I had purchased this cake from my local Singapore tea shop (D'art Station at Temple street). This is a 2004 Menghai 7542 cake. Costing a hefty $120 (about US$80, bought in Oct '09), this cake is considered expensive for its age of 6 years. I was told by the tea shop owner, that this cake was brought here to Singapore in 2006 and was produced by Menghai tea factory and the traditional CNNP wrappers were used for this packaging for the last time before Menghai tea factory started fully using their 'Menghai' wrappers.
The most important factor in my purchase of this pu erh cake was I had a tasting sample of the tea before buying. It tasted very much like aged pu erh. The taste was very mellow and strong. I get a little sweaty after drinking 3 fast infusions with a mild intoxicating feeling which passes in a couple of minutes. I believe that the aged taste in the tea was achieved with 2 factors. One reason could be the quality of the tea leaves which I think could be of a good harvest. The other factor was that the tea was aged in Singapore for a good 5+ years. The proper storage of this tea in this, year-round hot and very humid, climate of Singapore allowed the tea to ferment swiftly, when compared to the temperate areas or countries where you do not get hot and humid weather characteristics all year round. This tea is so much better than a similar 2004 Menghai 7542 (26 Feb'10 blog) which I had purchased earlier this year.
I could get 10 delicious infusions to drink from a single brew. The color of the brewed tea is of a dark orange shade, something like the color of orange autumn leaves. The taste, unlike new raw pu erh, is not sharp or tingly but rather a mellow pleasant herb-like taste. Though I consider the price of this tea to be on the high side, this tea sells well and the shop have a few pieces left. I have bought an additional cake to add to my tea stash.
I would like to reiterate that you must sample older pu erh before you purchase the tea. Older teas are pricey and not every tea will appeal to your taste buds.