– Shifu, help! I think a woman has secretly entered our temple! I just felt the smell of her perfume in the breeze!
– Fear not, my young, for that is the aroma of my latest invention. I blended our tea leaves with jasmine petals to produce a tea that makes you forget the sorrows and worries of our mundane existence. Come, have a bowl with me.
The Ya'an Zang Cha Tibetan jasmine tea takes the best of both worlds, combining the sweet fruitiness of a classic Hei Cha with the enchanting aroma of genuine jasmine petals. This fine tea continues an ancient tea-producing tradition in Sichuan, which some credit as being historically the first region to grow and consume tea.
The Ya'an Zang Cha Tibetan jasmine tea uses a small-leafed variety that grows locally. The growing area lies within the 30" Northern latitude parallel - "the golden belt". That region is believed to be the source of the world's most premium tea. It has a perfect combination of microclimate, soil, and precipitation.
The tea bushes in Ya'an grow scattered at 800-1200m above sea level. Farmers start to pick the tea in early spring. They then process the leaves to obtain the unfinished Maocha. The tea is then stored until several months later when the jasmine flowers start to bloom. The yet unopened jasmine petals are stacked in a pile under controlled temperature. Once they begin to open, farmers layer them with the tea leaves. They repeat that step several times until the tea fully absorbs the jasmine aroma.
The picking standard for our Tibetan tea is a bud and two leaves. It balances a refined, delicate taste with a rich, mellow mouthfeel. The soup is bright red and clear - a result of deeper fermentation. Our Tibetan jasmine tea's taste is soft and oily, with a charming jasmine aroma. Its mellow character makes it the right choice for sensitive stomachs while gently assisting digestion. Tibetans from the high mountainous areas drink it daily to dispel the greasiness of their meat-rich diet. It also provides much-needed trace elements and vitamins that are lacking in their food. The heavily oxidized polyphenols make the taste sweet and the mouthfeel rounded. When brewing this Hei Cha, there is not a hint of bitterness or astringency, only a pronounced sweet aftertaste.
Mengding Mountain (蒙頂山) has a rich tea-producing history that goes back to the Tang dynasty period (618 - 906 A.D). Tibetan tea production in the region is as old as 1300 years, with Ya'An also being a major trading point on the Tea-Horse Road. In early 2008, The Chinese Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of my country pronounced dark tea production skills, namely Ya'an Tibetan tea (藏茶) production skills, as a national grade intangible cultural heritage.
• Place of Origin: Houyan Village, Yucheng District, Ya'an city, Sichuan province
Jasmine: Qianwei, Sichuan Province
• Altitude: 800 – 1200m
• Harvest Date: August 2021
• Picking Standard: a bud and two leaves
• Aroma: balanced jasmine aroma, licorice notes
• Taste: sweet, slightly earthy, with licorice and floral notes
• Cultivar: small-leaf variety (Xiao Ye Zhong)
212℉ / 100℃
1g per 50ml 3-5min
1g per 20ml 10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion
I had never heard of Hei Cha before, but having studied Tibetan Buddhism for years and years, loving the smell of fresh jasmine, and given the great price point on this one, I decided to give it a try.
I could smell the jasmine when brewing the tea, which brightened and softened my mood, but the nose on my first sip of this tea was simply amazing.
I also enjoyed reading about "Dark Tea" and how it is made, both here and online.
All good stuff.
Will be keeping this one in my regular rotation, and use it anytime I've got the blues to perk me back up.
Thanks again Path Of Cha!