Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Jalam Teas, Manmai

Jalam Teas Description:
Manmai fermented (green) Puerh is a return to one of our most coveted regions, Bada Mountain, and a true ‘high mountain tea’. Manmai village is located in the Bada Mountain range and has fantastic conditions for producing superb teas. High humidity levels, mists that filter sun and rain and an almost wild aspect to the geography make this a “zone of perfect tea possibilities”

Sample provided by Jalam Teas

My Review:
Jalam Teas contacted me to see if I would like to review one of their puerh teas for The Everyday Tea Blog. I have a mountain of samples I have not yet reviewed, but I haven't tried anything from Jalam Teas previously, so saying no was not an option. I really didn't know what to expect in the way of a sample size. The package arrived containing a full 100g cake. Excellent!

Included in the package is a large card with a lot of information about the tea, where it came from, and when. This one is a fermented puerh from the spring 2013 harvest on the Bada Mountain range.

The cake is wrapped in paper.  Removing the wrapper reveals this tightly compressed cake of lovely Yunnan leaf that appears to contain a lot of golden tips.

I used a pocket knife to pry off about 8g of leaf for this session. It was easy to embed the knife, yet harder to break off a solid chunk. The leaf has a slight barnyard scent and something else that I can't quite identify. It was sweet and I'm thinking it was caramel.

I used boiling water per the website, "Use fully boiled water, as the large leaf 'Camellia Sinensis Assamica' (Puerh) can handle the heat." I also used my 90ml gaiwan again today. I am still a klutz but getting more confident. I didn't make a mess and did not burn any fingers. I consider this a solid victory.

I don't do a rinse to awaken the tea. I'm stubborn that way. Instead I increase the first steep. My first steep was about 15 seconds. The liquor was orange red tinted as it poured into the cup. It appears almost coffee colored in the cup. The aroma is much like the dry scent.

The tea is very smooth. The rough edge that I often associate with ripe puerh, that is kind of like sandpaper, is pretty much non-existent. There is none of the astringent bite or harsh metallic taste that is found in a young raw puerh. There is no bitterness. Again, the best descriptor is smooth.

The taste is cedar but not scratchy feeling. It also has a flavor like leather. I use that description often as it is a flavor I like. The however here is, this is not the horse tack leather, or dusty old book leather, I often cite. It is not even a less mentioned boot leather. The flavor is a new one and reminds me of oiled belt leather. I am also tasting just a bit of barnyard, but it fits and is not offensive to the senses, even though it may sound that way. 

For cups two and three, I did flash steeps. The water was added to the gaiwan, the lid put in place, and as soon as I got a firm grip, I began to pour into my cup. This produced an equally dark, as the first, cup and a very similar taste.

Cups four, five, and six, are still flash steeps, however I combined them into one cup for drinking. The flavor remains rock solid to the earlier cups. I am now thinking it is becoming more milk like in texture.

Cups seven, eight, and nine, I increased the steep by about 5 seconds on each, then combined them. If anything, the color is even darker. I have no idea how much longer this will steep, but it is showing no sign of letting up. This will be my last for today.

The tea continues to be a pleasure to drink. While the texture continues to become thicker, the flavor remains true to the first cup.

Jalam Teas says this would make a good evening tea as it is light on the stimulant kick. I think they have a higher stimulant kick tolerance than I. To me this would make a much better morning tea. It is easy to drink and easy on the stomach.

For those who might be interested, Jalam Teas has a monthly tea club.  Per the website, "Each month you'll receive a specially designed 100-gram tea cake complete with an intimate story of each and instructions on how best to prepare your monthly dose of green."

You can find Jalam Teas, Manmai puerh here.

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