03 September, 2007

2007 Shuangjiang Mengku

Many thanks for the e-mails regarding blogging from China, and especial thanks to MarshalN for recommendations in Maliandao. As Lei reminded me today, that is only a subsidiary reason for my journey - but it will be good to get it right. Pertinent links for the traveller to Beijing interested in tea include:

Moving swiftly on, thanks to Gordon for actually including the neifei with this one. Are the coloured backgrounds a touch cheesy? You decide...

"Scottish Mountain" @ 100C in 10cl shengpu pot; ~8-9g leaf; 1 rinse

Dry leaf:
Greener than the "blue" tea, and with larger leaves, there are many tips present. A satisfying grape aroma is intermingled with deeper mushroom scents. The photograph doesn't really do justice to what is a slightly prettier cake than the previous.

3s, 3s, 5s, 7s, 10s:
More yellow in its soup than orange, and quite cloudy in comparison to the "blue", the beidixiang is low and long, leading into a sweet lengxiang of brown sugar.

The first impression is the smooth texture, which makes its initial mushroom flavour seem quite viscous. Like the "blue" cake, this is sweet in the finish, but is more dark - the sweetness of honey, in comparison to the previous sugary sweetness. Again, there is a tangy huigan. The whole affair is quite self-contained, not stepping too far in any one direction, but it maintains a gentle, pleasant overall effect.

I was expecting my attention to wander, but the refreshing nature of the sweetness kept me fairly well entertained, even if this isn't going to win any prizes for complexity. After five infusions, the tea felt as if it could happily continue, though I stopped.

Wet leaf:
3cm spring leaves in whole, good condition back up the observations of the dry leaves. Pure green, with no crazy processing, makes for a refreshing change given the modern environment.

Overall:
The appeal of a simple, honey-like tea combined with the decent leaves gives me a fairly favourable impression of this cake. A bit of light fun for the evening - my einekleinenachtmusik.

12 comments:

Hobbes said...

From John:

Overall most promising of the 3, pleasing mix of colours. Generally good size leaf. No foreign matter in the mix.

One infusion to clean .. 6 infusions .. 7th infusion exhausted the leaves

Soup; strong yellow/green, but, dull & lifeless colour.

Initial aroma was a citrus that gave way to a sour “cabbage” smell, unpleasant.

Taste: slightly bitter, too young to provide any meaningful indicators. An almost immediate drying of the mouth, with no taste on the tongue.

Wet Leaves: good size and composition well formed, nice green luster, no negative indicators.

shichangpu said...

my notes:

125 ml gaiwan, full boil water.

initial infusions show promise: some depth, some sweetness emerging. 2nd/3rd infusion, a hint of bitterness, opening into my throat. subsequent infusions, however, losing complexity and strength fairly quickly. a bit disappointing, but i will have to return to this to try different brewing approaches, as i remain hopeful.

mike

MarshalN said...

Really, it's only a subsidiary purpose of your trip? No way

Hobbes said...

I am distraught to announce that a fair proportion of each day will be spent listening to speeches on neural networks, and complexity theory. :(

~ Phyll said...

Did you get a green tea / oolong taste and smell on the red sample? During the tasting of this sample, I can't help but being reminded of oolong in smell and green tea in taste (as well as bitterness). Maybe I'm going tea crazy.

Anonymous said...

Not bad. Very green. extracted at about:

3, 5, 5, 5, 10, 20.

Cloudy, but not as harsh as it looked. I like the processing, but its a bit weak. Not much of a problem, however, as I found it very drinkable. A little boost, but nothing to give me the shakes.

-ian

Hobbes said...

Dear Phyll,

I checked over my notes, and didn't get any of the aroma or taste you noticed there - unfortunately, I've posted on the remainder of my samples to someone else and so cannot revisit it!


Dear Ian,

Thanks for the notes! "Drinkable", I think, is a good summary.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

vl. said...

My impression:

Decent looking leaf. Fair energy, very simple and pale, sweet. Long aftertaste, but unexciting. Perhaps this tea is heavily blended, though it does seem to be reasonable well processed.

