Menghai Tea Factory
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Recent Tasting Notes
So I’m trying pu-erh. I am not an experienced pu erh-drinker, but of the many pu erh varieties I have tried, this one stands out – smooth and mellow. It’s got that earthy pu-erh-ness to it, but not overwhelmingly so, as with the other ripe pu-erhs I’ve tried. It’s caffeinated, but somehow still manages to be calming.
This is a very good every day drink. I am glad I ordered the whole cake, and not just a sample.
I also think this is a good starting point for someone wanting to taste ripe pu-erh
I am not a big fan of Shu, but oddly sometimes this tea serves me so well, such as on a cold winter night!
This tea has nice bright dark red tea liquor. The taste is smooth with a soupy texture, feels very clean, no offensive over-fermentation taste at all. It’s after taste is not only sweet, but also somewhat more complicated (in a nice way) than most shu I’ve tried. No wonder it’s seen by a lot of people as a classic product of shu.
If I have to critique on it, I would say its taste is on the weaker side. But very possibly many flavors of shu that’s favored by a lot of other people just escape my radar. The tea is very soothing, with great mouth feel and excellent warming effect. It really made every skin pore of mine feel comfortable!
A friend of mine commented that he feels this tea doesn’t taste much different from its 2008 version, which seems to me may not be a bad thing at all.
Picked this one up from JAS eTea to have a relatively easy drinking shu pu’er at work and am very satisfied. It breaks easily into a nice array of small leaves, with a pleasant, slightly cocoa-infused dry leaf aroma.
Overall, it has a pleasant, soft grain flavor and texture. Cream of rice or cream of wheat, perhaps. A bit of honey, a bit of chocolate, and nice classic shu pu’erh flavor. Those fearing strong “wo dui” will be glad to know this has little to none. It is a bit simple, but not boring. There are hearty flavors there and for me, it delivers what I need from a shu pu’er. It’s certainly a great value for the money and quality.
I am recently in a puerh sheng mood, which doesn’t happen often. So I would grab the chance and taste a few more sheng products :D
This tea is supposed to be one of the routine, decent products of Da Yi. It’s from 2007, which was not a great year for puerh, but not the worst year either. The tea is pretty good, that’s if you are like me and don’t mind bitterness to a small degree. I think this tea is reasonably bitter, and by reasonably, I mean the bitterness is not long-lasting. It hits the inner part of the tongue and disappears fairly quickly. The aftertaste is very nice. It’s the aftertaste that make you feel the mouth is very cool and clean. There is a little bit of astringency and a hint of smokiness.
The leaves are not very chopped, but not the whole leaves either.
I made about 8-9 infusions of it, and pushed the brewing pretty much to an end. It’s not a very strong sheng among the teas I’ve tried recently.
I’ve sadly found I’ve got a little bit of allergy recently. A friend of mine used to say, if you live in Northeast and don’t have a season allergy yet, don’t think that you are spared and it may start any year! Now I think I’ve got it :-S but just a little bit. Probably that’s why I crave for sheng puerh recently. It did help a lot. Probably just drinking that much of water would help anyway, but only with tea, I can patiently drink so much water!
I found this version above average, when compared to the other four in the series. Again, very tight, thick compression of small leaves from the core of the cake came in my sample. When dry, an aroma of white raisins and warm earth. The first steeps produced a bright, clear middle golden soup, fresh with complex sweetness, some hickory chips, a pale maltiness, and fresh almond milk. It definitely had a bit of a creamy or milky character that made it silky and complex. Nice, but faint, bittersweetness in the back of the throat rounded the flavor. An enjoyable sample, for sure.
This is a lovely puerh. The dry tuo smells woods and earth, without being musty. There are some broken leaves and stems, probably inevitable as such a tuo is broken up, but lots of large leaf pieces and some intact leaves visible after brewing. The leaf still smells spicy-sweet and promises more infusions to come.
