Friday, 23 March 2012

2010 Douji - Ban Zhang

This is another high end Douji product and it was the last sample I tried from the 2010 production. Shengs from the the Ban Zhang area are highly demanded and this fact is reflected in its price which is growing from season to season and god knows when will it stop. However the price for the sample was reasonable at 5.70 USD for nearly 30g. There was some travelling during this week so not to much time left for tea drinking, but it is finally weekend so I can sit back and enjoy something good. 

 5.4g in a 90 ml gaiwan
10s rinse, 10s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 10s, 15s, 30s, 30s, 50s, 1:30, 3min 

The dry leaves are very pretty as you can see, big and healthy. I used the loose leaves from the sample so I can not tell to much about the compression of the cake but I guess its not too tight. The smell of the wet leaves is intense and penetrating being on the sweet-low side without any significant floral aroma (maybe a bit of dry fruits).

The first infusion at 10s gives an unusually strong soup. The kuwei is intense giving the hint that there is energy in the leaves. I kept the next infusion as short as possible and the result was really delicious. There is plenty of sweetness which nicely balance the bitter character. The aroma of the liquor has medicinal notes and the taste is broad and full bodied, on the low side similarly as the aroma of the wet leaves. (It is on the low side but not at the dark-tobacco-menghai-like-low end, just a couple of levels above). The mouth feel is dense and throat tickling. The huigan is potent keeping my breaks between the infusion long.

The colour of the liquor seems to be right for a two year old sheng. The character of the tea doesn't really change during the session, the steeps are equally tasty without loosing thickness or becoming rough. 5 and a half gram of leaves gave 11 strong infusions, what is impressive and I was enjoying this tea practically during the whole Saturday.
The wet leaves are equally chunky and attractive  as the dry ones.

For me, a good tea is mostly about the balances between the sweet and bitter mouthfeel, low and high notes, uplifting and calming qi and this tea has it right.

I tried just a couple of samples coming from the famous villages  (Ban Zhang, Gua Feng Zhai, Xi Kong...) so I cant really compare but as you probably found out I enjoyed this tea and is among the best ones I tried so far.

And the price? 80 USD for a 357g bing. Do I want it? YES! Do I buy it? unfortunately no! Taking in account the origin of the leaves the price seems to be right, however, it is simply too much for me. Unlike Hobbes who is running out of space I am still in the shelf-filling period, so I prefer to buy cheaper but decent cakes in higher quantity. Moreover, one could find a good semi-aged sheng in this price category. 

Anyways, If I do some math, the price for a session (leaves coming from the sample) is about 1euro, and it is difficult to find anything for this price what gives that much joy like this tea.  


  1. Those leaves look lovely. Where the sample comes from? YS? I had few teas from the area lately and I quite understand why prices are so high. On the other hand I also would look for something else what I can get for 80usd...maybe some already adolescent cake(s)?


  2. Hi Petr

    This sample comes from China cha dao ( which offers a nice selection of the recent Douji production. I bought a package of samples from them recently.

    Every time I see a sheng coming from "those" villages I am discouraged by the price but then when I try them it starts to make sense (similarly like you wrote).

    YS has some nice shengs from 2003-2005 with prices ranging from 50-90USd. Those which I tried were quite good but it is necessary to say that the storage is dry-dry.

    Another store, red lantern ( has some nice looking chang tai cakes from 2004-2005 for reasonable prices. I didn’t try any of them but I am playing with the idea to buy 1 or 2 (Hobbes relieved some of them).

    And finally, the EoT ( has the 1990s Grand and Small yellow label which are rather on the aged than the adolescent side. I bought a cake from each of them and I know that the taste is simple and the storage is wet but I enjoy them quite a bit for the price. The 1992 Da ye loose leaf is another good value for the price.

    So these are my humble recommendation, I hope I helped :)