Official Pu of the day


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Re: Pu of the day

Postby auhckw » Sep 3rd, '10, 22:25

shah82 wrote:All of those reasons are probably not valid.

Lao Banzhang is simply a favorite kind of Bulang puerh, and quite fashionable these days. It's not really better or rarer than any of the other very elite areas, but it *is* probably more accessible to the public. I have the nasty suspicion that really good Yiwu is mostly unavailable, same with Jingmai, Lincang, and certain other famous places, because they've had such a famous name for so long. Lao Banzhang's particular popularity is a very recent thing.

It *is* nice, however, but it's just really expensive. There is also a whole lot of blendings of other Bulang teas into LBZ to make a bigger profit, which is why I got suspicious at the leaves. It could still be real, and your taste remarks make it sound real--mixed LBZ tends to be pretty funky about endurance, as the mixed in outside tea gives up and the LBZ keeps going. Also, most premium LBZ cakes use very pretty leaves in order to convince people that this is top stuff. Pretty leaves aren't a guarantee of quality, though, as ugly teas can taste great and beautiful teas can taste weak. I will certainly say that the one thing Hou De *is* cheap for is Lao Banzhang as they have a number of XZH '06 of superior quality for $145. Not much good to you in Malaysia, but...


I would agree. It is nice, but does not justify the price ratio. I mean the LBZ I bought is expensive about 10x more than dayi-7542 (901) but taste wise is not 10x better than it.

LBZ is indeed good but not super 'great', and for the price it is, I think I can get better non LBZ tea. Eg, the mengku I posted earlier is a also very good. I would prefer the mengku over lbz. Price wise mengku is 1/2 of the LBZ.

As for the tea leaves, it is indeed doesn't look great for the price. Initially I have doubts too. I even questioned the seller a few times, but after getting some justifications about the genuinity of the LBZ that I bought, I have only got to rely on my taste to determine it. After sampling it yesterday, I would say it should be ok and tasted above average for a young raw. But then, my experience in Pu is not that long... I would one day seek out some tea master that I've met recently for opinions. That would at least educate me better.

I think LBZ is in a way, supply and demand + hyped. That said, good to have bought it... and move on for next tea...
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby theory » Sep 3rd, '10, 22:49

Today I am trying a sample of a Purple Tip 2008 cake from bana
purple_tip_reshoot-300px.jpg
Not my pic
purple_tip_reshoot-300px.jpg (18.92 KiB) Viewed 1121 times

I'm new to pu, so please bear in mind that my evaluation may be a heaping pile of it, so to speak.

2 washes, 1st infusion-10 sec, 2nd-25 sec, 3rd-30 sec, 4th-40, 5th-1 min...
Astringency - slightly astringent
Mouthfeel - thin early then round and soft
Flavor - bitter and dry grass in early infusions, delightful round sweetness reminiscent of barley in later ones
Aroma - sweet, young flower buds.
Value - I don't really feel qualified to judge. At $30/200g I will let you decide. I will be buying one :)

Despite a really lovely light first infusion, I almost stopped after the 3rd - I was that disappointed by the 2nd and 3rd infusions. Luckily I stuck it out, and the 4th absolutely floored me - it was so different (and much more pleasing to my palette). I would really love to see how it ages, so I'll probably grab a cake. I'm tempted to drink it right away, but would hate to just brew and toss the initial infusions, which is what it would take.

Am I correct that the early bitterness is typical of young sheng?

I had great fun writing this up - it really made me focus on the nuances of each infusion. Thanks for indulging a newbie :wink:
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby auhckw » Sep 4th, '10, 07:10

Lao Ban Zhang - The Story Behind The King Of Raw Pu-erh
Source/Credit: http://www.facebook.com/notes/hojo-tea/ ... 4497520601

by Hojo Tea on Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 6:01pm

In China tea market, Lao Ban Zhang (老班章) is famously referred as the King of Raw Pu-erh tea. Its flavor is uniquely strong with bold, complex taste. In Kunming, tea connoisseurs often describe the taste of Lao Ban Zhang as “霸” (superiorly dominant). This is why they crowned Lao Ban Zhang as “The King”.

