Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

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

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Mar 7th 16 7:40 pm
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Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Mar 7th 16 7:40 pm

After talking to Chip, I decided to start this thread since a lot of us are into hei cha too! Welcome to the dark side of tea!

Curious about hei cha and what it is? This should help:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermented_tea

While sheng and shu pu erh are included under the hei cha umbrella, we'll exclude pu erh from this thread as we already have one exclusively for pu erh.

Japanese and Korean post-fermented tea discussion is also welcome here, as well as pickled tea salad discussion (yum)!

I recently tried EoT's 2003 Wuzhou liu bao and while palatable, I didn't find it outstanding. Of course EoT carry significantly older liu bao too.

I've tried three liu baos so far, and the best by far is a 100g bag I bought at a small store in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Very flavorful. At the time I thought the price paid was too high, but it is outstanding tea compared to the younger samples I've tried since I bought it. I bought some locally in Hong Kong that was a little more interesting than the Wuzhou, but it also paled in comparison to the good 80s stuff I got in KK.

My recent attempt to purchase a 2005 basket of Wuzhou liu bao was thwarted by SF Express, who won't let tea through to HK for some sellers, but let CNNP ship me as much pu erh as they want! Go figure...
Last edited by jayinhk on Mar 8th 16 1:08 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by debunix » Mar 7th 16 8:21 pm

Perhaps a little introductory review of what constitutes Hei Cha, since quick googling reveals that at least some sources suggest that shu puerh qualifies, and others don't mention it. I was enjoying some shu pu just this AM...

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by shah82 » Mar 7th 16 8:22 pm

puerh (ripe and mature) is heicha. Needs to specifically exclude puerh.

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by BioHorn » Mar 7th 16 8:45 pm

This thread on Fu Zhuan Cha would also need to be included:

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=17858

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by BW85 » Mar 7th 16 9:29 pm

I've recently been drinking a lot of the 1970's SSHC liu bao sold by EoT. Great for this time of the year. Calm, satisfying qi

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by Drax » Mar 7th 16 11:10 pm

I've enjoyed the 2005 liu bao that a fellow member offered here a couple years back. Bought two packages of it, so I suppose it'll last awhile, especially at my current sampling rate. :D

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by debunix » Mar 8th 16 12:04 am

With the clarifications above about the identity of Hei Cha, I cannot be sure I have ever drunk any. I think I've encountered at least one tea that was very puerh-like without being puerh, probably from Yunnan Sourcing, but I cannot find a note about it.

How would you characterize a 'typical' hei cha as different from a nice plummy earthy ripe puerh? Is that as pointless a sentence as 'how does puerh [in all it's infinite variety] differ from green tea?'

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by jayinhk » Mar 8th 16 1:12 am

Other hei cha varieties are distinctly different from shu pu erh. You'll just have to try a few and see for yourself! It is really a vast world all its own and each hei cha style is very much distinct. Much like how oolongs are all part of the same family, but can vary widely in flavor and processing.

Liu bao is made with significantly smaller var. sinensis leaves and tastes nothing at all like pu erh. Fu zhuan is significantly sweeter and the e. cristatum significantly alter the aroma and taste, too, making fu zhuan sweeter and perhaps fruitier than in shu.

I edited the original post. Good suggestions, guys!

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by debunix » Mar 22nd 16 3:13 am

I found a tiny disk of Hei Cha at the back of my cabinet--a sample that might have come with some teaware....but I can't recall from whom:

2009 Xinhua Qu Jiang Bao Pian, Hunan Heicha, a sample that might have come with an order of teaware….

First, covered the very tightly compressed thin disk (marked with chinese text) with boiling water and let sit a few seconds before draining and letting hydrate with the remaining water a few minutes.

Initial infusion—15 seconds in a 60 mL Petr Novak unglazed shiboridashi: barely anything in this infusion—just a bit of earthy mushrooms, very dilute—will give a little longer next infusion.

