Menghai still sets the standard when it comes to cooked puerh, you really can't beat em. Although there are shu's from other company's that are well on their way to challenging Menghai's position. The world is full of average quality, mediocre shu and it can be a bit of a challenge to find the good stuff. But once the goods have been procured, it needs to go into storage for at least several years to mellow. At five years of age this tea has (in my opinion) reached it's potential. Well, maybe another year or two of clean, dry storage would bring further improvements but for the most part it's good to go.
I,m not a subscriber to the "older is better" school of thought when it comes to cooked puerh. Shu definitely needs it's storage time but it can't stand up to the lengthy storage time that a raw puerh needs. In my opinion, shu reaches it's potential within a five to ten year time span and then starts to fade and loose it;s flavor. The handful of shu's Ive had that were older than ten years were not very good, they were bland and boring.
The color of the dry leaf is exactly what I want to see, a nice healthy caramel brown with some red and gold bit's here and there. Not the dull, monochromatic shades of muck you,ll find in lesser teas.
What I really like about the V93 recipe is it's cleanliness in the cup. It's not one of those heavy, sludge like shu's. It's flavors and aroma's are woodsy, rich and nutty with a caramel like sweetness. What also sets it apart from the others is the crisp and clean aspects it brings to the cup. It brews up a deep amber cup with sparkling clarity.
Easily brews ten to fifteen infusions, which is a bit much even for me. Autumn and Winter is the only time of year I drink cooked puerh, any other season and the flavors are too much for my palate. But in the cold of Winter it's very satisfying.