Old Comrade 7578 can be infused 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 to go with your morning cream cheese bagel or as a digestive for before dinner.
However, there is a lot more to this tea to discover than that. It can be powerful and full bodied with a complex long taste or it can be soft and silky with a supple, round body. Using a different combination of shorter infusion time with proportional high leaf to water ratio, our beautifully matured Old Comrade 7548 can be rendered into different taste profiles each with a particular emphasis for different appeal.
For a full, floral, earthy aroma with distinctive undertones of dried lychee, fresh cut cedar and slight hints 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, satisfying and full bodied with clear accents of muscat, plum peel and American ginseng on an overtone of Dragonboat rice dumpling and jujube. The very long lasting aftertaste has 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, Master Zao'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, spicy kick with 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 up to 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 and sweeter but no less flavourful, just more subtle.
No matter which approach you use, always blanch the tea at least once using boiling water and infuse with the same temperature.
For maximum effects of maturing this tea, keep it in its original wrapper 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 batch of cha bings 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.