Topic: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

Several Mandarin speakers have told me recently that "黑茶" (hēi chá; "black" or "dark" tea) sounds bad, and that most Chinese speakers wouldn't say this. I know it's the technically correct term for the broad category of teas, but are there particular regions where the term is used more than others, or is it more just a term that only tea specialists care about? Doing a quick google search turns up a number of hits, so I find it hard to believe that it's not used at all.

Also, I have seen this asked before, but haven't really seen a definitive answer... could someone (Robert?) do some research and see if there's consensus about whether young or adolescent sheng pu'er should fall under the category of 黑茶, and if not, at what point does it officially become "black tea"? My feeling is that it should always fall under the category of 黑茶, but it does seem a little weird to have something that's essentially green tea in this category.

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

My book points out what draws the difference between Heicha and others, from a view of fermentation it's 'microbe' while Hongcha or Oolongs they are fermened with 'oxidase'.

Also points out that Sheng is technically Lucha (none-fermented), as it doesn't go under artificial fermentation.

I don't know if I said it correct.

Charlie

一杯一杯復一杯

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

But then at some point, sheng wouldn't be green tea any more, because it would be (naturally) fermented. So I guess my question is at what point would aged sheng pu'er become "hei cha".

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

It seems like people tend to seperate the use of Puerh and Heicha.

Puerh expert Zhou Hong Jie says in his book, Heicha uses leaves of Xiao Ye Zhong 小葉種 (small bud tree) or Zhong Ye Zhong 中葉種 (middle bud tree) and undergoes continuous process and Puerh uses Yunnan Da Ye Zhong 大葉種 (big bud tree). It's known that a secret of Puerh is in Big Bud Tree which contains lots of polyphenol and tannin, that turns out bitter/astringent at first but becomes main key for depth and subtlety as aging. And that's why we should avoid 08 Sheng from tasting at the moment.

一杯一杯復一杯

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

william wrote:

Mandarin speakers have told me recently that "黑茶" (hēi chá; "black" or "dark" tea) sounds bad

Maybe because hēi 黑 sounds kind of bad in Chinese.
黑店    hēidiàn       an inn which robs customers and kills them and sells their meat for human consumption
黑社会  hēishèhuì    underworld
黑手党  hēishǒudǎng Mafia
黑道人物 hēidàorénwù  An underworld figure
黑帮    hēibāng       a gang
黑话    hēihuà        thieves cant
黑市    hēishì         black market
黑货    hēihuò        contraband or smuggled goods
黑幕    hēimù         a sinister plot
黑名单 hēimíngdān  blacklist
黑道日 hēidàorì      An unlucky day
黑五类 hēiwǔlèi      The five black categories of the Mao era -- landlords, rich farmers, counter-revolutionaries, rightists and criminals

You can always say 紧压茶 jǐnyāchá -- compressed tea if people object to hēi chá


william wrote:

just a term that only tea specialists care about?

I think in some ways this is true. Besides Puerh, what hēi chá is popular? Liùbǎo and Liùān have their own names, and other hēi chá is very obscure. Lots of it is sold on the outskirts of China, or consumed by ethnic minorities. Often it is mixed with other ingredients, and then it is usually called something else, for example 打油茶. Probably in places like HK this term is accepted because there is a need to refer to various kinds of hēi chá.

william wrote:

...do some research...

I looked around at a few forums, but no moment is defined as to exactly when Sheng changes from green tea into black tea. I have posted the question on Sanzui, and I will see if I can get a good answer. I will keep asking the question in a different manner until we can get a clear, satisfactory opinion or two. In the meantime I will post my thoughts.

Sheng maocha is often pan fried at the end of the processing. If you were to put it directly into a sealed bag, it would remain green tea. I would say it becomes black tea as soon as it is pressed into cakes. They steam it, getting it all soggy and then press it into cakes and leave it to dry slowly. The microbes start the process of fermentation at the moment the temperature of the tea cake falls to the proper level. If hēi chá is defined by fermentation, then it becomes hēi chá as soon as this fermentation process begins.

What I want to know is where do these microbes come from? is the culture found in the factory storage room? Are the microbes present on or in the leaves on the trees? I would think all of the high heat of processing would kill them, but maybe they just go dormant waiting for the proper temp/humidity combination to get started again.

