Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1980s Menghai "7572" Puerh


One usually doesn't consume much shu puerh, indulging only occasionally during the hot summer or once in a while for meditation. Today one has a craving for some old shu.

This sample was gifted by Daniel at The Chinese Tea Shop in Vancouver, who stocks a nice variety of cakes. It is of the classic 7572 recipe. This recipe was one of the first to be pressed into a cake by Menghai in the 70s. Let's boil the water, take in the moisture kicked up by the kettle, and enjoy some classic shu...

The smell of the dry leaf is pretty generic- the dusty, stale, must of a long storage. Faint dry wood notes predominate. The tea is placed in yixing and a rinse pushes out more of the smell of storage.

The first infusion reveals an initial burst of sweetness under the strong heavy characters of this tea. A velvety mouthfeel is full of creamy but sharp coco notes. The aftertaste is slightly fruity with a nice grain character to it. Minutes afterward creamy chocolate is carried with the breath. The mouthfeel further evolves into a mild comforting dryness which coats the mouth.


With creamy chocolate echoing in ones mouth the second infusion is prepared. It starts off with a slight sour-sweet burst lying in the thick oily soup of coco and decomposing wood. There are very medicinal notes that hide under other flavours then fade away. The mouthfeel is malty, thick, oily, and finishes slightly dry. The chaqi moves downward warming the lower cavity and comforting the stomach.


The third and fourth infusion start once again with a sour-sweet kick. There are raisin-like and medicinal notes here but they are smooth and meld into creamy coco on the breath. The mouthfeel remains viscous with a slight dry finish. It really gloops over the mouth and paints it in a thick coat all the way to the throat. The chaqi is quite heavy and burrows deep and downward. Ones hands and arms feel almost cool in juxtaposed with the light, soft warming feeling down below.

The fifth and sixth infusions have much more woody notes up front along with thick creamy coco notes that dominate the creamy taste of this tea. Thin dry wood stretches into chocolate in the aftertaste as well. The mouthfeel is very full but slightly less oily. The chaqi is compounding and bringing elevated alertness. One quiets here in the present.
The seventh, eighth, and ninth infusions maintain the core creamy, smooth coco, velvety taste with a progression to more dry wood notes in the aftertaste. The woody flavour is a creamy, velvety wood much more than it is drying. One takes a break from this tea and goes for an evening walk before returning to the table.

The tenth infusion comes once again with more woody, dry notes within the creamy coco base which is becoming more and more ghostly as the session progresses. Slight plum now accompanies wood notes.

The eleventh and twelfth infusions are long and slightly dry. Milky wood notes and many sweet, fruity hints are in there as well. The mouthfeel has lost its oily core but applies a thin fuzzy coating over the mouth and throat.


This tea is taken for a few more long infusions late in to the night before being put to rest with an overnight steeping. In the morning, one is greeted with cinnamon, mainly musty storage, and deep medicinal tastes.

Peace

8 comments:

Brandon said...

Sounds like your cake was humid stored for some of these years. Your lucky day - dry aged 7572 can number among the most boring things on the planet.

Matt said...

Brandon,

Heard something like that before but personally have never tried one of those older dry stored shu. This cake was a bit surprising in its richness and depth. It is no surprise though, Daniel's selection of aged cakes is pretty solid.

Peace

learning to pull radishes said...

What a beautiful gift this posting is, both in the description and the photos. I am full of gratitude :) more than I can express :)

Petr Novák said...

Hi Matt, I looks like very pleasurable ripe PuEr...it is interesting like almost all tea bloggers start their posts about ShuPu with sentense like you did (One usually doesn't consume much shu puerh, indulging only occasionally...) I have few ripe Puers I like to dring but talking about them I will probably looking for similar sentense too. I have not conclusion from this yet I only find it interesting...

Is your lid on the teapot with crack? if yes I am sorry, it is nice one.

I was also delighted at your "overnight" steeping. I like to do that with some sheng, shu, oolongs and sometime the tea gives its best like this.

thank you again for your work here.
best
Petr

Matt said...

LPR,

Think you just expressed it nicely. Thanks.

Petr Novak,

One doesn't usually comment on the comment that "One usually doesn't consume much shu puerh, indulging only occasionally"... Hahaha

It is true that there is a definite bias on Blogs leaning in favour of sheng puerh, with the exception of maybe Bearsblog. Each blog definitely influences the others, intros to shu puerh reviews don't get spared.

Good eye. The lid of this pot is cracked. It really changes the feel of the tea sessions. It is one of those cracks that just slowly gets bigger. This is how these living teawares impact the look and feel of the tea session.

Peace

MarshalN said...

Traditionally stored cooked pu can be surprisingly good. I think Brandon's right -- 7572 is pretty boring and lame otherwise.

Matt said...

Marshal'N,

If there is one thing in the world one knows to be true it is this- Brandon is always right (he is also as wise as he is right).

As far as this cake goes, it definitely showed less movement from infusion to infusion than any sheng Manghai of the same age. But this shu definitely had more richness to it.

Thanks as always for swingin' on by. Your post on traditional storage was classic Marshal'N- excellent.

Peace

Matt said...

Marshal'N & Brandon,

Regarding the storage of the 7572 cake, today Daniel emailed replying to the question of storage. He claimed that they were stored in Hong Kong under unintentional wet storage (is it still considered traditional storage if it is unintentional???).

He called it "quasi-wet storage". It was wet enough for some of the cakes to develop "a faint sign of moldiness". He said that 10 of the cakes are a bit more effected by the storage than the others- an effect of the unintentional wet (traditional?) storage. The last nine years they have been under relatively dry storage in Vancouver.

Peace