2014 Gaojia Shan Guan Gong Fuzhuan via YS [Episode 175]

The rancid side of Hunan Fuzhuan. This yellow flowered tea also comes from Scott at Yunnan Sourcing. The 2014 Gaojia Shan Guan Gong..


10 responses to “2014 Gaojia Shan Guan Gong Fuzhuan via YS [Episode 175]”

        • Me too. It’s from Yiyang Tea Factory, which I visited a few years back. They don’t pine smoke their teas (hurray). I don’t think I’ve seen such a tiny brick before. I’m also not sure exactly what kind of tea it might be. In brick form, I know 茯砖,花砖, 和 黑砖。 The latter two are more tightly compressed (typically no ‘golden flowers’), so the bricks are on the heavier side and feel substantial. 200g is light. I have some small 茯砖 bricks– ~5.25″x4.5″x1.5″–that weigh 400g (rather high quality, 2007 and 2008, from a small factory that I believe no longer exists 紫艺). And 茯砖 bricks are typically loosely pressed and therefore on the light side (with the exception of some newer varieties out there that I’ve seen). So I’m curious about a 200g brick and looking forward to the tasting.

  1. Are you planning a heicha compendium? Of all the tea genres this is probably the most confusing – lots of variations and not much info (in English).

    • Not currently. I agree with it being very confusing, but I don’t know nearly enough to write about it.. Perhaps in the future.

  2. Well I’ve got a somewhat more aged one with material from 2011 and it was pressed in 2015. It is quite good to drink and last a while with a somewhat woody taste. This really fits the tea because I definitely had some big sticks in it. Well at least it was way easier to break apart compared to some of my pu erh cakes.

    I’m considering getting some more from a cheaper vendor and compare it. Taste-wise it was pretty nice and I do not get the pu erh side effects like having to eat something or all the tea will go down the toilet. When I forget the steeping time over brewing is only possible with to much leaf I think. A steeping time of 5 minutes was good although a bit more strong.

  3. Hi James
    What are the optimal storage conditions for Hunan Hei Cha if you are looking to do further aging? I would love to see more info on how various types of Hei Cha are processed / manufactured.

  4. Fu Zhuan will nearly always consist of a blend of leaves variably sourced. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find leaves from wild trees today (even if so, they’d be blended with plantation product). Generally, the material is not of super high quality (the material used in good ‘Tian Jian’ is supposed to be finer, to be sure). This tea was traditionally produced for the ‘minorities’ of the border regions–Tibetans, Uighers, Mongolians, who cook it, add milk/butter, etc. It still is. Today, however, manufacturers are also experimenting and trying to finesse a product that will appeal more to the rising urban middle-class of tea lovers. Generally, Fu Zhuan is post-fermented (wodui fajiao) for, if memory serves, only several hours (compare this to shupu, which is post-fermented for up to two months). The microbial fermentation process is merely jump-started. The moacha is dried, most traditionally, using a ‘qixingzao’, which is a large concrete bed with 7 holes into which are blown heat and smoke from burning pine wood. All Hunan darks made by the famous Baishaxi factory are dried and smoked in this manner (unless they have changed most recently; I visited this factory and have pictures of the ‘qixingzao’ somewhere). The well-regarded Gaoma Erxi factory will also use pine wood (though I heard a few years back that they were going to move away from this traditional smoking method of drying). But not all factories dry/smoke their tea in this manner. Notably, a famous factory for Fu Zhuan, The Yiyang Tea Factory, does not. (FWIW, I’m not a fan of the pine smoked flavor at all.) After the moacha is pressed into bricks, the bricks are stored (unwrapped and well separated, so that they can continue drying and air out) in a temperature/humidity controlled room for circa a couple weeks (again, if memory serves); this room is also full of the ‘golden flower’ spores, which nonetheless are supposed to be a bacteria that occurs naturally in the terroir of that region (Yiyang/Anhua). For post-factory storage, I would recommend more (rather than less) humidity–you want to keep those ‘golden flowers’ alive. I like Fu Zhuan young. But I also like it aged, if it’s stored nicely. When you’ve infused the flavor down, you can boil the used leaves in an iron pot for still more nice drinking tea. You can even soak your feet in a pan of water infused with used Fu Zhuan–I’ve seen this done in Hunan (something tells me James might benefit from a full bath in Fu Zhuan-infused water :-P). The world of Hunan Hua Juans is quite different. I won’t attempt even a rough explanation here; suffice it to say that these can be very exciting teas, if you can find nicely aged ones. I have lots of all kinds of Hunan teas. But you guys are still ‘wet behind the ears’ wild about your palate pandering raw pu’ers. Maybe in a few years, when you’re less silly about sampling unfamiliar stuff, I’ll send you some Hunan darks :-).

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