Pu-erh Reviews

1994 8582

Genre: Compressed Sheng/Green/Uncooked/Raw
Factory: Menghai
Vendor: Houde
Reviewed by tea junkie on 04/19/2007

Background    Yep, an 8582 cake from the Menghai company. Generic wrapper we have all seen a thousand times, standard nei-fei, nothing exciting outside.

Dry Leaf Appearence:    Openning the tattered thin wrapper and the cake just exudes depth, the aroma of that soil in the stall at the back of the barn that has'nt been used for decades and gets just the slightest dampness from the humidity and every now and again you go into it to tussle with the mouser cat and enjoy the fragrance of life in stasis. The leaves are large on top, and while smaller on the bottom, they are still larger than some Menghai material I have enjoyed. The color has gone richly burnt umber to almost black and holds the eye in a way that makes me think that something so eerie and intricate must be illegal. I broke the cake down about a month ago for loose leaf tea to enjoy easily, and to homogenize the material as best as possible so the top and bottom leaves are in each cup.

Water to Leaf Ratio:     10 gr of Leaf in 100 ml of water

Brewing Method:    After much practice I have come to the conclusion that tasting is best done with the cleanest most inert material as possible, not that I do not condone the use of cured yixing, but I just find that allowing the leaf to speak in its own voice shows the most respect to the leaf and all the folks who worked so hard to bring it to my table. In that spirit I used a 100ml glass guywan and served the liquor gongfu with porcelain pitcher and thimble cups. Someday I might get around to getting a set with smelling cups, but until I find a pure white thin porcelain set I will wait and do things simply. I washed the leaf once with 195 degree water at about five seconds and allowed the leaves to settle for three minutes before proceeding.

Wet Leaf Appearence:    Lots of whole large leaves, not the biggest I have seen, but a few in the 6 cm range. The texture has not turned firm and leathery yet, there is still a good smooth softness to those happy puppies. The aroma is subtle and lightly minty, making me want to brew this tea for the next month.

1st Steep    30 seconds with 195 degree water, as will be all the steeps just to make things simple and uniform. It will allow the progress of the awakenning leaves to chat me up with its own voice. The voice was a tan to brown color with a deep earthy aroma and flavors of pine and loamy soil. The breath was cool and rich and was accompanied by an astringency that dances across the surface of my tongue.

2nd Steep    The tea is humming nicely now, with the harmony of pine and spring rain soaked soil still dominant. Now the Qi truly makes itself known with a clarifying tingle that seems to focus mostly in the neck and up into the mind. This is at once a stimulating and soothing beverage that I have grown to love and will miss desperately when I have finished the cake.

3rd Steep    Bursting out in song, the tea's aria of agony remains evergreen and peat with a thick resonant timbre that carries the strains far out of the theater and into the street where even the passing cars cannot drown out the sweet finishing refrains. I suspect that that is the Qi speaking.

4th Steep    Everything is alive in this brew, with new voices forming a chorus of gardenia and some arcane medicine that has been searched for for eternities and now found in a tiny cup in a tiny town and nowhere will remain as it was.

Subsequent Steeps    Ten steeps were all that I had time for in this session, but as I progressed the flavors peaked into the seventh infusion (1 minute), but the astringency flowed sweet at about that point and I felt as though I was betraying a friend when I poured the leaves out into the bowel to peer at their secrets.

Conclusion    So I got a little carried away with the florid prosody, but I love this cup with a visceral intensity and sharing it felt good even though the tea itself was served sans comerade. I am writing this as a first entry into something I call the 8582 project, I have a 94, 98, and 02 cake of this blend and in time I will write up a tasting on each one of them. I need to procure an 06 to round off the four year interval theme, though I doubt I can afford rounding the years down to 90, but I will work on procuring both. I have sampled an 80s 8582 from Houde a year or two ago, but unfortunately I cannot write it up now beyond saying it was my intro to 'aged puer' and I have been hooked ever since. The real standout feature of this cake was the cerebral quality of the Qi, usually the older stuff is sensed more throughout the body but deeply, while the young stuff dances across the surface of the flesh like current through a wire. This tea seemed to partake a bit of both, but focused the energy more to the head and neck than any other tea that I can recall. Wonderous fluid.

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