What HeiCha are you drinking

Puerh and other heicha
polezaivsani
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Mon Aug 31, 2020 9:07 am

@wave_code, Sci-Hub has it.
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Balthazar
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Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:45 am

@wave_code thanks, these studies are always interesting, although to be honest the headlines always make me kinda nervous. Fluoride, mycotoxins, pesticides... so many things to worry about

Luckily a happy result from this one, phew! :)
The risk assessment results revealed that mycotoxins exposure due to dark tea consumption in Mongolia (Ulan Bator) and China (Kunming and Pu’er) presents no non-carcinogenic or carcinogenic risks to human health. Six groups mycotoxins from Chinese dark teas showed no observed consumption risks, and the result should be great significant to consumers of China, Mongolia and other nations where
favor the Chinese dark tea.
... even though they basically assume people eat the tea leaves
It should be made clear that the amount of toxins found in dry tea, herbal medicines are not the same as the amount transferred to the prepared beverage and infusion; however, people drink tea infusions and discard the tea leaves, and risk assessment from dry tea should be overestimated (Malir et al., 2014; Toman et al., 2018; Nian et al., 2018). In this study, we hypothesis that all contaminated mycotoxins were completely ingested by consumers; these previous studies in combination with this study indicate that the actualrisks associated with the mycotoxins (both non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic) from tea drinking are lower than those estimated.
... and I have a feeling they tested rather cheap teas
One hundred and eight tea samples were randomly purchased from tea markets, retail grocers, supermarkets and online stores between April 2017 and October 2018. The samples comprised 31 Pu’er teas, 11 Liubao teas, 17 Kangzhuan teas, 12 Anhua dark teas, 22 Qingzhuan teas, 7 Fuzhuan teas, and 8 others
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StoneLadle
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Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:08 pm

Gosh, what me worry indeed!

I've had Liu Bao from the 50s thru to the 00s this week...

...and I feel no ill effects whatsoever...

Might just grab an iced LB from the fridge with a cookie before bed! :twisted:
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OCTO
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Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:30 pm

StoneLadle wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:08 pm
Gosh, what me worry indeed!

I've had Liu Bao from the 50s thru to the 00s this week...

...and I feel no ill effects whatsoever...

Might just grab an iced LB from the fridge with a cookie before bed! :twisted:
LB is rather safe if it’s well stored in a clean and controlled environment.

But I can’t say much about the current modern QianLiang HeiCha (Thousand Catty Black Tea) that comes with apparent JinHua (Golden Flowers).

Cheers!!
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StoneLadle
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 4:08 am

I'd always thought that drinking tea in general is a pretty good way to settle the stomach, especially during episodes of discomfort and God forbid, food poisoning... Fortunately never had tea cause any... for me anyways...
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wave_code
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:35 am

OCTO wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:30 pm
StoneLadle wrote:
Mon Aug 31, 2020 12:08 pm
Gosh, what me worry indeed!

I've had Liu Bao from the 50s thru to the 00s this week...

...and I feel no ill effects whatsoever...

Might just grab an iced LB from the fridge with a cookie before bed! :twisted:
LB is rather safe if it’s well stored in a clean and controlled environment.

But I can’t say much about the current modern QianLiang HeiCha (Thousand Catty Black Tea) that comes with apparent JinHua (Golden Flowers).

Cheers!!
... as in you just don't trust the processing/storage or you have had some adverse affects first hand? or do you not trust something about the jinhua inoculation?

only time I've ever had issues it always seemed to be a very cheap tea that made me just feel really bad maybe either from some pesticide(s) or it just being really harsh/low grade material.

I'm looking to try some more hei cha from other regions, but then of course you need to learn what to expect from certain factories or suppliers all over again. for example Bai Sha Xi seem to have productions that range from very low to very high quality that can make navigating things kinda difficult knowing where is a decent starting point where you are getting something decently representative of a style without breaking the bank. though to some degree you can use common sense that any tea at around 10 bucks for 300g is not going to be good.
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Balthazar
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 7:05 am

I was also curious to hear if @OCTO was sceptical of qianliang with jinhua specifically, or also regular jinhua fuzhuan.

