Menghai Tea Factory

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Recent Tasting Notes

79

This is a sample Bonnie sent me a while ago from Mandala Tea. I already had notes written down but decided to try what I had left in the sample.

Dry – Faint earthy notes and some sweetness.
Wet – Thick, earthy and sweet with some faint forest floor scent.
Liquor – Bronze to Brown (depending on steep time).

3 second rinse, followed by 5 second rest

1st 15secs – Sweet, thick and bread-like? texture, mellow earthy notes up front. As it goes down, it is slightly thicker and the bread like texture is more apparent but feels one dimensional.

2nd 10secs – Sweet, thick with more bread like texture and mellow earthiness up front. As it goes down, it is thicker while maintaining its bread-like texture, but wears more sweetness that lingers in the finish with some freshness.

3rd 10secs – Sweet, thick and bread-like texture with mellow earth notes up front. As it goes down, if feels thicker and wears more complexity in the body that linger with faint woody-spice notes. Refreshing and sweet finish.

4th 15secs – Sweet, thick, mellow earthy notes with bread-like texture on the tongue. As it goes down, it feels thicker with a more pleasant base of woody spices that hint a very faint fruity?floral? sweetness, the bread-like texture still coats the tongue. The finish is sweeter and refreshing that lingers.

5th 20secs – Sweet, less thick than previously but still has mellow earthy notes and the bread-like texture. As it goes down, it wears a more complex woody note that faintly resembles spices in taste, but does give a spice like sensation in the tongue. Sweet and refreshing finish.

6th 35 – Sweet, somewhat thin, still mellow with faint earthy notes and bread-like texture up front. As it goes down, it is barely noticeably thicker, but wears more apparent spice like taste and sensation on the tongue that lingers through the finish, which is sweet and refreshing.

Final Notes
Not my favorite, It is a nice Puerh for those who enjoy spice notes in your ripe, but only if you don’t mind the first 2-3 steeps being sort of dull (still very nice sweetness). The following steeps wear more complex notes that are enjoyable and a nice plus, but I feel like the tea collapses in the 6-7 steep so you have to jump full minutes of steep time.

I’ll give a 79/100 because it has nice complex notes in later steeps, it would be higher if I didn’t feel like it was missing some Menghai ‘creamy’ thickness.

Preparation
Boiling

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I’ve spent most of this week enjoying the last of the sample I was sent. It has been a real pleasure to drink this tea, even though my life seems to be too busy and my mind racing too much to sit down and think hard about what I am drinking. The mellow character of the tea has forced a certain amount of calm. Nice.

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I was kindly sent a sample of this tea by a fellow nameless Steepsterite and finally have a chance to try it, having had a throat infection for a week and a half. Tea tasting has not really been on the menu for a while, because I have had my head down finishing my thesis, so it is a real pleasure to come back to it with a solid shu.

The dry leaf smells like Shu with no fishiness or other unpleasant aromas. It’s quite a woody aroma like cedar or something similar. The liquor is medium bodied and dark. The same aroma of cedar is continued in the aroma of the liquor, and also into the taste. It is woody and earthy with a citrus finish that lasts on the tongue and an undertone of cinnamon. All in all a pleasant tea that would be welcome at most times.

Flavors: Cedar, Cinnamon, Earth, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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73

This has a lot of full leaf in it. Not like the “chopped” leaf of some of Dayi’s arbor cakes. compression is about half of usual dayi compression. It has a pleasant bitterness that subsides on later brews. It still has a little punch to it with some light grassy notes. I will be interested to see how this is 5 years from now.

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

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95

This was the first shu I bought based upon reviews here, but could not seem to warm up to it at first. To my palate it was all mushrooms, minerals and astringency. Based upon it’s relatively high energy, however, I kept returning to it whenever I needed a boost while working. In doing so I kept playing with the steep parameters until, finally, I hit upon a combination that really made it shine in my book.

I believe I was initially steeping too long for the amount of leaf I used, running in the 15-30 second range. Turns out it’s really good with shorter steeps. The combination I eventually settled upon is 7.8 grams in a 130 ml pot, one 20 second rinse, a 2 minute pause, then I gently break up most of the now-pliant clumps with a toucha pick. A steep pattern of 10/8/8/8/10/15/30/60 seconds brings out wonderful cedar flavor with undertones of sweetness, citrus and spice. I get hints of mushrooms and/or minerals in some steeps but they no longer dominate the flavor profile, and the astringency is gone.

To me this is a rich, robust, full-bodied shu and has moved back into my rotation as a favorite.

Preparation
Boiling
mrmopar

Yeah these rascals are pressed pretty tight. Sometimes I hit them with the rinse and let them set (after draining) in the Gaiwan or Yixing till the next day to open up. Lao cha nuggets are even harder than these are.

TeaExplorer

This one comes apart pretty easily when allowed to sit a couple of minutes after the rinse. Will try the overnight-sit-after-rinse with the lao cha nuggets.

