Yixing Hong Cha
In doing my neverending great black tea research, I came across Yixing Hong Cha. This wasn’t my first reference, but it is the best to use here. http://www.chinaexpat.com/2008/05/08/5-uncommon-chinese-teas-why-you-should-drink-them.html/
My curiosity piqued, I found some at a Chinese tea company, Jing Tea Shop, (not to be confused with JING Tea). http://www.jingteashop.com/pd-jing-tea-shop-red-tea-yxhc.cfm
I guess I got the last of it, they now say they are out! I got it yesterday and it really is good stuff. However, when you add shipping from China and the small amounts they sell in, it would be pricey to stock up on even if they did have it in stock.
I understand from other googling, that this is a common but loved everyday tea in China, but it is not exported so much. Is anyone else familiar with it? Does anyone sell it from the US?
As for the list of uncommon teas, anyone familiar with the others listed? I have the kuding tea, which is an acquired taste to say the least. It is and tastes medicinal. But it has actually made my stomach feel much better when upset.
Bi Lou Chun is really good! That’s the only one on the list I’ve heard of.
I did find these reviews, finally.
I found out that Pi Lo Chun is the same as Bi Luo Chun and so, I have tried it. I’m probably not a good judge of green teas though and I’ve only brewed it once. I’ll make some more soon.
Just noticed that Norbu Tea (http://www.norbutea.com/black_tea) just added Yixing Hong Cha to their 2011 line-up. It looks to be very reasonable, but I have no experience with their teas or website. Sounds like one I would like to try! :)
Yixing hongcha is much easier to find now than it was 3 or 4 years ago, with the growth in popularity of hongcha on the mainland. It is generally not an expensive or immensely complex tea, but I like it quite a lot, since trying it in Shanghai in 2007. I stupidly didn’t buy any then, but did get a large bag which a friend got (basically for free) while in Yixing. As with many reds, it is made from the same leaves as a green tea local to that area. The taste tends to be a little bit fruity, with some caramel overtones, and if brewed a bit heavier, sometimes you get a kind of dark chocolate taste.
I tried the Jing one recently, and found it a bit too mellow or lacking in bright notes, though not terrible. I also tried one from RJ Tea House on Ebay, which I thought was pretty good. If you’re willing to spend a little more, my friend sells one at his shop:
There is also apparently a large leaf variety, which he also has, but apparently none for sale at the moment. He’s the only person I’ve met who has the large leaf style.
See also this post:
and this Teachat thread: