Thursday, January 15, 2009

Menghai 2008 "Hong Yun" ...and a few other things

Since I work throughout the week, and immediately have to pick my daughter up from my parents' house after work, I often miss the mail carrier when he makes his daily rounds through my side of town. Guidelines state that international packages must be signed for, and will not be left on the doorstep. For this very reason, I make several trips to the post office (which I hate oh so dearly...anyone who reads regularly knows exactly why) to pick up my packages. Yesterday, much to my surprise I came home to find a large box on my porch, riddled with tape from Kunming Post! (The regular carrier actually left me a note asking if I could please sign the paperwork and leave it in the mailbox for him to pick up tomorrow. In my eyes, he saved me a trip in this sub-zero temperature) Inside that box was a beeng of the Menghai 0532, a new teapot, and ten (count them) of what you see in the picture above. This was sort of an impulse buy, to be quite honest with you. I'm a big fan of Menghai, so naturally it works. I've also been on a shupu kick lately. I want nothing more than that lovely taste of old cellar, campfire, and wet earth. Actually, the first time I ever tried shu, I was immediately taken back to a morning camping in the Appalachains. Specifically, the morning after drinking around a bonfire all night, having it pour enough to flood my tent, and waking up early in the middle of the woods to clean up all the mess we made the night prior. Somehow, as weird as it may sound, I love that kind of stuff. Reminds me of rock climbing and rafting in the New River Gorge.

Anyhow, that brings me to the tea. It's a 100g ripe ironcake. This bad boy has a beautiful smell in that "I'm a lumberjack" sort of way. Compression is very tight, but gives way without too much difficulty. It's a little slow to wake up, but with a couple of good rinses, gives way to some incredible flavour.

It has a fairly strong Cha'qi, and isn't afraid to show it's presence. It had me feeling somewhat tea-drunk by about the fifth infusion. I assume that is something I'll probably refer to as "damn delicious" after a couple of months, because it was pressed in November of 2008...still VERY young. It didn't have a ton of surprises however; pretty straightforward, which is in no way a bad thing. All in all, I'd say it definitely earns a place as one of the best shu releases I've had in the past year. The only things I've had that I possibly liked more were the Haiwan Lao Cha Tou (which is in a league all on it's own), and the 7572 (both Menghai and 12 Gentlemen were delicious). Even then, it's a tough call. I have brewed up a couple of very bitter cups of 7572, as opposed to the fact that I just can't seem to make this one bitter.

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