Fangmingyuan’s 2008 Bama Gushu is a raw puerh made from Bama material, which is in the Nannuo region. I still haven’t had too many teas from this region but have been really fond of all the ones I have had. Sweet, powerful and affordable seems to be the common thread through the ones I’ve tried – all three things of which I’m a fan!
This tea came to me as a free sample from Tea Encounter.
Both the dry and wet leaves have a similar armoma, which is a strong leathery and woody one. Compression is fairly tight so I broke lots of leaves trying to get it apart, but while together they look fairly whole and mostly large.
For this session I am using 3.7 grams of tea in my 55ml gaiwan, water just off boiling and infusions times starting at 5 seconds and increasing by 5 each steep.
This puerh comes out swinging, with a deep and complex flavour. Damp wood is the most prominent note, with layers of spice, cherry and leather behind it. Astringency builds through the first couple infusions and the spiciness overtakes all the other flavours as time goes on. The third infusion takes on a light peachy taste and a good amount of sweetness. The aftertaste so far has been both faint and subtle but long lasting.
Infusion four sees the cherry note become clearer and a big jump up in sweetness. Occasionally I get a bit of a citrus-like tartness,which quickly fades back to sweet. No new tasting notes appear though infusions five and six, just a decrease in spice and an increase in overall fullness.
Through the seventh and eighth steepings the cherry note disappears and is replaced by an apricot one. All spice is now gone leaving just a smooth, honey sweetness. Potency continues to build until it reaches its peak around the tenth infusion then gradually fades out. Each steeping becomes more and more muted as everything drops off except a cedar-like woody taste that remains until I end my session at the fourteenth infusion.
Fangmingyuan’s 2008 Bama Gushu has a lot of positive notes for me and very little to complain about. The only thing I think it’s missing or that could bring it to the next level for me would be the aftertaste and mouthfeel, both which are lacking. After finishing my session I went to the Tea Encounter site to check the price of this tea and was surprised to see how affordable it is. At $0.28 CAD per gram for a great tasting cake with ten years of age on it, the weaker points are definitely something I can overlook. This is large 400 gram cake though which is a pretty large commitment for me. If it was smaller this would added to my to-buy list without hesitation, but (as I’ve said before) with my drinking habits it’s really hard for me to get excited about larger cakes, as I like to constantly jump around and it would take me too long to finish. If that’s not a problem for you then I have no issue recommending this cake and think it’s definitely worth checking out!