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Pu-erh & Other Hei Cha

Hei Cha is a category of post-fermented Chinese tea manufactured in Guanxi, Hunan, Sichuan, and Yunnan Provinces. The group includes shou Pu-erh,  along with other teas such as Hua Juan, Liu’An, Liubao, Qing Zhuan, and Tian Jian. Hei Cha is made with large and medium-sized leaf collected from local tea trees and tea bush varietals located in high mountain areas. The processing method for the different Hei Cha is similar, but ultimately is unique to each place. 

Hei Cha is made with fully oxidized leaf and is therefore classified as a 'black' tea in China. (In China, the type of tea that Westerner's call 'black' tea is known as 'red' tea, which follows the Chinese color system of the color of the tea liquor in the cup. So Hei Cha, also known as dark tea, is quite different than the 'black' tea well-known to tea drinkers in the West. So, when in China, if you ask for 'black' tea you would be given some form of Hei Cha - if you ask for 'red' tea, you will be given what most Westerner's would call recognize as black tea).

To manufacture Hei Cha, oxidized tea leaves undergo the wo dui process - wet fermentation or rapid fermentation - which exposes the leaf to high humidity over a determined period of time in a controlled environment in the tea factory

Some Hei Cha is dried over the low heat of pine wood embers, while other is not. Hei Cha leaf is dark brown to black in color, and is variously sweet and woodsy, but never astringent. Hei Cha is usually best when aged for several years following production, but it can also be quite delightful when drunk young.

Production of Hei Cha is centuries-old, and this category of tea holds an important place in China’s tea history. Most of this tea was compressed into various shapes - rectangles, squares, round discs both large and small - to allow for easy transport over long distances and rough terrain. Hei Cha is still found in these shapes today, as well as in loose-leaf versions.

 

The basic description of the various Hei Cha may sound similar. But these are unique teas and are very distinctive one to another.  Each dark tea is associated with a particular origin in China and is not produced anywhere else in China. Every place of origin has a unique terroir (soil composition, climate, altitude, weather cycles, tea bush variety, etc) which, when coupled with local and regional manufacturing techniques ( the skills and other minutiae involved in turning fresh leaf into finished tea) makes each unique tea distinctive .

While Hei Cha has been produced in China for hundreds of years, very little Hei Cha, with the exception of shou Pu-erh, has been available in the US. until recently.  We believe this category of tea will be welcomed by tea enthusiasts for its unique flavor profile and importance in China's magnificent tea culture.

All Hei Cha can be drunk when newly made, but will gain richness and smoothness after a few years of aging.

NOTE: All Hei Cha ( Hei Cha bricks, Pu-erh beeng cha and tuo cha and other compressed teas )
are not returnable / exchangeable for any reason.

 

View our selection of Pu-erh & Other Hei Cha:

China Pu-erh & Other Hei Cha

    Pu-erh

    Other Hei Cha