Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuocha Tea, 2008 Menghai 8582 Dayi Raw Pu-erh Cake

Web Photo - not taken from this cake 
Toucha Tea Description:
A classic Menghai tea factory recipe that was first introduced in 1985 for direct sales to Hong Kong Nian Tian company. 8582 Raw Pu-erh Cake use larger mature leaves inside for this cake, the tea has a very refreshingly sweet and smooth aftertaste, gives rich taste and swallows extremely well. Great potential after a few years of aging.

Size & Price:
2008 Menghai *8582* Dayi Raw Pu-erh Cake - 357g, $17.60 (USD)

My Review:
I have had this sample in my pu-erh drawer since spring. I have been so busy it just wasn't fitting in my schedule. Pu-erh waits patiently and instead of losing its appeal, it generally gets better with age. Today is a slow rainy day and it is begging for a sheng.

The leaf on this is mostly loose in the plastic baggie. Originally purchased by a tea friend and sent to me, I believe this was compressed in cake form, as I can find no loose version of this blend for sale.

The leaf is dark but still shows hints of green and I see some whole leaf in the mix. I did not detect any significant aroma to the dry leaf.

I used my Yixing pot and 10 oz of water heated to 212F (100C). I really don't know if I should be using cooler water for a raw tea. I should experiment a little and see what happens. Anyway, I let this steep for about 45 seconds.

A word about my pot - it is big for a Yixing. I know that goes against most people's reasoning for using a clay pot but you know what? That's the way I like to drink my tea. If I use a gaiwan, for instance, I will almost always pour three cups together, so I figure why not just steep it all at once. I use a Yixing simply for the joy it gives me to do so.

The brew starts pouring as a light yellow orange. As it cools it becomes more golden orange. When I poured, I did use a strainer but it turned out to not be necessary. The strainer holes in the pot proved to be sufficient to prevent leaf from escaping.

I have to admit, the wet leaf scent was not very appealing. It kind of smells like a wet carpet. Never encountered that before. The leaf did however turn green and fresh looking. Some of the leaf is whole and appears like it was just picked off the tree.

Tasting the first cup, I am noticing bitterness first, then some astringency in the form of drying. It does seem a little sweet with some woodsy notes trying to come through. Maybe cooler water and definitely a shorter steep is in order. On the other hand, I did not pour off the first cup as a wash. I almost never do, so I'll take the blame for this one.

As the cup cools and I taste while typing, I caught a faint hint of smoke. Promising.

For my second 10 oz pot, I used 200F water and a 10 second steep. The color is only slightly lighter in color. The wet leaf now has a pleasant woodsy mushroom with a hint of smoke aroma. Yeah, that's more like it!

The bitterness is all but gone. Just enough remains to make this interesting. The dryness is also greatly reduced. This is sweet. It feels a bit syrupy. The taste is a combination of stone and mushroom. There is nothing off-putting in the taste. A very enjoyable cup.

Mug three - cup 9, if you gongfu brew - at 20 seconds, is the best yet. A slight bitterness is present. The flavor is again woodsy mushroom with a stone element. The stone is a mineral taste like drinking water poured over rocks. The smoke is light but present late as I exhale.The aftertaste lingers.

This shows no signs of giving up but I want to post the review, so I am quitting here for now.

You can find the 2008 Menghai 8582 Dayi Raw Pu-erh Cake here

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