Friday, March 4, 2011

Norbu’s 2010 Autumn Ban Po Lao Zhai Mao Cha

I have been eyeing Greg’s newest maocha for a while now, particularly the Pasha shan and Nannuo shan harvested last autumn.  The Ban Po Lao Zhai is from Nannuo shan, with large, full leaves that have a hint of olive in the aroma.  Even dry, the leaves look well defined, with good veins.


This tea was brewed in a 100ml gaiwan with 3.5 grams of leaf - from what I might call a standard amount.  1 gram per 30 ml, and the half gram from the remaining 10 ml, since I don’t want to measure in thirds of a gram.
rinse, 15s, 4s, 6s, 10s, 12s

The first cup was richly flavored, with pleasant notes of leather, fruit, and smoke.  There is practically no astringency in this cup, which is understandable.  I won’t claim that it’s from old tree/ ancient arbor/ the oldest tea tree in the universe...I don’t do that kind of thing, especially when I myself wasn’t even there at the picking and processing.

Cup two had woken up the leaf fully, and it was really showing off at this point.  The mouthfeel was smooth and the body was thick, with notes of leather, basil, and a light smoky note.  After a few seconds in the mouth, the liquor did develop a light astringency, but nothing close to the power of those young menghai cakes.  The aftertaste was pleasant and long lasting, with notes of mixed herbs and sweetness.
A solid yellow liquor from cup four.

Cups three and four were similar in how they had changed, with a slight bitterness that was creeping around in the throat along with sweetness, camphor, and mushroom.  This signaled to me that the tea was running out of juice, and pretty quickly, too!

 Cup five had gently faded into notes of grain and general blandness with the essences of leather and mushroom.  A nice ending, in my opinion - I’m sure most of you out there know what it’s like to try and finish off a plantation grade pu-erh with the roughness and sourness that one sometimes will find.
The spent leaves were large and looked healthy.

Overall, this is a rather enjoyable tea, with good flavors all around, a thick body and smooth mouthfeel in all the cups minus the last one.  There were no off flavors or strange feelings from the tea either.  In fact, I felt clear headed and bright after drinking it.  I think if this tea is stored well it will be quite good in ten years or so.  I’ll see you then and tell you how it is!

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