What HeiCha are you drinking

Puerh and other heicha
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wave_code
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Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:35 am

Balthazar wrote:
Fri Jun 04, 2021 3:00 pm
Was the Xiang Yi sample the heizhuan brick YS currently stocks? And what's the brick you have on the way? I've had two samples from that brand, both fuzhuans. That heizhuan looks interesting. And no worries, just moved houses a couple months ago myself, certainly doesn't leave much time for browsing forums...

I've had the 2018 Mojun Yi Hao a couple more times by now, it still remains baffling how devoid it is of any character whatsoever. I agree that it's not really bad, as in having any unpleasant characters. I don't think I've ever tasted anything quite as "empty" in all areas (taste, body, huigan, energy, etc.). If I was a tea vendor with a bent toward Dharma speak I'd "white wrapper" it and pass it off as "Śūnyatā cha" or something like that, a priceless (i.e. pricey) trip into the realm of absolute nothingness. Had it not been so young, I would have assumed it had undergone some sort of strange storage to reach this state.

In any case, I added some of this in a recent sample exchange with wave_code. Would be interesting to hear what he thinks, if he's gotten around to trying it.
too hot and tired today to give something deserving of attention much of it, so giving this a go. I'd have to agree. Yes, this is "tea", but thats about it - its hot, slightly sweet... dark orange... struggling for characteristics here. I jumped straight from a rinse and 20sec to 1 minute and minute+ brews to try and get this to give off much of anything with no luck at 4.5g/90ml. its like unswetened powdered ice tea mix made with boiling water. I haven't had a lot of these kind of bricks but I feel like even if its not my style or not so balanced there is usually a dominance of something- white tea like fruitiness, smoke, sweetness... its a tea that is there but not there. if this weren't normally characteristic of their teas my guess would have been that this was stored open in extremely hot and dry condition for a couple years.
Andrew S
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Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:39 pm

Old liu an... a special tea for an otherwise ordinary day.

Pleasantly 'mind-numbing'.

Andrew
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Victoria
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:16 am

Andrew S wrote:
Sat Jun 12, 2021 11:39 pm
Old liu an... a special tea for an otherwise ordinary day.

Pleasantly 'mind-numbing'.
Image
Wow that image is mesmerizing ..now I wonder what did the aged lui an taste like 🍃
Andrew S
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:41 am

I'm afraid that I have no idea what it tasted like. Old teas like this are all about their 'feeling' for me, and the feeling was an overpowering sense of tranquility that separated me from the outside world.

But it is a very pure, elegant, bright tea, and not really anything like modern liu an.

The picture reflects the state of my mind while drinking it, which might explain why I didn't pay attention to flavours and aromas.

The last time that I drank this, I kept brewing it for a week or two, and this one still has plenty of life.

Andrew
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:47 am

Andrew S wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:41 am
I'm afraid that I have no idea what it tasted like. Old teas like this are all about their 'feeling' for me, and the feeling was an overpowering sense of tranquility that separated me from the outside world.

But it is a very pure, elegant, bright tea, and not really anything like modern liu an.

The picture reflects the state of my mind while drinking it, which might explain why I didn't pay attention to flavours and aromas.

The last time that I drank this, I kept brewing it for a week or two, and this one still has plenty of life.

Andrew
Am curious - how do you brew the tea for over a week? Are you keeping the leaves in the pot or moving it to different vessels over time? Do you at some point start boiling the tea?
Andrew S
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 8:48 am

Just like ordinary long brews, but spaced out over hours. I've never had any issues with mould, but I make sure that I pour the tea out and immediately pour boiling water in at least once a day (obviously you wouldn't want the water to sit for too long, or for the wet leaves to sit by themselves).

The brews become light tea water with a pleasantly relaxing feeling, a shadow of the original tea with a hint of its original nature. It's the lingering relaxing feeling that reminds me of the tea that I enjoyed and lets me know that it still has something to offer.

I'm sure that boiling the tea (or transferring it to a thermos) would also work to get everything out of the leaves in one go, but I don't tend to do that. Brewing it over hours and days somehow feels a bit more 'natural' to me, and reminds me of whole experience of enjoying such an old tea. There's no real logic to that, though.

Andrew
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wave_code
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:33 pm

Andrew S wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:41 am
I'm afraid that I have no idea what it tasted like. Old teas like this are all about their 'feeling' for me, and the feeling was an overpowering sense of tranquility that separated me from the outside world.

But it is a very pure, elegant, bright tea, and not really anything like modern liu an.

The picture reflects the state of my mind while drinking it, which might explain why I didn't pay attention to flavours and aromas.

The last time that I drank this, I kept brewing it for a week or two, and this one still has plenty of life.

Andrew
This is when you know something is really good, I think. You stop thinking about hints of this or notes of that or this steep was too long or anything at all... it just happens and your only reaction is 'this is right, and this is good'
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Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:13 pm

wave_code wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:33 pm
Andrew S wrote:
Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:41 am
I'm afraid that I have no idea what it tasted like. Old teas like this are all about their 'feeling' for me, and the feeling was an overpowering sense of tranquility that separated me from the outside world.

But it is a very pure, elegant, bright tea, and not really anything like modern liu an.

