Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mandala, 2007 Menghai Jade Luster

Mandala Tea Description:
Another award winning tea from Dayi! What a wonderful tea, so robust and rich in flavor with a heart-warming aroma. A real crowd pleaser!

My Review:
Today's review is for a ripe puerh from Menghai Tea Factory in Yunnan, China. This particular sample came from a friend's beng and was originally purchased from Mandala Tea.

Yesterday was my birthday. I had entirely too much to eat. Today I need puerh to replenish my stomach with whatever magic is in its elixir. Puerh has a calming affect (or is effect correct? Both seem to apply) that does work wonders in times like these to make me feel better about the previous day's activities. Of course had I sipped a pot (or showed some restraint) while scarfing pizza I might not be in this shape today. On to the review...

I took a healthy chunk of the sample out to examine. Just guessing, the chunk size is around 10 g. It is compressed pretty solidly and is dark with just hints of golden tips. Into my Yixing teapot it goes after first rinsing the pot with hot water. My pot is large by Yixing standards. I brew 10 oz at a time in it, which is equivalent to several gongfu style cups of tea. No matter, this is my preference. I added boiling water and steeped for 45 seconds. Most people would do a wash and a 30 second steep. I always drink the wash anyway, so I used a longer initial steep to awaken the leaf.

After pouring, the leaf is soft and squishy put still mostly one piece. It is cocoa brown and reminds me of a big chew of tobacco. The brew is a light caramel brown. There is a slight aroma of stable.

The first sip is nicely smooth and mellow. It is slightly drying and has a gentle sweetness. There is just a touch of mineral taste. Mostly this tastes of cedar and leather but in the first cup it remains light and hints at what will come forth in later steeps. I can already feel the soothing touch as it calms my stomach.

Cup two at 30 seconds is very deep in color like a burgundy wine. The leaf was still holding together but it separated very easily when touched. The leaf aroma now is solidly horse tack. Perhaps my favorite puerh scent.

The flavors in the sip have become big and bold. The horse tack leather is prominent at the front but quickly gives way to a deeper earthier version of the cedar. It is kind of baked or browned in taste. I also notice but can't quite grab a fruity wine like note. It is there but won't hold still long enough to be tied down for a better description. This is a wonderful cup that is leaving me very mellow and peaceful. Cha Qi!

I am 20 oz in (the equivalent of maybe 10 gongfu cups) and this is showing no signs of letting up so for this review I will go one more cup. I may go further tomorrow after posting but 30 oz seems like plenty for one session.

Cup three also at 30 seconds is almost as dark as coffee. I will definitely hang on to the leaf in the pot for a later session. The leaf is cocoa brown. I have seen other reviews that claimed the leaf turned jade green at this point. The one I recall in particular is over two years old. Possibly with this now being older, I am not going to get the same result. Who knows. Anyway, the brew and the leaf are only lightly scented now.

The sip is similar to the last but possibly a little less bold. The mineral element is back but meshes nicely with the woodsy note and ends with mellow leather. I think I can officially call this one a very satisfying puerh. Mandala still had sample sizes of this available on their website at the time I posted.

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