Spring 2023, first flush
Old natural tea gardens, older plantations
Strong upfront and long-lasting sweetness, very juicy
Taking advantage of the good weather in 2023, it was time to feature again some Mengku teas. Of the ones we sourced back in 2020, Dong Guo was the one we kept reaching at. This was our first choice for a new Mengku tea.
We rarely drink teas from that region in Pu'er City. The tasting session shows a different character from the usual Menghai or Jingmai teas.
Citrus dominates the session, both in the fragrance and the mouthfeel. This tea displays almost no bitterness, but a pretty strong astringency, which, coupled with an intense fragrance, give the impression to bite through a lemon. It is the kind of tea which, after a couple of years, turns into orange juice.
The thickness is medium-light, leaving the mouth feel a bit dry after swallowing due to the astringency. It can sound unpleasant at a first sip, but you get to enjoy it over the session, it makes the tea playful on the tongue. This works because the high astringency is complemented by some Huigan, a fairly complex aroma, and an energizing body feel.
If you like our Jingmai Miyun, this could be a fun alternative, with an overall redder profile, but something similar in the way astringency messes with your palate.
Dong Guo is located on the Western Mountain of Mengku, halfway between Xiao Hu Sai and Bingdao. The place is covered in tea gardens growing between 1500m and 2000m of altitude.
A first glance at the village shows large factories which process tea in big machines. It seems the area specialized in making cheap high altitude tea to supply the large tea companies of Mengku. Fortunately, we found a very special producer who was among the few not having machines. The processing is made in woks and the factory looked very professional, despite its small size.
Like in other villages of Mengku, some farmers decide to open their own small workshop and sell high quality tea to small buyers instead of selling their fresh leaves to the larger processing units. Here, they used the best leaves available from the few older gardens cultivated in Dong Guo.
We are happy to offer this tea which highlights the potential of this area. Unlike Bingdao and Xiao Hu Sai, Dong Guo has no prestige, you only pay for the tea here. Yet their good material won't be on par with the famous places if it's processed in a big machine.
Close to this large village is a small hamlet called Mo Lie. This one has become famous and expensive in the past years. Despite the close distance, the price difference is fourfold.
We decided to settle on the cheaper option with a good processing, and the result is very satisfying. You will find a lot of qualities to this tea. It is on the aggressive side, it's a tea that will grab your palate and fill it with high-pitched fragrance, a moderate bitterness and plenty of sweetness. A tasting profile different from Bingdao and Xiao Hu Sai which show how diverse Mengku tea can be.
For a general introduction about Mengku area, check our youtube video: