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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zhi Ming Du, Lao Banzhang

Disclaimer: I was not going to do this as I expected this cake to be a typical young puerh cake, and warrant the typical comments with highlights of its unique features, but as I am absolutely in love with this cake, and I feel I am giving it too many good comments. I want it to be known that I received this cake on good will of giving this vendor good press, and business. I have had several discussions with the owner and he wanted me to also review it on the site.

The only vendor I know that sells Zhi ming Du cakes is Kung Fu Asian art, but I must admit I have not searched through the large amount offered at Yunnan sourcing.

Zhi Ming Du is a newer company and they are doing a series on several mountains this one being the Lao Banzhang area.

Going off of instinct as the rinse smelled quite potent, I did a flash brew for the first infusion.

This is potent, its highly floral, with hints of smokiness and a slight hint of something minty. While it is not a smell I would like to smell all day as its quite strong, I feel you could smell this for quite some time and still find new notes, its a hodgepodge of all sorts of fresh aromas.

I know this cake carries a hefty price tag, and I must tell you I can see why Lao Banzhang is quite well known if this is what it offers. The taste is a strong bitterness that is extremely nice. I know bitter is not a flavor usually liked, but something about this bitterness with orange and mint, and a cream, is just so satisfying.

The second infusion smells a little less powerful, but full fledged orchids and other florals. Its been quite some time since I've had a young puerh that I did not want to stop drinking, and that I found completely intriguing on so many levels. this infusion of focused on the finish and its like an orange cream lingering finish that just lasts and lasts.

I will say this, this cake requires an attentive brewer to be honest. I tried to push the 3rd infusion a bit, and let it go 10 seconds longer then the 20 I was going to give it, and its so strong that it is borderline unpleasant.

Its strength starts to fail around infusion 8, and I'm giving it a very long 10th infusion to see if it recovers the things I loved about it. With the long infusion it gains back some of its former glory, but its changed quite a bit.

A new experience
comes with the sips of each tea.
So, what will yours be? --Adam Yusko.

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