Menghai Tea Factory

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Recent Tasting Notes

78

This after some time in the “pumidor” has mellowed out a bit. Honey notes are more pronounced. any hit of harsh astringency is subdued quite a bit. Aging nicely and getting more enjoyable.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
mrmopar

Our friend Serious Pinocchio has joined us from Instagram! Yay!

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78

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.

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

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91

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.

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

“I found this to be one of the most enjoyable shengs that I have had. Definitely in the top three.” So why only a 78 pt. rating?

mrmopar

Whoops forgot that slider.

looseTman

Oh, that looks better!

tea123

Good review.

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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…

Bonnie

This one reminds me of good wine.

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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.

The flavor:
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!)

Thanks Mrmopar!

Indigobloom

this is my fave kind of pu! :P

Bonnie

I know, good everyday…puer!

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100 Grams is really not a very big tea cake, however at 5 G per session, it will make tea 20 times, & of course each session will make many cups of tea to savor. I weighed it, & it actually weighed in at 92G, but my guess is that it was originally 100, & lost weight as it aged.

I started with a rinse, which admittedly, I drank, savoring the gentle essence of semolina & vanilla cake. The wet leaves smell of Kugle. What’s Kugle? It’s a dish made with buttery noodles & custard, which can be made either sweet or savory. I used to make it for my kids when they were young, everyone loved it so. In this case, I’m thinking of the sweet kind, with vanilla.
Here’s my impression of the steepings:
1. 10 sec: It’s so creamy & sweet, & it’s Kugle!
2. 15 sec: Even creamier & sweeter!
3 – 5 at 20, 25, & 30 sec were combined into a pitcher, to enjoy while I was teaching a student, & the flavors continued.
6. 45 sec: the butteriness is replaced by a golden sensation, as if my tongue were covered in a sleeve of pure thin gold. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the only way I can describe it. Still sweet.
7. 1 minute: It feels like I’m drinking cream. The flavor is of a brown crust of WW bread.

I had to leave for awhile, but when I got home, I ran through several more steepings, & could probably continue, but I have somewhere to be, so maybe tomorrow? This is a very nice tea!
7.

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I have mentioned that my youngest daughter has become obsessed with cooking. I feel so spoiled! And she asks to drink puerh with me often now. This has led to a slight problem in supply. I am on my last cake of Mandala Tea ripe puerh. I do have a little loose puerh, and I have two flavored ones, and I have two green or sheng puerh remaining. Still….this is LOW SUPPLY! ALARM! ALARM!

Hubby was in den, so I shouted from the living room that puerh makes a great anniversary gift. He asked me where this great gift would come from, and I told him not to worry, I would order it myself! Am I a low maintenance wife or what? I will even open it before I wrap it and make sure it is good! :D

As to taste: I used about a teaspoon, maybe a bit more, in my tiny eight ounce pot. We had a liter glass kettle of water. The flavor lasted for steep after steep. It was earthy and warm.
Youngest remarked that she particularly enjoyed this session. I think that is a pretty good recommendation.

mrmopar

I know where you can get this if Garrett is out of stock on it. He would be the first choice and if not message me and I will hook you up. P.S. ain’t it great when the kids and grand-kids like our tea! :)

ashmanra

Mrmopar, it warms the cockles of my heart that my kids are all drinking tea now! And two of them are drinking a LOT of it, and my eldest daughter married a fellow from Ireland and naturally he drinks lots of tea! Bliss!

mrmopar

Agreed on the warming of the heart! :)

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Drumroll, please! There is another puerh convert in my house! Hooray!!!!!!

My youngest daughter has become obsessed, obsessed I say!, with cooking and with trying new things. What a wonderful time when kids hit that ultra adventurous stage. Up to now her favorite teas were Vanilla Black by Harney, any Lapsang but especially Black Dragon from Upton, Baker Street Afternoon Blend from Upton, and Yunnan Golden Tips.

A couple of months ago she cut back on sugar in her tea and finally weaned herself off of it entirely. Then she started cooking and was wanting to try lots of new foods. She discovered that she liked nearly everything she tried. She started trying new teas, and re-tasting ones that she had not cared for long ago.

