2009 Lao Ban Zhang Premium Raw Pu-erh tea cake

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Camphor, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vegetal, Floral, Fruity, Tangy, Asparagus, Tobacco
Sold in
Not available
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Doug F
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 17 oz / 501 ml

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11 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This tea cake has increased in price 2 and half times since I bought it which indicates how precious this little cake is. It’s a very deceptive, mercurial tea—the first 30 second...” Read full tasting note
    95
    triumph 170 tasting notes
  • “All this talk of LBZ made me want to try one of my samples ive been saving for a rainy day, so I broke this one out. Also because ive got two sleepeze tablets...” Read full tasting note
    90
    rasseru 227 tasting notes
  • “Dry leaves smell of pipe tobacco and prunes, very pleasant. Wet leaves smell very vegetal with a hint of the dry leaf aroma. Rinsed for 15s, then 10 minute rest. Steep/Time: Notes 1-3/10s: Bitter...” Read full tasting note
    75
    lucid 61 tasting notes
  • “The Trails of LBZ, Case 1 of 6 (Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng) A lot of chatter revolves around the three letters Read full tasting note
    Proust614 937 tasting notes

From Yunnan Sourcing

Members of the Mengku Tea Factory made an expedition to remote areanear Banzhang mountain to obtain the leaves for these cakes. The leaves are from trees 400 to 500 years old that were heavily cut during the Cultural Revolution. The trunk is still intact and in the 35 years since the trees have continued to grow and produce excellent quality Pu-erh with that special Banzhang taste and penetrating perfume-likearoma. When brewed is golden yellow and takes 15 or more infusions, each infusion with it’s own taste and gradually less bitter and ineffably sweet.

The cakes are made from the highest grade Ban Zhang raw material andare entirely spring 2009 production. The price of premium Ban Zhang raw material has surpassed other tea mountains, because it is the most sought after. Many producers use just 10% to 20% Ban Zhang material to give their blended cakes enough “oomph” to make them taste good.

About Yunnan Sourcing View company

Company description not available.

11 Tasting Notes

95
170 tasting notes

This tea cake has increased in price 2 and half times since I bought it which indicates how precious this little cake is. It’s a very deceptive, mercurial tea—the first 30 second infusion is sweet and fruity with a touch of camphor and wheat. But then the gloves come off and the tea becomes a powerhouse of flavor (teakwood, grapefruit) and bitterness (in a good way). Even at six years of age, this is a very young and unruly tea that has legs. I don’t think I’ve ever had such an intensely flavorful sheng—now it’s just a matter of seeing how the components come into balance.

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90
227 tasting notes

All this talk of LBZ made me want to try one of my samples ive been saving for a rainy day, so I broke this one out. Also because ive got two sleepeze tablets (diphenhydramine hydrochloride) and one should knock me out at a decent time I thought, what the hell, lets go.

Quick rinse, first couple of steeps & I can smell the leaf from across the room. Prunes, smoke, camphor & just the right amount of dankness. A bit murky

Taste is soft but powerful, deep & sweet aromas from the liquor. I love these rounded shengs. Nice toungue numbing already, sweet taste, its vegetal but I cant work out what. Like deep pastel shades of dark brown green mixed with sparkly sweet overtones. It was balanced nicely, I liked the thickness as well. Everything just ‘right’.

And the bitterness is just slowly creeping in. I was expecting a more bitter tea but it took a while for the raw to show itself, and even then it wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be. At about steep 10 I was just leaving the gaiwan to do its thing. It never went off the scale, I found it to be quite forgiving in that respect.

All in all a nice session. I liked the first 5 steeps the best, the sweet prune & dank camphor was nice. Hefty price tag though!

Also this was the last of my sample, not quite sure how much but could have done with a bit more leaf to fully appreciate the flavour.

Flavors: Camphor, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Rui A.

Another LBZ I need to try.

Rasseru

I really enjoyed it. Not sure it had the staying power of other shengs, or I was a bit surprised with it not turning into something bitter. The flavour did seem to disappear around steep 10. I guess I was using about 5g for 100ml so it might have been that. Was lovely during the session though

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75
61 tasting notes

Dry leaves smell of pipe tobacco and prunes, very pleasant. Wet leaves smell very vegetal with a hint of the dry leaf aroma. Rinsed for 15s, then 10 minute rest.

