Sharing excellence


  • Big and old tree Lao Ban Zhang
  • Deep aftertaste, strong fragrance, long, thick, satisfying brew
  • Bitterness transforms into sweetness immediately
  • Uplifting Qi with a strong sense of well being

True Old Tree Lao Ban Zhang is not overly astringent or bitter. This is what makes it stand out from the wider Banzhang area and Menghai in general: the bitterness turns into sweetness immediately (not after one or few seconds as with most tea), it offers an extremely well balanced strong rich taste where there’s plenty of sweetness, thickness, bitterness while the astringency doesn’t stand out.

But because this quality of tea is extremely sought after and almost unheard of, many think that LBZ must be very bitter or astringent! Even popular brands that produce real LBZ use bushes and young trees and indeed make a very unique strong tea, but with a taste that’s not balanced by sweetness. True high quality LBZ should always feel easy to drink, even when it’s fresh.

This tea has a high amount of old tree in it and you can easily tell: the body easily accepts it and the taste is strong but very well balanced, leaving a sweet aftertaste without any drying or astringency.

Another tell-tale of true LBZ for those sensitive to Qi: A sense of well being pervades the body when drinking this tea, Qi is uplifting but calm, steady, peaceful, a great combination!

Taiwan dry storage slightly enhances the natural greatness of the material, subtly deepening it. In the words of one of our tea guests when trying it blindly: “This is how puerh should be“.

Made by Mr Ho (the same maker of our acclaimed 2016 Puerh.uk Gua Feng Zhai Gold Mark), he explained how this was the only year the could find great material at a reasonable price. It hasn’t been possible to make this tea again after 2017 and he doesn’t think it will be possible ever again (without it needing to cost about 2-3 times as much).

Full cakes are available inside Treasures by Puerh.uk.

Puerh.uk Gold Mark Tier 5 Series Introduction
  • Old and ancient tree puerh from clean natural tea gardens
  • The very best of what real tea masters make for themselves and their friends
  • Exclusive pressings only obtainable with relationships (guanxi)

The best tea is not for sale, it’s available only through relationships. Tiny productions made by real puerh masters for themselves and their friends, originally in white paper or with minimal wrappers.

Tier 5 is about 0.01% of available Puerh, with ancient tree leaves (or as in this case, high percentage of old tree leaf from an area that has extraordinary characteristics) and with all taste qualities present in overwhelming amount, tea that is basically only found in elite asian circles and via private connections.

For years now I’ve asked real lovers of Puerh to share with me their own not-for-public-sale productions. These tend to always be very very good, but so far only 3 teas, among the many I’ve had the honour to try, have made the cut for Gold Mark Tier 5 Series.

Years of relationships (and months of negotiation) went into obtaining small amounts of this tea. Because it’s not commercially available we’re able to offer it at a very friendly price for the very high quality (particularly to allow as many people as possible to try a real Tier 5 tea). The only catch: we can generally only get a few cakes, rarely few tongs.

Approx. 80-85g triangles.


1g, 25g, triangle, full cake

7 reviews for 2017 Gold Mark Lao Ban Zhang (T5)

  1. Nick M.

    Dry leaves are surprisingly perfumed, carrying a sense of power. Sure enough, there’s an intensity and immediate impact from the first brew. Wet leaf aromas indicate the tea’s youthfulness because of the freshening/ cleansing polyphenols that are immediately evident. Yet those compounds, that provide structure, and in other young teas notable bitterness, are so well balanced the soup presents as very smooth, almost milky from the get-go, fruity with attractive composty hay notes backed up with sweet lingering aromatics. Although really satisfying already, make no mistake, there’s plenty of phenolic structure underlying for long ageing. I imagine this tea has the potential to show significantly greater complexity over time.

  2. Ben

    I’ve tried quite a few LBZ now, trying to see what the magic is supposedly about. Mostly I’ve been disappointed, I don’t know about everyone else’s experience. This one actually tastes like what is sold to you in most descriptions, and it’s lovely. Buy some if you want to finally see what that distinctive taste is. Agreed with the much more eloquent review from someone else, it will age very well.

  3. Nicholas C. (verified owner)

    This tea was very good but did not fit my preferences due to what I interpreted as a ‘tobacco’ type flavor. It was not a super strong flavor in the tea but was enough to go against what I was looking for in a tea.

  4. Christopher W. (verified owner)

    So silky and softly.

    The initial steeps had a gentle, nourishing milk-like feel, very surprising as I was expecting bitterness, but it’s power was held in reserve, you can push it yes, but absolutely no need to, quick flash steeps will fill the cup with fragrance and flavours.

    The most delightful part of this tea is after maybe after 20 steeps (where I usually use a teapot cosy), the sweetness develops and becomes engulfing, a truly unique and signature huigan that stays with me for days, seductive in it’s demand for attention, rewarding in it’s gift of joy.

    Uploaded image(s):

    Image #1 from Christopher W.
  5. Nick M.

    Textured, sweet angelica glossy texture, with a cleansing lift (mild astringency). Massively perfumed in the dry cup, that’s especially striking in the early going. Beautiful shape to the tea finishing firm but contained. Anis character as it develops, and the scent encompasses the polyphenols that adds a further dimension. The textural feel to the tea keeps going past brew 10 whilst bitter elements smooth out late in the session. A tea of considerable complexity and intensity.

  6. Guillaume C. (verified owner)

    Silky texture, astonishing patience (I stopped counting the steeps after something like a dozen), some bitterness, sure, if you push it a bit, but instantly vanishing. To sum it up, it’s a perfectly satisfying experience, with no doubt a great potential for aging. Too bad there’s only five stars.

  7. Misha G. (verified owner)

    Rather subtle taste that turns into an amazing, long finish. Three tiny 20ml cups got me seriously (and pleasantly) tea high. – Great experience.

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