring another beeng! I’ll bring snacks!

Terri HarpLady

Ooooh, purple rhyme! Yum, I got me some a few weeks ago!
And I will dance with the dog!

ashmanra

At this rate, we’ll need another beeng! And Terriharplady: I will tell Mr. Samwise to practice his steps!

Bonnie

We really do need a steepster cruise or vacation event!

Terri HarpLady

We should plan our own Steepster convention… July anyone?

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Another Christmas tea! Yay!

I started this one last night. I used Granny Stella’s tomato knife to work a chunk about the size of a teaspoon off of the brick. I notice this is called an iron cake. I haven’t heard that term before, so perhaps Garret and/or mrmopar will enlighten us?

My husband and son joined me drinking this one. They would have bailed on me if there had been any fishy odor. This tea has none.

I steeped this for forty seconds at first, increasing to sixty seconds for the fourth and fifth steeps, which is where I am right now.

The color was deep at first but not inky black. This is a medium strength flavor, not knock you down powerful but not subtle either. It has the horsey profile I like.

I am such a newbie at puerh that I have trouble distinguishing between the good ones. I can tell a bad one easily enough! I am trying very hard to learn to distinguish between cedar, mushroom, earth, leaves, and wood.

The main thing that came to my mind as I drank this was “nature.” Not wilderness nature but perhaps a large farm bordered by woods with fields of grazing horses. There is the horse farm scent to this, but added to it are leaves crunching underfoot as you walk, breathing in fresh, clean air. Sometimes I get a hint of caramel in this one. Steep four had a little cedar oil richness coating my mouth. Steep number five is still going strong so I will probably continue working with this teaspoon of leaves, and soon I will try it with more leaf and shorter steeps.

Of the three teas I have tried from the Mandala order, they are all very good and I would not be able at this point in my puerh education to tell them apart if I were drinking them “blind.” But I can say with certainty that I enjoy drinking every one of them and look forward to sharing many cups of these teas with family and friends.

Sil

What matters is that you’re enjoying your journey into puerh! I look forward to reading your reviews for when i decide to start down that path :)

K S

Like you, I can’t tell the good ones apart. I did recently revisit some of the first that I really liked and found them now to be lacking. I guess there is hope for us.

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91

My first whole pu’er cake! Woot woot!

This cake is gorgeous! Dark reddish brown in color, nice and tightly pressed. There is a nice, not overly powerful dirt/woodsy smell coming from the cake. Yum.
Carefully broke off a bit of the leaves with my pick; this one flakes apart pretty easily and is nice and dry. The sound the pick makes as it goes into the cake is so relaxing (maybe that’s an odd thing to say, but I couldn’t help thinking it). Love that sound.

Once I brewed this one up, it produced a dark red-brown liqour. It smells sweet, cedar-y, and woodsy with hints of a rich soil. I think I’m really going to love this one (good thing, too, since I have a whole cake!).

Yum. This one is sweet (not fruit sweet, but the kind of sweet you get from chewing on a popsicle stick – if that makes sense to anyone), with wood notes (again, I want to say cedar) and a nice mellow “dirt” taste. This has a thicker mouthfeel than some other pu’er I’ve had recently – it’s nice and smooth. There’s a bit of a zing at the end of the sip, slightly spicy on the back of the tongue. Don’t know how to describe it, but it’s a nice effect.

Glad I took the plunge and bought a cake of this one. I’m really enjoying it! Can’t wait to share with my twin sister when she comes home. She’s really into pu’er…it seems to be the only tea I can get her excited for! She’ll totally love this one. Thanks for providing this cake Mandala Teas!

I want to try this one in the gaiwan next time around.

Off to resteep. I’ll update in a few.

UPDATE: Second steep at about 6 min. A little thinner (not by much, though) than the first steep. Still has a wonderfully woody/sweet flavor with the added bonus of a slightly leathery flavor! The zing at the end of the sip is dialed down a bit, but still present. I’m loving this pu’er!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Mmmm, chewing on a popsicle stick! Memories of early elementary school trips to the local zoo!

Emily M

Ah…childhood memories. =)
Glad somebody else knew what I was on about.

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34

Brick

Appearance: woody black pu-erh chips off a larger brick
Aroma when Dry: sweet, nutty cocoa earthy, floral notes
After water is first poured: tart, sour, earthy,
At end of first steep: sour, peaty
Tea liquor:
At first?
At end of steep: hints of clay red
Staple? No
Preferred time of day: unsure
Taste:
At first?: bitter, metallic tang, earthy notes
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, metallic notes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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90

just had this one after drinking the 2009 version last night. this tea has really added a depth of flavor with another year under its belt. this cake is drier than the 2009 cake. much easier to break apart. not really much of an odor. no off smells on the dry cake. almost a dusty dirt road aroma. gave a 15 second wash. poured the first cup after a 15 second steep in the yixing. the color went from light to very dark at the end of the pour. the whole cup ended up looking like a strong cup of black coffee. rich and woody in the mouth with a sweetness at the end. very enjoyable on a cold windy winter night. very warming. second brew as dark as the first,yummy. now excuse me please i am off to enjoy the second cup and it looks like this will give at least 6 infusions as the 2009 did. gotta go tea awaits.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Nice late cup for you, must be staying up late!

mrmopar

yeah watching the tech game.

Bonnie

AH, priorities!

Garret

That means we drank the exact same batch of tea on the exact same day, my friend! That was my pre-meditation tea this morning!!! NICE!!!!

ashmanra

Sounds delicious!

mrmopar

garret that is awesome, and i drank mine to wind down and end the day!

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