I’ve got 2011 Autumn Heavy Charcoal Roasted Zhangping Shui Xian 9g Mini Cake from ChaWang Shop recently, but now I see it’s out of stock. Anyway here’s a review, because this is a good tea. Maybe it will come back.
I decided to brew it in my Da Hong Pao dedicated Xi Shi tea pot, because it smells and looks suitable. Not as cacao as Da Hong Pao, but still roasted and sweet nuts. Dark roasted small rectangle of tea. Brewing at 100°C.
Rinse makes a dark brown liquor. Tea cake remains intact.
First steep: nice roasted aroma, about 2min., but the cake is still intact and floating on top. Only at the end after infusion I see some marks of disintegration. Flavor is strong toasted with some sweetness and very light bitterness undertone.
Second steep: same as before but more charcoal, I’d say even hojicha like. Why not, it’s heavily roasted tea after all. The cake is decompiled now, finally.
Third steep: 2min. – more sour steep. More deep then hojicha, more oolong taste. Still charcoal toasted smell. baked potato and a bit caramelish undertone. I like it.
Fourth steep: the color is not getting lighter, but the aroma is starting to fade out. It’s a bit more sweet and sour then hojicha, less sour then previous steep. Still full bodied and goes well.
Fifth steep: 5 min. Moderate taste, some sourness, woody tones. Still thick somehow, but less full bodied.
Will continue, but it is fading by now. Leaves had separated, but not open in full. Several more steeps will end it. Still, it’s not getting the same kind of “burned” taste until 8th infusion, it is more round and full bodied.
I didn’t thought I’d compare any Chinese tea to hojicha, but never say never But at first it was a bit close to Da Hong Pao style oolong, deep and with some sweetness in its body. It’s a good tea shaped in a slick tiny brick. I love such appearance. And I have light roasted oolong in same format to try soon.
I would buy more of this, if it’ll become available. Small cake is very beautifully crafted. And as a rule I must make new teas in a gaiwan, not to spoil any dedicated tea pots. Small error it was.