Review: Norbu Tea 2010 Ban Po Lao Zhai Mao Cha Loose Sheng Pu-Erh Tea

Norbu Tea, Pu'er Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" Flavor? Well, I'll be damned if I don't say it tasted like a Nan Nuo pressed pu-erh twice its age."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.7/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 8.5/10
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Maocha is to pu-erh as tencha is to matcha. Put more succinctly, maocha leaves are the "semi-finished" product, dried and processed before being compressed into pu-erh. "Maocha" literally means "light green rough tea". Typically, these leaves aren't considered ready for consumption. No aging has taken place. However, some consider the young, partially-composted leaves to have a character all their own. This marked the first maocha I ever tried, and from my favorite pu-erh growing region - Nan Nuo Shan.

I was no stranger to Nan Nuo pu-erhs prior to reviewing this. Good two-to-ten-year varietals had made their way to my teamug. Of all the pue-rhs I had tried - sheng, mostly - Nan Nuo-grown leaves imparted the wine notes often relished in the naturally-aged form. This experience of trying them in their proto-pu-erh form had been on my "Tea Want" list for a couple of years.

The leaves themselves looked like typical, curly green tea. A closer look revealed a comparison to a Hawaiian-grown and rolled green I'd seen a picture of. Leaf colors ranged from off-green to light brown - normal for a sheng. Their scent was peculiar, though, imparting a sweet-'n-salty aroma akin to beef jerky. It was...oddly welcoming...in a manly way.

Surprisingly, there were no brewing instructions on the site's tea profile. I guess Norbu just assumed one would use normal pu-erh preparation to steep this, probably gongfu-style. Given that this was a loose variety, I went with - as they called it - "Western-style". My Taylor tea-and-temp thingy had a pu-erh setting for a boiled water steep at four-and-a-half minutes. I went with that; 1 tsp of leaves and an 8oz cup.

The liquor brewed to a pale, nice and even yellow-green, pretty much like any Chinese green tea. The aroma was all raw pu-erh, though - floral, earthy, slightly sweet, and wine-corky. Flavor? Well, I'll be damned if I don't say it tasted like a Nan Nuo pressed pu-erh twice its age. It reminded me - almost note-for-note - of an '08 Nan Nuo I tried. If there was any difference, it was the grassy finish, revealing its apparent youth. Other than that, it's a Nan Nuo product alright. Loved it to leafy pieces.

— To purchase Norbu Tea 2010 Ban Po Lao Zhai Mao Cha Loose Sheng Pu-Erh Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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