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This is a lovely smoky-earthy young sheng that I got as a free sample with a recent order. I did a parallel tasting with another very nice young sheng, and the link below is to a version of this with photos on my tea page.

This tea has long intact-appearing leaves and a fair bit of stem. The leaves smell sweet and earthy, with a bit of mushroom odor to the Lao Ban Pen.

I put 2 grams into my tiniest gaiwans, with 1.5 ounces near boiling water. After a flash rinse, the leaves smell even stronger and more delicious.

First infusion, 205°F/96°C, 10": smoky, earthy, sweet

Second infusion, 205°F/96°C, 15": sweet and earthy, woody, bit of anise and smokiness lighter already

Third infusion, 205°F/96°C, 20": sweet and earthy, woody, bit of anise, smokiness almost gone

Fourth infusion, 205°F/96°C, 20": earthy, sweet, smoky

Fifth infusion, 205°F/96°C, 35": sweet and earthy, bit of herbaceous flavor

Sixth infusion, 205°F/96°C, 60" (stopped to take a picture of the leaves): sweet and earthy, deep, warm, rich

Seventh infusion, 205°F/96°C, 1’: both a little dilute, should have let them go longer, more sweet water with hints of earthy

Eighth infusion, 205°F/96°C, 3’: oh, this is much better, my anise and earthy flavors are back. Still delicious, yum. Young sheng star.

Losing count—10? 11? still wonderful. Troubling fact: I want to shoot the spent leaves, lay them out to show the size and pluck, but they’re just not quitting, now 15, 16 infusions in. It will be a long night.

1.5 liter later (the kettle was filled completely when I started), not as rich, but still, better than just sweet water. Based on the kettle volume and the gaiwan size, both of the young shengs gave me about 20 infusions. Nice teas.

Wet leaves are are mix of light brown and green, quite intact, and small to medium sized, about an inch to an inch and half long.

Full review with photos:
http://www.well.com/user/debunix/recipes/LaoBanPen&YongDe11.10.html

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I’ve been drinking tea for 30 years, but only bought 2 brands of 2 different teas for most of that time. It took me almost 30 years to discover sencha, puerh, and green oolongs. Now I am making up for lost time.

I try to log most of my teas at least once, but then get lazy and stop recording, so # times logged should not be considered as a marker of how much a particular tea is drunk or enjoyed.

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