2005 Shuangjiang Mengku "Daxueshan"
This is the second of two pu'ercha samples kindly provided by Daniel, of Vancouver's aptly-named Chinese Teashop. Like the other sample (which was a 2005 Yichanghao), this comes from a brand that I have come to appreciate for making solid tea. While it may not stop the clocks, the brand usually provides me with decent tea at a typically low price.
I recall ST being so kind as to provide me with a sample of the 2004 version of this cake, whose name, of course, refers to "Big Snow Mountain" in Yongde County, of Lincang diqu [prefecture]. Shuangjiang, which is where the Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Co. is based, is also in Lincang. That whole area reminds me of beany, savoury flavours, which I find entirely adorable.
The sample comprises medium-sized leaves in large fragments. Daniel is generous with his quantities, and I believe that some of this sample has since made its way in a care package to Matt. This is a fitting end for it, because Matt was the reason I have these samples from Vancouver in this first place - so thanks again.
I found the 2004 version to be somewhat reddened, but this version from a year later does not appear to be too cheekily processed. Yes, they are a mainstream brand not known for their hand-crafted extravagance, but they are well-known for being good blenders. When you have good Lincang leaves to work with, you can work wonders, it seems.
This is a very appealing tea. It is sticky, sweet, and leaves behind a candy-like aroma and a gripping kuwei [good bitterness] in the mouth. I wrote that it is "enjoyable, sweet, and nicely mouthwatering with no obvious flaws".
It marches on well, and delivers stable, honey-like tones with a thickish body, and a good grip of the tongue. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking, but I even detect a little bean-like character, in the Mengku fashion.
There is just enough fun and tantalising naughtiness in this tea to keep my coming back for more infusions. At $40, it's well-priced, and compares well with other 2005 cakes. Shuangjiang Mengku tea is seldom very expensive, but, like this little fellow, provides plenty of interest for the relatively low price.
Reviewed by Hobbes (The Half-Dipper)
10 June, 2011