Menghai Tea Factory

Recent Tasting Notes

91

Thank you mrmopar for this sample Puerh!

After morning prayers, a favorite way to begin my day is PUERH!
I had a choice of several samples to choose from thanks to my Steepster friend, and this one had a note that said it was a good every day Shu, mellow and thick (which I love).

I rinsed the leaves (chunky dark brown bark) 30 seconds and then for each infusion steeped 30-40 seconds in my PIAO before releasing the tea into a Gaiwan.

The wet leaves took time to break up from the bark stage into a sponge and finally a clump of chocolate brown mulch.

The wet aroma is something I love about Puerh. It’s so organic and sensual. A perfect match for my wild Highland Scot heart.

The smell began as coffee, breadish breakfast aroma then a wet wheat and hay scent on the second steep and finally a sweet pastry steam bath taming down into a grass and hay scent on the final round.

The liquor was clear and ranged from red-brown to coffee color to root beer brown on the last steep.
Each steeping was mildly scented with a savory aroma closer to light mushroom broth than earth and dirt.

Steep one, the flavor was delicate, smooth and nutty with light saltiness and sweet juicy mouthfeel. The flavor was a bit bready with a light mushroom taste.

Steep two was heavier and more savory. Full, rich, with lots of juice and a flavor that was elusive…so I came back again and again…until I found berry in the tea…a dry raspberry taste which as the tea cooled became mellow. A sweet pipe tobacco scent arrived on the finish.

The third steep was the most delicious as is often the case. Sweet and salty, savory and juicy but mild. There was a pleasent tingle on my tongue.

I added a little sweetening and thought how I would love a Thermos of Puerh like this when sitting on a beach. Somewhere like Lake Tahoe with the alpine climate and clear blue lake.

I took some photo’s, you may notice a figure on the bench…me… http://flic.kr/s/aHsjBg47K3

This Puerh is very good…the kind I would keep as an every day Puerh and I’m going to steep the rest as my ICED treat for later!

(Just in case you don’t read the notes below, mrmopar has the icon of the blue Charger so I have a clip of my first car which was a 56 Merc
so cool…with the Beach Boy’s singing… http://youtu.be/DaoMRQsQ-tw )

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I’m going to try one of these soon :)

Bonnie

I think you’d like it. Wish you were close by because I usually have noone to sip tea with and that’s a shame. My only recourse is to teach some people. I just spoke to my Priest and I’m going to have a small group of college students from my Church over to tea taste with me and my granddaughter Schey.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

I’d love to come sip some Pu with ya if i were nearby, College folks from church getting together for tea sounds like a really awesome idea, I have been trying to get a Teatime & Bible Study going around here but everyone is always too busy to come over.

mrmopar

hey bonnie let me know how it is iced!

Bonnie

I drank some cold and a little sweetened and it was almost a light honey fruit, smooth and delicious. I love puerh at about the 4th steep stage cold when they’re this type of Shu.

mrmopar

i think this is going on my to do list!

Bonnie

Love your car!!! My first car was a 56 Mercury Monterey (White and Turquoise with white roll and tuck interior…so cool!)
Here’s the closest to it…and the Beach Boys, http://youtu.be/DaoMRQsQ-tw ode to my youth!

Bonnie

Tommy, take it to the college or something. The group my granddaughter is in meets at the University down the street from me so I happen to be close by. Bikes and bus right outside. If it’s stop in and go, cool. I’m sharing hospitality and tea.

mrmopar

bonnie it is a 73 dodge challenger the result of 8 years work so far thank you for liking it!

Bonnie

I had a VW bug painted that blue. Really pretty. I called it cadillac blue, don’t know why. I think the bug was a 65. I had a rootbeer El Camino from the 60’s and a Ford Fairlane. Wish I had them now…I’d be rich!

ashmanra

Tommy and Bonnie: if I were close by I would MAKE time to come have tea with you! And invite you to tea at my house, too! :)

Bonnie

Good deal Ashmanra. I have some puerh to review from mrmopar and you could help me!

hannabling

I liked all your pictures Bonnie – where you live it looks very peaceful.

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100

Tried blending this with a TINY bit of pineapple kona pop… Honestly, it’s pretty good. It adds a bit of a sweet note along with the earthiness.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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75

a great tea for the price i bought this one to age a bit but temptation got me . smooth woodsy and great color in the cup. i think this will be great with more age.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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83

I do not own that many bricks, but this is a favorite cooked puer brick of mine. I think I still like the 7572 puer cake better, but this is a still super lovely!! I always have one in my cupboard

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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99

One of my favorites wish they made it into a cake larger than 150 grams. dark mysterious woody and subdued floral hints. I resteep about three times. I liked this so much I purchased a 750 gram tin of five and it is a go to when I want a smooth tea at the end of the day. 100 percent top pu-er! You must be a pu-er drinker not for the faint of heart! Re-steep adding about 15 seconds to your prior time I get about 4 out of it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

Oh shut up! Bragger! You had better not go anywhere carrying this on you is all I can say…you won’t be safe!!!

