Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)
Popular Teas from Menghai Tea Factory(obtained from mandala tea)See All 7 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
I was kindly sent a sample of this tea by a fellow nameless Steepsterite and finally have a chance to try it, having had a throat infection for a week and a half. Tea tasting has not really been on the menu for a while, because I have had my head down finishing my thesis, so it is a real pleasure to come back to it with a solid shu.
The dry leaf smells like Shu with no fishiness or other unpleasant aromas. It’s quite a woody aroma like cedar or something similar. The liquor is medium bodied and dark. The same aroma of cedar is continued in the aroma of the liquor, and also into the taste. It is woody and earthy with a citrus finish that lasts on the tongue and an undertone of cinnamon. All in all a pleasant tea that would be welcome at most times.
Flavors: Cedar, Cinnamon, Earth, Wood
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
This tea is very rich with a slight mineral taste that moves on to an almost oak taste as found in a good dry red wine. This tea brews a nice dark orange color with a light floral or citrus aroma apricot or muskmelon. Easy drinking no bitterness or astringency. Brews up nice and tasty. A nice drink for the end of a long and late work week. Brews up almost creamy. Very good tea.
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!
This is so nice tonight. Really mellow and slightly haylike, but there’s a bit of sweetness here too. This almost smells like honey and wood to me.
I’ve debated posting anything about my day yesterday, but it feels good to air it out. While crossing the street yesterday morning, I got hit by a car. Some crazy lady just plowed into me when I was halfway through the crosswalk; she did not stop at the stop sign. Good news: I am okay. After she initially hit me I put out an arm against her hood, thinking she would see me, and when she continued to push me forward I threw myself backwards out of the way of her car. She drove away, never even looked at me or the various people that were honking at her, and she never stopped. I pulled a number of things in my shoulder and around my scapula, bruised my tailbone falling, and have bruises on my legs. Very thankfully, I am alive and not broken. The whole thing still feels really surreal and kind of like a far away movie.
It feels really wonderful right now to just rest and drink some tea.
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!
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.
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
At end of steep: hints of clay red
Preferred time of day: unsure
At first?: bitter, metallic tang, earthy notes
Additives used (milk, honey, sugar etc)? No
Lingers? Yes, metallic notes
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!
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.
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.
Thank you mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample
With Steepster down, I had time to reflect on some things that have been on my mind.
My writing has been slushy. You know…when I try to write and for whatever reason I just don’t sound like myself. I haven’t been able to figure out what’s wrong.
Sunday, I was invited to be in a Google+ live video tea group with people in various parts of the World. I was the least tea educated person, the dumb one in the group but ready to learn. Most of the others spoke Chinese, owned tea companies etc. As we discussed the tea of the week, I became sicker and sicker and almost had to sign off early. Something was wrong with me.
The rest of that day I had a terrible migraine that felt like the flu.
Monday came and Steepster was down. I had the flu-like symptoms still hanging on, coming and going with body aches and nausea.
What had caused my illness?
When I was on the chat Sunday I was sitting by a window with the curtains closed. However, there was still enough bright light outside that even though I was wearing my dark glasses, the light made me sick! Isn’t that crazy?
Why am I telling this story?
I was thinking last night about this time of year and writing about tea. I remembered that in the Winter when the barometer changes setting off my migraines almost every few days, I write more from the heart.
I see clearly, listen better, appreciate my time with tea in a deeper way. Life is more precious.
Could this be why I haven’t been myself? Did I need this malady to write better?
Embracing what is ahead with all it’s difficulties far outweighs the pain. My experience in the quiet places where there is true beauty, is why I began my journey with tea in the first place.
There’s no place to hide from difficulties in this life, it’s how we use what we go through or have gone through that matters.
I’m glad to return to the place of struggle even though I’m sure to complain now and then.
Timing and prep.
Gaiwan 4oz. 30 sec. rinse and 30 sec. steeps.
Wet leaf scent changes! Here’s what I like to do.
First, I put my nose over the rising steam and breathe it in and out, deeply.
Next, I put my nose closer and almost hyper-ventilate, then back away and come closer again.
Finally, I pass the leaves side to side at a distance of about
7 inches to catch a lighter scent.