I nearly fell over last week when I made puerh at my son’s request last week and she asked if there was enough for her, too. Then twice this week she has asked if the two of us could share a pot together.

Today’s choice was Purple Rhyme. I made it western style in my 22 ounce pot and poured it into a larger pot. I used boiling water and steeped for about four minutes, until it was almost inky black! I made a second steep right away which is as dark as the first and combined them. There was no rinse.

This is so good, very smooth and full bodied. This is earthy with a high tang. We drank about 35 ounces of it today. I saved the leaves and expect to get at least another two western steeps out of it tomorrow. I am so happy to have another puerh drinker in the house.

Ubacat

Tea tastes even better when you share.

mrmopar

Yay! And a good one to share.

Sarsonator

This is awesome! I admit I’m a little jealous! My boyfriend enjoys tea, but he’s pretty meh about the pu’erhs. LOL

ashmanra

Mrmopar: I can thank you that we had this good tea to share. You helped me pick my Christmas gifts from hubby and this was one of them!

We are drinking this again today, this time with my eldest daughter.

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I want to thank Bonnie over and over again for saying she puts her puerh leaves in the fridge to cold steep after she has had some hot steeps of it. I did that two days ago and just let it sit in a big pitcher. I am finally drinking it today and I have to say it is one of the most refreshing things you could possibly imagine.

I posted a link to the recipe for Ent Draught last week, but to me, THIS is what Ent Draught would taste like. It is so perfectly light, refreshing, and clean, clean, clean, while at the same time tasting of purest earth. I think I could actually gulp down the whole pitcher in a very short time, and it is so cooling and uplifting. There is not even a tad of sugar in it. It doesn’t need it.

Ent Draught is supposed to be clear, thus the distilling process, but this is the taste it should have! The color of the cold brew puerh is gorgeous – so orange and clear. It looks like really good Southern sweet tea. I would much rather have this, though.

I am almost looking forward to our sticky summer weather just so I can drink gallons of this!

Bonnie

Someone actually did this! When I made the note I doubted that anyone would make it. (Being a puer after all) I live in a very arid zone at 5000 ft. and hydration is important. The chilled puer IS refreshing and calms your stomach.

ashmanra

This isn’t the first time I have done it since I first saw it in one of your posts, but everytime I do this I think of you! It is the most refreshing thing I think I had ever had. It tastes like the purest water on earth, infused with the flavor of pristine earth and trees! I really want to try to make it as a clear Ent Draught sometime!

Terri HarpLady

I will be trying this soon!

Em

Sounds like something I’d be interested in trying. How long do you let the leaves steep?

Bonnie

For all my cupboard stash, what you don’t see is how frugal I am. My bins are salad containers, half my stash are samples from friends and trades. I don’t throw out tea leaves that still have goodness in them that can be used for cold brewing. My budget has been $15-$20 a month for tea and sometimes I’m down to nothing for months other than going for tea in town which is about $4 a week. It’s my only entertainment outside of TV, so I think people who complain about prices can have lots of tea for less probably if they plan for quality not just quantity. You should explain Ent Draught so others know what that means. We all learn from each other! Maybe when the weather gets warm, we can have a cold tea thread and share what we do!

Bonnie

Oh- I use that bottle top thing that the Tea Spot invented to filter the leaves. What do you use?

ashmanra

Em: I let this steep for two days so far, but I will keep it going in the refrigerator until I drink it all, even if that is a few more days. It was ready to drink probably six or eight hours after putting it in, since it had already been heated once, so the leaves were “open” and saturated and ready to give up their flavor! I also use a glass container because it conducts temp so well and the tea is so very cold.

Ent Draught was a drink described in The Lord of the Rings. The Ents were the ancient tree shepherds and looked like trees themselves. When the Hobbits drank the crystal clear draught, they grew instantly taller. There were two different times it as served to them, and each time it tasted different. I had posted a link to a site where someone had tried to create their own versions of Ent Draught using tea and herbs, but since it was described as being clear they distilled the tea on the stovetop! If I find the link again, I will post it here,

ashmanra

I found a couple of Bodum iced tea pitchers with filter in the lid at TJ Maxx a while back for a really good sale price! That is what I use for cold brewing.

ashmanra

http://foodthroughthepages.com/2012/12/18/ent-draught-the-lord-of-the-rings/
There it is! The description from the book as well as the recipe to imitate are here, but I really truly feel this is a description of white tea for the first, perhaps infused with flowers like jasmine or osmanthus, and jerk tea for the second drink that was given to them.

cryptickoi

cold shu is great…a little citrus(yuzu) in it is good too…

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I drank one steep of my Southern Season puerh and then put the leaves in the fridge to cold brew a pitcher of iced tea. I was feeling unsatisfied, puerh-wise, so I decided to treat myself to several steeps of Purple Rhyme.

