7542 is the name of the recipe.
'75' stands for the year when it was started: 1975.
'4' stands for a certain mix of leaves. In the case of this cake, 4 means a mix that contains smaller leaves and more buds that the '8582' cake, for instance.
'2' stands for the Menghai Tea Factory.
There are many pitfalls in finding a good '7542':
- Fakes: the more famous a puerh is, the more forgeries there are!
- Age: This is a recipe that has been produced year after year until now. How do you know its age when the wrapper stays the same?
- Quality of the leaves: Is this 7542 recipe stable in quality over the years?
- Storage: How clean was it? Did it go through a wodui (fake aging) period?
- Price : A high price is not a guarantee that it's real or good. Too good a bargain, though, is a sign of problems.
To get an accurate brew, I have opted for a simple porcelain gaiwan. My goal isn't to make the best brew today, but to get to know these leaves and confirm that they are legit (or not).
I want to push these leaves to their limits and test their quality. Quality will help determine if this is a real '7542' or a fake.
Indeed, there is no rush with my brews. Each lasts several minutes. No rinsing of the leaves, either, since the cake is clean.
The reputation of recent 7542 disappeared like steam in the air!
The camphor and old wood scents are very powerful and persisting. The tea coats the whole mouth quite comfortably. There's still some sharpness and astringency due to its still young age. But despite this concentration, the brew tastes very smooth and clean overall. Its aftertaste is amazingly powerful. There are so many nice things happening in the mouth: salivation, releasing of sweetness in the throat... The stomach feels warm: good chaqi.