This particular teacake show signs of having undergone light wet storage. Upon awakening the leaves with a hot rinse a sweet and charming aroma rises from the teapot. Notes of spice, red wood intermingled with Chinese herbs present a clean and complex nose. The medium thick brew provides a range of nuances that feels lively and active in the mouth. The characteristics on the palate have similarities to the nose however the bite of astringency becomes more assertive once felt in the cavities of the mouth. My extended 2 day brewing session reveals a potent and enduring tea that yields between 15-20 steeps. The tail end is fruity and sweet leaving behind its initial astringency.
The wet leaves are soft, elastic with reddish hues matching the appearance of tea leaves kept under light wet storage.
At semi age but still retaining some lively characters the tea is stimulating to the body and provides a buzz to the senses. The feeling is less harsh than what can be felt in a young tea. There are good signs of age and dark development that have emerged being in line with other reliable Menghai TF recipe productions. The solid reputation of Menghai TF in the past means that pre-2004 productions are deemed as a fairly safe bet in achieving an agreeable age outcome. Personally I like this tea and expect it to progressively improve in future years accompanied by periodic hikes to its price. As stocks diminish and the tea becomes more age worthy and valuable I would not be surprised to see this batch get thrust towards the auction arena. At this time tea auctions are limited to Asia with the main venues located in Beijing and Hong Kong. There is a tinge of regret as I conclude this tea session and my ponderings. I had come upon this tea during my tea journey but did not secure the stock for future enjoyment. I will remember it as one that got away.
The Changing Landscape of Tea and the 1996 Purple Dayi (Menghai Tea Factory)