Mei Mei Fine Teas Bing Dao Ancient Raw Pu’erh Tea Dragon Balls
Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: tightly compressed, mostly whole. Silvery buds throughout
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 205 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: bright gold
Boy, this tea’s name sure is a mouthful! Loose puerh tea, aka mao cha, was hand-rolled and pressed into this convenient ball shape. This tea was harvested in the spring of 2016 and pressed in 2017. Bing Dao is an area in the Lincang region of Yunnan that can be quite expensive these days. It is located a fairly high latitude so the weather tends to be on the cooler side. I really appreciated that Mei Mei Fine Teas does not try to make any crazy claims about how old the trees are.
Balled teas like this can be deceiving. They look small but each one contains approximately 8g of leaf, enough for a full gongfu serving. A big advantage of this format is that you don’t have to risk decimating the leaves with a knife. Just put it in your gaiwan and you are good to go. The Bing Dao dragon ball was tightly compressed but the leaves unfurled fully by the second infusion. It always makes me happy to see larger leaves and thick, juicy buds like these.
My first infusion came out quite light. It was sweet and smooth with faint hints of vanilla. As the tea gained strength it became more vegetal but it a gentle way. I’m not usually one for getting “body feels” from a tea but there was a definitely rising feeling in my throat after each sip.
The third infusion brought out a menthol-like cooling effect. That aspect seemed apt as the name Bing Dao roughly translates as “ice island”. It had a deep astringency echoed by a lingering sweetness that landed somewhere between sugar cane and honey.
Have you tasted a Bing Dao dragon ball? Let me know about