Entry level "Fu Tea” with a refreshing brew.
This tea comes from the Baishaxi tea company. A long-standing brand with a reputation quality and consistency. I’ve had good results from them in the past and this tea is no exception. The package is attractive in its color choices. Black with gold lettering gives a hint at whats inside. Inside they have an info pamphlet explaining the brand history.
The tea brick fits in the box snug and its wrapped in a parchment paper. Since you use a separate container to store the black tea these details are nice but not essential. The box is well made and shows the pride they have for their product.
This black tea is unusual to most western people. It will go through the process of full-oxidation, rolling, and drying. The last step will add a culture of europium cristatum. In other words it’s black tea with bacteria inside. Unlike pu-er where the bacteria is an agent for fermentation. This bacteria is consumed along with the tea. Much like probiotics inside yogurt.
Nicknamed “gold flower” it has allusions to all sorts of health benefits. The most common claim is a preventative for most cancers. Lacking any peer-reviewed studies these claims should stir skepticism.
The leafs are larger in size than green tea. They are well shaped and have little cutting or bruising. There is a fair amount of stems along with leaf but I think this adds to the flavor profile. This is an entry level fu tea and the grade of the leafs will be lower than offerings. Higher quality leafs will be smoother and more refined in taste.
The first step with Fu tea is to “wash” the tea and awaken the leafs. (Use 100C water and let it brew for 10-20 seconds.) Discard the water. You may wash the tea once but most people recommend two washings.
The first brew is light in taste and color. (100C water, brew for 30 seconds.) It gleams with a warm yellow appearance, much like rice wine. The initial brew gives smoky, earthy tastes with dominant black tea. There is no bitterness. I find the mouthfeel is medium in thickness but not obstructive. It is not tangy or long lasting like a pu-er.
The second brew increases in smokiness with a hint of bitter aftertaste. The earthiness has disappeared and there is a minor spice floating amongst tea flavor. There is a mingling of wheat amongst the major notes. Perhaps the bacterial influence.
The third tea maintains the smokiness with a bitter suggestion on the aftertaste. It is not overwhelming and it is due to the lower quality leafs. The earthiness has completely disappeared. The mouthfeel is pleasant and not obstructive. These flavors remained present from the fourth to the ninth brew. The taste was light and even. It reminds me of open spaces, large plains, prairie grasses, calming.
The raw leafs gives off heavy black tea smell. Oxidized and earthy. A little smokey and a little heavy in scent. But the first brew gives off dominate aromas of smoke. With little earthiness and light tea smell. The second brew increases the smokiness while ceasing the earthy aroma. The second brew becomes lighter and the later brews continue this trend. Black teas are not judged on the quality of their aroma but this tea was nice.
This is not meant to be a delicate high-quality tea. It’s an entry level black tea. Which gives an excellent introduction to Fu tea. It is reminisce of pu-er teas but it’s much lighter in taste. It leaves me refreshed, calmed, focused not warm and full like pu-er.