Menghai Tea Factory( sourced by mandala tea)
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Recent Tasting Notes
A solid little cake. Nice full body, deep fermented taste. A touch of bitterness disappears after a few infusions. I have the 2009 and 2010 versions as well, only tried the 2009 so far and it is at least as good. It seems like these are pretty dependable cakes for a good price. Lots of infusions so it is a good deal. I got mine from tuocha.com.
Pi Day is also my birthday so we have been celebrating! LOL! Well, it is probably a lot more subdued than most people’s celebrations, but that’s how we roll. Hubby took me out for steak, and although I love it, I rarely eat red meat. We have been eating a lot of vegetarian meals lately, we always have but we have increased it over the past few months. I knew I wanted to have puerh tonight just to make sure my tummy stays happy.
My cake of Red Rhyme is almost fully depleted now. I think I will be able to make this one more time. I made four steeps of 22 ounces each with what I broke off the cake tonight, and my hubby and my son and I drank it while playing game after game of Dominion.
Even though I had chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting AND filling – with strawberries on the side – after dinner, my tummy isn’t complaining. Oh, and there was buttered and seasoned popcorn during Futurama as well.
Even the fourth steep was plenty dark. Each steep was four minutes because we like a good strong puerh when it is high quality and not fishy. This one had a clean, slightly metallic or mineral fresh taste tonight that kept me pushing my cup to hubby for more.
I told him we are getting quite low on puerh, but he assured me that he knew there were ways to make more appear. LOL!
Today I “broke open” a new cake – the cake compression is heavy so I struggled to get it started. I ended up with tiny, tiny chunks and a bit of tea dust. Taste is rather smooth with no real astringency. Flavor not that distinctive – think I might have overleafed this time. Plan to turn these next few infusions into iced tea to drink in a day or two. Another time I’ll try breaking off another chunk from the cake and start over with the gaiwan so I’ll save my rating for later.
I chose this tea for an experiment today. The first company I ever ordered puerh online from was purepuer.com. My husband noticed that they were going to be on NPR and tuned in. Later, I went on their website to look around some more.
I found a video there and discovered that they are selling chia seeds and recommend combining them with puerh. I bought some chia last time I was at Whole Foods in Raleigh, so I gave it a shot. My son joined me for a big mugful.
I made two steeps western style of this puerh, three minutes each. I stirred in about two teaspoons of chia. That may not have been enough, as it didn’t float like the ones I saw in the health food store, but mostly sank to the bottom. Still, there were a few in the bottom of each cup of tea that I drank.
My son really liked the tea, and didn’t mind the chia. I found the tea to be just as hearty and smooth as ever, really dark and earthy. I don’t mind the chia but I think I might enjoy it more another way, like just mixed in with my granola.
This is not the first time I’ve drank this, or even the 2nd, but apparently it is the first time I’m logging it here. It is very nice, with flavors of semolina & perhaps a dark dried fruit, like raisins or prunes. It’s very smooth, a nice depth to it, & doesn’t have any of the compost pile flavors that some Puers feature. It’s a little late at night for me to be drinking tea, but I’ve had a busy couple of days & I feel that I deserve some Shu, plus it doesn’t ever seem to keep me up, so I’m enjoying my last cup (steep # 8, I think).
I made seven steeps of this tea tonight! I pried off about a teaspoon of leaf and put it in my eight ounce porcelain pot. This was infused three times and poured into a larger pot. The fourth steep was poured directly into our cups and was the first steep we actually drank. Hubby remarked right away at the strength of the tea. Amazing for a fourth to taste like it could be a first steep.
We drank the whole pot of tea after that, and I really wanted more. I went back to the kitchen and made steeps five, six, and seven, once again combining them into a larger pot. (We were watching Lord of the Rings.)
The seven steep at last shows some lessening of color so I stopped there, and we have finished off the last three steeps now. These leaves have had a good run.
Tonight was writers’s group at my house but we had fewer people than usual thanks to colds and work related issues. This meant more time for tea! My partner in culinary crime loves to experiment so I asked her if we had ever tried puerh together and she said no. I gave her a brief history of the drink, let her sniff this cake, and since she didn’t run in fear I started steeping.
Five steeps later, we have a convert. She really liked it. I steeped it for over a minute each time…one steep was quite a bit longer and every steep was good. I used about a teaspoon of leaf pried off the cake into my eight ounce pot and we used a fair cup. Very good, with a nice cedar oil mouthfeel this time!
My first puerh cake! I have been really excited about getting these for Christmas. I knew in advance because hubby had me pick the tea I wanted and he did offer to let me try it early, but I waited!
I wasn’t sure how good this first try would be because I took the wrapper and shook off the loose leaf. Then I struggled to pry off a bit of leaf but was really bad at it! I did manage to get about a teaspoon loose and started steeping in my smallest pot.
I was going to rinse but I tasted the rinse and it was good, so I drank it! I did thirty second steeps at first and then increased by just a little for number four. The first steeps are fresh, clean, bright, and horsey, just how I like it. Steep four had chocolate notes! Steep five…oops. I was cooking and doing other things and there is no telling how long it steeped. Several minutes at the very least. But it is still drinkable, and not just drinkable but good!
I am really looking forward to drinking all these puerhs with friends and family for a long time.