Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2010 Golden Needle White Lotus Ripe (Menghai Tea Factory)

The Golden Needle White Lotus (GNWL) series represent a line of premium ripe puerh produced by Menghai Tea Factory. The production can be traced back to the 1990s when GNWL was initially sold as loose leaf tea. This would later change in 2005 when the leaves were compressed into 200g mini teacakes. Subsequent years have seen the GNWL retain its compressed form with the size of the teacake being increased to the more standard 357g weight as represented by this 2010 version.

This 2010 GNWL teacake has been in my possession for a few years now and I have only gotten around to drinking it recently. The fermentation remains strong and upon opening and unwrapping the teacake the strong smell of wo dui can be instantly detected. For me it is a clear sign that more time is required for the tea to mellow and become more refined but nevertheless we will proceed to see where things stand. Brewing the tea confirms the youthful nature of this tea. The fermented characters dominate the aroma of the tea but there are underlying notes of florals, wood, and sweet earth in the background. The taste pretty much matches the aroma granted that the fermented characters does fade somewhat during the later steeps. The texture of the brew upon entering the mouth feels rigid and tight but I will add that there is good strength and depth to be found. The tea is drinkable but just not very enjoyable at this current age.

Despite my less than enthusiastic observations at this moment in time I do see this tea developing into a good age ripe puerh. The quality of the tea base is unquestionable and the fermentation is solid with no disconcerting negative traits. There is good strength and potency in this tea leading me to think that an extended storage of 10 years will work wonders. Once the fermented characters have dissipated, the brew softens and opens up with its underlying notes the end result will satisfy even the most demanding of tea drinkers. To conclude the 2010 GNWL is a worthy representative of Menghai’s premium class of ripe puerh tea.

The high ratio of buds appears as golden needles and gives the tea its signature characteristic of a soft floral fragrance that can be associated with the name white lotus.


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