The very first impressions I have of this cake are of large, whole leaves. It looks just as nice as the picture on the site, but what you can’t see is how the leaves inside the cake are sizable as well. It’s pretty loosely compressed around the edges, and I’m able to pick off a lot of leaves just by rubbing my puerh pick along the edge. Dry, it has that characteristic smell of hay/alfalfa, in a “fresh” sort of way. Not overwhelmingly “compost-y” or bland.
For this particular session, I used about 4.5g of leaves in my tiny Yixing pot (which holds about ~80ml at max).
The rinse tastes very light, brisk, and refreshing; while the first real steeping has hints of its characteristic “sharp” edge with a surprisingly smooth finish. I quickly notice a bit of warmth coursing through my extremities, and my head feels a little lighter. The color is a deep caramel, and leaves a pleasantly sweet aftertaste. When it cools, the bitterness is more pronounced.
The next steeping feels “stronger” in every way; including bitterness, mouthfeel, and slightly smoky/sweet aftertaste. Even though it’s might be a little sharp at first, it doesn’t make me pucker or wince since the bitterness transitions quickly to a soft, sweet, almost floral aftertaste that lingers on my tongue for over 5 minutes afterwards. Yum!
I let the third steeping go a little longer than I wanted to (about a minute or so), but it didn’t become overwhelmingly bitter. Now, the astringency is starting to cut into the mix; but I’m still left with a soft tongue afterwards. I love this about good green teas and sheng puerhs!
I’ve only had a couple 7542 blends (none of which were older than 2008), and this one tastes very familiar to me. I don’t break this one out everyday, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how it ages. Since it’s not too dense of a cake, I’d imagine it would age nicely in proper conditions. In my dry cupboard in California, I’m not expecting too much out of this already tasty cake.