Monday, September 15, 2008

2006 Banzhang Ye Sheng – Revisited

The last time I sampled this tea was in May 2007. I had just barely begun to embark upon my experiment with puerh, and this particular cake was bitter and astringent, though a couple later infusions were almost palatable. You can read the full review here.

Last night, I wasn’t quite so scientific with my tasting. I used a small Yixing pot (dedicated to young puerh), and a 2oz tasting cup. I did count off the seconds for infusions, and ended up with two 5s, two 10s, and 1 20s infusions before giving up. I used enough leaf to fill the pot halfway when they expanded, and only filled the pot half-way with water as well (unfortunately, even a small Yixing pot is too much for me with multiple infusions…should have used a gaiwan, I guess).
So despite my learning curve after so long away, I was pleasantly surprised with this re-sampling. I’d honestly come to despair that my puerh wouldn’t age well here in Montana, where the air is dry and the environment isn’t anything close to optimal for aging tea. But I noticed some definite changes for the better with this tea last night, giving me hope that eventually it will indeed age into something tasty. I have them closed in a china hutch at the moment, perhaps that is helping things along.

The first infusions were definitely bitter, but barely astringent at all. It was more cooling in the mouth than drying, with a hint of camphor in the aftertaste. The third infusion was the best – more sweet with just a hint of that bitterness, and a strong, lovely floral note that was hinted at in ’07, but now seems much more developed. The astringency was back, but not in an unpleasant way, and the brew was very light in color (light golden brown – I apologize for the lack of pictures).

All in all, I feel like this cake has already improved just in the last year and a half, and I’m looking forward to increased sweet floral/fruity notes.


  1. My latest tea order arrived and am excited about three samples I purchased - Melange de Chamonix, Chine Green Tea Phoenix Eyebrow, and Dumbara Estate Green Curls.

  2. I am waiting for the time when i will go to market and buy pearls for bubble tea and enjoy it while lost in my thoughts...


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