Da hu sai – Fragrant Mountain
Da Hu Sai is the name of a tea mountain in Menghai. Top-grade large leaf material was used for these gorgeous looking manually pressed cakes. Dahusai is quite durable and yields mellow, bitterness-free flavor with rich yet subtle floral notes. The cakes are so neatly pressed that, with enough time and patience, one could literally disassemble them into individual buds and leaves.
Why we like it?
Dahusai is a beautifully crafted, mellow-tasting, bitterness-free sheng puer from the heart of Menghai. It looks great. It tastes great. And it has a magical floral fragrance. One can only imagine how many more facets this tea will develop if aged properly for an extended period of time. Da Hu Sai makes excellent tea ceremony material. We use it to show people what manually pressed cakes should look like, what kind material is considered top-grade, and how flavor and fragrance change over multiple steepings. Make sure to treat it nicely. To fully enjoy this delicate sheng, use water of ~70-75 °C.
Roman’s personal score: 92/100
Miha’s personal score: 88/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
Basic facts about puer
There are two kinds of puer tea: shu (ripe, cooked, heavily fermented) and sheng (raw). Shu puers undergo an extensive (several months to a year) fermentation process, whereas sheng puers are not fermented at all. Shu puers produce dark brown infusions quite similar to black tea. The color of sheng puer tea may range from lime to intense yellow – the spectrum typical of green teas, but that’s where the similarity ends. A typical sheng puer has a pronounced bittersweet flavor and a lingering mellow aftertaste called huigan (回甘) or liugan (留甘) in Chinese.
Some people are discouraged from exploring puer teas because of erroneous perceptions that all puers taste like earth or have other unpleasant qualities. This only applies to low-quality puers that were either made of bad leaves, processed in a wrong way, or stored under inappropriate conditions. Brewed properly, good quality puers may seem unusually strong to an inexperienced palate, but they should not feel disagreeable in any way.
Shu puer tea is often divided into supreme (gongting), extra, 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades. Sheng puers are sometimes classified into extra, 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 8th grades, but this system is far from universal. The grade of puer tea is primarily determined by the buds vs. leaves ratio, as well as the size and shape thereof. Supreme-quality shu puer (aka gongting), for instance, is supposed to be buds only with each bud averaging up to one inch in length. Extra class shu is 50-60% buds and 40-50% leaves. First grade shu puer is approximately 30% buds and 70% leaves. Third grade has leaves that are larger in size and the bud content is accidental. Fifth and seventh grades are almost entirely made up of leaves, the main difference being in size, thickness, and texture of tea material used. Shengs follow a similar pattern, but, again, standards vary significantly among manufacturers.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time. The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea. Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for Fragrant Mountain (Da hu sai)
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6-10 grams
- water: ~ 70 °C, 100-250 ml (~ 170°F, 3-9oz)
- time: 30-45 seconds
- number of infusions: 8-12
- discard the first brew
Note: This sheng is quite sensitive for overclocking. Start with lover temperatures and short steeping times, then increase gradually or will turn bitter.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.