Menghai Tea Factory
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Recent Tasting Notes
I remember not being overly impressed with this tea when I first got it after reading the vendor description of it. If I recall correctly it still had some of the fresh fermentation “funk” to it. I ran across it again in a listing and said what the heck pull it out and taste it. I brewed it in the trusty yixing reserved for Menghai shou. I gave it a 20 second rinse to re-hydrate and off I went. I did a 15 second or so step and watched the dark brew come out. It has a very small tart sensation reminiscent of a persimmon but not as pronounced. It has a little drying effect on the tongue that turns to a light sweetness almost like a fruity red wine. It still has the “earthy” underlying note at the end. It gives a touch of burnt bitter caramel about the middle of the taste session. This is hard to explain all the taste notes you can get on this one but as it has lost the fermentation flavor it is turning to be a decent tea. It has some boldness at times that would stand up well to a rich evening meal. I think it will continue to evolve. I will do later steeps on this tonight as we are expected to have fall weather in the 40s and it is rich in taste as many things are in the fall.
Sip down! Another wonderful sample from Terri! Gradually working through them. I’ve been drinking this one over the course of the later afternoon. Sadly it’s stupid hot in Toronto so my brain has been wandering. I think there are other puerhs that I prefer more than this one, but I don’t dislike this one either. This is one of those puerhs for me that I could drink all the time. It doesn’t feel like I have to pay as much attention to it as others but is still a creamy ish cup of puerh. I can dig it :)
Trying this out tonight. This is the highest grade Menghai cake that I possess. The taste of it is kind of puzzling. The cake is loosely compressed and easy to break apart. I brewed this in the gaiwan to keep the flavor notes from being softened by the yixing pot. It has a buttered pea aroma to it. I washed it once for about 10 seconds and went on to steeping it 3 times and pouring it all in a 10 oz. cup. It sill has some astringency and the color is still pretty yellow for a 6 year old tea. It has notes of honey and flower in it. There is still some smoke to it and the drying on the side of the tongue. A light oiliness coats the inside of the mouth. Head to head against the 8582 from a year younger i would prefer it over this one. Needless to say I hope it will age well. It has given me a bit of sweat that the 8582 lacked. An OK sheng to drink nevertheless. i will try this in the yixing tomorrow.
I have enjoyed 9 steeps of this tea now. I use 3 steeps for the “me” size cup I normally drink. This tea has no astringency no harshness and no “bite” at all. This tea brew a light orange/golden color. It has a light citrus aroma. It taste like a very light green tea with the sweetness of honey to it. I found this to be one of the most enjoyable shengs that I have had. Definitely in the top three. I have the newer versions of this cake and hope they age as well. I was really surprised as this is a secondary code 807 of this tea. Very nice. I will probably buy another one of these.
Just tried this one again it has mellowed out in the pumidor. The brick has become more easy to “break”. The flavor is very nice now with just a touch of astringency no bitterness or off flavors or aroma. This has turned into a better tea with a sweetness on the palate now with an almost wineflavor to it. bumping it up a bit.
Just tried this one today. This tea gives a very dark infusion right off the bat after the first rinse. It comes across bold and strong with a woody almost like someone had put chestnuts in the pot with it. It has a touch of sweetness that has carried through 5 infusions with no loss of flavor yet. The aroma is just like a new shou with the barnyard smell that is knocked out by the taste. I personally think this one still has the new fermented taste still a little strong for now, but I think this will be really great in a year or two. I have no doubt about these being old tea tree leaves the strength of the brew has not dissipated yet. I will continue to experiment with this one till the flavor is gone. Giving it a so so rating for now because I believe it will age well.
I’ve had this tea aging in my cupboard for about 4 years already. The last time I tried it (2 years ago) I remember the flavors being quite vibrant, but I thought I’d give it another try this afternoon.
Parameters: water just under boiling; infusion times 45s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 35s, and so on, for about 12 infusions. I filled up about 1/4 of my gaiwan with leaf.
Dry leaf: Wet hay, a little musty, grassy notes.
Wet leaf: Leather, cedar, loam, finishing with caramel and vanilla notes.
“ChaQi”: A surprising feeling! Heat, all along the neck, and a flushed face. First sadness and nostalgia (infusion 3) followed by calm (infusion 6).
This tea tastes exactly like it smells. The first few infusions yielded an earthy, pleasantly dirty flavor with an utterly creamy mouthfeel. There is no bitterness. As you drink it, you can imagine you are in a cabin in the woods, and that it is raining outside. Infusions 4, 5 yielded new mineral notes. Infusions 6, 7, 8 became increasingly sweet, with the distinct aftertaste of wild blueberries along the sides of the tongue. I look forward to this tea becoming even smoother as it ages.
I’ve been sipping on this for the last hour or so.
