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Pu'erh Tea
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Cacao, Coffee, Mushrooms
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Edit tea info Last updated by mrmopar
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Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 oz / 97 ml

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From Menghai Tea Factory (berylleb on ebay)

A classic recipe from Menghai, but the first production of 2011 (101). This is an average blend of 6th grade material that was fermented last year, so the cake does not have that just fermented taste, rather it has already mellowed a bit. Another 6 months to a year down the road and it will make even more impovements in taste and liquor clarity. (notes added 2012)

About Menghai Tea Factory (berylleb on ebay) View company

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6 Tasting Notes

676 tasting notes

Thank you mrmopar for this Puerh sample

When I open a box of samples and inside there is all Puerh’s…it’s Christmas in July in Colorado! Wha a treat!
This has never happened before! I am so thankful to mrmopar who must have read enough of my reviews to know that I would be appreciative (which of course I am!).

I’ve been talking to myself about Pu-erh’s lately.
“Self, I said, What do I need to know about Pu-erh and what is just going to make me crazy.”
Here’s what’s important and what’s not for me as a Puerh lover.
1. I am not a collector or a tea professional.
2. Tea companies receive lots of tea samples and only release a small amount for sale. They should have sorted out what’s best for the consumer. (Companies with a direct relationship with their source are my favorites)
3. I buy tea, I drink tea, I write and look for the good in tea.

My job is to find companies that I can trust to bring me the best quality tea experience for the money that I have to spend.
Long lecture I know…but for a reason this time.
I will be reviewing 9 puerh’s from mrmopar over the next week and I have no idea what the year of release and numbers mean. I will drink and write about the tea. It’s all I know how to do.

I was instructed to Rinse this Ripe Shu 20 seconds and Steep 30 seconds.
(Measured 1.5g dark brown bark in a 4oz gaiwan)

Wet Scent:
This was one of the most interesting wet Puerh’s I’ve SNIFFED. (Now that’s the non-snobby way to put it)
1. I do not lie when I say that on the first rinse the wet bark smelled like mulch and chocolate chip cookies. Oh yes!
2. Second steep the scent went to espresso, sage and mild leather.
3. Herbacious
4. Puerh bakery bread, comfy light and warm.

1. Steeped 30 seconds as instructed:
Lovely light amber liquor with a light Puerh earthy sweet scent.

The taste was dry and tarte but not sour. I noticed a cooling late in the sip like camphor. As the cup cooled the classic earthy Puerh richness, sweet and cloaklike bubbled up in a juicy finish. All was light and teasing.

2. Steeped at 30 seconds and the liquor became a quite dark amber.

As soon as the Puerh touched my tongue I could feel the tingle of spice and the furry thickness that I sometimes feel with Puerhs. Something like the bark of a Redwood tree which is pourous and fuzzy. There was a flavor that filled my mouth all tangy like quince paste (membrillo) and lingered on with a tingling sensation and peppery heat.

I put my head back for a moment and thought about the Mission District in San Francisco where I would go to buy long rectangular blocks of Membrillo in regular quince or orange flavor (orange was my favorite). I would serve this almost jell like fruit paste (sounds wierder than it is) cut into 3in x 1/2in rod shapes and stack them with mild white cheese (also cut into rods) in a cross hatch pattern and serve them as dessert at the end of a meal with espresso and chocolates (I was a coffee drinker back then). (Very Latin American treat for the end of a meal). I digress again… (Oh, my kids used to love seeing the pig tails, snouts and heads in the butcher shops in the Mission. Sheeps heads too. Cool kid gross stuff. And the stuff in Chinatown…hanging ducks and black eggs…more cool stuff for kids!)

3. I went off instructions to Steep 1 minute!
This was a pretty dark honey amber coffee brown liquor.
The shot of liquid in my mouth was pure energy first and then a taste just shy of bitter, like the bitterness in coffee beans. An awakening for the taste buds.
The next flavor was cedar, then dryness and after that something astonishing happened.
What should not happen, did happen.
The Puerh became silky smooth and like a wave that hit a wall..reversed coming back forward… spreading the silkiness to the front of my mouth all the way to my lips. I swear it did this! I don’t know what to say?

