Continuing on with trying to get into factory puerhs, I wanted to try a couple of the popular Dayi recipes with a bit of age, so I ordered a few samples from King Tea Mall from 2006 and 2007. Based on descriptions I’ve read before, I think the 8582 will be most up my alley, so I am starting there.
The sample looks tightly compressed but is easy to break apart with my hands. The dry leaves are one note, with only a fruity plum-like smell. After a rinse I am getting bright pear, apricot and something slightly harsh and bitter smelling.
For this session I am using 3.85 grams of tea in my 55ml gaiwan, 100C water, and infusion times starting at five seconds and increasing by five each infusion.
The 8582 starts with a watery mouthfeel, like I could have given a second rinse but the flavour is nice. Both spicy and sweet, with a woody base and a medium length and power in the aftertaste. Infusion two gains bitter fruit and pipe tobacco notes along with a growing astringency. The tobacco note becomes quite intense for the third steeping, and a light peachiness pops in for the top end. The woodiness stays in the background and astringency is still increasing, as is the aftertaste. Despite the flavour being full, the mouthfeel remains watery and bland.
Astringency and bitterness increase again for the fourth infusion with a simple leathery taste behind it. At this point I am starting to get pretty shengry. My stomach usually isn’t affected by puerh, but I feel like I need to take a little break for a snack. After getting back to the session, infusions five and six are pure bitterness. It’s a nice bitter taste, but it overpowers everything else to the point that I can’t pick out any notes.
Sweetness starts to return for infusion seven and the punchiness seems to have maxed out, chilling out a good deal for the eighth. I’m starting to get some real complexity and layers now, but the tea is starting to wind down already. Through the last infusions I am getting grape, plum, leather, wood, honey and tobacco. It’s very well balanced and absolutely delicious. The aftertaste has a bit of an odd soapy quality, but it’s not unenjoyable.
Dayi’s 2006 8582 is a mixed bag for me. The first bit of the session is nice but boring, followed by some unpleasantness then it finally opens up and gets interesting right at the tail end of the session. A full cake of this sells for $112 USD on King Tea Mall, which works out to $0.31 cents a gram. Had the whole session been like the end, this would be a no brainer purchase for me, but as it stands I’m a bit underwhelmed. I’d be very curious to compare this to a first batch pressing of the same year, or maybe one that comes from wetter storage, but this exact cake is a pass from me.