This very rare 2004 Spring Harvest Lao Ban Zhang ripe Puer tea comes from Lao Ban Zhang tea mountain in the Menghai tea district of southern Yunnan Province. That area's tea is so renowned in China that tea professionals call it the 'King of Puer Tea.' Famous for it's assertive Cha Qi, you can steep it more than 20 times in a gaiwan and then boil it in a pot for 30-60 seconds yielding a thicker texture with realigned flavors. Boiling draws out much larger and more complex molecules that otherwise would be held firmly in place by the water insoluble, chemically sticky cellulose and lignin molecules inside the tea leaf. Thankfully though, the sustained high temperature and continued agitation liberates those big molecules right into your tea liquid.
Ripe La Ban Zhang tea is really hard to find as nearly all of the tea is now hand processed into raw tea instead of ripe. The price of the raw tea leaves keeps going up every year, and thus precious little is ever fermented into ripe tea anymore. Kind of a shame though, since this ripe tea carries the sought after flavor of camphor, which ripe Puer tea drinkers know is extraordinarily unique and wonderfully delicious.
To ensure the highest quality drinking experience and maximum nutritional value, we keep all of our white and Puer teas in proper temperature and humidity controlled professional storage.
Storage: Store unused portions away from sunlight and odors in a moderately humid area between 70-80F/21-27C.
Brewing water: Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water produces the finest results. See water recommendation list for additional options. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well.
Brewing method: 6g tea leaves (~2 heaping Tablespoons), 100ml (a bit less than 1/2 cup) water each time for 5 seconds in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot. After the first 10 infusions, increase each infusion time by about 5 seconds. To produce lighter tea, either decrease amount of tea, increase amount of water or decrease brewing time. To produce stronger tea, either increase amount of tea, decrease amount of water or increase brewing time. You can easily adjust to suit your individual taste.
Notes: Small quick infusions showcase the changing flavors of each cup. Longer brewing times in larger quantities of water (western brewing style) end up more homogeneous, but still very good results.