Monday, 21 September 2009

2003 Spring Banzhang (pu erh shop)

A little while ago I ordered a bunch of samplers from Pu Erh Shop without really knowing what I was doing (I still don't). I was familiar with the name of Banzhang and I was expecting something magical to come from this tea. Before I tried it I tasted Nadacha's Bulang which was supremely powerful and I was expecting something along the same lines but with something extra from the maturity of this cake, but I was left short. I dismissed it as nothing too special and then to my great surprise I noticed that the price of this cake was around the $100 mark! It turned out it was my most expensive pu erh and I didn't really rate it from the taste alone. Much bemusement followed...

Moving onto this morning I am tired. I have worked long hours over the week and I was looking forward to just resting today. My mood was lethargic. Something drew me towards giving this sample another spin. What would I detect in this brew second time around?

The yixing pot was warmed up, the leaves rinsed and then steeped with some mineral water. The decanted soup was a lovely rich colour, not too dark and murky and also not that fake tan orange much beloved of body builders and the self conscious members of the British public. I'm not going to search for words to describe it unless something aspect of its flavour really jumps out at me. I am in the frame of mind to just enjoying the moment for what it is instead of muddling my thoughts with the correct terms for what I am experiencing.

The flavour reminds me of aged pu erh, the earthy flavours of Hong Kong. It really starts to taste what I remember 香港 bolei was all about. It's not overpowering but strikes me as a nice relaxing, enjoyable, subtle earth.

My stomach gurgles when it receives the brew. Something is going on in there but I feel it is beneficial.

My conclusion? Easy to drink but it doesn't excite me. The flavours don't overpower me and my thoughts on other subjects come first. Perhaps I should use more leaf? But alas my sample is finished and at $99 a cake I won't be investing in more. My tastes are too unrefined to spend big bucks on a cake that I honestly can't decide upon. The way forward is to keep trying samples everyday to build up my experience.

Thoughts on my tea shop.. Although looking authentic, perhaps all wooden Chinese furniture will be too hard for my customers to relax. The aura and feel of my shop should encourage my guests to stay and relax. The surroundings inspiring and comfortable. An oasis for tea inspired thought that allows you to melt into its very existence.

*** Edit ***

Just added the very last of the leaf to the pot and brewed it. It's darker still and earthier with a liquorice taste. All of a sudden I was hit the the huigan like a dark, sweet candy, lingering nice and long. I feel compelled to brew another cup.. I want another hit! Silly me, not enough leaf.

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