Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Co., Ltd.

Recent Tasting Notes

89

Received an 8 g sample of this from Mandala Tea, and thought it is one of their pressings, so I didn’t think anything in particular, aside from expecting the usual fruit n floral pleasantries that Mandala is known for in their young sheng cakes. Not the “tie me down and make me beg for mercy” type of drink. In fact I was eating ice cream at the time. Noted the compression in the cake chunk, took two rinses to git ’er to open up. Nice amber tangerine color. Took a whiff n sniff of the liquor.

Wait, what? This isn’t a Mandala tea at all. Whiskey, leather and apricot wood with a touch of smoke, this is serious. Nope this is a factory tea, but it is only 2014 and this cake is a 2009? Something is going on here. We have the usual aged flavors of what I associate with a Menghai, but at half the kick and not the astringency Mengku has had for me before.

A few small burnt particles from the wok gives the touch of smoke here, but it is not overpowering. Digging around in the Yixing I see a few tips, small leaves and a couple larger whole leaves. Six steeps and I am feeling mighty fine, beautiful cha qi, got my mental clarity on. But looking at the listing on Mandala, I am either really, really tea drunk or confused. A 400 gram cake for only $29? I am hallucinating or this is the deal of the century.

Researching this cake, I found it priced at $18.90 on EBay from Red Lantern Tea. Yep, that would be AllanK’s hated seller of the slow mule courier shipping. (Aside: seller has 100% feedback, 3000+ ratings). Then I found a review from shogun on TeaChat dated 2008, for this 2009 cake. A mistype? Or did shogun drink an Autumn cake. Or is this cake pressed from older material? Would that explain the nice aging going on…shogun noted a yellow tea soup, high astringency, and a “hay like” flavor, none of which I am tasting here. He paid $7 for this cake back in the day.

Or…has Mandala taken a middling tea cake and turned it into something wonderful. What I might be tasting here is a fine aging job from incredible storage. This cake is a bit of a conundrum with how old it actually is, but I can definitely conclude 100% that Mandala’s storage is fantastic, simply has GOT to be. No storage flavor and I think this tea is perfect now. I punished these leaves with boiling water all the way and got only a mild bitterness and astringency throughout, at a level I personally prefer. I want my tea to have at least some light bitter and astringency, I am not a drinker who likes tea to taste like food.

Could go another year or two for the lightweights new to sheng, but to me this is ready. The market for this cake prevents Mandala from charging a whole lot more, which is a boon for us, and sad for them because their fine storage here should be worth more, here is the breakdown:

Mandala: $29+ 5 shipping = $34 × 15% coupon = $28.90 for 400 g of tea at top quality storage.

Red Lantern: $18.90 + 9 shipping (by mule) = $27.90 for 400 g of tea at unknown storage.

Garret, I hope this doesn’t make you cry, because your aging here is top notch. Go buy this, people, 10+ steeps in and this is still going for me, tea this finely stored is a steal of a deal. Mandala will raise the price someday, once the other sellers wash out of this cake, and it will still be worth twice the money. Bravo, you have made a silk purse of this one.

Hope some pu-heads with better harvest knowledge than I can clear up the date conundrum I found on TeaChat.

Flavors: Apricot, Smoke, Smooth, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 115 ML
TheTeaFairy

Lord…just placed two orders within two days with Mandala…why oh, why are you doing this to me now??? Lol, sounds too good to pass…sigh.

Cwyn

Yup, that was my horse galloping off with two cakes of this one outta Rochester. Back over the state line in Wisconsin, cops can’t get me now. For I have stolen 800 grams for $53 and change.

TheTeaFairy

Haha! Beware, now that I know about this best kept secret, I might have to hunt you down!!

Cwyn

Eep! I got no chance with a winged creature!

awilsondc

Man, I’m in the same boat as Tea Fairy. I’ve already placed 2 Mandala orders within the last 45 days! My wife is growing tired of my tea orders, but this one is going on the short list. Thanks for the review!

TheTeaFairy

I’ve only recently started collecting pupu cakes, I’m a total novice and I feel like a kid in a candy store…I’m all over the place and I can’t keep my hands off!

Sarsonator

Wishlist. sigh

:p

DigniTea

Cwyn – Nice tea notes on this little gem. I have appreciated this tea since I acquired it last year but your thoughtful comments have enhanced my appreciation.

