Friday, November 9, 2012
2006 Mengku Ripe 145g - a revisit
My first encounter with this mini cake was in my Oct 24 2009 blog.
This is the 2006 Mengku 145g cake. The wrapper indicated that this was a gold medal award winning cake at a tea competition. Since I had purchased a few of these cakes and had quite good impressions of this tea, I did a revisit and opened up a cake.
It was a big surprise that when I broke off a chunk to brew; this tea tasted quite bland; nothing impressive. It was a worrying moment. Was my storage conditions not good for tea? Were my expectations of this tea too lofty? Maybe this was just a regular ripe cake?
I had brewed this tea by breaking off a 9g chunk and started my tea session. This had deviated from my current practice of breaking up tea cakes/bricks and putting it in a tea caddy for a few days before I start drinking the tea. I cannot give you a clear explanation on why the pu erh tea would taste much better if the tea chunks had a few days to 'breathe'. I had consumed a good number of pu erh cakes for the past few years to arrive at this conclusion. I find that the taste and aroma improvements are more pronounced in ripe/shu than raw pu erh. Perhaps this is what tea masters call 'tou-chi', a chinese term to describe taking a breather. Some tea experts have also mentioned about 'waking the tea' (aka xin-cha).......perhaps this is what I might be doing. I even have a Malaysian friend, that had advised me, that he unwrapped his tea cake (for drinking), enclosing the cake in a biscuit or mooncake tin for a week before he break up the cake.
Yes, what I have just said would have sounded like a 'believe it or not' urban legend. I may be wrong. I may be imagining or bluffing myself. Anyway, let me know your thoughts.
So, after a few days of storing my broken up chunks of this Mengku tea cake, my tea session of this pu erh became a very pleasant experience. The aroma and taste of this pu erh is strong and highly aromatic. This tea would brew to a darker color but its not bitter and its very enjoyable - a very comforting sensation when I drink up every cup.