236 Tasting Notes

The Bangwei Mountain tea forest contains many old tea trees, some 1,700 years in age. It is part of the Lahu Mountain Range in the southwestern corner of Simao. This 2005 Bangwei is definitely not the 2012 Bangwei from Essence of Tea which I thoroughly enjoyed with its honey-sweetness. That said, it does have possibilities for an interesting tea session. Opening the wrapper, I am reminded of a Xiaguan cake for I was first struck with a light smoky scent. The cake has moderate compression so it was easy to pick off tea leaves. Characteristic of factory productions, there is a mixture of whole leaves with stems and pieces. Two quick 5 second rinses and I left the wet leaves to sit in the yixing for about an hour. With the first steep, the tea soup is a deep golden color (on the verge of turning orange) but there is a hint of cloudiness. I do not detect any smoke in the wet leaf and the first sips are thick in the mouth – not sweet but not too bitter either, more a bittersweet. It has a definite mouth-watering characteristic. As I move through multiple steepings, the taste becomes what I would describe as bitter-sour and then sweet. At the end of the tea session, I sense a relaxing effect and a cooling sensation in the mouth and throat. It took me awhile to “warm up” to this tea but I must report that I really enjoy it.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

I’m very satisfied with EoTs Teas so far, if it wasn’t for the exchange rate I would buy more often :P This one you are drinking sounds like a more traditional take on Puerh, very nice to have, specially during winter.

DigniTea

JC: No question about that but we can’t always drink EoT and TU products. This one is worth owning – decent aging and 20% – 50% of the Eot and TU product prices.

JC

No questioning that! lol Have you tried W2T’s 2000 Fuyuanchang Yibang yet?

DigniTea

JC – Sadly I have not. Thank you for reminding me. Earlier today I opened and picked leaf from three Cha Wang Shop teas to drink over the next week. I’ll try to remember the W2T Yibang and 1-2 others from Paul’s shop to try next week. :)

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Lang He Tea Factory is known for producing fine ripe puerh. Light fermentation which results in it being free of that fishy flavor common in more heavily fermented shu. This is one of the finest Lang He products I have tasted. Clean, smooth and sweet with very high purity of flavor. The 2010 Tea Expo award winner is built upon a foundation of high quality material and it offers high quality flavorful sips through the session. Creamy chocolate notes frequently reveal themselves. This is an easy drinking tea and the moderate price makes it a good candidate for daily drinking. A bit difficult to find for I’ve not seen it listed anywhere except Tea Urchin.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
tea123

I normally find that shu has less complexity that sheng. Did you find that this has more complexity with it being lightly fermented?

DigniTea

I cannot say that this one had more complexity. I agree with your assumption, sheng will yield more complexity due to the natural aging process. I think we’d be hard pressed to find ripes with unusual complexity. That said, this LangHe is a very fine example of quality shu!

MzPriss

I need to dig into my sample of this

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This is a very nice shou! Quite an interesting find – Yiwu Mtn. material used in this brick. Large wild-tree leaves plus stems mixed to enhance the sweet wood flavor. Traditional stone pressing.
I don’t believe I’ve ever had a ripe using Yiwu material. The very dark wet leaves give off a sweet baked foods scent which becomes richer with spice overtones as you move through several steepings. Beautiful dark tea soup is syrupy and very soon the flavor matches with a deep dark sweetness. Nice complexity for a ripe puerh. Smooth and soothing in the throat with a long lasting aftertaste. There is nothing offensive or off-putting about this fermented tea. This is a great wintertime shou to warm up those cold days. Very aromatic; dark and smooth; deep woodiness; upfront sweet richness which continues throughout the session. I definitely like this tea and look forward to enjoying it many more times!
Update: Very flavorful for seven steepings but then it becomes rather thin.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
looseTman

Great description!

tea123

Sounds positive!

DigniTea

Thanks. IMHO this is one to be enjoyed!

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Verdant brought back a limited supply of this one during the last Cyber Monday sale and I had to pick it up. Very glad I did for I know that it is real Ban Zhang which is quite difficult to obtain these days. This is a powerful tea with a definite bite to it.

