The 2008 Mengku Banmu Bingdao brick sample was sent to me with the American Hao sample. The tea shows tight compression and flosses silver buds:
The compression made the tea not open up until the third infusion. The first two infusions, sweet and bland, released little aroma and seemed more like extra rinses. It carried the sweetly herbal aroma of good older tree pu, similar to that first whiff of American Hao (amongst others), so I figured the tea would be good.
The qi was great. At the 4th infusion my body was burning up, and by the 5th both me and my guest were tea drunk. We noticed a fleeting minty freshness in the 3rd infusion, not quite camphor, and the usual green pu flavors of fresh cut plants, straw, and bitterness. My guest noted "green bell pepper." I couldn't place most of the flavors, but the long finish and good qi made me think highly of this tea. It lasted longer than we did. We gave up around the 15th infusion.
I wrote these notes not having checked the price of the tea. For zhuan cha, it's pricey at $22.75. But it's darn good, whether it is or isn't what it claims to be. Bingdao is the 2008 pu'er buzzword, and lots of vendors are claiming teas young and old come from that region.
Another tea I wish I could afford right now, but b-school application fees are piling up. Maybe in February...
Next reviews won't be Puerhshop teas. They'll be trades from ABx and teas from other vendors I have sitting around, hopefully oolong. Yum!