Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East


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

Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby yanom » Oct 15th, '12, 05:34

They'll have to think of 15 years as aged, just like the rest of us.

In 20 years time there'll be loads of 25-year old tea no?
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby MarshalN » Oct 15th, '12, 05:49

TwoDog2 wrote:If quality is equal across the board (whatever the hell that means), do you feel the above areas fair better with age than those to the East*? (or just Yiwu - since it seems the easiest target for this strength issue, when subtracting GFZ)

I think it becomes an issue of general strength, if you are looking for a bolder brew from an aged tea.


Looking for bolder brew from an aged tea - this pretty much gets to the question of what an aged tea is, and why you're drinking it.

At some point it's worth asking that question, because, for example, one can say that aged oolong can't match younger oolong in fragrance. Of course - but that's almost beside the point. If you want fragrance, go drink the young stuff. Likewise, if you want boldness, nothing beats one or two years old Bulang area tea. But then, you're not looking for aged taste now, are you?

Mahei, for example, is pretty crappy. I don't like Mahei, and I don't buy them with rare exceptions. I prefer my non-Yiwu eastern Banna tea.

I don't think they fare better, actually. I've had a number of decent oldish Lincang stuff, mostly Mengku area teas, from the early 2000s or so. I find them to be pretty one-dimensional. I have a few tongs of this stuff, and I'm not looking for more. When I look for teas to drink, I rarely dig them up - they kinda just sit there in my storage. Maybe in ten years I'll drink them, but right now, I've got other things to go for. They've got strength, but I don't find myself wanting them, whereas I'd happily drink a 10 year old well aged Yiwu, or Manzhuan, or whatever, and I wouldn't mind if they're my daily diet of teas.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby TwoDog2 » Oct 15th, '12, 22:22

While your point that that motives differ in drinking different ages of tea is well taken, , aren't we all after some sort of holy grail? The intersection of age, flavor, qi, fragrance, depth, and complexity?

One can admittedly only demand so much in terms of Bulang style brute force from an aged tea, but ideally I could find a tea that ages gracefully, while maintaining some of its power. Some sort of Sean Connery or Samuel L. Jackson of tea. While showing a bit of age, still able to kick ass. A believable superhero, despite being an elder.

My overall experience with middle/younger-middle age Yiwu, is that much of its power dissipates fairly early on. Power is not really Yiwu's strong suit, and i don't drink Yiwu for power anyhow, so perhaps this debate is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. (Also, Yiwu is a huge area, so my statements above apply to certain areas more than others. GFZ has plenty of power, though i've never had a pure GFZ of any notable age)

Whether Laoman'e or Yiwu ages better is a question that can be answered easily by asking, "What are you searching for in an aged tea?"
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby chrl42 » Oct 15th, '12, 22:34

TwoDog2 wrote:One can admittedly only demand so much in terms of Bulang style brute force from an aged tea, but ideally I could find a tea that ages gracefully, while maintaining some of its power. Some sort of Sean Connery or Samuel L. Jackson of tea. While showing a bit of age, still able to kick ass. A believable superhero, despite being an elder.

My overall experience with middle/younger-middle age Yiwu, is that much of its power dissipates fairly early on. Power is not really Yiwu's strong suit, and i don't drink Yiwu for power anyhow, so perhaps this debate is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges. (Also, Yiwu is a huge area, so my statements above apply to certain areas more than others. GFZ has plenty of power, though i've never had a pure GFZ of any notable age)


Agreed. It's not been long since we started drinking gushus of various regions. Not many people have assertion about how it will transform over time.