Begins with a lovely clear and bright golden tea soup with a thick and sweet leather-like aroma. Progressing through several steepings, the color begins to turn more orange. Body is low and strong. At the front of each sip there is definite smoke and bitterness but it becomes sweeter at the back of the throat. Note, this is a heavy, dense sweetness with smoke and pepper in the early steepings. The texture here is thick, smooth, and very satisfying. After each cup, I am left with mouth watering and a fuzzy warm feeling in my body – interesting that I feel both mellow and alert at the same time. After each of the many steepings it remains pungent and potent with a bit of sweetness coming through. Each cup is full-flavored with long-lasting aftertaste. Overall, quite a tea with a balanced mix of bitter and sweet that infuses first the nose, then lips, tongue, mouth and throat. This is strong and potent stuff and I am delighted to have more in my tea cabinet to enjoy from time to time.

I should add that there is an interesting backstory to this tea. As reported by David Duckler at Verdant:
“This pu’er is a unique example of a brick pressed by a small farmer’s cooperative. Their family has a plot of land on Banzhang mountain, which is considered to be the absolute top in terms of pu’er. They eventually got sick of selling the pu’er leaves they picked with care to the big factories for pressing because they felt that the pu’er was treated like too much of a commodity by the bigger companies. They took a huge risk and started their own pressing of bricks.”

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I believe this is my first experience with a Baotang tea. The quality of the material used in this cake is excellent. Baotang is a village in Mengsong township, Menghai. Apparently, in Baotang the trees are large & ancient, growing in biodiverse, organic gardens. Beautiful leaves produce a bright and clear gold tea soup with a crisp vegetal aroma and taste. Pleasant but not impressive at this point. Very soon the leaves open up and begin to produce a much more interesting cup of tea – increasingly thick in the mouth with a nice bitterness that turns into a pleasant lingering sweetness. Moving through five quick steepings, the cups become increasingly mellow and smooth. I was left with a lingering mouthfeel and a good mellow feeling. I like this tea!
Update: Seems to be enjoyable for 6 steepings and after that it fades.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 85 ML
Stephanie

Sounds good to me :D

tea123

I’ve heard a mention of biodoverse before. I’m thinking of buying that one soon.

AllanK

I had a sample of a Tea Urchin tea recently and I thought it excellent. This sounds good too.

DigniTea

I find that I can always count on TU for hi quality productions because they are able to source very fine raw material. I am a big fan.

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I picked this up about 18 months ago because I am a fan of Master Han’s productions; however, I never tried it. Having seen a recent tea note on this ripe tea, I was reminded of it so this morning I went looking through my shu tea cabinet and I’ve steeped it about 6 times today. It does not disappoint. This really is a high quality harvest and production – there definitely is something special about small producer, hand processed tea whether it is shu or sheng! Very easy to drink. Sweet and creamy with fruit and nut overtones on top of the woody traits found in most shu. All in all, a very smooth and enjoyable ripe tea. One worthy of being in a good puerh collection.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

Nice recommendation. I think I need to grab one of these soon.

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Time to revisit my tasting note on this one. I can now say that this has become one of my frequent drinkers when it comes to ripe puerh. Simple, sweet and creamy with chocolate undertones and a bit of age. Rich dark red tea liquor which is clear and bright; some would say it is sometimes rather syrupy. Smooth and balanced (the more intense flavors are balanced by more subtle flavors) with a great mouthfeel. These are the attributes which have made it one of my daily drinkers. This is a very tolerant and forgiving tea even when overbrewing it and quite affordable at $49.50 for a 357g cake.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

I need to retry this one. I’m not sure if something I ate threw me off or what, but all I got the time I tried it were aged wood notes which are pleasant but I was hoping to find more thickness rather than woody bitterness and light body. What parameters would you recommend?

tea123

I know your question is for DigniTea, but I hope you don’t mind a note from me.
I had a similar experience and put it down to the chunk I used. The first chunk gave the creamy moreish flavours, but a second chunk tasted a bit flat and had none of that creaminess I liked in the first.

