Bingdao Tea Puerh Blog

Fake Puer Tea Without Any Effort, 2006 Bingdao Tuo

Fake Tea Quickie

Once in awhile there is a sample that makes you throw up your hands and say, “Come on! You aren’t even trying!”

This “Bingdao” tea is to Bingdao what baking soda volcanoes are to science fairs. A last minute frantic attempt to salvage poor quality work and a lack of understanding of the assignment.

Well, here we are Jimmy. Let’s take a look at this fascinating study of Mt. Vesuvius, before we throw this in the trash and send you to remedial science with a  purple Participant! ribbon.

On the rinse, things are still a bit tight, nothing really happens. A quick note to anyone unfamiliar with Bingdao, it is an area that has the honor of being amongst the most expensive of all puer regions. I have had real bingdao only a handful of times, and over 95% of what is labeled as Bingdao is not Bingdao – similar to Laobanzhang in volume of fakery. Buyer beware.

Bingdao Puer tea
Dry “Bingdao” tea
Bingdao Puerh
Is that a human hair on the upper right? Super.

Then on steep one, BAM! A baking soda explosion of foam, er, uh… fragrance. But not subtle fragrance. More of an uppercut to the jaw . The smell is of sweet fruit and is chemical in nature. Kind of like the strawberry flavor of Nesquick, which tastes nothing at all like an actual strawberry, but everything like the vague idea of fruit that is imagined in a far away laboratory. This artificial smell fills the room like an old ladies perfume, reducing my interest in this session from a 7 to a 1.

Nesquik_Bingdao
That rabbit is a neat mascot

By the way, no offense intended towards Nesquik and their corporate overlords. I’d rather drink their crappy* product than this tea.

I gave up around steep 4. Here are pics for anyone who cares about the soup and leaves. I won’t waste your time describing the thin liquid that was left when the perfume was gone. Enough of this Bingdao impostor, to the garbage with thee.

tea cups and tea tray
Soup.
leaves of tea
Leaves. Man was this stuff toxic.

Let’s not end a post on such disgusting tea. Has any else been listening to the new Sly & he Family Stone box set Higher! ? Or how about that Breaking Bad finale? Let’s talk about anything but this tea.

*some offense intended
Mystery Tea

Mystery Date #4

Another Mystery Puer Sample

 

Another of the bag plastic wrapped samples from Chengducha. I again went blind, trying this sample without prior knowledge of what it was.

This is a smallish piece, I didn’t weigh it, I guess 5 grams. It easily crumbles apart with a little pressure  in the hands, indicating it was not a tightly pressed cakes. Lots of buds. Medium red in color. Taking a stab in the dark, looks like it is about 4 or 5 years old.

The dry ~5g piece of Puer
The dry ~5g piece of Puer

The first steep is thin and has a bit of character of dry grass and the floral element of red tea. The soup is a little bit thin, which might have been a result of brewing too little leaf in too big a pot. The next steep I cut down on the water and up the steeping time.

The soups color becomes increasingly red, but the depth doesn’t seem to increase very much. It is a very gentle tea, soft, without much kuwei [bitterness] or astringency to speak of. For some people that might be exactly what they are after, but I am usually craving a little push and pull with puer.

Puerh Tea Blog
Soup

It stays much the same. Actually, it reminds me a little bit of this 2007 Lincang, light and floral, although this tea tends a little bit more towards hong cha [red tea] character than the Lincang. A lot of this could have to do with how I steeped it.

After checking the list I find that it is a “2007 Sheng from Chenyun”. I was not really sure what that meant, so I inquired and got this picture of the wrapper and blog post. Not a bad tea, soft and gentle. Not really my first pick, but some people might gravitate towards its soft character.

yixing puer
Spent leaves

 

Dayi Teabag Puerh

2006 Dayi Sheng (Raw Puer) Teabags

Two Dog’s Handy Guide to Writing a Shitty Tea Blog

  • Don’t post anything for over a week
  • After not posting for a week, make triumphant return with post about bagged tea

Done and done.

Dayi Teabags
Teabags and holographic collector box

Dayi recently began pushing  bagged raw puer and curiosity got the best of me. I entered into the experience with plenty of preconceptions, despite my best effort to come in with a clean slate. Judging books by their covers can lead to faulty conclusions, but when the book cover is a teabag, the book is probably going to be an bargain bin airport spy novel. It’ll do in a pinch on a cross country flight, but you wouldn’t read it on the couch in your living room.

Dayi Teabags
Shengpu Baggins

Dayi Teabags

And, so go the Dayi teabags. If you were in the need of a convenient sheng, this will do. Would you brew it for a session on a leisurely Saturday morning? Well, probably not – unless you are a tea blogger with a masochistic streak for sampling the scummy underbelly of the puer world.

The bags contain fannings [tea dust/fragments] of raw menghai puer. But, not just any fannings, 6 YEAR OLD FANNINGS! Nine out of ten puer experts agree, that the best way to age puer is in fanning form! (Nope.) The age of these tea crumbs does not matter much, if at all.

