Monday, November 27, 2006

2006 Lao Banzhang raw pu-erh

My pu-erh orders are here!!! I came home around mid-nite last night from the long Thanksgiving weekend, found 2 large packages from China in the mail box. My heart started pounding as soon as I smell the faint pu-erh aroma leaked through the card board boxes. 72 cakes all together! Imagine my excitement! Yay!!!



2006 Hai Lang Hao Lao Ban Zhang raw pu-erh cake


Dry leaves: This cake looks very attractive, a lot of young silver hairy leaves, both on top and bottom of the cake. A sign of quality leaves. Fresh tobacco mixed with floral or spring forest aroma. Something I notice is the hole in the bottom is not centered nor smooth as it came out of a mold. I am baffled by this irregularity.



2.5 g, gaiwan, hot boiling water, no pre-wash

1st brew: 10s, golden yellow, fresh tobacco aroma with a hint of sweetness, crisp clean and fresh mouth, sign of typical young pu, the smoky sweet taste gives an aged feel, however a 2006 young pu should be too fresh to have such flavor, unless it's harvested early 2006 and stored with high humidity. I found my other 2006 wild pu starting to give out aging flavor about 1 month ago, provided that I stored it in its own wrapping with a lot of ocean humidity since June.

2nd brew: 10s, deep golden yellow, less aroma, sweeter, more intense taste, still some tobacco, after taste is intense

3rd brew: 10s, similar to 2nd

4th brew: 15s, less sweet, tobacco flavor still remains

5th, 6th and on: 20s, 30s, 45s, lighter color, still tobacco, but pleasant, hint of sweetness, after taste is long lasting

Open leaves: Large leaves, young and tender, reddish brown - a sign of fermentation. I wonder if it's over fermented, therefore gives out more tobacco flavor then it should be. By the size of the leave, it seems like authentic Yunnan large leave wild varietal. I have questions in my mind about this cake. Maybe it will take some time to discover its true flavor with another brewing method.

It's still giving out flavor at 10th brew, long lasting. I am not impressed yet at this first tasting. For $37 a cake plus shipping, I am not sure about the flavor at this point. Leaves looking this good with a flavor not measuring up to the PQR (price quality ratio), I hope I can find out more in future tastings.

This tea is highly caffeinated, I can feel the effect after more than an hour. After not drinking caffeinated tea for 5 days, I wonder if my body has lowered its tolerance for caffeine?!

Seller's remark:
This is one of few teas that I (as an experienced drinker of raw/Sheng Pu) actually experience a sort of drunken or heightened state when I drink.

HA! Now I know why!

7 comments:

Dustin said...

72 cakes? Damn that's a lot. I have a question about your tea leaf to water ratio. Either your gaiwan is very small, or you just don't use as much leaf as I have seen everyone else use. Is there a particular reason for this? I'm curious because I used smaller leaf amouns when I first started, but have since changed. Do you see any benefits to using smaller amounts of tea, or is it just a personal preference?

~ Phyll said...

Yikes! So you were the one who wiped out all of the '06 Hai Lang Hao! :) I was hoping to get some after reading a tasting note on Pu'er LJ...headed to YSLLC immediately but it was already sold out :(

I'm glad it's you who got it!

Imen said...

Dustin,

The gaiwan is about medium size, 120ml. I personally prefer fewer leaves, I like my tea sweet and fragrant. Large amount of leaves gives more intense flavor along with more bitterness and astringency good tea or not. Generally I use about 1 to 2 grams of most tea except ooglong. I start with more leaves the first time. 8 out 10 times, I find tea taste more true with less leaves in subsequent tastings. The aroma is more pure. This is just my preference.

Imen said...

Phyll,

I got only 1 cake, I'm not sure if this is good news or not. What did the review say on Pu-erh LJ? I'll send you a sample of the Hai Lan Hao.

It's got too much tobacco taste, more like a "manly" tea.

~ Phyll said...

Thank you, Imen! I'm very interested in trying it, but I hope I am not taking away from your only beeng. Here is the review on LJ Pu'er:

http://tinyurl.com/ygdyx9

It sounds like a very interesting tea, indeed, from your review and on LJ.

~ Phyll said...

Wow, this tea is quite mind-altering. I just had it this morning, and I never quite had a buzz like this, even from espressos. It's rather an unsettling feeling, actually. Tasted good to me, though my wife said "yech!"

Imen said...

Phyll,

I felt jittery hours after drinking this tea. The taste is really a matter of personal opinion. I can see males would like this tea more than females. I haven't tried it again since this tasting, and will let it sit for a couple of years before I attemp again.

I like this small Lao Ban Zhang brick much more. It's mellow and fragrant. It's 2005 instead of 2006 which I mis-labeled on the sample I sent you. I am thinking of buying more from scott. http://tea-obsession.blogspot.com/2006/11/2005-mengku-banzhang-ancient-tree-pu.html