What is Ban Pen Tea?
Ban Pen Raw Puer (Pu-erh) Tea hails from a hidden gem nestled in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture in China, called Ban Pen Laozhai village. This village, predominantly inhabited by the Lahu ethnic group, lies less than 3 kilometers away from the renowned Old Banzhang Village, making it an integral part of the Bulang Mountain tea region.
Geography and History of Ban Pen Tea
Geographical Location: Ban Pen, also known as "Bang Pen," is situated in the Menghun Township of Xishuangbanna, perched at an elevation of 1760 meters. It shares striking similarities with Old Banzhang, including altitude, climate, soil, ecological environment, and tea tree age, with the only significant difference being an average elevation about 100 meters lower than Old Banzhang.
Historical Roots: Ban Pen's tea cultivation dates back to ancient times, with the Lahu ancestors settling here and cultivating tea long before the neighboring Old Banzhang Village was established.
Quality Characteristics of Ban Pen Tea
Taste and Aroma: As a 2019 Gushu (ancient tea tree) tea product, our Ban Pen Raw Puer offers a unique flavor experience. The tea soup is thick and highly aromatic, with notes of leather, fresh honeycomb, and delicate hints of jasmine flower. A modest initial bitterness transforms quickly into a sweet, refreshing sensation after 3-5 seconds. This full-bodied sweetness lingers on the palate for about two hours after consumption. It is characterized by a sweet and smooth taste, a clean aroma, a long-lasting finish. Ban Pen is also connected to the He Kai Ancient Tea Garden, which imparts some of He Kai tea's flavor characteristics.
In summary, our 2019 Gushu Ban Pen Tea flavor can be described with the following five characteristics:
- Sweet and fragrant on entry, with a subtle bitterness that transitions into an overall sweet and refreshing sensation throughout the mouth.
- The tea aroma is restrained and subtle, not overly assertive, and leaves a satisfying sensation in the mouth after swallowing.
- The bitterness is mild, less intense than other Bulang Mountain teas.
- A slight astringency, mainly experienced on the middle and back of the tongue, gradually dissipates after swallowing.
- A quick return of sweetness and moisture, lasting for about 3-5 seconds, spreads from the base of the tongue to the entire mouth, with a long-lasting and sustained aftertaste.
Leaf Characteristics: Ban Pen's tea leaves are plump, glossy, and adorned with buds.
Tea Soup: The tea soup displays a brilliant orange-yellow hue with hints of orange-red after several years of storage. After about the 10th steeping, the tea soup becomes exceptionally sweet and mellow, with the tea flavor becoming less pronounced. The entire mouth is filled with sweetness and moisture, and the taste, aftertaste, and lingering notes become exceptionally long, deep, and enduring.
(For a complete guide to tea quality assessment, see Chapter 4 of our Masterclass on Tea)
How Best to Prepare/Brew Ban Pen Tea
To unlock the full potential of Ban Pen tea, consider the following brewing tips:
- Use fresh, pure water, preferably spring water or filtered water.
- Preheat your teapot or teacup to maintain consistent water temperature.
- Use about 5-6 grams of Ban Pen tea leaves per 100ml of water.
- Rinse the tea leaves briefly with hot water to awaken them.
- Steep for a short time, around 10-20 seconds for the initial infusions, gradually increasing the steeping time with subsequent brews.
- Enjoy the tea's evolving flavors and aroma over multiple (10+) infusions.
- Savor the lingering aftertaste that persists long after the last sip.
(For a complete guide to tea brewing, see Chapter 5 of our Masterclass on Tea)
Ban Pen tea, with its rich history, unique characteristics, and accessible quality, stands as a testament to the diversity and depth of the world of Puer tea. Whether you're a seasoned Puer tea aficionado or just beginning your tea journey, Ban Pen tea is a worthwhile hidden gem in the Chinese tea world.