M&K's Big Snow Mountain Pearls Sheng 2013

(Tea Provided for Review)
Origin: Daxueshan National Reserve, Yongde County, Yunnan, China
Harvest: Mid April 2013
Cultivar: Camellia Sinensis var. Assamica

I decided to try this first, I am not normally a fan of puerh pearls, but something about it seemed interesting when I was initially browsing M&K’s catalogue. M&K describes this as:
There are two Da Xue Shan (literally "Big Snow Mountains") in China's Lincang Prefecture, one in Mengku County and the other in Yongde County. This tea was picked in the Daxueshan National Reserve at the foothills of the Himalayas, with tea trees growing at altitudes reaching about 2,750 meters (about 9,000 feet). Unlike most Chinese tea, which uses the tea variety sinensis, these Pu-erh pearls were grown with the assamica (large leaf) variety. Tea enthusiasts will not be disappointed with these pearls, which offer a complex flavor and flowery aroma with hints of stone fruit, and allow for many resteepings! We recommend this tea to lovers of raw (sheng) pu-erh as well as green and white teas. 
It’s interesting that M&K recommends this to green tea and white tea drinkers, after sampling this I am not sure if I agree.
Dry Leaves: My sample included two pearls each about 5.6 grams, so a bit smaller than blooming tea, but larger than pearl or rolled tea. It does not have much of a scent, but I a suspect that may be because of how tightly compressed this is. 

First Steeping
Temperature: 200oF
Brewing Time: Five Seconds
Aroma: Floral and Grassy
Flavor: Pear, Vegetal and Floral
Tasting Notes: I started off with three quick rinses with boiling water for five seconds, and till the pearls are tightly compressed. While the early infusions are nice, if you wanted to skip ahead to the really amazing infusions you’d probably have to rinse it for a thirty seconds. It has a rather nice aroma, although it does take quite some time for it to develop (it was not till the seventh or so infusion that the floral nose started to become strong enough to be pleasant), while now it is a little on the weak side. 
There is some bitterness, and slight cha qi, both of which would not defer a new to sheng puerh drinker, but not enough to satisfy someone more experienced with young sheng puerh. Nevertheless this is a very pleasant and easy to enjoy tea so far, the sweet pear and floral notes are hard to hate, while the vegetal taste and grassy aroma may put some off. 

Second Steeping
Temperature: 205oF
Brewing Time: Ten Seconds
Aroma: Floral and Fresh Grass
Flavor: Pear, Nectarine, Vegetal and Floral
Tasting Notes: The bitterness is starting to develop and it has some cha qi that will certainly warm you up, but still a little on the weak side (although I do not think I have ever really felt cha qi in puerh pearls before, but then again I have not had a lot of puerh pearls in the past) 

Other than that describing the aroma is what I have the most trouble with. I feel that the floral scent is the most distinct aroma I can’t exactly describe it, I am sure I have experienced it before, but I can’t quite describe it; as for the grassy notes as I was drinking this tea I kept struggling to describe it, while I am confident it is grassy at times it reminds me of that very fresh grassy scent which can be found in gyokuros (like in this particular steeping) while in others (like the previous it reminds me more of dried grass). 

Third Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Fifteen Seconds
Aroma: Floral and Grassy
Flavor: Pear, Nectarine and Vegetal
Tasting Notes: It still has those sweet fruity tastes, perhaps a little stronger than the previous infusion, but the floral flavor is gone entirely which I am ambivalent about. While I did enjoy the floral flavor I do like the contrast between the pear/nectarine with the vegetal notes more without the floral notes, it feels like a much cleaner tea now. While I do not think the pear or nectarine notes have changed since the last infusion they feel much crisper now. The bitterness is starting to become stronger, not enough for me to describe it as kuwei. I don’t know why, but for some reason this reminds me of menghai sheng.

I enjoyed this sheng. As I mentioned before I don’t drink a lot of puerh pearls and I am not really one who purchases puerhs with the intention to age, I am more of a drink it now type of puerh drinker so I do not feel confident in judging it’s future potential, but it is certainly in a drinkable state right now. While it lacks the complexity of more expensive young shengs I feel it is worth checking out if you like young shengs. At the time of writing this M&K’s Tea Co. sells 50g for $10.49 which feels like a fair price to me. 


Just a guy who likes tea.


  1. Oh hey, I have this in my 'to sample' box...I should try it :P

    1. Definitely. It is a little too dense for someone as impatient as me, but still a lovely tea nonetheless. If i buy it again I might stab it to speed it up.