2005 Xiaguan Bao Yan "Tibetan Flame" Raw Pu-erh Brick

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Roughage
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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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From Yunnan Sourcing

Xiaguan tea factory has been producing this brick for a long long time. It is consumed by the people of western Yunnan and Tibet as a staple. Typically it is brewed as a component of Yak Butter tea. The brew consists of Pu-erh tea, Churned Yak Butter, Salt, and a touch of Raw sugar also in brick form. Occasionaly hemp seeds are added to the brew for a nutty flavor. This tea is referred to as “brick tea” by the Tibetan people, not Pu-erh tea. The flavor is bold and stimulating, this brick also ages well. Xiaguan has been producing the “Tibetan Flame” brand for almost 50 years. Until the 90’s Xiaguan Tea Factory was owned by the government and was obligated to produce and deliver these bricks to the Tibetan people living in Yunnan and Tibet.

Vintage: 2005 (material is likely from 2002-2005)
Production area: Baoshan and Lincang

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6 Tasting Notes

676 tasting notes

Thank you Roughage for this tea Sample!

This morning I’m challanged with a raw Puerh that’s been produced for almost 50 years by the Xiaguan Tea Factory primarily for use as in Churned Yak Butter Tea.
Roughage or David Duckler (can’t remember which one) said that Yak butter is bitter which is probably why salt and sometimes hemp seeds are added to the brew. Yum…Yum…what a way to start the day!
I’m a bit short on Yak butter!

Here’s the recipe for ‘regular’ Butter Chai if you want to try it!
This recipe courtesy of Roughage!

Butter Chai
5 cups water
1 tablespoon black tea leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk

Boil water in pan and then lower the flame. Add a heaping tablespoon of tea leaves to the water and bring the water to a boil again for several minutes.

Pour tea, salt, butter and milk into a big container that can be covered and shaken. Or use a blender. (The blending makes the flavor savory and exciting)

Serve the tea right away since po cha is best when it’s very hot.

(I’m going to try this recipe during the Olympics for my granddaughters as one of the international tastes of tea we’ll be doing).

Regular Brewing:
I went to the Yunnan Sourcing website to see how to brew this Pu-erh and there were no instructions. I’m winging this…without much experience with raw Pu-erh’s. Oh boy.

I decided to do 2 rinses.
This was big and chunky Pu-erh that looked like the muddy clods on a farmers boots after they’ve dried… with bits of grassy looking stuff packed in.

The steep was about 30 seconds (I went a couple minutes the first time and that was a mistake…oh my).
The liquor was a gorgeous gold and very pretty. It smelled smoky and mildly earthy.

The flavor was also smoky and peppery with a bit of astringency under the tongue and a little salty.

I decided to try the butter, tea, milk…salt…
WOW it was sooooo good!

This was how the tea was meant to be…butter tea!

Thank you Roughage….! It tasted like buttered toasted bread or garlic bread without adding garlic. How could that be?


I am so nervous to further try Pur-ehs now, after an old review I read this morning mentioned all the yucky stuff people have found in Pur-Eh cakes. turns green

But I think I will try this with a regular black tea. With plain old butter. But I will mention that I have always wanted to try yak butter, ever since I read about it in a story when I was a little girl.


Very interesting! Did you try drinking it plain?


Plus, it’s just fun to say “yak butter.” Try it…
Yak butter.
Yaaaak butter.
Yaaaaaaaak buuuuuutterrrrr!



Amy…the part about smoky peppery was plain. A tiny bitter if you’re not careful and strong too! (As in country pu’erh)


Recipe sounds good, and maybe I’ll try it with a strong Asaam tea, but I wouldn’t add it to a Puerh or other teas. I even like my Chai unsweetened, sometimes adding a dash of milk to tame it if needed.

I like Chai tea I’ve had in Indian restaurants, but usually too much milk is added, or it is too sweet, and I can’t taste enuff of the tea.

What I’m saying is I like my tea & the natural flavor. I do like some flavored teas, but only if the flavors don’t mask the tea or taste artificial.


This would suit you Scott, no sugar and no spice so almost like a tea broth or soup.
This is tribal puerh and inexpensive!!! Qualifies as Black tea and would be more authentic but another smoky tea could do. Might send you a little to try this with.


By tribal Pu-erh you mean Puerh with that recipe, right?


Or any black tea??


Yes the one I specifically used and yes you could use any ’other ’ black. (You would imagine a rural setting…. a yak and this inexpensive puerh ….salt, water and milk (probably yak too) .


