Menghai Tea Factory

Recent Tasting Notes

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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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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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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92

This is not my first tea of the day. I have been starting off my mornings with a Yongming 2004 Sheng that was graciously sent with my last order from Verdant. The Yongming has finally weakened so it is time to fill the Yixing with this 2007 7532. The only word that I can conjure up would be invigorating. Along with the energy that this tea is warming me with that Sheng glow. I can only drink so much. This is how I can enjoy it for a few days in between my other tastings. PS, The Yongming is not on the Verdant site. It was sent “just for fun”. And fun I am having. Tea does rule. This Menghai is much better than the last time I had it. I guess it’s the usual combination of the teas subtle aging and my improving brewing skills. I upped the score….

K S

I am a big one to reuse my leaf a second day – what/how do you prepare your leaf for multiple days?

Charles Thomas Draper

Sometimes I let it sit overnight in a Gaiwan or the Yixing and let it stew. Some Oolongs get a beautiful golden color with awesome flavor. I will do this after the 3rd or 4th steep….

Charles Thomas Draper

A couple things I should mention: Sheng seems to me to last forever. Do not stew green teas. I also sometimes just leave the leaves in the pot and resume brewing the next day….

K S

I drain my pot and leave the leaf overnight. Most shengs take this very well. Do you go more than 2 days? I have never had leaf mold but always want to be cautious.

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92

I am brewing this in my Yixing with generous leaf. It is very energizing. The flavor is powerful and assertive. I received this today along with 4 other Sheng to sample and hopefully be able to get to know this type of Pu’erh. One thing that I must note is that there is an energy to these Sheng. A life force. Not a caffeine energy. The liquor is a dark amber orange. And for whatever reason still, I have a mental block when it come to trying to describe the flavor of Sheng. They truly are in a class by themselves….

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80

This is a very nice young Shu that is the best of what I have had recently. It is dark and mellow and soothing and without any funky odors or flavors. It is very good for every day drinking. The price is right. I am on the second cup and it is giving me that warm, glowing feeling. Or maybe it’s Hope my dog who is asleep on my lap as I type? Anyway, it’s a warm and luscious tea that is good for beginners.

TeaBrat

with shus I often think funky flavors and odors are due to the forced fermentation process. this I found to be interesting: http://steepster.com/discuss/1503-some-suggestions-for-new-puerh-drinkers-shu

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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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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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86

I am brewing up one of my very young Shu this evening. The first cup after a 30 second steep was very light. I did use a generous amount of leaf so I figured I should go easy. Plus that seems to be the rule with most Pu’er. Although my 2nd cup is also light I have to admit it is quite invigorating. I must admit I have not consumed my usual amount of tea today so quite honestly anything could pick me up. At the end of my cooled 2nd cup I noticed a faint fishy smell-taste. I have heard of this before. This is a first for me. The 3rd steep will be longer so I can judge this better. It is much better. Stronger. Much more flavorful. Not fishy. It’s a pretty purple-red liquor. Cup 3 is a winner. Cups 1 and 2 had me worried. I am now getting a slight numbing. I bought the whole cake. I am not disappointed at all. As I have stated with the other young Shu, they will only get better….

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91

INFUSION 3

This is starting to taste more like a grassy-green tea with earthy and woodsy notes. Not sweet wood like the 1st or 2nd infusion…more masculine and musky! It evens out towards the end and the aftertaste isn’t as hardcore as the beginning of the sip. I like that it morphs noticeably tho…neat tea!

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91

INFUSION 2

Smells more woodsy
Tastes less sweet and more woodsy

I pairing this with some Punjab Eggplant for lunch! It’s MARVY!

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91

INFUSION TEST

1st infusion…
Dry aroma was slightly sweet AND sour and a little woodsy.
Once infused it’s a warm bark type smell.
Color is very light yellow-brown.
Flavor is very sweet for a pu-erh. Very young. Crisp!

I like this! I’m going to do an infusion test with this one today before sending the rest to LiberTEAs

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100

In many ways it is a shame that Menghai Golden Needle White Lotus ripe puerh has been hyped up so much online. It is a very good ripe puerh but not the best that I have encountered although to its credit it is better than most. I think the best thing about this puerh is its overall balance and lack of rough edges and an enjoyable but complex taste that can be hard to nail down into words although I’d say more of soft wood and not dirt. It has a medium level fermentation which has more body than many of the lighter ones but stops short of the strong malty taste that some of the heavier fermentation brings. Also as others have mentioned before this tea has really good staying power for a ripe puerh but as always the number of infusions you can get from the leaves depends upon how strong you like your tea but you will get more than normal for this one.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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79

This is one smooth tea even being a new shu. The first infusion is a creamy almost vanilla flavor that completely fills the mouth coating it with a viscous cream sensation. Infusion number two brings out some cherry tobacco notes. I would also argue that a coffee drinker might enjoy this tea due to it’s viscous heady nature. The color is beautiful reddish brown almost the same color as my yixing pot. However the party lasts a short time as this tea gives it all and is finished by the 4th infusion.

