OK, what to tell about dark tea. I do not have much experience with it apart from pu-erh. In this challenge so far, I have reviewed a Liu An Hei Cha from Anhui. Its similarity with shu pu-erh was unquestionable.
A few days ago, our guest blogger Hidde, posted about Fu Zhuan Cha from 2016 and his comments sparked my interest. I cannot call if I had Fu Zhuan Hei Cha before although I saw it in China vastly advertised (possibly due to its perceived weight-reducing health benefits). I was a bit sceptical about this tea, especially regarding the golden flowers shining through the pieces of the brick, for some reason it did not feel appetising.
I got hold of this Heicha from 2000, and its wet leaves smelt so dump that I prepared myself a mouldy flavour. Even considered that the tea might be ‘off’. However, the moment I took a sip, it surprised me. The taste was not only dissimilar to shu pu-erh but also one of the sweetest flavours I ever tasted from a tea. It was exciting, indeed. I had dried red fruits, starchiness, some tartness and sharpness which transformed into sweetness at the end. It was a concentrated flavour, full-bodied almost like a fruity black tea but deeper, sweeter and better.
The seller commented that this tea has a medicinal aroma, which I could also feel but could not name.
What can I say, I was prejudiced, and this tea slapped me on the face with a pleasant feeling?
Origin: Anhua, Hunan province China
Harvest time: 2000
Leave colour: Dark brown and black populated golden flowers
Liquor colour: Reddish brown
Tea aroma: Fruity and earthy
Tea taste: Full-bodied, with a hint of tartness and dried red fruits with lingering sweetness
Steeping/brewing: I placed about 8 gr in my tea pot and steeped for 20 sec. I added around +10 sec for consecutive steeping. It steeps multiple times.
Shelf life: Up to 30 years and possibly more