As long as it isn’t too buttery I think I’d try it.

Hesper June

I was just looking into Butter Tea the other day!
Now I have a recipe, thanks Bonnie:)


Scotttttt….you are making the teaaaaaa~ so youuuuuu control the butterrrrrr!


yaaaaak buttterrrrrr! See I have you doing it now! :D


Hahaha, Skulleigh :P

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21 tasting notes

Rough and tough, this sample, that came to me by Royal Mail. Thanks Roughage! It has character written all over. First time I smelled it, it made me think of that hospital odor, in my home town, long time ago, definitely, not the way to go nowadays. Second tasting was way better and I started to appreciate this robust, no nonsense Pu-erh. I can even understand, you drink it with salted yak butter, the tastes are strong enough to cope with it. Conclusion….not sure, some reminiscing will do…now, it’s time to go back to my Tibetan mushroom.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Glad you found it characterful at least. It is certainly not a pretentious tea! :)

Have you tried steeping it at 85-90 degrees or so yet? I tend to prefer it steeped at a cooler temperature. Did I send you the po cha recipe? Just in case, it’s here if you want to try it: http://www.yowangdu.com/tibetan-food/butter-tea.html


Lol at the hospital and salted yak butter! I know bold when I see it ;-)


Coming back to this, I see you logged it as a 30 second steep. I would suggest using a basic ten second steep or something like that. It really does not take much time at all to get something out of this tea. Anyway, I hope my comments are helpful and you find a way to enjoy this tea more.


Thanks for the recipe. I will try to steep it at lower temperature.

Yeah, my Tea Fairy, they’re all bold as love, just ask the yaks :)


Peter, do the yaks talk to you?


Of course they do! They yak on and on and on … I’ll get me coat. :)


This thread is hilarious…


They go yaketty yak yakkety yak and don’t talk back!

Tea Pet

What is everyone yakking about?

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472 tasting notes

short steeps 5/5/10/10/15 produced light yellow green broth, no bitterness, very smooth. enjoyed it a lot. Thank you TeaExplorer for your generous sample. on my shopping list

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I’ve been meaning to try this one for a while. Would you describe it as a gentler Xiaguan or does it still kick a bit?


Surprisingly pretty mild. Tell you the truth I was afraid to try it but was curious at the same time. If it would be unbearable I would just dump it. I used small chunk( no scale yet). Brewed in glass gongfu pot not filled to the top, 200F and 5 sec steeps. I steeped it today started yesterday. Increased time to 1 min. Still very pleasant. Some peppery smoky notes, but nothing extreme. I noticed I was kind of sleepy last night after it which is a plus for night drinking


That sounds good. I will put it in my wish list for next time.

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3262 tasting notes

Tea Explorer sent me a generous sample of this one! The pieces of brick are very sturdy, like compost that has been pressed & aged, or like those old style adobe bricks, dried in the sun. I put a 4G chunk in my Yixing that is dedicated to shengs, gave it a couple of rinses, & off we go!

I’ve been sipping it for several hours, & I can see why it might go well will yak butter, as it is traditionally served, as it is a more robust but smooth tea, with a nice deep color of those chewy brown caramels you can buy, & a flavor that is smooth & kind of buttery on it’s own, & a little sweet. I’m a little short of Yak Butter, so I’m just drinking it plain. There is a taste to it that almost reminds me of roasted barley, & a light smoke. That’s all I’ve got for now!


“Very sturdy” might be an understatement. It took the better part of five minutes to chisel off that sample with my puer knife. I probably should have grabbed a fresh hacksaw blade instead =:-O

Terri HarpLady

The way it looks kind of reminds me of a Heath Bar :)


It’s looks reminded me of some nondescript food item from a MRE. I like your imagination better :)

Terri HarpLady

Got any Yak butter?

Terri HarpLady

No way! Seriously? LOL, where did you get THAT?

Terri HarpLady

Not that I’m actually planning on getting any, since I’m allergic to milk products (from cows, goats, & sadly, sheep. I imagine I’d be allergic to yak & camel milk too)


It’s dehydrated and powdered, I am sure it’s not as good as the real thing. If I recall it came from Aliexpress somewhere.

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290 tasting notes

Drinking this one to wake myself up and found it to be totally soporific instead! It’s smoky, peppery and still pretty darn good.


I like this as well. Good camphor hit in it.


Yup, definitely some camphor in there too. I’ve continued yesterday’s pot through today. I love how it lasts so well, which is a great selling point for it, alongside how cheap it is.


I shall try this someday :)

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