Menghai Tea Factory (berylleb on ebay)Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Courtesy of a exceptionally kind Steepster friend, my wife & I were able to experience this 8-yr old shou.
Leaf Color – Chocolate brown with gold tips throughout.
Fragrance – mild, sweet
Aroma rinsed leaves – winey, keemun-like
Aroma 20 min post rest – keemun, sweet fine pipe tobacco
Brewed aroma – faint keemun
Liqueur – Dark chocolate brown, thick, viscous with a sheen.
Taste – Full-bodied, thick, rich, round, and ultra-smooth. As one would expect with a 8-yr old premium cake, there wasn’t any bitterness, acidity, fishiness or funk. There was mild astringency that didn’t increase with additional cups of this shou. Perhaps, the quantity of leaves (16.8 g) may have been the cause of it? Perhaps, a slightly lower temperature?
Flavor profile – I was in keemun heaven! This shou reminded me of the best crop-year of Teavivre’s Premium Keemun that I’ve tasted. I was quite surprised and pleased!
Impression – This shou is a bold robust invigorating morning cup that tastes like a full-bodied keemun rather than pu-erh. Keemun lovers rejoyce! “You can have your Pu-erh & Keemun too!” :-) This is an excellent shou.
16.8g / 6 oz / 205° / 60s preheat / 60s warm leaves / 10s rinse / 20 min rest / 5s / 5 / 5 / 5 / 10 / 20 / 40 /80
The dry leaf to this one was most interesting. There was the typical wood and bark aroma, but it was also mixed in with eucalyptus, menthol, and mint. I kind of want to order a soap in that flavor now.
There is still a bit of menthol and eucalyptus in the aroma of the wet leaves and the brew, but it has taken a back seat to the wet, woody smell.
The eucalyptus menthol is completely gone in the flavor of the brew. All that’s left is a cool tickle out the nostrils, but honestly, that could be my allergies at this point. What’s left is what I taste in all shous: that mossy, woody, tangy smooth flavor. It’s a pleasant experience, but I am starting not to be able to tell the difference between the different shous I am trying.
Sample from Phi
I was brewing this at work yesterday since the day was moving slowly. I wasn’t completely focusing on the tea itself since I was attempting to process what work remained. I did note that there was a woodiness with a hint of semi-sweet earthy undertones. I had experienced a brief exchange of astringency toward the beginning; however, it relinquished soon after the first steep.
Thank you again Phi for the sample.
Flavors: Earth, Wood
Pretty psyched to open this one up after reading mrmopars rave review. He very kindly sent this sample to me. I had a disappointing sheng this morning so I’m excited to have something, hopefully, excellent.
Whenever I rinse a shou and go in for that big first whiff of wet leaf, I brace myself for the smells of the rotten Minneapolis riverfront in the spring when all the dead fish thaw out. I instead got a beautiful leathery, caramel smell. Not an insanely dark soup on the first steep like I usually expect from a ripe. Beautiful color though. Sweet, awesome mouthfeel. Nice body already. 2nd steep and it’s getting wider and creamier. Still very sweet and smooth. 3rd-5th steeps are all pretty similar. Still smells and tastes really nice.
Woke up today craving a ripe instead of my usual raw so I pulled out this sample from mrmopar. Nice dark nuggets with a weird small bit of light colored leaf and a light twig/stem. Odd, but whatever. After the rinse there is a decent strength ripe smell that, fortunately, faded pretty quickly in following steeps. 1st steep is bright and very very sweet but not very flavorful. 2nd steep smells like old books. Very deep brown soup, lovely. Taste is still mild and sweet. It’s got a perfect astringency level for me, it’s there enough for the tea not to be flat and boring but it’s not drying me up. There’s some cooked fruit flavor deep in the throat. 3rd steep continues to please.
At this point I’m already digging around Taobao for a cake of this. It’s tremendous. It’s everything I never knew a shou could be. It’s not fishy and rank. It’s sweet and smooth and DAMN MAN. Just when I thought I was going to be able to get away with ignoring ripe puer forever and focusing my efforts on raw, you bastards make me want it all.
4-5th steeps the sweetness has backed off a bit and it’s a little earthier. I’m even picking up a hint of the grassiness of a young raw. 6th+ steeps are all similar, still sweet and smooth and rich and delicious. I’ll stretch these leaves as far as they’ll take me, I’ll end with an hour steep if I have to!
Edit: I’ve done a 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m steep and it’s still tasting good.
