2003 Yuanjiutang Ban Zhang Tea Tasting (Tea Encounter)

  • Last edited: October 30, 2021
  • Time to read: 4 min.

Tiago from Tea Encounter sent me some samples and I thought today was the perfect day to try one of them. The one I wanted to try was the 2003 Yuanjiutang Ban Zhang. This is a sheng Puer tea that is perfect for this kind of weather as it’s a sweet and warming aged tea.

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2003 Yuanjiutang Ban Zhang

The name of this tea (2003 Yuanjiutang Ban Zhang) partly refers to the company that produced it. Yuanjiutang company is located in the North-Eastern / Eastern part of China around Beijing. This is also the location where they stored the tea in dry and clean conditions. The leaves themselves are supposedly from the Ban Zhang area. One of the key elements of Tea Encounter is to never deliberately misinform customers and that is why they say that they can’t confirm 100% that this tea is from the Ban Zhang area. It is, however, a very good example of a nice, clean and perfectly aged sheng Puer.

Because of the nature of the 2003 Yuanjiutang Ban Zhang, I did not stick to my usual plan to do 6 infusions. I kept on brewing because this tea is supposed to take you on a long journey through numerous infusions and it would be a shame to only do 6. There won’t be a detailed description of each infusion but I will give an overview of the flavours as they changed throughout the session. I also used my recently acquired Japanese iron tetsubin to boil the water. I’m noticing slight changes in flavour and if I have the time, I prefer to use it over a regular electric kettle.

The dry leaves have a darker brown colour with some beige tints as well. I see stalks, leaves and buds in there. The aroma is sweet and warm. It consists of woody and spicy notes in combination with some golden raisins. 

The wet leaves have a woody aroma with some notes of red fruits (red berries and raspberries). There are also some light notes of smoked wood. The aroma of the wet leaves was a lot sweeter after infusing them numerous times. A mixture of both smaller and truly massive leaves! It’s mostly brownish tints with some green ones as well.

Tea tasting

  • Water 99°C – 90°C
  • 6g for a 150ml Jianshui teapot
  • 1 rinse
  • 12 infusions

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Infusions 1-3

As I mentioned above, I won’t go into detail about every infusion but I will talk about the general flavours and experiences. I started out by doing an infusion of 10 seconds, which resulted in subtle flavours of smoked wood and spices. The next two infusions were 15 seconds each and there were some slight changes. The smoked wood changed into regular wood and I experienced some golden raisins as well. All these flavours were barely noticeable but I felt they were in there.

Infusions 4-6

The colour of the liquor didn’t change much and was an orange kind of gold. The next three infusions were 20 seconds each and there was definitely a change in flavour during these infusions. I did not experience any kind of bitterness as I only got subtle and sweet flavours. The flavours are not in your face because they are right where they should be (for me at least). It got sweeter and sweeter each infusion until I got some golden raisins, which was the main flavour during these infusions. It was definitely noticeable at the start and it slowly faded into a sweet aftertaste. During the sixth infusion, the golden raisins changed into a cotton candy sweetness.

Infusions 7-12

Next, I did some infusions of 25 seconds, 30 seconds and then some longer ones to end the session. My general impression of these infusions was that it just became sweeter and sweeter. It was a cotton candy kind of sweetness that was fantastic. Nothing too intense, only subtle and light but oh so delicious. This sweetness went on into the aftertaste. I also started to experience a warm feeling throughout my whole body.

After drinking this tea, I definitely felt its effect. I experienced a weird feeling throughout my body and in my head. It was a kind of lightheadedness (in a good way) but it was much more than that. Funny feeling in my body, as if I was walking on clouds. If there is something like being tea drunk, this was definitely it. Pleasant and funny feeling that I felt for a long time after drinking the tea.


This is one of the easiest conclusions I have ever written as this tea is almost perfect, in my opinion. The flavours were subtle but really fantastic. It is great for its price as you have the opportunity to experience an aged sheng Puer for 111 Euros per cake. It was mainly a cotton candy sweetness that I experienced during and long after the session. This sweetness and a warm feeling throughout my body make this tea a true gem.

If you want to drink and experience the magic of this tea yourself, you can buy it over here.

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