2006 Xizihao Black Wrapper Lao Banzhang — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #75

A Lao Banzhang production from Taiwanese boutique operation, Xizihao. This tea retails for more than $1000 in Taiwan and has gained a reputation for its qi.

Thanks to Dignitea for the sample!

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13 Responses to 2006 Xizihao Black Wrapper Lao Banzhang — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #75

  1. Doug says:

    Hi James,

    Nice review! Do you know if this cake was made from plantation tea or wild/gu shu? Also, is bitterness generally considered a hallmark of Lao Banzhang? I have a small 2009 cake from YS that gets pretty bitter if you don’t keep the steep times short.

    • James says:

      Hi Doug,

      I don’t think it’s plantation. Someone else can probably chime in, but I think it’s supposedly forest tea or something like that.. Lao Banzhang is definitely stereotypically associated with bitterness although this tea has a very manageable level of bite at this point.

      Cheers,
      -James

  2. GN? says:

    I asked for Gaung and Irene if they had any more of this cake available last year. They opened a tong and put the rest on the site. I love this tea bit for it really to shine you really need to use some extra leaf. I have found this to be true of older LBZ things like the white label 06 XZH and the Gang En.

    • James says:

      Hi GN,

      Thanks for the comment and the notes.. This tea is always good but I’ve had some degree of variability with my sessions. Had a great and highly durable session yesterday that easily trumped the one in this episode and left me feeling very positive about the cake. Will up that ratio next time!

      Cheers,
      -James

      • shah8 says:

        GN always like to have huge leaf water ratios. I like my normal fine. Thing is, this tea is VERY friendly to using high leaf, and it will definitely help on more solid flavors and better thickness (which tended to have a good texture).

        Thing is, it just might knock you out (as well as fewer servings from your pile).

  3. shah8 says:

    To be frank, I sort of watched to see if James would keel over in a drunken stupor. Obviously, he knew to cut the the tape before that’d happen.

    I found the review interesting, in the sense that it sounds more like my sample, and not really like my cake, which is a straight, dessert-walnut taste. Just sniffing the cake gives me black walnut ice cream. No bitterness, not fruity or woody, etc, etc…

    The Black Wrapper, I pretty much like more than any Yiwu, including the Dingjipin so far. So James, you still more down for the YQH big Yiwu teas, eh? The throat feel is pretty different for me. Dingjipin is more seeps down, while Black Wrapper/LongFeng are more like downing a scotch.

    Doug, the Black Wrapper shouldn’t be thought of as a standard LBZ. It’s a lot less bitter, less foresty mushroom taste, with not much tendency to get all low flavors as it ages. Lao Banzhang can be bitter, but that’s really overstated, even for the bitter leaf Lao Banzhang. Very bitter Lao Banzhang is unlikely to be pure Lao Banzhang. Like other northern Bulang, Banzhang is more likely to be notably astringent than to be bitter. As for whether there is any plantation in the tea, it’s probably better to say that there is plenty of gushu in the tea. Most tea is cut with something.

  4. Emmett says:

    Just for those who want to to know… The current value on the black wrapper is now $1700 in Taiwan!

    • James says:

      Thanks Emmett. That’s some sticker shock right there!

    • brian says:

      Holy cow… So those of us who picked it up from houde for $600 got an incredible bargain… I knew the asian market price was higher, but wouldn’t have guessed that much higher. Definitely going to very slowly savor this tea over many years

      • shah8 says:

        This is an old price, at least from the start of last year.

        Also, I know there are mainland places who have tried to sell them for $600 and couldn’t. So mind you, very suggest retail, and not true prices.

        Of course, also mind that Suggest Retail prices of ChenShenHao, Fujin, and the 2006 Dayi Banzhang are much more.

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