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Shuanjiang Mengku

Recent Tasting Notes

83

I’m proud to say that I just opened this tea cake today! Product of 2007 and I’m having it in October 2013! Six years! Wow!
This tea hit the right notes with me, honestly. I generally prefer mild mellow relaxing teas. This is a Yunnan Pu’ er tea, Mu Yechun 2007 001. The tea is very relaxing, clear light yellow color, crisp, mild, light, smoky, fragrant taste and aroma. I’m happy.

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66

Very heavy cereal smell, with a light orange color liquor. The beeng I have has been dry stored, so it has changed slowly, it does not seem like 2008 tea, but it is still nice. It might be better after a couple more years

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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89

This tea is developing a bite since last time I indulged. The flavor profile has remained the same. The calm, soothing feeling has intensified. This is a Sheng that I recommend for late evenings. I drank 2 steepings from my Yixing and started to feel sleepy. So it’s back to the tea cabinet for some late noon rejuvination. My third steeping will stay in the Yixing for a few hours and we will see where that goes….

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78

This cake is beautiful. When it comes to tea, sometimes being a sucker for appearances can lead you into trouble. Such is not the case with this sheng. Opening the wrapper unleashes a flurry of spice – it’s as if the maocha was stored among heaps of peppercorns. After rinsing, the leaves exhibit a heavy, earthy quality that partially buries the spice. Based on the scent of the liquor, you’d expect this tea to be thick and turning towards earth, but no – the little spice that you do encounter is layered over hay and honey that leaves a lingering sweetness on the back of the throat and a melony roundness as the soup cools.

As the infusions progress, things evolve from straw to pine straw complimented by honeysuckle and honeydew. My notes say, “overall, a very mellow tea to name after a fighting force.” After the third infusion, things begin to wear thin. I’d say this needs aging, but, honestly, I doubt it has the forcefulness to carry it much further through the years. Not a bad tea to drink now, if you’re a fan of younger sheng, and certainly worth the $17 from Puerhshop.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C

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89

This is todays late morning-afternoon tea. It is not making me as relaxed as the 2 previous tastings. I guess ones mood has some input on what a tea will do. My first reaction was to write that it posessed a Calm Energy. I am trying to assemble a list of Sheng to be purchased in Beeng form. My samples are dwinding and my respect for these teas is growing….

K S

Still learning – what is Beeng form?

Charles Thomas Draper

Beeng is the whole cake

K S

Gotcha. Makes sense.

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89

I was looking for a pick me up and I forgot how relaxing this tea made me last time. It has a nice mouthfeel and is numbing. I am sure it is numbing my senses as well. I am enjoying the heady aroma. I am almost finished the first cup and I feel that easy feeling coming on. I love the way that this Sheng makes me feel. So peaceful and at ease.

Kashyap

I think I recall you doing tai chi…do you do yoga or qi gong? I found the impressions of the effect of pu erhs on energy interesting enough that I’ve asked a martail training buddy of mine who does lots of ‘internal’ martial arts to act as my 3rd party litmus test. Should be interesting.

Charles Thomas Draper

I have done martial arts in the past but I never mentioned it here.

Kashyap

must have been another thread with a fellow tea nerd….sorry for the miss-assignment

Charles Thomas Draper

Sounds like Jim Marks

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89

This tea has me so relaxed. I know I consumed some 2007 Xingyang earlier. I am into my second steeping and I am absolutely tea drunk. This is the first Sheng to do this. My normal reaction to a Sheng is uplifting. I know it’s raining outside and that does’nt help. The other review of this tea states that " feels like the hands of a masseuse on my forehead". Well I could’nt agree more except I am feeling it in my whole body. This is a strong flavor and it has a wild, spicy aroma. A beautiful golden liquor. I am putting this on my wishlist….

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63

Finished off my sample of this. All I can say is, boring. I’ve been drinking high quality blends or known gushu for a while now, so this tea comes across as pretty tepid, even if it is “wild arbor” which I’m not sure I believe. Little sweetness, plain grain flavors, and a bit of old orange peel. I’m excited to be moving on from some of the bigger factories, such as Mengku.

