Tuesday, September 6, 2011

1993 Menghai 7542

Last week I received a small box of puer samples from my buddy Israel in Montana. Among them was a chunk of Essence of Tea's 1993 Menghai 7542.

I've never purchased anything from Essence of Tea myself but my friend Bev has brought a few to several local puer tastings and they have always been show stoppers.

The dry leaf is a lovely mix of earthy, autumnal colors. It's not too tightly compressed and its aroma is subtle, sweet and clean.

I used about five grams of leaf in a 100 ml gaiwan with boiling water (which is my usual parameters when reviewing a new puer).

The aroma on the wet leaves is wonderful. It's heady and thick with soft notes of vanilla bean, unscented beeswax candle and the faintest touch of incense-like smokiness.

The liquor is dark reddish brown with a halo of orange. Although I'm using a filter the broth appears cloudy on most pours. (I don't consider that a fault, but I still found it worthy of mention.)

This tea is delicious. I find it to be woodsy, rich and smooth. It strikes me as tasting older than it is but not damp or marshy. A few infusions did have a touch of harsh tobacco-like flavor in their aftertaste but I think it was mainly my own fault (over-steeped them) and when the next sip entered my mouth, all was forgiven. My tasting notes included: ginseng, cocoa, and a lush northwest rain forest.

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