Like all three this tea is on the milder side of Pu-erh and hence I wouldn't rate this or Blue too highly. But if they're cheap they might make a good daily drink.

-vl.

xdustinx said...

100ml. gaiwan, 6.0g, 10s, 15s, 25s, 40s, 65s, 90s. Liquor was a typical young sheng color. Aroma had notes of sweetness, wood, smoke, vegetables, and a little bit of spice. Taste had notes of wood, fruit, butter, and bitterness. This tea actually had some huigan. Mouthfeel is thin and watery. No qi noted. Probably the best of three, but still not great.

iwii said...

This tea is a bit odd. It has some good points, I liked the juicy aftertaste, and there was some qi too, but I am not sure everything is right either: the tea was mainly one-dimensional and lacked some throat-feel sensation.
I can't really make up my mind, and that reminds me of the discussion I had on MarshalN's blog today, about lincang teas that I have lots of difficulties to assess. I am wondering if this tea is not from lincang too. I am not so sure because it has some bitterness that I never really encountered with the lincang I tasted before.
All in all, I believe the quality is fair, but the tea is not really to my taste.

speakfreely said...

My last of the 3 DTH/Half-Dipper tastings. The dry leaf is markedly smaller, younger material than either Blue or Green, with lots of silver tips and bud hair. It smells very green, almost damply, rankly, so; this is either an '07 or '06 vintage. The compression is tighter the other two teas, and if it weren't for the large, flat beeng chunk I'd received, I'd have guessed this to be tuo cha.

Light wood-sap aroma comes and goes in the wengxiangbei, giving way later to a very sweet and strong lengxiang. Similar to Blue in this regard. Murky light yellow soup. Immediate silky mouthfeel, some ku in the background, and a vegetal taste on the outbreath. Enjoyable, but not terribly complex, and nothing to indicate that complexity might develop. A few more infusions will tell us. Ku emerges strongly in the second infusion, still that nice silky mouthfeel. Huigan is mild, quite delayed, and rather saccharine. Still, the question "What is it?" remains. I am going to guess: Mengku Rongshi Spring Tip Pu-erh Bing 2007?

In order of personal preference: Blue, Red, Green. But none of these teas really motivate me to go out and seek them. I look forward to finding out what they are.

Brent said...

Hmm, I seem to be doing these in the exact opposite order you did. I wonder if there's a trend in which color(s) were picked first? Anyway, here are my notes, as superfluous and lacking in substance as usual:

Dry Leaf:

Similar to the "green" sample leaves; consisting of greens, browns, and off-whites; though a bit more leaves fell into the brown range. This wasn't compressed as much as the green sample, and was mostly loose when I opened the bag. The aroma in said bag was pleasantly mellow and sweet, smelling of mushrooms (no tobacco or much else, from what I could gather).

Parameters:

8.1g leaf; 100mL gaiwan; filtered tap water (boiling); rinse, 11s, 15s, 14s, 12s, 10s, 11s

Liquor:

I didn't like this tea too much— it seemed quite fickle about steep time, and I frequently (read: all but twice) ended up with a strongly bitter and harsh brew. When the harshness wasn't dominant, the liquor tasted mostly of tobacco with a hint of mushrooms, which was quite a change from the dry leaf. Steven noted a similar difference between the liquor and the wet leaf, and I think he puts it best: "The wet leaves were like a spring time air while the brewed tea was like an autumn forest." There was usually a gently sweet hui gan, though this was masked in some of the more intensely bitter infusions. I should also note that there was a good amount of particulate in the cup and a sludge-like suspension left in the bottom of the cup after each infusion.

Unlike with the green sample, I didn't have a very strong reaction to the cha qi of this tea. I felt the same sort of head heaviness, but no warmth whatsoever. To be fair, I did assume a more leisurely pace through this tasting, so that may have had some effect, but I doubt it was entirely due to a delay between a couple of infusions. This cha qi stuff sure is mysterious.

Conclusion:

Though I liked this more than the majority of the shengpu I have tried, it wasn't my favorite, especially after trying the green sample. This red sample was much more temperamental, and generally less stimulating than the green.