Menghai Tea FactoryEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
A deep ruby-colored soup was the result of the first few steeps. The leaves have a mellow wooden aroma and the taste of the brew rhymes to these sensations: wood-like, mellow, peppery, savory notes.
Flavors: Pepper, Savory, Woody
Another sample from Puerhshop and one of the famous MGH recipes. Definitely a calming easy drinker. Trace bitterness. Absent astringency. Apparently this has been dry stored for much of its life, but is still quite nice and shows some age.
A nice tea I could see being a daily drinker. But at $0.16/g for a cake, I’m on the fence. I might rather go with one of W2T’s newer cakes that are closer to $0.20/g. If this cake were in the $0.10-0.12/g range or sported more complexity, I’d certainly buy one. But I’m tempted and might end up getting one anyways because I could see it getting significantly better with some time and TLD (tender loving dampness).
Full mouthfeel for a sheng. Like drinking a watered down gel. Longevity was 15+ infusions. Honey and white grapes take quite a bit of time to show their heads at the 10th infusion. Given the age and concomitant lack of bitterness, I might try hotter/longer steep times to ramp up flavor development speed.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Nutty, Pepper, Sweet, White Grapes
Dark liquor after 20 sec infusion to start, keeping the water temp low with this one and being careful with the brew.
Getting a sourness or tartness on first sip, drying sensation through the whole mouth with longer finish. It’s strong (11g to 150mL,) but not unpleasant. In fact, I’m finding it quite enjoyable. Later steepings lighten up a bit, but I’m balancing that with a longer time.
As said above, it’s easy-drinking and enjoyable. Maybe not standout great but a solid choice.
Received as a sample.
Washed leaves have a pickled or brined vegetal note, not quite vinegar but close.
Single wash on these.
Infusion 1 – 205F at 15 Sec
Mellow and mild, a bit of shengy tang, we will see if it opens up. Pretty good mouth feel or at least it is not abrasive. Super mild astringency and drying effect.
Infusion 2 – 212F at 20 Sec
Staying mild, a little bit of tang that lingers on the tongue. It’s an easy an approachable tea just one-dimensional. I actually dig that approachability.
Infusion 3 – 210F at 35 Sec
Pulling a bit more flavor out of this with heat and time, it’s tangy without being overpowering. Just pretty plain or straightforward, nothing new developing.
Getting more bitter, not in a bad way, with maybe a smokiness? Kind of a mao cha feeling, I can dig it. There’s a subtle sweetness on the finish too. I would call that a sense of complexity. Just not depth.
The same pleasant bitterness persists, the leaves have legs too if you’re into continuing the steeping.
Overall, not great, not terrible. It’s good.
Flavors: Astringent, Bittersweet, Drying, Tangy
This was one of the teas that was in the Liquid Proust “puerh exploration kit for newbies,” which I signed up for in 2018. The label was simply “Dayi 7572 2007” but this is probably the only one of the bunch I received that had cryptic labels that I think I’ve correctly tracked down and don’t have to put on Random Steepings. (Of course, I could still be wrong!)
I’m using this tea for the monthly prompt “A tea from a place you’d like to visit.” Not because I actually want to visit China (which isn’t even on my short list) but because, the other day, my friend Todd was talking about going to a Santa Cruz teahouse called Hidden Peak Tea for his graduation, and it made me realize how badly I want to go back to that area and visit him. This tea is offered at Hidden Peak Teahouse in Santa Cruz, so I’m using that as my connection.
180ml (mini teapot) | 8.45g | 205F | Rinse/10s/15s/20s/25s/30s/35s
Gong fu. Brewed the first steep a little longer than intended. The tea smells warm, spicy, and subtly smoky… mineral earth and leather aromas. On first sip I get a strong peppery leather impression, with that sort of marshy taste I don’t care for in puerh sort of subtly hiding in the background, though the edges are smoothed out and it isn’t coming off as abrasive swamp water. A bit of smoke mixes with the spiciness at the end of the sip. It stayed pretty consistent from steep and steep, aside from that “marshy” taste getting stronger, which led to me being progressively less into it. Perhaps I’m not cultured enough to properly get flavor notes from teas like this, but I think I’ll make the remainder of the leaf western style, as I honestly didn’t really notice much difference brewing gong fu. I only went six steeps until my water ran out, and was pretty over it by that point.
I’ve never been much of a pu’erh person, and while I’ve definitely had some way worse than this, I’ve also had some I was more impressed by… pretty average feelings here.
Flavors: Earth, Leather, Mineral, Pepper, Smoke, Smooth, Spices, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Rocks
First 3 infusions:
Sharp, herbal, aged wood, slightly medicinal and cooling. Vanilla, yeast. The soup is clear and mineral, sticky, woody and dry. Delicate sweetness, subtle and sharp bitterness. No much aftertaste. There’s an aged flavour, like old furniture. Generally light and smooth. I’m doing long infusions (±30sec).
