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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Friday, January 15, 2010

1999 Menghai 7542 (Sampan)

Come to think of it, I've had more examples of aged 7542 than any other aged pu-erh (which isn't saying much, given my inexperience with much aged pu-erh). Thinking about it, also I've never had the experience of tasting new 7542. I've had three examples thus far, two from 1993 and one from 1999. Granted, these may not be exact dates, especially if there's funny business going on, but they all came from reliable vendors. Nevertheless, they were all remarkable in their own way, and I thank my tea friends for the opportunity to sample things I would otherwise ignore because of price constraints.

So today I have on my plate the most unremarkable of these three, the 1999 7542. Of course, there are some redeeming factors but I'll get to that later. This particular sample was stored in Taiwan for most of its life, so it has all the classic signs of wet storage. I love the damp, wetness, and musty book of wet storage. I apologize for the lack of photos...the weather around these parts has been most uncooperative.

Even though I've mentioned before that my experience with aged pu-erh is minimal, I've actually tasted a good number of it when studying abroad. The tea shop I entertained would brew up some of her reserve collection for me. I don't recall any particular details regarding vintage, recipe, storage, etc. Thinking back to those days, the pu-erh I sampled was definitely wet-stored. They weren't entirely complex but they were interesting, with notes of camphor, woodiness, and Chinese medicine. My friends all showed disgust but I didn't care and I eagerly drank up their share.

Perhaps our tastes and tendencies in tea are reflected by our first impressions. This is true of me, as I am fond of that wet-storage flavor and aroma. I'm a bit torn on this sample, and I'm still debating if I like it or not. There's a bit too much wet-storage, and the tea itself is a bit monotone. There is a slight touch of sharpness coming from the tea's relative young age, which gives me hope that it can still develop. It's comforting to drink, and it leaves a pleasant sensation in my throat. The cha qi is calming, and it leaves my palms and upper back a bit sweaty, and a nice sensation develops in both my mind and chest.

Would I buy this tea? Depends, though if the tea could develop a fuller body and maintain its cha qi...I might be more inclined. I'll taste other samples first before making a decision.

On an unrelated note, the first signs of aging in my 7532! There's a slight bit of tea stains on the nei fei. Okay, so maybe there's been some funny business going on: I accidentally got some parts of the tea wet. I dried it and checked on it every day or so. Should be okay now, and who knows...maybe I actually helped it by giving it some good old HK storage treatment.


Bret said...

Really? Never tried any fresh 7542? If interested I,ll send you some, Ive got about a tong of it in the cabinet. I always have intentions of letting the 7542,s age but they never last that long. I must use more self control.

Maitre_Tea said...

It's fine...it's one of those things I'm going to buy eventually. It's just not on the top of my list since there are things that I need to buy, which are more likely to run out than the latest 7542.