Cwyn

Thanks! Hope we can figure out what the dating is for it, maybe the TeaChat date is an error.

mrmopar

I guess I need to pull my Mengku cake out and see how it has aged.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

This is a nicely priced somewhat aged shu I purchased from Dragon Tea house, a 2005 145 gram cake for around $10. It is a very nice tea. It brews somewhat dark, roasty, and is fairly smooth though there is some bitterness. It’s not a perfect tea, but great for the price. It faded rather quickly, but the first few infusions were quite good. Similar to a Menghai shu, that kind of deep compost earthy flavor. I would recommend giving it a try!

DigniTea

Yea short life is what I’ve experienced with these Mengku minis but as you suggest small in price and good flavor for a few cups makes it OK.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

I call this “the bottle rocket”. It’s lifespan is brief but intense. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending upon what you are in the mood for. I reach for this shu when I want a modest infusion of energy, a rich and full bodied cup, and a minimal time commitment.

This shu comes out of the gate fully opened up in steep one, burns intensely through steeps two, three and four, and will give a flavorful medium bodied cup in steep five.

This mini bing is composed of tiny leaves that appear to be chopped up, yielding a cake where you can just snap a piece off the edge with your hands. My normal regimen is 6 grams shu in my 100 ml gaiwan, 212 F water, 15 second rinse, 2 minute pause, break up large clumps with a toucha pick, then 15/15/30/60/120 second steeps.

This is very smooth puerh with no harsh or off flavors or aromas. It is very rich in a good way. There is a mild pepper note, some cedar, a slight yet pleasant bitterness, and an underlying sweetness. I get sweet notes in the aroma (raw cane sugar, vanilla) over wood, clean earth and leather. It leaves me feeling energized but not wired.

I’m reminded of the scene from Blade runner when Roy Batty meets his maker, Dr. Eldon Tyrell, and is told “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy.”

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Yang-chu

Great review.

TeaExplorer

Thank you :)

Terri HarpLady

Nice review! And of course, I love the Blade Runner reference. I’ve only watched that movie SO MANY Times, although it’s been a few years since my last viewing, but I always seem to notice something new each time I watch it. :)

TeaExplorer

Blade Runner is among my top 10 favorite movies and, like you, I’ve seen it many times and I notice new things on every viewing. It’s one of those rare cases where the ideas explored in the movie far exceed those of the book it was drawn from. I’m going to put it in my rotation for a re-watch as soon as I get some free time :)

Terri HarpLady

I actually was thinking I’d watch it on netflix, but it’s not available for streaming, so I’ll have to add it to my Q

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

I have come to admire and appreciate puerh cakes produced by Mengku Tea Co. Ltd. Golden Buds is a blend of smaller sized leaves picked, fermented and pressed in 2009. This tea cake is tighly compressed – you need to use a puerh pick (or an awl from your toolbox). The brew is dark and yields a very smooth tea – robust and rich in mouthfeel and flavor . Readily available from several ebay or Aliexpress sellers, this mini cake is a must-try and a great value. Maturing nicely as Mengku teas do.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
boychik

Do you mind sharing who did you get it from? I see one on DTH for $17

DigniTea

Yes. I picked mine up at DTH.

boychik

Thank you. It sounds very good

TeaExplorer

Added to my list … thanks!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

85

Smooth, sweet, dark amber color. Small leaves. Makes me wonder if its whole leaves. I think I had around 5 steeps and it looses taste. I got it from Dragon tea house

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

Had more of this tonight.

I really do not get tired of it.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

87

This puerh is very good. It has earthy tones without having that “composted” odor or flavor.

On the first hot water pour, it gives off a very earthy tea scent, but the aroma is evanescent, replaced by a more traditional black tea smell.

This is a solid performer in your cup. Beautiful reddish orange color, reminding of a autumn sunset. The tea has body to it and just a teeny tiny amount of hou yun, not much, and had this been an aged raw puerh, I am certain it would have been there.

My only regret about this puerh is that I did not buy two beeng cha when first purchased!!!

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

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

82

a super smooth aged pu-er. faint aroma of a forest undertones of berry taste.a complex assortment of flavors. only downside is i only got 4 steeps from it till i exhausted it.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.