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2008 HK Natural Storage Dayi Spring of Menghai Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2008 HK Natural Storage Dayi Spring of Menghai Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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22nd August 2020:

After two years and nine months of storage in my warehouse in Hong Kong, this tea has mellowed considerably. Sweet black tea, sweet, soft wildflower and aged citrus peel (chenpi) notes are now apparent. I even detected notes of berries, grape candy and fresh plum at various points in today's session. There is also a hint of an aged book note in some infusions. The tea has lovely cha qi and huigan, and the leaf and liquor are now much darker. The tea is only astringent when brewed very hard now. There is only light and pleasant bitterness here, and surprising umami in the finish across the session. This tea will continue to soften and sweeten in storage, of course. I can't wait to see how it brews up in 2021! 

The last two pictures are of the material and liquor at time of writing.

Original description from 2017:

These Spring of Menghai cakes were carefully aged in Guangdong to preserve their character, but not so carefully that they didn't age at all! I have noticed much of the Guangdong dry storage tea I drink nowadays is stored in more carefully controlled conditions than are natural. My own 2008 Spring of Menghai cake appears much further along in only three years, but these cakes were aged to preserve more of the terroir over the long term. Which you prefer is entirely personal preference, but I do like the fact that I can contrast and compare the two! I think this tea would be a bitter bomb if stored in dryer conditions. 

While I find 7542 and 8582 more flavorful after almost ten years of humid storage, this tea has a character all its own. I am always surprised by how sweet this tea is on the palate. While still moderately bitter, the huigan is incredible! 

Unlike my own 2008 cake, these Guangdong dry stored cakes smell sweeter for some reason. A hint of smoke remains.

Vegetal notes were detectable from the wet leaves after two rinses. Some of the smoke carried over into the cup, and some of the initial flavor from the young raw leaves is still apparent. At the same time, this tea has developed chen xiang, or aged taste, over the years. There is less black tea and citrus here than with my own storage, but I like that more of the flavor of the material (when young) has been preserved with the more conservative Guangdong storage. No humid storage notes are detectable in the liquor or from the wet leaves.

This is an excellent tea and still reasonably priced for the age, and if you like your sheng to have strong huigan, this is a great cake. Everyone seems to love this tea!

Brewing suggestion: Full boil, with water of low hardness (15-35 mg/L, with 1-3 mg/L of magnesium). Rinse twice, and start with a 30-45 second infusion for the first infusion. Drop down to 30 seconds for the second infusion, then add time to each successive infusion. If the liquor is too weak, add more time. If you have a significant amount of dust in your vessel, shorten infusion time.

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