G-off-re wrote:MarshalN, as far as flavors go i want something that's earthy and full of talcum but with minimal astringency and harshness. Pretty much what i've experienced with 80's and 90's Menghai. I was thinking a 90's cake of 7542 might be worth getting. They're selling online for $190-360. Should i expect to pay more for something like that in HK assuming storage has been good? Any advice you have on shopping there would be greatly appreciated.
If that's the taste you're looking for, you should definitely look for medium wet stored stuff. With (relatively) natural storage, even in a humid environment, early 90s 7542 is not very earthy, and has quite a bit of bite left (same for late 80s, to a lesser extent). You might also want to try some 8582 from the same time period, which I think can be a little smoother as far as something to drink now.
I think your price range is probably in the right ballpark, but if you're talking about cleaner storage 7542, you'll probably be at the top of that range for early 90s ('92-94) cakes.
I've had '96 or '97 orange-in-orange (7532), which I think you should be able to get within your price range, depending on the source and the storage, which can be pretty smooth for such a young tea, if you get a moderate wet-stored version. There are definitely cheaper late 90s teas that don't have as much hype, but after going through samples a couple of times, I'm kind of kicking myself for not picking up at least one piece of this one last time I had the chance.