"Cha Qi", what is it?

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

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Jun 29th 09 2:37 pm
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by shogun89 » Jun 29th 09 2:37 pm

hmm, its a blend, i did not know that, thank you for telling me. And no, 2003 is the only year I have had, I now feel very fortunate to have a brick of this stuff.

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by TIM » Jun 29th 09 2:50 pm

apache wrote:
TIM wrote:The kind of Cha Qi I prefer is providing a more consious and calm state of mind. Like most monks are looking for while meditation. You can feel every muscle and pulse moving in your body and be very focus to your own being and moment.
This really interests me, which particular pu erh gives you this? Or any good one will do?
Most better grade aged (20-30) puerh give me the calmer qi. Wuyi old bushes oolong gives a more active/hot qi.

Remember my first lesson learning Puerh Cha Qi from a master, was drinking something really old and really good brewed by him. That gives me a bench mark of what good puerh is about, rather then spending many years on mid-low grades tea or vendor's nonsense experience/claims.

A good pot of 50's Red Label might cost $500+. But if shared amount tea friends in a session, it's way cheaper then buying mild/low end products for a coupe of years. Trying to figure out what good qi is amount low standard tea and end up with regrets is what I would like to avoid.

IMO cha qi from a good puerh is not an illusion, you don't really need to be "In the mood" to feel the same qi from a previous session. If the tea does not help in trouble times, what good is it?

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by beecrofter » Jun 29th 09 5:13 pm

While the cha qi from good tea may not be an illusion, neither are mindset and focus.

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cha qi

by zhi zheng » Jun 29th 09 5:17 pm

A reductionist view:

cha qi is what makes it cha. If it didn't have any, it woudn't be cha, it would be something else. No need to mystify it; bananas have banana qi, tea has tea qi.

A not insignificant part of what makes it tea surely is, as others have pointed out, the caffeine, tanin, theine and what have you. Isn't that partly why it tastes like it does?

The amounts of all of those things, and whatever else makes it tea, is going to vary from one tea to the next, so there surely can be no way to standardise the experience. And even if tea was standardised, we certainly are not.

The connection between tea and monks and meditation is also clear. Who's read Bill Porter's "Road To Heaven"?

If you're thinking of sitting up all night meditating, some tea could be just the thing to give a little assistance - btw. A good monk is surely not 'looking' for anything - but I'm sure making time and paying attention to what one's doing when making and drinking tea allows one to be more aware of the experience of drinking tea and how it affects the mind and body....

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by TIM » Jun 29th 09 7:59 pm

Image

The proper puerh tasting notes from tea judges usually consist of the level of Qi as a category (highlighted in green)

Above pics showing 3 puerh:
1. Early Red Label - Beginning of 1950's. Qi marked Strong
2. Late Red Label - End of 1950's. Qi marked Aggressive
3. 1982 First production of White Needle Golden lotus loose. My favorite loose so far. Qi marked weak.

Tasting notes: http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/200 ... -2008.html

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by bearsbearsbears » Jun 29th 09 8:44 pm

TIM wrote:The kind of Cha Qi I prefer is providing a more consious and calm state of mind. Like most monks are looking for while meditation. You can feel every muscle and pulse moving in your body and be very focus to your own being and moment.
+1

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by nada » Jun 29th 09 9:00 pm

bearsbearsbears wrote:
TIM wrote:The kind of Cha Qi I prefer is providing a more consious and calm state of mind. Like most monks are looking for while meditation. You can feel every muscle and pulse moving in your body and be very focus to your own being and moment.
+1
+1

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by Janine » Jun 29th 09 9:17 pm

I personally have never had the experience with anything but good tea - that it puts me in a good mood, like a veil of darkness lifting off the top of my head. I only experienced this very clearly once with a drive up into the mountains, when I was dealing with an enormously difficult problem that depressed me. The minute I got up above a certain elevation, I felt it all lift off my shoulders.

Good tea will all of a sudden put me in a good mood. This happens with puerhs frequently (at Imperial Tea and Tea Gallery many times) - and has also happened iwth a good complex black tea from an excellent source at Tillerman Tea in Napa, California yesterday.

I know that frequently people list physical "expressions" or experiences of the cha qi, but for me the most striking is this uplifting mood experience. Sometimes I can feel the "energy" rushing inward, toward a center at my heart, and sometimes it moves outward, expanding along my arms. (note: this is NOT caffeine, as Marshal already said). Once, I tasted a number one competition winning BaoChong from Red Circle Tea. The sensation was so strong of every little neuron firing off with pleasure right down to my arms I almost fell off my chair.