Lao Ban Zhang is named after the village that produces this tea. Lao Ban Zhang Village is located in Bulang Mountain (布朗山)at Menghai (勐海) county, Xishuang Banna (西双版纳,South West Yunnan). The earliest record on the village’s tea production can be traced back to 1476. Lao Ban Zhang Village is resided by minorities known as The Bulang tribe. For generations, the Bulang people planted tea trees and produce tea in the mountains. Today, there are 117 Bulang families residing in Lao Ban Zhang Village.

The village is situated at 1700-1900m high mountain area. Such high altitude is rare in tropical part of South Yunnan. The average temperature yearly is 18.7C. For half of the entire year, this mountain village of Lao Ban Zhang is covered in thick fog.

Lao Ban Zhang’s tea plantation is located close to the borders of Burma. It covers 310 hectares of land. It was estimated that there are 78,555 tea trees aged more than 100 years old, 70,866 tea trees that is more than 200 years old, 37,076 tea trees aged more than 500 years old and 9,412 tea trees more than 800 years old.

The trees grow in the jungle, they co-exist with other jungle plants, and therefore they are not polluted by pesticide or any chemical fertilizer. The Bulang farmers manage and take care of these trees with their own original method. Until today, they still produce Lao Ban Zhang tea by following the traditional processing method passed down from their ancestors.

In 1950s, this tea was selected as tribute tea to Chairman Mao, who was known as a tea maniac.

In the past, Lao Ban Zhang was a secluded, peaceful village, very few visitors go there. But from 2000 onwards, especially since 2004 during the pu-erh boom in China, many tea merchants and collectors often visited Lan Ban Zhang village. They competed to buy this tea because of its genuine good quality and fame. Most of these tea merchants let the Bulang people produce the raw material by themselves, but the merchants buy over the loose tealeaves and bring back to their factory.

They then compress the tea into cake size and package it under their own label. As a result, nowadays we see a lot of Lan Ban Zhang tea exist in the market with various kind of labels and packaging.

In 2007, Chen Sheng Tea Factory (陈升茶厂) seized an opportunity to dominate the tea supply in Lao Ban Zhang village so that they could control the supply and market price for Lao Ban Zhang tea. They signed a contract with the villagers, from then onwards became the major buyer of Lao Ban Zhang tea raw material. Since then, most of Lao Ban Zhang tea, whether compressed into cake size or bricks, were manufactured and branded by “陈升茶厂” (Chen Sheng Tea Factory) . However, out of 117 families that produce tea in Lao Ban Zhang village, there are still 28 families who did not sign the monopoly contract with Chen Sheng Tea Factory. These few families can still sell their own raw materials to other tea merchants.

Due to the domination by Chen Sheng Tea Factory, nowadays genuine Lao Ban Zhang tea are sold at a very high price in the market.

In general, the following factors make Lao Ban Zhang’s price very high:

1) Good quality, sweet and strong aftertaste, bold and rich flavor.
2) Historically famous. Was once a tribute tea for top leaders in China.
3) Limited supply and production quantity.
4) Supply of raw materials is partly monopolized by one factory.

Image
tea leaves plucked in early spring makes the most superior quality Lao Ban Zhang
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby Mr. Usaji » Sep 4th, '10, 10:41

After I read this I haven't wanted to try any tea from Lao Banzhang:
http://afelicificlife.blogspot.com/2010 ... cline.html
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby shah82 » Sep 4th, '10, 11:21

Yeah, just kinda crazy. I didn't take Nada's post *that* seriously because it happens to many areas and Lao Banzhang is suffering from a mild case of what economics professionals call a resource curse. What it does do is deliver a firm reminder that LBZ isn't the be all and end all of elite tea. You have to search harder and whip out that credit card rattlesnake quick, but you can find cakes from other places easily as good as any LBZ you might have. Although, ChengSheng factory is just much more open about monopolies--in the sense that they apparently get most grades of LBZ tea, when other monopolies are quiet and wish for the top grades.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby Drax » Sep 5th, '10, 18:43

Today's pu, the 1996 Fu Hai 7532 from Essence of Tea (aka Nada).

