Thursday, August 31, 2017

2006 Shuangjiang Mengku MangBo

I picked up a cake of this tea in my first order from Awazon with a bunch of others in hopes of finding a good, cheap, around 10 years agedpuerh from which to re-order.   I paid $25.80 for this 400g cake ($0.06/gram).  From the scant writings about this tea on the internet I have learned the following about this 2006 Mengku …

This was the first year that the Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Company offered this cake from the MangBo Mountain.  They offered cakes from Mangbo for a few years before discontinuing them, some of them were “Gong Ting” cakes where as others were these ones- two completely different puerh from the same producing region.  The manufacture’s information states that this is a Qingming (before rains) early spring cake from Mangbo Mountain located in the Mengku, Shuangjiang county of Lincang.  The leaves are apparently all from a single, high mountain tea grove of “ancient tea trees”.

This puerh producing area is no doubt famous for completely knocking off the Adidas logo.  In Western tea circles this is pretty much known as Adidas puerh… hahaha.  Despite having this tormented reputation, I could find very little written about these Mangbo cakes.  The only info I found in English about this cake was a glowing review by Dignitea on Steepster.  Sounds promising enough…

Unwrapping the cake my eyes and fingers tell me that this is a wrapper from long ago.  One of those super thin, see through, easily damaged, plain budget brownish wrappers that you don’t see much any more.  I appreciate this unpractical esthetic from a long time ago.  I unwrap the cake gently to have a look at it and the leaves are barely tinged redish with larger, chunky, aged hairy leaves covering the cake, I enjoy this experience.  I press my nose close to these leaves but very little odour is drawn out.  I’m obviously not as excited about this aspect but maybe they will come alive with all but a rinse?

Sit with me this early morning in the veranda of my old house and meditate as we drink this tea will you?

The first infusion delivers a light creamy sweet tasting wave.  It’s very smooth in the mouth with nice cooling aftertaste and sweet finish in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is nice with a full coating on the tongue.

The second infusion delivers much the same with a fruity sweetness starting to entrench itself.  There are some roasted nut edges that start to develop here.  The cool aftertaste is notable.

The third infusion starts out smooth and slightly sweet and builds on the tongue to finish with a slight roasted hazelnut taste with edges of apricot fruit.  The qi of this tea is nicely relaxing on the mind with a lightness in the arms and shoulders.

The fourth has a juicy viscus sweet and creamy, if not slightly watery, initial taste which turns into a roasted nut flavor.  It opens in the throat into layers of sweetness.  The aftertaste is a nice longer cool and sweet fruit taste.

The fifth infusion delivers a nice evolving profile of initial viscus caramel sweetness to a deeper roasted hazelnut to a cool finish with an almost apricot fruit aftertaste.  The tea has a nice viscus feel initially in the mouth which then turns a bit chalky and tight then nicely opens even the mid throat to finish.

The sixth is much the same with some berry fruit notes appearing in the initial taste now.

The seventh infusion develops more of a vibrant burst of fruit and also finishes with a long fruity taste in the mouth.  The base of this tea is a nutty roasted taste.  The mouthfeel continues to thicken and now slightly grips the throat.

The eighth the roasted nut taste blends more into the background where the fruit taste become more prominent.  There are tastes of apricot and tropical fruit such as mango in here.  The thicker tongue coating and throat stimulation knit these tastes together.

The ninth is much the same with woody notes now appearing more prominently then roasted nut notes in comprising the base taste.  The sweet notes start to slow down here.

In the tenth the roasted nut notes seem to be dominant with sweeter tastes supporting the main nutty flavor.  The hazelnut taste sneaks into the aftertaste in this infusion.

The eleventh is more woody and starting to get more bland again.  The next few infusion steep out with woody, nutty tastes with sweet edges with a solid coolness in the aftertaste.

This puerh is interesting in that you can really get very different results with different amount of leaf, steep time, steeping method.  Each method can really emphasize either the fruity taste or the nutty taste depends how you play with these parameters.  The fruit taste also can change and evolve differently as well.  This, along with a solid mouthfeel and long and stable returning coolness, makes this inexpensive puerh quite good.

I ended up clearing out the last 3 cakes of this one at Awazon in my next order so currently they are currently out of stock.  It ended up being the only cake out of the 7 tester bings in my first order from Awazon which I re-ordered (the two 2006 6FTM Banzhangs were last cakes, the two 2006 LMBF cakes sold out days after ordering, and the two GuanZiZai were too harsh for my liking).

I am quite happy to have 4 of these cakes and feel they are quite a good value for what I paid for them.  Currently King Tea Mall has this cake for $99.99 which I believe is closer to the actual value of this cake than the $25.80 I paid.

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