I got this tea from King Tea on Aliexpress but decided to review it here rather than create another page. This was an excellent tea. It was slightly bittersweet in the start, but this bitterness did not last long. There was a fair amount of fermentation in the first few steeps, I’d say they were history by the fifth or sixth steep. What was left was a nice sweet tasting shou. Not sure what to call the sweet note. This was excellent tea. So good that I am happy that I bought two bings. This one would be worth a tong purchase.
I steeped this tea fourteen times in a 120ml easy gaiwan with 10.1 g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, 2 min, 2.5 min, and 3 min. This tea was not finished at fourteen steeps. It would have gone another two to four steeps I am sure. It had not gotten tremendously weak on the fourteenth infusion.
Flavors: Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet
I obtained a sample from the Pu’erh Plus TTB. I think it’s this particular shou – the label didn’t say who the vendor was, but that it was provided by mrmopar.
Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan. Gave the leaf a 10-second rinse, then a rest for a couple minutes. Steeping times: 5, 8, 10, 15, 10, 20, 40; 1 min, 1, 2, 5, 12.
The dry leaf smells earthy and sweet, and the wet leaf aroma even sweeter, so much like dark chocolate. The soup color starts off as burnt orange and darkens to ruddy brown. A little cloudy in the beginning (viewing the soup from the pitcher), but eventually clears up by the end of the session. The first couple infusions are a little sweet with some thickness, mostly tasting of fermentation (I think). The middle infusions – 3 through 10 – taste just like the wet leaf aroma: very sweet with a bitter dark chocolate note. Creamy in texture. This was the heart of the session. One word I wrote down was “yum.” I also eventually tasted the Raisinettes note that I usually get in a chocolate-like shou. Infusions 11-13 are still creamy, but the chocolate disappears, replaced by cut wood.
I was able to score a generous sample of this tea through a tea swap with a board member.
I found this tea to be remarkable. Remarkable in it’s smoothness of flavor, it’s lack of overly fishy umami , and the subtleties of flavor that came out over time. I made it through 7 steeps, and wish I had begun earlier so as I could continue. I won’t make that mistake again with this tea, as I believe there to be at least double the amount of steeps left. I’m looking forward to a rainy Saturday to sit and relax with this tea again.
There was a hit of bitterness in the first steeps, along with a dryness in the mouth feel. Perhaps it could have been alleviated with a second rinse, or a longer first rinse (mine was 10 seconds). By the 3rd steep the liquor was a deep red with a nice rounded mouth feel, and any bitterness was gone. To be fair, there is some umami, but it’s a pleasant addition to the full-bodied tea, rather than an overwhelming crush.
My wife didn’t like it and quit after 4 cups (70ml each). I have yet to discern her flavor profile, if she has one. I didn’t penalize the tea for her unrefined palate. ;)
I bought a 50g sample of this after reading all the rave reviews on Steepster, but sadly it was a little disappointing. The tea is pretty good—strong with that Menghai bitterness. But it’s just sort of…flat. Hard to describe—this tea just tastes so average, with very few flavors jumping out at me. It’s sort of like eating mild salsa. It tastes like salsa, it looks like salsa, but it’s just not as interesting as eating the spicier, more interesting stuff.
Although I mostly drink black tea, the past while everything started tasting the same, and even worse, not tasting good. So, I pulled out some pu’reh samples I have had stashed away as I had a feeling that is what I needed.. And I was right. This is what I want to drink now.
This tea in particular is so delicious, and although I am not able yet to describe any flavors other than smooth and darkly sweet, this is what I want to drink everyday. Since this is the last of my sample it will not be this particular tea, but this taste is what I want and am craving for now.
Thank you to a very special tea friend who sent these wonderful samples to me last year – I am lucky to have been touched by your kindness.
Price: £27.80 ($42.53) / 250g in box.
5g in Gaiwan.
On a good day: 82/100
On a bad day: 65/100
Hot gaiwan: Smouldering wood.
Wet: Dry, dusty, smokey, dark fruit.
Summary: Clear, swelling raisin sweetness is joined by honey sweetness to give a floral profile. Not concentrated herbal here. It does have a stimulating grip. The number of steeps it gives is fairly limited.
The problem with this tea is it’s a bit hit and miss when brewing. Some days it has an excellent honey sweetness I’ve not come across, then other days it is flat and fairly plain and mildly astringent. However, it was worth buying to taste that honey sweetness.
5s – Med orange; slightly cloudy. Mild raisins; very gentle bitterness; light body. A bit thin.
15s – Med orange/gold. Thicker. Raisin sweetness swells, and a honey sweetness sparkling returns.