The 6 year old soup
The 6 year old soup

The tea is pointed and astringent, but manages to convey some semblance of raw puer menghai character, which is something. Airport spy novels have their moments. If they didn’t, nobody would read them. They would opt to stare at the seat in front of them for three hours until they arrive in Newark.

I have seen threads floating around on forums from time to time, people who travel or are in an office where it is inconvenient to have implements for brewing; the dayi teabag solution works. It is raw puer, it is decent, and it is not a lot of fuss. It is also an all-star in the teabag leagues, blowing Colourful Yunnan out of the water. It won’t ever have a major league career, but that’s why we have separate leagues.

Kudos to Dayi for a great business decision. Prior to deciding to bag and sell these “6 year old” specks of tea, I guess they were destined for the dumpster.  Whoever recommended they started bagging and selling it deserves a promotion.

Dayi Bagged Tea
If you look closely, you will see that this is a bag of tea sweepings
Haiwan Pashan 2006

2006 Haiwan Pasha

Haiwan Pasha & the Joys of Youth

Tight, tippy, tobacco, and T. The four T’s. Jakub, fellow puer enthusiast and blogger, sent this 2006 Haiwan Pasha puer.

The tips are welded together. The master crafted blades do not yield to my boiling water. Only after three rinses do they decide to give way and open up, I must have gotten the very epicenter of this cake. The first true steep (maybe 4th overall?) of tea was perhaps the best, mellow and smooth.

Raw Puer Tea Haiwan Pasha
Cakes of steel

After further unfurling, the tea turned towards heavier tobacco, and a brief tannic harshness – probably the only real bone I have to pick with this tea.

Puerh tea Pasha
Steel is slow to melt

The throatfeel was excellent throughout, and lingered a bit after the session. The middle of the session also had a pleasant vibrancy in the mouth.

Puerh Tang
Pasha Soup

This tea is from 2006, but it has been told it can play younger. The Pasha looks a bit green in the leaves, probably due to a combination of dry storage and being pressed by a blacksmith’s apprentice. It could probably use another several years to break down some of the tannins and turn it into a something excellent. However, it is very drinkable now. Younger sheng lovers will no doubt enjoy its character.

Spent puerh tea leaves
Spent leaves

It has decent staying power, with its flames extinguishing around the tenth steep. A very enjoyable session, thanks again to Jakub. This tea can be purchased at Yunnan Sourcing for $50.

 

tea blog

2006 Fujin Bulang Qingbing (Raw Puer)

Puer & Branding

I have owned several Apple computers in my day. Several of my PC fanboy friends would deride my decision to purchase with valid points ranging from software incompatibility to lack of gaming options, but their loudest complaint was always the same; price. When a brand offers a quality product and sells it for a premium, my American heritage has taught me to applaud the unabashed capitalist profit margins. I never minded paying extra for my computers, or my puer, if it offers something special. The design was sleek, I liked the OS, and I could always play games elsewhere. I felt like the mark up was worth it. The brand was offering me something. Segue to:

A friend recently sent me me several Fujin (福今) factory cakes, ranging from the mid 2000’s through 2012. Fujin’s prices are in the Apple mark up range, but with the added value of a Hewlett Packard. I have had a dozen or so Fujin cakes, and my experience has always been roughly the same; the cake is alright, and there is a cheaper option out there for 1/3 of the price with comparable quality. Now that I am done getting on my soap box regarding my gripes against Fujin, let me take a look at the positives:

  1. They have an attractive logo
  2. This is a decent example of a Bulang puer
  3. I really do enjoy their logo

One of the first cakes I sampled was this 2006 Bulang Qingbing. In a whirlwind of 2006 Bulang tea, Fujin produced at least four that I know of; a ripe cake, this raw cake (qingbing), and a high grade raw cake, which retails around 1800 RMB (~$300) and a Bulang chawang [tea king] brick that sells for even more than that.  (Some outlets price it upwards of $600)

On to the Puer…

Puer from Fujin factory
Dry leaves from the 2006 Bulang cake

The leaves are a medium darkness for their age, and smell very Bulangy ©.

Puer liquor
A look at the Bulang soup

My favorite part of this tea was the smell of smoked trout that came off of the leaves after the wash. It’s not often that I have memories of eating brook trout conjured up during puer sessions. The leaves were very tightly packed, and the third steep was still a bit subdued. After the leaves finally opened up, they revealed a relatively smooth smoke. Something like a  70/30 balance of smooth vs. harsh. This is will probably smooth out over further aging.

Puer tea in the cup
Another look at the soup

Later in the session there was an undercurrent of sweetness, with leather and tobacco throughout. Around steep ten I decided to do a 10 minute oversteep and, surprisingly, there was very little change in the character of the tea with only an increase in density. It mostly remained the same throughout the session.

Puer tea blog pic
Soup in the gaiwan

Overall, this is a pretty standard representation of a factory production Bulang mountain tea. Lots of chop, tightly pressed cake, average material with decent staying power. The Fujin brand has plenty of loyalists, but I do not count myself amongst them. However, I am also not a detractor of their teas. This cake is decent, but not quite my taste, and certainly not a value cake.

Fujin is a well known brand, and brand names come at a price.

Spent puer leaves
Spent Bulang leaves from Fujin factory