Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Michael Plant on 2005 MengHai XiShuangBanna Sheng Pu'er

[[from an email to corax. posted by permission.]]

I seldom pounce on newly arrived Pu'erh, letting it sit inordinate amounts of time until the world is fed up with waiting for reports, and moves on leaving me alone without expectations. In that spirit, I waited till this morning to make my first brew of a 2005 XiShuangBanna Meng Hai Factory tea of which I have a tong.

The tea has that nice bitter grapefruit-citrus base, shows light yellow in the cup, and gives more mulchy/pondy/floral notes when steeped hotter and/or longer. Its finish is clean as a whistle. It's a bit astringent. Wet leaf is not funky/floral, but nearly so in the first few steeps. In later steeps, the leaf aroma reverts to clean citrus fruit. Harsh notes rise only when the steep is left too long.

Now around the sixth steep, a slight citrus-floral note rises from the cup. It's a beautiful thing and a good one.

My guess is that during the next several years, the citrus-fruit notes will recede and the pondier and mulchy-floral notes push their way forward. The tea will become finicky, getting harsh if not carefully watched and monitored. Still later, as that harshness softens, I hope for plum-wood florality and camphor in fits and starts. How do I come to this?

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