Friday, December 16, 2016

Compressed Black Tea from China

There's always new discoveries in the world of tea.  My friend's son-in-law travels to China frequently on business and brings tea back to her.  Her latest gifts were compressed tea. She showed it to me, but the only two words we could read were Xiangan Dark Tea and AnHua Bailiangcha.  Everything else was written in Chinese.

Knowing I like research, she gave it to me to bring home to see what I could find.  I took it to our favorite Chinese Restaurant and showed it to the owner.  She said it was a very high-grade tea, and to break small chunks from the log to steep, but couldn't tell me much beyond that.  Anyone in blogland seen this tea before?

I discovered on the Internet that AnHua is a county in the Hunan Province of southern China.  Bai Liang Cha is a special compressed dark tea similar to Pu-Er, and the longer it's kept the better it becomes.

Xiangan is a famous brand of tea in China.  A website was printed on the label attached to the tea -  The Google description of the website was written mostly in Chinese, but printed in English was the warning: "This site may harm your computer." Needless to say, I didn't go to the website,  but I discovered hei cha is Chinese for black tea, and one of six major Chinese teas that go through a post-fermentation after the initial processing.

The tea is packaged in a cylinder shape and wrapped in woven palm and bamboo.

Once you get through the palm and bamboo, there's another paper-like wrapping that tightly adheres to the compressed tea.  It reminded me of shucking corn!  ;-)

I've seen compressed tea bricks and Pu-Erh tea cakes before, but this was a first time for a tea roll/log.  It doesn't have an earthy smell like Pu-Erh - as a matter-of-fact I couldn't detect any scent or smell. Because it was evening [when I limit caffeine intake] I didn't brew the tea, but I will one day soon. My research revealed the tea can be brewed for many infusions and steeped for a long time without astringency or bitterness.

My friend's son-in-law also brought her small containers of individually wrapped round compressed disks about the size of a .50 cent piece.  The owner at the Chinese restaurant said when brewing by the cup/mug to score it in fourths and use one-fourth.  An entire disk would be used for a 4-cup teapot.

On another subject... my daughter had knee replacement surgery yesterday and will be coming to my house to recuperate after she leaves the hospital, so my blogging will be intermittent until after the holidays.

1 comment:

  1. Those teas are quite interesting! Best wishes to your sweet daughter for a speedy recovery from her surgery. I know you will give her the best care!


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