pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
2008 Mountain Top Tea Company Ltd: Ban-zhang King Green Cake Organic. Dunno if I’ve commented on this one yet. This one is all about the huigan, which is a creeper, powerfully fragrant and floral. I don’t suppose that it has the bitterness of an official “lao ban-zhang.” In fact, this one is pleasingly bitter about the edges with the slick thick viscosity that one finds in more alkaline teas. Clear liquor on the intense yellow side. Oh, there’s a sweetness in the first few infusions that are reminiscent of sugarcane: green, grassy, juicy, cooling. Nice to hold in my mouth and think of my grandfather.
From the translation that I did on the Pu’er regions of Yunnan, what I noticed is that there are often a few villages that share a name or aspects of a name. I haven’t revisited that translation nor have I done any research on the puercn.com site to find out the details regarding this “county” on Bulang Mt. There are two types of smaller administrative regions, one “xiang” the other “xian.” Dunno which would apply here. Everything in China goes by name. Maybe it has something to do with the Confucian influence, not altogether different from the Korean type Confucian where modeling and conformity center about a standard that is thought to reflect “the way,” not in a Daoist sense but in the sense of the divine order, “the way” to the north star, if you will. In this case, lao ban zhang is clearly the north star, but I don’t think that it contains any of the thus-named stuff. My hunch is that it is a neighboring village, probably relatives of the famous place that has thrown its hat into the ring. Scott from Yunnan sourcing notes the actual number of kilos that come from Lao Ban-zhang is in marked contrast to all the knock-offs that purport to. I like that this offering doesn’t make such claims. It stands on its own. Again, name is everything in China and to the extent that these providers do not resort to plagiarism, is an extent to which the endeavor to make a name for themselves. Part of the real quality Lao Ban-zhang’s mo is its fantastic huigan. I was surprised to find that in the seller’s hype that I had translated back in May were comments about the huigan. Nice to find myself in agreement.
Finally, and totally seemingly unrelated, I was listening to a lecture by the famous teacher John Taylor Gatto wherein he references an on-going consultation that he has been having with the Chinese government. It relates to this matter of “name,” which actually is the crux of all the plagiarism and astounding lack of creativity among MOST Chinese. It seems the Chinese government itself recognizes this pattern to be a problem but they would NEVER give the time of day to the talented trouble-makers, artists and miscreants who exist in plentitude but do not conform to that sense, rightly or wrongly, of what is “the way.” Here’s the link for those who’d like to learn more… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KlSD0nanco
To me this is a human tendency that exists everywhere, only the local colors of it vary. In the US, it very often wears a suit and it also is trying to sell you something. We might not have the original Emperor here, but the pretenders all wear new clothes.
On one level, I tend to agree but having taught many different nationalities and attended China’s most prestigious university, the differences cannot be overlooked.
At the same time, I was thinking of the tendency to track Levis or Pravda and the such. These are international “names,” so your observation is not without much merit.
Last Thoughts 2014 by White2Tea. I planned this cake for today well before reading the news of the earthquake in Yunnan. My Last Thoughts today are for the good people of Yunnan, and especially for those who produce the tea we love. This cake is top shelf and I started a tea blog today for myself called Death By Tea. Hopefully I won’t be the only person to post some notes on this cake. I can’t seem to steep it out, am well past 15 and over caffeinated. Oh, and Rich…no smoke in this one!
Drinking a 2011 Spring The Legend of Tea Bingdao from The Tea Urchin. So far I find this tea annoying tightly pressed. On the third steep and this chunk has failed to reveal its true character! Show yourself!!
Yes, I had the same trouble with it. I had some loose portion on my sample and that infused very well, the cake pieces were VERY mellow and sweet the first three to four steeps and then it suddenly opened. Think about it as playing hide and seek, but the person hiding gets to slap you when you least expect it. LOL.
Speaking of tough nuggets! I’m having your 2004 Private Order. Very pleasant and tight!
