Tea: Tea Seeds (Chazi - 茶子)
Type: Charcoal-Bake-Finished Fuding White Tea Seeds
Harvest: Autumn 2021
Region: Taimushan, Fuding, Fujian, China
Producers: Master Zhang
Tasting Notes: Licorice, Elder Berries, Black Pepper, Black Berries,
Nothing could have prepared us for this experimental tea from Master Zhang. In the cup it tastes just like an elegant, slightly fruity white tea, but looking into the teapot, its nothing but dried and roasted tea seeds! (Note: these are not viable, plantable, or edible tea seeds, they are for brewing in hot water only)
These tea seeds have been oxidized, baked, and charcoal roasted to create a complex, tannin-rich, spicy brew that oddly enough, reminds us of a mellow shoumei white tea in its own sake. While the seeds are heavier than the leaves, we still brew about 6-7 grams in a 100ml gaiwan with great results.
When placed into a warmed brewing vessel, they give off such a strong aroma of stewed berries and black pepper, that we almost forget we are smelling a product of the tea plant. When wet, the seeds have an interesting aroma of vanilla and cola, with edges of tannin that ever so slightly find their way into the taste of the brew itself.
The brew is immediately a rich gold, and while the first infusions remind us of a mellow shoumei white tea, there exists an elderberry sweetness lingering at the end of each sip. In addition to the flavors of a mildly aged shoumei or baimudan, there persists something distinctly fruity, a slightly sour, slightly sweet taste lingering on the tongue.
We brew this tea like any other, with 6-7 grams in a 100ml gaiwan, using billing water and steeping for 15+10 seconds with each additional infusion. Even brewed in this truly gong style, these seeds can provide 8 lovely infusions without losing their flavor.