Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Dragon Tea House, 2006 Menghai Mount Elephant
Robust leaves from Mt. Elephant, Menghai. Sheng/raw
This came my way from a friend's generosity. One source I found on the internet claims this is so named because on the mountain where this is grown there used to be a large tree that resembled an elephant. Works for me.
The sample I have is loose leaf not cake. I hope to have a camera of my own soon to start taking pictures for this blog. I never think about borrowing the wife's camera until after I have started to write. Of course then it is too late.
The leaf is large broken pieces that resemble grass. It is obvious this is a raw pu'er. Or is it puerh, or just puer? If you're interested here is a link to a thoughtful explanation for the different spellings.
I used a yixing to steep this in today. I'll do a review one day soon. What I'll say here is I love this little guy. I have never been a teapot person, but this is so much fun. I used about 5 g of leaf and steeped for around 45 seconds. That may have been a bit long. The brew is golden orange, which seems kind of dark for sheng, but this is a 2006 tea. The wet leaf is brown and green resembling leaf bits found in an outdoor pool or pond. In fact that is probably the best explanation of the wet leaf scent - pond water.
The sip reveals definite sheng flavors. The taste is quite mineral. It is bright, edging towards metallic but doesn't cross the line. It also tastes kind of green pond soaked leaf like. If you have had sheng before that probably makes some sense. There is a slight saltiness. Late in the sip it seems somewhere between fruity and lightly floral but not strongly enough I can give it a name. The first cup is only mildly sweet. It is somewhat drying but does have an astringent bite.
The main element that excites me here is way down in my lungs I can feel a lightness and a coolness like menthol or camphor without the smell. It lingers long, long, after the sip is gone. I can feel this working its way through my innards. That is another cool part of puerh and especially raw tea.
Later cups cups are honey colored as I reduced the steep time of the second to 15 seconds. The deep cooling, open lung freshness, and the wonderful tea working through my stomach with healthy bacteria and energy, continues.
The flavor of raw puerh may not appeal to all. For those who enjoy it or at least like it, the energy in a good tea after sipping is where the real enjoyment is for me. If I use the term correctly this is cha qi, which basically means good tea energy. This is not the same as a caffeine buzz. I used to read things like this and think 'whatever', but having experienced it more than a few times I assure you it is an excellent part of the tea experience. I have to say I really like the energy of this one.