Aged over 10-year, I've had much better well-portioned Taidi Cha than Yiwu gushus of similar period although their starting point (price) must had been the opposite.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby shah82 » Oct 15th, '12, 22:57

I'm not really asking for Yiwu to be powerful. It's understood that Yiwu is all slow, subtle, and all deep upwelling. My problem with Yiwu has generally been the sheer flakiness of the aged tea. I can go out and sample some fall 2005 white wrapper Banzhang, and it's generally pretty good for what it is. I do the same thing with Yiwu, and it's...just...so hit and miss. The most expensive cakes in the prettiest wrappers turn out to be mediocre. Worse than that, people who make good Yiwu cakes one year won't necessarily make the same quality cake of purportedly the same grade the next year. There's not a huge difference between the '05 and '06 XZH LBZ (mostly the latter being less fruity and pungent). There is a large difference between the '06 and '07 XZH Yiwu Chawang, and the '06 is still a pretty inconsistent tea judging by my own experience with the sample and from what I read. The '07 XZH? Doing a poorer job of aging than the JingGu counterparts. However a meaney MarshalN is about the aging prospects of JingGu teas, I concur that they will never be some majestic deep/complex tea--the Yiwu really should do better.

I simply don't get this sort of erratic quality across the river. A flaky '06 oolongy Nannuo maocha XZH produces still gives some really good sessions. I've had monster Badas. There was that ManNuo. When it comes to disappointment, it's usually some Bulang (not from Banzhang) being crappy for some reason. If you include Jingmai, well, it's really easy to get a pretty standard quality there as well. I wonder if the ecological environment in the Yiwu areas have a lot to do with things, and the gushu there isn't as healthy as in GFZ. Or there's much less of true gushu Yiwu than I've thought to be the case. Or the competition is that bad. The last, I don't think so. You can get a pretty good banzhang experience, you can get a pretty good bingdao experience, regardless of whether it's genuine or not.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby TwoDog2 » Oct 15th, '12, 23:11

shah82 wrote:people who make good Yiwu cakes one year won't necessarily make the same quality cake of purportedly the same grade the next year.


Using the plethora of Yiwu Chawangs as an example, I think this is pretty clear this is the case. When I compare my notes for the CGHT Yiwu chawangs, the different years are sometimes scarcely recognizable as the same region, much less the same brand/production.

From a consumer standpoint, it is just odd to have the years be so hit and miss. I suppose anyone in the wine community is already accustomed to such a range in vintages - it is just a part of the territory. Variance in weather, processing, storage, availability of material, etc.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby MarshalN » Oct 15th, '12, 23:45

Well, Yiwus (since we've reduced Eastern Banna to Yiwu) is over-labeled. There are plenty of teas that are labeled Yiwu that are not really Yiwu - like that supposed GFZ I had recently that's really a Simao tea. So, one of the big problems is actually that what people call Yiwu (or Manzhuan, or whatever) are often not what they claim they are, which is a real issue. We cannot judge teas based on false labels.

You can line up 10 Yiwu Chawang from various makers and not a single one will be a real Yiwu. Can't just use those nomenclature to evaluate the tea.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby gasninja » Oct 16th, '12, 08:53

MarshalN wrote:Well, Yiwus (since we've reduced Eastern Banna to Yiwu) is over-labeled. There are plenty of teas that are labeled Yiwu that are not really Yiwu - like that supposed GFZ I had recently that's really a Simao tea. So, one of the big problems is actually that what people call Yiwu (or Manzhuan, or whatever) are often not what they claim they are, which is a real issue. We cannot judge teas based on false labels.

You can line up 10 Yiwu Chawang from various makers and not a single one will be a real Yiwu. Can't just use those nomenclature to evaluate the tea.

Would you say that the 07 CGHT Yiwu Cha Wang is genuine Gfz?
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby MarshalN » Oct 16th, '12, 09:05

I'd say that it's genuine Yiwu
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby TIM » Oct 16th, '12, 13:23

just reading this post got me very frustrated and concern.... how could we draw conclusions on puerh which mostly are misleading or mislabled?

Seems like there is still a long way to go in puerh education or tea in general in the Western market.... :?
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby shah82 » Oct 16th, '12, 13:49

Want to sound a note of caution here...Let's not get *too* No True Scotsman here. If some other region provides a good Yiwu experience, just let it be so.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby 135F2 » Oct 16th, '12, 16:19

shah82 wrote:Want to sound a note of caution here...Let's not get *too* No True Scotsman here. If some other region provides a good Yiwu experience, just let it be so.


