Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"


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Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby BioHorn » Oct 17th, '12, 16:31

Since there seems to be no cohesive place for Fu Zhuan Tea, "Fu Tea", also known sometimes as Golden Flower Tea, I figured a new topic would be appropriate. This tea is unique in purposefully supporting the growth of microbes in it's processing. It comes usually in brick form with small yellow dots or fungus (i.e. Aspergillus.) The aroma and flavor is unique in it's slightly nutty "antibiotic" taste. As it makes me feel mellow, I personally like the tea.

I have been searching out samples over the past year with very mixed results. Some teachatters have dismissed it as 'garbage.' I think this is premature and believe this "genus" of tea at least deserves a closer look. You can form your own opinions and post them here! :mrgreen:

Here are a few resources.

There has been some talk of it here:

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=14772

and to a lesser extent here:

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=14692

Ya-Ya Tea House in New Zealand has a nice write-up on Fu-Zhuan Teas:
http://tinyurl.com/bnxpnw3

Hojo also has a one page typical summary with a couple of decent photos:

http://hojotea.com/item_e/d01e.htm

Vicony Teas has brief introductory write-up on Hei Cha here:

http://www.viconyteas.com/directory/tea-encyclopedia/dark-tea.html

Jakub Tomek briefly blogged it:

http://jakubtomek.blogspot.com/2012/05/2007-cnnp-hunan-shouzhu-fuzhuan.html

As did Matt recntly from MattCha:

http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-types-of-tea-and-their-chaqi-hunan.html




A search for 'Zhuan' on ChawangShop's site results in 70 hits:

http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?q=Zhuan&x=0&y=0


If you are a chemist and would like more in depth information, this recent eight page PDF by Luo, Ling and Li, et. al. 2012 covers some of the fungal growth and compounds found in it.

http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/17/3/3539/pdf

So. Please excuse all the linking. I figured it would be at least a good place to start.
Last edited by BioHorn on Oct 17th, '12, 18:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby teaisme » Oct 17th, '12, 17:21

mattCha's blog has covered this lately too past 2 posts
http://mattchasblog.blogspot.com/

btw
BioHorn wrote: have been searching out samples over the past year with very mixed results.


what stuff has been good to you? I feel like its almost time to step into the 'other' dark teas :mrgreen:
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby BioHorn » Oct 17th, '12, 18:22

This 2006 Kiang Yi 'refined' Fu Cha from Ya-Ya Teahouse (pic below) was one of the samples I tried. I had hopes that with a name like 'refined' and six years of age it would hold some goodness. Unfortunately it was underwhelming, very dry, full of woody twigs (as many 'fu' seem to be) and light on flavor. Could it be that this tea also does well with moderate (65+%) humidity in storage? I get the sense that too dry storage kills these teas.

Sorry for the terrible iPad photo.

Image
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby ethan » Oct 17th, '12, 19:12

Looking at that photo makes me sad. I'm not experienced. Is that much wood acceptable of any tea?
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 17th, '12, 19:27

BioHorn wrote:This 2006 Kiang Yi 'refined' Fu Cha from Ya-Ya Teahouse (pic below) was one of the samples I tried. I had hopes that with a name like 'refined' and six years of age it would hold some goodness. Unfortunately it was underwhelming, very dry, full of woody twigs (as many 'fu' seem to be) and light on flavor. Could it be that this tea also does well with moderate (65+%) humidity in storage? I get the sense that too dry storage kills these teas.

Sorry for the terrible iPad photo.

Image


I think that's what fu zhuan is meant to be. It has to have certain percentage of twigs to make the brick aerated enough for fungal growth.
This is a regular grade fu zhuan and I think it looks scarier than yours:
[url]http://steepster.com/teas/hunan-yiyang-tea-factory/16800-fu-zhuan
[/url]
There are two tastings on this page, one is made by me on the regular grade fu zhuan. The other one made by cultureflip is actually on another "refined" version of fu zhuan (and put on this page because there is no page for the other one) which is this one:
http://gingkobay.blogspot.com/2011/02/cnnp-hua-factory-hand-constructed-fu.html
This version is "refined" only when compared with the "rough" version. But this is pretty much the most refined a fu zhuan can get, and it took some modern technique and some worry (because of "short of twigs") to make sure the brick could bear fungal growth.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby ethan » Oct 17th, '12, 19:42

gingkoseto, Thank you for that info. One could easily fail to assume that so much wood had a useful purpose.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby BioHorn » Oct 17th, '12, 22:55

gingkoseto,
I just ordered a sampler from this company. I have had their big brick from cha
wangshop. It was drinkable, but not something to hoard :!:
http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/2010-shaanxi-shouzhu-hand-made-jingwei-fu-zhuan-1kg.html

One question. Are the different weight bricks from the hunan Fu Zhuan company each made of the same grade tea?
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 18th, '12, 18:07

BioHorn wrote:gingkoseto,
I just ordered a sampler from this company. I have had their big brick from cha
wangshop. It was drinkable, but not something to hoard :!:
http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/2010-shaanxi-shouzhu-hand-made-jingwei-fu-zhuan-1kg.html

One question. Are the different weight bricks from the hunan Fu Zhuan company each made of the same grade tea?

