Tuesday, October 10, 2017
2008 Menghai “Nu Er Gong Bing” and Sour Puerh
This tea is a premium offering from Menghai Factory using very small tippy leaves. I paid $19.90 for this 200g bing ($0.10/gram) in a recent order from Tuo Cha Tea. The name “Nu Er Gong Bing” suggests that this tea could be used as dowry. I have read somewhere that tea was often used as dowry for some minorities of Yunnan. I noticed that this little bing has since sold out at Tuo Cha Tea (It is available at King Tea Mall for $34.99). I guess lots of people are getting married these days… or maybe the tea is real good… or maybe people are just suckers for xiao bings these days. I guess there is only one way to find out..
Dry leaves smell of sweet light florals in a light forest puerh like odor.
First infusion starts with a very sour initial taste which transitions to mild creamy vegetal sweetness of honey in the mouth. Followed by a floral and slightly creamy aftertaste that is only cooling when you inhale deeply. The mouthfeel is thin in the mouth and the throat feel is pretty non-existent.
The strong sour taste dominates the whole profile of this tea from initial taste to aftertaste making this first infusion unpleasant. It’s not that the tastes are unpleasant, it’s just that this dominating note is unpleasant. This is a sure sign of a semi-adolescent puerh being in an awkward stage of aging and will pass with further aging. Some really dry stored stuff tends to gets like this whereas other dry stored tea never really develops this sour note. I haven’t really figured out why yet…
Let’s see if this over the top sour taste dissipates any in the second infusion… The initial taste opens with a flat, empty, less sour now, vegetal taste which slowly evolves into a singular vegetal creamy floral taste. The mouthfeel is weak and feels a bit dry. The qi presses on the stomach a bit, still a bit too much youthful energy in this one.
The third infusion is very similar but flatter still. The aftertaste in this infusion is much more vibrant with distinct floral notes. The mouthfeel is very absent, a hole that can’t hold any evolving depth of taste if there was any in this tea.
The fourth infusion becomes emptier- the sourness is now diminished but there are no flavours to take its place. The creamy sweetness is gone too and the aftertaste is a flat floral taste with a slight melon fruit edge to it.
The fifth infusion is even more fleeting. The qi of this tea is also empty and a turbid feeling slightly stuffs up the head. It fails the bare minimum by not even offering much of an energy boost.
This tea will never be great but will be drinkable once the sourness turns into an aged taste but for now I put it into deep storage- I will need to add some considerable humidity to this one.
I am surprised by the weakness of this tea- it kind of caught me off guard. This is definitely below the Menghai Factory standard. If someone gave their daughter away and only got this puerh, I think it would, in fact, leave a sour taste in their mouth.