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2019 Dayi 7542 Batch 1902 Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

2019 Dayi 7542 Batch 1902 Raw Pu Erh Cake (100g)

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March 14th, 2021

I purchased three of these cakes directly from a Dayi authorized dealer in November 2019, and have aged them in my warehouse here in Hong Kong ever since. I decided to test this tea right after the 1901 7542 to see how they compare, as the 1902 is much, much cheaper and much less hyped.

The first thing I noticed was that the 1902 seemed more tightly compressed, but less brittle, than the 1901. The 1901 broke down into maocha much more easily when I snapped a chunk off. 

In the cup, the floral notes were more up front in the 1902, which I found immediately preferable. I'm not sure how much of the difference between these teas is due to the extra five months of storage the 1902 has had in my warehouse, but they certainly come across very differently in the cup (but they're definitely both 7542s)!

I incorporated more dust into my session of the 1901, and more tips that had sloughed off of the cake. The session with the 1902 was much less astringent and bitter. This might mean the blending of the 1901 incorporated more high grade spring material with the intention of the cake having more durability for aging vs. the 1902, since storage conditions vary massively. It's possible more aggressive storage for the two batches would mean the 1901 would fare better over a decade or more of storage. 

Today, however, the 1902 is a more pleasant tea to drink, with more complexity. The caramel, vanilla and honey notes I detected in the 1901 are less prominent in the 1902, but the widflower character is more prominent in the 1902 across the session. The date and cantaloupe are present in both batches as well, but these flavors are more prominent in the 1902. There are definitely differences between these two cakes at this stage, and for both sessions, I used material from the outside edge of the cakes.

Sweet citrus was present in both batches, with a hint of balanced smoke. The sweet citrus note was more apparent in the 1902. I felt the agarwood note was more pronounced in the 1901, and there is a whisper of black tea character in the 1902. I suspect some of the material in the 1902 was oxidized a bit further, or the blending incorporates more material with slightly heavier oxidation.

The liquor of the 1901 was also darker, as was the material itself, so the inclusion of aged material seems likely. 

Side by side, I think the 1902 is a very solid tea. It's easier to drink now, and definitely hits above its price point when compared to the 1901! It's definitely worth trying both to see which you prefer. I think picking up more 1902 would be well worth anyone's while, but if you have the environment for aging over several years, picking up some 1901 foraging and comparison down the line would also be a worthy endeavor.

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