For jinhua teas I prefer to buy "big factory" productions. There's always the possibility of "fake" jinhua, although from what I've heard the most normal version of manmade jinhua is inoculation with wheat (cheap but not dangerous, although it could possibly be for those with celiac disease), rice or barley flour. With big companies that export to a wide variety of countries (e.g. the mentioned Bai Sha Xi, with some 80 countries including a bunch of European ones with strict quality control) the testing is more extensive and the production facilities more often of high standard. It's no bullet-proof guarantee, of course, but those are few and far between in the world of tea.
wave_code wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:35 am
only time I've ever had issues it always seemed to be a very cheap tea that made me just feel really bad maybe either from some pesticide(s) or it just being really harsh/low grade material.
From my understanding, some of the things people worry about would not be immediately noticeable. Instead they would have potential long-term detrimental effects on one's health.
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OCTO
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:45 am

@wave_code
@Balthazar

The only black tea I drink is LiuBao and LiuAn. I'm very particular about storage and cleanliness of the tea. From what I've learnt, JinHua is only developed under certain storage condition and over a long period of time. In ancient days, JinHua and BaiXuang are used as subtle poison agents. But somehow it found it's way to aged tea and there is still an ongoing debate on the benefits of JinHua. It doesn't make sense to me, how a young QianLiang HeiCha can develop JinHua, unless it's artificially cultivated. It's as good as drinking genetically modified tea (radical thought)... hahahaha.....

Therefore I choose to avoid them as I can't convince myself that it's safe to consume.

Cheers!
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Balthazar
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:23 am

OCTO wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:45 am
It doesn't make sense to me, how a young QianLiang HeiCha can develop JinHua, unless it's artificially cultivated.
It depends on what one means by "artificial cultivated" I think. The "official story" is usually that it's naturally cultivated, though through placement of the tea in a controlled environment (with controlled temperature and humidity) where the fungus thrives, before temperatures are reduced to around 37C to stop the growth (but not kill the fungus). Its more likely (imo) that the producers (or most of them in any case) create a large stock/colony of the fungus, which they keep alive with wheat (or other alternatives) and inoculate into the tea.

I have no problem understanding that some people are skeptical of the process and don't want to drink the stuff, just as I have no problem understanding that some people stay away from shu puer. (My wife don't like me drinking either of these types of tea :mrgreen: )

To each his own :)
Last edited by Balthazar on Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Balthazar
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Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:51 am

... all this talk of jinhua had me thristy :mrgreen:

CNNP/COFCO's 2013 Heichayuan Jinhua MM.

Picked this up recently, it's a great example of Fuzhuan tea. Incredibly sweet, waming and comforting, I really can't think of a better digestif tea.

On a side note, with most Hunan heicha I find myself using less leaf than I would with most other teas. It seems to perform better with a "light gongfu" or even "western" brewing in my experience.

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wave_code
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Wed Sep 02, 2020 3:06 am

I think I'm gonna be picking up this brick as well- my first fu cha :)

@OCTO thats really interesting, is there any kind of documentation or writing on this? in English I'm guessing probably not. I've noticed some liu bao bricks also having JinHua, I assume by inoculation, but it seems much less popular.

Keeping a fungus culture like that alive and inoculating it I don't see as bad in and of itself- after all this is what we do with yeasts, yogurt cultures, mushroom farming, so on. It does make me wonder though as it came to tea under certain storage conditions and eventually became intentionally inoculated how much research was done on what aspects since research and understanding of local environmental conditions and the complexity of micro-organism ecosystems is often not so great. For example could the naturally occurring JinHua grow in an environment that also promotes other bacteria or cultures that maybe prevented the golden flowers from producing certain toxins or compounds that it would otherwise produce? Or could it be the exact opposite that inoculated cultures could even be safer because if they are introduced intentionally they would probably dominate over other cultures that might be present. A lot of this can also be hard to say depending on how it was studied and this is quite common on things like fungal research (this is what my partner does) where there is some mystery or piece of information missing and it can wind up being things like the organism looking so different at certain points in its life cycle it isn't recognized as being present, or if something is completely outcompeted it is undetectable in the end result, but that doesn't mean it wasn't crucial to the process along the way. Similarly how one species can be deadly poisonous and another very closely related species could be edible because its evolutionary conditions didn't lead it to need to develop certain toxins as a defense or other tool that just happens to be poisonous to us. This also loops in I guess to the often naive attitude to of if its natural how bad for you can it be, when the answer is potentially very bad, or maybe only bad if consumed in very large amounts regularly. the same way natural sedative plants can be toxic if used for too long, and some of the "relaxation" or sleepiness experienced could also stem from basically experiencing a very mild "poisoning".