I smell the leaf aroma hot, warm and cold.
These particular leaves smelled like Nilla Vanilla Wafers and Camphor then later like light Leather, Bread and Earth, then Light Leather and a Sweetness which is where it remained.
The first steeping was salty and tasted like a Trisket Crackers, not sweet but smooth. The finish had a little sour black current flavor.
The second steeping was strong, dark like coffee and tasted like cedar, rasins and velvety 90% chocolate. I was so intrigued by the idea of the chocolate that I sweetened the end of the tasting which didn’t mask the flavors but removed the bitterness almost entirely.
Steeping three was lighter with a salty/savory cedar flavor becoming peppery at the end and astringent. I was distracted by my own awareness of well-being. My nausea was gone and I was feeling such a great sense of gratitude for what this Pu-erh was giving to me.
Ah the forth steeping and beyond. This is where I believe the Pu-erh was at home. Lighter, sweeter with a cinnamon spicy taste and less cedar. There was so much light and smoothness here without having lost body.
At one point I added sweetening to see what would happen for those who sweeten Pu-erh and found that the flavor didn’t change
(some Pu-erh’s take on a floral or caramel taste with sweetening) but remained spicy.
A solid, recommended Pu-erh!
Personal Notes about Pu-erh:
I’ve found Pu-erh to be a faithful friend. Since my Migraines and Fibromyalgia both have chosen to attack my core more than anywhere else on my body, my stomach area is often twisted with nausea and pain. My back hurts and bones ache.
When I drink Pu-erh, the nausea and pain are greatly reduced without an upset stomach. Pretty wonderful benefit for me wouldn’t you agree!
Thanks mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample!
A day at home with rain expected in the afternoon was the perfect setting for Pu-erh sipping with steeping multiple times.
As I made my preparations, I was suspended in a timeless space with the thrill, the drama of what was to happen next?
Steeping times: After a 30 second rinse, the steeping for the first 3 sessions was 30 seconds, the 4th was 1 minute.
The wet leaves smelled like sweet dark chocolate, then light leather with raisen and chocolate, then faint leather and sweet.
The color of the leaves changed at the end to dark Jade Green!
The color of the liquor was light brown on the first steeping becoming dark red brown on steeping 2 and 3, dark golden brown on steep 4.
The process of discovery was like a first date. The tea flirted a little, let me get just a hint of flavor to see if I’d respond. A bit of cedar, sweetness and some slight dryness on the tongue. Nothing to write home about but not scary either. Pretty smooth.
(The tea was obviously, holding back and waiting for the right moment to reveal it’s true personality.)
The second encounter was way more flirtatious, even sexy with a baked cedar plank dryness up front becoming smooth on the finish. There was another flavor lurking in the shadows, a secret.
Peach or Cocoa? I needed more time to inquire, to explore again.
The third encounter was not revealing. I sensed that something wasn’t right. The flavor was so much lighter. Wasn’t the water hot enough? Was the steeping too short? (I always blame myself, never the tea first!)
I decided to become bolder, demanding more now that we had spent considerable time together. I felt that we knew each other well enough. My instincts told me that if I pushed a little bit, there was great strength of character just under the surface.
I challenged the timing increasing it 3 fold.
The Pu-erh held steady without a flinch but it looked different.
The liquor had changed to golden brown and the leaves to jade green.
The flavor was supprisingly very mild, dry cedar, sweet, juicy and easy to drink.
Even with the mild dryness this was a smooth tea with no harshness.
I was expecting some sort of aggressive punch with the longer steep, but that’s not what this Pu-erh was about.
It was kind and mellow, sure to keep me happy for a long time.
(For any off-the-wall people who add sugar on occasion to pu-erh, well after the 4th steeping I checked it out and the caramel flavor that appears with sweetening is very nice!)
This pu’erh was bolder in flavor and darker in color than the other samples. It also had considerably more of that pu’erh sweetness to it, and despite being bold it was still mellow. It had strong wood notes of cedar and oak, and also had a distinct “wild mushroom” flavor to it.
Overall I think seemed to be the finest and highest quality of the pu’erhs Mr. Mopar sent me