This is another one of those old samples that I never quite got around to drinking last year. The reason I have so many of them is because 1) my tolerance for young puerh at that point was lower, 2) It was near my moving date — after which all of them got packed, and 3) there were even more samples that I did dispatch at that point. So…. now I’m trying to at least give them all a fair go.
Anyway, this is a sample provided by Toki, and although labeled as Menghai Factory Anniversary cake, reading the packaging and the neipiao, it seems to actually say this is a Longyuan Hao cake and made by “Yunnan Xishuang Banna Old Tea Mountain Tea Industry Co. Menghai Tea Factory”. Which I think isn’t actually the same thing as Yunnan Xishuang Banna Menghai Tea Factory, i.e. the one we usually just refer to as Menghai. It’s one of those things that newer companies do to make you think it’s the grand old factories….
Of course I only got a little piece of the 2kg bing
Not too compressed, although given other opinions, it seems mine is the exception rather than the rule.
The liquor is clear and medium in colour
The initial infusion was remarkably light, deceptively so, but there’s a deep aftertaste that lingers, and which I like. The next few infusions, oddly enough, reminds me of beer. It’s a strange thing, but perhaps it is the hops of a beer that it is reminding me of. Bitter, grainy… something like that. Not too bitter, mind you, just enough to make me feel like I’m drinking a non-bubbly version of some malted beverage or another. The colour deepens. Aftertaste still strong, and I can feel a little bit of a caffeine buzz. It then progresses on to something else, perhaps more tea like now, sweeter, but strength remains. In fact, overall the tea lasts quite long and I gave up before it did.
Toki says there’s old tree leaves in there. I think it’s entirely possible, given the deeper aftertaste and the lingering effects that I found. Normally plantation teas tend to be more immediately stimulating but without the long tail. I’m not sure I detected very strong qi — certainly a buzz, but it doesn’t quite do the warmth thing to me. I think this is definitely good tea, and if the whole 2kg cake is made with this stuff (as in not just the front and back with a covering of good leaves) this can make a pretty interesting drink down the road.
A mixture of leaf grades, mostly larger. Some are stiff yellow leaves, a good amount of stems, and some smaller leaves. No buds in sight.
Unfortunately, one can’t say the same for many other anniversary cakes. Most of them I find to be overpriced versions of other cakes simply because they’re anniversary cakes of one sort or another. Some are merely very standard factory issues type cakes with some excuse or another to commemorate — be it the opening of a new mall or the 10 years return of Hong Kong to China. Some factories, such as Six Famous Tea Mountains, tell you every single cake they make is a limited edition — which is of course logically true, since no production is going to be unlimited when it comes to agricultural products…