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73

I cut my teeth on this tuo and well what I can say is that it is the most diplomatic of pu’ers one could ever taste. This is to say that if diplomats are concerned about not offending anybody, then V93 2010 is the diplomat of pu’ers.

I like to cook with this in addition to drinking it mixed with other spices like ginger, dried long-gan, or rosebuds or even piloncillo. I don’t normally take my tea with sugar, mind you. I’ve also noticed that this is a very refreshing tea when drunk cold.

No errant flavors, but the depth of flavor itself seems to wane fairly quickly. I’d say this is a perfect tea for the person who likes to steep their tea for minutes and forget about it. A fine tea, but I cannot think of a time where I actually craved some V93.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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87

Spent the afternoon enjoying my first session with a 2010 Menghai Golden Age. One quick rinse then 7 grams with 4 ounces of boiling water for 5sec, another for 5sec, then 10sec – 3 steeps mixed into one cup for drinking. This sheng is quite smooth and sweetly vegetal with a nice swallow as it warms the throat. Leaves a nice aftertaste. Very good right now and it should be fantastic with a little more age!

Preparation
Boiling

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75

I decided to try this tea after reading some reviews here (see, you guys have a lot of power over other people’s lives, and you don’t even know it! :P), and bought 2 cakes from YS.

Sorry for being over realistic, but this tastes like… Shu pu-erh (ha! surprise, surprise!). But this one doesn’t make you sad like many other Shu do. It’s actually drinkable :) no off-taste, nothing fishy or weird going on, just a decent Shu taste and aroma. It’s sweetish, but there are definitely no chocolate notes.

On a more positive side, the thickness and mouthfeel of this tea are great, and I swear by the all-mighty cosmic Potato that this has some Cha-Qi… funny that no one mentioned that in the reviews here, I had more than one strange experience with this. Who needs illegal stuff when you have Puerh? :)

If you want something like this that won’t force you to break the piggy bank, I suggest the 2008 Tulin/Phoenix 100g brick. Inexpensive and kinda similar to this one.

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81

Nice thick brew with a smoky camphor taste. It starting to mature slightly, as it’s color has darkened to a light amber – leaving behind the young sheng punch. Definitely a decent tea!

Preparation
Iced 0 min, 15 sec

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82

review based on 2 sessions, approx 5g each.

fairly straightforward clean shu , on the light side.
decent tea but not on my reorder list because flavor/aroma is mild.
perhaps its meant to age for many more years.

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82

I finally figured out what this tastes like. I had my boyfriend take a sip and he said it reminded him of BBQ…. It tastes like lapsang! A mild earthy with a huge hint of smoke.

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82

Woof! This one took forever to find on Steepster. I love the Southeast Market becuase I can find a ton of different teas :D This is raw pu-erh. Which I feel like I don’t really have experience with. The flavor is stronger than I thought it was going to be. The flavor is bright with sweet notes and an ever so slight bitterness to it. I don’t really know how to explain it past there… I like it but I think I like my chrysanthemum puerh more :]

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94

last night i took my newly seasoned Yixing and made it. it was nice but i think my Yixing is absorbing too much flavor. it was bold smooth and flat… On one hand, it left me disappointed, on the other – if i won’t make any tea in this Yixing it will never be useful.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML
TeaBrat

When I was first using mine, I would leave teas in there overnight. I think that helped the process along…

boychik

I dont know, its too hot now. i’m afraid it will get mold. i took leaves out for the night, but now im back to brewing. i dont have to drink it, i just want to speed up the seasoning. i do leave overnight in gaiwan or glass gongfu pot because im lazy;)

TheTeaFairy

I do the same as Teabrat, I seasoned one for 2 years like that, every time I had tea, I left tea overnight, never saw mold. It’s a great way to speed up the process I think. (Then I broke it a few months ago. Sad. )

boychik

Did you leave leaves or brew? i might leave brew overnight. Broke?! it is sad, how did it happen?

TheTeaFairy

Both the brew and the leaves. I’d empty it first thing in the morning. I usually have pu’erh at night so it sat there a max. of 8 hours really.
Lol, my own clumsiness! I broke three within 2 months! That’s why I have three brand new Yixing pots sitting there looking pretty…unseasoned! Figured they are safer this way:-)

TeaBrat

I left in the brew and the leaves as well. Definitely helpful if you don’t want your tea to end up tasting like clay.

mrmopar

Just leave the tea in there tipped up in a cup to drain and you should be fine. I brew for a couple of days like this sometimes.

boychik

Thanks will follow your advice;)

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94

I’m a newbie in Puerh. never thought I would venture in this area. i was always afraid to try but once i tried i became hooked. read lots of reviews and always follow thread pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
Anyway this particular tea sounded so intriguing so I decided to order from Dragon Tea House site(in my opinion it was the cheapest). I like it so much that i even placed an order for the second. and already got the second. it takes around 10 days incl weekend to get from China and I find it remarkable. Maybe because Im in New York.
Its very smooth without any offensive smell, kind of earthy, sweet and on my 3th or 4th steeps i noticed some citrus notes and even dried cherry. maybe its my wild imagination;)

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
JustJames

nope, not your imagination…. the longer it ages the more crazy tastes can infiltrate a puerh. they’re so good for you too!