I love the box it came in, the careful wrapping of the paper with such beautiful, uniform folds, the stamp that holds the paper tight. I love the care used to present this product to me.

The tea is really dark, because I love strong, smooth puerh and I let it steep longer than most people do. The taste is fresh and so clean.

Bonnie

Pour me a cup!

ashmanra

Come on over! Do you like to make cards and dance with the dog?

K S

Are you setting her up for a bad date?

ashmanra

Nope, for a good time! :D

Bonnie

I can think of a better time than dancing with the dog! I’ll take the tea and dance with K S! (Any other offers?!)

K S

Bonnie, if I could dance it would be my honor. Can we still have puerh?

gmathis

Cutting and gluing party at ashmanra’s house! I’ll start packing!

mrmopar

Ha, I am in for that one! This is a really good pu-erh I enjoy this one a lot.

ashmanra

Woo hoo! This is gonna be the most exciting weekend I have ever had!

mrmopar

Yes but with good pu-erh there will always be a crowd!

mrmopar

The heck with the cup! Can i have the whole pot?

ashmanra

LOL! Sure! We’ll make several pots! Look what you started, Garret.

Bonnie

Hey,if Garret’s coming he can bring another beeng! I’ll bring snacks!

Terri HarpLady

Ooooh, purple rhyme! Yum, I got me some a few weeks ago!
And I will dance with the dog!

ashmanra

At this rate, we’ll need another beeng! And Terriharplady: I will tell Mr. Samwise to practice his steps!

Bonnie

We really do need a steepster cruise or vacation event!

Terri HarpLady

We should plan our own Steepster convention… July anyone?

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Another Christmas tea! Yay!

I started this one last night. I used Granny Stella’s tomato knife to work a chunk about the size of a teaspoon off of the brick. I notice this is called an iron cake. I haven’t heard that term before, so perhaps Garret and/or mrmopar will enlighten us?

My husband and son joined me drinking this one. They would have bailed on me if there had been any fishy odor. This tea has none.

I steeped this for forty seconds at first, increasing to sixty seconds for the fourth and fifth steeps, which is where I am right now.

The color was deep at first but not inky black. This is a medium strength flavor, not knock you down powerful but not subtle either. It has the horsey profile I like.

I am such a newbie at puerh that I have trouble distinguishing between the good ones. I can tell a bad one easily enough! I am trying very hard to learn to distinguish between cedar, mushroom, earth, leaves, and wood.

The main thing that came to my mind as I drank this was “nature.” Not wilderness nature but perhaps a large farm bordered by woods with fields of grazing horses. There is the horse farm scent to this, but added to it are leaves crunching underfoot as you walk, breathing in fresh, clean air. Sometimes I get a hint of caramel in this one. Steep four had a little cedar oil richness coating my mouth. Steep number five is still going strong so I will probably continue working with this teaspoon of leaves, and soon I will try it with more leaf and shorter steeps.

Of the three teas I have tried from the Mandala order, they are all very good and I would not be able at this point in my puerh education to tell them apart if I were drinking them “blind.” But I can say with certainty that I enjoy drinking every one of them and look forward to sharing many cups of these teas with family and friends.

Sil

What matters is that you’re enjoying your journey into puerh! I look forward to reading your reviews for when i decide to start down that path :)

K S

Like you, I can’t tell the good ones apart. I did recently revisit some of the first that I really liked and found them now to be lacking. I guess there is hope for us.

