Menghai Dayi tea factoryEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
So… I am reliably (I hope) informed that this is held as a ‘standard example’ for daily drinker shou (or shu?) devotees. I also hear that you’re meant to break these cakes up and let them sit for a few weeks to bring out the character. Which… I haven’t done.
So, I have some in a jar (I bought a stack of 5), but here are my first impressions:
It was also recommended to brew this ‘strong’ so I did a 1:10 ratio (9g in a 90ml pot).
First infusions start out thick, smooth and creamy. The flavour isn’t what I’d describe as strong (coming from sheng) . Very little bitterness. Very ‘approachable’.
High viscosity in the mouth. It’s still a bit flat on flavour. Later infusions (from steep 4 onward) are still buttery on the tongue and have mild bitter cocoa in addition to the milky mouthfeel. Wet leaves smell mildly of malt or dried apricot.
The smell on the bottom of the cup has brown sugar, but it isn’t really present in the taste.
This is quite savoury. I don’t detect any sweetness or woody / earthy flavours. Just a pleasant ‘wholemeal’ bread and subtle minerality. It’s a rich mellow ‘tea’ taste reminiscent of a savoury malted bun.
Weirdly after a few steeps one flavour that comes to mind is the pulpy inside of a banana peel. That very slight bitterness.
I’ll let the other tuo chill and breathe in the jar and we’ll try again in a few weeks. Not bad so far.
I can see why people could use this as a coffee replacement in the mornings. It is somewhat reminiscent of an Americano (espresso and hot water) if a little smoother.
People who like a nice milky English Breakfast tea might also enjoy it, to be honest, it tastes like it might be nice with milk/sugar (blasphemy I know).
As someone who’s used to drinking sheng, this is completely different stuff. Less complex and in a way less interesting, but nice in its own way.
3-star tea for now.
I’d recommend it and it’s cheap enough (right now) to say it’s worth a try. I can understand why people enjoy it. I’ll update if there are any big changes with the jarred broken tuo.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Butter, Cocoa, Creamy
2 15 sec rinse
10 minute “rest”
dry leaves have a slight plum note and the slightest hint
wet leaves smell of prunes or plums. very slight peat
the slightest hint of caramelized sugar on the gaiwan lid
tea soup has a smell of incense stewed fruit and sweetness
empty gong dao bei smells of caramelized fruit
1st infusion: 45 sec; first infusion brews up pitch black
dark bakers chocolate on first sip slight peatiness
a note that kind of reminds me of tar slight sweetness
the soup is about medium thickness this steep earthy and
maybe decaying wood
2nd infusion 30 sec; the soup is still black the texture is lighter
this infusion. earthiness is up front with what i can describe as
decaying wood following up dark chocolate on the finish with very subtle hui gan
slight tarry notes
3rd infusion 1:00; still pitch black the flavor has become more gentle
more earthiness and some of the peatiness is finally coming through
the decayed wood has morphed into regular wood with a slightly sour finish
the minerality is starting to come through. it is kinda like licking
4th infusion 1:30; the color is starting to lighten just a bit. still black but
with red tinges the peatiness is really starting to come through. there is a sweetness
also the slightest hint of stewed fruit coming through the chocolate is still there
the huigan has returned. sticks to the molars
5th infusion 2:00; the liquor has lightened a bit more to a dark red brown
the minerality really comes through in this. sweetness really shines
woodyness upfront earthiness on finish. no chocolate notes
6th infusion. final infusion 2:30; ruby red this time
minerality comes throug but thats about it. woddiness is there
earthiness at the end very sweet at this point
would i recommend this tea?: yes would be good for aging
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Mineral, Peat, Stewed Fruits, Wood
two 15 second rinses
let sit with lid on for 10 minutes
dry leaves smelled lightly of peat
wet leaves smell stewed fruits and a hint of baked bread and peat
lid smells like caramelized sugar slight mint and very very light earth
tea liquor smells like peat and brown sugar maybe slight fruitness
first steeping :45 sec
light peatyness and a hint of stewed fruit very lightly bitter maybe just
a hint of sweetness on the tongue a little earthy slight dark chocolate taste on the back
of the tongue
second steeping: 30 sec
lighter flavor but more viscous the peatiness is there
the dark chocolates number comes in stronger with a sweetness that
sticks to the teeth more of the damp earth notes are coming through in the back ground
maybe slightly woody. leaves a thick feeling on the tongue. huigan is nice slight wet hay
third steeping: 1:00 minute
the peat note come through up front in this steeping followed by the chocolate notes
there is a stoney note here. like licking a rock. maybe thats minerality
the earthiness comes and goes in this steeping. it is fleeting sometimes and comes
back. the hui gan is light and sticks to the teeth almost tastes exactly like honey
fourth steeping: 1:30
the earth and stone flavors take over here no peaty note
sour bakers chocolate note on the tail end of the tea
aver slight hint of a metal note. not unpleasant huigan on the sides
of the teeth
fifth steeping: 2:00
color of tea liquor is starting to lighten at this point the earth and wood take over
at this point with a slight metallic note on the back end. very lightly though
slight nuttiness with a somewhat hay like after taste
sixth steep 2:30
tea is spent at this time the chocolate note is predominant at this time
the sweetness really comes through at this point generic shou taste at the end
doesnt really feel as thick this time nothing much else to say
would i recommend this tea?: yes if you keep it well hydrated and maybe age it a little in a pumidor
Flavors: Baked Bread, Earth, Mineral, Nutty, Peat, Stewed Fruits, Wood
Impressions after one session: The tea is only 1 year old at this point so of course a fermentation flavor is present in the form of a distinct licorice note, strongest in the first steep, later mostly in the aftertaste, but not at all offensive to me. The tea tastes of coffee and chocolate, sweet and warming, especially when the steep times are pushed a little bit. Less earthiness than I expected. Hint of menthol/mint in the aftertaste. The liquor does not feel particularly viscous and its color range from coffee to reddish brown depending on steeping time. The wet tea leaves has a distinct nutty smell but very little earthiness. The dry cake smells very clean and pleasant. There is nothing offensive or funky about this tea. I got about 6 really good steeps out of this, then it went downhill but still perfectly drinkable for another couple of infusions.
This is a very friendly tea and I enjoyed drinking it quite a bit. I paid $25 USD for a 357 gr bing and at that price I find it to be fabulous value for money. I suspect this tea will benefit from a few more years of storage but it’s good even as it is. I shall consider buying a few more bings for later. A great daily drinker.
Brewed gongfu. Water @ 95C. 7 grams in a 90 ml yixing pot. Steep times about 5/5/10/10/15/25.
Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Licorice, Nuts