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79

Had this one a while. The first time I tried it I was like oh no! I have put this in the pumidor for about 3 months and it has opened up nicely. I think the long ship time may have had something to do with the first tasting. I broke off 12 grams put in the yixing and gave a 10 second “wash”. I then actually forgot and let the leaves sit in the pot overnight. It brews up dark like most shou and has that bit of “musty” aroma to it. this stuff gives an almost touch of a cherry chocolate cordial we probably grew up with and dislike now. Only for a second though. It then turns to a kind of lightly sweetened bittersweet chocolate. It has the usual drying of an older shou also. Not a bad one and not the best but drinkable to a shou pu head like me.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
CelebriTEA

Love the name of this tea :-)

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81

A very nice toucha. Just a hint of astringency that turns into a slight sweetness. A touch of citrus with the sweet. Enjoyable sheng for today.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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88

I’ve been working on this one all day – most enjoyable with good flavor in every cup. Boiling water; (2) 5 second rinses; 30s steep; another 10 seconds added for each steep after the first. Earthy then buttery then creamy. I’m going to order another cake so that I can keep this around for a long time.

mrmopar

Oh yes this is a good one!

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93

This is my first tea picked by my homemade randomizer. It was one of the ones I was hoping to squirrel but the randomizer picked it and I am a slave to the system. I also didn’t take detailed notes about each steep because I am lazy.

I absolutely loved this tea based completely on the superficial. It’s adorable. It’s so tiny and pretty and the box is purple. The look of it made me happy. Brewed, it’s just magnificent. So sweet and creamy. There are times when I sip this tea and it’s just notes of caramelized dates with that smooth creaminess and it was just perfect. Pure perfection. This is one of the smoothest ripe pu’ers I have ever tried.

I don’t think this will be an everyday tea. Not because I don’t love it to bits and pieces but I want it to last. I am tempted in a big way to buy another one of these and a Red Rhyme.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

I need to pull this one out, it’s been awhile since I drank it!

mrmopar

This is a good one! Had this myself a while back.

MsWhatsit

I’m a sucker for pretty tea boxes. Glad to hear the tea in it is good too.

mrmopar

Yep the tea is superb in this pretty little box. The have one called “Red Rhyme” that is superb also!

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82

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.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
ashmanra

Looks like we are all drinking puerh tonight!

JC

That sounds nice! I’m drinking a Lancang Ripe. I love ripes that have fruity undertones, especially when they are ‘playful’ rather than in your face taste.

Bonnie

Me too, made me a puerh blend with cinnamon chips and cocoa hulls and a pinch of laoshan black with cream and splenda. Puerh lovers night tonight!

mrmopar

Agreed indeed! Puerh night tonight.

Bonnie

You are the best John! We’d be lost without you!

Terri HarpLady

I was seasoning my 2 yixings yesterday evening, one for sheng & one for shu. I’ll post about them later :)

JC

I bet ripes are going to be my usual thing from now on. I love them, especially when it is starting to get cold out.

Jason

I need to explore puerhs more. This might be a good place to start…

Bonnie

Mrmopar needs his own blog with a catchy downhome country title, something unique and not stuffy, approachable and well-informed just like he is! Down with snobs, up with community!

Sil

YES!

JC

You should do a blog! Especially with your experience with Puerh. Honestly, Since you’ve stored and aged yourself your experience can benefit others!

Terri HarpLady

That would be awesome!

Bonnie

Get sponsors and advertising so you can do it full time or go on the Food Network now Paula Deen is gone…that’s a joke to scare you mrmopar! The blog is a great idea though!

mrmopar

I don’t know if I would have the time for a blog. I seem to blog this site a lot though. I am still learning and hope to keep learning. I need to find a page or source to be able to translate the Chinese symbols and numbers to what I can comprehend.

Bonnie

Send a note to Lily Duckler asking her if she knows of a resource. Tell her it was my idea to ask her. Use the Contact feature on Verdants website.

mrmopar

Thanks Bonnie!I will ,I have been trying to find a resource about this. There are so many characters that I need to learn. I am pretty good on Dayi , Haiwan and Xiaguan but the Cnnp and Kunming still confuse me. I am learning about the Boyou factory also. I need to learn learn.

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81

I am digging this one. I’ve been drinking steeps of this over the morning in an effort to hold to my goal of getting through the samples that terri sent me of a variety of puerhs! Initial impressions, so that i don’t lose that is that this is a very creamy puerh. I’m going to toss the leaves to cold brew once i’m done with them just to see how that works but overall impressions of this so far is that this is just delicious!

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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 :)

Terri HarpLady

Did I send you some of the Verdant Xingyang golden leaf? THAT’s a tea to really take your time with!

Sil

my cupboard says “nope” haha

Sil

You asked if you’d sent me any….only way I have any idea is by checking my cupboard… It said nope you didn’t :)

Terri HarpLady

Damn, I thought I sent you that one!

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