02 March, 2009

2008 Menghai 8582 (801)

A little more of Hexagram 3, in all manner of places...


Winter at Home


"Difficulty at the beginning", a hexagram close to the heart of most drinkers of shengpu.


2008 Menghai 8582 801


8582 is a safe bet in an uncertain world. After the loud elder brother (7542), the sharp elder sister (7532), and before the solid little baby (0622), comes the elegant middle sister.

She's always pleasant, light, and fresh. For this reason, she is often one for a good session when young, but there are mature versions out there that are thoroughly enjoyable. Aged 7542 gets more press, perhaps because its uncomprising characteristics mellow well over the years, but the 8582 can be fine indeed.


2008 Menghai 8582 801


Shown above, this is an "ecletic" blend, consisting of all manner of leaves from tiny tips to chunky, big examples.

Below, my little bamboo leaf-tray is continuing to perform its function of allowing easy separation of leaves from fannings. A few gentle shakes, and they drift apart - the leaves make it into the pot, the fannings make it into my "leftovers" tin (which is beginning to smell really rather wonderful).


2008 Menghai 8582 801


Everyone knows what 8582 is like by now, I'm sure. The 801 is vibrant, with a sweet, thick body. In the finish, that familiar and welcome mushroom tone floats up into the nose, reminding us that all is well in the world.


2008 Menghai 8582 801


Unsurprisingly, the sweetness continues to develop with the passing infusions, yet the chaqi and bitterness are definitely present in great quantity - which is why I refuse to rule out the 8582 for benefiting from a few years of maturity. What a lovely little thing is she.


2008 Menghai 8582 801


In other news, from Japan post,

Bulletin 1 of 2:

Feb 27
0:20
Arrival at outward office of exchange
TOKYO
INTERNATIONAL
Feb 27
0:29
Dispatch from outward office of exchange
TOKYO
INTERNATIONAL
Feb 27
21:55
Arrival at inward office of exchange COVENTRY
PARCELFORCE
Feb 27
21:56
Awaiting presentation to customs commissioner COVENTRY
PARCELFORCE



...and bulletin 2 of 2:

Feb 25
13:56
Posting/Collection
TOTTORI Branch
Feb 25
20:52
En route
YONAGO Branch
Feb 26
4:45
Dispatch from outward office of exchange
OSAKA
INTERNATIONAL
Feb 26
19:46
Arrival at inward office of exchange COVENTRY PARCELFORCE
Feb 26
19:47
Awaiting presentation to customs commissioner COVENTRY PARCELFORCE


Two items are stuck in Coventry awaiting customs inspection - Coventry, of all places! I know at least one reader is in that fair city right now, so how about popping next door and hurrying them up?

"A watched pot never boils"...



Addendum
April, 2013

The 801 cost me around $10 from Yunnan Sourcing in 2008, where it now sells for $20.  An increase of only 100% in five years should be considered a good thing, perhaps, given the state of the tea market these days.  The "basic" recipes from Menghai do not accumulate huge prices, and this may be to our advantage.


8582 801


I have three of this particular 801, which refers to the first flush from 2008.  This is usually the first batch to sell out, but Scott seems to be selling quite a sizeable inventory of this cake.  I have not checked Taobaowang for the equivalent price, but it would be worth so doing in the event of wishing to grab some in quantity.


8582 801


Looking at the leaves in the original photograph, they were green!  Now, they are darkened considerably.  The fragrance is strong, too, which I take to be a good sign of activity.


8582 801


The photographs above and below can certainly no longer be said to be explicitly green.


8582 801


This 8582 has become highly cooling - quite surprisingly so.  I enjoy its close, warm, malted feeling; it is not a great leap of the imagination to extrapolate to aged 8582s (even though we may suspect a change in recipe in the early-to-mid 2000s).  I have evidence from which to draw encouraging conclusions about our storage environment.


8582 801


The soup is no longer yellow, and it is heartening indeed to see actual aging taking place within our own home storage.


8582 801


My journal has, "The most surprising aspect of all of these [five-year-old] cakes is the dramatic sweetness that has developed."  I once again have an excited "We did it!" feeling: we bought this tea at a very low price, and now have enough five-year-old aged Dayi to enjoy it every day, should we wish to do so.



Addendum
April, 2014

I was recently reminded of the existence of tuochatea.com, an old vendor from whom I have bought some very solid teas over the years. They are positioned at the lower end of the spectrum, but they are honest in their pricing. Of interest, some of their prices have not budged in several years, and so it seems that we can buy 8582 for around $17, which is a good price in 2014, all things considered. It won't be batch 801, but still. I subsequently made a large, blinded purchase and this has put me in the mood to try my own 801 batch, bought for $10 per cake in 2008.

