2006 Feng Hua "Qi Cha" Sheng Pu Erh Tea
‘Qi Cha’ literally translates as ‘Strange’ or ‘Unusual Tea.’ This unusual tea cake is composed of blended wild arbor tea from the area around Yong De County in Lincang Prefecture of Yunnan Province. The factory considers the exact growing area to be a commercial secret, so all they were willing to divulge was that it was grown at an altitude of 7,500 ft somewhere in the Yong De area.
What makes this tea so unusual is the flavor profile. To me, this tea tastes like a mix of Dian Hong (the famous Yunnan black tea) and Pu-Erh. I had a very puzzled reaction to this tea the first time I tried it because it really does not fit into just one flavor category. The soothing malty sweetness of Dian Hong comes through more prominently in the first steepings with a mild raw Pu-Erh type flavor in the background, while the later steepings have less of the Dian Hong and more of the Pu-Erh. This tea has mellowed a fair amount in the 18 months or so since I first tasted it and has become smooth and delicious with a pleasant and slightly drying astringency. The large tea leaves are an attractive dark color, and the steeped liquor is deep golden amber. This is one tea that really does live up to its name!