Wednesday, October 11, 2017

2008 Menghai Spring Green Cake 801 & Deliberately Purchasing More Expensive Puerh

Menghai Factory has been producing this recipe of 100% Menghai area spring tea since 2005.  It is a bit nostalgic seeing the wrapper because this cake was a common sight in Korean in the mid 2000s.  Holding it in my hands today, I flashback to a time when I handled it 10 years before.  I actually, kind of, remember the strong vibrancy in the dry leaf odour from way back then but don’t remember ever tasting it, if I ever did.

I purchased this 2008 version from Tuo Cha Tea for $36.00 for a 357g cake ($0.10 /g) not that long ago.  This puerh was also available at Puerhshop and is currently available at King Tea Mall.  Sometimes it actually makes more sense to purchase a cake at a more expensive vendor than a cheaper vendor. 

There are three scenarios where this might be more practical.  The first scenario is when you just want only one cake from a vendor.  It makes no sense by the time you include shipping on that one cake to pay less because after the shipping it is much more than the least expensive vendor.  The second scenario is similar and is just topping off a previous order of a cake when you know is a bit more expensive but is done to reach the free shipping limit on an order (vendors love when we do this).  The third scenario is when the more expensive identical cake could have better, different, or your preferred storage so you are willing to pay more for it.  The point here is that just because an identical puerh is cheaper with another vendor that doesn’t mean it makes more sense to purchase.  Anyhow…

The small leaves carry an odour of faint forest, slight sweetness and typical pureh odour.  These very small leaves are not too fragrant.

I decide to bring out my fat, slow pouring Yixing to push the small factory chopped leaves hard in the first infusions.  I stuff a ton of these little leaves in there as I grin.  I need a bit of a kick early this morning.

Expecting a big front, the first infusion the first infusion starts with a stiff slightly bitter and creamy vegetal barely sweetness.  The mouthfeel has an astringent body.  The returning sweetness is sharp and slightly cooling.  Bitter creamy sweet continues in the aftertaste.  This first infusion is nicely balanced and has a good taste, aroma, and mouthfeel.

The second infusion is more no-nonsense with straight up creamy-bitter-sweet tastes which evolve into a more sharp creamy taste which gives way to the aftertaste.  This infusion has a slightly longer aftertaste where sweet plum and pear tastes emerge on the breath.  The mouthfeel is nice and has a full coating in the mouth.  The Qi is almost instantaneously alerting.  This tea still could use a bit more aging before being consumed as a very mild rawness is felt in the stomach.  Menghai Factory teas tend to need a bit more aging than your average puerh due to an ever present bitterness.  This one is no different.

The third infusion delivers more creaminess and less but still significant bitter.  There is more of an evolving fruit taste here in this infusion.  There is a base taste of green string beans and vegetal notes.  The aftertaste comes together nicely with a swift slightly cooling creamy sweetness with a plumy and pear and other fruity finish on the breath.  The aftertaste is surprisingly long and the fruity interplay is interesting.  The mouthfeel remains solid allowing for the tastes to play out.

The fourth loses some of its bitterness but also some of its creamy sweetness as well.  Flatter vegetal notes are apparent.  The strength is in its long and still interesting aftertaste but a flat note is apparent throughout the profile of this tea now.  Shorter quicker infusion in a smaller pot push out a profile similar to the third infusion here.

The fifth is much the same but now flat fruity notes are apparent in the initial taste where previously there was little up front.  The profile continues to flatten out.  The aftertaste still remains somewhat interesting as a flat cooling sensation and fruit aftertaste is apparent.  A muscatel, grapey taste lingers in the mouth minutes later- as does nice floral notes.  Shorter infusions again fare much better here with a longer, sweeter, fuller profile.

The sixth is much the same very flat initial taste with still some mild tastes in the aftertaste.  The muscatel aftertaste is apparent.  The infusions in the smaller pot still have much vibrancy in them with a profile of sweet pear, florals, slight bitter, and faint muscatel.

The seventh continues the trend of becoming even flatter.  And so this is how it slowly fades in the following infusions.

I think this tea benefited from other sessions with my small, quick pouring David Louveau pot (not pictured).  It gave a totally different effect of stringing out the depth of this tea found in the early infusions in this session with the larger, slower Yixing.  However, today I very deliberately enjoy the vigorous energy pushed from these big factory leaves.

Overall, I like this tea for what it is, and enjoy it as such.  I think this tipper tea has done well with the dry storage and many of the high notes that make this tea interesting have been nicely preserved here.  I have dipped into this cake more than a few times since its arrival and I generally approve of its factory-esque Menghai deliciousness.

I haven't tried a Menghai 0622 in a while.  I think this Spring Green Cake would be a close second to that recipe for those who like the tippier Menghai factory recipes. 



marco said...

Dear Matt, Thanks for this review! I have wondered about this cake for some time, and your review is a big help. Interesting that you compare it with 0622. Would you agree that this Menghai and the 0622 are tippier than the 7542 recipe (7542 from 2003-present, let's say)

Matt said...


Tippier as in more buds and very small leafs probably but definitely more fresh and less deep than 7542.

What is your comparison between these three?


marco said...

I haven't tried this tea, but I have had 0622. I found the 0622 quite tippy and closer to black tea than the 7542. I agree that it was more fresh and less deep than 7542.