Lao Ban Zhang Pu-erh Tea 老班章 probably should be the most famous among the so many pu-erh teas named by the mountains and villages where they are produced.
My first visit of Lao Ban Zhang Village is fifteen years ago. At that time I stayed in the big Kunming Tea Market and drinking many pu-erh teas in many tea shops. I found nearly all of them sell the Lao Ban Zhang pu-erh Tea. (Here I would like to point out Lao Ban Zhang Pu-erh tea is always raw pu-erh tea. They would not use such precious material to undergo pile fermentation to make the character-less ripe pu-erh tea). And all the shop owners were referring Lao Ban Zhang as the most expensive pu-erh tea. Crazy!
Followed by this, I went to visit the Lao Ban Zhang village. At that time It took around 12 hours by a bus from Kunming to Menghai County. the distance is 770km. And from Menghai County, there is only a small muggy and bumpy road to the Bu Lang Shan Town where Lao Ban Zhang is a village inside it. Only one bus left the Menghai County Bus Station to Bu Lang Shan Town each day. The distance is 70km, but it took more than five hours to arrive there. After arriving in the town bus station, there was no transportation any more. But I was so fortunately to come to know many friendly and nice local Bulang race and Hani Race friends there. And they sent me by motorcycle to the Lao Ban Zhang village.
Fifteen years ago, the Lao Ban Zhang is still a peaceful village, most of the farmers were living in the small dark South Yunnan style small wooden house and underside is usually a pig house. The farmers living is not very good, though the price of Lao Ban Zhang tea is high. It was a few hundred Chinese Yuan a kilo. And it seems they could not sell a lot of teas by themselves. It was a bless that at that time I had know many pf my farmer friends there. Maybe today they are so busy and so rich that they would not be easy to spare their time to know a new humble visitor.
Now the price of Lao Ban Zhang is at least twenty times to that time. And the village become more glorious than the city. The farmer are so rich, and they are living in the big villa with luxurious brand cars. The fame really brought a lot of fortune.
The tea trees of Lao Ban Zhang is big. But in Yunnan, many other places also have big or even bigger tea trees. Why the Lao Ban Zhang Pu-erh Tea has the highest price? The reason should be that the Loa Ban Zhang tea has very strong taste and the taste has levels. And the Chaqi of Lao Ban Zhang is overwhelmingly strong. Chaqi is a kind of feeling like mediation, which makes the body hot and sweat, the blood flow faster. Many tea drinkers, especially Chinese tea drinkers like this feeling. No wonder Lao Ban Zhang is classified as ‘King’ of raw pu-erh.
Hope the tea industry a sustainable development here. And the old tea trees grow as natural as what it used to be.
(This is the photo taken in March 22/2018)
Changsha Wufeng Tea Co.,Ltd