Infused at 1 gram per ounce in a small yixing pot with boiling water, the first infusions need to be short as it still has some bitterness left that is apparent with careless or overlong infusions. Infused cautiously, 15 seconds at a time, it reveals sweet, smoky, earthy, spicy flavors. The smoky flavors fade fairly quickly, but the spicy sweet remains grounded and earthy for many infusions. I’m at least at 10-12 infusions now, limited more by bladder capacity than by the leaves giving out, and have lengthened the infusions to as long as a minute.
I’m nearing the end of the final steeps of a multi-day session with this tea and I must say I’m impressed. While the Bada forgettable, the Bulang smokey but cooked, and the Menghai static, this cake came across as rich and deep. A clean bright yellow soup gave a sumptuous texture of fine linen, soft peach fuzz, and cooked apple flesh. Bright grassiness danced between unripe strawberries and peach pits. Light, airy, and full of clean fruits and dry pithy grass. This tea seemed very alive, complex, and mature. It would seem a quite apt candidate for aging, I believe. Fine work.
The only hard thing with this tea is breaking up the very highly compressed brick to get chunks to brew. It needs a steady hand and a strong sturdy blade to slip in between the layers and work off pieces of tea.
After that, it’s all smooth. Boiling water flash rinse, then on to infusions, 30 seconds at a time, using a gram or more of leaf per ounce of water, gaiwan or yixing, as you prefer. This is not a tea with any edges that need rounding by the yixing. It is warm, sweet, with toasty caramel notes over a base of gentle earthiness, a perfect puerh for introducing someone nervous about this type of tea, or for those moments when you want something calming and soothing too.
I got mine from Yunnan Sourcing.
A great buy for someone who’s only had bad, fishy shu pu’er, Dayi’s Yunxiang cake redeems the name of shu. And for any doubters, this tea’s traits define why I love Menghai Factory shu pu above all others and worth its price. When I’m in the market again for cooked tea, this cake is on my list.
Notes: Malt, clean, walnuts, soil, dried bamboo, grains, black pepper, sweet, winter squash, rocky.
Other features: stronger on sides of tongue, one infusion left a tingly feeling on my tongue, no acidity or awkward flavors even when infusions cool down.
My sample was from the core of the bing, so it was compressed tighter than steel and composed, seemingly, of dust. This was not an appealing cake from the get go. The first few steeps were scattered and blurry, with plenty of green bitterness, some light melon, and a dapple of honey. It produced one of the paler soups I’ve seen in sheng and had light aromatics. Smoothing over towards the middle of the session, the confusion ebbed to blandness, with a plain white sugar and cream of wheat character dominating. Unexciting.
A completely different beast than Bada, the Peacock of Bulang is a very thick and robust creature. Immediately, smoke comes through. A hint of the pine-scented Lapsang shows up in the first steep, and unlike the often coarse cigarette-like smokiness of the Xiaguan teas, this is cleaner, richer, and more enjoyable. As someone who appreciates the hearty Bambergian rauchbiers, I find the rustic hill quality of this tea enjoyable. As the leaf opens up, it yields a really dark orange soup, a bit murky. Normally, an associated strong oxidized hongchaesque tannic bitterness would dominate, but it’s subtle and not unbearable. Otherwise the tea is clean, complex, hearty, and satisfying. The chaqi is smooth, settling, and warm.
A perplexing sheng, for sure. The cake had intense, iron-fisted compression that made flaking new leaves difficult. The opening aroma was a stellar display of fresh strawberries. Unfortunately, this character quickly faded. The first three steeps were thin, dry soups of green-tea-like grassiness, a faint hint of bile, and some raw grains. Around the fourth steep, the soup thickened up and gave a very generic sweetness, losing raw edges, but not gaining much depth. I’m not in much hurry to return to this one.
wow! my first raw (sheng) pu-erh and its simply amazing. amazng pear and tropical fruits on the nose, very smooth and thick in the mouth, no bitterness at all. 5 infusions and still going strong! i’m not an expert on sheng but this is really tasty for a 2006 vintage tea