Steep/Time: Notes
1-3/10s: Bitter and vegetal for all three. It’s not the case for all teas, but I think 6g of leaf maybe too much for this little pot. I’ve removed about half of the leaves as I think 3-4g would be better.

4/10s: Waaahhh! That makes a world of difference! The tea is now sweetly astringent. Still has the vegetal quality about it, but it’s quite good.

5/10s: Surprisingly buttery smooth and sweet.

Got off to a rough start with this one, so no cha qi. I’ll give it a shot again tomorrow.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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937 tasting notes

The Trails of LBZ, Case 1 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
A lot of chatter revolves around the three letters LBZ so I went through my stash and found five samples and bout another. A lot has been said about the vibes that this tea provides and I want to test out as many as I can; if you have some and would be open to a swap please PM me!!!

The dry leaf has nothing speaking to me so I went ahead and gave it a quick bath. The freshly wet leaf smells kind of murky and I don’t like it very much, however after a few minutes the smell is appealing. This was kind of odd to realize as I don’t know what changes the aroma in a freshly bathed leaf versus one that had dried off a bit.
The first steep threw me off as I was expecting something a little more upfront with me as I invited it into my house. First thing I noticed was the texture; pretty thick. Rather mild to the taste, which I favor, but even into steep two there is no tingle or warmth in my mouth anywhere. Liquid is going down quickly as I sip it with a nice smooth taste; just wish the texture left something behind for me to feel. With no bitterness and a creamy texture, I’m looking forward to some more steeps… just hope I end up upside down or feel different.

On steep four only 35 minutes of being home from work and my mom calls because she has a flat tire and my dad is out of town. Putting this trail on pause…
Random story time: So I drive through 40 minutes of traffic to get my mom, which I’m 100% okay with because I love her and all, but… she never informed me that the van doesn’t have a spare tire. This van didn’t even come with one, it just has a large deep trunk; come on!
Anyways, I started back on this tea by a flash steep. First two steeps were as I just remembered two hours ago; thick and easy going. Notes of squash and roasted vegetables arose (for me at least). Still no lingering mouth feel or body warmth, but I think I have some tea high coming along because my neck is becoming a spring by the sixth steep; for those who are curious on that amount, it’s roughly 2 ounces per steep so I’m at 12 ounces.
At this point I’m curious to see the maths of this tea. $170 for a full cake at YS which is 250g, so it’s at .68 cents a gram; therefore I am going to push it to about 15 steeps and write more because the taste is staying without bitterness and slightly roasted light vegetables with a thick texture.
So… DAYMN, this tea just kicked my ass. While there was no warmth at the sixth steep, at about the tenth steep I realized that the top of my head was sweating and that life was sideways. Overall qi feeling is a bit different than the 2011 Bang Wei that turned me into a wet noodle. This certainly is strong and it makes my head feel like it was put into something and knocked on its side.
Sadly it’s teas like this that make me contemplate if oolong really is the best type of tea. See , these crazy strong raw pu’erh tend to provide a feeling that is not explainable until someone tries it.
Really hoping the other three I have from YS and then TU are similar because I foresee myself buying all sheng with the word bang in it.
Random questions:
1. Anyone else drive without a spare?
2. Where else should I shop for LBZ?

mrmopar

The Lao Man’E will have a much more pronounced bitter note to it. I would stick to people that have the ‘Real’ stuff. There is so much forgery and demand for LBZ that it is readily faked by many companies. It may have 2% LBZ and they market it as such. Buy from where you trust.

AllanK

The one you link above may not actually be LBZ it may be Lao Man E Lao Ban Zhang Tea Company which is the name of a tea company that King Tea sells.

Liquid Proust

This one from Mengku is legit via Yunnan Sourcing though right?

mrmopar

Yeah Scott has the legit stuff. If you noticed he hasn’t restocked any in a while because of the issues above. That and Chen Shen Hao locked up about 90% of the mountains production driving the pricing way up. Ruined the mountain in my opinion.

Liquid Proust

What year did he ruin the mountain?