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

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93

Not too much to be overly impressed by in this Dayi ripe puerh brick. A typical ripe puerh with a slightly malty taste to it. Well suited as a cheaper everyday casual drinking ripe puerh, that falls into the good upper middle range but falls short of the exceptional upper end ripe puerh.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
StaLLZee

Definitely – it is not a “rock star”, but good for everyday!

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62
drank 1997 8582 by Menghai Tea Factory
207 tasting notes

To me, the flavors depart from the realm of agriculture and nature. The flavors no longer taste like tea to me, they taste like the basement in which the tea was stored. Full of talc, basement, salt peter, attic, wet cardboard, old paper, medicine, and grandmothers, I feel as though these flavors lead me on one of my father’s genealogy expeditions or a trip into an historic copper mine shaft than through a sub-tropical forest or a farm of any kind. I do appreciate the woody, ginseng-like herbal qualities, but always end up vacillating between an appreciation of those flavors and a distaste for the damp, musty ones heralding a basement storage. I think I was a little too far gone to really focus on the flavors when I had the 1985 Menghai 8582 with Tim at The Mandarin’s Tea Room, but have a pouch of 1980s Menghai 79092 Loose Ripe which perplexes me in the same way for its super-heavy talc, grandmother, medicine and basement flavors.

Everyone has their own palate, suited to certain flavors and textures. Obviously, with aged sheng puerh being very popular, there are quite a few people for whom the flavor profile of this type of stored tea matches their palate. However, I think I am more attracted to the young, fresh, and fruit-like earth tones of teas such as young sheng puerh, certain oolongs, whites and dark green japanese teas. All that said, I’m still excited to try the other two examples in this tasting to see what variations in storage condition can elicit from the tea.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=387

Jesse Örö

Sounds interesting. Appareantly the “wet storage” ages tea faster, but leaves it “weaker”. We had a pu’er tasting a couple of weeks ago, and we had some wet stored pu’er from ‘99 and some dry-stored (8582, by chance) from ’98. The wet stored tasted older, it’s flavor was more evolved and advanced, but the dry-stored was somewhat stronger in character, and had more interesting taste. Your commentary seems to reinforce this.

the_skua

I was surprised at how few really solid steeps I was able to get out of it. I’ve got some dry stored in the works, that I’m excited to try.

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50

Batch 903. This tea confounds me. It must be intended for aging, except that I know there are a few crazy folk who do enjoy it young and bristly. I’m not put off by the loud barking bitterness and intensity, but instead find the flavor of the tea less than desirable. It has a lightly rotten raisin kind of scent, a bit pungent and raw. I can see it being called straw and mushroom, but it doesn’t really carry the elegance or quality that those terms elicit for me. Will certainly be game for trying this tea in 10-20 years. Finally, the qi is a bit fast and unsettling, like an unstable vibration.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=310

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80

Sample provided by Jas eTea. First pours bring strong currents of talc, minerals, and white powders. I know some people get excited about this element, but I don’t particularly enjoy. A few steeps in, this tea lights up with dates, south asian spices, and woodiness, with some distant citrus. The textures starts shallow for me, but deepens and softens with a gentle wheat-like flavor. The wet leaves hold a cellar or forest floor character that doesn’t show up in the aroma or flavor. I give this tea good marks for being low in strong fermentation character and above average in complexity.

deftea

I’m impressed that you stuck with the tea until the standard “shu”-ness started to yield more complexity. I feel so incompetent when selecting shu. Thanks for the note.

the_skua

I think the general vibe is that the big factories, Menghai especially, are better than most at creating really tight shu. Or at least, consistent, but that’s a different thing.

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93

Last night, after a long day, I wanted a comfort tea. I usually go for my Orange Rooibos, however not so this time – instead I reached for this pu-erh cake. I needed something unflavored, yet mellow This was perfect. The earthyness of pu-erh soothed me so.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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93

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

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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80

Very smooth and simple everyday drinking shu. Nothing special but excellent bang for your buck considering everything

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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69

Comparing teas side-by-side is always fun. Today, pushing the ’09 Gong Tuo hard with an initial one minute steep, for an espresso-like brew, I was amused to see the weak last steeps of the 80s shu (http://steepster.com/teas/jas-etea/16232-80s-loose-menghai-79092-ripe) seem incredibly sweet when held up against, the more bitter, terse, and earthy ’09. Enlightening was that when brewing shu so aggressively, the faults of the tea come right to the surface, as it showed little sweetness or depth, instead giving a chalky coarseness and a watered-down earthen flavor, making the 80s tea seem so much more interesting. However, comparing young and aged shu in such a manner is probably not fair.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=511

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69

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.

cultureflip

whats wo dui?

the_skua

http://www.panix.com/~perin/babelcarp.cgi?phrase=wo+dui

Piled fermentation smell. Often, fresh shu pu’er will have an intense “wo dui” aroma, which can be fishy or rotten smelling.

cultureflip

ah. ive gotten that before. not good.

cultureflip

“dude, your breath is wo dui. you need gum.”

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