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63

This tea is described as being composed of “first flush” material and it shows, as the leaves are covered in fuzzy white down. This youth shows in the flavor as a nutty, dry greenness. Brewing calibration yielded longer steeps early and a gentler touch through the middle to produce good balance. Notable aroma and flavors included that tomato-like orchid fragrance a la ’09 Yunnan Sourcing Wu Liang and a gentle warm honey, almond, cream mix. Less simple than the others, and durable, but again, lacking a striking character that seals the deal.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=424

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82

Today, I’m finding a better mint quality, nicer clarity, and enjoyable bitterness coming out of this Mu Ye Chun 002 with longer initial steeps.

While the 001 was crisp, light, and tippy, the 002 is minty, rich, and more durable. I find it more to my liking. The session today was improved by brewing more to my palate, yielding a slightly stronger brew that showed off this tea’s savory fresh green vegetable character. Some of the season’s first Asparagus was around, either in the tea or planted by my anticipating mind. This tea also has a much more satisfying energy to it, with a really heavy, calming buzz, that feels like the hands of a masseuse on my forehead – peaceful and relaxing.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=416

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66

Honestly, I am not sure if I have ever had a puerh that has claimed to be mostly tippy material, as this does. I am sure, however, that it has an impact on flavor and texture. Yesterday, this tea was plain, simple, a bit shallow, but solid and reasonable. Today, it comes across as slippery, mineral heavy, and metallic. It carries a green tea-like dryness and brightness to it, lacking thick, syrupy stickiness.

Aroma and flavor are middling, green, and lightly floral. The finish has poor grip. Unexciting would be one way to frame this tea. Another might be to say that it would be a good intro puerh for Chinese green tea devotees. I think I’m more of a big leaf man, myself. Regardless, I am excited to compare it to the Mu Ye Chun 002, which supposedly has a larger leaf composition. I’ll visit it later this week, coming to the tea table for two sessions, on two different days, with two different natures.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=412

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72

Here, I find a tea unlike much of the smaller producer tea I have been drinking of late. As evidenced by the photo of steeped leaves above, there is variability in production that leaves this tea a little simple. I appreciate its firm bitter grip, it’s opening sweetness, and pungent sun-dried character. However, I find it too heavy on the stemmy greenness familiar to plantation tea, oligosaccharides, and distant oxidized black or white tea notes. There is certainly not much wrong with this tea, I am just searching for a beckoning depth, and it’s not there.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=408

cultureflip

can you describe oligosaccharides and how they affect the flavor of tea?

the_skua

The use of oligosaccharides here is just a generic term for complex sugar, generally related the legumes and some starchy vegetables. I think a lot of people use the word “beany” but I don’t really think that covers the character very well.

cultureflip

that makes sense. thare are times i find an “edamame” quality in some tea.

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89

Hacking away at the last dusty core bits of this sample, I’m expecting something different than all of the large leaf, boutique cakes I’ve been drinking lately. Sure, I’ve had this tea before and found it good, but what does factory tea from LBZ taste like?

With a little more murkiness in the soup, I’m reminded that small bits give a terser bitterness and more of that straw-like mushroom quality. It’s good, juicy and chewy. While it lacks the delicate high florals of larger-leafed tea, the sweetness and bitterness are fuller. It’s different than what I’ve been enjoying, and I appreciate that.

