“Master, what is Zen?” “Why Grasshopper, Zen is Manzhuan.”
The ’09 Forever Zen is a Manzhuan treasure from a Puerh Junky favourite, the Banzhang Zhengshan TF. There hasn’t been a single one of their offerings that have not favourably impressed, this aside from the great value they provide.
Manzhuan is one of the classic six famous tea mountain, perhaps the least heralded. The Forever Zen comes from a longstanding vendor who is resolute in providing classically dry-stored offerings. It has been stored in Los Angeles since Feb ’21.
Everything about this cake screams Yiwu Zen. It is stone pressed in a manner consistent with Yiwu. The taste is Zen to the max, essentially sweet water. The taste and aroma are one. There is zero bitterness and the broth possesses a pleasing degree of viscosity. The huigan comes even before the broth is completely swallowed. Astringency is about a one, but completely counterintuitively it is cheeky and throaty. Both last for an extended period of time and about 20 minutes after the session, a second wave of saliva came gushing. All the while the throatiness remained.
Forever Zen takes its name from its personality. From infusion one to infinity, the expression is unflappably equanimous. Yes, infinity. The infusions go on and on and on, and they never change. Through the seventh infusion, the most it was infused was five seconds. Sure, push it, it won’t change anything, certainly won’t make it better. Until infinity it maintains the same vanilla sweetness and viscosity. On the matter of brewing, it seemed that some pointers were in order to get the most from this treasure:
Don’t pour the water directly on the leaves. This is an Yiwu not a Bulang
Don’t overleaf. 6g to 120g is sufficient.
Don’t over brew. This treasure gives it up quickly. 5 sec in gaiwan for first seven infusions will carry the day.
Use hot-hot water, but let it cool to appreciate the viscosity and sweetness.
This treasure is ready for drinking now. It should be very interesting to see how it evolves. I imagine it will get sweeter, though the sweetness now is perfect without getting sticky. Stored in LA since Feb ’21. 357g