2007 Mengsa Arbor Pu-erh Tea Cake (year of green)
wet leaves smell nice, much like Liu An (one of my favorite "everyday" teas -- pan-fired like a green tea, but pressed and aged like a pu-erh). Very green-tea-ey, almost like a longjing (dragonwell).
1: ~30s. yummy, light and greeny. tastes kinda like Liu An too. So *this* is the winner of the bunch, the last one I try...
2: ~20s. brew is a little darker, and flavor is a little woodier. now tasting a little more like some of the others in this tasting set, with that woody taste. but still better than the rest. more complex, with a little sweetness. some tongue-tingle too!
3: ~20s. used too much water I think. still good. tingly. a floral, sweet aftertaste lingers minutes later. wet leaves still smell remarkably like Liu An (though that could be something from my yixing).
4: still dark and flavorful, and interesting enough to keep me wondering what these flavors are -- it's not like other pu-erhs I've had. feels very lively in my mouth. (qi?)
This is a really nice tea. Though it still has a lot of the "woody"ness that the other teas in this pack had, the wood is gently hovering over lots of other interesting stuff (rather than a mouthful of twig). Sweetness, flowers, and a lot of pleasant tingling in my mouth (has anyone else noticed the tingling with this one?).
I give it 4 stars, considering the price: $12.60 for a 357g bing. That's a lot of decent tea! Still, I may not go out of my way to buy any. I don't know a lot about aging potential, but my "feeling" is that a young tea with lots of strong flavors -- smoky, jerky, citrusy, etc. -- has a lot of stuff that's going to mellow into a complex blend. Though this is a very pleasant tea now, I'm not sure that there's a lot of "strong" flavor in there for such a young sheng. Anyway, that's just my feeling about aging sheng, and I'm most likely wrong.
Anyway, this is hands-down the best one in the Year Of Green sampler, IMHO.. oops, I haven't tried the Crab Feet yet. I'll get to it...