Oh, what a good start!
For my new "tea-related online notebook" I decided to make a worthy beginning. So I cracked open my 2006 XiZhiHao 3-Year Anniversary Lao Ban Zhang. The cake itself came from Hou De - an expensive cake from a high-quality factory. Since I'm a big fan of San Ho Tang (and Hou De, of course :-) I purchased this beeng to drink.
Wrapping - as a special gift cake, it came in a gift wrapping - special octagonal box, embroidered sack, certificate with a serial number. The box was a problem - it was stinking from the painting used, so keeping the tea there is unadvised. That is a big minus....
The cake alone is well crafted - there are lots of big leaves with full leaf-tips system – notice how the leaves were too big to fit into pot. What I like in high quality cake is loose compression. Well, actually, this beeng was compressed pretty much pointing out at very heave stone-molding. At least I believe that it was stone-molded. For this brew I carefully gathered the leaves from the top of the cake. From the fact, that some were darker, than other (check the pic).
I used my 60s pear-shaped zhu-ni yixing – prepare to know it more in later posts. I started with quick rinse, short infusions – as usual. The amount of leaves was approx 7 grams at 120 ml yixing.
The liquor alone was very light –appropriate for less than one year old tea. What I do not like in ban zhang mao cha is the fact, that it makes so calm and quiet tea. Like this one. Fragrant, pleasing, long (lasted about 12 infusions) with good aftertaste and round feeling in mouth. It is a kind of “clean” taste I like in the tea – feels like you just brushed your teeth with tea-flavored toothpaste.
Conclusion – great cake. Very expensive cake. If you like genuine Lao Ban Zhang, you may give it a try – but newer Xi Zhi Hao products will probably cost less. It’s up to you, the tea will not disappoint you.