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84

Thought I would finally take some time to put down some notes regarding this tea. The dry cake is very tightly compacted but best practices seems to be breaking of fairly large pieces of the beng. After an initial flash rinse of 20 seconds to losen the leaves a bit I literally smelled this tea for about 2 minutes. The warm wet leaves have in my estimation, not an approximate scent of freshly ground wheat flour, and the exact smell of freshly baking bread. This is one one the things that I love about tea, the way the exact same leaves can, depending on processing, and other parameters deliver such incredibly diverse flavor experiences… This is truly one of those teas that offers something I didn’t expect.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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78

I was blown away by the initial strong aromas from the dryleaf and the wetleaf. Its the usual hay but enveloped in a twang of citrus. Liquor is pale green with a touch of orange. Tea itself is still too young so the ku bitterness lingers for a while in your mouth while providing a nice buttery mouthfeel and just a hint of tobacco.
This is a very subdued tea right now, maybe aging will let it develop further so I’ll revisit it occasionally

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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89

I found the compression and composition of the sample quite enjoyable. The leaves were relatively even in size, moderately long, pleasantly colored, and fresh-looking. It was nice to get a cake sample that wasn’t just the iron-fist tight and all-dust core of the beeng. The tea opened slowly and quietly. The dry leaf aroma was low and lightly sweet. The first two steeps were rather quiet, especially clean, and a little plain.

The fourth steep really shined. Lacking any coarseness and feeling smooth and velvety, this tea glided pleasingly across the palate. Bits of sweetness, distant stone-fruit, and some moss glowed in the finish. Confident dryness and back-of-the-throat bitterness rounded out the presentation. I longed for more earth, tree bark, lichen, and wet forest, but was happy with the balance, smoothness, and robustness of this tea’s texture. It was solid tea, but it wasn’t so exemplary that I would ignore my ethical concerns and buy tongs of Lao Ban Zhang tomorrow. There are other teas, with better provenance and less cost.

Finally, I’ll say that I didn’t find the chaqi particularly notable, in fact it seemed a little soft to me. I feel pleasant, calm, and peaceful, not electrically charged or overwhelmed.

Full blog post: http://tea.theskua.com/?p=207

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51

Fairwell dear tea, this is the last of my sample from the PuerhShop.com. You were one of my first sheng pu’er samples. I treated you harshly, reviewed you poorly and then ignored you until now, when I gave you a more proper treatment, but still decided that you weren’t really worth chasing down any more of. I still yet do not know who you come from (is Bing Hao really a production company?) and, based on the chop and size of the leaf, am dubious about the composition of “big leaf” in your mix. You bleed a slightly orange cup, with solid bright bitterness, lots of honey, and some pale fruit sugars. Otherwise, you leave me wanting, for a little more complexity, a little more body, and a little less harshness. Onward, to other, better, teas.

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41

This is an interesting tea I picked up at Wing Hop Fung one day—the tag on the shelf said “Many Flowers Puerh” and it was on sale, plus I could see enough of the beeng to see that there were many flowers pressed into it, and wondered what flavors they might add to the tea.

The beeng is pretty—see the photo, or see it larger here at my flickr—http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/3914144873/—but doesn’t have much odor, and the tea doesn’t have much flavor. My first time I infused about 1 gram of tea per ounce of water, and it was quite bland; today I brewed up a thermos-full in my Kamjove, enough leaf to fill the upper container after it was flash-rinsed, and a series of short infusions—pour-throughs—and it is still quite bland, dilute, a bit sweet, a little vanilla, a little earthy, no smoky aged flavors, no sharp herbaceous young sheng flavors.

I’m wondering if it is sheng or shu; and what I might do to try to bring up more flavor from it. Anyone else had any experience with a tea like this?

Pictures of the wrapper with a lot of info in chinese :

http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/3914146213/in/set-72157621660566348/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/debunix/3914932560/in/set-72157621660566348/

It says Menhuajingdian upper left on the wrapper and then Yunnan Shuangjiang Mengku Proterozoic Broad-Leaved Tea Factory, which does not further enlighten me, although the inner science geek loves the ‘Proterozoic’ in the name.

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

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51

Five steeps yesterday. Five steeps today. This has got a nice green quality to it, but it’s still very young. A bit of menthol and mint develop mid-palate, but overall it’s a generally quiet cup.

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51

I got a 2 oz. sample from puerhshop.com. Just into the first steeping and it’s a little straw-like and bland, but I’m seeing some potential for future steepings. More later.

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