I picked up this brick during a visit to UK based vendor Green Tea Guru‘s website.
It’s quite possible that you will see this recipe referred to as “classic” or even “legendary“.
This is understandable – after all Menghai tea factory is regarded by many as the benchmark for shou Pu-erh due to the pivotal part they played (along with the Kunming tea factory) in developing the wo dui wet piling process used in its manufacture. Consider also the fact that the “75” in “7562” refers to the year 1975, the year this particular blend was first produced, also the year that shou Pu-erh production really took off.
So, what we have here is a blend with an impeccable lineage, one that can trace it’s origins back to the very beginning of shou Pu-erh. The fact that Menghai still continues to produce bricks to this recipe after all this time suggests it’s doing something right…
|Weight of dry leaf:||6 grams|
|Infusion style:||Gong-fu / Asian|
|Steeping vessel:||135 ml unglazed teapot|
|No. & duration:||a 2 second rinse, then a 1st. infusion @ 5 seconds, then @ +5 seconds until 35 seconds, then 2 further rounds @ 50 & 90 seconds for a total of 9 infusions|
When I saw the dimples on the underside of the brick I was a bit concerned about just how tightly the tea might have been compressed – they are often associated with “iron” cakes – teas that are extremely hard pressed for longer term ageing. Although this particular brick wasn’t as tight as I feared it might be, I still played it safe, ensuring all soft, fleshy bits were behind the business end of the pick at all times. I found that the best technique was to attack from the long side, down and into the brick with it stood on its edge, and shave off thin sheets of leaf.
After the rinse the wet leaf smelled of a mixture of honey and brown sugar on baking parchment that had just come out of a hot oven, if that makes sense.
The taste of the soup was dominated in a nice-not-nasty sense by a sweet vanilla tone, one that hung around for quite a while after the tea had headed South, a true hui gan, like a semi-precious stone deposited on a beach by a retreating tide.
It took a couple of infusions for those compressed leaf sheetlets to loosen up, but when they did they revealed a middle-of-the-road body, certainly not Orc blood, but not too thin, either.
This is no glamour-puss diva tea. It’s never going to be asked to attend a movie premiere, or get a star on the Teatown Walk of Fame. It will never win the kind of award handed out at a society dinner attended by people in expensive gowns and tuxedos.
What it is, however, is the guy who runs the local 7-Eleven. It’s the head teacher of the local elementary school. It’s that average Joe and Josephine doing all those important, everyday, and unglamorous jobs on which society depends.
It’s a good, solid, daily drinker, and long may it continue to be so…