Bonnie

I went to Church today…I forgot Thou Shalt Not Covet…well…drats!

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77

very smooth with a hint of natural sweetness. earthy and dark good for multiple steeps.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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bought this tea to age will update in about a year to see how it compares with the other v93s i have.

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purchased as a fairly new production tea. i think a few years aging will mellow this tea out some. i think it has too much of a licorice taste for me as of yet,but i am sure with aging that will go away to the smooth menghai taste that i am used to. btw the 2010 star of menghai entirely different.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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98

a very tight packed cake 100 grams this was one of my first pu-er teas that I bought and it hooked me. very smooth just be sure to wash this tea and let it open up for 20 to 30 seconds toss the first brew or wash. steep about 30 seconds on the first time and increase your steep after that.good for about 4 infusions you may get more but i prefer a strong cuppa tea.only downside is this can only be bought in a 100 gram cake(I have bought 5 so far)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

I know what you mean! I love my Pu’er but I keep giving the little I have away to people who’ve never tasted it before. I want everyone else to love it too!

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100

I’ve ignored this tea for a while so I thought I’d give it some attention. Of course this Pu-erh has a wonderful earthy aroma and a dark copper liquor(I brewed double the amount..). It has a lovely taste, kind of earthy and sweet with a very, very subtle floral-ish under notes. Overall I have enjoyed this tea (especially with breakfast :D)!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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88

7572 is a classic…kind of like going to a restaurant you know really well and getting your favorite dish! It is always the same and reliable – I drink this tea often, it’s good as an “everyday” kind of thing. Like eggs and toast for breakfast

I am actually drinking a 2009 now, not 2010, but i didn’t see where to list it, and the difference is prolly not so big :)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec
Alexander Ponomarev

agree with every word) The regular everyday cheap puer tea

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89

This is still a little young to drink, but if previous years are the same, this one really will age well too! I LOVE some of the older 7542 I have had, and I think this is one of the most classic teas for big factory teas

It is still harsh now though!!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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84

very good aged pu er but open the wrapper and let air out for a few days. washing this tea is a must a 20 second wash and a 30 second infusion works well. i left this tea in a pot with just enough water to cover overnight and added hot water to it almost 24 hours later and it brewed a very dark brew almost reminding you of a good malty scotch.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more
Bonnie

Yum! Just the way I like it! I’ll be right over!

Bonnie

How much did you soak in water?

mrmopar

i usually eyeball it about two quarters worth or enough to cover the bottom of my brew basket. zip on by i will brew up cups of v93 from all the years i have.

Bonnie

Don’t tempt me! You’re probably in Canada or Italy or somewhere like that …so sad! I got it! Move to Colorado!

mrmopar

i am from virginia originally a north carolina boy

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81

i found this tea to be very mellow and smooth with good body water just under boiling one wash of the leaves for about 20 seconds and a 30 second steep. i got 4 good infusions out of it. i may have gotten more but i favor a dark strong tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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89

Last night I felt like having a Pu-erh, so I chose this one. Thank You Amy Oh for such a nice one. :)) I don’t usually do this, but I did read Amy’s review before typing this.

I used half of the sample in my glass press for this tasting, and I was struck by how sweet the wet leaves smelled! Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a Shu in quite a while, but they seemed sweeter than the usual pu-erh, and also had a light mushroom aroma. Am I the only one who noticed a purplish hued liquid at the bottom of my tea press??

My first cup probably could have been steeped a little longer, but I still got a rather dark cup with that purplish tea color around the cup. It smelled of light mushrooms. The flavor was light mushroom-like, smooth and sweet.

In my next tasting the wet leaves smelled like burnt sugar or brown sugar and sweeter. The cup was darker as was that hue I noted in the first cup. Aromas were deeper mushroom sweetness, & nothing but smooth, full, and delicious. :)) [1 minute at 180F].

I must admit, it was after midnight when I started cupping this Shu. I don’t know if they have more caffeine, but it seemed like it, because I was really wide awake and had trouble sleeping through the night. Caffeine usually doesn’t keep me awake! :// I didn’t want to let the tea sit until morning, so I had one more cup.

