úterý 27. srpna 2013
2006 Mengku brick (Chawangshop)
About a year ago, I received a Mengku brick from Chawangshop. It was bitter, not that great, but cheap ($15). I threw it into one of my puerh boxes for "future check". The moment came a couple of weeks ago annd I had this tea several times from back then. Why have I decided to write about it? The reason is a simple one - it became really rather very nice. When I discussed it with Honza of Chawangshop, he suggested that the tea left its storehouse at the time he sent it, so it probably just needed time to open up. And open up it did!
The leaves, when rinsed, give an aroma of wood, herbs, grain and fruit. The aroma as a whole is sweet, wide and full - not hollow at all, which can't be said about all Mengku teas.
Given that this is a Mengku tea, it is quite thick, which is good. The taste has two faces, at least. The first spectrum is "classical Mengku" - a mixture of camphor, overripe fruit and wood (e.g., as tasted in pre-2004 Xiaguan 8653). The second spectrum contains the aspect of the first one, but it also contains a lot of sweet granary taste, forest honey and herbs. How do those two faces coexist? Quite simply. The first one is a result of using filtered (or unfiltered) tap water, while the latter is a result of stove water being used.
Anyway, both taste profiles are rich and good, I enjoy both of them. A slight danger that appeared in a tester preparation was hints of red fruit and hemp, which some miserably dry-stored teas have in ample quality... well, I hope it does not happen here too. But it should not, if the tea receives sufficient humidity, I think.
The tea needs some care to keep its stamina. Until I found my way to it, it tended to become a bit too dry and bitter from 4-5th steeping on. However, this can be compensated by steeping times and especially used water - a great benefit is gained here with stove water.
Pleasant minty cooling finish is a bonus, on the other hand, the qi is only mild. It won't drain you, of course, but it is hardly a "qi beast", this tea.
Overall, this tea is something of a steal - at $15 per 250 brick, one can not expect much and this tea provides a good and rather rich taste & mouthfeel on top of that "not much". It is, of course, below the league of fancy gushu cakes. But when one gives up some inner energy of a tea (which I have no problem with - I don't want to drink killer teas all the time), this is a very pleasant tea. Plus, it is, at least for me, definitely more enjoyable than almost all <$40-50 cakes made these days.