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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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I was getting some cheap glass teapots from Yunnan Sourcing, and I couldn’t resist taking a couple of pu’er cakes as well, especially with the expensive shipping of them. I don’t now a lot about young pu’ers, and I chose to get three vintages of 8582. I have sampled a couple of older 8582’s, and I liked them, and these young cakes where cheap. So I bought this one made 2008, another from 2009 and a third being made 2010. A vintage comparison! Although Steepster doesn’t (yet?) support comparative notes, I’m gonna give some thoughts on the comparison on this single note.

FIrst, they all were clearly the same tea. The taste was about the same, difference was more on how the taste behaved.
‘10 first attacked me with a taste I believe most describe in English as astringent bitterness, but the initial nastiness made room for a liquiricelike sweetness quite common with young cakes. Although first shocking, the initial taste moved aroung quite smoothly, it’s roughness was quite round if one can say like that. Aftertaste was pleasant. I’d say potential, but I won’t probably be drinking this for a couple of years.

‘09 was most interesting one. First I thought this was slighlty more tamed version of ’10, but at some points it gave some weird tastes. It didn’t behave consistently. At some brews this was definantly the weakest one, but sometimes it really shined. I really don’t know why.

‘08 was my overall favourite. It’s taste was most harmonious, balanced. There was quite a bit of roughness, but this tea wasn’t as bipolar as the ‘10 and ’09. If these three cakes really form a valid timeline of aging, I’d say this is my vasual pu’er in a couple of years.

Now the interesting thing is, are the differences in taste due their ages, or are they resulting from different harvests? Their age differences are relatively large, the ‘08 being three times as old as the one from ’10. On the other hand, they are only a year from each other. That will probably clear out in a couple of years, as their relative age difference lessens. I’m excited in onberving the aging of these three.

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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.

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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!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
the_skua

I’ve noticed lots of people have been craving sheng puerh lately, myself included. I wonder if it is indeed seasonal allergies!

Gingko (manager of Life in Teacup)

Possibly! Autumn can be a very dry season. Tea that brings moisture to the mouth is great for the season :D

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First produced by Menghai after the name change to Xishuanbanna Menghai. Production started in ‘97. This specimen part of a tong. Slightly loose, and damp ’shu’ beeng cha. Quick rinse and first two brews were very dark due to presence of loose leaves. Subsequent brews mellowed out, with hui gan appearing, and slight ‘dust’ notes. Beeng has been opened to air and ‘re-vitalise’.

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88

This tea is very rich with a slight mineral taste that moves on to an almost oak taste as found in a good dry red wine. This tea brews a nice dark orange color with a light floral or citrus aroma apricot or muskmelon. Easy drinking no bitterness or astringency. Brews up nice and tasty. A nice drink for the end of a long and late work week. Brews up almost creamy. Very good tea.

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

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67

No notes yet. Add one?

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

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20

This was a very unremarkable Shu. I have been on a ripe Pu kick lately and have experienced some great ones but this one didn’t measure up. It is very one dimensional and bland. Theres nothing exciting, no creaminess, no boldness. Its just deep red liquor with a blah flavor. I will use the rest of my sample to mix with young Sheng’s that I don’t want to alter the taste of.

mrmopar

You may want to let this one ‘breathe’ for about a week with some humidity and use a little more leaf when brewing. I usually go at least one week in the ‘pumidor’ before i would even think about tasting it. wait before you mix it and retry if before you proceed. I have one I got from Mandala and it has aged pretty good.

mrmopar

Don’t give up hope on it yet!

Billy

I have had this one for about 3 years and it hasnt changed. I usually use about 3.5 grams but used 4.5 on this most recent session and its still blah. It will mix nice since it won’t impart much flavor, I also used it to season my yixing pot so all is not lost.

mrmopar

Oh my after 3 years it should have changed some, but like you said season the yixing !

Billy

I just bought a cake of this and gonna give it another shot because it got great reviews elsewhere. Besides I just had a sample and who knows how it was handled.

mrmopar

I just got into my 2009 one yesterday. It has changed some since I put it up. It is still developing I think and the color has gotten a whole lot darker in the infusion since I got it. Hope the cake is better than the sample.

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100

This is hands down my favorite Shu! Its smooth and full of flavor. I detect notes of raisin and smooth creaminess. I judge all other Shu’s against this. The liquor is bold and full of creamy flavor. Deep red in color. I will always have this as long as its offered.

mrmopar

This is a good one!

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80

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.

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

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