2021 Meng Ding Gan Lu Green Tea

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  • “2.1g, 90 mL water, 180f Meng Ding Gan Lu leaves don’t have any strong smell to note, except maybe raisins or maybe that’s just the paper bag style that seems to give contents an odd smell. leaves...” Read full tasting note

From Rivers & Lakes Tea

Meng Ding Gan Lu 蒙顶甘露 aptly translates to Misty Peak Sweet Dew, and we could not be more excited to have this force of nature back in our lineup.

Cresting above other adjacent mountain ranges, towns, cities, rivers, and the vast majority of other tea gardens, the tea gardens from which these sprouts emerged rests between 1200-1400 meters on Meng Ding Shan. The tea gardens are nearly always enshrouded in clouds and co-habitate with ferns and other plants that occupy exceptionally clean and precious ecosystems. Meeting the criteria of “pre Qingming” (a festival held on April 4th) for early harvest quality, this tea was plucked on February 15th during an early warm front.

Teas like this are often booked in advance by upper class tea enthusiasts ahead of time and typically would never make it to the tea world of the West. Indeed, we are fortunate to have such a connection in Mr. Zheng, a retired government official of Ya’an whom we were fortunate enough to connect with during our time in the area in 2019.

More about our time in Ya’an and Meng Ding Shan here in our blog as well as reviews of last year’s batch here. This year we have also sourced a yellow tea, Meng Ding Huang Ya through this same connection.

Notable is the meticulous process that these early flush sprouts undergo. Sprouts are carefully monitored and harvested just 5-6 days after initially emerging. After the tiny sprouts are withered, the production features 著名的三炒三揉制茶工艺 (“the famous three-fired, three-kneaded tea making process”) a method that coaxes out flavor by frying the leaves in a high-temperature wok for short times before rolling/bruising them three separate times as a set, before being dried. This process accentuates flavors and aromas, as well brings all of the tea oils to the surface, unlocking them ahead of time for an exquisite first brew. This very early tippy tea contains the most invigorating compounds stored throughout winter; you will definitely feel its energy coursing through you! Significant late snowfall in January on the gardens has said to have made this year’s early flushes sweeter than normal — we’ll let you be the judge!

Unlike in 2020, thankfully this batch didn’t spend several months stuck in the ethers of pandemic-transit and is remarkably fresh, just as a good green tea should be. We intend to sell out well before the green tea freshness wears off, therefore we are carrying just a limited stock.

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1 Tasting Note

187 tasting notes

2.1g, 90 mL water, 180f

Meng Ding Gan Lu

leaves don’t have any strong smell to note, except maybe raisins or maybe that’s just the paper bag style that seems to give contents an odd smell. leaves in warmed gaiwan give off a slight warm, nutty smell.

1 min: weak

30s: strong beany taste w/ tannins, slight drying and astringency

1 min. 30s: more tannins

2 min: smoky note.

2 min. 30s: smoky

indefinite, cooled: tastes and feels a bit like a young sheng puer off the first steepings. Not sure what it was, but my stomach felt a bit funny afterwards and I connected the dots. Only really bitterness and sharp edged throughout though, and lacking in the complexity that a quality young sheng would have.

Maybe batch issues, or I got something different than the rest of the people reviewing on their site that seemed to have loved it. Plenty of great green teas out there; this is not one of them.

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