The 2005 Gan En Ban Zhang is a tea that does not need much of an introduction to avid puerh enthusiasts. It is a tea with a visible online presence and therefore a history that is worth further research by way of Google for both the famed tea and region. This tea has made the rounds with a number of tea enthusiasts receiving praise and critique towards becoming an item that is both sought after and at times spurned in part due to its Ban Zhang composition that has whipped the market into a frenzy in past years and where demand and high prices continues to soar to this day.
Like many tea enthusiasts before me I have fallen under the influence of this beautiful tea that continues to show good development. The appeal stems from an open curiosity I have about the aging of Ban Zhang tea but also it is the tea's ensuing quality. The tea has shred most of the raw greenness of youth and is in its initial phase of revealing some of its heavier and darker characteristics. The big tree material provides a uniquely soft mouth-filling sensation. The brew offers a rich and deep character that comes in waves of good dark flavors. The slight linger of astringency at the end gives the tea structure and does not detract from the enjoyment.
However it is the coming of age that makes this tea so very interesting and appealing to me. Within the next possibly 5 years once the initial age profile forms more prominently and settles I am expecting the tea’s age characteristics to become more constant and channeled. This will then perhaps reveal a glimpse into the future and an indication into what can be expected from the age state of a Ban Zhang. For such a famed region very little is known about its aged character and I have struggled to obtain an age sample that can represent the Ban Zhang region despite rumors of private productions in existence from the 1990s. For clarity I would like to stress that I humbly do not believe nor expect to see this tea reaching full maturity any time soon and at the very least not for another decade and possibly a number of years after that.
Reference article from The Leaf Magazine, Liquid Gold, Exploring Ban Zhang Tea by Wang Hau, Lou Ying Tin, Wu De
See the 2005 Gan En Nannuo or more teas from the Tea List