Please note that due to the high humidity levels involved in Hong Kong traditional storage, the bag this tea is sealed in should be opened and left to air out for two weeks so that the tea acclimatizes to your conditions and has a chance to breathe. This is crucial for an optimal tea drinking experience. With this specific tea, airing out for longer will help the storage flavor to completely dissipate.
This is my go to loose pu erh, and has been for several years. This is a blend of ten-to-fifteen-year-old Hong Kong-market CNNP 7542 and 7572 cakes from a lesser known Hong Kong dealer who has been around since the 50s. This dealer sells no nonsense tea at fair prices. Their main business is bo lei (Cantonese for pu erh), which is by far the most widely consumed Chinese tea in Hong Kong.
I bought a fresh batch before putting this tea up for sale as my current stash of this tea has been airing out for over a year. This tea, when purchased, smells and tastes of humid traditional storage. After airing out, the traditional storage flavor completely dissipates and this tea is just lovely. Of course, airing out at home for a year isn't necessary, but it absolutely transforms this tea. The dealer moves very large wholesale quantities of traditional storage pu erh, and this is their best loose bo lei selection, with good reason.
The dealer prides this tea on its smoothness, and it is indeed smooth drinking, but much more so after airing out. A smooth drinking experience is very important to drinkers of old school Hong Kong pu erh. This tea has a little bitterness and spiciness from the 7542, and smooth, sweet flavors and thick mouthfeel from the ripe pu erh in the blend. The contrast melds together beautifully.
I had a good talk with the dealer when I purchased this fresh batch. I bought a cake of 2001 CNNP 7542 from her at the same time, and she recommended adding the 7542 to this blend to make it easier drinking. She balked a little when I told her I drank aged sheng pu erh. Many of the old school dealers in town feel shu is much easier on the guts, and think anyone who drinks aged sheng, let alone young sheng or fresh maocha, is a bit strange, since aged shu is readily available. Shu pu erh was invented specifically for Hong Kong bo lei drinkers, and these dealers have been around since before the introduction of shu, which revolutionized the pu erh market here and around the world. Hong Kong is also where dry storage created the pu erh boom of the 1990s and 2000s, but these traditional dealers continue to do what they've done since the 70s, and focus on traditional storage shu. There have been changes, even at the oldest merchants' stores, but here in Hong Kong, traditional storage shu (and less commonly, sheng) are what the majority of Chinese tea drinkers drink, and probably always will.
This tea is absolutely lovely and expertly blended by a family who have been in the tea business for generations. I highly recommend this blend, but please give it some time to breathe to experience it at its best!
Please note: most traditional Hong Kong tea merchants do not offer discounts on volume until I am purchasing several kilograms at a time, and in most cases, no discounts are offered at all, even for ten kilos of a single tea or more. For this reason, I cannot offer a discount on larger purchases at this time.