The soup darkens significantly. Aroma gets slightly more herbal/balsamic, then returns to the bakery and vaguely fruity. I find it complex and balanced. Liquor stays light and smooth, coating the mouth gently with aged wood and burned sugar. Now more sweet and quite pleasant to drink. Not much going on in the aftertaste. There’s something that I guess can be called “sticky rice flavour”, but it doesn’t remind me of rice that much.
8 – 9
More like flat wood aroma at this point. Soup less sweet and thin, more herbal and drying.
The qi here is mildly stimulating, with tension in the chest and arms. I didn’t get more than that.
My first or second (I can’t really remember the first, I was too drunk) shou I’ve tasted, so take this with a grain of salt:
Aroma is like shoving your face into a pile of old sweaters at a vintage shop. A stale piece of bittersweet baking chocolate found at the bottom of your grandmother’s leather purse. Someone made pancakes yesterday and left them in the glove box of your ‘64 mustang overnight. There’s a faint hint of earthy floral spice like nutmeg or saffron.
Flavor is mellow, dull, a little sweet, with a vague hint of astringency in later/longer steeps on the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and leaves a sort of chalky sensation, not unlike raw chocolate.
Probably not my go-to style of tea, but I can appreciate it.
Flavors: Cacao, Clay, Earth, Leather, Mushrooms, Musty, Nutmeg, Saffron, Smooth, Thick
I bought this tea (together with a 2010 7572) I think in 2018 from someone who had bought it on a trip to China. The price was good for me, around 35$ for the two cakes.
I don’t really know what to think of it. It has some nice fruity aspects and some smoke and bitterness. Also it seems to be acquiring some warming basement-like aromas, which I like. Not sure if those were already there when I bought it. But this tea isn’t really sweet and also the texture is pretty thin. The brew has a typical orange color of semi-aged pu-erh.
2006 8582 <601> batch. Taiwan aged. Very nice with some dried fruit in the rinse along with some floral. Got some bite on the back end. probably due to the bigger leaf or some BuLang mixed in there. Sweeter as the cup cools a bit. I seem to prefer these and 7532’s over the 7542’s. Maybe these aren’t as hyped and stay more affordable longer.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Fruity, Sweet
I was lucky enough to get an 8g sample from Bana tea. Wow whoever added the hazelnut notes is right on the nose. This is so smooth and delicious with real nocciola/hazelnut flavor (think a really high quality nutella).
Flavors: Hazelnut, Nutty, Smooth
To my surprise, rinses had a quite a bit of wo dui funk but it was gone soon in the session. It continuously released a small amount of sediment so a pitcher for decanting is advised, though I consider this a minor issue.
Zero bitterness or astringency. It’s probably one of the smooothest shous I’ve had. It’s dark, very regular through steeps even if there are interesting shifts in notes. Complexity is good but placed within a narrow band of the spectrum. Progressing through the steeps it opens up going from wet forest, wood profile to more on flowers and cherries.
The smoothness is deceiving. It seems and tastes mild and subtle but hours after the session and I still have aromas lingering around. Qi… if there’s any I’d say is calming, I don’t feel caffeine anywhere.
So far, liking it a lot. Pretty much at the gravity center of what a classic menghai shou is with all it’s earth, forest and wood. Will save this one for cosy rainy days.
Flavors: Cherry, Earth, Rainforest, Wet Wood
This review is for a cake ordered and opened in mid January 2019. Firstly with it fresh opened and secondly after a two month resting period. I have a second cake that is going to age at least an additional 2 years but it will be a while before I can taste that of course.
Fresh out of the packaging the cake had a nice earthy scent to it and a dark brown coloration to the cake.
After rinsing the tea in my gaiwan the Earthy scent was stronger but not to the point of being overpowering. The first several brews had a nice earthy taste with a Fishy back note that while there, was not intolerable. After about brew 5 the Fishy flavor faded and gave way to Oak and Mushroom notes with the barley as a back note. Steeps after steep 12 saw the mushroom notes intensify and the Oak notes to shift to more of a bark note. I stopped at steep 15 with this batch.
After a two month resting period I tried it again and did see a shift in the flavor profile. The Fishy back note faded much quicker and was absent after around the 3rd steeping. This gave way to a more complex blend of the Oak, Earth, and Mushroom flavors. The Barley notes did make an appearance but mostly in steeps past around the 5th. These flavors actually stayed consistent until the late teens. As an experiment I pushed the leaf all the way up to 30 steeps. Steeps 22-30 only saw a medium earth tone with not much else of note, though it never got bitter and was just generally easy drinking at that point.
I have come to the conclusion that while this cake is fine as is in my very unprofessional opinion I would left it sit for at least 2-3 months after receiving it for maximum enjoyment.
Both times that I tried this cake it was very “high energy” and left me wide awake, even a bit jittery so keep that in mind when you are considering when to have a session with this tea.
Flavors: Bark, Earth, Fishy, Mushrooms, Oak, Roasted Barley
This tea is pretty one note. The tea starts out pretty strong, the drops off quickly after the fifth steep. The taste is creamy wood, with some very small fruit undertones. The smell is very standard for a puerh. The tea feels pretty energizing and calming, though. This is something you could drink for breakfast, but not for much else. Would not recommend, as there are much better options for the price point, although it is a pretty decent daily drinker.
