Tuesday, January 20, 2015

2003 Purple Dayi (Menghai Tea Factory)


The 2003 Purple Dayi is one of a series of reproductions from 2001 to 2004 by Menghai Tea Factory to replicate the iconic 1996 Purple Dayi. The tea is old style Menghai production consisting of plantation raw material that is brutal in character. The tea is made for long term aging. The estimated time for storage is perhaps revealed by a story that tells of a tea farmer who produces puerh tea for his grandchildren to enjoy.


Upon its initial released to the market I found the 2003 Purple Dayi to be almost undrinkable such was its brutal nature. Whilst the passing decade has served to mellow the tea and darken its character, it remains a powerful storm of aggression. The raw elements are present in strength and with vigor. The brew gives off a storm of wood smoke and erodes the senses with rough waves of bitter astringency that leaves the mouth faintly numb. Close to the finish, after the storm has subsided a rainbow emerges and the sweet taste of a new beginning reveals hope for a brighter future. The strong tannins in the leaves makes me believe that this tea will preserve very well and perhaps this is just as well as it will take a lengthy amount of time for this storm to fully dispersed.

Referenced from the Profound World of Chi Tse 1950-2004 i) the 2003 Purple Dayi raw tea ii) the iconic 1996 Purple Dayi arguably the most sought after 1990s teacake from Menghai Tea Factory

Additional Note: It is my impression that the 2003 Purple Dayi represents the old classic style of Menghai raw tea that is known for its raw and brutal character.  It is in the taming of these harsh characteristics that made HK traditional (wet) storage so very popularity in the 1990s and in previous decades. HK storage provided a way to mellow and soften the harshness in these young teas, speeding up the transition to an aged tea. It should also be noted that with time and patience under natural (dry) storage Menghai raw teas have also been proven to age and develop very well as in the case of the 88 Qing Bing. In general the differences are that natural storage (though much slower as a process) allows the tea to retain more of its vigor and dynamism resulting in more vibrant aged teas with greater complexity and nuances.

 See more teas from the Tea List

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