Thursday, May 5, 2011
1997 Menghai "7542 Orange Mark"
This sample was sent compliments of Daniel at The Chinese Tea Shop. The dry leaves have a faint sour fruit odour to them as well as a very unnoticeable dry storage smell. When the water is boiled it makes its way over the dry leaf, embracing it, rising it. Then the first infusion is prepared...
It delivers a very soft, buttery, slightly floral upfront taste that is not so sweet. It has a somewhat greeny wood, earth base to its flavour. It slowly turns into a very soft and creamy caramel. The aftertaste has very light, not that full, barely earthy, caramel taste. The mouthfeel is soft like moss in the mouth.
The second infusion comes on with a soft, creamy, earthy mineral taste. There are light undercurrents of caramel with very subtle returning floral plummy sweetness. The aftertaste develops into an earthy almost plummy taste in the mouth. Spots of subtle coolness come up as a cool barely floral menthol on the breath. A throat feel develops as a mossy sensation dwells in the top middle of the throat. The third infusion is very much like the second. The chaqi that develops is mild, tranquil, and calming with just a slight warmth sauntering about through the body.
The fourth infusion presents with that creamy buttery smooth start with a taste that is not that powerful nor sweet. It turns into a mineral, almost coco, taste before adding a lingering caramel sweet note that lingers in the aftertaste. This tea is soft and smooth all the way through from mouthfeel to flavour, smell and qi.
The fifth and sixth infusion show more of its greeny wood base as the initial flavours of mild creamy earth carry almost no sweetness. There is a faint floral plum caramel taste in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel supports the overarching smooth feeling of this tea.
The seventh infusion carries a mineral-earthy-wood initial taste which has lost most of its creamier tones. The taste shuffles to dry wood with an almost unnoticeable coolness to it. The aftertaste turns into a flat dry wood.
In the eighth infusion light green wood tastes are mostly noted. There are back notes of caramel notes that are hardly sensed and trickle into a dry wood taste. There is also touches of mineral and spice that are faint and mostly present as the first tastes are registered.
The infusions that follow contain a very light plummy wood taste that fades away on the breath. The next few infusions share very light flashes of spice and soft smoothness but all fade away quickly to a green woody taste. The mouthfeel here is isolated to the front of the mouth. This tea fades away fast and by the twelfth infusion it is just a memory- these tasting notes and a touch of plummy water.