This question reminds me of the Young/Aged question. A young pu'er has started to ferment, but it's still basically green tea. A five year old Sheng already tastes different, but it's not really aged.

I have heard people say Chinese teas are named for the colour of the liquor they produce. This year's shou will produce a black liquor, so maybe sheng pu'er isn't a black tea until its 15-20 years old.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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6 (edited by william 2008-11-20 16:53:44)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:
william wrote:

Mandarin speakers have told me recently that "黑茶" (hēi chá; "black" or "dark" tea) sounds bad

Maybe because hēi 黑 sounds kind of bad in Chinese.

And yet the Chinese love their hēi rén brand toothpaste (the one that used to have "darkie" as its English name). :>

http://www.danwei.org/advertising_and_m … darkie.php


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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

I have heard people say Chinese teas are named for the colour of the liquor they produce. This year's shou will produce a black liquor, so maybe sheng pu'er isn't a black tea until its 15-20 years old.

I thought about that too, but the problem with thinking about it this way is that the color of the broth will depend on the storage, as well as maybe the type of tea. I've seen 10 year old teas that brew fairly dark already, though not like a shu (due to very humid storage), and I've seen 20-25 year old tea that is still a medium reddish-brown color.

Maybe it's just one of those "I know it when I see it" type things.

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

I've been reading up an article by Jiang Yu Fa and found this,

     
"The term 'Heicha' was first used in 15th century script Ming Shi 明史, from Cha Fa 茶法. "Xiangcha (湘茶, 湘 was another name for Hunan) was low-quality so it was made black and became Heicha". That is, Hunan, Yunnan or Sichuan-grown wild trees were so bitter that it required natural-fermentation for a long time to be drunk. After these leaves natural-oxidized and turned black, so 'inner' people called it Heicha. Based on this fact, today's China's all post-fermented teas are called Heicha".

一杯一杯復一杯

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9 (edited by LaoChaGui 2008-11-22 17:38:17)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

A post from sanzui. original post
(From Professor Cai Zhengan, Professor Tang Heping editors of [the book] "Hunan tea")
What is black tea (heicha/黑茶)?
What, exactly, is the real meaning of of heicha? Academics have made an exact definition of Heicha within the tea classification system. Tea scientist, professor Chen Yuan believes that the ideal tea classification must have two elements: First, as regards to its attributes; and second as regards to processing. According to this theory, Chinese tea is divided into six categories according to the processing method used. These are: green, yellow, white, red, black, and oolong.
The notable characteristics of Heicha processing are damp piling and baking over an open pine timber fire. The attributes of black tea are black and brown color, oily and smooth; the flavour is mellow and not astringent, with a slight scent of pine smoke.
Black tea is a special type of tea. Firstly, it is possessed of a long history and an evolution of complex relations, secondly it is consumed in a special region, namely the outskirts and border areas of China. People often confuse Bianxiao tea (tea sold in the border regions) and heicha, as well as heicha and other post-fermented teas, and call them all heicha. This is unscientific. This is not conducive to people identifying heicha properly, resulting in a number of misunderstandings; It also is not conducive to the healthy development of the heicha industry. Therefore it is necessary to reconsider heicha from a more historical and realistic perspective.
The author believes that the definition of heicha should be guided by the following principles:
1. The principle of respect for history: As mentioned above,historically, "heicha" is all produced in Anhua (a town in Hunan which makes heicha.) Its special raw materials (from many types of medium and large leaf varietals grown in high mountain areas.), processing methods (the "damp heaping" and "open flame pine fuel drying" as part of the primary processing) unique attributes (dry leaf color brown and black, oily and smooth; taste mellow or slightly astringent, liquor color orange and bright, slightly scented with pine smoke.) all of these characteristics specifically refer to tea from Anhua.
2. The scientific principles of classification: as regards steaming green tea or oolong tea (wucha/ dark tea?) and then post-fermentation techniques, although similar in terms of chemical processes and the appearance and color of th teas, is still different from the “damp heaping” technique used to make heicha, it also lacks the characteristic of the pine fuel open fire baking technique. Many qualities of “wucha” and Anhua heicha have extremely large discrepancies. According to the principles of modern tea classification this can only be classified as "post-processing fermented green tea." The raw materials used to make Yunnan pu’er tea are sun dried green tea maocha, through natural fermentation during long-term storage or long-distance transportation (sheng pu’er) or after artificial fermentation (cooked pu’er) make up post-fermented tea. There are differences both in the microbes which cause fermentation and in the mechanism of fermentation. Pu’er teas also lack the pine fuel open flame unique baking process.
3. To prevent the confusion of concepts: Heicha is not synonymous with border tea. Border tea is simply tea sold in the border areas of China. In addition to Anhua heicha, there are post-processing fermented teas and other types of tea, such as green tea, and yellow tea. If border teas are confused with heicha, or treated as equivalents, the speaker is remiss and not in line with objective fact.
Accordingly, the definition of heicha is to be considered on the basis of raw materials, processing technology and characteristic qualities. The author believe the following should be the definition of heicha:
Heicha is any tea which uses a combination of middle and large leaf  varietals grown in the Hunan Xuefeng Mountain for raw materials which undergo four important processing steps: kill-green, rolling, damp heaping, pine fuel open flame baking, The dry leaf which is produced is black and brown, oily and smooth. The taste is mellow and sometimes slightly astringent. The liquor color is reddish orange and bright, and has a slight pine smoke odor. This loose tea is then steamed and pressed into compressed tea.