At the 2nd infusion, the disk of leaves was now a mass of well-hydrated leaves, and I decided to make the infusion flash. This was a good choice, and the infusion was very strong—zowie! I was pleased to have room to dilute it several fold in my cup before drinking the rest. A bit of time to cool and it is LOVELY—sweet, earthy, mushrooms, plums, raisins, new turned earth ready for planting.

3rd infusion, flash infused, and I gauged how much to dilute the brew by the color. Expresso dark is too strong, and a nice caramel color is caramelicious—caramel, plum, raisin, earth. Still a little bite, suggesting this one will have a lot of staying power.

4th infusion, thinking now that this reminds me very much of the 2008 Bamboo-aged Yi Wu puerh I got from Norbu, that I’m still making my way through ever so slowly (want to space out the lovely stuff). That mix of raisin and caramel and bit of bite is so like it. And I'm still diluting the flash infusions. To give a better idea of the leaf:water ratio, the hydrated leaves fill the little shibo about halfway, and I'm diluting the result about 1:3 with additional hot water before drinking. Impressive.

This tea is definitely going to last into tomorrow. Maybe I'll even share it, if I'm feeling exceptionally nice to my office tea buddies.

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by Jaymo » Mar 23rd 16 7:59 am

I had the 80s Vive Teji Liu Bao from SampleTea awhile back and enjoyed it quite a bit. It had the same earthy/soil notes that I like in some shu and traditional/wet stored sheng puerh. It was definitely darker/more earthy than pu though. I've been meaning to include more liu bao in orders, but haven't ordered from anywhere lately that has any decent looking lu bao.


Chawangshop looks like it has quite a large variety of various types of heicha. Anyone tried much of theirs? If so, how was it?

http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/hei-cha.html

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by CWarren » Mar 23rd 16 3:47 pm

Edited

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by debunix » Mar 25th 16 5:10 am

My experience with the Hei Cha that was so like the 2008 YiWu bamboo aged sheng from Norbu that today I brewed up the YiWu for comparison, and indeed, it was VERY like the Hei Cha. It was bulk brewed in the thermos out of necessity, so I did not get to go through the usual progression, but the mix of caramel, sweet, earthy, spicy was definitely as similar as I'd remembered.

I will have to investigage other Hei Cha, for sure.

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by Nighttrain » Mar 26th 16 7:53 pm

hi - I just ordered a bunch of liu bao.

I have a yixing dedicated to ripe puer. I'm wondering what people think of me using it for the liu bao too? Or is that bad idea jeans? Should I stick to gaiwan?

Thanks!

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by Nighttrain » Mar 26th 16 8:18 pm

nm - search and you shall find... http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=106131

if anyone disagrees let me know!

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Re: Which HEI CHA are you drinking?

by JakubT » Apr 15th 16 9:40 am

Jaymo wrote:I had the 80s Vive Teji Liu Bao from SampleTea awhile back and enjoyed it quite a bit. It had the same earthy/soil notes that I like in some shu and traditional/wet stored sheng puerh. It was definitely darker/more earthy than pu though. I've been meaning to include more liu bao in orders, but haven't ordered from anywhere lately that has any decent looking lu bao.


Chawangshop looks like it has quite a large variety of various types of heicha. Anyone tried much of theirs? If so, how was it?

http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/hei-cha.html
Chawangshop is probably the best source of heicha I'm aware of. For me, even the best of heicha is usually not better than a very nice puerh, but then again, heicha is a lot cheaper, especially in the aged tea section.

E.g., this one tastes lovely (it's less earthy than most heichas, rather nutty and fruity, almost like Tie Guan Yin in a way): http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/he ... -200g.html
Fu zhuans from Hunan are usually very nice (they're based around yellow mold, so make sure you're not subconsciously scared of such things)

This is a good tea with a feeling of aged tea - the taste isn't very strong or exciting, but it's a good, deep, calming tea: http://www.chawangshop.com/index.php/he ... -500g.html