Zhi Zheng.Song Bing Dao 2011


I was quite fortunate to have received a sample of a 2011 spring Zhi Zheng.Song Bing Dao some time back with an order of 2012 JingMai and Kong Shan Xin Yu cakes. The latter of which, I would like to once again state, is an assured highlight of their spring pressings, and worth a sample at the very least.

I have enjoyed a couple of sessions, courtesy of this sample, over the past few weeks. The last of this leaf found its way to the cha pan yesterday, and finally yielded what i felt was a long overdue post.


The pasture heavy dry xiang qi exhibited a faded trace of tobacco. Once humid, the pasture aromatics intensified, and the tobacco developed muskiness.

Initial liquors offered a complex herbaceous profile rounded out with hints of dried floral and aromatic woods. Complementary notes developed by the third steep which existed somewhere between the sharpness of cracked peppercorn and the soft sweetness of long pepper. Each subsequent steep exhibited gradual increases in depth and increasingly reminded of the aroma of Sorig Tibetan incense.


The ku shifted in its placement throughout the session. First present between the underside of the tongue and the base of the mouth cavity, it progressed to the sides of the tongue and finally resolved itself at the top of the throat. It also engaged the hard palate and opened the sinus cavity.

The mid to back of the tongue became lightly numb.

The hui gan appeared first from the top of the throat and low soft palate, sinking deeper until it rose from the clavicle into the trenches of the mouth cavity. A fir-like cooling appeared and edged the tongue. The sweet and complex aftertaste lingered at considerable length following the last cup.


The energy unleashed from these leaves first nagged at the forehead and warmed the scalp, leaving it dampened. It weighted at the back of the neck before sinking into the chest and abdomen where it warmed excessively throughout the 15 plus steeps, most notably at the solar plexus.

The tea was fully penetrating.

It was sad to finish the last of this Bing Dao. Each session increased my awareness of its’ inherent characteristics. The more I came to understand it, the more I became attached. And I still feel as if there are many elements I have yet to experience.

Many thanks again to Mark, for the generous sample.


a Pu-erh.sk Yi Bang Spring 2011 session soundtracked by John Lee Hooker

This is the second of two sheng pu samples from Yi Bang in as many months, this one from pu-erh.sk. This a spring plucking. (from the site: PU-ERH.sk is a website that will try to offer mostly selected “gu shu” Pu-erh’s from the 10 famous tea mountains of Yun-Nan province.)

I opted to use the full 10g sample provided in the prepped 150ml gaiwan. (Where in years past I had used a smaller quantity of leaf to water ratio, I have steadily increased this quantity to suit the increasing demands of my palate.)

The body of the broth was substantially thick. The color a clear yellow-gold –should the photos read darker I apologize as we have had about 3 hours of sunlight over the past six days.

The liquor delivered a well-tempered ku which moved in waves across the hard and soft palates, and streaked the length of the tongue into the deep of the throat. The ku se persisted across the dominant length of the session, continually provoking my want to take another steeping as it fluctuated in its strength.

A faint cooling note was present, stimulating the sinus cavity.

The throat feeling alternated between the sensations of catching half way into my throat, to slowly and deliberately moving down its full length. This later experience is where I found myself reminded of the thickness of gulab jamun syrup in its movement.

The leaves continued producing broths that increasingly saturated the mouth with a heavy sweetness by the later quarter, extending the session well beyond my anticipation.

This tea, for me, acted as a mild sedative. While my mind remained clear and focused on the experience, my body wholly relaxed. Even the tightness in my lower back which had been present since I awoke eased. A tingling sensation also developed throughout the session in my torso and upper arms. My ears even prickled for a few deep breaths.

What remains most impressive about this tea is how long the floral and honey sweetness has lingered since I walked away from the kettle and gaiwan. It has now been an hour, and it still persists. This, I can appreciate.

steeping listening:John Lee Hooker