Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Wymm Tea
This shou pu-erh brews with a rich and honey flavor and long-lasting jasmine rice aroma. Full tea leaves from high mountains in Menghai County, located in west of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, are picked to make the tea in 2008. Pu-erh tea has the potential to ferment over time, and this tea has been post-fermented for 6 years since production. Post-fermentation gives the tea vibrant flavours and richer aroma as well as deep wine colour.
Learn more about this tea here.
This Menghai Wangshuji Shou Pu-erh in Seventh Grade 2008 is the fourth of the teas that I was sent by Wymm Tea in their lovely sampler presentation package. These samplers come beautifully wrapped in a milk-carton shaped box. (You can see the box in this review.)
As I’ve mentioned many times: pu-erh just isn’t my favorite type of tea. But, after trial and error, I learned the ways to best brew pu-erh to my liking and I’ve come to appreciate it. It still isn’t my favorite, but I can say that I enjoy pu-erh tea.
When it comes to pu-erh, though, I find that I tend to prefer sheng to shou. What’s the difference? Well, I’m no expert on the subject of pu-erh, but what I’ve come to understand is that sheng tea is raw tea material that has been aged while shou tea is cooked tea material which seems to accelerate the aging process a bit. Why do I prefer sheng? Because while my experience with pu-erh is rather limited (again, I’m no expert!), my limited experience has taught me that shou pu-erh tends to be the pu-erh that sometimes has a briny or fishy flavor and the shou pu-erh tends to be the earthiest tasting (as in, it sometimes tastes of dirt).
But NOT this shou! This is LOVELY! This is so lovely that it has me rethinking my stance on pu-erh!
Sweet! Mellow! Smooth! All those words come to mind as I sip this. I taste no brine, no fish, no strong earthy dirty flavors. Just wonderfully mellow flavors. A sweet honeyed undertone with hints of burnt sugar caramel. I taste notes of earth but not dirt. This is more like damp, woodsy notes, evoking thoughts of a walk through the old-growth forests here in the Pacific Northwest after it rained. (We get some rain up here.)
I also taste very subtle hints of rice. The description of the tea suggests a jasmine rice note, I don’t know if it’s jasmine rice that I taste (I’m very familiar with jasmine rice as it’s my go-to rice in my pantry), but then again, this is only my first cup – perhaps those flavors will reveal themselves in later infusions. For now, I find myself in awe of the beautiful honey notes. So sweet. So delightful.
With my second cup, those aforementioned jasmine rice notes begin to emerge. I taste less of that honey flavor, but more of the sweet rice flavor and that’s quite pleasant. The flavor is still very mellow and smooth but it’s deeper and stronger than the first cup. I taste notes of burnt sugar and rice, hints of flower and a soft woodsy note. I love that there’s not even a hint of astringency or bitterness here. Just lovely!
I enjoyed this tea immensely! The later infusions (I got eight infusions out of this tea!) were just as mellow and smooth – but with each infusion, I found a deeper flavor. I never really experienced any strong earthy notes – bonus! – and I enjoyed a lovely sweetness from the notes of rice and hints of molasses and honey. A truly remarkable shou! This is the shou I’d recommend to someone who has had some unfavorable experiences in the past with shou pu-erh, this tea will change your mind about shou!
Menghai Palace Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea (2008) from Teavivre
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Teavivre
This Menghai Palace Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2008 comes from the typical production area of Yunnan pu-erh: Menghai, Xishuangbanna.
The extraordinary natural environment here not only makes Menghai a renowned place of producing pu-erh, but also brings the unique tea tree here: the Yunnan large leaf species. Our Menghai Palace Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2008 is made of selected tea leaves from the Yunnan large leaf tea trees on Bulang Mountain.
The large leaf species are excellent material for making teas. Plenty of golden buds can be found in this Palace pu-erh cake, which was made of large leaf species. Thus, in ancient times, pu-erh teas of this high grade were limited-offered as tribute to the imperial. Being renowned from the palace, this kind of pu-erh tea tastes quite mellow and full-bodied. The tea was then given the name as Palace Pu-erh.
With the elegant aroma, soft taste and golden appearance, this 2008 Palace Pu-erh is worth trying.
Learn more about this tea here.
Nice! Really, really nice!
