pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
A few years ago I purchased a small order of the teensy 4.5 gram compressed sheng pu-erh cakes from an ebay retailer, just to try them. I used 6 grams (about 1 1/2 cakes) in my dedicated pu-erh teapot and tried it. What I had read about such products is that they are sweepings of tea dust left over and then compressed and sold for low cost. That is the case with this sampling. It is rather non-descript in flavor as well. Not a repeat buy for me, but very educational about purchasing better quality vs lowest quality pu-erh.
Enjoying a cup of 2007 Mengku Organic series. This tea is sheng and very pleasant. Very fresh. Astringency is still present but not too overwhelming.
5g to 150 ml
Today’s shu pu-erh is a 2009 “Yunnan Moon” tea produced by Six Famous Tea Mountain of organic Menghai material. This is the ripe pu-erh that got me started enjoying shu pu-erh tea. There is a certain sense of quality here – rich and mellow flavors that are quite enjoyable with a lovely orange/red color. The 2009 version of this tea is better than the 2010 version.
Tonight is a 2010 “star of menghai” shou. This cake has aged for about 2 1/2 years since I acquired. It has mellowed out in the dou wei category. The brew is a touch darker than I remember the last time I had it. I am probably not giving a fair review since I am on the third day with it. It keeps putting out decent tea and I plan to exhaust it. I was really worried about how this tea would age after tasting it when I first got it. It does not have the fresh “aroma” or licorice taste that turns me off to some younger stuff. I think it is beginning to age well and becoming much smoother. I am wondering why the didn’t make this one as a sheng also.. well I guess that would be up to the producer. This seems to be a blend of 3 or 4 different types of leaves. Probably from the different “mountains” that the tea is sourced from. Still pretty good overall. I have the 2011 version that I will try to review this week as well as the 2012 on order.
Last night and most of today -2009 Mengku Bingdao Daye Pu-erh Tea Brick, which is of the sheng puerh category. The brick itself is very tightly compressed, and is tough to pry a piece to make tea. I usually have to rinse this one 2-3 time to fully get the leaves prepared for short gongfu infusions. There seems to already be a good amount of age to this tea, as you can certainly see the change of the liquor to a medium brownish-amber color. The tea itself is delightful – pungent and astringent brothy fullness to the mouth, however this quickly returns with a lingering sweetness. Just the right mix, in my opinion! It definitely has a decent chaqi as well. Not completely overpowering and intoxicating, but certainly a nice and calming refreshness in a cup.
Finishing the last of my sample of Yunnan Sourcing’s 2012 Yong De Blue Label Ripe, its pretty good and very smooth, though suffering a fair bit from being the broken crumbs from the bottom of the bag. It’s cheap enough ($15/357g) that I’ll probably pick up a whole cake sometime, the wrapper design looks really cool.
I seem to always go to the Pu’erh when I’m having a cranky sort of day. Tonight, I went back to Mandala – this time Bu Lang Gong Ting 2009 (loose leaf ripe).
It seems that I love everything I’ve gotten from Mandala – or I love all pu’erh – but I seem to love theirs the most. This is awesome. I’m just on my second steep. Will write a tasting note once I’ve had a few more steeps, but so far so good. The question is – do I like this more than the Noble Mark? I’m not sure yet.
This morning (after exploring the Yunnan Sourcing website at http://yunnansourcing.com/) I made some 2004 Jia Ji tuo sheng pu-erh from the Xiaguan tea factory. This is a “classic” recipe of first grade material that is tightly compressed and sold in a round green cardboard box. You can read a description on the Yunnan Sourcing website. I like this tea for its lift, bright flavors, and mellowness. I have purchased other Xiguan tea factory products after having been given this tuocha by a friend.
Had this offering from the Xiaguan factory tonight. It is stated to be from the Jingmai mountain region. This is a very tightly compressed toucha with lots of green on the surface. Aroma is almost a metallic odor when pried off the toucha. Used the yixing reserved for sheng only to brew with. This tea is very light in terms of taste and aroma in the first brewing. I plan to do another tasting on this one tomorrow as young sheng tends to keep me awake if I drink it late at night. Not an overall bad cake maybe in a few years it will deepen in the flavor and aroma department. It still has the “bold” in your face bite of a young tea for now.
Which toucha was this? I do think the 2004 Jia Ji green boxed version I received in 2011 has continued to improve over time. I also have a Yellow ribbon version from 2011, but have not tried it yet.
Hi Javan , it was the toucha pressed from the leaves of the jingmai mountain. If you look at my cupboard of recently added teas I have a picture up of it.