The leaf looks bad, like the xiaguan, it's very stringy from crumbled-down leaves. Not a good first impression.
The cup lends out a deep brown color. I used a lot more leaf than I meant to, and usually do for shu. The smell is interesting, shu-like, but bordering on a graham-cracker aroma. The aroma definitely transfers to the taste, giving this shu a "foody" character. Indeed, it does taste low in quality, and like Chinese medicine. But if you're looking for a cheap shu, yet one that still shines with some character in the flavor, this is the one to get.
This stuff gets very dark brown in the second run. Yet it stays not cloudy. The flavor profile does have some distinctness; I'm finding a good malt, associated also with a graham-cracker taste. It has the sweetness, mellowness, and richness one can expect when in the mood for a ripe puerh.
In the third infusion, I notice this is the only shu I've been able to pick out some inkling of the wood flavors dominantly found in shengpu. It is mellower now, and moreso reminding me of the usual shu.
I feel right now that I definitely like this shupu. I think it's been produced better than most of the rest. Could this opinion be biased by a fact that I'm just in the mood for a warm, mellow, thick, rich shupu? Nonetheless, it will be a good tea to have in my collection. I'll have the 2006 melon for when I'm in the mood for a lighter shu, and I'll have this one on stock for the richer, thicker shu.
Why I place this one above other rich shu is that this menghai brick still carries a few interesting flavors. Noted are malt, graham, and the surprising wet wood flavor that doesn't normally get carried into the shu category of puerh (in my experience, anyways).
I do have to admit that while this brick is cheap, and seems like a great deal, the quality is low. However, even the low quality won't stop me as this one matches my tastes.
5th infusion is still kicking me some good flavors, although the brew has mellowed out. A ~15 second infusion for the 6th gives this more character once more. A nice, relaxed, and calm state of conciousness has been induced. 7th steep for ~25 seconds is still kicking. The color has lightened, but the taste is riding on.
I'll throw a stamp of recommendation on this one. I like it, it's a shu thats more according to my tastes, and is cheap. Can't go wrong with cheap. You can find it here, at Puerhshop.