No, I'm not certifiable ;-)

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by betta » Jun 29th 09 9:54 pm

Since all of the puerh experts gather here, I want to ask this.

I switched from oolong to puerh and I thought it was only my imagination that puerh is very calming for unknown reason.
That day I had a session of monkey picked TGY from Imperial Tea and 2-3 hours later I brewed raw yiwu from Nada. After the first cup, there's an immediate calm feeling for no reason. It is somehow addicting. Since then I have to struggle to drink the rest of my oolong.
Note: The Yiwu I had is relatively young, it is 2007 cake, nothing like 50's very expensive cake.
Is this feeling also kind of "cha qi"?

Is there any specific guidance about what kind of cake have strong cha qi? broad leaf, small leaf, wild arbor, wild ancient tree or anything?

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by Janine » Jun 29th 09 9:57 pm

Definitely the calming is part of my experience. Puerh is also a traditional med. remedy for headache.

Others here know far more about the history of this tradition than I do, but it is my understanding that the old trees are valued for the depth of their roots and so what they absorb from the environment -- all adding to the cha qi. Wildness of the trees add yet more due to their place in nature. But there is no substitute for the experience of the tea. (You know, speaking of old and wild trees, this seems to be a corollary to our discussion about the oils in the tea)

(hi again betta :-))

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by shogun89 » Jun 29th 09 10:02 pm

Yes, calming is a type of cha qi. Old wild trees are often thought to have the best cha qi as they come from a rested pristine environment. Everything is just more natural which seems to produce this interesting "thing". confusing stuff eh?

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by Intuit » Jun 29th 09 10:42 pm

Old trees will have deep, well established roots and *may* produce higher concentrations of theanine and GABA, a function of nitrogen cycle chemistry that is most pronounced in young leaves grown under specific conditions*. The Japanese have perfected conversion of glutamine to GABA under N2 atmospheric fermentation conditions.

Changes in the Composition of the Xylem Exudate (sap) of Tea Plants (Camellia sinensis L.) during Recovery from Pruning. Annals of Botany 34: 825-833, 1970.

"Shading (a form of light stress) before spring harvest prevents certain types of amino acids like Theanine from turning into catechin, or tannin."
http://import.maunakeatea.com/content/view/14/27/

GABA and theanine boost 'qi' by limiting glutamate excitoxicity (overactivation of brain centers).

Determination of theanine, GABA, and other amino acids in green, oolong, black, and Pu-erh teas with dabsylation and high-performance liquid chromatography. J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 10;56(17):7637-43.

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf801795m

Abstract extract: "The data suggest that the tea source or the steps of tea-making may contribute to the theanine contents variations. High theanine contents of high-mountain tea were observed in both green tea and oolong tea. Furthermore, the raw (natural fermented) Pu-erh tea contained more theanine than ripe (wet fermented) Pu-erh tea, and the GABA contents in normal teas were generally lower than that in GABA tea."

GABA Tea Production
http://www.allgabatea.com/Producing_GABA_Tea.html

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by Drax » Jun 29th 09 11:00 pm

My experiences with "cha qi" have been pretty limited.

I have compared tasting notes with others and have noticed one component -- the timing is often different. I remember one in particular (a 60s pu'erh) that a taster noted the qi around the third cup. I didn't get hit until the sixth.

If it really draws from GABA and theanine, then it certainly draws from their concentrations. So depending on how strongly you brewed the tea, etc, you may experience things in a completely different way.

Then again, there's something to be said for the general meditative state of enjoying a cup of tea...

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by Victoria » Jun 29th 09 11:26 pm

As with Drax - My experiences with "cha qi" have been pretty limited also.

There is an everyday calming and balance that comes from tea, but I would not call that qi. That would be as zhi zheng stated, "bananas have banana qi, tea has tea qi".

But I have had an experience with an older VN Puerh that was like drinking whiskey.
A very strong warming effect that radiated throughout my body. I would love to have more of that.

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by Intuit » Jun 29th 09 11:46 pm

Arginine is a component of aged puerh tea and maybe linked to microbial fermentation (big if, I can't access the papers that mention it because they're not available yet - they're just preprint quotes); arginine induces nitric oxide (NO) release and vascular relaxation, causing a warm flush to be felt (vasodilation).