Menghai Tea Factory (yunnan sourcing)Edit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
My first Menghai, my first aged ripe, also only my third shu overall. The bing looks quite gorgeous in person and as the 9 in the recipe suggests the leaf size is quite impressive. This being my first factory production ripe, I was expecting a potentially heavier compression, but instead the cake turned out to be incredibly loosely pressed. The bing is notably thicker than most cakes of this weight and the backside isn’t even symmetric in shape/thickness. Prying leaves off without causing additional breakage was a breeze and a pleasure.
I brewed 10.5g of this tea in my brand new 160ml Jianshui clay teapot. I’ve only had one session with it before, so it should be noted that it may not be performing optimally just yet. I rinsed the leaves for slightly over ten seconds and allowed them to rest for ten minutes before I started brewing. I did a total of twelve steeps for 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 35s, 50s, 65s, 2 min., 4 min. and 8 min. respectively. The last steep revealed the leaves to be utterly spent. Overall the longevity was about what I’d expected, if not a tad better.
The first infusion was sweet, perhaps a bit earthy, and pretty smooth. Very typical base ripe pu’er flavors. It had a rosé color, whereas the rinse had an orange hue. Throughout the steeps the tea produced a remarkably clear liquor. The second steep was very dark and blood red. It tasted very smooth and clean, almost like diluted coffee. It wasn’t as sweet as before, but left a roasted coffee bean type of flavor in your mouth.
The third steep was again perhaps a bit earthy. It was sweeter than before, with an almost berry-like flavor. The tea was super clean and easy to drink. It also made me salivate a lot, which may have contributed to the almost honey-like sweetness this infusion nearly reached toward the end (in flavor, not intensity). The following fourth infusion was a step backwards, presenting very simplistic flavors and tasting very reminiscent of the first infusion with its basic watery sweetness. Steep five was more of this same typical shu taste, with a hint of those berries I thought I’d tasted earlier.
In steep number six I finally got much more of those berries and that infusion was quite nice. I’m bad with berries, but steep seven tasted like redcurrant juice or something to me. It was juicy, with maybe a bit of sweetness. Overall very nice. The eighth infusion was sweet, but the other flavors were seeming to start to taper off. The sweetness persisted in the ninth steep, but the tea soup was starting to taste watery.
The tenth steep I brewed much stronger and the taste I got was the same as the manure type of smell I smell in most ripe pu’ers. I don’t mind the smell, but as a taste I wasn’t the biggest fan of it. There was perhaps some sweetness, but not that much. Wondering if the leaves still had more to give, I doubled the steeping time again and the soup I got had a vanilla flavor to it. One could say there was perhaps almost a cherry note as well, which isn’t all that surprising as the two often go hand in hand. The infusion was quite nice actually and had a nice aftertaste as well. For the twelfth infusion I tried doubling the steeping time one last time, but the resulting tea tasted practically like water, sweet water. It tasted like drinking the remainders of a strawberry slushie where it’s just melted ice at the bottom of the cup with a hint of color and flavor from the strawberry. If you had a big bottle of it, it would be fine for quenching your thirst during summertime.
So what are my thoughts on this tea? I prefer teas that are interesting, dynamic and grab my attention. Therefore this tea was not very interesting to me in the first several steeps. It was only in the latter half that the tea started to feel more interesting. Even though the tea does present many different flavors over the course of a session, compared to other types of tea ripe pu’er does seem to present much smaller dynamic swings in my still quite limited experience, and this tea was no exception. It’s easy to drink and such an inoffensive tea you could probably serve this to anyone from children to elderly. They might not say they like it, but they are unlikely to say they can’t drink it either.
For me perhaps the biggest shortcoming of this tea is the lack of bitterness. I’m not saying other ripe pu’ers are necessarily known for having bitterness either, but toward the end of the session I really found myself yearning for some bitterness or something, anything, to give the tea some bite, edge and character. This was especially apparent since I’ve been tasting Yunnan Sourcing’s fresh spring 2017 black teas over the past few days and enjoying the wonderfully elegant kuwei in some of them. Those people who think bitterness is a bad thing need to drink more tea. A lot more tea.
Despite some of the criticisms I can find for this tea, this might be the best ripe out of the three I’ve had so far, the others being “The New Black” by Misty Peak and “Green Miracle” by Yunnan Sourcing. At the very least it most certainly proved that Menghai is definitely competitive when it comes to producing ripe pu’er. Had this tea been more interesting in the early steeps, it would have been easier for me to recommend. As it stands, it is a tea that is very easy to drink through the day without having to pay too much attention to it, but for the price there are likely to be many other ripes out there that are cheaper and possibly better. I’m not aware of what exactly age has brought to this tea, but I personally wouldn’t say that it is worth paying such a premium for the age at least in this case. This is not a price point I mind paying for a full bing of tea, shu or not, but you could get a pretty nice sheng for the same price.
