Teanami Bulang Raw 2011

Country of Origin: China
Leaf Appearance: somewhat dark, loosely compressed
Ingredients: puerh tea
Steep time: 30 seconds
Water Temperature: 212 degrees
Preparation Method: porcelain gaiwan
Liquor: deep gold

Sometimes I find patterns developing in my tea drinking without even meaning for it to happen. For some time I’ve primarily been drinking younger sheng when it comes to puerh. That wasn’t a conscious move on my part, it just happened to be what has come my way. I hadn’t thought about it until I realized that this sample is probably the oldest tea that I’ve drunk in a while.

As soon as I opened the can I was struck by that unmistakable puerh smell. It’s not quite eau de fermentation but more like the comforting mustiness of old books. That’s not a smell that everyone loves but it’s one that really hits the mark for me. I won’t admit to how many times I’ve gone to the top floor of the Strand Bookstore in NYC, just inhaling as I pretend to browse the volumes I can’t afford in their rare books room.

Once I finally got my nose out of the gaiwan, it was time to brew. There were heady notes of camphor with a lingering sweetness that kept me drinking long after the leaves were spent. Huge citrus notes turned into a very nice floral quality as the tea cooled. Later infusions brought a pungent honey taste along with plenty of astringency.

I really push my teas hard but if you want this to be less punchy I’d definitely recommend lowering your water temperature a few notches as well as cutting back on leaf volume. Experimentation is the best way to learn about each tea as well your own tastes.

For some reason whenever I tried to photograph the opened leaves they turned out a bit purple. The color was not quite the same in person and I used the same lighting that I always do. Oh well, the wonders of tea. 🙂

Bulang Raw 2011 sample provided by Teanami.

Nicole has been writing about her love of the leaf since 2008. Her work has been featured on World Tea News, The Daily Tea, Tea Journey, and other publications. She is the winner of the 2018 World Tea Award for Best Tea Blog.