The author believes that Guangxi Liubao tea processing technology and the quality and characteristics are very close to  Hunan heicha, and could be considered for the heicha category. As for the category which Yunnan pu’er and Sichuan border teas fall into, this is a subject for further scientific exploration.

"Hunan tea" by the Hunan Agricultural University Professor Cai Zhengan of the tea Department,  and Professor Tang Heping editor-in-chief of China's first monograph on heicha, the book describes a system in Hunan Province of tea history, processing, consumption and cultural value of the mysterious heicha~

some of the comments on this post
All right now ... The Anhua county government is about to publish a [different] book on heicha.
There should be a more detailed description of heicha, and the commercial bias of the author ought to be a little less noticeable...
hunanheich
Heicha. The most famous of which is of course Anhua heicha!
[shou] Pu'er uses part of the Anhua’s production process.
which is ‘damp heaping.’
I want to get this book and learn more too.

小小茶童
Pu'er tea has been listed as a separate category - "Pu’er tea", there is no need to argue this question.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

The author believes that Guangxi Liubao tea processing technology and the quality and characteristics are very close to  Hunan heicha, and could be considered for the heicha category

Hrm. I have always seen Liubao considered to be hei cha.

interesting comment:

[shou] Pu'er uses part of the Anhua’s production process.

I was always under the impression that pu'er got the process from other South China post-fermented teas like liu bao (广西六堡茶) OR GYG, though of course they may have originally gotten the process from Hunan. Geographically, it seems more likely that they (directly) borrowed it from a neighbor. I don't know where exactly I heard that, but I can try and ask Jason where he heard that:
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=16437#16437

btw, also a list of some hēi chá types at:
http://chadao.blogspot.com/2007/06/shop … cs-of.html

Was there any mention of 安徽六安 (Liù Ān), GYG (which IIRC partially uses the same process) or other teas in the article?

I'm guessing that the folks from Hunan might be a little protective of their tea, which might account for some of the way the article is phrased (oh - yeah - just noticed the first comment you copied).

Does the information here seem good?
http://www.china-tea.org/Html/20041114103255-1.Html

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

here is a translation of the last link you posted. I thought it was interesting because it described the process for making "Hubei Laoqingcha" 湖北老青茶。 I am not quite sure what that is. In my recent researches about heicha, I have been seeing references to qingcha and wucha 青茶,乌茶 as being heicha which is confusing. maybe I will figure that out this afternoon.

Translation

Heicha is a post-fermented tea, the tea is unique to China, the production has a long history. It is generally made into compressed tea, and sold in the border regioins. It is mainly produced in such places as Hunan, Hubei, Sichuan, Yunnan and Guangxi. The main varieties of heicha are Hunan heicha, Hubei laobian tea, Sichuan biancha , Guangxi Liubao loose tea, Yunnan pu'er tea, and so on. Yunnan pu'er has tea long enjoyed a good reputation from former times to the present, both inside and outside of China.