My journey to find a shu that makes me fall in love with ripe pu’er continues. The next tea I review is likely to be a shu as well, but after that I may start to miss sheng. In any case I have many ripes in the pipeline for me to try out and with this new Jianshui teapot I’ll likely be drinking a lot more ripe pu’er on a regular basis. This tea made me curious toward ripes made from Bulang material and whether some of them retain some of that more fiery nature. Don’t be surprised if the next tea I review comes from that region…
Flavors: Berries, Earth, Sweet
This tea was good. Just what you expect from a Dayi ripe. A moderate amount of fermentation taste that was not fishy or unpleasant and a sweet note from the beginning. I did not notice any bitterness. I used a little more leaves than usual because I over estimated the size of my gaiwan. I thought it was 180ml but I measured it and it was 150ml. The tea was still quite good just a bit strong. As to the specifics of the notes I really wasn’t paying attention so I am not sure.
I steeped this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 14.2g 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, and 2 minutes. Judging by the color of the tea there were another six steeps left at least.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This is an excellent ripe that could use a couple more years of aging. There was a lot of fermentation flavor through the first four or five steeps. It was initially bittersweet in nature. The fermentation was not of the unpleasant sort. A sweet note developed after the bitter left. It was good.
I steeped this ten times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.1g 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, and 1 minute.
This tea is a very nice ripe of the sort you expect from the Menghai Tea Factory. There was very little bitterness and a fair amount of fermentation initially along with a sweet note. You could say it was dark and rich in the early infusions. The fermentation taste was a factor until about the sixth steep. I really wasn’t paying attention to the specifics so I will just say this was an excellent puerh for a reasonable price. Yunnan Sourcing only gets $17 for this and it is definitely worth the price and more. It does need more time to clear a bit but I think in another year or two this will be really good. Of course by then Yunnan Sourcing will have raised the price.
I steeped this tea 12 times in a 150ml gaiwan with 10.3g 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, and 2 min. Could have gotten a couple more steeps out of the leaf but twelve was enough.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Overall this was a fairly nice ripe brick. There was a lot of fermentation taste to it. That taste was a bit unpleasant and in the first steep what you might call fishy. This particular note was gone by the second steep but the fermentation continued until around the sixth steep. It was a sweet tea in general, no real bitterness to it. I think given another two years to age and it will become something quite nice and it wasn’t too expensive. The whole 660g brick only costs $42. It is definitely worth a sample and I think worth buying a brick to age. Menghai Tea Factory ripes I think tend to age quite well. We shall see how this one does.
I steeped this ten times in a 160ml Solid Silver Teapot with 15g 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, and 1 minute.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
Note: I am very new to pu’er and am mostly writing a review for my own records. My opinion is not that of a seasoned veteran.
Tuo is very dry and crumbly when breaking, lots of dust (maybe I just suck at it?). I got a rinse plus 7 steeps out of it, the last couple steeps being 30s-1m and not giving much flavor. Fishiness and other off flavors were almost completely gone after the rinse. Liquor was very thick and deep red for the first 2-3 steeps. Low-medium astringency. Smooth and easy to drink with not much depth or complexity to the flavor. Didn’t change drastically between steeps and fell off hard around the 6th steep.
At $.06/g, I might re-order this to keep as a daily drinker when I’m not in the mood for anything pungent although it would be nice to get more steeps out of it.
Edit: tried this tea again and I rescind my recommendation. Not that good. After getting a few more ripe teas under my belt, I realized that this one is really not very nice.
Got this in the mail in my latest Yunnan Sourcing order. And it is a good one. There was a lot of fermentation flavor that lasted through about steep six. It was dark and rich in the early infusions. I’m not entirely sure if I noticed notes of chocolate but it is possible. What was there was a nice sweet taste with little bitterness. It will be interesting to see how this one ages.
I brewed this twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 12.1g 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, and 2 min.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This is said to be Menghai Tea Factories highest grade ripe. While this one needs to age a couple of years it was good overall. There was, however, a lot of fermentation taste in the first few steeps. The first steep of this was a little unpleasant. It had a noticeable fermentation taste for the first four or five steeps. After that it was not a factor. It was also bittersweet at the start, slowly changing from bitter to sweet. I’d say there were some notes of chocolate in there. Didn’t really get a fruity taste but I used a lot of leaf, maybe if I used less leaf. This is one I will probably put away to age a bit. I was hoping I would want to drink this on a regular basis but I think it needs to age at least two more years. I do think it is a high quality ripe.
I steeped this twelve times in a 160ml Ruyao teapot with 14g 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, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.
Flavors: Chocolate, Dark Bittersweet, Earth, Sweet
Full review to come eventually. Sample from YS.
This tea is like a dirt path leading up to a temple deep in the woods. It actually reminds me of Haruna Shrine in Gunma haha.
Rich and clean earthy flavors with hints of fragrant wood, faint incense, dark fruits, vanilla, and cocoa. Great throat characteristics and mouth feel with a smooth qi. I would love to get my hands on a cake.
