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2014 HK Natural Storage Shuangjiang Mengku Spirit Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2014 HK Natural Storage Shuangjiang Mengku Spirit Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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August 2nd, 2019

This is a premium cake from Shuangjiang Mengku: this cake was made with sun dried wild arbor tea from the Mengku area and is certified organic to Chinese standards. I've had this cake in my home and warehouse storage since March 2016, so it's aged considerably since it came in from Kunming back then. I only have one cake of this tea, since I purchased it for personal consumption back when TeaLife HK was just an idea, and I hadn't made a concrete decision to start up a tea business. Even with my natural home and warehouse storage conditions, this tea still packs a ton of origin character and only hints at the years of storage it's had down here. The material is robust for sure!

The dry cake gives off a light, sweet aroma. I went heavy with my trial session: about 10g to 100ml, which is much heavier than I usually go. 

After the rinse, the dry leaves had some aged out smokiness, but nothing too heavy by any means. In the cup, I got light smoke and sweet barnyard notes, which were followed up by an alluring sweet wildflower flavor that reminded me of Dayi's plantation material (but significantly sweeter). This tea was surprisingly bitter in the first infusion: maybe a 3 or 4 out of 10, but nothing unbearable by any means. I found the effect of the tea to be both energizing and calming, and very slightly dissociative (I sometimes get a dissociative feeling from some pu erh teas, and this tea had a little of that effect on me)!

The wildflower character is deep and alluring, as I'd expect from wild material. There is also a mouth cooling effect, and some pleasant citrus flavors in the finish. I detected both orange and lemon notes, and a touch of black tea as well. I think the burly wild arbor leaves are more resistant to aging than the smaller, thinner plantation leaves found in something like a 7542, so this tea has retained some very interesting complexity and only tastes slightly aged. I must say I'm impressed by how this tea has turned out!

From the second infusion onwards, the bitterness was much less prominent. Some light astringency was detectable, and the wildflower and citrus notes were still present, but were more subtle. As the session progressed, I was surprised by how much this tea reminded me of Dayi sheng, but with a sweeter profile. 

My girlfriend detected light huigan in the finish in this tea, but I didn't, which surprised me. She also said she could taste root (ginseng) notes, which I didn't detect myself. As always, your experience with this tea will be your own. She found the third infusion to be rather bitter (and I didn't find it bitter at all). If you're averse to bitterness, this definitely isn't the cake for you, but if you don't mind bitterness, this tea certainly has a lot to offer, and at a reasonable price point. 

I'm only offering up four 100g packs of this tea to anyone who would like to see how it's aged in my home and warehouse storage (55, 37 and then 11 floors above sea level here in Hong Kong)!

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