That's exactly what I would say about Champagne. Why spend the money and time understanding real Champagne wines. Just get Korbel -- it's a Champagne...just look at the label. It's bubbly, too.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby MarshalN » Oct 16th, '12, 22:13

shah82 wrote:Want to sound a note of caution here...Let's not get *too* No True Scotsman here. If some other region provides a good Yiwu experience, just let it be so.


But since your original purpose is to say that Western Banna tea ages better than Eastern Banna, how can we not?

I mean, I don't generally care that much what region a tea is from, as long as it's good, but since we're on the subject of terroir and its effects on tea's aging potential, then getting the right teas to compare is important, no? Simao sucks, for example, and everyone knows it. If our basis for comparison is a bunch of Simao teas masquerading as Yiwu (pretty common practice) and then using it as representative of Eastern Banna... that hardly seems to be fitting the spirit of the original position.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby shah82 » Oct 16th, '12, 22:57

Twuwe, twuwe...

On the other hand, I don't think all Simao tea sucks. And I certainly think that some of them do age pleasantly. Moreover, that there are some Mengla county teas that does poorly. There are a lot of very poorly aging DingJiaZhai out there, and there are many poor older Yibangs that tastes of mushrooms and not a lot else. Speaking very frankly, a good aged Yangta is much more pleasant than many of these teas. You won't get dynamic taste or complexity, or qi (but in many cases, it's the same with supposed Mengla teas), but you will get a very nice dry and lightly fruity-sugarcaney white wine sensibility. That's not nothing. And when it comes to qi, well a Simao tea will beat a non Simao tea without qi every time. And not all of Simao has fading qi as Jingmai is reputed to do, the Nanjian ZhaiZiPo from '04 still has good qi.

Now, we were talking Simao. Let's go back to Menghai County. It's not as if there aren't high demand areas there. Do we deal with fake Hekai or fake Pasha or even fake Nannuo nearly as much? No, we mainly deal with fake LBZ and Naka. Yiwu is a big area. Harvested for gushu for at least almost 10 years. You might have had easy access to Yiwu, but why is it that there are so few truly good aged Yiwu making it here? If you look at half-dipper reviews, the number of aged tasting Yiwu/Yibang Hobbes has been happy with hasn't been *that* many, and most of them have been available in the West for a microsecond or informally, such as those Singapore '02 bricks.
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Re: Resolved: Western Banna Leaves ages better than the East

Postby MarshalN » Oct 16th, '12, 23:07

Banzhang aside, it's only in the last 3 years or so that places like Hekai and so on have been named. Before that it was all "Bulang". I remember when Haiwan came out with the Pasha in 06. Nobody seemed to know where Pasha actually is (nobody in China, anyway) and were all just sort of guessing and looking at maps. That cake was sub 100 RMB a piece, not really worth faking.

These days there are many more reasons to fake those things, and I'd expect in 5-10 years we'll see a lot of so-called Hekai or whatever out there, but none of them I think we can call aged, by any means.

As for Nannuo, it and Jingmai seem to be areas that, for a while, was garnering a lot of interest but more recently have fallen off the radar. Market forces, methinks. Doesn't mean the tea is bad or good.

The fact is, until the past two or three years, the only places people are willing to pay big money for are Yiwu and LBZ. I think you'd agree that if you randomly go to a big tea market (let's say Taobao is a good proxy) and buy the first ten Laobanzhang you find, most of them are probably not Laobanzhang at all and suck, even some highly priced ones. So why are you only focusing on Yiwu as the source of this problem? It's endemic. I know people who use whatever cake they have and just wrap "Bingdao" "Laobanzhang" or whatever on them, because that's what sells. What's inside might be some crap low altitude plantation tea, it doesn't matter. I thought we're talking about the genuine article, and not what people call them.

As for Hobbes, let's just say I think he has his tastes, and I don't always agree with his findings. I don't think he's the sole arbiter of good puerh taste now, is he?
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