A Tea Addict's Journal

Douji “All Natural” big tree bing 2007

April 10, 2008 · 5 Comments

Another sample today, courtesy of Bill at Ancient Tea Horse Road. This is a cake from Douji, although the factory name is actually a very long and clunky “Yunnan Xishuangbanna Yiwu-Mountain Tea Industry Co. Ltd”. Spelling errors fixed.

The cake in question is best translated as “All Natural” big tree tea. “All Natural”, because the Chinese used here, “shengtai” denotes something that is in between normal farming and organic. This is the sort of nebulous area where a lot of products these days advertise themselves as “all natural” without really meaning much, so I am going to use that term here. The tea is supposedly blended, and as with any blended cakes these days, that means teas coming from all sorts of places you’ve never heard of. Funny enough, even though the production date of the tea is 2007, on the wrapper they note that the tea received a silver award at some tea show in 2006. I am guessing they are referring to the 2006 version of this tea (which means it has really not much to do with the 2007 one), but the date thing is a little wacko.

There isn’t much that is interesting with the dry leaves. Just standard better-looking raw puerh fare. The colour of the liquor isn’t too exciting either

I used a fairly generous amount of leaves, and the tea came out pleasant. It has a nice huigan, a decent set of aromas, and a good coating of the mouth with a feeling that you’re drinking a good tea.

Douji makes decent tea, at a price. I personally think they’re one of the more reliable brands out there for quality young puerh, and will heartily recommend their products to anybody who is trying to buy tea in China without wanting to get into the minefield of fake or poor tea. They are expensive compared to some other factories, but I find their quality consistent. It’s not bad for a one stop shop if you can find them cheap. Why some vendors of puerh in the West haven’t picked up on this and try to source their teas is beyond me. I think their products easily best the sometimes dubious stuff made by Xizihao. All they need is somebody to promote this stuff over here. This cake probably costs about 200-300 RMB a cake for retail in China. At today’s exchange rate (the RMB rose above 7 to 1 against the USD today, a historic high) it means about $30-40, roughly. For a vendor to make any money it will probably have to be in the same price range as the Xizihao stuff, but if one can buy it in bulk, I’m sure it’s cheaper. The business case, I think, is there. The matter is to find the tea.

Solid tea, thanks for the sample Bill. I still owe you a few samples, but am trying to figure out what to send you 🙂

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5 responses so far ↓

  • PuerhShop // April 10, 2008 at 7:22 am | Reply

    Once again a great review.

    I saw the cake in Kunming. I was told it was made by mixing materials from Mengku, Jinggu, Yongde and Menghai. Since not enough good raw materials were collected from a single place to make a pure breed.

    The problem for this type is that it is hard to duplicate the success. You might win an award last year, but this year could mean a different taste because of the blend.


  • MarshalN // April 10, 2008 at 9:18 am | Reply

    That’s why I thought it funny they cited the 2006 award for their 2007 cake… they have nothing to do with each other, basically.

    I do, however, think that Douji generally makes decent teas.

  • ancientteahorseroad // April 10, 2008 at 7:38 pm | Reply

    Hello Marshaln,

    Thank your for the detailed report. I have yet tried the tea myself as I have been under the weather and do not like to drink young sheng while I recuperate. Although I must admit after reading your review, I am some what anxious now to try it. As for the samples, I am sure I will have a great time no matter what you send. 

    I also found Jim’s comments interesting since it appears he believes a blended tea is something not to be considered – or that is the impression I was giving. Most great beengs that are now well aged are blended teas. In fact, blending  teas will make good tea a better tea. Of course, there are those who prefer a single estate leaf, but to be fair to blended teas, single estate leaf teas are relatively new to the market and have become well sought by puerh novices. I believe I read that many single estates are generally a consequence of the factoy not having resources to purchase a wide variety of mao cha to be used for blending. I would aslo like to thank Sherab who generaously sent me the beeng to begin with. For those interested he keeps a blog about tea as well.  – Mt. Awakening Aroma (Chinese) in blogspot.


  • PuerhShop // April 10, 2008 at 10:18 pm | Reply

    @ancientteahorseroad –  Bill, you might mis-read me on the subject of the blend. Most Pu-erh teas are blended, regardless whatever the vendor would say. Some of them ranked the best.

    The plantation teas are easier to blend. For instance, most leaves are cut into small pieces in a 7542 cake. But for a premium arbor leave tea cake, the blending is hard to accomplish. Let’s say 3 maochas were used to make a cake, when you break off a portion, its ratio of blending is hard to maintain, thus the resulting tea could be different from brew to brew.

    Just my 2 cents.

  • ancientteahorseroad // April 10, 2008 at 10:35 pm | Reply

    Hello Jim, thank you for the correction. Yes, it is undoubtably difficult to obtain a single estate beeng  no matter what the claim. I also can see that it may be more difficult to obtain a well blended premium cake as the leaves are much bigger than the shredded mao from a big factory. However, I have never really tasted any inconsistency in my cup. I will pay more attention next time. Thanks Jim

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