Sorry about the late reply! I just noticed this haha. Yes, that 2004 private order is very interesting indeed. I think I have a bit more somewhere around here… perhaps I will steep it up one of these days. Is it tightly pressed? I never really noticed. I must have had loose pieces in my last steeping. Apt, yup this one is from EoT =)
Yeah, you sent me clean pieces. But I can see how this one would even change in taste if it was loose. To me the tight compression on cake this age is not bad. I used two pieces the smaller one opened by the 3-4th, but the bigger of the two held up compressed in the center until the next day and opened around the 8th-9th. Made it lasting. :)
2005 Bulang by White2Dog, a sample from my trade with JC. This tea smells great, has fabulous clarity and pretty reddish colour. Has a nutty taste at first with a true flavour, possessing no off notes. My first cup left a kind of warm ball of fire in my gut. The cha-qi feels pretty strong. I know some have noted shu bing that have a kind of medicine taste. I can detect some of this, but what is most remarkable is the camphor elements which radiate all about the brew, especially noticed in the huigan. I think this one would be best for folks with bloating issues, stagnant digestion, and constipation. It is very active.
Having White2tea’s “Giant Steps” in the cup tonight. It has been a long grueling day today and I am glad that a friend in Israel is safe for now and the chance to unwind with this. I will get a better note up soon. I am thankful for the calming of this one.
Gotta love this wrapper – it’s definitely one of my favorites. I find the blend to be rather interesting and complex; fun to drink because of it.
Well I’m not very productive here, drinking a tieguanyin and then my regular shou. Needed a day in between the two days it took me to steep out the Last Thoughts cake session. As pricey as that tea is, wasn’t gonna throw it away early. So today is sheng break…
As promised better late than never. I tasted this a couple of days ago after a long work day and was unable to give it the credit for it.
2012 White2tea “Giant Steps”
I went 10 grams 10oz. my preferred method, gong fu.
I gave a wash for about 5 seconds and went with it. It has good leaf size in whatI put in the gaiwan. It is somewhat darker than a newly pressed cake. It carries a nice hit of bitter and a sweetness combined. It is a bit floral tossed in there as well. Fantastic in the bit of punch it brings to the table. Six steepings later and it is still very nice. A bit stronger than the repave cake but nicely along the lines with some of the “aged” taste to it. This will give the tongue tingle and state of relaxation that slowly creeps up on you.
Very nice and solid tea.
A touch of astringency that fades quickly.
Flavors: Bitter, Floral, Sweet
Yunnan Sourcing 5 day sale on http://yunnansourcing.com/ with 12% off on Yunnan Sourcing pu-erh teas. Ends Aug. 10. Use Code: 5day12
Today I’ve been enjoying the 2005 Changtai Chenhongchan Yiwu. This sheng has good character: nice whole Yiwu leaf; pleasant dry and wet aroma; good mouthfeel; nice cooling effect on the tongue and roof of mouth; decent huigan; staying power yielding 8 enjoyable steepings so far. Not my favorite Yiwu but definitely a solid cake with almost 10 years of age at a reasonable price!
Last night my niece, nephew, and sister were visiting and we took the opportunity to try different teas together. The one I continued drinking today and like is the 2004 Bana Tea Small Tribute Cake ripe pu-erh. This is quite an enjoyable daily drinker with subtle earth and chocolate notes, lovely color, and lasting flavor. Quite pleasant. You can see it and the Bana Tea notes on it here: http://www.banateacompany.com/pages/puerh_teas-TributeCake.html
I’ve had a few things I haven’t had time to list in the past few days. I really enjoyed the 2010 Yunnan Sourcing “Big Snow Mountain” Raw that I had at work last night – nice and green, a little sweet a little bitter, just right. I’ve also recently had the 2007 Purple Leaf Raw from Mandala, which I enjoyed a lot and another Mandala sheng that doesn’t appear on Steepster or on Mandala’s website based on what Garret wrote on the label of my sample.
Drinking TU’s 2013 Bulang Beauty for the second time. I am equally as impressed this second time with this tea as I was my first time. Nice body, clean and pure, nice balance between a pleasant soft ku and subtle sweetness and wonderful aroma.