4. Steeped on a going for broke 3 minute ride!
Nice dark amber colored liquor, earthy scent, sweet and mild.

This should be a Dead Mans Brew. I was thinking that going for broke would be daring and bold.
When I took a big drink, the energy was in the liquor but the tea was surprisingly smooth, sweet and juicy.
This was an elegant sophisticated Puerh that completely caught me off guard. It bore little resemblance to what I was drinking earlier.
The journey through the previous steepings to this one had been like being on a train and stopping at various platforms until arriving at the final destination. A new Country opened up with a vision of it’s own.
Everything about this place took me to my memories of walks at Point Lobos in the Springtime along the Monterey Coast just South of Carmel. Sea Otters playing in the small bay, Cypress Trees all twisty trunked with horizontal branches pointing every which way. The smell of the meadow with new flowers and wild sage. Sea salt, Ponderosa Pine, Redwood and Sand.
Why would a Puerh take me to this place that should be better suited for a Sheng or Dragonwell? Good question!
The sense of a certain place in the memories of a scent, sound or colors….a particular feeling of peace… not just the taste of a particular tea can evoke the connection which is what happened here with me. http://youtu.be/mLtPHZOLKBc

This is a young Puerh from what I gather and is supposed to get better with aging. Oh My!
I think it’s pretty outstanding right now! I understand how aging works and I never could let a good bottle of wine last for more than a year.

Thank you for this lovely Puerh mrmopar!


Yikes! I got carried away! Sorry!


no sorry necessary Bonnie, love your reviews!! :)


Your reviews are captivating!

Charles Thomas Draper

It is a great tea which leads to the great writing


It was a fun time. I do wish that I had more chances to drink tea with others since tea should really be shared. I try my best here.


yay!! i am glad you liked it and your review is much better than mine would be. i five years after it ages some more we will have to break this tea out again!


Awesome review, Bonnie. You have me counting my pennies to see if I can get some of this, now that you have sold me on it! :)


indeed nice way to unwrap the tea’s flavor

Terri HarpLady

Note to self: When you go to Ft Collins, be sure to have dinner at Bonnie’s house!

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290 tasting notes

Today’s tea was this 0532 that I was gifted by The Nameless Steepster. Thank you.

It’s a dark brown mass of leaves in a bag. I forgot to sniff the leaves. Shame on me. My excuse is that I seem to be braindead today. Too much delivering flowers for my wife this morning, methinks. Fortunately, despite the lack of notes on the dry leaf, and my complete inability to type two letters correctly in a row, I am able to get the rest of this down on in 0s and 1s for you to read.

Anyway, the aroma from the wet leaf is a sort of earthy leaf mulch aroma. Quite pleasant really. Not to self: don’t stick nose so close to hot teapot. Ouch! Upon tasting the tea, I am struck by how smooth this tea is. It is really smooth, like they tell you beer is but the beer is never really that smooth. The taste is mineral and earth and the liquor is quite thick, giving the tea a healthy body. There is something else going on as well, a taste I recognise that I cannot put a name too. Perhaps something herby but I really am not sure about that one. Whatever it is, it is really quite pleasant. I like this tea and would be interested to try it again in a couple of years once it has had a chance to age a bit.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

I remember this one. I enjoyed it a great deal and it took me to the redwood forest and into the scent of sage and herbs then the taste of quince. I can’t imagine what the future aging will do for this puer. Ah, you have to have good water for smooth beer…come to my town. Find some New Belgium Brewery Beer.

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3294 tasting notes

First, thank you Bonnie, for this tea!

I’ve had 3 lattes today, & my son Drew & I split a small chocolate from Kakao. It was the size of a quarter & had cacao nibs & matcha in & on it. It was just a small piece of very dark chocolate, which I allowed to melt in my mouth until it was just the nibs. Now I need something grounding & this puerh sounded like it might be just right.