My last cup was steeped the longest, & the leaves smelled deeply of mushrooms and the sweetness wasn’t noticeable. The cup was darkest (purplish ring), and…….what can I say? Mushrooms anyone??! This was also the prominent flavor, while remaining so smooth and sweet on my palate! [5 minutes at 212F].

In my limited Shu experience, this Menghai Pu-erh was the best overall. The sweetness in aroma and flavor was great! I love the smoothness in every cup. I agree with Amy that there was no funky aromas or tastes, and that made this tea special IMHO. I wasn’t finding the chocolate aspects though Amy.

Look for an add-on to this review as I steep the rest of the sample soon. Note to self: No more late night Pu-erh tastings, unless I want to stay up all night! Thanks again Amy for a great Shu experience. :))

Cupped & Reviewed: Thursday, July 5, 2012.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 45 sec
Bonnie

Those flavors sound so good! Go ahead, fall asleep and you’ll find the pu’erh burglar has nabbed it from under your nose!

TeaBrat

I’m glad you liked this one! I agree the Menghai factory has some great pu-erhs. I think they are one of the largest factories and they have a great reputation.

ScottTeaMan

Lots of the tea bushes are protected by the Chinese Gov’t, and I think that protects and maintains quality.

mrmopar just ordered one of these. thanks for the review.
ScottTeaMan

I try to be as honest as I can in my reviews, while trying tomake them interesting. Thanks Mrmopar. :))

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20

Some tea drinkers like young sheng; but for me, this Menghai was unsatisfying on several levels. Sampled at 200˚F, the liquor was somewhat bitter – the kind of thing that happens when a green tea is scorched. Sampled at 145˚F, the bitter notes vanished, but that taste like an understeeped green oolong; the liquor was a light green, and wan in flavor.

Part of the problem is that puerh consumed this early is going to be substandard, since it hasn’t even begun to age. And then there’s the controversy over young sheng; some tea drinkers like the experience, but drinking this is not dissimilar to brewing an inexpensive Tie-Guan-Yin at 212˚F; you’ll get the same harsh, overcooked flavor, and that’s going to be the case with most young sheng.

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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first time I tried this tea was in a TaeTea shop in Beijing. I sat down with the shop keeper and had maybe 8 brews or so. Very easy and warming on the body and adds a sense of contentment. This is my mid day tea. I steep for around 20 seconds to start- similarly to how the shop keeper prepared it. The tea is almost syrupy even at such a short steep. It coats the mouth and there is a mild numbing the way Sichuan peppercorn’s numb, but gentler.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Alexander Ponomarev

hm…i make it around 1 min :)

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86

I let this steep for 5 minutes in the Yixing and I knew what to expect. A strong, dark very flavorful brew. No rinse. This went straight to my head. I could feel this tea immediately. I noticed a vast improvement since my last tasting. I have several young Shu such as this that I will sip from time to time to see how they are aging. This one is getting there. Another raising of the score….

JC

How do you store your Shu? I have a few that I want to store but I’ve been given mixed advice on proper Shu storage. Thanks in advance.

Charles Thomas Draper

I have a cabinet in my dining room where I store all of my tea. It’s dark. Cool and airy. No odors. Most are kept in the cardboard box that they were delivered in.

JC

Ok, great! that’s the kind of setting I was going for. Thanks! now I have to chen how to keep shengs.

Doug F

I tend to brew my ripe pu erhs for around five minutes in most cases. Ilike them strong and musty!

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93

It’s the after lunch pu-erh. :) If you like shus you should check these out someday. I love the flavor but the brick is a mess when you try to pry it apart. A small sacrifice, I say! See previous notes if interested.

KittyLovesTea

The bricks certainly do make a mess when you break them. I have to make sure I have some cling film wrap around to catch the crumbs :) Pu-erh is very lovely to drink, such a beautiful fragrant taste.

TeaBrat

Cling wrap! What a great idea, I need to try that with this brick…

ScottTeaMan

What do you use to break it apart?? an ice pick??

TeaBrat

I’ve been using a cheese knife, that works fairly well

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93

I’ve always wanted to own one of these 7562 bricks although I can’t quite tell you why. I’ve heard so many things about them and people owning ones that age very well over time. I’ve never had a brick that is so tightly packed before and, having no idea how to break it apart I immediately began attacking it with a kitchen knife, making a big mess. There must be a better way – a chisel?

My cup is elegant with no strange odors in my opinion. The tea is very smooth and dark with a creamy, malty and chocolate-y element. I am enjoying it. I’m a newbie to Menghai pu-erhs but am already a fan of this one. Definitely a good purchase for the price, I got mine from Puershop.com for $11.95 and that will make a lot of tea!

Doug F

I’ve had good luck with the puerhshop and Menghai teas as well.

TeaBrat

@Triumph – Menghai seems to have a good reputation. Have you ever had to chisel tea out of a brick?

Charles Thomas Draper

They sell special knives and picks….

TeaBrat

Apparently I need one!

Doug F

Luckily I have one of those special picks (I’ve broken a couple) because I’ve had a few ripe cakes that had become pretty impenetrable.

ashmanra

I know purepuer.com sells puer picks and knives. Want!

TeaBrat

maybe I’ll find one at the SF international tea festival I’m going to tomorrow…

ScottTeaMan

Hey, I remember reading about the festival. How was it?? Lucky dog! :))

TeaBrat

not that great in my opinion, but worth checking out

ScottTeaMan

hhMMM…WHY NOT SO GREAT?

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92

My morning-afternoon tea: It is quite eye-opening and trust me I need it on this dismal day. One thing that has been elusive to me is trying to describe the flavor of Sheng. So, I researched what others are saying: buttery, walnut, orange citrus sparkle, woodsy juniper, cedarwood, apricot, texture of lime and melon, sweet alfalfa, cedarwood sauna, cinnamon, white peppercorn, redwood, eucalyptus, hazelnuts, ginger, cardamon, licorice, clover honey, granny smith apples, tart hibiscus, pine needles, raisins, pipe tobacco, cloves, honeysuckle, hot cabin wood in the sun, biting, harmonious, moss and campfire.

What I am getting more than anything would be the wood flavors. The cedar sauna definitely. A dryness. Hot cabinwood in the sun. Definitely. Dry desert sunshine. Juniper. I can see it. I am definitely getting a dryness as opposed to a juiciness. Any input is always appreciated….
TeaBrat

I was looking at more pu-erhs yesterday. I really need to win the lottery!

Charles Thomas Draper

You and I both….

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32

Erm…I need to put “trying a young sheng at 8:30 at night” on my list of tea-related things I should never ever do again. This is the second sheng I have tried, and while it is better than my first experience (which was awful) it still isn’t great. Granted, I know that a big part of the problem is trying teas too young. So I will still be searching for a sensible sheng.

This was kind of smoky, a little bitter, and just kind of harsh. It is from batch 901, but as a puerh newbie I’m not sure how much variation there is between batches. It made me feel jittery (and not in a caffeinated way).

Note: The review ends here. What follows is a late backlogging/recount of my first sheng puerh experience because now I am all twitchy from drinking this tea and have nothing better to do.

So…I got a small sample of a 2011 sheng – I can’t for the life of me remember what it was, only that it was free. So I figured it couldn’t hurt anything to try… (famous last words). From the first sniff – the tea seemed, well, mean. I’m not one to attribute emotions to tea, but this tea was somewhere between cranky and mean. (warning sign #1)

And it was strong, too…oh, it was strong. Smoky, astringent, and just overall unpleasant, like having a conversation with a snotty coworker (warning sign #2). I think I kept up for 7 infusions, just for the “experience”.

And then it hit me…it was one of the worst things I have ever felt – kind of like a panic episode..but stranger. It felt like all of my molecules were vibrating to the point where twitchy was putting it mildly (result of not listening to warning signs 1 and 2). My head felt funny, I felt anxious, my stomach hurt, and so on… I’m not really sure how else to describe it.

I have heard people discuss the “qi” of tea, and kind of wondered how you would even detect that sort of thing – but I think I get it now. This tea had a nasty qi. And I learned my lesson (or so I thought) about trying sheng too young. Here’s hoping the one I’ve got in my order from Verdant Tea turns out better!

StaLLZee

I LOL’d @ the "Never drink young sheng at night part, SO TRUE!

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86

This is my morning-afternoon brew. I steeped this according to the directions which is 3-5 minutes. Normally my method of steeping all Pu-erhs is much shorter. I knew it would yield a very strong cup but I did it anyway. I could smell what I was in for as I poured it. Very strong earth with a touch of that fishy taste with a slight numbing that went away as the tea cooled. Cup #2, just as in my first review of this tea, has vastly improved. I think this is one of those Shus that needs the initial rinse. Other than that it is evolving into a very nice tea overall. A slight raising of the score….

TeaBrat

I almost always rinse mine initally, do you sometimes not?

Charles Thomas Draper

I never rinse. I may rethink that….

TeaBrat

The guy who works at the Aroma tea shop showed me how to make tea in a gaiwan, he rinses all of his teas. I have started doing it more recently.

Charles Thomas Draper

One of our friends here said it was a waste of good tea. After todays tea I’m wondering….

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