Saturday, May 17, 2008

2008 Menghai 7542(801)

The 7542(801) comes next, but first, I've got something I need to get off of my chest. It's been both an exciting and frustrating time for me lately in regards to pu-erh. First, it is exciting because I just moved all of my tea to a larger cabinet with more room to grow. I've got some really good stuff coming in from Yunnan Sourcing,, Dragon Tea House, and a couple other sellers. I love waiting for packages to come. I love opening the tea cabinet to take a punch in the face of wonderful smells. That aside, I have been filled with some frustrations. Topping the list is the fact that some of the pu-erh I have been drinking lately leaves me craving something more. Ku is a great part of any pu-erh, but not when it overpowers the soup. Five infusions & none of the buzz, light chaqi if any at all. This was very discouraging until I read that both Hobbes and Marshal have been running into snags as well. Hobbes learned a valuable lesson about the importance of being careful with the puer'dao. Marshal recently said that he felt that he had outgrown one of the teas he used to drink on a fairly regular basis. It makes me feel more human, and overall more accepting of some of my recent experiences with pu-erh that left a sour taste. It also forces me to pose two important questions:

1) Is my heart poured into every cup of tea that I brew?
2) Am I being consistent with prep when it comes to logging my tasting notes?

Now, onto some pu!

2008 Menghai 7542(801)

I had this once before and loved it. This cake is sweet & smells of melon. Right out of the cupboard it makes me careful to get things right this time & every time moving forward. Knowing the best way to cut open any cake, knowing the correct amount of leaf and water to add, as well as how long to steep for and in what kind of vessel.

I love that Menghai has added a seal that must be broken before it can be brewed. It looks like a fantastic feat to find a crafty way to maintain integrity. I did manage to peel the seal off without any real difficulty. Even so, this helps to minimize counterfeiting as much as possible.

The cake is a very rich green colour and I am seeing a lot of light coloured leaves on the face of it. This doesn't outwardly appear that it is going to be a difficult tea to cut into.

As I suspected, the cut was fairly easy although the cake is very narrow at the edges. The rinse smells clean and the liquor is a light golden colour.
The first infusion is smooth and goes down very quickly. The leaves have only begun to wake up. I assume there will be more flavour as I brew my next cup.

The second infusion is where things start to become more complex. The tea coats my teeth and makes them feel smooth. The ku rides out and shows it's face as the last bit of drink makes it's way down my throat. I feel very calm and alert, yet relaxed. A few months back, Hobbes was explaining Chaqi to me, but ultimately said "it's just a feeling." He said "Chaqi is just as you say, the vital energy in tea. It's a subtle effect, which leads some to discount it. Trying some older teas really makes it obvious, I believe. Suspend your skepticism for just a while - I remember being skeptical myself when I first started drinking pu-erh."

Now, the 7542(801) is delicious. I need to make it abundantly clear that this is in no way the best tea I have ever had. However, for an 08, I can say it tastes better than many of the 05 and 06 bings. It's thick, it brews for a long time, and it's complex once the leaves have woken up. This tea is definitely thicker and it takes forever for it to lose it's sweet start and slightly bitter finish. If I had things my way, everyone would have a tong of this. Since I can't have my way, I'll just take comfort in the tong +2 bings I have of this and take pleasure sharing this with dear friends in the hope that our bonds will mature as well as I know this tea is going to.

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