This is a sample from ChaWang Shop. Dry leaves are small and black. But with steeps they all open, and look similar to oolong or raw pu-erh leaves. Some info from the shop:
Tianjian start to be produced in Qing dynasty by business man from Shaanxi prov. Tianjian, using 1st grade dark tea to compress, has a unique pine smoke incense. This tea is made by tender dark tea leaf raw material. The Tianjian Dark Tea, was compressed by foot in former times, with primitive bamboo package and setting forth the light sweet scent of bamboo leaves. The technology of dark tea has two notable characteristic in the processing of Hunan dark tea: Pile-Fermenting and Fire-Drying with pine wood during primary processing. Baishaxi TF must bake the raw material in “Qixing Stove” to add the special flavour of burned pine wood and remove the bitterness. “Qixing Stove” was created by the ancestors, because it had enough firepower, even distribution, proper smoking, large quantity when baking tea, has become the representative of baking stove indispensable for processing dark tea.
I brewed all steeps at 100°C for 2min. and gave it more time on later.
On rinse and first 3 steeps the liquor was dark and red and then became lighter and yellowish. At first its taste had pine wood notes and some roasted flavour. On later steeps flowery bamboo aroma and taste are more prominent and sparkling. Even at the end, at some 10th steep, which is much lighter, it is still very pleasant and has tasty a bit sour caramel undertones.
I don’t have bamboo basket here, so will use mostly shop’s pictures to show in a gallery. Hope it’s ok.
This was my first heicha (except puers). It is an interesting, pleasant and nourishing tea. Something between red at the beginning and some raw pu-erh at the end. With many steeps and no astringency at all.