When I heard about 2016 Menghai “Golden Fruit” Shou Puer on Yunnan Sourcing’s site, I was sold. With my last Yunnan Sourcing order, I purchased a whole cake for fun, it was only $24 for 357 grams.
What caught my eye about this tea was the description:
Entirely new production of Da Yi ripe called “金果” or Golden Fruit. It refers to the Peach of Immportality that grows in the orchard of the Celestials. The very peach that Sun Wukong stole and ate in “Journey to the West”.
The idea was to create a peach taste in the ripe pu-erh. At this early stage it’s hard to taste peach but there is a fruitiness thats developing in the tea and that long-lasting feeling in the mouth that transforms into sweet on the tongue.
Peach shou???!?!?! Hoot yeah that sounds good. Once this cake arrived and people knew I owned it, I got a lot of review requests for it. Let’s steep!
Dry Leaf and Steeping Method
My cake looks a little beat up. Despite the 6 layers of bubble wrap it had during shipping. I had let this cake air 2 weeks, then stuffed into the pumidor.
The scent is on the light side, and the leaf has a gentle mix of gold.
I used boiling water and a tea ratio of 1 gram to 13 ml of vessel size. I did 2 rinses as this shou is on the younger side (and I hate young shou). The hot leaf smells certainly on the fruity side.
Tasting of Yunnan Sourcing’s 2016 Menghai Golden Fruit Shou Puer
First and Second Infusion: What is difficult for a tea reviewer is knowing what something is supposed to taste like, in our case peach notes, and not have the brain fill it in or try to not taste it. Early steeps I got some cloudy shou.
The flavor is fruity – a strange fruity figgy note wafts up the sinus like I am drinking up my nose. The notes are dry leather and a whole lot of thin weird wet pile shou flavor. I should really sit on this cake a year or two, but maybe in a couple steeps it’ll kill off the funk. Young shou funk automatically makes my stomach clench. I did prepare ahead by sharing a limp taquito with a tea owl. The body is thin, not particularly full flavored, but the aroma is good – that figgy fruity note stays in the mouth, leaving a green leafy and stone fruit note.
Third and Fourth Infusion: Now we are talking! The broth has cleared up, so I think we beat the recent pressing funk for the most part. The flavor and texture are still on the light side, likely leafing harder would be a better idea. The sip flavor is sweet dark figs and leather. Most of the flavor is in the aftertaste – it is sweet, stone fruity. Some sips I get a bit of lime pith sourness.
I finally tasted it – peaches! It was in the immediate aftertaste on the 4th infusion.
Fifth Infusion: The flavor is slipping and I now have wet wood and bitter lime pith, with a peachy like aroma after each sip. I am finally feeling a slight slip of oily texture. I think I had an off steeping here.
Sixth Infusion: I steeped this one longer, around 5 minutes and got a good result. It is woody and peachy, with an oily texture. The flavor is still sad and thin. I don’t know if it is body feel or gut clenching young shou-itis, but I can feel it sludge down to my stomach and give off a sinking feeling and a bit of pep in my step to run to the bathroom. Sigh. Young shou. Why.
Seventh and Eighth Infusion: 10 and 20 minute infusion. Menghai Golden Fruit shou puer got quite sweety fruity with a mineral squeaky finish. The aroma is gone, but there is some salivation after drinking. It was a weird way for a tea to die, but an interesting session nevertheless. I think I could have gotten 1 more infusion if I boiled on the stove.
The spent leaf is chunky and big. I am not kidding young shou hits me bad, I did 3 bathroom runs in an 8 infusion solo session.
I am drinking Yunnan Sourcing’s Menghai Golden Fruit shou fairly young, yet it has a unique fruity aroma that lingers after each sip. Right now it is quite thin in flavor and young shou funky, but there are glimpses of complexity, heavier body, along with plenty of fruity aromas. It never got bad bitter or dry.
I cannot recall a fruity profiled shou. Most of my shous are woodsy, damp basement or library, creamy chocolate, nutty, leathery, or mushroomy. That said, Menghai Golden Fruit shou makes for a unique tea. I personally I am happy I bought it as it has room for age and chilling out. I am going to try and forget about it, jam it in the back of the pumidor, and revisit the tea in the next year or two.
If you like the sound of fruity shous and got the space and time for aging, I’d snag Menghai Golden Fruit shou puer now while it is cheap. Otherwise, wait awhile to see other reviews on the aging and commit later. Either way, it is $24 for a 357gram cake right now.