The flavour is a settled Dayi flavour, with some acidic qualities suggesting that it may age further. I am happy with it; it certainly is not super-humid Hong Kong / Malaysia / Singapore storage, which would have darkened the cake more rapidly. Its most appealing component, perhaps, is its rich Menghai base.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Sir.

Good to know that you think the 8582 801 is good. I too decided to get a bunch. Nice. :)

Surprisingly, the 0622 didn;t make my list. I will send you a chunk of a 98 Mengku Sheng. Quite nice.

--ST

Hobbes said...

Dear Seb,

Good work, especially at your local pricing!

The Mengku must have been one of their first cakes, back in the late 90s. Much appreciated, thank you!


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

vl. said...

Lol, I cannot believe that they have depots in Coventry of all places.

-vl.

PS.

Looks like a nice cake!

Hobbes said...

I imagine 'planes flying directly from Osaka and Tokyo to Coventry, carrying my precious whatnots.

*Shakes fist at the sky*


Toodlepip,

D

P.s. Yes, it's a good 'un. Worth £7!

Bill said...

Perhaps, I should start saving my fannings! The thought has crossed my mind or two but the seem to always end up in the disposal. Geez, I could imagine the stockpile of age, slightly aged, and young pu I would of accumulated by now! Perhaps, in 15 or 20 years, I could have a splended 'personal' blend! I just kicked myself! *angry*

Hobbes said...

Dear Bill,

There's no time like the present! Just start collecting. It mounts up very quickly. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Lauw said...

Hi Hobbes,

The 3-digit-number (801), does it matter? Will I get different/inferrior quality if it is 806?

Thanks,
Lauw

Hobbes said...

Dear Lauw,

These represent the batches for the year, with the earlier batches commanding higher prices and, generally, selling out quickest. It is thought that they are superior to latter batches - the leaves are first flush, etc. As always, let your tastebuds be the judge. :)

I err on the side of caution, aiming for lower batch numbers where possible.


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

willis03 said...

I just purchased this exact 2008 cake a about a month ago and it really does seem to have developed some satisfying honey like sweet flavors. I like these addendum posts!

Hobbes said...

7542 is always a safe bet :)

Hobbes said...

8582 rather!

cinemarxism said...

Bought one cake of 8582 (plus a 7542) from tuochatea around two months ago. Small quantities since the price almost looked too good to be true.

The 8582 is 806 (7542 is 809). I don't know if the batch number matters that much, but I haven't tried any of the earlier ones. In any case I was very pleasantly surprised by the tea and recently bought a couple cakes more of both (would have bought at least a tong of each if it weren't for my student budget limitations).

It's great to see that tasty stuff can still be had without breaking the bank. Hope tuochatea sticks around.

Hobbes said...

Dear Cinemarxism,

I think you'll be fine. I tend to buy lower batch numbers, as I think everyone does, when the choice arises simply to avoid difficulty and risk - but these are stable recipes and risk is low. I am quite sure that the 7542 and 8582 of higher batch numbers from this year will be fine; indeed, I bought some tong without actually trying them first (yikes!), such was my confidence. We will see. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

P.s. I remember buying pu'ercha on a student budget. It is a special time, and one to be treasured! When budgets are tight, you are forced to spend wisely, and I found it to be a tremendously instructive period of my life (in terms of tea!).

Steve Sheldon said...

Hi Hobbes,
I love tuochatea.com because they give latecomers to Puer like me the opportunity to buy slightly old tea without fear of being ripped off. And your blog, complete with the addenda that complement your posts like an exquisite huigan, has helped confirm something in my mind that I'd been suspecting--that their tea has aged nary a day. Mind you I said old, not aged. My 806 8582 just arrived and the bing and broth color are exactly that of your '09 photos. And my '09 7572, while delicious, still has a very slight fishiness to early infusions, although most people don't notice. I'm probably going to buy more of both, though, because it's still cheaper than the new stuff and I think there's a reasonable chance that my Thai heat and humidity will wake up the sleeping microbes and make up for lost time. If not, that's OK; they're still drinkable now and I can still say I have years-old tea.

Hobbes said...

Dear Steve,

It seems that you are in a win-win situation with your Dayi, which is very encouraging. :)


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Steve Sheldon said...

Hi Hobbes,
Yes, I am definitely a winner every day I can drink Puer. Hey, I need to update my recent post. I put some 8582 shake in a ceramic tea caddy with an anything but air tight lid and let the heat and humidity welcome it to its new home for about six days. Being shake, it’s completely uncompacted and the 30-second rinse turned the broth a light amber, not a hint of yellow. I then pushed a bit with 15, 20, 20, all amber with an immediate bitterness follow by honey sweetness. Then, just bitter so I did some shorter infusions which were a dark gold color but still much darker than in your original photo and my first session, although not as dark as yours is now. So obviously I was incorrect in saying that tuochatea’s pu hasn’t aged. Mea culpa.

Hobbes said...

I can imagine you sipping on your fine brew. :)