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21 May 2006 @ 10:02 pm
Menghai 1989-Early 1990s blended (aged+young) 8972 brick  
Sample from Hou De
My first unsavory review...please don't hate me Guang! :(

1989 Menghai 8972 brick - dry leaf

Keywords: peat moss, milk, pungent, wet bark, mineral

1989 Menghai 8972 brick - buffalo strainer wont ya come out tonight1989 Menghai 8972 brick - brew and wet leaf1989 Menghai 8972 brick - infusion 61989 Menghai 8972 brick - leaf comparison

1989 Menghai 8972 brick - buffalo strainer wont ya come out tonight

Year: 1989
Producer: Menghai Tea Factory
Region: ?
Available for purchase at: Hou De Asian Art (Whole Brick or Sample)
Leaf: Very dark brown with some black leaves. Leaves are smallish. Smells remarkably liked cooked pu'er, although Guang says in the description the leaves are a blend of "aged and young sheng" and not a mix of cooked + uncooked.
Infusion Parameters: 6g in 90ml gaiwan. 10s rinse, 60s+ rests, 10s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 60s, 60s

Flavor Notes
1: Tastes cooked. Is this really aged sheng? It lacks the fishiness of shou, but it certainly has every other feature. Pungent peat moss is the overpowering flavor. This is nothing like the 1988 Xiaguan Sample from yesterday. Could the blend of "new and aged leaves" really account for this?
2: Wet bark, peat, mineral, MILK? Mildly bitter. Still very, very pungent.
3: Thick wet bark, milky like if you overbrewed shou pu'er and tried to cut it with milk. Not very complex, but very strong. So far, terrible.
4~10: I see greener leaves, but I don't taste them. Peat & milk still primarly flavors.

Overall: Please don't let this be what I have to look forward to when I taste my cakes years from now. *panic attack* If this brick is indeed uncooked, this is possibly the worst I have ever had. The milkiness really made this experience a nasty one, combined with the strength of the pungent peat moss flavor...

I enjoy Hou De's teas immensely, and I still trust their judgment about tea, but I can't agree with them on this one. These are my rankings...
1989 Menghai 8972 brick - ratings
...this really makes me appreciate dearly that Hou De offers samples of their teas, because if I had bought the whole brick never having tried it, I would have been very unhappy. My next purchase from any vendor will be a sample of a 1970s cake, because now I really fear that I may have to drink my teas 10 years earlier than I anticipated in order to enjoy them!

Ageability: Um...

Would I buy this cake?: Not in a million years. I would even regift this cake, though not to anyone I liked.

1989 Menghai 8972 brick - leaf comparison

1st Infusion:
1989 Menghai 8972 brick - brew and wet leaf

6th Infusion:
1989 Menghai 8972 brick - infusion 6
Current Location: 90004
psychopuncture on May 22nd, 2006 05:43 am (UTC)
hmm. whole idea of a mixed cake of aged and young sheng sounds odd to me--how could one possibly brew it and elicit the best flavors from both types of leaf? i've had very nice cakes that were a mixture of cooked and sheng, but they were quite well aged so the flavors melded nicely (i still prefer just plain sheng).

i too am a fan of hou de and trust guang's judgment, but hell, palates don't always match.

one of the reasons i really appreciate vendors like hou de who make samples available--imagine if you'd bought a whole cake of the stuff? it's great to taste...
davelcorp on May 22nd, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
Bearsx3, if you want to try a good '70s cake, get the Guang Yun from Hou De. It will make you look forward to the future again.
psychopuncture on May 22nd, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
unfortunately, i think those samples are all gone.
[satyriasis] - Jason: tiredbearsbearsbears on May 22nd, 2006 08:27 am (UTC)
darn it! any other recommendations for an aged sample?
psychopuncture on May 22nd, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC)
hmmm. i think davelcorp's had his way with a few of guang's samples...

or email guang? he might have something new and tasty.
marshaln on May 22nd, 2006 06:09 am (UTC)
The stuff on the left looks cooked to me, and the first infusion also looks cooked. I think the aged stuff is not sheng, but shu, tea. There are plenty of cakes that are blended raw+cooked, and I suspect this is one of them. Why Hou De would advertise it otherwise though...

I've had 30 year old raw puerh, and it's definitely not nasty (and won't have the amount of black leaves that you got here).
[satyriasis] - Jasonbearsbearsbears on May 22nd, 2006 08:16 am (UTC)
I'm thinking the same thing, that it's a blend of cooked & raw, especially after I read the comment on another entry that gave the "leaf crumble test", which those leaves failed...

But, never having had a blended cake, I don't have any taste reference for it. Also, not knowing any information about the 8972 formula doesn't help, either :|
[satyriasis] - Jason: 6ftmbearsbearsbears on May 22nd, 2006 11:13 pm (UTC)
It seems that there is a lot of debate about this tea on the forum at puerh.cn , back and forth about whether or not it's cooked or raw.
kibi_kibi on May 23rd, 2006 07:13 pm (UTC)
Yep, I've seen a lot about half-cooked tea around; but I've never had the courage to try it. They all look completely cooked, and the half-cooked is probably just a sales-pitch...
oleg_vorobyov on May 22nd, 2006 12:49 pm (UTC)
I was just about to order this sample today along with the other two samples. Now I'm confused. I think I have to choose something else instead of this one.

My aim was to try some 10-15-20 years sheng pu-erh as I've only been up to 1998. Any reccomendations which Hou De sample to choose?
davelcorp on July 6th, 2006 09:37 pm (UTC)
Ok, I tried a sample of this today that Bears3 was nice enough to share with me. Although my experience was not as unsavory as Bear's, I agree that this starts off like a cooked brick. The suposedly 'aged' leaves are either cooked, VERY old, or wet stored. Options 1 & 3 seem the most likely.
My early brews, while dark were not quites as pitch black as the photos above. It had musty/mushroomy flavors and some cooler minty aspects, but it was overall peat and earth. Later on, it became more interesting with some lighter characteristics.
I agree on the texture -- it is very thick in the mouth. Bears calls it milky, Guang calls it smooth and round. I call it thick. Not very pleasant.

Would I buy this? No. Not as an aged sheng brick -- it has too many conflicting qualities that add up to a confusing and sometimes unpleasant experience.