Lao Ban Zhang Mao Cha Sheng Pu-erh Spring 2009

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Pu'erh Tea
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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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  • “I’m having another fantastic session with this tea today, part II of one that began yesterday. It started a touch bitter, as usual, but I kept the first 6 or 8 infusions to pour-in/pour-out flash...” Read full tasting note

From Norbu Tea

One of our producers in Xishuangbanna was able to get us a little bit over 2 kg of new harvest (Spring 09) Mao Cha from Lao Ban Zhang. Mao Cha means “semi-finished tea,” and refers to the raw materials that are used in the manufacture of the various forms of Pu-Erh tea.

The tea liquor is moderately thick and mouth coating with a very long finish. It tastes very fresh, green, vegetal and a bit bitter with slightly sweet undertones. The distinct “Hui Gan” (bittersweet aftertaste) of this tea seems to go on forever, and I have infused it up to 15 times so far before quitting.

Steeping recommendation: Use a large Gaiwan, 150cc or bigger so you can add the leaves without breaking them. We recommend 5-7.5 grams per session using water just off the boil & very short (10 seconds or less) steeping times at first, increasing the steep times by about 5 seconds per steeping.

About Lao Ban Zhang Tea:

This particular tea came from a remote area near Ban Zhang Mountain in Southern Menghai County, south of Menghai City. These leaves are from truly ancient trees that are 400-500 years old, which were unfortunately heavily cut back and damaged during the Cultural Revolution. The good news is that in the 35+ years since those tumultuous times these precious trees have rebounded significantly and are producing excellent quality Pu-Erh.

It is thought that many of the most highly prized vintage tea cakes from the Menghai Tea Factory were at least partially made of Ban Zhang Mao Cha, so tea from the ancient trees in this area is quite possibly the most sought after and highly prized Pu-Erh tea on the market. Aside from this historical value, Ban Zhang teas have a completely unmatched flavor profile. The taste can best be described as strong and bitter with an appreciably sweet and lingering aftertaste.

About Norbu Tea View company

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5 Tasting Notes

311 tasting notes

I’m having another fantastic session with this tea today, part II of one that began yesterday. It started a touch bitter, as usual, but I kept the first 6 or 8 infusions to pour-in/pour-out flash infusions, and the bitterness was kept to a touch. And the reward for sticking with it is infusions that keep going and going and going and going—sweet water, yes, but Lao Ban Zhang-flavored sweet water, and it is delicious. I’ve been doing a little trick—pouring a tiny bit of cold water in each infusion as soon as I pour it out of the pot—so no waiting for it to cool, which can itself let a bit of unpleasant flavor develop. Happy camper, here! Another one of those couldn’t-be-better sessions with the cheapo little yixing, and Michael Coffee’s wonderful little shino cup, so perfectly sized for the small infusions. Mmmm.

I owe this tea a lot, because I was afraid of it when I first read about it—“bitter” in the description put me off. But I tried it as part of a tasting, and figured out how to bring out the qualities I love, and ordered some, and got bolder in choosing sheng puerhs. My only problem with this tea? I’ve got a finite quantity—I only ordere 50 grams, what was I thinking?! so I only drink it occasionally. Sigh.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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