Mengku "Big Snow Mountain" Black Tea Dragon Ball

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Black Tea Leaves
Flavors
Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pine, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Floral, Sweet, Cardboard, Chocolate, Flowers, Dark Chocolate
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Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by eastkyteaguy
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 oz / 139 ml

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6 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This was another of my sipdowns from last week. I only had one of these dragon balls, so I had to be careful with it and try to get the most out of it in order to do a thorough review. Since I had...” Read full tasting note
    77
  • “Now that work is done, I’m going to go play some Civilization VI but before I get to gaming for relaxation and fun, I’ll drop a little note on this tea. My motto is work hard, play three times...” Read full tasting note
    80
  • “After many many months of looking over at it, thinking “wow I haven’t had a proper gongfu session in ages”, I finally got the tea tray and gaiwan out and used them to make tea! It’s amazing how I...” Read full tasting note
    80
  • “While this isn’t a bad black tea, I was disappointed. By far not as good as other dragon balls I’ve had from Yunnan Sourcing. At first it was beautifully floral and sweet tasting, but after a mere...” Read full tasting note
    50

From Yunnan Sourcing

Big Snow Mountain area of Mengku in Lincang is a high alttude area that’s home to many tea gardens. This lovely black tea was processed with care from first flush of Spring 2017 assamica tea leaves picked from 30 to 40 year old plantation bushes growing naturally at an altitude of 1800 meters.

The tea brews up a deep red tea soup, with a lovely floral front-end, and smooth thick sweet after-taste. Thick and viscous tea, complex and interesting, while lasting many infusions makes this a worthwhile newcomer to our offering here at Yunnan Sourcing!

April 2017 harvest

These Dragon Balls were made by my mother- in-law and father-in-law. They make them in their spare time. They use little pieces of cotton to compress them instead of saran wrap. Saran wrap compression is the most common method because it’s faster, but it causes off gassing into the tea since the tea must be steamed to soften and is very hot. We use cotton, which is safe.

Dragon balls are great because they are perfect single brewing servings, and because the leaves fare much better during transport and storage compared to loose leaf form, which tend to break apart causing the brewed tea to be overly astringent and/or bitter and detracts from overall look of the brewed leaves!

50% of the profits from the sales of these Dragon Balls will go directly to my father/mother-in-law. We will give them the money as a red packet during Chinese New Year, since they won’t accept money directly from my wife or I. Most likely they will put most of it in the bank for their retirement!

Each Dragon Ball is roughly 8 grams of tea (+/- 0.5 grams)

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

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6 Tasting Notes

77
775 tasting notes

This was another of my sipdowns from last week. I only had one of these dragon balls, so I had to be careful with it and try to get the most out of it in order to do a thorough review. Since I had already tried the spring 2017 Big Snow Mountain black tea a month or so ago, I was a little curious as to how this dragon ball would differ from the loose leaf offering. I can safely say that this tea did strike me as being slightly different, though I preferred the loose leaf offering over this formed version.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped the entire dragon ball (Yunnan Sourcing claimed that each of these were around 8 grams, but my scale put my dragon ball at right around 9 grams) in 160 ml of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry dragon ball emitted aromas of malt, honey, sweet potato, brown sugar, and tobacco. After the rinse, I detected aromas of orange zest, pine, banana, and sugarcane. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted almond, cinnamon, cream, molasses, and eucalyptus. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cream, sweet potato, orange zest, tobacco, honey, and eucalyptus that were chased by hints of pine, sugarcane, roasted almond, and banana. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cedar, red grape, cocoa, baked bread, and earth. Notes of cocoa, baked bread, cedar, red grape, lemon zest, earth, and minerals came out in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging impressions of cinnamon, brown sugar, and molasses and somewhat stronger notes of pine and sugarcane. I also noted some hints of black pepper that were generally most noticeable right around each swallow. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, cream, malt, earth, pine, and lemon zest that were chased by hints of baked bread, black pepper, roasted almond, eucalyptus, banana, and sweet potato.

