Lao Ban Zhang Mao Cha Sheng Pu-erh Spring 2009
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.