Ru Yao teapot gongfucha
The dry leaves smell musty and slightly earthy.
The wet leaves smell slightly musty and a mellow earthy smell
Light steep: I taste medium earth, camphor, minerals, old books and autumn leaves. I taste slight mushroom and metallic notes.
Medium steep: I taste strong earth, camphor, old books and autumn leaves. I taste between medium and strong mushrooms, minerals and metallic notes
Heavy steep: I taste heavy camphor, earth, autumn leaves, old books, metallic and minerals. I taste little to no mushroom.
All in all a very yummy tea. For beginners, use 5g and brew western style.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Earth, Metallic, Mineral, Mushrooms, Musty
an amazing tea!:
when i smell the tea leaves dry, i smell earth, mustyness and a bit of dui wui (fermentation smell).
when i smell the leaves wet, the smells are intensified (minus the mustyness).
when i smell the brewed tea, i smell some earth (quite mellow)
when i taste the brewed tea, i taste light earth.
the color of the brewed tea is a amberish brown.
i rate this tea a 100 because its mellow.
even though the description says its very strong and has a camphor taste, i dont really notice that. oh well i still enjoy this tea! :D (note: ill try steeping this longer and add a new tasting note).
Flavors: Earth, Musty
This is an excellent ripe from 2005. Yunnan Sourcing says this was dry stored and I believe it. There was no taste of wet wood and no spice. There was a moderate amount of fermentation flavor left. It was there until about the fourth steep. This tea was sweet with little bitterness. There were some notes of chocolate in there and it developed a fruity taste in later steeps. This was not a cheap tea at $66 but was not horribly expensive either. This is in my opinion a classic example of a Dayi ripe cake that has some age to it. It could have been much more expensive.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 120ml gaiwan with 10.2g 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 min. I’m sure I could have gotten a few more steeps out of it if I was not at my caffeine limit.
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Fruity, Sweet
Bought a tong of this recently to age. It is a very good tea. The fermentation taste was neither unpleasant or fishy but on the sweet side. There was really no bitterness to this tea. I did seem to notice a fruity taste in thew early steeps. This was surprising as I usually notice this in later steeps with a ripe. This checked out under the black light and it was from Yunnan Sourcing so I am sure it is real.
I steeped this tea ten times in a 160ml solid silver teapot with 14.2g 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, and 1 min.
This is a very tasty ripe with a moderate amount of fermentation taste. I’d say the fermentation flavor started to lessen by the third steep and was gone by the fifth. There were also a variety of sweet notes to this tea. I get quite the fruity note to this tea, not sure if I would say dates or what but very fruity. The tea cake itself was loosely compressed. This could explain why it already seemed to have aged a little despite being from 2014. This tea was a bargain at only $31 from Yunnan Sourcing. As for qi I am getting a little out of it, a very relaxing qi but not a potent one. It has a lot of qi for a ripe tea. I usually don’t get any qi off of a ripe tea. Because it is from Yunnan Sourcing I don’t doubt it to be a real Dayi tea. I didn’t bother to test it with the black light but all looks right. This tea just tastes good. There is another note too but I can’t quite put my finger on it, a pleasant note.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 120ml 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, and 30 sec. Judging by the color of the tea in the eighth steep I am sure I could have gotten four or five more steeps out of it but as always for me caffeine is a factor.
Flavors: Earth, Fruity, Sweet
My favorite Menghai shou recipe! Even more so than golden needle white lotus, dragon pole, 7572, 7262, etc. I just love it! Smooth and sweet, dark and rich, creamy and earthy, this one gets me every time. I fell in love with the 2008 version, but this 2007 is a notch better I believe. It’s not a “magical” tea per se… only a mild cha qi, but it’s a solid daily drinker, one I’ll keep in my rotation for years.
This ripe is pretty good. It has a fair amount of fermentation flavor left. It has partially but not completely cleared. It was a good price for a 2007 tea too. Only $35 at Yunnan Sourcing if I recall correctly. There were a lot of sweet notes to this tea, even fruity notes in the later steeps but I wasn’t really paying attention to the specifics.
I steeped this eight times in a 180ml teapot with 12g 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, and 30 sec. If I wasn’t stopping because of the caffeine I am sure I could have gotten another four or five steeps out of it.
Flavors: Earth, Sweet
This is a delicious raw puerh that I bought about a year ago and stored in my pumidor. I am just now getting around to drinking it. It is too bad they are out of stock at Yunnan Sourcing USA or I would think about another. There was a very slight bitterness in the early steeps, not an abiding bitterness. It was smooth, very smooth. It developed into a nice sweetness that could be described as apricots or stonefruits. I don’t know if storing this for a year in my pumidor improved it as I hadn’t tried it before.
I brewed this ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 6.6g leaf and 200 degree 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 min. I didn’t use a great deal of tea for this one but still could have gotten at least a couple more steeps out of the leaves. They weren’t quite finished.
Flavors: Apricot, Stonefruits