Updated: May 22, 2020
Pu-erh tea is unique to Yunnan Province in China (or at least it should be) and its origins can be traced back to the East Han Dynasty. Some pu-erh producing a
reas within Yunnan are well-known for their excellent tea. In the old days, these were known as six famous tea mountains including Mansa, Yiwu, Manzhuan, Yibang, Gedeng and Youle . An online source , however, discusses that apart from the above which are located in the Northeast of the Mekong River (Lancang), there are six other great mountains in Southwest of the Lancang which are: Nannuo, Manqiao, Jingmai, Mensong and Bada. This pu-erh comes from Banpen village in Bulang Mountain.
Apart from its origin, this tea comes from old tea trees with age around 150-250 year. After being harvested and pressed into cakes in 2008, this pu-erh was sent to Malaysia for storage. Malaysia, alongside Hong Kong and Bangkok, offers a good climate that does not require special storage conditions given that they provide a stable heat and humidity level. Although, with the widespread use of air conditioners, storing conditions change considerably. Anyway, pu-erh collectors may keep their tea for more than 20 years in these places. Malaysia was very popular to store pu-erh among Chinese and Taiwanese tea dealers who could resell stored teas for higher prices. I am not sure how long this tea was stored all together in Malaysia, but I could tell on its liquor colour that it has aged well.
The seller mentions that Banpen became very famous for sheng pu-erh production that fresh leaves from this village can fetch higher prices than this stored tea. If I can afford a fresher Banpen sheng, I’d love to try. As for the tasting profile of this tea, I can say that I got some bitterness, smokiness and woody notes. According to this website, Bulang pu-erh is quite distinctive with bitterness and briskness. I like this tea and wanted to see how its taste evolves as I steep it. I have to say it had great endurance and I cannot say that the taste or aroma changed significantly for me. However, I can say that I became ‘tea drunk’ and after one day of drinking it, I can still taste. Is this a good thing? Probably yes!
Hong, Li, Appreciating Chinese Tea, Tea and Tea Set http://www.yunnanteatours.com/fact-v9-top-six-yunnan-pu-erh-tea-mountains.html
Origin: Banpen Village, Bulang Mountain, Yunnan
Harvest time:Spring 2008
Leave colour: Shades of dark green, and brown
Liquor colour: Cupper
Tea aroma: Smoky and earthy
Tea taste:Full-bodied, boldly astringent with woody and earthy notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life:10 years and more (to improve the shelf-life, store the tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)