13 April, 2008

2001 Chen Guanghe Tang "Mengsa"

One of two "retro" teas branded by Chen Guanghe Tang, this tea is really good.

The leaves (pictured below) have aged well, being dark and wholesome. A hint of shicang [wet storehouse] is about the dry leaves. Mr. Chen clearly pays handsomely for handsome leaves.

A complex toffee scent is to be found in the wenxiangbei, which turns out into a solid orange soup. There looks to be plenty of tea in this cup. Density of "stuff", that's what I'm after.

Truly, this has a delicious flavour: low leathery tones, with some peppery sweetness at the back. I really enjoy Mengsa leaves. It has a slightly thin body, but plenty of effervescence where it contacts the tongue - it's a "live" tea. In the yunxiang [aroma after the swallow], almost a citrus orange. It lingers on the breath, turning my whole body into Mengsa. Yumptious in excelsis.

Acidity. I love acidity, when present in balanced proportion. It gets the mouth watering, and adds an orthogonal dimension of enjoyment to a tea that I yearn for if absent. Alongside all that leather and oak, this tea has plenty of acidity.

This tea has a clear effect on my physiology: calming, slowing, it lowers my heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure. What a relieving tonic...

"This tea is very different", sayeth my wise wife.

I'd love to own some of this tea. At the current £110 / $225 asking price (Houde), I can't see that happening immediately, but it's one for the "buy me this at Christmas, please" list.

(Further notes added to 2002 Fuchaju "Ailaoshan".)


nada said...

hmnnn.... you really seemed to like this and your obvious enthusiasm shows clearly in your writing. It's always pleasant experience to read of someone excited by their enjoyment of a new tea.

I had 2 sessions with this tea, splitting my 10g sample, a month or two ago. At the time I'd intended to write a blog entry about it, but at the end of the sessions I was left feeling quite uninspired to even want to write anything about it.

I did very much enjoy the older cousin of this from the same producer, but remember being slightly disappointed by this one. Perhaps some day I'll have an opportunity to taste it again and giving it a second chance before firming my opinions.

I guess it just goes to show once again how subjective our (tea) experiences really are.


Anonymous said...

I have to concur I am a bit surprised too, as I also found the Mensa a bit thin in general and especially compared to the Yiwu. Your remark about the musty smell (while the Mensa cake is supposed to have been stored in a controlled environment), and the color of the brew which seems much darker than what I obtained make me wonder if the samples were rightly labelled and if you haven't actually tried the 99 Yiwu by mistake...
That's the general problem with 10g samples for young teas: As one cannot revisit them, it makes one's opinion very sensitive to a given external set of parameters.

Hobbes said...

Howdy chaps!

I just realised that I've been lucky enough to have tea sessions with both of you. How about that.

I think I've got some of this sample remaining, so I'll revisit it if so and bear your comments in mind. I recall that I was in a great mood when I tried this tea, and that always guarantees a good time!

Toodlepip both,


Elliot Knapp said...

Totally agree with you about this one, Hobbes. I'm sad that the sample I purchased was only 10g and have resolved to start saving for a cake. Though it's expensive, I may have to say it's one of my top Hou De pu-erh offerings. Hope you get one for Christmas!


Hobbes said...

Santa might be generous!