1996 Wild Picked Mengku Sheng Pu'er
A precious reserve from the early days of Mengku with one of the most commanding textures we have ever experienced in a tea. . . .
I am extremely pleased to present a very limited quantity of one of the most captivating pu’ers I have had the chance to try. This 1996 sheng pu’er is an extremely limited edition pressing from Mengku. Mengku Pu’er Company is now one of the biggest pu’er producers in the world, along with Xiaguan and Dayi. Yet in the early days, Mengku was a small workshop like our beloved Longyuanhao, or Xingyang. In the 1990′s well before the boom days of pu’er speculation, Mengku made a name for itself as one of the first companies devoted to wild harvested leaves from the old growth tea trees, and traditional stone-pressing techniques. These early bricks and cakes helped Mengku gain popularity, allowing them to become the national presence that they are today.
Since Mengku has changed course to more mass-produced tea, these early wild-picked bricks are quite rare. Wang Yanxin picked up four bricks total when she went to Yunnan before starting her business and met with the owners at Mengku. She sold me the two she had left out of pure generosity because I told her that I really wanted to share the experience of tasting properly aged wild picked sheng. We brewed up two leaves that had fallen off the brick and steeped them out 18 times. The texture is so gripping it seeps into the tongue. There is a commanding sensation that is first warming and then cooling, with woodsy sweet notes and a perfect smooth aftertaste.
Trying to describe the texture of such fine 90′s sheng is beyond my abilities. All I can say is that the textural complexity is worth trying at least once. If anything it will help you to understand how younger pu’ers might age, giving you a more informed perspective for investment. I have always dreamed of offering up a pu’er like this, but only recent inquiries gave me the resolve to acquire such a costly tea and offer it. This one was carried personally from China to Verdant Headquarters to ensure careful treatment.
NOTE: There is a one ounce limit to allow as many people as possible to try this tea. Twelve ounces total are being offered. If the interest is high enough, I will continue working to source older sheng pu’er and hopefully have another offering in the spring.