1997 Spring Menghai ‘7542’ qizi bing
Little green mark
Cultivar: Plantation and old arbor puerh
Harvested by hand: Spring 1997
Origin: Menghai Tea Factory, China. (The neifei mentions Menghai Tea Factory)
Process: raw, sun dried, blended and pressed as cake.
Weight of a cake: 357 gram
Many tea masters consider the 7542 cakes as the follow-up to the mythical "Luyin" (green mark) puerh from the 60s. That's why they are sometimes nicknamed 'little green mark'.
The packaging is very clean. This is a sign that this puerh has been stored in a very clean environment and hasn't been artificially wetted. The dry leaves are not too tightly pressed anymore. They appear clearly with different colors and a light hue due to their natural fermentation. The open leaves are not too broken and unfurl completely, a sign that the leaves are indeed raw. But their dark brown color indicates that they have aged. The brew also has a nice dark brown hue and very good transparency.
Camphor and storage smells are extremely powerful. These scents point to 30+ years of age, not 20! These smells translate also in the brew. This old puerh smell is addictive!
Powerful, sweet/bitter, pure, salivation inducing. Very long aftertaste. This is a very structured, rich tea (like a Bordeaux red wine from Pauillac).
Conclusion: this 1997 raw Menghai 7542 puerh has aged extremely well in Taiwan. Its scents and taste seem closer to 1980s puerh than to the 1999 7542! And if you were to use an Yixing zisha teapot, you may even mistake it for a 40 years old puerh!! Brewed well, the aromas can be really amazing!
Brewing advice: flake the leaves carefully and air them a few hours (in a clean environment) before brewing. This is a very powerful, very concentrated tea, so it's best to use a low leaves to water ratio. Choose a small Yixing zisha teapot to soften the taste. Brew with boiling water to unleash the extra long aftertaste. For more background info on the 7542, read the description of the 1999 version of this cake.