90s 7581 Kunming Brick
The Kunming 7581 Shou brick is one of the best-known and most well-loved reference products in all of puerh tea. The standard version of the brick made from the 70s to the early 2000s (there are many fakes and possible special versions, more on this in the near future) is a partially fermented puerh, halfway between shou and sheng. It then undergoes Hong Kong traditional storage, and finally a rest period, before going for sale. After 1999, the production process changed significantly. This is a brick from the early 90s, stored in Taiwan after Hong Kong storage. I believe it is a good example of typical 7581.
The dry leaf has clear HK storage aroma, basement but not beety. It also looks darker and redder than sheng.
The wash is very clear, dark orange, and has a HK storage aroma. The wet leaf also has a clear HK storage aroma. I would have guessed at this point that the tea is HK storage sheng.
- Clear liquor. HK storage, not much geosmin but some. Fairly thick. Wet leaf is extremely dark, even for HK storage.
- Beautiful dark maroon colour, still very clear. I can start to taste a background of shou taste. Warmth in center of chest spreading out, hands warm, face warm. Effects typical of shou for me.
- several very consistent and satisfying brews, major heating and a generally good feeling.
- More shou notes come out in the later steeps. Long steeps are very nice, no bitterness, very rich, thick. Not very sweet, mostly complex minerals, and good aftertaste, though not a big one.
This tea basically presents at first as a very good HK stored sheng but with (very comfortable and enjoyable) shou warming energy. Then as the steeps progress, it loses more of the HK storage notes, the liquor gets a bit more cloudy, and it eventually morphs into an aged shou. I didn’t get any funky aromas or tastes, i.e. no wodui aroma or taste, but especially in long late steeps, it has the typical shou profile. I much prefer this to any modern shou, anything I’ve tried after 2000, but then I am just not a big fan of shou generally.