- Puerh Tea Preparation
In the China tea market Lao Ban Zhang is referred to as the King of Raw Pu-erh tea. Its flavor is uniquely strong with a bold, complex taste. Tea connoisseurs often describe the taste of Lao Ban Zhang as vastly superior and dominant when compared to similar raw puerh teas. Lao Ban Zhang is named after the village that produces this tea. Lao Ban Zhang Village is located in Bu Lang Mountain in Meng Hai county, Xishuang Banna, South West Yunnan. The earliest record of the village’s tea production can be traced back to 1476. Lao Ban Zhang Village is populated by minorities known as the Bu Lang tribe. For generations, the Bu Lang people planted tea trees and produced tea in these mountains. Today, there are 117 Bu Lang families residing in Lao Ban Zhang Village. Due to historical fame, good quality, limited production and monopoly, the price of Lao Ban Zhang Pu Erh has gone sky high and it is almost impossible to obtain authentic Lao Ban Zhang at reasonable prices so we have been forced to find a suitible substitute. Xin Ban Zhang is a neighboring village to Lao Ban Zhang and the Pu Erh tea produced here shares much similarity in character with Lao Ban Zhang tea. The aftertaste is persistent like Lao Ban Zhang. The leaf structure, mouth-feel and aroma are also much the same. An intense cha qi* accompanies the drinking experience. This intensity is the perfect fuel to transform this tea through years. In fact, a part of Lao Ban Zhang sold on the market is produced in Xin Ban Zhang. It is even considered a "decent cheat" and regrettably quite a large portion of so-called Lao Ban Zhang sold on the markets is produced from common places in Bu Lang Shan or just those of Meng Hai.
Our Ban Zhang Raw Pu Erh Tea Cake was made of tea leaves harvested from 100-200 years old ancient arbor tea trees in Xin Ban Zhang during mid-March 2014. It can produced a tea with a very appealing thick body and long lasting sweetness.
There is a widespread misunderstanding that raw Pu Erh can only be drunk after at least 5-10 years aging. In fact, raw Pu Erh of good quality especially the ones made of tea leaves harvested from old or ancient arbor tea trees such as the Bing Dao raw Pu Erh cake is delicious even being enjoyed in the current year. Of course, amazing changes can be found every several years if properly stored.
* Cha Qi is a somewhat nebulous term that is most literaly translated as “tea energy.” It represents the moment where you feel the connection and life-force of the tea during a tea session, when the tea speaks to your soul. This is a very intimate, personal experience and not all people will experience it the same way--or at all, for that matter. Cha Qi is typically associated with puerh tea of extremely high quality made from ancient arbor tea trees.
Water Temperature: Boiling
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 5 to 8 grams
Steep Time: 5 seconds
Number of Infusions: up to 20
In contrast to preparing other kinds of tea Puerh does not require a long infusion time. Rather, all Puerh tea is traditionally prepared in the gongfu style using an Yixing teapot or a gaiwan with a high leaf to water ratio and many short infusions. We recommend using between 5 and 8g per serving. The first infusion rinses and "wakes up" the tea and is then discarded. Subsequent infusions are brewed in sort of a "touch and go" style. As soon as the water is poured, the lid is replaced and the tea liquor is immediately poured into a chahai, or serving pitcher. We recommended accumulating the 1st and 2nd infusions in the pitcher in order to even out the flavor and taste. For each subsequent brewing, no more than 5 second is recommended. By brewing in this fashion you will get as many as 20 infusions.
To break off pieces from the Puerh Tea brick, use a letter opener or similar shaped knife. Insert the knife or letter opener into the brick and gently loosen and lift off a piece. The aim of breaking the brick in this way is to keep as many leaves intact as possible.