   The process of making heicha starts with coarse old leaves as raw material which go through the four steps of kill-green, rolling, damp-heaping, and drying. Damp heaping is the process which is most important to deciding the quality of heicha. The duration of the heaping, controls the degree of fermentation, which will have a significant difference on the style and quality of the finished product. For example, Hubei old qingcha heap fermentation, takes place after kill green, and after rolling twice and cooking twice. The twice rolled leaves are stacked in small pales, which are compressed, which causes the biological and chemical changes of fermentation to take place under high temperature conditions. When the temperature of the piles reaches 60 degrees C, the piles are turned. The material on the inside is turned out and then mixed thouroughly, then damp heaping is continued. The damp heaping process lasts for a total of seven or eight days. When droplets of water begin to form on the heaps, and the grassy, vegetal odor is gone; the leaves should be greenish or coppery red color, uniform and consistent. After the heaping process is completed it is dried out.
 
     Heicha is compressed into brick tea, tea cakes, tuocha(top tea), Liubao compressed tea, etc; and it is an indispensable drink for minorities.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

In answer to the original question in this post, I wanted to post something I found on sanzui.com. The author was really angry and mouthing off about how Yunnan people know nothing about pu'er tea. I asked for more info and clarification, which was not forthcoming.

普洱青茶----绿茶
Sheng pu'er is green tea
普洱熟茶----黑茶
Shou pu'er is heicha
普洱老茶----放久了的绿茶
Lao (old) [sheng] pu'er is green tea put away for a long time.
普洱陈茶----特种黑茶
Chen (stored) [sheng] pu'er is a special fom of heicha.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

here is a translation of the last link you posted. I thought it was interesting because it described the process for making "Hubei Laoqingcha" 湖北老青茶。 I am not quite sure what that is. In my recent researches about heicha, I have been seeing references to qingcha and wucha 青茶,乌茶 as being heicha which is confusing. maybe I will figure that out this afternoon.

My reading of that part of the article was that hei cha can either have kill-green applied before any oxidation happens (like green tea), or could also be partially oxidized first, like a wulong. Presumably, if one is going to apply a controlled fermentation process, it doesn't matter if there is some oxidation that takes place first, and it could have slightly different results in the final tea.

I have heard people talk about some oxidation being done to some sheng pu'er now, in order to make it more drinkable as a young tea. Maybe the same kind of idea.


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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

普洱老茶----放久了的绿茶
Lao (old) [sheng] pu'er is green tea put away for a long time.
普洱陈茶----特种黑茶
Chen (stored) [sheng] pu'er is a special fom of heicha.

Do you think he's trying to get at a difference between tea that's intentionally stored in a proper environment, and tea that's just stale? Or does he mean something else?


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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

william wrote:

a difference between tea that's intentionally stored in a proper environment, and tea that's just stale?

his position on pu'er seems to be much like tea chatter's(who live in the north of the american continent and are trying to build humidors). He is interested in 湿仓, wet storage or at least a bit moist. He finally posted some of his thoughts after the post hit the 7th page, which I plan to translate if "y'all" are interested. I actually agree with the guy, but he managed to piss a lot of people off, which is not necessary.

I haven't read his explanations which were late in coming, but I have them saved in google docs.

william wrote:

either have kill-green applied before any oxidation happens (like green tea), or could also be partially oxidized first, like a wulong. Presumably, if one is going to apply a controlled fermentation process, it doesn't matter if there is some oxidation that takes place first, and it could have slightly different results in the final tea.

I have heard people talk about some oxidation being done to some sheng pu'er now, in order to make it more drinkable as a young tea. Maybe the same kind of idea.

I found a website with Anhua 安化黑茶 heicha for sale, and they have a qingcha and a heicha category. I am going to order some of both soon, as well as the book with less 'commercial' attitude. I guess we have to drink some before we can really talk with any authority as to what it is. If you find any links or essays, please post them or PM me for a translation.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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16

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

He finally posted some of his thoughts after the post hit the 7th page, which I plan to translate if "y'all" are interested.

Of course :)


I found a website with Anhua 安化黑茶 heicha for sale, and they have a qingcha and a heicha category.

Ooh, I don't suppose it's in English?


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17 (edited by william 2008-11-24 17:51:41)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

ABx wrote:
LaoChaGui wrote:

I found a website with Anhua 安化黑茶 heicha for sale, and they have a qingcha and a heicha category.

Ooh, I don't suppose it's in English?

