New Ban-Zhang vs Old Ban-Zhang

Ban-Zhang pu-erh cakeFor those who are used to drink Pu-erh teas, Ban-Zhang is probably the most familiar name around. Authentic and genuine old Ban-Zhang is considered as the king of Pu-erh with an astonishing price tag on the current market.

Some may have also come crossed these terms: Old Ban-Zhang and New Ban-Zhang.

Ban-Zhang was originally a name of a village

The name Ban-Zhang Pu-erh is named after the original Ban-Zhang village. The classic and traditional Chinese tea production style was as such: family based; the tea trees were planted around the villages, typically within walking distance; the tea trees were not marked, they somehow all knew which tea trees belonged to which families; tea leaves were harvested by family members, processed step by step in the family home under the supervision of the most senior and experienced ‘tea master’ of the family. 

The New Ban-Zhang is actually a split of the Old Ban-Zhang village

The earliest settlement of the New Ban-Zhang village was recorded as 1852. Some village families moved on and settled in this relatively new location which is about 7 kilometres from the Old Ban-Zhang village. The New Ban-Zhang is a village of the Ha-Ni minority group. It is believed that tea planation area (at the Old Ban-Zhang village site) that belongs to the New Ban-Zhang villagers is now free of human dwelling. To protect the area from any cross contamination from external sources (plants and tea leaves), the New Ban-Zhang villagers have set up road blocks to control the in and out traffics.  The tea trees around the current New Ban-Zhang village were however planted later, all about 40 plus years old.

The Old Ban-Zhang site tea trees are Bu-Lang species arbour tea trees. They have been growing under the super environmental conditions side-by-side along the ancient forest for hundreds, some over a thousand years. The tea leaves are big and strong and have stocked up plenty of the natural forest’s wild aroma and energy, felt through its dry leaves, tea brew and even the tea leaves after their brew. A main characteristic of Ban-Zhang is its ‘Cha Qi’ – the internal energy of the tea. The initial astringency turns into ‘Hui Gan’ shortly after the tea’s first ship and the ‘Cha Qi’ is felt throughout the body as a special warmth and sometimes light perspiration, although everyone reacts differently. 

The confusion between the name of a village and a Pu-erh tea

As indicated earlier, the New Ban-Zhang is referring to a restively new village settlement, but not the Pu-erh tea itself. Certain tea trees owned by these New Ban-Zhang villagers are those ancient tea trees around the old Ban-Zhang village, 1600m above the sea level. They are not different from the Old Ban-Zhang tea trees.

The New Ban-Zhang Pu-erh tea

The teas produced from the current New Ban-Zhang village site is known to have orchid style aroma, brightly yellow tea brew, light astringency which quickly turns into long lasting ‘Hui Gan’ (回甘) and capable of age and convert relatively quicker than some other teas.

With the word ‘new’ being part of its name, many tea drinkers misunderstand it as a new or young tea. Its market price has therefore always been behind the Old Ban-Zhang.

To me, maybe this is the ‘just right’, as I am always after value for money.

Last modified onFriday, 21 September 2018 10:41
En Jie Rudd

The founder and owner of Valley Green Tea

I grew up in the Fu-Jian Province – the tea country of China. Tea drinking has been part of our daily life for as long as I can remember.

While I was working as a public health researcher a few years ago, I read many research reports conducted over the last 30 years about the health benefits of green tea in fighting certain life style related challenges such as cancer, obesity, cardio-vascular and inflammatory diseases etc.

From my research, I realised there is a significant gap between what people consume (i.e. commercial tea bags) for assumed health benefits and the actual benefits that have been enjoyed by the Chinese for a long history from the premium loose leaf teas.

As well as being potentially beneficial to health, the premium loose teas (green tea being the biggest group) are most enjoyable beverages with a fascinating history, colourful culture and holistically dynamic in every aspect.

It is my passion to share, not only the products, but also the whole culture dynamics around the premium teas with the tea enthusiasts, here in Australia and around the world.

Valley Green Tea currently supplis a diverse range of premium loose teas to the tea drinking community that suit all tastes and all cultures and to pass on a deep understanding of the history and benefits of this wonder beverage.


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