27 September, 2010

2010 Essence of Tea "Banpen"

Heading out into the outer darkness, beyond the cakes that I most enjoyed this year from Essence of Tea, comes the "Banpen".

2010 Nada Banpen

As shown above, this is a pretty long-leafed maocha, and, like its siblings, it has a sweet, buttery aroma and produces a solid yellow soup, as illustrated below.

It is big and heavy, but quite reticent.  In many sessions with this tea, I just can't get much out of it.  It swells to give a large kuwei [bitterness] and huigan [returning sweet flavour after the swallow].

Perhaps most disconcertingly, I find it to be rather citric, and consequently tart in the mouth.  This isn't something that I enjoy in pu'er, and seldom buy cakes with such characteristics.

2010 Nada Banpen

As the infusions pass, the citric tartness dominates.  This is a "xiaobing", and so its price-tag of £20 doesn't seem too appealing to me, given the nature of the tea.  For just £5 more, one could have a full cake of the Mansai, Bangwai / Jingmai, or Manmai / Bada - and that's where my money was spent this year.


William said...

Hi Hobbes!

I always enjoy to read your posts.
I'd like to have more information about this tea.
How does it taste like compared to a Lao Ban Zhang? This village is only 2km away from the expensive place. I haven't had the opportunity to taste a tea from Banpen but I guess it would give something very close to a LBZ.
As an experienced Pu-erh taster, what do you think?

Thanks by advance

Hobbes said...

Dear William,

This tea doesn't taste much like "LBZ" - given the wide variety of teas even from a single region, perhaps that's not entirely surprising. I'd never have guessed that it grew 2km from "LBZ" if you hadn't told me!

Having said that, is anything within 2km of Laobanzhang village? Even Xinbanzhang isn't that close, as far as my limited recollection goes!