I've had a string of young pu'erh lately, and so coming to this nicely aged sheng is a wonderful treat of earthy woodiness. Mmmmm.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby Drax » Sep 6th, '10, 14:49

Whew... I think I drank about a half-gallon worth of tea from that Fu Hai yesterday. I wish I hadn't started it at 5pm... I didn't finish till about 10pm and I think it kept me up a little! :D

Anyway, I'm starting earlier today on this nice holiday. Today I'm going with the 1980s Liu Bao from Essence of Tea.

I've had a 2002 Liu Bao from YSLLC (also from Guang Xi, I think), which I remember being very "bright," almost like those "fresh laundry" scents on laundry detergents that are supposed to be reminiscent of the outdoors. In a good way.

This 1980s doesn't have that brightness. Very smooth, calm, subtle taste. A bit of a head-rush at times. Interesting....
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby nickE » Sep 6th, '10, 15:24

TIL that Shupu tastes off when brewed with too much leaf. I really piled it on... Ah well, removed some and good to go! :D
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby Proinsias » Sep 6th, '10, 15:26

04 Mengku sheng, I think it's a 100g bing.

A while since I tried this, maybe two years. Tastes much smoother now. How much of that is the tea changing and how much is my increased tolerance to bitterness I'm not sure. Either way I'm enjoying it more now.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby bagua7 » Sep 8th, '10, 20:49

Jinma Orange

Astringency - (some, light tho)
Smoke - (none)
Dryness-(mouth) - (moderate, after the drinking session)
Mouthfeel - (medium)
Hui gan - (some, minimal tho)
Flavor - (fair)
Overall value - (fair)
Purchase again - (I don't think so)

It was a free sample but wouldn't purchase it.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby auhckw » Sep 9th, '10, 12:07

2010 - Bulang High Mountain Super Old Tree (Thousand++ years old) Raw

Had the luck of tasting this luxury young raw. Price estimation is at about USD150 for 100g

-Very smooth and soft
-Deep down sweet aftertaste in the throat
-No bitterness, No smoke
-Flavor not that strong (maybe because it is still quite fresh)
-Doesn't taste at all like a young normal raw
-After many infusions, flavor has gone away but the water still tasted sweet
-After effect is just like the high end Longjing I had recently

Good news is: So gooddddddddddddd :D
Bad news is: Very limited. No more stock this year. Have to wait for next year harvest. Hope it will be as good as this year.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby Proinsias » Sep 10th, '10, 15:14

2001 Xiaguan baoyan brick. 16 infusions in and it's still going strong. I don't think this needs to get any older, the balance of age and character seems just nice.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby nickE » Sep 12th, '10, 19:02

Ok, most of my EoT samples are gone so I'll venture to rank my preferences. Today I had the Bangwai, thoroughly enjoyable.

    Bulang
    Manmai
    Mansai
    Bangwai
    Banpen
The Bulang was spectacular, I've had nothing else like it. I have a cake of the Manmai & Mansai, really happy with them. The Bangwai is a subtle tea, still good but I won't be buying one. Banpen is priced above everything but the Bulang, not worth it IMO.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby debunix » Sep 12th, '10, 19:42

Very much enjoying the 2nd from the OTTI #5, the YiWu from TIM (Mandarin's Tearoom). Smoky, sweet, earthy, oh so nice. Review to come in the OTTI topic, have only had two infusions so far.
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Re: Pu of the day

Postby auhckw » Sep 19th, '10, 09:52

Today went tea shop and managed to sample few aged raw and ripe puerh.

20+ years Raw puerh: USD 650 / beeng: Old is Old. Tasted old. Flavor is old. Very little aftertaste. Smooth.

15+ years Raw puerh: USD 250 / beeng: Tasted less old. Has light smokiness. This pu when it was young has strong smokiness, but over the years has gone down. Dry. Very little aftertaste.

15+ years Ripe puerh: USD 200 / beeng: Little flavor. Smooth. Very little aftertaste.

I probably shouldn't rule out in general, but for today's puerh tasting, the impression that aged puerh gives me is that I don't like it. Aged puerh has less flavor, lacks aftertaste and tasted like dirt. I think this is very much an acquired taste.
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