- Strong + smooth and sweet taste with long aftertaste and huigan
- Deep, full body, comfortable Qi
- Imho, near the pinnacle of refinement and depth for aged tea of this era
After a couple years of Hong Kong storage this tea was kept dry in Taiwan by Mr Chen. It drinks clean, light brown colour tea soup. Its beauty is how smooth and comfortable it is, while still retaining plenty of strength in taste and aftertaste.
I put a lot of effort in identifying this cake bringing it to a few experts here in Taiwan. The result is this is very likely a late 90s specially ordered 8582 recipe commissioned to the Menghai Tea Factory. The neipiao and neifei (inner tickets, big and small) are similar to the official versions, the leaf material feels from Menghai area itself, but it’s miles better than the standard one.
For reference, for tea of this age there are three possibilities: Standard version (the one on the “yearbooks”) made from one of the big state-owned tea factories, commissioned version made by one of the state-owned tea factories (with different leaves from their usual), or made by a smaller factory. This tea is definitely not the first option, it’s very likely the second (or possibly the third).
I tried it against various “standard” Menghai 8582 (including older ones!) and this tea blows them away. The leaf material is really good and contains big tree and perhaps old tree (hard to say which when it’s so aged), which is extremely rare for tea of this age (usually the % of plantation in the cake is much higher).
I really like this tea and I think it’s the proof that even in aged tea, older doesn’t necessarily mean better. I appreciate it’s not exactly cheap, but this is one of the very best aged tea I’ve had, and prices could be 10 times (or much more) as high as this.
This is a tea I didn’t want to sell at all, I like it a bit too much and there’s only a little. But I like the idea of a few friends sharing one of my favourite teas and it’s Christmas, so 1 tong will be sold. Enjoy!
Note: the tier 5 rating is given also due to aging, not just leaf material. I haven’t published tier ratings on many old teas yet because I’m still working out exactly how the system works for very aged puerh, but in this case it’s pretty clear.
357g cakes, weight loss due to aging.
Ben (verified owner) –
My current favourite tea. You can definitely taste the Menghai and it has the same beautiful aged taste as the others. Don’t miss this if it’s available again.
Nick M. (verified owner) –
This was consumed in an online session with Paolo, Una and a number of Puerh.uk friends. I hope the others on the Zoom will post their impressions because the way the group described the tea was varied and extremely interesting. For me, immediately stony, grounding Qi from the first brew. The energy and intensity of the soup after a quick rinse, from the first steep, was really striking. A tea of great clarity, both in colour and in how composed it is. Tertiary notes of woodland floor, moss, wood and autumn hay rolls mirror the aromas. In the early brews the soup has drive, is persistent and finishes firm, whereas as the session progresses it sweetens with an underlying vein of honey, but without losing the tertiary flavour spectrum. Notwithstanding the deep, mature character, there’s an enduring and shifting complexity to the tea that gives it a sense of three dimensionality or ‘shape’.
Dean (verified owner) –
Juicy leaves and decent durability, but still waiting for the strength. Hopefully it will improve with time.