Straying a little from the beaten track for today's notes, many thanks to CB for this sample of heicha from Jing Teashop. It looks as if this tea is no longer in stock, and so information is limited.
As a liuan, it is fermented in the "wodui" [moisten pile] manner used in the processing of shupu, using the same leaves as the famous lucha, Liuan Guapian [Liuan Melon-slice], originating from Liuan in Anhui Province. Generally, these teas are quite inexpensive, at around $20-$30 for 500g of a 5-7 year-old vintage.
I suspect that many heicha have not seen the price increases that other genres have, simply because of their relatively low popularity. Raised on fairly hefty Indian and African teas, I rather enjoy heicha - in the morning. Don't drink them at night!
Caledonian Springs @ 100C in 12cl heicha pot; ~5g leaf; 2 rinses
Dark and tippy, with a few less-fermented chocolate browns. A quiet, raisin-like aroma.
This is a strong tea - in the purely caffeinated sense. It sits in the forebrain like a strong coffee, hence the short number of infusions. We had enjoyed several tea sessions already, and so reached our finishing points long before the leaves did.
The aroma is "distinctive, original, individual" [quoted material courtesy of the return of Xiaomao, as before]. The soup looks very much like yancha, and this continues into the aroma where a similar roast can be detected. However, it differs in its dark, fruity beidixiang, with a long, malty finishing aroma.
It is tangy and "powdery" in the flavour, and is very clean and crisp in all regards: the soup has good clarity, the flavour is in and out like a surgeon. A megaton explosion occurs in my mind as the tea delivers its payload, causing me to blink and perspire.
I rather enjoy this tea, but Xiaomao was finished after the first infusion. It's definitely one to greet the day, not a good night-cap. It has the raisin-like flavour of some hongcha.
Chopped tips, which appear surprisingly green in the chahe. I was assuming that they would be dark like a shupu, but the green correlates with the availability of fruit-like notes in the flavour.
Interesting and powerful. While not complex in any way, it is crisp and pleasant. It is a decent tea, and has been processed quite well, born out in its crisp presentation. The six years of its maturity have been kind to it, giving it a suitably smooth character.