Qian Liang Cha 2013

An alluring portrayal of reclusion, this hei cha tucked away since 2013 has developed unique qualities worthy of discovery. Undressing the compressed tea, a buoyant perfume of pond lilies and watermelon arises from the wrapping paper, a surprising contrast to the unshapely brown matter that has seen ten years of decomposition. For the transformation, mao cha is steamed and packed tightly into cylindrical baskets between layers of reed leaves and palm bark that regulate a slow and steady fermentation (try the younger Qian Liang 2021). This particular pillar was revealed this year and sawn into discs to delight any collector's cabinet, infusing a soup of deep yet pure flavours; earthy and sweet with a mellow, rounded mouthfeel of a well-seasoned tea.

 

About the producer

We were approached by Huang Xiaofeng, who runs a small-scale tea company in Anhua, with a portfolio of quality heicha or dark teas from the alpine forests of the region. Their focus on local tradition and authentic techniques took our intrigue immediately that we decided to source a bunch of heichas to take on an exploration of a tea category lesser known to us. The raw materials are sourced from their 100-acre Laocong old tea garden, a biodynamic environment more than 700m deep in the mountains and far away from local villages and roads.

Image to the right: Huang Xiaofeng tending to fixed tea; image to the left: Tea farmers carrying their pickings down the mountain.
  • ORIGIN: Yuntai Shan, Anhua, Yiyang, Hunan, China
  • MEANING: Thousand Tael tea (qian liang cha)
  • GRADE: First-grade tender material (yi ji nen liao)
  • CULTIVAR: Anhua qun ti zhong
  • HARVEST TIME: Spring 2013
  • TASTE: Watermelon, flaxseed, earth
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16.00 € 16.00 €

Preparation

IN THE TEAPOT
  • Quantity: 6g / 500ml
  • Water temperature: 100°C
  • Infusion time: 5 min
GONGFU CHA METHOD
  • Quantity: 5g / 100ml
  • Water temperature: 100°C
  • Several short infusions

After an initial rinse, start with few seconds. Increase the brewing time at each following infusion. Exception: If the leaves are pressed, make the first infusion longer than the second. For best results in gongfu cha, brew in a Yixing teapot.

Additional Information

Named after a twisted tea bun, Hua Juan Cha is a category of Hei Cha uniquely compressed into hand-woven bamboo baskets resembling pillars of tea. Each pillar is lined with reed leaves and palm bark before being stuffed with raw material according to ancient propriety. The iconic Qian Liang Cha measures 36.25kg, or qian ('1000') liang; an old Chinese unit measuring about 36 grams, and requires a team of men in its making. Ba ('100') Liang Cha and Shi ('10') Liang Cha are variants and come in their respective sizes. It is a unique emblem of the Anhua tea trade originally conceived for the ease of transportation, though its true value now lies in the way this particular method regulates ageing tea. By allowing oxygen to circulate inside yet retaining the moisture needed within it, aids a slow and steady fermentation.