JC

Yeah. That’s basically what I felt with my first tasting session. It was flat, woody. To me it was that range of Shou Puerh that tastes more like Heicha (mostly stems) than Puerh.

And your comments are always welcomed. That’s why we post stuff here to exchange thoughts and experiences! :D

DigniTea

JC and tea123 — I’ve just read comments from both of you and I’ll need to revisit this one before I can answer your question with any specificity. I can tell you that the temp. was 195deg. and I typically begin with a 5 sec. steep and then increase time by 2 sec. for each of the following steepings. I imagine that is what I did here. I don’t think I had a bagged sample so I would have started with a fresh cake and picked off leaf but I’ll need to pull the cake itself to check for that. Let me take a look at the cake and I’ll pick off fresh leaves and try the tea again. Only then can I offer anything more specific about this session. By the way, I should note that I typically move quickly through 3-4 steepings and combine them in a stainless steel tumbler and then sip on it over a period of time unless I happen to be sharing a tea session with someone else.

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A very easy sheng to drink. Not terribly complex but powerful, smooth, fruity (peach and pineapple) with a moderate sweetness. Beautiful whole leaves with very few bits and pieces mixed in. Fairly light colored tea liquor which is very clean. No smoky or fermentation undertones. The aroma is rather sweet and a bit like a field in the springtime. The aftertaste is long and very warm, with just a hint of astringency. Quiet, calming qi. Decent number of resteeps – I’ve done six so far. All in all, a solid sheng with decent age and IMHO worth owning. I picked this up at Yunnan Sourcing a few months ago but it is now out of stock. However, I have seen a few JinuoShan cakes at Cha Wang Shop but not this particular year. FollowUp note: good for 10 steeps.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 tsp 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I am drinking this now as well. Second day and still good.

DigniTea

That’s an unusual coincidence for a tea about which no one has written recently:-)

mrmopar

Yeah it turned out to be a good one. I only had a sample but now wish I had a cake. It seemed to be pretty dry stored as I don’t think it showed its age in the color. I couldn’t believe how smooth it was. A lot of older stuff has a little “sharpness” to it. Not quite a bite but a little less. Kind of like metallic note to it. Now I am on the third day of it. Just about gone but I will steep this one to death.

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High grade raw material found in this cake. Nice maturation. Smooth and mellow cup. Clear dark tea soup. No traits at all of the fermentation smells or tastes – benefits of the “light fermentation” process. A safe one to offer those fairly new to the world of puerh. A decent shu with an appealing profile to make it safe and enjoyable for all drinkers.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Enjoying a nice large cup of this one on a rather cold day – seems to hit the spot. When I drink this one, I typically use the same leaves over a three day period – the quality and maturation of the leaves allows me to do this. The first day (phase) offers a woody, mellow tea which is also quite smooth and mellow with the complexity slowly revealing itself. Good choice for this afternoon with more promise tomorrow.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
JC

Good Choice! This one of, if not my favorite Shou. I have a Tong at home and it was well worth it(it was cheaper back then), I think this cake still will improve over time the fermentation is perfect for aging, I could see this one tasting awful when it first cake out! lol.

boychik

i sampled it and loved it. Pricy…

DigniTea

Unfortunately, you always need to pay more for aged tea – in this case, fourteen years of aging.

jschergen

Also.. If you’re looking for rationalizations to buy good tea. Despite this being $89, the tea is really just $0.25/g, ~price for average quality Taiwanese oolongs!

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Bio

For me, tea is magical with its ability to transform by bringing one back to center and inspiring both peace and contentment.

Reformed coffee drinker. Switched to tea as part of my goal to work on living a healthier, more balanced life — haven’t looked back since. I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs and seldom drink anything else. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging.

I no longer assign numerical ratings to teas because our enjoyment of tea is very subjective. Reactions to a particular tea vary from person to person and within the same person across different tasting sessions. My tea notes are now simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are useful to me and if they happen to be helpful to someone else that is good.

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