It,s time for stock piling. The 2009 Menghai numbers are making their way onto the market and you can get your favorites right (here) Ive never written about these teas before mainly because there is so much info about them out there already it,s safe to assume that everybody knows the deal with these cakes. They are the firmly established benchmark that all other sheng,s are compared to. There is really no better time to grab some than now. At $10.00 each your not going to find a tea in this price range that offers so much. In their youth I wouldn't consider any of them to be cream of the crop brilliant but always a consistently good cup a tea. I go to the Menghai numbers when I need to get back to square one. I kinda feel that after a while of drinking some of the more boutique teas I need to re-center myself and re-establish my framework of flavor profiles. For me the Menghai numbers are home base, everything else is sometimes amazing, more often mediocre and occasionally a waste of money. This blog would be incomplete if left without ever writing about the numbers.
So at the risk of redundancy I,ll supply my brief description of the 7542 tea. Rich and savory with that beany, slightly leathery, slight tobacco flavor and aroma. This years tea maybe a little more refined than the previous years teas. A slight floral aspect shows up in the cup, not quite as assertive as in the past. User friendly level of compression, not too tight or loose. Brews up yellow with a very slight amber tinge, but I tend to be heavy handed with the leaf quantity which has an affect on the brews color. Plenty of body, nice and sticky. I always have plans of saving these cakes for aging, Ha! what a laugh, they never last more than a year around here.
The Menghai numbers are excellent teas to hone your brewing skills with. Learning to coax the best from these cakes (7542,8582,7532) by varying your parameters you,ll be better equipped to tackle some of the more persnickety teas. Good old Menghai.