This is the 3rd time I’ve sampled this tea, I think.
I do not taste any chocolate. I taste semolina & cream. There is a nice bold depth as well, kind of a coffee edge, which perhaps could be interpreted as dark chocolate, but that is not what I taste.
Over the course of several steepings the cream became butter, with a nice buttery sensation lingering in my throat.
It’s a pleasant tea, & maybe next time…
Thank you Mrmopar for this Puerh sample!
BTW, the new picture is me sniffing wet tea leaves, proof that I am an official tea geek and nerd!
Oh yeah, getting back into my puerh groove! Woman does not live by puerh alone(but I almost get away with it)!
We’re having a dip in temperature…snow flurries then back up to the 50’s and 60’s. A real Rocky Mountain Roller Coaster! Wheeee!
For breakfast today…a strong cuppa PU sounded fabulous! (If you take a look at mrmopar’s cupboard, you’ll see that he agrees with me!)
This particular puerh was great for bold drinking. I was thinking about how you could make a big pot, sit down with breakfast or the paper…even fill a thermos and head out the door. It’s such a big flavorful puerh, reminiscent of what I ‘Used to get’ at Pete’s Coffee way back when! My morning ‘kick in the butt’ cuppa!
Smooth, dark, stands up to additions and the resteeps aren’t weak.
After one rinse, I steeped 30 seconds which produced a DARK red-espresso-brown brew, smooth and full of energy. The taste was raspberry/choco/cedar/nut with a little tang. (None of those flavors distinctly strong). Muted flavors, smooth and sweet.
On later steepings the flavor wasn’t as strong.
At the 4th and 5th steep…I got lazy and put the two steeps together in an 8oz mug, sweetened it and added cream. Yeah! Good!
I kicked back and watched the news, slurped my mug of PU with a furry throw tucked up under mu chin, my feet propped on the bench coffee table. What a life!
This tea is one of those “Whatever you want me to be, I’ll be it for you baby!” puerh’s! (Too bad I never married man like that, oh well!)
called the thick ripe cake. well aged dayi with hints of cherry on the first steep.hints of oak at the back of the tongue. second infusion cherry with lemon a taste almost like a well aged scotch. will explore more steeps. now off to enjoy…..short steeps under 15 seconds for now.
Thank you mrmopar for this fantastic Pu-erh Sample!
I really should read up on Puerh’s before I go off brewing up on my own. Somehow, a purist will probably be horrified at my methods here.
I was enjoying myself, having a great time with this Puerh!
I have a lovely little seasoned purple clay Gaiwan that I use for Puerh. A pick, strainer and cup is all I need for a good session.
Usually I use less leaf than other people because fibromyalgia has made me very sensitive to taste. I make quantity adjustments because of that and use 3 grams of Puerh when others use 5 grams with the same taste results.
Today, I wanted to try a larger amount of leaves. I used 5 grams, which is a huge quantity for me, then did 2 quick washes.
(I poked the hard nugget of Puerh during the first 30 second steeping to break it up a bit.)
The liquor was dark golden brown with a hint of red throughout.
Steepings 30 seconds unless noted otherwise.
1. First steepings are usually not my favorite. They can knock you down with a fuzzy cedar or redwood taste and texture that’s very strong and sometimes bitter.
But this Puerh…HA!
This tea was extremely Smooth, Juicy and Semi-Sweet, with a light cocoa, sugar date flavor! I was pleasantly surprised!
2. The second steep flavor was like Bittersweet Chocolate or a light Pinot Noir. There was no grit or earthy flavor, but a thick mouth feel that made me think of sipping chocolate.
I added a few grains of sugar and the caramel flavor came up with a richness that I had suspected was hiding deep in the thick, smooth tea.
3. As an experiment, I tried a quick immediate steep.
The color was dark, the flavor…a bit dryer and spicy on my tongue like cinnamon and clove. The creaminess wasn’t as strong and the richness was lighter.
There was more of a wood cedar taste than when I steeped the leaves longer. I liked the longer steeping better.
4. Returning to the longer steeps, this time at 40 seconds, the Puerh was spicier.
Cinnamon, clove and allspice. A bright Paso Robles Zinfandel with Sunshine and Ripeness in the bones of the flavor.
This tea was beginning to remind me of…a Chai base, or Sangria.
It’s the Holidays…and I remembered that the person who sent this Puerh to me…who has become a true friend…has at his side the love of his life. She is fond of Chai.
So, I did what anyone other than me would NEVER do with a great Puerh! I made some Puerh Chai in honor of her, hoping that this is something that he’ll try. Here goes…
I made 2 steepings of Puerh, added half and half, then a little sugar and a little honey (I don’t like too much honey because it can overpower the taste of the tea). Stirred it up…and YUM!