20s – Med orange/gold. Not so much honey sweetness this time. I think it wants brewing longer for that.
30s – Med orange/gold. Honey and floral. The returning sweetness is there.
Flavors: Honey, Raisins
I have to admit right now that after drinking W2T’s Rapave, all other raw pu’erhs have new standards to meet.
This tea has one great mouth with a nice spunk to its taste. One can tell that it is a new cake, but that does not mean that it has astringency all throughout it; in fact, after steep 4 was smooth sailing for me. The liquid has medium thickness as I swish it around in my mouth. My favorite part of this tea is the lingering taste that has to go for at least four minutes… but I’m not sure its longevity because I have to keep drinking to remember its taste or my mouth will be mad at me.
Personally, I think the semi dry mouth that comes with the great feeling will dissipate over the years. I’d love to taste this one in a few years… which means I may end up picking up a cake if it combats with the Yunann Sourcing cake I just bought. Thankfully I have enough of each to have steeping battle between the two (aka, comparison)
I have been up since forever this morning and because of that, i’m trying to get through a few puerh that i haven’t yet tried, in the event i ever get around to being allowed to place an order. so i randomly pulled a 2007, 2008 and 2009 out of my cupboard of various puerhs to see what was what.
this particular one, is slow to build – the initial rinse and few steeps being lighter but still smooth and tasty. It reminds me of a few other puerhs that i’ve had – being nothing spectacular, but still an enjoyable drink. We’ll see how the rest of the day goes.
In an effort to relax a little today, i’m trying to spend some time at home cleaning and organising things while drinking some of my puerh. I haven’t had time to really sit down with any in the last little while so today is all about that. I worked from my blackberry yesterday to run errands since the entire team was basically off, so that i would have more time today for myself before my other half gets home for a couple days. Our lives are incredibly insane these days and a small part of me wishes the wedding was later lol.
we meet with the officiant tomorrow and our wedding coordinator within the next week or so…it’s all moving too fast!
this shou made me stop. I feel so out of practice with tea these days. It’s like i’m back to the “i like this or i don’t like this” versus where i was at being able to better describe what i was tasting. this is smooth with zero bitterness. It’s not too bold or an earthy sort of shou. I really like it. When i’m allowed to buy tea again, I’ll be picking up more of this one.
Just broke this cake out again to take it for a spin. Picked off just under 7gm and placed it in a small yi xing gaiwan. The tea is definitely evolving. The soup was clearer and had a lot of tingle on the tongue Still, a subtle brew but I’m beginning to appreciate the sophistication of this blend. I’m kicking up my rating and will try it again in a few months and report back.
Below the original review:
Bought this a couple of months ago and just got around to tasting it. It’s my first full-sized Dayi cake but, unfortunately, I am not impressed. I’ve drunk a lot of shou over the last 2 or 3 years and there’s something sorely lacking in this cake. It’s kind of dull tasting, nothing objectionable but not at all sweet and steeps out after about 6 times. I expected a treat and found it very disappointing. Planning to let it sit a while and see what happens but I don’t have high hopes for any improvement.
This was a wonderful brew! The dry beeng is loosely threaded thick roots of dark green with slight platinum and brass dustings. They have a very strong smoky aroma. I placed a generous amount of leaf in my warmed yixing, so that these tendrils would awaken. The warmed leaf gave off a bitter seaweed aroma. I brewed this Dayi beauty up. The flavor is truly beautiful. This brew is silky smooth with a thick mouthfeel. I was getting a graham cracker pie crust tone with sweet apricot. This drink has a lasting huigan, yet it is also complemented with a tasteful bitterness. This bitterness lasts throughout the session. My yixing yielded a thick orange broth for a decent amount of steepings. However, I did need to add an extra gram to my pot at about the third steeping, for I wanted a thicker more powerful brew. The cha qi from this session is rather strong. I acquired a full head and smooth body feel, in which I thoroughly enjoyed. I really liked this brew, and I am happy to have been guided towards acquiring it.
Flavors: Bitter, Cherry Wood, Graham, Seaweed, Smoke, Sweet
This tea is excellent. It is slightly bitter in the early steeps. There was a bitter aftertaste that never completely went away. There was a certain sweetness from the beginning, you might describe it as apricot depending on your point of view. While I can’t use the term tea drunk, this tea had a relaxing effect on me and I believe a strong cha qi. This was overall an enjoyable tea.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 minute. This was a high quality tea with nice looking leaves. The leaves were not finished even though I was. The tea liquid was still a nice color of yellow in the tenth steep. I am sure this tea would have gone fifteen or more steeps.
Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Sweet