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2019 Dayi 7542 Batch 1901 Raw Pu Erh Cake (50g)

2019 Dayi 7542 Batch 1901 Raw Pu Erh Cake (50g)

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March 12th, 2021

I bought a single 1901 Dayi 7542 in March 2020: at that time, the price had already almost doubled for this cake, which won first place in a competition in Yunnan. Dayi's 7542 was rated #1 among all Yunnan teas. This specific cake set off a wave of investment into Dayi pu erh, which extended into 2020 and caused prices to skyrocket for some recipes (including this one). This is considered a benchmark recipe (and has been all along), but this is a particularly valued pressing and is a highly desired cake among Dayi collectors and investors.

Dayi's 7542 was originally produced for Hong Kong dealers, and when dry stored CNNP 7542 hit the market in the early 90s, it was hugely influential on what was to come after. Dry storage of pu erh is now widespread, but what hasn't changed is 7542's importance and influence on the market. Yes, there are fancier and more expensive recipes out there, including from Dayi, but for many, the 7542 is still THE benchmark against which all other sheng pu erh is held. I buy some Dayi 7542 every year, and I have for many years in a row now. I didn't buy the 2020 version because of the very high price, but I did at least get to try it with a local Dayi dealer (who brewed it far too weak for my tastes).

I aged this cake uncovered for around six months, and then put the cake into a thick paper-covered plastic bag for the last six. This allowed the tea to rehydrate and age in open air for a little while before the cake was put into plastic for the aroma to rebound. This process has worked very well indeed for this cake.

The rinse smelled a little smokey, which was a surprise. The wet leaf had some classic smoke and wildflower to it, which is what you'd expect from a Dayi 7542. I actually tried the rinse with this tea since it's produced to modern standards and devoid of foreign matter. I was surprised by the sweet caramel top note, along with some of the cantaloupe and date I find in many productions today due to the higher oxidation levels achieved (which brings out more aromatic complexity).

I used a high ratio of around 12g/150ml to test this tea today, and a significant portion of what was included in the porcelain pot was loose tips from the surface of the cake that had sloughed off. The first infusion had a classic 7542 profile. The bitterness was surprising but not overpowering, and was probably due to the high ratio of tips in this test session. The liquor is clean, smooth and clear. The caramel was present on the palate before and after the swallow, and then I realized there was also significant vanilla detectable as well. I noted that the liquor tasted like English toffees or Werther's hard candy along with the distinctive 7542 wildflower. The aftertaste from this pressing is excellent, and I got agarwood character that I've detected in earlier 7542s (2014 comes to mind).

As the tea cooled off, the astringency got more pronounced. This tea has a a lovely calming effect on an empty stomach, but perhaps isn't as strong as other 7542s from previous years in this regard. I'll have to give this tea another try at a later date since sometimes I just have 'off days' as far as the effects of tea on me,

The cantaloupe note is quite pronounced in the liquor. In the second infusion, the classic Bulang wildflower note was much more pronounced. The drying astringency also increased. I suspect the more compressed chunks in the pot had fully opened up at this point and I was getting some of the payload from the larger leaf in the mix. 

I was surprised to get a wildflower honey aftertaste in the second infusion, which was very pleasant. This is also a classic 7542 note and something the 88 Qing Bing is known for.

I tested this tea on an empty stomach (not recommended) and had to stop the session for breakfast. The energy from the first few infusions was uplifting but not overpowering or too racy, which is ideal for getting your day started! 

When I resumed the session, I got a hint of agarwood-like smoke in the cup, along with the caramel and vanilla. The cantaloupe/date oxidation notes were very faint by this point. I feel this tea is balanced to both be good to drink now and down the line, which has been the goal with Dayi 7542 for quite a while now. 

While this tea is still very young, I think this is an ideal time to try this tea since it still has lots of youthful vibrancy that will fade over the years to come. I will be trying Dayi's 1902 tomorrow, which I think will make for a very good follow-up to this cake!

Please note purchases of a whole cake will come directly from an authorized Dayi dealer. I am happy to hold the cake for you to allow it to 'wake back up' if desired.

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