Caramel, smooth, spicy, creamy…(Hey mrmopar, you have 5 cakes of this Puerh, so tell me if you make this for your sweetheart!)
This Puerh is great stuff! Probably the smoothest I’ve ever had and the closest to the experience of drinking wine.
Thanks again mrmopar my friend!
The gold dayi also has fortitude. Deep into the session, there is still a strength of kuwei and full body that is not present in most of the recent Dayi teas I have tried. It is clear why Cloud and the HK tea forum crowd are backers of this tea.
Read more below:
Thank you mrmopar for this sample Pu-er!
What a lovely gift I received one day a about a month ago from my friend mrmopar. Samples of Pu-er! Tears of delight, really!
Tucked into the package were little tuo cha’s that I can’t read the names of (written in Chinese) so I won’t be reviewing them, but they look like pieces of candy. Colored wrappers full of mystery.
I’m having so much fun with them!
This morning, I picked one of the chunky samples in a labeled zip bag. It looked like dark, hard and gnarly Shu Pu-erh bark. Excellent!
A quick wash first, and I was set for several infusions in my purple clay Gaiwan.
Only the first infusion had a lighter brown color. The rest was deep red-brown. The wet leaf scent was mild, more on the vanilla bread side than leather.
My first impression was, this is a good Pu-erh.
I could tell right away with the first light steeping, that there was something different about the taste. It was slightly sweet, very juicy with a spice to it that I couldn’t sort out and pin down.
The feeling of the tea in my mouth was light and smooth…with the flavor of banana skin way off in the background. At first I wasn’t convinced of that, and I walked around the room to make sure I wasn’t picking up a scent from somewhere else. Banana skin, yes.
Steeping again, a much thicker brew this time, and quite red-brown. The flavor was still not earthy or woody and no flavor of cedar either.(This was another surprise because I would have expected woodiness with such vibrant color.)
What I tasted was vanilla cream, some salt and a hint of caramel.
There was something else. Spice or herb, a savory something that I could not identify. The Pu-erh was playing with me gently.
Pouring a third time, the thick and rich broth tasted more like cedar wood with a tang that lasted just a moment…then melted away into a smooth, sweet velvety finish.
I am always tempted to add a few (very few) grains of sugar when a Pu-erh comes to the caramel, cedar, salty stage. I know what will happen next! The same flavor that you taste with quality caramels is what this Pu-erh tastes like with just a little sweetness added to it. (a little cream is nice too). I love salted creamy caramel!
Don’t misunderstand, I like my Pu-erh straight, but sometimes…it becomes dessert towards the last of the steepings.
This is a very good Pu-erh!
I wrote a story for my blog and here’s an intro if you want to read more, it’s about a time long ago when I was working at the Children’s Shelter School, Christmas (1979). www.teaandincense.com
Shelter School Christmas
Our facility was a room in an abandoned Psychiatric Hospital from the 1930’s. A big, drafty, wood and plaster building that creaked and groaned. It looked like a set from an old Hollywood movie!
Two social workers sat in the hallway at all times, while the teacher and I were alone with 10-15 students in a classroom lined with floor to ceiling bookshelves and tall windows, (a scene right out of a Harry Potter movie set). If you peeked in, you’d agree it was a strange looking scene, old radiators and wood planking.
During the Christmas Holidays I decided to plan a party. Without a kitchen, I was still able to teach the kids to make snacks. Then, we decorated by cutting colored paper rings and streamed them across the room. We made strings of popcorn and glittery stars. Each student made a soft, stuffed ornament that was theirs to keep and take to whichever group home or foster home they would be sent to.
It was important to show how to create something from little or nothing, how to celebrate when life is frightening and uncertain. It’s a great lesson in life.
We were going to finish with a party!
I taught some of the tougher hard to reach boys how to properly serve tea and snacks. We even used serving trays for our party.
These boys took their job seriously, practicing over and over again.
(the story continues)
Oh, by the way…Happy St. Nicholas Day! Dec. 6th this is celebrated in many places around the World. 4th Century Nicholas of Myra gave to the poor and defended children and women. He paid the dowery for poor women to marry (something important back then).
Thank you, Bonnie, for the sample :)
Dry smell: This tea smells really nice. It smells very very sweet. It has an unusually vegetal smell for a puerh. It is a moist smell like a fresh forest. I can also smell a little hint of green bean.
Wet smell: This tea smells really great after the first steeping. It still has the extremely sweet smell and vegetal taste. The most prominent smell is still something that reminds me of green snap pea’s
Taste: The taste is kinda funky. It has a sweet taste but also a starchy note and feel. There is a deep woody flavor that tastes like a freshly cut down tree.
EDIT: After 1.5 litres of my red aura cake and a litre of this I’m feeling really calm, happy, and relaxed. I’m assuming this is what people describe as qi. I’m not sure if it’s just this tea or a combination of both