Menghai Tea Factory

Recent Tasting Notes

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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94

This Dayi Yue Chen Yue Xiang is a simple ripe puerh at its best. While it lacks some of the more complex flavor notes that some ripe puerh has it also lacks any earthy and musty flavors. Which leaves behind the basic sweet mellow ripe puerh that drives most ripe puerh drinkers to love it. This one also has a nice smoothness in its thicker brew and is a very friendly puerh for more casual everyday brewing, although if you want to have a serious tea session you might want to go with a more exciting ripe puerh than this one.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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88

My first high altitude grown ripe puerh but not much different as I picked up most on the lighter fermentation levels used in this tea. This one takes a bit more skill to brew with good results than most ripe puerh as it does best with very short infusions otherwise one will find it a bit disappointing for a premium product. It has a nice light taste to the brewed tea and is good for a lot of short infusions. Although in the end it is not a puerh that I would see myself buying again as while it is a good puerh it fell short of my personal preferences.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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20

Some tea drinkers like young sheng; but for me, this Menghai was unsatisfying on several levels. Sampled at 200˚F, the liquor was somewhat bitter – the kind of thing that happens when a green tea is scorched. Sampled at 145˚F, the bitter notes vanished, but that taste like an understeeped green oolong; the liquor was a light green, and wan in flavor.

Part of the problem is that puerh consumed this early is going to be substandard, since it hasn’t even begun to age. And then there’s the controversy over young sheng; some tea drinkers like the experience, but drinking this is not dissimilar to brewing an inexpensive Tie-Guan-Yin at 212˚F; you’ll get the same harsh, overcooked flavor, and that’s going to be the case with most young sheng.

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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78

Brewing Two:

Incredibly thick feeling with spinachy-grassy flavor, medium strength and very pleasant with very light mint notes (20 seconds (5/27))

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

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80

Farewell, fair Nannuo. Okay, THIS was the best in the series. No, really. In the second of two brew sessions, I finally got the flow down with this tea. It takes some intuition, otherwise it gets crushingly dry and cottony. Otherwise, light, perfumy, and with delicate fruits. I think it’s a solid, punchy tea, but responds to a lighter hand of brewing. The steeped leaves certainly showed the largest leaves of the set, as well as the least cooked and most consistent processing.

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_skua/5719644481/in/photostream
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_skua/5720204454/in/photostream

teaddict

“Dry and cottony” is an interesting description. I’m imagining a sensation I would think of as astringent, perhaps, but can’t really come up with something more specific from that description. Can you expand on that a bit?

teaddict

And while I’m at it, do you have a strong sense of the different growth locales now after sampling this series of teas?

the_skua

To some degree, the different regions stand out. Each tea is obviously different, but I think I would be hard pressed to name most of the regions given a blind sample. I think Bulang and Menghai are characteristic, but Bada and Mengsong are somewhat indistinct. Nannuo also unique, but more subtle. Part of the problem with the Peacock series is that the plantation leaf and rather heavy processing bury some of the subtle signatures that help the regions stand apart, I think.

teaddict

Interesting. I’ve got enough puerh right now that I can’t really justify buying something like this series unless they really provide a really clear illustration of the differences. At present rates I’ve got quite a few years’ worth already.

the_skua

There’s better tea to be had, in my opinion.

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