The picture reflects the state of my mind while drinking it, which might explain why I didn't pay attention to flavours and aromas.

The last time that I drank this, I kept brewing it for a week or two, and this one still has plenty of life.

Andrew
This is when you know something is really good, I think. You stop thinking about hints of this or notes of that or this steep was too long or anything at all... it just happens and your only reaction is 'this is right, and this is good'
Yes, for sure those are special moments when a tea effects the body in this way. During our tastings here mostly with sheng well all get floaty, spacy, warm movement in the body, and start laughing... once I was smiling ear to ear and had the desire to stick my tongue out while we were having a 2003 Purple Dayi FT 7542-301 stored in Taiwan that @phyllsheng shared. Nice times together 🍃.
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Balthazar
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Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:53 am

Having the 2014 CNNP/COFCO "Xuefeng Golden Classic" (the "hand made" fuzhuan version). This is from some of COFCOS more premium gardens in Xuefengshan. I've been exited to try this, and after three sessions it's safe to say that it doesn't disappoint. The highlights of the experience are good viscosity and a very particular aroma - thick, velvety creaminess combined with tobacco (much more tobacco than pine smoke, to my taste buds) and raisins, would be my best but futile attempt to describe it.

I believe this one is likely to be much more of a love/hate tea than is typical for this genre, due to the flavor and aromas alone. It has characteristics I think some people would find slightly repulsive, actually. Don't know what that says about me, but there's something really particular, almost nostalgic, about this that really hits the spot.

(I actually wonder whether parts of the aromas is a storage thing, would be interesting to try a drier stored version. But I'm not gonna go for a mainland stored brick with the current prices there.)

The "energy" factor has also been very noticable in the tree sessions I've had with it so far (a mix of workday and weekend drinking), which is another plus. Not an evening tea. In terms of endurance it's par for the course for fuchas, I'd say 7-8 good steeps

Pondering whether or not I should get more of this.
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Balthazar
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Thu Jun 17, 2021 2:13 pm

Balthazar wrote:
Mon Jun 14, 2021 7:53 am
2014 CNNP/COFCO "Xuefeng Golden Classic"
Still enthralled by this tea, seems like it's gonna place really high on the "speed test" ranking. Paired it with a DCQ pot today, did about as well there as it's done in my zini pots. A bit of selective muting goes well with this one. I'm pretty sure this is the most impressive fuzhuan I've had in terms of body and energy. Interesting range of leaf size, as can be seen in the image below.

Image

Another recent acquisition is this 2012 BSX "shiliang". So yeah, instead of weighing in at a thousand or a hundred liang (i.e. qianliang/bailiang), this one weighs in at "only" ten. The trend of masking smaller huajuans seems to have started around 10 years ago, but in my opinion the slicing route (i.e. producting the "normal" sized qianliang/bailiang and offering wrapped slices of 500 grams-1 kg) is much less annoying to have to deal with. (I know tea people like their bamboo and that's probably why these trendy smaller ones are showing up.)

In any case, I got this mostly to get a taste of a modern BSX huajuan. The verdict after two sessions: Pretty boring stuff. There's plenty of that mild medicinal taste, but it's really unidimensional with a weak body and almost no huigan. Not cheap (for heicha) either. I'm pretty sure this one will do fine for thermos brewing, and that's probably the job it will be given once it's back to the office.

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Balthazar
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Sat Jun 19, 2021 2:38 pm

Finally got the chance to try Baishaxi's 2018 "purple mark" fuzhuan today. I've been wanting to try this for a while. The material is from their Tuanyunjie estate, the same as their 2018 Furong Guoli heizhuan which has become a favorite of mine for when I'm craving something with strong minerality.

What surprised me is that this seems to be processed in a way that makes it virtually indistinguishable form the heizhuan (beside the jinhua addition). I drank the latter only yesterday, and it felt like I was having the same tea today.

Image below shows the spent leaves of those teas (heizhuan to the right, fuzhuan to the right - taken on different days at different times, so lighting is not the same).

Image

... for me the purple mark is a bit awkward, in the sense that it falls between two stools being a very "heizhuany" fuzhuan (the same can also be said for the Yepinyuan fuzhuans I've had). I like my heizhuans jinhua-free, and I like my fuzhuans with a less delicate and refined profile (and, I guess, slightly heavier fermentation). Perhaps it's harsh to judge from a single session with a 8 gram sample, but I'd rather get more of the heizhuan version (which is ~20% cheaper) than the purple mark fuzhuan.

Tried another fuzhuan sample later in the day: Xiangyi's 2021 "year of the ox" fuzhuan. Xiangyi has been producing these zodiac bricks for a number of years now, I've mentioned a dragon year brick of theirs previously that was a positive surprise (positive because my expectations of these zodiac teas are usually low). This is the first time I drink a fuzhuan in the same year as it entered the market (material is from 2020 though). It's quite nice, malty with some spicy notes that got me in a Christmas mood and had me thinking this would be great together with gingerbread.

Image below shows the BSX purple mark (right) and Xiangyi "year of the ox" (left) side by side. The contrast between leaf and color of brew is quite striking.

Image
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