Old Comrade “7548” 2007

Old Comrade “7548” 2007

USD 51.90USD 349.20

45 years of refined tea mastery

When I first entered Zao Bing Liang’s tasting room, the air is filled with the freshness of the aroma of maocha. Bags of samples from newly collected loose leaves lined up in rows, each marked with a numeric code. The teas were trucked in from the various mountains in the region. Some maybe less than 30 minutes away, others can be a full day. Yunnan is over 10% larger even than the whole of Germany and tea trees exist in almost all of its mountains.

Some of these maochas are from highly sought after famous villages or mountains, which will be individually made into products carrying their origin names to demand very high market prices. A new discus from Ban Zhang, for example, can easily be fetching thousands of dollars. Aged ones are even much pricier.

Yet there are more others from not as highly demanded origins, but also taste worthy. That’s where Zao’s “formulae” come in. Since the 1970’s, the old master has developed a number of recipes for ganging up harvests from origins of lesser known names for more affordable delicious teas. 7548 is the code name for his most prized and classic shengcha formula.

These bags of samples in lines were there for the old master to finalise which batches and what proportion for the mix. He does that every harvest, for every product.

Presenting the 7548 cha bing from Lao Tong Zhi ( ie Old Comrade ), Master Zao’s very own tea brand. Batch 701 is the first batch of year 2007. That means the best of the year and matured till now.

It is a prime product of old Master Zao’s passion for bringing quality to more people without the price tag of premium origin labels.

Delta class Old Comrade "7548" 2007 TCM Neutral-cool icon Tea Master's Choice icon Great value!

There are two product variants to choose from:
A single discus of 357g net weight in the original paper wrap, or a traditional vending form of 7 cha bings bundled in a bamboo sleeve, net weight totalling 2.5 kg.
Please click below to see either options.

Clear
000
Lao Tong Zhi 7548 inside label

Product label on the surface of the cha bing, embedded by placing the piece of rice paper face down on the bottom of the cloth bag holding the steamed maocha for compression.

2007 老同志 7548 陳年普洱生茶餅

Taste profile and infusion tips

Most certainly you can infuse this tea just like any other teas. Just give it a quick whoosh of boiling water to blanch it and then prepare it the way you would like any other black tea. You will have a great tasting pot of pu’er for going with your morning cream cheese bagel or as a digestive for before dinner.

However, there are a lot more in this tea to discover than that.

Master Zao studying samples of maocha

Master Zao studying new batches of maocha in his sampling room in Menghai, Yunnan

It can be powerful and full bodied with a complex long taste or it can be soft and silky with a supplely round body. Using a different combination of shorter infusion time with proportional high leaf to water ratio, Tea Hong’s beautifully matured 7548 can be rendered into different taste profiles each with certain emphasis for different appeal.

For a full, floral, earthy aroma with distinctive undertones of dried lychee, fresh cut cedar and slight tints of mint, begin with 10 g to 150 ml water for 50 sec. This will render a bright, clear burgundy liquor that is lively, cleansing, yet velvety smooth and satisfying full body with clear accents of muscat, plum peel and American ginseng on an overtone of Dragonboat rice dumpling and jujube. Very long lasting aftertaste of a sweetness that hints of nectar and brewery yeast.

Increase the infusion duration by increments of 30% in subsequent infusions; gradually increasing to 80% in later rounds.

However, if you are a real tea veteran and want to seek an even more substantial experience with a tea, Tea Hong’s Lao Tong Zhi 7548 2007 maybe your answer. Make it 90 sec in your second infusion. The intensely red burgundy liquor gives a beautifully round, yet powerful and spicy kick and a long, smooth distinctive pu’er bitter-sweetness. It is as stimulating and enjoyable as it is addictive. Do keep each cup very small ( like 30 ml ) and space your consecutive cups well apart lest you get tea drunk. Your infusion time increment will be starting from this point on at 40%.

If you are relatively new to this, but still want a taste of the beauty of this well-aged shengcha pu’er, begin with 8 g to 150 ml at 60 sec. Everything will be softer, sweeter but no less flavourful, only more subtle.

In any approaches, always blanch the tea at least once using boiling water and infuse with the same temperature.

Storage

For maximum effects of maturing this tea, if you are getting the bundle, keep it in its original bamboo wrap in a dark, cool place. An outer bag of thick, uncoated, non-smelling, non-acidic paper or other natural fabric is advisable. Alternatively, each discus can be stored, with its original paper wrap, by putting it in a sealed tin foil wrap or aluminium wrap, and then stored in a cool environment.

Unless a cha bing is to be consumed in less than two weeks, please wear a cotton glove to handle the naked discus. Once a discus is cracked for use, keep it in a sealed and light-tight condition, like any other tea.

Note:

The bamboo bark used in wrapping this cha bing was prepared in traditional methods by minority tribal people of the Xishuangbana area. As such it has not undergone any chemical treatment and therefore silverfish, a paper and cloth eating small bug that is often hosted in bamboo or similar plants is likely to have existed and diminished in the long span of storage in the dark. It is harmless to health but would have bitten holes in the paper wrap, as visible in the product shot. It is a very common condition in all genuine old cha bings. Please do not buy this product if you are concerned.

Taking a break with the bamboo cutters

Taking a break with the bamboo cutters These Aini tribe old ladies may be no more than 4 feet tall, but their strength and skills in handling the tough bark of large bamboo trunks are beyond my understanding of biomechanics. This picture was taken years ago when I had the luxury of walking around during a tea trip.

Additional information

Weight 510 g
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