Mengku Ripe Pu-erh Pearls (勐库普洱熟龙珠), as the name suggests, is a pearl-shaped pu-erh that is ripe (shu) and comes from Mengku, Lincang of Yunnan Province. These pearls were produced in 2015, each pearl weighing between approximately 5-9 grams. This makes them very convenient to use – one pearl per one 1/2 litre tea pot if you are brewing this Western style. 10g sample pouches contain 2 pearls, while 50g pouches contain 6-9 pearls in total.
Pu-erh tea undergoes a unique production process, during which the tea leaves are dried and rolled after which they undergo secondary microbial fermentation and oxidation. This unique processing sets it apart from black tea and means that pu-erh fits within the separate dark teas category. The tea is most commonly pressed into various shapes (domes, disks, bricks, etc) or can be left loose and the gradual fermentation and maturation process continues further during storage. These Mengku Ripe Pu-erh Pearls have been pressed into small round shapes, which are like large pearls. As this is a ripe (shu) pu-erh, the ageing process has been effectively sped up during the production. This means that this tea can be either drunk straight away or, if desired, can be left to mature for longer to mellow out even more.
This tea has been shaped into pearls, then wrapped in paper for storage. When you remove the paper wrapping, you can see rather large leaves with plenty of golden tips. Mengku Ripe Pu-erh Pearls break apart when brewed, producing a deep dark liquor that is almost black. The flavours produced are satisfying, rich and warming. The deep and complex character of this tea is woody, a little mineral and with pronounced peppery notes of molasses and walnuts. A very satisfying drink that is balanced in flavour; it goes especially well with Asian styles of food.
This tea is best brewed with water at 95°C for 3-5 minutes and can be brewed multiple times.