Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Menghai Yellow Label 7262 • 勐海 黄色标签 7262
Last week, I was surprised to receive a cake of Menghai 7262 in the mail. I don't know too much about the history of this particular disc other than that my friend had had it for about ten years.
7262 is a shu puer, puer that's made with leaves that have been fermented prior to pressing to eliminate the long waiting process. Menghai was the first factory to produce shu puer and 7262 was their first shu recipe; 72 for 1972, the year it was created, 6 is the grade of leaf used (mid quality), and 2 is Menghai's factory number. Shu puer doesn't always have the best reputation when compared with sheng puer, but this is a quality product. being at least ten years old makes it even better!
Unwrapping it to get a good look, the disc has a nice deep darkness with rusty highlights, a telltale characteristic of shu puer. Breaking off a couple of pieces from the hard, brittle edge, I dropped them into a black stone-carved pot. After rinsing, the first steep was deep, clear red, another characteristic of shu. By the second, though, the leaves were open and produced an opaque reddish-brown brew. A small amount of leaf would remain relatively clear, but I like it strong!
Shu puer's flavour generally has a mossy tone, which was the prevalent taste with this one. A low-quality or young shu puer often has a fishiness that turns many first-time drinkers away, but this cake has none of that. It's smooth and reminiscent of a 30-year-old sheng. The chaqi was very warming and had a pleasant buzz. A great tea for the cold weeks remaining before spring.