Liquid Proust

So I should buy this ASAP because of the price? http://teaurchin.com/chen-sheng-yi-hao-2010-spring.html

AllanK

If you notice that is a blend of Banzhang and Bulang material, I’d be surprised if it was more than 10% Banzhang.

AllanK

There is always this although who knows if it is real.I do know the company is legit.
http://www.pu-erhtea.com/TeaDetails.aspx?TeaID=289

mrmopar

I think it was 2010. The one from TU only has 10% LBZ in it.

AllanK

If the Awazon people collected the leaves in 2006 that could account for the low price. In 2006 LBZ was not yet expensive. I have not generally seen Awazon raise prices because they could so maybe it is real.

Grill

Pretty much anything labeled lbz is either an outright lie, very small part of the blend or probably the worst maocha from there. The real and good stuff ranges from a thousand to thousands usd a kilo. The same goes for almost all other famous regions except their yield is so small that it never actually makes it to market. Like bingdao, unless you have a crazy connect or get lucky to know someone that has the real thing youll probably never get a chance to drink it, there is that little of the real thing, maybe a few hundred cakes pressed a year. All of those are spoken for long before anything is sold publicly

Rui A.

LP have you tried the 2006 version of LBZ? Whenever I sip this sort of tea I only use around 60-70% of the usual amount of leaves.

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106 tasting notes

Smoky sweet and fruity to start. Wet leaf aroma is intense and lovely. Very slight bitterness in early steeps that gets more intense with later steeps. Camphor, spice, and mouth numbness. 4 or 5 steeps in and I have spontaneously begun to sing. The cha qi just about starting to take effect when my wife slides a plate of poached salmon and broccoli sauteed in garlic and olive oil under my nose, and I realize that I am starving.

After dinner I resume my drinking. While I am not normally one for food/tea pairings, I have to say that the chilled honeydew melon I am currently enjoying is a lovely counterpoint to the smokey spice of this hot tea. It’s nearly 8:30pm and I’ll probably regret continuing too much more as I can feel the caffeine and think about running a few laps around the neighborhood. But then I remember that I do not run unless I’m being chased by a bear or a serial killer.

In sum, seeing as I’m still a pu noob this tea is probably the most “aged” sheng I’ve ever had. It’s a bit too much on the smoke/bitter end of the spectrum for me, but I am glad I got to try it.

Apropos of nothing, do professional tea drinkers have to stop and load the dishwasher after their wife makes dinner? #firstworldteaproblems

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301 tasting notes

This is a very interesting selection from Yunnan Sourcing recommended by a few whose opinions I value. Reportedly a special production by the Mengku Tea Factory made with material from 400-500 year old trees. According to YS, the tea is 100% Ban Zhang Wild Ancient Arbor. The leaves of the cake appear to be clean, thick and stout. These leaves yield a dark gold tea liquor which is bright and clear. There is an enticing floral-fruity scent on top of a smooth woody base which is long lasting and powerful. The sip is full and complex yet strongly sweet. There is a pleasant bitterness but this quickly dissipates then a full, delicious, sweet taste dominates and remains in the mouth for quite some time. Dominant presence in the mouth – the tongue and mouth tingle after just a few small sips. The Qi comes forward after just one cup and builds over several infusions. I find this to be a very enjoyable tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
JC

I like this one! I was apprehensive about buying it since I feel for the price tag it has, I would get low grade (since Ban Zhang is so legendarily expensive). But I was glad I did. The first time it did have a pinch of smoke to it, but no other steeps had it. Very good one.

DigniTea

Yes, I quite like it. Did not detect any smoke in mine. That on-going “authentic LBZ” discussion aside, I think it is made from very good material.

