Not any different from Xiaguan really, variations on a theme but Menghai has a much bigger repertoire to choose from. Maybe more creative with base ingredients they seem to come up with subtle yet distinct variations.
The dry leaf is rather pretty, green transitioning into brown. Plenty of whitish tea buds blended into the mix. The aroma wafting from the cake is enticing, judging from the smell alone I can tell there is much to be had here. A lot of depth with an underlying fruit like sweetness and woodsy aroma. The slightest touch of smokiness still remains. The cakes compression is the slightest bit tighter than the numbered cakes but still easy enough to deal with. This tea doesn't dawdle, it gets going pretty quickly. The first infusions flavor sits firmly in the woodsy and mushroomy genre, the flavor spreads and penetrates quickly. A good balance of sweet and bitter astringency. Nice full mouth feel yet the teas flavor also has a "brightness" about it, a crisp cleanliness that serves as the perfect counterpart to the sweetness and the full body. This is an interesting tea experience in that the lower palate is saturated with sweet and woodsy, a smidgen of fruit flavors yet the upper palate experiences the nutty, bright and clean, touch of floral flavors. The aftertaste is robust, thick and long lasting. Not much in the way of transitioning flavors with this tea it pretty much opens up and stays the same through out the session. It doesn't drop out on you but fades gradually and gracefully, I admire that in a tea. Honestly, you just cannot beat Menghai for quality and value. A high quality, well made product for not a lot of money. $15.50 per cake.
The teas color doesn't really show up well in the cup but in the sharing pot you can see it,s true color. A deep golden yellow. Brews up clear as a bell. Durability is very good, I think about 6-7 infusions before it starts to wane into sweet, grainy blandness. I know most people keep the pot going till the teas flavors are completely gone, I,m not one of those people. Once the teas flavors are exhausted and the body has gone I call it a day. A good tea, glad I grabbed a couple of these but two is enough. I,m sticking to my guns in that the 7542 is where it,s at with the Menghai teas. It,s got everything I love in a tea.
I haven't been very creative with my picture taking lately, no glamour shots, no back lighting, just tea. Maybe I,ll get back into taking glamour shots again but in a way it,s an unnecessary affectation. Beautiful as it is, that's not my reality. My tea table is the patio table in the back yard, that's where I usually enjoy my tea, watching the dogs play and the birds chirping and the squirrels teasing the dogs with their taunting (you cant catch me) game. This may sound strange but all the ruckus and shenanigans distract me while I,m drinking tea, being distracted helps me enjoy and evaluate a tea by "not thinking" about it. Just "experiencing" it. Sometimes it,s the furthest thing from my mind, and that,s when it,s sublime. Does that make sense?
note: Having had a few sessions with the Da Jing Dian I may have to eat my words and get a couple more of these cakes for storage.