Menghai Tea Factory
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Recent Tasting Notes
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
Thank you Bonnie for this fantastic puerh sample!
Dry smell: The dry smell is very woody and, surprise surprise, dry. It doesn’t have a deep wet earth smell but a dry smell resembling bark and cork board. I would describe it as a cooling smell but still very deep. It also has a hint of leafy sweetness, like fall.
Wet smell: It still possesses the leafy sweetness and cooling scents. Nearly all of the cork smell and dryness, however, is gone. There is a fairly large difference between the smell of the dry leaf and wet leaf. It is a nice and light smell.
Taste: The taste is very interesting. It is fairly light but very very sweet compared to other puerhs I’ve tried. The most surprising thing happened on my first sip. The very first flavor that jumped out at me when I tasted this tea is, wait for it, MARSHMALLOW. I don’t know what it is or how else to describe it but every sip I can clearly taste marshmallows. This mixed with the typical puerh flavor makes me think of a night on the beach enjoying smores with my family. I can’t wait for christmas so I can buy some more of this tea!!! :)
Amount: 10g in 120ml Yixing teapot. 90C water temp.
First infusion: Flash (length to pour)
woody smokey lightly astringant orange peel and BBQ sauce??
Second infusion: flash
Slightly more astringent a little more woody. and more citrus peel, dry chalky finish
Third infusion: 10s
the BBQ sauce is back. astringency has ramp’d up a bit also citrus is dominated by the astringency
4th infusion: 15s
citrus now is the main flavor just behind the astringency still dry.
5th infusion: 20s
6th infusion: 30s
sweetness is coming through now.
7th infusion 1m
Mushrooms and sweetness.
8th infusion 1:30
Sweet but still dry odd smoke blast in the extended finish.
9th infusion 2m
Sweet and lightly smokey dry finish.
10th infusion 3m upping water temp to 100c
Sweet and minierals. still dry
11th infuson: 5m
12th infusion. 6m
Still floral but starting to thin out may get one or two more infusions out of it.
13th Infusion: 8m
Florals are starting to diminish right on track for dieng out.
14th infusion 10M
Sweetness dominates. got one more in it before its dead.
15th infusion 15m
Light floral sweet. Orange on the extended finish.
A bruiser of a tea if brewed carelessly and has quite a caffeine kick once you get a few infusions in. Best not to be drank on a empty stomach or you may fall over if you hit it to heavy. But also has a rather unique flavor profile. This could be partially to my storage methods so YMMV.
Leaves are fairly large and mostly in tact you can notice in the dry leaf that this tea includes a smattering of downy buds when broken apart these buds are still present so its a good quality cake. Definitely a good buy for ageing or to drink as a young shengpu
this is a premium dayi well worth the cost. it is called Wei Zui Yan which i think translates into the dense flavor of the juice. this tea is so rich it almost resembles a fine assam blend. strong and dark without being overpowering. very nice flavor with almost the tartness and sweetness found in a blush wine. heavy mouthfeel on this one. did a 20 sec wash and a 15 steep a very enjoyable tea that carried over to 4 infusions of sweet taste. the first impression of the cake was a small amount of mossiness. the wet leaves unfolded beautifully with the aroma of a wet leather shoe. and the taste was great sitting outside and enjoying the warm sun of indian summer. i will have to repeat this dance with the tea on another warm evening.
Thank you mrmopar for this sample Pu-erh!
My education in Pu-erh has come from the generous people here on Steepster who share with me from their personal supplies of Pu-erh (like mrmopar, Roughage in the U.K. and others) and samples put in with my orders from so many vendors. Thank you all!
It’s funny to look back and remember my first experience with
They were so heavily flavored that I could barely detect the underlying earthiness…but it was there, and I developed a hunger for it.
This is where I began this morning. Thinking about the ignorance of the newcomer to Pu-erh. My ignorance, which I still have.
Recently on a discussion thread, someone took a shot at one of our vendors, then at me (for knowing nothing about Pu-erh).
When I read their linked blog comments they were also critical of ‘all’ of us on Steepster.
I was offended not so much for myself but everyone else.
The potshots at me were correct though. I ‘am’ a learner and I ’don’t’ know very much about tea yet.
My lack of humility suckered me into a dialog that I should have stayed out of. The people who made the comments don’t write reviews on Steepster. They just appeared out of the blue.
I’m learning about Pu-erh because of you wonderfully kind Steepster people.
One thing I swear I never want to be is a TEA SNOB! I’d rather stay right here and review tea than gain the respect of those who despise Steepsterites!
The Pu-erh for this morning:
The aroma of the wet leaves for every pour was mild shoe leather.
On all but the first steep the liquor was dark red-brown and clear.
1. After a 30 second rinse, the liquor was light brown. It was tight, compact bark waiting to open. The flavor was light cedar, a little rough and furry with a slight pepper on the tip of my tongue.
2. The flavor was much smoother but with an almost bitter chicory cedar taste. The other comparison was the thick bitter taste of dark rye bread. There was little saltiness or sweetness but lots of juice.
3. This steep produced a softer, milder cedar flavor and thickness. There was an alfalfa sprout scent and sweetness with the taste of water crackers. The earlier bitter edge was gone but the chicory was still there in a palatable mild form with a rich mouth-feel.
4. Up front there was pepper and juiciness. The flavor was similar to steeping #3 and smooth.
I thought about this Pu-erh, and even though this has been rated as ready to drink…it seems to me that it still hasn’t developed full depth. Maybe this is where it will remain though. If it were a wine I would liken it to a mild Merlot (and Merlot is NOT a dirty word, it just was overproduced in horrid amounts by every closet winemaker on earth!).
So much of what I love about Pu-erh comes from my Winery background and from living in Morgan Hill where we grew mushrooms, and were surrounded by farms and wineries. Living next to Gilroy, Salinas, Watsonville and Monterey with all the fruit, vegetables, mountains and Sea gave me a sense of what I look for in Pu-erh.
I may be wrong some of the time, or maybe all of the time but I’m certainly enjoying myself!
I have found what I really love to drink and I think the love shows.
Thanks mrmopar for this Pu-erh sample
It was late afternoon and one of those cloudy warm days where you know there will soon be drops of rain falling.
I was busy doing bills and received my first phone call on the newly installed phone line from the local emergency callback service, informing me that trucks will be spraying for West Nile on my street tonight. Really? We haven’t had rain in ever so long. West Nile?! (In about 8 weeks those critters will freeze to death!)
My second call was an invite to a political luncheon at the home of a local candidate. For free. (Well, in my case they’re not getting any money anyway because I have none).
Oh I do love life in Smallville!
End of Summer is celebrated with an all dog,all human swim at Central Park Lake. (Pretty neat!)
The railroad tracks that run parallel with the main street carries two LONG trains each day that halt traffic straight through downtown. (I’m talking about trains with over 100 cars on them and all you can do is sit in traffic and wait.)
The good people of Fort Collins decided to make use of those train tracks and redesigned the roadway around them, closing the streets downtown (causing a huge detour) for the past few months so that a Trolly Train will be able to run back and forth the whole length of Fort Collins during NON-COMMERCIAL-TRAIN hours. (this is beginning to look more and more like Disneyland. First,the Main Street was modeled after our town and now we’re getting this little train going back and forth…?!)
My oh my?! I needed a Pu-erh latte today!
(Sorry mrmopar, no disrespecting of the Pu!)
30 second steeping of this Pu-erh is plenty of time for a rich dark broth. I drank a 4oz first steep to test the sweetness and salt(which was perfect for my plan).
The second and third steeps I poured together for a big mug of dark
pu-erh which was earthy with no nasty flavor. This was nice and smooth. Like I said, perfect for my plan!
I added CREAM (not milk) and Sweetening and I became “Happy Bonnie”!
I don’t keep ice cream and cake and all those sorts of dangerous to my figure goodies in my house…ha…and I don’t need to with all the tea I’ve accumulated!
But, when I want the richness that comes close to a candy bar, my favorite Black chocolaty tea’s, a sensuous Chai, or caramel Pu-erh Latte satisfies my dessert craving! This did the trick!
http://youtu.be/KlmU6fXSwfk If you like trains, here it is.