I’ve mentioned (many times) about my trials and tribulations when it comes to Pu-erh. But the simple fact is that I do appreciate most pu-erh teas that I’ve tried. I’ve liked more than I’ve disliked. Unfortunately, the ones that I disliked, I disliked early in my ‘tea drinking years’ and so the haunting memories remain.
Back then I didn’t know how to prepare pu-erh properly. Now, I know how to prepare it. I don’t know if it’s the proper way to prepare it according to customs or whatever – but I found the way to prepare it that works for me: I grab my gaiwan and for this particular pu-erh, I ‘eyeball’ measured the leaf after breaking apart some of the larger chunks from the cake into smaller bits. If I had to venture a guess as to how much leaf this actually ended up being, I’d say it was about a bamboo scoop of tea.
Then I added enough hot water (heated to 190°F) to cover the leaves and let them infuse for 15 seconds. Then I strained off the liquid and discarded it. Then I filled the gaiwan with more water (190°F) and let it steep for 45 seconds.
The aroma of the first cup is nutty and sweet. The flavor is sweet, like thinned molasses. There is some earthiness to the flavor, but it’s barely there and something that I only pick up on when I slurp the sip to aerate the liquid on my palate. Otherwise, what I’m tasting is very similar to what I’d taste if I were to take the jar of molasses out of my cupboard and heat it up with some water. This tastes like thinned molasses with hints of wildflower honey.
In other words, it’s sweet. Beautifully, deliciously sweet. So delightfully sweet that before I could finish the above review of the first cup, the cup was empty and I needed to go resteep the leaves!
For this infusion, I would normally add 15 seconds onto the steep time (making it 1 minute) but by the time I reached 45 seconds, the liquid was so dark that I decided that I’d stop there. So this second cup was infused just 45 seconds.
This cup is a little bit earthier than the first cup was. It’s still sweet, but the sweetness is a bit more mild this time around. It’s a very mellow and smooth tasting tea with notes of raw cacao! Wow! Nice. I taste hints of flower in there too, but because the flavor of cacao is prevalent, it is difficult to determine what flower I’m tasting.
With later infusions, I found that the tea became increasingly more earthy. The tea is still sweet, but some of those molasses-y flavors are diminishing with each infusion. Still quite cacao-ish, I pick up on notes of leather, wood and mushroom.
Overall, an enjoyable Pu-erh, although I must admit that I preferred those earliest infusions where the tea was more like thinned molasses and very few earthy notes were detected.
2008 Raw Loose Leaf Pu-erh Yunnan Broad Leaf from ESGreen
Leaf Type: Pu-erh
Where to Buy: ESGreen
The raw material of this tea has been stored since 2008. Now it has been naturally fermented. The aroma is strong with the special raw tea note. But the tea soup is in amber color, mellow, smooth, a little bitter but has very sweet after-taste.
Learn more about this tea here.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always just a little bit leery when it comes to trying a new-to-me Pu-erh. I haven’t been disappointed by a Pu-erh lately, but my first few attempts with Pu-erh some years ago led to an automatic thought that I do not like it. I don’t know if my palate has changed or if it’s that I’ve gleaned information along the way, including better ways to brew teas like Pu-erh. Probably a combination of these two things.
This Pu-erh is a bit different from what I’m used to when it comes to raw Pu-erh… this almost tastes like ripe or Shu Pu-erh as opposed to raw or Sheng, because this is much more earthy than I am used to from a Sheng Pu-erh. It has a strong mushroom-like flavor to it, reminiscent of wild mushrooms. The flavor is mild, and there is a hint of bitterness to this which is also surprising me about this Pu-erh because very rarely do I notice a bitter taste in Pu-erh. It is almost a sour/bitter taste, somewhere in between these two flavors.
The earthiness is a little bit off-putting at first, I will admit. But once I got past that, I was able to discover this very intriguing sour/bitter taste that then morphs into a delicately sweet aftertaste. It’s very interesting and unique … as I said, it’s quite different from any Pu-erh that I’ve tried.
Because this is so unique in flavor, I would recommend this to experienced connoisseurs. It’s really quite lovely and interesting, and I think that those with some experience with Pu-erh would find much to enjoy with this Yunnan Broad Leaf. I don’t know that I would recommend this to those just starting out with Pu-erh because of the strong earthiness of this tea.
This is the first tea that I’ve tried from this company, and I would say that this is a promising start! And, after taking a look around on their website, I must say I’m intrigued, especially by this amazing tea set! OH my goodness – I WANT!