01 May, 2008

2004 Shuangjiang Mengku "Daxueshan"

All-of-a-sudden, it seems every brand has a Daxueshan [Big Snow Mountain]. Many thanks to ST for kindly sending this from the Orient.

We have small leaves abound (as below), some red/orange with age, and an excellent aroma of sweet pu'er. My dear wife and I pass the chunk of tea between us, taking enthusiastic sniffs. The sample looks as if it is the corner of a brick.

A satisfying orange/brown soup (seen below) already shows signs of age. A spicy, peppery and enduring scent leads into complex peaty flavours, with a sweet note above it all. There is plenty of chunky tobacco (which regular readers will know I adore), and a good huigan. Overall, there is plenty in the mouth, coupled with a vibrant, lively texture on the tongue.

This tea is like a younger version of that style familiar to old teas. That is, all old school teas seem to be of a very similar style: this style. It causes me to wonder how the various modern styles will turn out in several decades. With modern pu'er being so varied, I am fairly sure that no-one yet knows the answer to this puzzler. I'm looking forward to finding out.

Turning out the wet leaves into the chahe (shown below), many of them look green (as one would hope), but some are red, as if all-over oxidised - in the hongcha style. I wonder if a portion of these malty hongcha-processed pu'er leaves have been blended in to provide an additional kick to the flavour, and perhaps an artificial step up the aging ladder.

The result is very pleasant. It's not going to rewrite the history books, but it's good enough to get me interested in owning a cake of this for our shelves. Mengku teas - always reliable.

August, 2013

At the time of writing, it is August.  Last month, in July, my Singaporean teachum, ST, and his family came to visit me at my college as he passed through following his daughter's graduation.  We drank the overbrewed Assam to which my college is dedicated, and generally had a nice time.

As a gift, ST gave me an entire cake of this delicious shengpu, of which he had kindly given me a sample some five years ago (described above).

"Qizi tea biscuit"!  I love the notion of a bing being a "biscuit".  While the usual translation "cake" is quite close to the Chinese meaning, the word "bing" usually refers to "pancakes" in everyday life.  So, perhaps we should be referring to "tea-pancakes".  That has a special feel, does it not?

Tea-pancakes for everyone!

N.B. "Qizi" is approximately "tchee-tzer", as I'm sure you know by now.

This has the humid scent of everything that I have come to love about Singaporean tea (that is, Chinese tea stored in Singapore).

The leaves are now a warm, dark brown.

The soup, half a decade later, is heavy orange.  Its humidity is less pronounced in the soup than in the dry leaves; it has some sweet, straw-like character left over from its youth, and therefore manages to strike a complimentary balance between dry- and humid-storage.  The body is smooth; the first infusion is a little quiet, as it comes up to speed.

This swells to a heavy, tar-like sweetness in the second and subsequent infusions, testimony to its proper storage.  The thickness of the soup and the pleasing sharpness in the finish keepme glued to the tea-table.

It has the fragrant woodiness of some of my older cakes.  It remains strong, wonderfully woody, and is a gift deeply appreciated.  Thanks again to ST, both for the visit, and for this charming cake.


nada said...

I too have had pleasant experiences with the Shuangjiang Mengku brand. Of note for me have been their 2007 Organic Lincang bing and their 2007 Wild Arbor King, both available from YS.

As you mentioned, neither of these will rewrite the history books, but they're both inexpensive, honest, good everyday teas.

I was chatting to Scott (YS) a week or two ago about this brand. It was interesting to hear that, for some unknown reason, their teas escaped much of the speculation of recent years. As a result the prices have been reasonably stable, and more in line with the actual value of the leaves.

I haven't tried any bings from the lower end of their range, I'm sure we may find one or two there which would disappoint, but in general I've got a fairly good feeling about this brand.


Bill said...

Ahhh, my old friend tabacco! I have enjoyed Mengku's Snow Mountain pu as well. I have the '06 vintage and I hope that it will also transform into a slight tabacco as I truly love it.



Hobbes said...

Dear Nada,

I rather fancy trying the Wild Arbor King - I guess that's the Qiaomuwang? "Honest" is spot on!

It is interesting to read that Shuangjiang Mengku escaped the price bubble - maybe it's because they're humble. I like humble teas. :)

Dear Bill,

Wow, I didn't realise it was generally available - ST, who kindly sent this sample, also mentioned that it was hard to find. Whence cometh thy mighty DXS?

Toodlepip both,


Hobbes said...

P.s. Oh wait, there it is at Yunnan Sourcing - silly me. £15/$29 looks like a decent price - how did you find that 2006 DXS, Bill?

Bill said...

Hello Hobbes, It was an offering from Gordon on Ebay at Dragon Tea House around a year ago. :)

Hobbes said...

Dear Bill,

Thanks for the note - I should have guessed. Back then, I remember DTH were one of the few vendors selling it, if not the only one - non?