I am a gardener. In my backyard you will found 6 compost piles. Two of them are strictly for leaves (I have 3 pin oaks & various smaller trees). It takes 18 months to break down oak leaves, so the leaves I rake into a retaining area this fall won’t be used until the spring of 2014. They are an awesome addition to the clay-like soil we have here. The other 4 piles are for yard & kitchen waste. Everything starts in the first pile, gradually getting turned to the next pile in the row, hopefully by the time it gets to the last enclosure the compost is ready, thanks to the actions of various factors that cook the contents.

I mention this because Shu Puerh is basically compost, made from tea.
This does not bother me, as I also make sauerkraut & other cultured products at home, which are also ‘cooked’, or predigested by various bacteria, etc. I’m fairly new to puerh, but I understand the science!

So, dry there was an oceanic smell, wet the leaves smell like sea veggies. The tea itself was deeply grounding, mineral tasting, with a color that I can only describe as blood orange.
I steeped per Ms. Bonnie’s instructions, & although I enjoyed each steeping, I’ll say that the latter ones were my favorite, as the flavor got more mineral, more grounding. Just what I needed. Nothing frilly, no sweetener, just an earthy cup & me.


I know, comfort puerh. Good for the tummy. Try one with a little sweetening and you’ll be surprised at the caramel (if the puerh is a bit on the salty side) I use real milk for latte’s sometimes but try your kind of milk (just not rice…blech…).

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I agree, rice milk…yuck! What were they thinking?
I use either coconut milk or almond milk.
I drank it plain this time, because I’d had some sugar & felt the need for an earthy taste, & also because I’m out of Stevia! In fact, right now I’m trying to motivate myself to go to the grocery store…I’ve been avoiding it all week…might as well get it over with (now that I’m out of Stevia! With Stevia I can almost live on tea)

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261 tasting notes

First infusion:
When I stick my nose into the cup, I get the scent of mushrooms, clear and bright and not too musty. Liquor is the colour of black coffee. Tastes slightly bitter on its own, but in a rousing way again like black coffee, or bitter chocolate. But it pairs well when drunk with my slightly sweeten black rice + grass jelly breakfast.

Second infusion:
It’s fine with milk, not revelational or anything probably because the bitterness clashes a bit. I think sweeter Pu ers tend to go better with milk.

This Pu Er might taste better with a savoury meal.

Third infusion:
Ate it with a banh mi sandwich. Really nothing special. I won’t be buying the full size of this tea.

Rating: 79

Flavors: Cacao, Coffee, Mushrooms

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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14 tasting notes

Material seems to be pretty middle-of-the-road quality. Lots of yellow stem.
Dry smell: mulchy, kinda fish food-y, a lot of fun!
6g, 75ml porcelain gaiwan
98C, 5s rinse
Wet smell: not really getting anything, to be honest.
98C, 5s: watery, I’ll brew it longer
98C, 15s: much more rich color. okay, maybe a mild smell of chocolate chip. maybe. mostly lack of pungency. definitely some camphor notes in the smell, like cooling in the nose after you sniff. tastes a little sour (in the beer sense) to me. not impressed with the strength of the flavor. I’ll infuse for even longer I guess. really watery mouth feel, some fullness but mostly side-of-mouth and after swallowing.
98C, 30s: same everything. I guess i’ll brew it till the dogs come home.
98C, 90s: seemed to really like being brewed forever. 60s into the brew the first sign of oxygenation of the leaves (CO2 bubbles escaping the gaiwan lid). took until 90s for the water to begin receding. Still no real standout scents for me.

Not sure what to say about this tea. It just didn’t do it for me. After reading previous reviews I have to think that maybe I just broke off a stemmy bit of the cake and didn’t get a chance to really enjoy the scents of it? But the dry leaves smelled really interesting…

Oh well, you can’t like them all.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 75 ML

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