Monday, 15 March 2010

2007 Mengku Lao Ban Zhang mini brick (YS)

The story of this tea brick is as repetitive as a Hollywood blockbuster, an expedition travels to Ban Zhang and picks leaves off old trees that were cut back in the Cultural Revolution. As if I haven't heard that one before!

The brick itself is quite 'cute', small in size and very light in the hand. There is a warning that the bricks might not reach the 100 gram mark due to inconsistent pressing, mine came in at 81 grams, a long way short of the century!

The pressing is indeed very light and it was easy to pry off a nice chunk for my pot without too much bludgeoning, something I am quite guilty of in the past

After the rinse the pot still produced a strong legume aroma with a slightly smokey background. It was more reminiscent of a 2008 or 2009 tea. The soup was still yellow and thin, the initial flavour was exactly how I expected it to be, not too potent and still quite fresh.

The lack of potency caused me to adjust my brewing times longer to try to extract more character. This improved things bringing out some more bitterness, a little lemon rind and some apricot tones to the huigan aftertaste. It troubles me though that I have to really beat the flavours out of the leaf. In my mind a good tea will happily give you it's complexities and retain a nice energetic feeling to it. By brewing longer you might produce more layers to a tea but they still seem rather dull in the mouth.

Well, it didn't cost a lot, about £8 for the brick so that'll work out at around about 50p per session, the price of a Twix. This brick will most definitely be moved into my everyday tea group, and it's not going to be at the front of that queue either.