March 30, 2010

2005 Chang Tai "Menghai Qiao"

Now this is a tea I could drink regularly and never tire of. A nice healthy 400 gm. cake of some gorgeous Jingmai maocha. The cakes compression is fairly loose and so provides easy access, no chipping away at it or any of the usual methods just pinch how much you want from it and start gently prying and the leaves willingly oblige. Big chunky leaves with some rather large twigs thrown into the mix, I think I,m seeing a pattern here in that I like my teas twiggy and rustic. The aroma wafting from the cake is mouthwatering. Very rich with tons of complexity. The slightest trace of smokiness still remains but that's something Ive learned to enjoy as long as it's minimal.

The teas flavors are comprised of a little bit of everything. Boatloads of full, rich flavors to be had and they are not in the least bit shy. There are rich leather and tobacco aromas and flavors as well as those beany, yam like flavors. Also just a tad of spice in both the aroma and the cup. Thick and gloopy with plenty of sweetness. The teas bitterness and astringency in the correct proportions. At five years of age this tea is very nice to drink now and there is plenty of everything required for it to continue to age very well. I,m starting to become a really big fan of Chang Tai teas, Ive yet to have a bad or boring one. He definately has his own style of flavor profiles.
Brews up a nice fairly clear cup with an orange, brown color. Durability is good enough, nothing special. This Menghai Qiao's flavors don't wash out early in the session, the tea stays rich and full a little longer than many other teas. This is a tea that I need to have more of, one cake is not enough. The only negative thing I have to say about this tea is concerning the wrapper. It's very thin paper that tears very easily and starts falling apart after a couple of times of unwrapping and rewrapping the cake. But that's not what I,m paying for is it?

Note: for anyone interested in purchasing Chang Tai teas please be sure to read the comments section of this post. Steve at jas-etea is taking orders.


  1. Tissue paper would work quite well if you needed to replace it!
    I enjoy your posts very much, as I am not knowledgeable in pu'erhs at all. Its nice to be able to know what to look for in a pu'erh instead of drinking it mindlessly!

  2. Actually Sir William your recommendation is exactly what I already do. I have a package of gift tissue that I use for those cakes whose wrappers are no longer functional. I'm happy that you enjoy my blog and I hope it serves the purpose of helping others to discover the oh so enjoyable world of tea. Thanks for reading!

  3. I usually take off the wrapper for my taster cakes because of the tearing issue, and replace it with some tissue paper. I like the idea of having a photo album with the wrapper, a nei fei, maybe even a spent leaf or so

    the liquor on this one looks surprisingly dark for something of that age. Where are you getting all these cakes, and do they offer samples?

  4. Some of the Chang Tai cakes can be found at Dragon Tea House (Ebay) or Puerh Shop. Jase-tea is awaiting my wants list and he is going to be stocking some of the Chang Tai's as well. Oh yeah, Hou De's is also a source for some of these teas. The color of the tea in the pic may be a tad darker than in real life due to the variables in pic taking. Ive got some of this tea in your package as well.

  5. Hi all -
    While I do not currently stock these teas, I would be happy to order them from my sources based on individual requests.
    If there appears to be a regular market for them, I would consider carrying them as a regular item in my stock.
    Actually, this goes for all teas. If you want something that is not carried regularly in my stock, I will be happy to make every attempt to acquire the tea for you at the best possible price. I can almost always beat anyone else's prices due to my low overhead.

    So, let me know what your needs and desires are. You can contact me at

    Best regards,

  6. I enjoyed reading this post and will have to come back and look at some earlier posts.

    Jasmine Pearls are my favorite and really haven't ever tried tea from a "cake" before, and will look to do so, once I find one that looks appealing.

    Thanks & Cheers!

    coffee and tea snob too

  7. Coffee Messiah, Welcome aboard! Now, if you have never had puerh tea before you are in for a surprise. Puerh tea is typically very earthy, woodsy and usually a little bitter. Jasmine Pearls and Puerh are on opposite ends of the spectrum. But by all means, dive right in and see how you like puerh tea. I think that Puerh is a tea that most people learn to appreciate after exploring all other types of teas. But there are so many types of Puerh that there is surely something for everybody. Some can be quite light and easy to appreciate when young. Some even have flavors similar to an Oolong. But take your time in regards to shopping for puerh and read as much as you can about it before spending your money. Be sure to keep us updated and thanks for reading.

  8. I'm here via a referral from Coffee Messiah. I can smell this delicious aroma all the way from Willow Manor! I'm making a note of this tea and will give it a whirl soon. Thanks.

  9. Welcome aboard. I hope you guys get the chance to try some of these superb teas. And I,m glad you both enjoy reading my blog. But I,m wondering what leads someone like "The Coffee Messiah" to a tea blog? Seen the light?

  10. Ha, I said, I like coffee, I like tea. One does not take the place of the other.

    We had a coffeehouse when we moved here to the midwest, and we were selling Roobis before anyone out here knew about it, and some others.

    There's room for both ; )


  11. Hi Bret,

    Being a neophyte with Pu (and not really aspiring to be much more) I was glad to see your review. I really liked this tea, but I wasn't sure what people who know something about these things might think. I am treating tea drinking like enjoying a glass of wine now again. If I like it, that's enough. Still, it was nice to see that I might on the right track. Thanks for your efforts! :)