Ban Zhang Sheng Puerh
Ban Zhang refers to a fish in the local dialect, likely referring to Ban Zhang’s geography. Tea from this area is known as the King of all Puerhs and is well respected for its cha qi, which refers to the feeling of energy from drinking tea. Along with Bing Dao, Ban Zhang teas demand incredible prices and are always in extraordinary demand. The cup has deep, bright yellowish infusion. The mouth-feel is full bodied with tremendous purity and complexity and the finish is long and continuously sweet. A great Ban Zhang Puerh demands attention and respect. Experiment with different brewing techniques to fully understand the greatness of this tea.
Despite popular belief, Puerh tea doesn’t always need to be steeped with boiling water. While there’s certainly a place for using a full Gaiwan of tea and doing quick, repeated infusions with boiling water (as many Chinese Puerh drinkers like to do), this is only one of the many ways of enjoying fine “sheng” puerh teas. Experiment and use your own judgement when choosing the amount of tea. Water below boiling is certainly a way to explore the multiple complexities of great “sheng” puerhs. For those who would like guidelines as a starting point, we suggest using approximately 5 grams of tea, steeping with hot but not boiling water in a 6 oz porcelain or earthenware Gaiwan for 1-2 minutes. Drain into another cup before enjoying. This process should provide a basic foundation for you to adjust and eventually find the perfect “sweet” spot for yourself. As always, do not be afraid to experiment, adjust the amount of leaves, water temperature and steeping time according to your personal preferences.