Not sure which one R found, but maybe:
http://www.anhuaheicha.com

Great place to go if you want a whole lot of this tea:
http://www.anhuaheicha.com/images/200808/1219346355391259936.jpg

BTW, Golden Teahouse sells 千两茶, which I think is one form of the Anhua stuff (the kind that comes in a giant, bamboo wrapped "log"):
http://www.goldenteahouse.com/Qian-Lian … ck-Tea.htm

I think some people on Teachat have ordered it before.


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18 (edited by LaoChaGui 2008-11-25 04:00:18)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

The one I found was http://www.hunanheicha.com/

also not in English, but along the same lines.

I want one of the Thousand ounce teas (the giant logs) I think they weigh around 36 kilos. Unfortunately they cost almost 1000 dollars on the website above and my website seems to have run out.

On the golden tea house website they say Qian Liang Aged black is actually literally 'fifty thousand grams', more or less; which is actually literally wrong, more or less. They also use the wrong character for liang. William uses the correct one above.

Both websites list a Qingcha type of tea and a heicha tea. I contacted the owner and asked what the difference was, he said qingcha wasn't oolong, it was heicha. But he didn't really answer the question. I am going to have another go at figuring it out this week.  probably like william said

william wrote:

My reading of that part of the article was that hei cha can either have kill-green applied before any oxidation happens (like green tea), or could also be partially oxidized first, like a wulong. Presumably, if one is going to apply a controlled fermentation process, it doesn't matter if there is some oxidation that takes place first, and it could have slightly different results in the final tea.

I have heard people talk about some oxidation being done to some sheng pu'er now, in order to make it more drinkable as a young tea. Maybe the same kind of idea.

If I do manage to get some decent heicha I will let everyone know what its like. I am curious about the 'pine smoke aroma.' I will have a look around on teachat too, i'd be interested to know what they thought.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

On the golden tea house website they say Qian Liang Aged black is actually literally 'fifty thousand grams', more or less; which is actually literally wrong, more or less. They also use the wrong character for liang.

It would actually be about 37500g, right? I think 1 liang is about 37.5g,

I was wondering about that before too; I think they meant that it's actually literally that much tea, not that the literal translation of '1000 liang' to English is '50,000 grams'. But either way they're wrong.

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

1 liang in mainland china is 50 grams. There are 10 liang to a jin, which is 500 grams. In Hong Kong, they use the old system where there are 16 liang to a jin, but a Hong Kong jin is more than 500 grams. I think the 37.5g you mentioned is the HK weight. I have never been to Taiwan, and I'm not sure exactly how they do it. I believe the mainland measure was standardized to the metric system after 1949, but I don't base that on any reference or source.

Liang is often translated to tael, or ounce in early translations. It is kind of frustrating to me when people take a simple thing like systems of measurement and make it confusing, sort of the way the heicha is just added in conveniently to the black tea category along with the hongcha.

红焙浅瓯新火活,龙团小碾斗晴窗

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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

LaoChaGui wrote:

Sheng maocha is often pan fried at the end of the processing. If you were to put it directly into a sealed bag, it would remain green tea. I would say it becomes black tea as soon as it is pressed into cakes. They steam it, getting it all soggy and then press it into cakes and leave it to dry slowly. The microbes start the process of fermentation at the moment the temperature of the tea cake falls to the proper level. If hēi chá is defined by fermentation, then it becomes hēi chá as soon as this fermentation process begins.

I didn't notice the first point here until re-reading your comments when preparing to respond to http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?p=102267#102267

I'm not sure that the pressing is what changes the tea -- the tea is dried completely after it is compressed, and I think it's pretty well established that while maocha and compressed pu'er ferment slightly differently, both will ferment, and both can have similar end results (i.e., both will become dark and fermented with time). Your other observation (about the sealed bag) is a little more to the point - without air and moisture, the tea won't ferment. And of course, maybe green tea would end up fermenting as well, given sufficient air and moisture.

LaoChaGui wrote:

What I want to know is where do these microbes come from? is the culture found in the factory storage room? Are the microbes present on or in the leaves on the trees? I would think all of the high heat of processing would kill them, but maybe they just go dormant waiting for the proper temp/humidity combination to get started again.

That's what I'm wondering about too. I have never seen a clear answer to this question. I would think that most microbes on the tea itself would be killed during the kill-green process, but are there special microbes in the air in Yunnan and the surrounding areas? If a tea is kept in too dry or air-deprived an environment and stops fermenting, can the process begin again (and if so, are they new microbes that come from the air in the environment they're stored in, or were they laying dormant in the tea all along)?

