Monday, October 10, 2016

Menghai Dayi 2006 0622-601: Notes & Visual References

This post is about the Menghai Dayi 2006 recipe number 0622 batch 601, 200 grams cake version.  This particular tea was obtained from a tea wholesaler based in Dongguan, a city in the Guangdong province that is about 41 miles (67 km) away from Guangzhou.


  • A new numbered recipe was introduced in 2006 in celebration of Menghai Tea Factory's 66th anniversary
  • This new 0622 recipe is based on two older recipes: the '92 Fangcha and 7532
  • Three versions of the 2006 0622 were produced in cake (bing) format: 660 grams, 400 grams, and 200 grams
  • As the third number in the recipe denotes (0622), the tea is a blend of second grade leaves with silvery-white buds interspersed generously
  • The number 601 indicates that it is the first production batch in the year of 2006

For the sake of brevity, I will defer all visual observation and description to the accompanying photographs.

Basic parameter: ~5.5 grams in a 110ml gaiwan; Crystal Geyser (source: Olancha spring) water at 100°C/212°F.

Storage of the tea is dry natural in humid Southern China conditions.  There is no indication that the tea was subjected to traditional or wet storage.  This is observed from the look of the dry and the wet leaves, as well as the taste of the tea.

The humid storage taste is dominant in the first 3 or 4 infusions before the base material's characteristics reveal itself in subsequent infusions.  The tea is full bodied, well-rounded in the mouth, bitter and quite punchy (assertive).  The bitterness, however, is the welcome kind that transforms into a sweet aftertaste / huigan that reminds me of good Bulang tea.   Steeping durability is excellent, providing about 12-15 good infusions (this is highly variable depending on tea:water ratio used and steeping time).

Overall score: 3½ out of 5 (good - v. good)

Price as of October 2016: ¥180 (RMB) or $27 USD per 200 grams cake.


All images were taken within the last week of September 2016, about a few days after receiving the tea from the Guangdong-based vendor.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cheunghing Tie Luohan: An Affordable Luxury

As autumn settles in and the air grows cooler, I have a tendency to prefer drinking aged, highly-roasted oolong over other types of tea.  It’s warming and soothing (it is less cooling, to be precise, as all teas are cooling by nature).

Buying high-fired oolong, however, is an adventure in itself.  The great ones often come with a [very] high price tag, while the affordable ones that flood the market often are younger teas that have been roasted to death and/or subpar.  That’s not to say there aren’t any good, affordable, aged ones.  Cheunghing’s Tie Luohan is one example that is good, aged and affordable – a triple threat.

The tea brews very dark, almost opaque.  It’s malty, sweet with a hint of chocolate flavor, thick and silky smooth.  Whatever strong roasty characteristics it had when it was young, it has now mellowed out with age.  This tea can take a lot of abuse too: over brewing it does make the tea strong but it hardly gets bitter.  The best part about it is, a session with a small packet of 7.5 grams in leaves costs only $1, more or less.  Simply said, it’s an affordable luxury.

I store the paper packets in a medium-sized clay jar to let the tea evolve and (hopefully) get better with age.  I have to admit, it’s rather hard to keep my hand out of the cookie jar, so to speak.