April 2022, Ancient gardens, small and big trees picked together.
Punchy in the nose, mouth and body. Intense high mountain aroma combined with a good amount of bitterness and strong minerality.
This tea ticks all the boxes for a good Menghai Puerh. The high altitude of the gardens give the soup an intense fragrance, combined with a refreshing mouthfeel. The combination of short-lived bitterness and astringency gives the impression you're sucking a rock. The soup behaves light in the mouth, like gasoline. It flows down the throat easily and leaves a trail of freshness in its path. Strong overall profile and good endurance.
This tea comes from Ba Meng village, located right below Hua Zhu Liang Zi, the highest peak of Xishuangbanna. The tea in this area grows between 1700m and 2300m, this is as high as you can get in the Southern Puerh tea producing regions.
The ancient tea gardens grow around the village and further up in the mountain. The whole area is inhabited by the Hani ethnic group. They have cultivated tea in Menghai area for centuries and settled in many of the now famous tea mountains: Mengsong, Nannuo, Pasha and Banzhang.
The leaves in this area are small, this could be due to natural selection that occured over the generations. At such a high altitude, frost is a concern for var Assamica, and the selection pressure would be severe for plants taken from lower grounds.
Mengsong area produces the most fragrant tea in Xishuangbanna. Yet, fragrance without a supporting bitterness is boring as hell to the Puerh tea drinker. Here, you get the full course. You'll even feel highly energized after a session with this tea, if you can go to the end of the leaves before reaching tea drunkenness.