A Tea Addict's Journal

The dangers of unlabeled samples

September 8, 2007 · 5 Comments

Rummaging through my box of samples, I found a clear plastic bag with no labels and a bit of tea in there. Why not? So I took it out and weighed it — 7g. Ok, good for one sitting I guess. It smells like Banzhang. I can’t remember any Banzhang that hasn’t been accounted for…. so heck, I’ll just make it.

I went through the motions and it produced a nice looking golden tea.

The tea is quite smooth, obvious strength, and decent penetration. Hmm, I think I know which one this is. This is the Xizihao 2005 Banzhang that I removed from the paper bag and put into a plastic one. The paper bag was giving the tea a bit of a paperbag smell, and the plastic ones I used from Beijing breath a lot, and don’t smell like much of anything.

The tea is quite decent, and obviously Banzhang in its flavour and what not. I remember the first time I tried this tea I got really dizzy and didn’t feel too comfortable. This time… I paid the price in an upset stomach. It doesn’t happen with all Banzhang, just this particular tea, for some reason. I’ve had other old tree Banzhangs that don’t do anything like this to me. I really don’t know why this is special, but it is.

Oh well, I will have to remember to label them next time.

The wet leaves are quite a mix of things — stems, big leaves, small buds, bud systems…. you’ve got a bit of everything here

I tried an experiment with the leaves after I was done drinking. My friend L, when he went to Yiwu, talked to some guy there who makes cakes. He said Banzhang teas are no good, and that the current craze over it is misguided. The reason is that the leaves of the Banzhang teas are really not very good leaves at all. As an example, he said that if you put a wet leaf of any Lao Banzhang tree between your fingers and rubbed it — it will turn to nothing. All you will be left is a bit of the leaf’s stem, and everything else will be gone — rubbed away. Yiwu, he said, won’t do that.

I tried that today, and hmmm, it’s true.

Now, what this means, if anything, I don’t know. After all, it might be a good thing for a leaf to be easily destroyed by your hand — would that mean more things are soluable in water, thus making a better cup? I don’t know. What I do know is that in China, if you talk to somebody who makes tea, they will always have one conclusion — their own productions are the best. The reasons vary, but the conclusions are always the same. So I will take that comment with a large grain of salt.

Any botanist out there who can shed some light on this?

Anyway, I’m off to bed as I have to get up early to catch a train to Miaoli to see Mr. Aaron Fisher. I’m sure I will have things to report tomorrow 🙂

Categories: Old Xanga posts · Teas

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