All of that aside I suppose there is also the craftsmanship/skill side. While there is obviously high and low grades of fu cha like any other tea, I guess we could also pose the question when does something like inoculating a fungus that has or adds a desirable flavor become a style/tradition, and when is it being used to mask otherwise indistinct or lower grade tea? I'm thinking along the lines of how with craft beer things like barrel aging have become really popular as well as adding goofy novelty ingredients like hot peppers. The barrel aging draws on traditional techniques also involving micro organisms like traditional Belgian Geuze and/or lambic and the barrel can significantly change the beer. Some people are fantastic at it and specialize in it making really wonderful results, but there are a lot of cases where I feel its used to mask a failed project or an inability to make a good and balanced beer on its own- got a whole bunch of mediocre beer or a ruined project? Hell, throw it in barrels for 6 months rather than dump it and then you can even mark it up as a special project or novelty when in fact it was just a sub-par product before. And of course this comes up plenty of other places- got some mediocre XYZ food product? - douse it in truffle oil! so on... I'm of course in no way qualified to pass any judgement on this, just an idea. I guess it also relates to sheng vs shu (though of course they did wind up being very different teas in the end)- when are we maybe developing a new process or just modernizing a technique to make a certain otherwise slow or difficult to control process easier or faster or not.
thommes
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Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:22 am

Balthazar wrote:
Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:51 am

CNNP/COFCO's 2013 Heichayuan Jinhua MM.
I've been wanting to <gasp> lose the Pu-erh exlusivity that I've been doing for 10 months and exand into fu cha. I've read a lot, but can't find a lot of it out there. Been talking with Bitterleaf as they told me that they were going to have a 1k brick available in August, not september..... :( They do have a fu cha that is parts of a brick, but I'd like to get a full brick.

I searched for the tea you listed but didn't find it listed for a vendor. Where did you find yours?
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Balthazar
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Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:15 pm

thommes wrote:
Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:22 am
I've been wanting to <gasp> lose the Pu-erh exlusivity that I've been doing for 10 months and exand into fu cha. I've read a lot, but can't find a lot of it out there. Been talking with Bitterleaf as they told me that they were going to have a 1k brick available in August, not september..... :( They do have a fu cha that is parts of a brick, but I'd like to get a full brick.

I searched for the tea you listed but didn't find it listed for a vendor. Where did you find yours?
I bought mine from this guy, who operates teapals.com (which only features a very small segment of the tea he has). You'll find his email address on teapals.com (bottom of the site). He's also active in quite a few facebook groups (e.g. "Puerh Tea Club" and "Liu Bao Tea Club"), but I'm not comfortable linking to his personal profile page here.

His prices for heicha, particularly newer stuff, are very competetive, some even at or around Taobao prices.

Edit: Also, don't forget that YS has a pretty good selection of heicha 🙂
Last edited by Balthazar on Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Balthazar
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Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:20 pm

@wave_code: Very interesting post. All I have to say is that I think we would all be grateful if you can influence your partner to study jinhua specifically :D
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wave_code
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Wed Sep 02, 2020 3:26 pm

she is on the evolutionary side of things, specifically symbiosis. but hey, the JinHua may be in symbiosis with other micro organisms in the tea :D

I've been drinking through some Liu An samples to learn more and see if I can find something I might want to get more of. So far I've only found one that is on the affordable side of my budget that I really like as it is now, but maybe I'm not quite brewing things right and I have the feeling maybe I am missing out on something in these teas. I'm going with the usual 5g/100ml in a porcelain pot, fast steeps with boiling water. after unfortunately using up some of these samples though I'm getting the sense that maybe I need to be going for longer steeps, maybe even with slightly cooler water to start? or using more leaf? the dry leaf in the pot has that nice chocolatey black tea smell, but only one of them I felt like has really held more of these black tea notes once it actually hit the water. coincidentally it was the same one that I like the best so far.
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