25 November 2011

2011 Mengsong Maocha (sourced from Douji)

Mengsong is a huge region comprised of the mountain range west of the Lancang River and east of Menghai city. It includes pu'er tea regions/mountains Nannuo, Hekai, Naka, and others. When I see a tea labeled Mengsong made in the past few years, I wonder if the tea leaves came from one village or many, and if this village was not famous enough to merit renaming it Nannuo, Hekai, or Naka, for example.

2011 Douji Mengsong - dry leaf

This 2011 sample was given to Jerry of China Cha Dao as a gift, and he decided to share a limited number of samples as part of a sample pack whose aim was to contrast presumably old tree tea with the lesser-regarded plantation tea.

If you were wondering about that odd orange twiggy thing in the photo above, it appears to be some sort of dried moss. Finding this stowaway lends the tea a "wild arbor" or other naturalistic feel, and, always skeptical, I asked myself if Douji included it intentionally (hopefully not fraudulently). Here it is up close:

2011 Douji Mengsong - WTH?

As natural as these tea plants' environment may be, the tea itself disappointed me. Although the leaves are beautiful and the flavor pleasant, I had to brew this tea in long steeps to extract a decent strength of flavor and texture. 7g in a 100ml gaiwan (same as the previously reviewed Douji Nannuo) should offer up enough mouth feel, even if the flavor is lacking.

The tea tasted biscuity, like sheng pu'er tinged with some first flush Darjeeling, but only one or two leaves showed any visible reddening. The flavors are all "middle notes": no bright florals or heavy meaty/mushroom flavors, just middle cut-stem and ashen flavors.

2011 Douji Mengsong - brew

The leaves completely unfurled look beautiful with their thick veins chunky stems:

2011 Douji Mengsong - brewed leaf

No conclusion, as I have come to none myself.

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