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96
66 tasting notes

This is obviously top quality leaf. Very impressive.
Dry tea is fragrant. moderately compressed. After rinse, a satisfyingly strong, very pleasant and elegant tangy-fruity floral aroma emerges. The elegance of the aroma is a common denominator of quality old tree material, from my limited experience.
Sweet, thick tea liquid with penetrating aroma and lots of vitality in the mouthfeel. Very satisfying. This one really hits the spot and leaves little to be wanted.
Little bitterness/astringency for a young sheng. Poweful qi. Strong caffeine kick and psychoactive effect. Pleasant at first, then a bit unsettling.
Now I understand what all the ban zhang hype is about.
Compared to other old tree premium shengsthat i’ve tried of the same vintage, this one might have the strongest flavor and aroma, second only perhpas to a sample I once received of a $300 cake from royalpuer.
Its qi reminds me of the 2011 nano mountain old tree tasting set from jk tea shop, though the flavor is much better.
The refined flavor and aroma is similar to the top quality teas you get from essence of tea.
$10 for 25 grams is a decent deal.
If you like raw powerful shengs, give this a try.
I probably wont reorder this because I like the calming effects and warmer nature of old sheng, though I might buy a newer (cheaper) vintage of this tea and age it for 12 years or so.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Sweet, Tangy

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 80 OZ / 2365 ML
Cwyn

Fascinating review, might sample this one myself after reading about your experience. Though I prefer the older stuff too.

mrmopar

I wish Yunnan’s China site was working better. Every time I get on it to look at things it “locks” the page up.

Cwyn

I wish that would happen to me, the checkout page works all too well.

mrmopar

I can’t seem to get it right. I go to it and it is in Russian and Google translates it but when looking at the info for the tea, instant lockup. I really have a few things I want but the lock up issue really bugs me..

Asaf Mazar

I get some russian in some parts of the site as well. Try using a different browser/clearing your cache. disable browser add-ons perhpas.

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83
127 tasting notes

Excuse the simile but this felt like the cadillac of raw Pu Er. I have not had very many raw and sadly this is my “oldest” raw pu er, sad I know but I am still learning. I was so used to super young bitter, smoky, sharp petrol flavor, with a mouth drying after taste but this tea had a heavy mouth feel, it was quenching instead of throat drying, after taste was a little light but had a pleasant sweetness, also the slight smokiness disappeared after the first steeping. I was so cautious because I was used to the super bitter/smoky young sheng that after bracing myself and tasting this tame sheng I upped the steeping times to 30 seconds then a minute then two minutes at which point it of course it got a little bitter but I was stunned a sheng was drinkable with longer than flash steepings.

This is my first youngish sheng and I look forward to trying older and older through the years. This tea had a great qi and a very pleasant soothing brew, it was such a comfort after drinking the fast and hard super young shengs I was accustomed to that felt like a bare bones two seater fun to drive on certain occasions but you feel every bump from hard suspension and not suited for everyday practical driving, this felt like an old caddy boat with the numb suspension and cornering of a semi. An eye opening experience for me and it makes me excited for all like aged samples I have accrued recently.

Flavors: Asparagus, Tobacco

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

Forgot to mention very light on the stomach (did not give me the stomach gurgles nor did I rush to the bathroom after) and infusion was light honey color not orange but not yellow either

Terri HarpLady

I’ll have to try for a sample with my next yunnan sourcing order!

Jiāng Luo

Yeah I wish I had afford more than a sample unfortunately(expensive) I have have come to find bulang is my favorite mt of the few I have become accustom with for both shu and sheng.

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84
43 tasting notes

This morning I’ve decided to sample a 2009 Lao Ban Zhang Premium. I received this tea from a friend the other day and am very pleased to be able to sample it. I begin with approximately 4.2 grams in my gaiwan. I cannot say much as to the dry leaf appearance as it looks like your typical arbor leaf. What I can say is that it is mostly intact – very nice. A brief wash (my washes tend to be about 5 seconds) of the leaves bring out a unique nose. .. perhaps a slight smoky (not the smokiness found in Xiaguans) hayness? The nose isn’t very impressive – typical of the region. However, where the nose lacks, the soup makes up for! The soup is a beautiful light amber colour with a wonderful profile. Upon sipping, there is a kind bitterness which greets all the taste buds. In a fraction of a second, this bitterness transforms into a subtle sweetness. One can easily detect this transformation in the mouth… very dynamic. The tea is thick in the mouth and leaves a nice coating. The hui gan is a little light, but perhaps I under leafed? Perhaps the sender could comment on this. I do detect some cha qi, which, naturally, is very nice. In my opinion, this is an excellent tea. It’s dynamic, complex and tastes nice! I will give this tea an 84/100 =).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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