I purchased 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box Tuocha Shou Puer way back in early 2013 from Mandala Tea. This tuocha and a cake of 2012 Wild Monk were my first puer cakes, believe it or not.
As I am crazy and hoarder-like, I never sampled my 2009 Menghai Dayi. There is nothing special about it other than was my first shou cake. It was only $12 for this 100gram tuocha. I did open the box and examined the tea. A part of me chickened out on how official this tea looks – it’s got paperwork and holo stickers. Examining the packaging, I see 2008 all over the place. My email receipt says 2009. Whatever.
This tea got shoved into the back of my dresser, back when I stored my puer in an empty dresser in my bedroom in California. Over time, I forgot about it. I’d see it time to time when I go through my pumidor and set it aside to drink, but then it gets shuffled to the back. I have been revisiting a number of my older teas, and this Menghai Dayi went to the top of the list as I’ve been waiting on it for over 4 years.
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method
The tuocha smells like chestnuts and earth.
It crumbled easily with a puer pick despite being a shape that is usually a pain to deal with.
I went heavy with the leaf, as usual for shou, using 1 gram of leaf to 13ml of vessel size. I used boiling water and a single rinse. The hot leaf still smells like chestnuts.
Tasting of 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box Tuocha Shou Puer
First and Second Infusion: 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box isn’t as dark as I was expecting – I thought I was going to get a pitch black shou that I couldn’t see through. I got a tea that has a clear ruddy brown glow to it. I checked and I was right, this was only partially fermented. Having this many unintentional year of age is great!
The flavor is sweet and smooth and bright. It sips in bright and sweet, like roasted chestnuts with a bit of bittersweet shell. It leaves a creamy feel in the mouth and a soft lingering bittersweet flavor. I felt I steeped this higher on the leaf, but the flavor isn’t overly strong but has a thinness to it. There is no funk or strange storage. I am thankful my first puer cakes aren’t horrible as my storage was certainly quite dry, then fluctuations between crock storage, moving, and pumidor storage.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Infusion: 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box has a bit stronger in flavor, with the end of sip having a bittersweet coffee-like bite to it. Overall the tea is still creamy feeling and has chestnut notes.
Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: The flavor is slipping, but it is the best infusions. The shou is high in sweet and creamy. It lost all that bittersweet bite so it is just chestnut dessert notes and smooth drinking. The energy here is very chill. This is a sleeper shou that I could just stop writing and go have a nap.
Eleventh Infusion: I did a 20-minute infusion here. This last infusion was delicate, mineral and sweet. No bitter or dryness. The body was thin, but the flavor was good and the feeling was chill.
Not sure where you can get 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box Shou Puer as Mandala Tea has not carried it in a long time, but maybe you can get lucky on Ebay. It was a cheap $12 investment I forgot about, which turned into a smooth easy drinking tea. The notes weren’t too complicated, the texture was fine, and the energy was chill. I’ll likely drink this on another cold rainy day.
I had a giggle with the Steepster listing of 2009 Menghai Dayi Yellow Box Tuocha. It was added to the database 4 years ago and Mandala Tea’s description read “Can’t wait 2-3 years as it’ll age like a champ.” well I waited 4.5 years by accident. The other interesting contrast is one review from 4 years ago said it tasted like buttered greens – I certainly did not get that now. Too bad I didn’t try this shou 4 years ago to taste the difference, but same time I am drinking this likely at its best with the age on it.