Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.


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Aug 21st, '17, 04:21
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by john.b » Aug 21st, '17, 04:21

I just reviewed a Liu Bao, a 2012 Three Cranes 25017 Recipe. It was as musty as any tea I've ever tried. It wasn't awful, but there was some pronounced basement-mildew and fungus to it.

That would have been due to storage conditions, wouldn't it? Then after a number of infusions the taste moved to straight charcoal. Oddly I still liked the tea; the novelty and a few other aspects made it interesting, and it wasn't as off as that description probably sounds. I think it'll benefit from messing around with brewing parameters a bit.

It's a bit unrelated but I compared it to a shou I had bought at the same time. Often that's about similar teas making it easier to pick up subtle aspects, or about placing one tea against another I'm familiar with, but in some cases it's just to save me from writing two separate reviews. Drinking the teas and making notes is simple enough but the editing part is tiresome. For drinking unrelated teas like these it probably does take away from the experience and the level of detail in the evaluation though. That post:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... o-and.html

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Aug 21st, '17, 15:07
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Aug 21st, '17, 15:07

john.b wrote: I just reviewed a Liu Bao, a 2012 Three Cranes 25017 Recipe. It was as musty as any tea I've ever tried. It wasn't awful, but there was some pronounced basement-mildew and fungus to it.

That would have been due to storage conditions, wouldn't it? Then after a number of infusions the taste moved to straight charcoal. Oddly I still liked the tea; the novelty and a few other aspects made it interesting, and it wasn't as off as that description probably sounds. I think it'll benefit from messing around with brewing parameters a bit.

It's a bit unrelated but I compared it to a shou I had bought at the same time. Often that's about similar teas making it easier to pick up subtle aspects, or about placing one tea against another I'm familiar with, but in some cases it's just to save me from writing two separate reviews. Drinking the teas and making notes is simple enough but the editing part is tiresome. For drinking unrelated teas like these it probably does take away from the experience and the level of detail in the evaluation though. That post:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.co ... o-and.html
I'd suggest airing out the liu bao for a year or more! Place in a paper bag if it isn't already in one and let it sit somewhere (sans dehumidifiers/air conditioning).

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Aug 21st, '17, 23:20
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by john.b » Aug 21st, '17, 23:20

jayinhk wrote:
I'd suggest airing out the liu bao for a year or more! Place in a paper bag if it isn't already in one and let it sit somewhere (sans dehumidifiers/air conditioning).
Thanks, I was considering that, based on running across lots of similar ideas. It came in a multi-layer, sealed packaging, as teas tend to, but it probably needs some air. Interesting that you mention a time-frame, a year.

Next I was thinking through where to put it, since I don't really want scents like that anywhere near my other tea, and tea hanging out throughout the house freaks my wife out. I could hide it in my wardrobe (like a closet, like in the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe stories). That might add a nice background scent, since it's made of a hardwood, and then I could walk around smelling like musty tea for awhile.

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Aug 24th, '17, 02:24
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Aug 24th, '17, 02:24

john.b wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
I'd suggest airing out the liu bao for a year or more! Place in a paper bag if it isn't already in one and let it sit somewhere (sans dehumidifiers/air conditioning).
Thanks, I was considering that, based on running across lots of similar ideas. It came in a multi-layer, sealed packaging, as teas tend to, but it probably needs some air. Interesting that you mention a time-frame, a year.

Next I was thinking through where to put it, since I don't really want scents like that anywhere near my other tea, and tea hanging out throughout the house freaks my wife out. I could hide it in my wardrobe (like a closet, like in the Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe stories). That might add a nice background scent, since it's made of a hardwood, and then I could walk around smelling like musty tea for awhile.
Just from my experience, the really funky stuff needs at least a year to air out! I have a 7581 brick that was wet stored by an unscrupulous dealer. I've had it airing out, broken up, for two years. Might be time to give it another try!

Funny re: the closet...got a shelf on the living room or in your study that you can stash it on?

Oct 18th, '17, 14:04
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by BackPorch » Oct 18th, '17, 14:04

Just ordered a 2013 Liu Bao “0207” Three Cranes and 2015 V93 Menghai from Yunnan Sourcing.

Been reading about Hei Cha for a while and finally pulled the trigger and ordered a cake. Super interested in how it’s going to taste. Got a new porcelain gaiwan for it as well. I’ll have to report back when it finally gets here.


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Oct 18th, '17, 23:09
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Oct 18th, '17, 23:09

BackPorch wrote: Just ordered a 2013 Liu Bao “0207” Three Cranes and 2015 V93 Menghai from Yunnan Sourcing.

Been reading about Hei Cha for a while and finally pulled the trigger and ordered a cake. Super interested in how it’s going to taste. Got a new porcelain gaiwan for it as well. I’ll have to report back when it finally gets here.


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The Three Cranes cakes are 'new style' liu bao and quite pleasant to drink! The V93 is likely to need several years of storage to come into its own; gonna be kinda funky when received. You'll see what I mean when you try them side by side!

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Oct 19th, '17, 03:45
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by john.b » Oct 19th, '17, 03:45

I may have mentioned this already but I reviewed a 2012 version of three cranes Liu Bao from Yunnan Sourcing that was on the really musty side. It tasted almost exactly like that smell in a real root cellar, which most people wouldn't be familiar with, so some version of a damp cave would do.

I reviewed two different Liu Bao from 2014 and 2015 and the newer one, a higher quality version, was much better than those other two teas, not musty at all. Both of those were from a Chinatown shop, and it seems odd that a three year old tea would've picked up that much damp storage taste that fast, with the 2015 version none at all. Somehow slate and char seem inherent in some versions and then storage can shift that towards mildew.

I don't have much in the way of conclusions to offer. A Chinese-Malaysian friend is sending a version to try from there, a tea type he's been drinking his whole life, so that might work well as a baseline for the others. I like all those teas better than it probably sounds but based only on what I've tried (those and one other version) the type isn't a favorite.

I've had an unusual experience before where once you finally try a better version it all sort of clicks, and even the others that aren't quite as good make more sense after. It would be hard to completely separate that from just becoming acclimated, to picking up an acquired taste for a type.

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Oct 19th, '17, 05:49
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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Oct 19th, '17, 05:49

john.b wrote: I may have mentioned this already but I reviewed a 2012 version of three cranes Liu Bao from Yunnan Sourcing that was on the really musty side. It tasted almost exactly like that smell in a real root cellar, which most people wouldn't be familiar with, so some version of a damp cave would do.

I reviewed two different Liu Bao from 2014 and 2015 and the newer one, a higher quality version, was much better than those other two teas, not musty at all. Both of those were from a Chinatown shop, and it seems odd that a three year old tea would've picked up that much damp storage taste that fast, with the 2015 version none at all. Somehow slate and char seem inherent in some versions and then storage can shift that towards mildew.

I don't have much in the way of conclusions to offer. A Chinese-Malaysian friend is sending a version to try from there, a tea type he's been drinking his whole life, so that might work well as a baseline for the others. I like all those teas better than it probably sounds but based only on what I've tried (those and one other version) the type isn't a favorite.

I've had an unusual experience before where once you finally try a better version it all sort of clicks, and even the others that aren't quite as good make more sense after. It would be hard to completely separate that from just becoming acclimated, to picking up an acquired taste for a type.
Liu bao, like traditional storage pu erh in HK, is indeed put in a basement to ferment rapidly for a few years before several years of airing out. Your three-year-old liu bao needs time to breathe and off gas. You need a nice pin zini pot to knock down the storage taste.

The 2015 stuff sounds like new school liu bao, which is quite different from the classic stuff.

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