Flavors: Creamy, Fruity, Wood
One of my favorites.
This tea is good to have around. The soup is relatively thick, taste is mellow, creamy, and pretty consistent throughout the sessions. My preferred brewing method in general, and specifically for this tea: gongfu style, relatively little water, in order to sip small amounts each time.
The base notes are pretty consistent throughout the sessions: cream, caramel, brown sugar, some cocoa, tobacco notes.
It’s hard to drive this too hard: from the moment the tea opens, I generally keep steeps at 30 seconds, maybe closer to 1 min. by the end. You can oversteep it and it will still be drinkable. It will just bring the nori-like notes at the forefront. Some dried fruit notes: plums, cherry. Not much astringency, though it develops with the last sessions. You can easily get 6 good sessions with this tea without being a gongfu expert. You might get a little more out of it if you keep the gaiwan very warm, or if you let it simmer in a pan (yes, I’ve tried it).
This tea is not as creamy as other references, such as Hong Yun or 7572. It’s a little drier too: less red fruit-like, more bark or even hints of leather/tobacco.
Definitely a good ripe pu er tea. Since this is from 2009, I would say it’s a “drink now”, but it comes in a pretty compact brick, so you can probably store this for a few more years. This is something I will definitely order on a regular basis.
Flavors: Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Cacao, Caramel, Cream, Dried Fruit, Pleasantly Sour, Plum
This tea is from the first batch of 2016 (hence 1601). I bought this from moylor.com, just to see how they operate, and I must say I’m impressed: speedy delivery, nice packaging, no nonsense. I was more of a raw pu er fan till now, but I am becoming addicted to ripe pu er too. My references are Hong Yun and 7562, both from Menghai. This tea comes fairly close to either of these references: creamy, with hints of red berries, no astringency to speak of, no bitterness even when you drive it a little too hard. And this is from 2016!
It is a little less sweet and red berries-like than Hong Yun. It’s a little rounder, sweeter and creamier than 7562. A very nice tea for the price (I got this for 27 euros, it’s cheaper now). Some hints of camphor can be found, but I’m not sure whether they come from the tea itself or if they are due to how moylor store their tea. I’ve noticed incense on other tea cakes from the same vendor, but it might not be their fault, since they probably acquired a lot of tea from many different operators. No wet pile taste at all. Hints of sticky rice or purple rice.
The good thing is that you can still find 7572 cakes at affordable prices, though Hong Yun is hard to come by, and 7562 seems generally more expensive.
My brewing method of reference is gongfu style, with a smallish gaiwan, 6g to 60 ml. I like to sip this tea, not gulp down a whole mug of it. This tea is pretty easy going: you can get away with sloppy timing of the steeps and just concentrate on enjoying the whole thing.
I would highly recommend this tea. I’m not sure storage will really improve this tea, therefore I would classify this as a “drink now”, though it could probably be stored for some time, in a proper environment. But why go through all the trouble?
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Berries, Chocolate, Creamy, Dried Fruit, Molasses
My first 7542 experience. Didn’t take notes but a great session, lasted many steeps deep with many different elements unfolding in each steep. Nice clean Taiwan storage (c/o Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.) that has really developed the tea but doesn’t have any of the off/musty elements that can turn me off from tea that’s been stored in really humid conditions.
I ordered a 25g sample from Yunnan Craft. They sell an entire cake for $53* (edit) as of 6/30/2018. Their description of their particular cakes follows: “Very well stored tea cake. Scent of the walnuts crushed on the old wooden table comes out from gaiwan within first brew. No any unpleasant taste or throat feeling of dry storage. The dark ruby red tea liquor is thick and sweet with very slight citrus sensation on sides of your tongue which gives nice boost of existing nutty flavor. Tea can be steeped many times. This tea comes from an authorized Da Yi supplier!”
Overall, the sweetness is noticeable – fig, molasses, chocolate toffee. It is a taste I only associate with Menghai ripes. This particular cake has a very developed and multifaceted sweetness. However, I did find the aftertaste to be remarkably light and fleeting. It is a good tea, and an excellent candidate to get to know the Menghai ripe flavor profile.
Dry leaf – molasses, stewed plums, cherry wood, chocolate toffee. Noticeable syrupy sweetness on nose
Smell – hazelnut, prune, dried fig, fig newton, molasses and chocolate toffee, coffee grounds. Fruitiness is noticeable
Taste – fig newton, hazelnut and Brazil nut, chocolate toffee. Creamy in mouth, finishes dry with light woody nuttiness. Aftertaste is light and fleeting
Ok, so I will caveat this review with this brick probably didn’t have the best storage conditions, likely too dry. I have tried to rehydrate it some, and has has improved the flavor, but not enough to really like still. It is mostly a wet wood and wet autumn leaf flavor, with some straggling hints of sweetness. Can’t drink through too many infusions before I want to dump it.