2001 Menghai Tea Factory 7542 Simplified Yun
I’ve been hoping to taste this tea for quite some time, and while the dry-stored version is way too expensive at more than 5$/g, this excellent traditionally Hong Kong stored version was about a quarter of that, so I decided to give it a try.
Whether it is because of a less-intense wet phase, or the particular microbes present during the wet phase, or perhaps the quality of the resting/drying phase, there is no geosmin residual taste or aroma in this traditionally stored tea. Any smokiness is gone, there is no astringency, the liquor is clear, and there is a strong minerality. Surprisingly it seems more like a high roast yancha than a shou puerh, for instance.
The only other HK stored cake I’ve tried which has this perfect a treatment is the 2001 7432 which I reviewed previously. This 7542 has a bit more sweetness than the 7432, and the 7432 has a stronger mineral note and is a bit punchier than this 7542.
The wash is completely clear, strong mineral aroma, no geosmin.
- Dark brown and thick. Clean, quite thick, remarkable concentrated complex taste
- Some yancha sweetness in aftertaste. Strong and very enjoyable energy. Strong face heat beginning
- Sweating in the face, wonderful traveling energy, frisson. Superb nutty and juicy taste with earthy undertones. Late aftertaste is sweet ground nuts, hazelnut, almond paste. Walnuts.
- Flowing energy. Clean rock water. Beautiful concentrated broth.
- Sweetness is still clear, thickness, mineral, the resemblance to roasty yancha notes is interesting.
- Mineral, clean taste, with sweet aftertaste, becoming less concentrated.
- Petering out but still pleasant and minerality is very nice.
The experience of this tea is quite spectacular, and I will definitely use it to treat guests to a wonderful taste of traditional Hong Kong storage. This is a bit sweeter and less dark (in terms of camphor, ginseng, bitters) than my other HK trad favourite, the 7432 from 2001, and so I think it is more immediately appealing. Unfortunately this 7542 is quite a lot more expensive than the 7432 without being clearly superior. I don’t know what this tea would be like in the dry-stored version, but I have tried a dry-stored 2001 purple dayi 7542 #4 and it had a very old-school smoky oily strength profile, and it is quite amazing to see such a profile transformed in this way by the traditional storage process.