Mengku is located in Lincang, Yunnan which is by the Burma border of Yunnan province. According to Zhang, Mengku pu-erh teas emerged along with Yiwu and Menghai. After tasting this tea, I can see why.
Firstly, Mengku is part of Da Xue Shan (Big Snow Mountain) which reaches a peak at an altitude of 3228m. Tea grows on its slopes at elevations above 2200m in uninhibited chemical-free environments. This already gives the tea a head-start with a strong character. Having been stored in Malaysia for nearly 17 years, this pu-erh aged very well. I can say that because there was no astringency and the taste profiles reminded me of that of an excellent shu pu-erh. It had a thick soup with a long lingering sensation on the palate and was suitable for a long session. As I said, I could taste the beautiful woody and earthy notes which were reminiscent of a shu pu-erh.
I should also add that this pu-erh was a sample, but I am pretty convinced that it was shaped like a brick. Bricks are considered ‘less superior’ to pu-erh cakes because the former uses stems and sometimes powder on top of tea leaves. On the other hand, the cakes are made of leaves only. However, tea bricks also have their own perks. For instance, they are more suitable for the growth of a micro-organism called Jin-Hua (金花) which facilitates enzymatic reactions and leading to additional health benefits. Therefore, it is no coincidence that in China, most pu-erh or dark tea which is advertised for their fat-reducing ability comes in bricks.
Sources: Zhang, Jinghong., Project Muse. “Puer Tea.”
Type: Dark (Pu-erh)
Origin: Mengku, Lincang, Yunnan, China
Harvest time: 2003
Leave colour: Tones of green and brown
Liquor colour: Cupper
Tea aroma: Earthy
Tea taste: Thick with rich woody and earthy notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 30 years and possibly more