My old friend is conductor on this old trolly that runs from town to Central Park…watch it fly! http://youtu.be/gEl2ZDuZQy8
I don’t have any details about this one, it just says from meng hai tea cooked around 2005. i got this one in a swap tho im not sure who from or when, i do know that ive had it for a while and i’m glad i found it cuz i obviously hid it away(crazy people hide stuff lol). its really good, nice and dark with slight fishy smell which isn’t a bad thing to me, very smooth and tasty tea tho. not bad at all.
Thank you mrmopar for this Sample Pu-erh!
Now that the stress of selling my car is over…sigh…I am reasonably clear headed and able to drink Pu-erh’s and
enjoy them without working so hard to find the inner calm that’s
needed to write. It’s been a good lesson.
I’m retired, the rest of you Steepster’s go to work or have kids or school and busy lives. You make time to fit in your own tea reviews and stories. I appreciate your effort more than you know.
Steep time and 1 wash were 30 seconds for each.
The wet leaf began as a raisin muffin scent and ground walnuts, then a leathery rye bread and finally a bakery scent.
Color for each steeping was red/brown, dark red/brown and very dark golden red/brown liquor with each one absolutely clear.
1. I noticed the energy in the tea before the taste. A powerful feeling from a smooth sweet tea that tasted more like the familiar scent of walking through the redwood forest than the earth underneath. It was that tree bark that I’m familiar with and grew up around. (I have no experience with cedar except small pieces of wood) I noticed a peppery feel in my mouth that was playful, like dappled light bouncing up and around. The finish was silky.
2. Oooh this was a much darker woodsy cedar bark flavor. I could still see the bottom of the Gaiwan through the dark brew, but the taste stopped just shy of becoming a bitter bark. As the tea cooled the mouth-feel was thicker but still bright and a little dry right at the back of the throat.
3. Out of the forest proper and arriving at my daughters cabin/house in a clearing at the corner of Conference and Pine (where the huge redwood tree came crashing down and smashed the car, the camper and all the bikes one Winter), Annalisa would be making bread as always…with bits of seeds or nuts and bread crumbs stuck to the baking stones…still toasting away but not burnt. (I’d be looking for the covered butter dish and Olallieberry Jam!).
The Pu-erh was smelling more like the baking bits on the stone and not like the forest or trees anymore. Third steeping’s often become the best of the best. There was a little flatness to the tea that I thought could use a perking up.
I added 1/4 tsp of raw sugar and the savory quality of the Pu-erh came out in buckets! Wow! I was so pleased! The tea tasted sooo good!
Such a good Pu-erh!
(Listen, purists may scoff…(Bonnie adds sugar to Pu-erh…what a dumb lady!)… but noone scoffs at seasoning food. Salt and sugar are used to draw out hidden flavor so I experiment.)
My little story is not much today. Just a memory of walking in the forest. My family history with a place in the Coast Redwoods goes back to the 1920’s where there was a little community with Summer cabins and a Conference Center, a big cement pool and row boats on a creek. My Aunt Jessie (born in the 1880’s) had an old cabin there where family gathered.
My parents had their honeymoon there, my daughter was married in the Chapel there, her first home was there. I went to camp and we all have our sweet memories.
The best is walking alone through the floor of the forest with towering trees overhead and dappled sunlight barely able to reach the soft spongy red/brown ground below. If you want to know why I love Pu-erh, it might be because of the aroma of the redwood forest. It looks like a forest of chunky and furry Pu-erh! To hide in a tree hollow, or stand in a natural ring of redwoods and look up at the sky is mystical. The trees lift their hands wiggling their green fingers… far beyond what I am able to do in thanksgiving for such beauty.
One of my regular paths led down to Bean Creek and had a small creeklet of water next to it…lined with ferns (looking quite prehistoric) which ended at an old swinging bridge where I could walk across, then down to a sandy beach and see the former creeklet cascading as a grand waterfall into the the larger Bean Creek in front of me.http://youtu.be/nBLkhNoX9Dc (wow found this later on youtube…the waterfall and creek)
My parents and grandparents, my children and grandchildren all have the memory of this place.
Tea is grand for memories. (now that I read that phrase it sounds
too dumb…Tea is not ‘grand for memories’ it kicks my butt! I have memory problems! I’m a visual thinker who’s thinker is broken and tea helps kick it into the remembering mode…so that’s what I mean!)
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.
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 )
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.