CJ’s Teaview Snapshot
|"The flavor seems to last forever, which is a great thing if you like puer."|
I think a tea drinker needs two things in order to appreciate puer tea: a sense of adventure, and a rugged palate.
Puer is an acquired taste, even for someone who likes her tea as robust and dark as I do. Even the strongest cup of Assam or Yunnan Golden Tips doesn't prepare you for the pungent, thick, earthiness that is puer. It's like the difference between maple syrup and molasses. Puer tea is akin to the heartiest, unfiltered molasses you can find. At least this one was.
This cooked puer was harvested in the Spring of 2006 and grown in Ban Zhang village. The region is famous for puer tea that is slightly bitter with a sweet aftertaste. Personally, I did't notice any bitterness. If it was there, it was buried beneath all those sweet, lovely, composted-earth overtones.
Depending on who you talk to, Ban Zhang can make between eight and 11 infusions. When I tried it at a Gong-Fu tea tasting, I lost track of how many infusions I tried. I liked them all. These leaves never seemed to lose their flavor. In fact, they got stronger with each brewing-at least for awhile.
Though a 3/4 pound cake of this tea costs about 80 U.S. dollars, it is a bargain when you consider how far a pinch will go. To brew, take a pinch that's a little smaller than a teaspoon and brew it in a cup of boiling water for anywhere from five to 30 seconds, depending on taste. The pros rinse the leaves first. I never do and cannot notice a difference at this point in my tea-tasting career.
If you like puer, you can't go wrong with this brand and batch. I rate it a 9.
— To purchase Chinese Tea Company Ban Zhang Puer, 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.