I only got 3 strong steeps out of this but what was there was so good. This isn’t going to be just anybody’s cup due to heicha being, well, fermented and the taste rather medicinal but it’s a woody, nutty and herbal medicinal as opposed to fruit.

Gone gaiwan. 6g, 100mL, 205F, 10s rinse followed by 7 steeps at 20/25/30/45s and 1/2/4m. I’ll try boiling the spent leaf and see what happens. Edit: oily, woody, nutty and tart

The dry leaf smelled of light fermentation, wood, smoke, meat and roasted bamboo. Warming and rinsing brought out additions of bay leaf, a strong savory note that reminded me of ginseng chicken soup and cigar shop. There was also that betel nut note mentioned in Yunnan Sourcing’s description. I’ve never had betel nut, only the leaf, but the taste seems like it might be similar.

The dark liquor was surprisingly thick and creamy-oily in those first several steeps. It seemed to slide over the center of my tongue and then curtain down the sides. It was also a tad numbing like Togo mentioned. Neat texture for sure. The aroma was quite savory with pleasant fermentation and betel nut? I could also taste the betel nut in the alkaline brew along with bay leaf, bamboo, some very slight fruity medicine, and tartness like red plum skin or a light dry red wine. There was a pleasant coffee-like taste/bitterness that added to the experience.

If there ever was a winter time black tea to have in the evening, this is it. I’ll probably purchase more of this since it’s so dang cheap at $6/100g. Thanks for the sample Togo, wherever you are!

Flavors: Bamboo, Bitter, Black Currant, Chicken Soup, Coffee, Creamy, Dark Wood, Herbs, Meat, Medicinal, Nutty, Pleasantly Sour, Plums, Red Wine, Roasted Chicken, Smoke, Smooth, Tobacco

205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

I prefer straight loose-leaf and compressed tea, teabags for ease of use and herbal teas/tisanes. My favorite teas come from all over including China, Taiwan, Nepal, Darjeeling, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and Georgia. The only one that doesn’t do much for me is Ceylon.

I abandoned my preference reference in early 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative description and because everybody uses a different rating scale. I’m still comfortable toggling the ‘Not/Recommended’ button.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Some things about me:

Endless curiosity and fascination have led me to wear many hats. Stubbornness and naivety have led me down dark paths. The restlessness isn’t improving with age but at least at 37, I’m finally aware of my nature. I have high physical energy and love being around people but am easily exhausted. My most recent caricature is that of an environmental engineering masters dropout working in retail electrical sales. An impatient woman with a knack for making stupid decisions, a lover of Jesus, science, art, beauty and language who happens to ride a motorcycle and bicycle, dabbles in sax, wields a chainsaw and drinks tea out of tiny pots. They call me “Trouble”.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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