This was a rather satisfying Yunnan black tea dragon ball. Much like the loose leaf version of this tea offered by Yunnan Sourcing, this one did not impress me much at first but steadily grew on me. I did note, however, that this formed version of the spring 2017 Big Snow Mountain black tea was a little more powerful on the nose than its loose leaf counterpart. I also found it to be smoother and subtler in the mouth while also taking a little longer to open up and reveal its charms. If I had to pick between the two, I would definitely pick the loose leaf offering, primarily because I am a huge fan of strong, flavorful black teas, and I admired the strength and quirkiness of that offering’s liquor. I am also just not the hugest fan of dragon balls. This dragon ball was not much of a step down from the loose leaf offering, though, and its consistently stronger bouquet and smooth, subtle tea liquor were very appealing. Overall, this was a pretty solid offering. Even though I would not likely be in any rush to revisit it, it did not disappoint me in any way.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Cedar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pine, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco

Preparation
9 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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80
241 tasting notes

Now that work is done, I’m going to go play some Civilization VI but before I get to gaming for relaxation and fun, I’ll drop a little note on this tea. My motto is work hard, play three times harder. hehe

This Dragon Ball weighed 8g, wrapped tightly in white paper with a bow. I read that it was shaped with cotton instead of saran wrap. It’s an Autumn 2017 harvest. The liquor is a pretty deep reddish brown color. By the third infusion, the tight Dragonball had broken up completely. It is floral but not perfumey at all (good hehe), has honey and molasses aroma and taste, some malt, sweet potato, and brown sugar. It’s a medium bodied tea but it has a pretty thick mouthfeel and a very sweet after-taste. It’s a nice on-the-go type of treat… Small, compact, good flavor.

Yixing gaiwan, 8g, 212°F, 110ml, rinse, 6 steeps: 10s, 20s, 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s (flavor drop)

Flavors: Floral, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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80
347 tasting notes

After many many months of looking over at it, thinking “wow I haven’t had a proper gongfu session in ages”, I finally got the tea tray and gaiwan out and used them to make tea! It’s amazing how I can develop these weird mental blocks about things where something seems like “too much trouble”, so I procrastinate forever, then when I finally go ahead and do it, it’s no big deal.

8g of tea is a LOT for my 100ml ruyao gaiwan from White2Tea so I’ve basically just been steeping this all afternoon. It’s a good black tea, medium bodied with a bit of astringency. Malty, somewhat floral early on, but in later steeps it develops a kind of “generic black tea” flavour. Not unpleasant, but also not very exciting? I did really enjoy the whole tea ball concept though, so I look forward to trying some more of them. :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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50
30 tasting notes

While this isn’t a bad black tea, I was disappointed. By far not as good as other dragon balls I’ve had from Yunnan Sourcing. At first it was beautifully floral and sweet tasting, but after a mere 3 brews gong fu style the flavour dropped off to a dull grassy-ness reminiscent of a tea at the end of a long brew session or cardboard. The only redeeming quality I found is that there is a very pleasant aftertaste of sweetness that lingers from the first couple brews. Perhaps I got an off ball? Won’t be purchasing again.

Flavors: Cardboard, Chocolate, Flowers, Sweet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 OZ / 175 ML

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85
31 tasting notes

Thé noir profond , épais longueur en bouche , plus de présence et de corps que son homologue en vrac . Gros et tonique en finale avec légère amertume et astringence plaisante non négligeable . réconforte et chaleureux . En gros un bon carreaux de chocolat noir fondue sur la langue .

Flavors: Dark Chocolate

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90
28 tasting notes

I liked everything about this tea. First time drinking a dragon ball and I loved watching the little ball expand over many steepings to fill the gaiwan. Amazing floral smell both dry and wet. Tasty. Unfortunately can’t remember much more of the flavor notes…was days ago.

Go easy on the heavy steeps…I mostly drink raw puer and this can get cloyingly astringent/bitter if pushed too hard. Shared this with my friend and we both commented on the lovely qi. We both had had a terrible night of sleep but felt fantastic and energized after it. Though that might have been to do with our usual session being 3G and this having 8G :) Really like the story about this tea from Scott on the website.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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