pondělí 19. března 2012

2004 Shi Kun Mu Menghai

Let us have a short look at another Shi Kun Mu cake available from Chawangshop today.

The pressing is medium, it is easy to break this tea apart.

Menghai... the home of universal sheng and of even worse things. I still remember my first meeting with "Menghai minituocha superior" - 5g minituos consisting of neutrino-sized leaf fragmens, tasting like burning tyres with a slight touch of sulphuric acid. With respect to recent experiments in CERN, it is debatable if they went to the trash bin at speed larger than light speed ...but it was pretty close anyway. Although my further experience with tea labelled as "Menghai" was better, it generally fell into the "remarkably unremarkable" category.

 The liquor has similar color to the Yibang cake, not too surprising, given the same degree of pressing and the same age (and probably storage conditions):

Now, the color of the liquor is one of few things these two Shi Kun Mu cakes have in common. As much as the Yibang was tender and subtle, this Menghai is a hardcore tea. After drinking it for the first time (using my usual 9-10 grams), I had a hard time falling asleep, which is mostly not a problem. The taste was so strong and bitter it was not always enjoyable. I find this tea better when less leaves is used, steeping them for a bit longer than usual.

It is what I would call an "universal Menghai champion". It is clearly similar to these countless ranks of universal Menghai cakes/bricks/tuos. Yet, it is more complex and more interesting (and more expensive) than these. It has a nice aroma and feeling of mid-agedness already. I'd describe the taste as mainly nutty, woody and mushroomy (and more pleasant than this sounds). No smokiness or cigarettte smell is present, for which I am grateful. It has a pleasant camphor aspect to it. Fruitiness appears in some brews. The liquor is thick, sufficiently sweet, coats the mouth nicely and gives a very good mouthfeel. The mouth tickling is clear and pleasant.

It is a high-quality tea, although the price is debatable (still better than some modern wannabe fancy productions). I enjoy specific character of another regions a bit more and this cake, although a champion, still rather resembles universal Menghai. Some people enjoy the balance in Menghai blends, but this one is almost too balanced for me.

Not that I would discourage anybody from trying a sample - it is a very nice tea, its problem is not the quality, but the price.

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