Mengding Mountain Rock Essence (2009 Pre-Qing Ming)

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Ryan MacMichael
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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From Tea Trekker

Mengding Mt., Sichuan Province, China Pan-fired Bird’s Beak style Steely, crisp, & fresh tea flavor Pure, clean aroma Clear straw liquor

Mengding Mountain Rock Essence is a fine, thin, plucked bud that is manufactured as a green tea, not a yellow tea like its cousin Mengding Mountain Snowbuds. This is still an early spring tea, made from buds that are brimming with the vigor of tea bushes beginning their growth cycle. Rock Essence tea is made from the buds of tea bushes that grow at a higher altitude than Snowbuds, in a terroir that is more spare. The soil is thinner, the area more rocky and overall this location is colder and more remote. Hence the name is an appropriate one for a tea that reflects the solid nature of its stony, sparse surroundings.

This tea is exceptional among Chinese green teas and is not always available. It has a concentrated and beguiling piquant ‘rock’ flavor that also suggests windswept pines and the frosty chill of early spring mornings. Rock Essence is not a soft and sweet tea – it has a steely spine like a great Reisling wine. You can taste the effects of high altitude and thin air in this tea just as one can taste it in a Himalaya-grown tea, such as a 1st Flush Darjeeling tea. Rock essence needs several infusions to show off its deep-rooted flavor profile.

This mountain on the Tibetan Plateau in NW Sichuan Province is likely the birthplace of cultivated tea. Mengding Mountain is northwest of Mt Emei, one of the four sacred mountains in Chinese Buddhism. We fell head over heels for this tea the first time we drank it in 2004 at the monastery on Mengding Mountain.

Steep 2-3 infusions at 2 minutes each.
Water temperature should be 170° – 180° F

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4 Tasting Notes

25 tasting notes

This tea is a mixed bag for me. I didn’t taste any nutty flavor as other reviewers did. What I did taste was a buttery aftertaste with a very astringent flavor.

The astringency isn’t really pleasant, but it isn’t too bad either. It may turn some people off though. My wife definitely didn’t like it. It kind of reminds of the astringency of drinking a Darjeeling for example.

What is really odd is that the buttery taste seems to remind me of an orchid or green Oolong. Which is definitely good.

I’m torn between two flavors here….The astringency turns me off but the butteriness keeps me drinking.

I brewed this tea using the instructions. I brewed the first two infusions for two to three minutes at a temperature of around 175. I brewed the third time for 5 minutes with the same temperature.

I wouldn’t say I will never drink this tea again, but after this sample is done I definitely won’t buy anymore of this.

If you like the astringency of a black tea mixed with the buttery taste of a greener Oolong wrapped up in a green tea package this tea is for you.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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62 tasting notes

This tea has a nice bold, nutty taste to it.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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64 tasting notes

Brewed this one as suggested. Bold flavor (the brand’s description as “steely” is quite appropriate) that held up over three steepings. Very nice.

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