This looks very nice and is a refined grade. This is from Shanxi province, which was also a famous producing region of Hei Cha in history.
In the past, there was pretty much just one grade of Hunan fu zhuan (the old-leaf, very twiggy grade) and all I saw were of the same size. But in recent years there are various grades and various sizes.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 18th, '12, 18:12

ethan wrote:gingkoseto, Thank you for that info. One could easily fail to assume that so much wood had a useful purpose.

You are welcome :D Although the wood serves a purpose, I guess at the beginning it was used because it's cheap. Fu zhuan was considered a very cheap tea (before it became trendy recently). But I think when it's made well, it's an excellent example of cheap and good tea.
Ironically, the low grade, twiggy fu zhuan I had, I didn't find any "golden flower" on it. The higher grades ones I had recently, all have abundant "golden flowers", although it's supposed to be harder to raise flowers on less woody tea. I think it's because those higher grade ones are more carefully made.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby chrl42 » Oct 18th, '12, 23:54

Shouldn't this move to post-fermented (Puerh) section?
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby chrl42 » Oct 18th, '12, 23:59

gingkoseto wrote:
BioHorn wrote:gingkoseto,
I just ordered a sampler from this company. I have had their big brick from cha
wangshop. It was drinkable, but not something to hoard :!:
http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/2010-shaanxi-shouzhu-hand-made-jingwei-fu-zhuan-1kg.html

One question. Are the different weight bricks from the hunan Fu Zhuan company each made of the same grade tea?

This looks very nice and is a refined grade. This is from Shanxi province, which was also a famous producing region of Hei Cha in history.
In the past, there was pretty much just one grade of Hunan fu zhuan (the old-leaf, very twiggy grade) and all I saw were of the same size. But in recent years there are various grades and various sizes.

All those strolling in Maliandao..today I realized shaanxi produced fuzhuan, too(usually comes from Hunan)
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby jcov » Oct 19th, '12, 10:44

This thread was most useful. I've been thinking about trying some Hei Cha for a WHILE but just have been sticking to other kinds of tea. Ginko, for 'experiences' sake, do you think a person who's never had it go for the refined version or does trying the more coarse version first adds to the learning factor?

I'm just wondering because sometimes, I've found that not going directly for higher end products at first actually helps in the better appreciation of some teas, since sometimes 'refined' doesn't necessarily mean 'better', it means it has a processing that differs from more commonly available ones and perhaps add some nuances to the tea. Although, I've also found myself saying 'AHHHHhhh.... THAT is why this one is more expensive'.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 19th, '12, 12:26

chrl42 wrote:All those strolling in Maliandao..today I realized shaanxi produced fuzhuan, too(usually comes from Hunan)

I suspect they were once at the rim of bankruptcy and probably was saved by the resurrection of hei cha culture, which was largely funded by Hunan government and companies. :D
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 19th, '12, 12:32

jcov wrote:This thread was most useful. I've been thinking about trying some Hei Cha for a WHILE but just have been sticking to other kinds of tea. Ginko, for 'experiences' sake, do you think a person who's never had it go for the refined version or does trying the more coarse version first adds to the learning factor?

I'm just wondering because sometimes, I've found that not going directly for higher end products at first actually helps in the better appreciation of some teas, since sometimes 'refined' doesn't necessarily mean 'better', it means it has a processing that differs from more commonly available ones and perhaps add some nuances to the tea. Although, I've also found myself saying 'AHHHHhhh.... THAT is why this one is more expensive'.


I think the refined version tastes much better and is like a different tea. Many of the refined version are not too expensive either. But the prices of hei cha fluctuate a lot in recent years (it must be market factors instead of the increase of the true value of the tea). The newly produced rough version is very cheap (I think puerh shop has one or a few).

Overall I feel different types of hei cha are very different in taste don't even seem to belong to the same category.
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Re: Fu Zhuan "Hei Cha"

Postby jcov » Oct 20th, '12, 02:33

Interesting. I feel like you just described my first experiences with Puerhs years ago with the "Overall I feel different types of hei cha are very different in taste don't even seem to belong to the same category."

Thanks!
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