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Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck
Anhua Heicha Starter Deck

Anhua Heicha Starter Deck

One River Tea

Regular price $40.00 $30.00 Sale

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Your Starter Deck

Like our 2023 Yellow Pill sampler, our 2024 Anhua Heicha Starter Deck is meant to be a comprehensive introduction into Anhua Heicha. Six samples, four styles, and two producers are included.

Altogether, seven grams of the following teas are included:

-2017 Fuzhuan (Easy Tea)

-2017 Fuzhuan (Seven Bowls)

-2014 Heavenly Tips (Easy Tea)

-2018 Heavenly Tips (Seven Bowls

-2011 Flower Brick (Gaojiashan)

-2017 Dark Brick (Easy Tea)

Bonus Tea:

-2009 Tian Jian (Easy Tea) - This tea was not initially included, but is such an outstanding example of what aged Anhua Heicha has the potential to be: incredibly complex, soothing, and smooth as anyone could hope.  It's truly a treasure!

As outlined below, we want you to experience the full spectrum of Anhua Heicha over three sessions. In the first session, you will try to Fuzhuan samples of the same vintage, both from certified producers within the nominal Anhua production region, and following the same production style. The gap between the two samples shows the impact of their different production philosophies. The second session showcases the aging potential of Heavenly Tips as opposed to all other forms of Anhua Heicha, while the third session introduces you to two wrongly maligned tightly-bricked variants. After trying all of these samples, you can say definitively whether or not you like Anhua Heicha and what processing styles most interest you, At the very least, you will be able to say you got a fair sense of the variety that exists between Anhua Heicha.

We recommenced you space out these three sessions, and at the absolute minimum try a 30 second rinse and one minute infusion of each sample gongfu style before you boil them, should you be so inclined.

Session 1: Easy Tea 2017 Fuzhuan Brick & 2017 Seven Bowls Fuzhuan

These are two of the most, representative, and middle-of-the-road Heicha you could try. Fuzhuan has been the most well known and best selling style of Anhua Heicha for a century now. At the seven year mark, it is also mellowed but still affordable. If you have to sample just one Heicha, this would be it. The two variations we are offering here, from Easy Tea and Seven Bowls, represent two different production philosophies. While the processing method used to make both samples is both classically Fuzhuan, late April leaves lightly pressed and slowly dried in the final packaging, Easy Tea puts a greater emphasis on more consistent source materials, while Seven Bowls emphasizes the drying and storing process. Both have a smoky aroma with minor notes of citrus sour, but Easy Tea’s sample has more comfy consistency over multiple infusions. Seven Bowls’s sample can start off very light, almost watery on the tongue, but hits back by the second infusion, with both more astrigency and complexity. In comparing the two samples, a taste of the diversity that exists between factories within Anhua itself can be had, even when the processing method and vintage are the same.

Session 2: 2018 Heavenly Tips & 2014 Heavenly Tips

Heavenly Tips’s relative obscurity is completely undeserved. This most lightly packed and carefully picked processing style is usually stored in 50 pound cube-shaped chests called lou. It is not bricked, and as a result it can age more quickly and completely than other processing styles. The resulting flavor profile is the closest thing in Anhua to Ripe Puer. Whatever citrus, sour notes can come out in the Fuzhuan aren’t here. Instead one gets a thick, chocolaty liquor, and a lingering huigan without overwhelming or immediate sweetness. From these two teas, one can get a sense on Heavenly Tips’s aging potential, which is already quite pronounced in the 2018 sample.

Session 3: 2010 Flower Brick & 2017 Dark Brick 

Dark Brick and Flower Brick bricks by definition both tend to be tightly packed, and are fully dried before packaging, leaving little time for the famous “jinhua” fungus to grow. The former is usually made from lower-grade shredded leaves, while the latter is made from the higher grade “huajuan” material that used to be made into cylindrical Qianlong tea. Both styles, but Dark Brick especially, are the sturdy bricks that have often made their way onto the international market before, alongside Hubei’s Laoqingzhuan and Sichuan’s Zangcha. Dark Brick and Flower Brick are the most suited to be boiled and enjoyed as Mongolian style milk tea, but both of the samples we have included can also be enjoyed Gongfu style. The 2010 Flower Brick, despite being kept in relatively moist environment for more than a dozen years, still has some sharpness along side its woody aroma and watery mouthfeel. The 2017 Dark Brick, which Easy Tea calls “heicha for people who aren’t in the mood for heicha” - is consistently sweet and mellow. It can be enjoyed in the same way that hojicha can, before bed and in quantity.  

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Gabriel C.
United States United States

Sweet Savory Goodness

I'm so glad that I got this starter deck. I've been really into puerh, and thought I'd give another Heicha a try; I was not dissapointed. After sampling all the teas I feel like I've gotten a good idea of what Anhua Heicha is all about. They are so unique with complex flavors. I got all sorts of tasting notes from smoked meat to barbecue sauce to french toast with maple syrup. If your interested in exploring more unique teas, absolutely give this a try. You won't regret it.