I feel like there must be some analogies to "sourdough" starters (or, more correctly, natural yeast)... you can take a starter from one environment to another, but my understanding is that eventually, the wild yeasts in the starter from one place will only contain the wild yeast that live in the host area... one author I was reading claims that it's BS that you can get a starter from some bakery in France that's had the same starter for 100s of years and have it make better bread than a starter you grew yourself, because the yeasts will end up being your local ones anyway. You can also dry starter and re-grow it later.

LaoChaGui wrote:

This question reminds me of the Young/Aged question. A young pu'er has started to ferment, but it's still basically green tea. A five year old Sheng already tastes different, but it's not really aged.

And really, it doesn't taste that different, especially if fairly dry stored. I've heard that pu'er changes in 6 year cycles, and I can kind of buy into that from my (limited) experience.

I think that the term we ended up using for this sub-forum (post-fermented) is maybe more accurate than "dark" or "black" tea, but I still think that there are definitely people who consider even young sheng pu'er to be in the category of 'hei cha'.

Did you ever get any answers to the question you posted about this on another forum?


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Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

ps - I see at least one suggestion online that the microorganisms that are involved in the fermentation of shu cha are actually in the straw mats used to cover the piles of tea.

http://community.livejournal.com/puerh_tea/227607.html

I don't know how accurate that is, but that's one take.

Quote from IM with Jason F (slightly reformatted):

To be honest, nobody knows if microorganisms are the primary agent in the aging of sheng tea. Some think the simple breakdown of the cell wall is most of it -- specifically from the low temp. kill green process not breaking down the enzymes*. Tests have just shown that there are microorganisms living in/on the tea, not that they do anything in particular.

* He mentioned in another conversation that the kill-green for pu'er may be done at a slightly lower temperature than for other "green" teas.


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23 (edited by ABx 2009-03-31 08:14:38)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

Ah, Jason covered my thoughts - they've confirmed the presence of some types of microorganisms, but not that the microorganisms actually do anything. After all, every surface in our houses (and surely our food) are covered with all sorts of microorganisms, but that doesn't mean that they do anything to them.

I wonder if perhaps it's really enzymes, rather than microorganisms. Enzymes are proteins and such produced by organisms. So it very well could be that microorganisms start out in the raw maocha, do their thing leaving enzymes behind, and the steaming and cooking kills off the organisms but not the enzymes. Personally I tend to think that oxidation plays the greatest roll (perhaps oxidation would be responsible for the breakdown of cell walls) -- until you actually get enough moisture to get actual liquid, I wouldn't think that ambient humidity would have nearly the effect that we see with puerh as it ages, where it could very well facilitate oxidation as it does with things like metal. Obviously it's a little different with shu, but sheng... then again there are cakes like Yan Ching Hao that don't heat up the cakes as much (more "traditional") in an effort to preserve the enzymes/microorganisms in the leaf and those do seem to age a bit faster; but then does that really negate oxidation?

Just food for thought, I guess. You really would think that there would be more science on the subject. I'm sure that the first person to crack the mystery could make a killing selling "rapid-dry-stored" puerh.

Perhaps this is a conversation for another thread, though.

I think it would actually make sense to consider puerh to be a separate thing, but couldn't it be both? IIRC, the name comes from the area that it's from, so in a way it would be like calling yancha a wulong.


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24 (edited by biloba 2011-02-26 03:11:21)

Re: 黑茶" (hēi chá)

chrl42 wrote:

My book points out what draws the difference between Heicha and others, from a view of fermentation it's 'microbe' while Hongcha or Oolongs they are fermened with 'oxidase'.

Also points out that Sheng is technically Lucha (none-fermented), as it doesn't go under artificial fermentation.

I don't know if I said it correct.

Charlie

I agree with Charlie. I don't think sheng belongs to Heicha. Although both go through post-fermentation, it takes weeks to months for Heicha, but takes much, much longer time (>20 years, or at least years of wet storage) for sheng to get the same level of fermentation.

I am not sure if shu should count as Heicha either. Both of them have quite high degree of fermentation. But the leaf materials used and the processing procedures are very different. From consumers' end, I feel most shu products are stinky when they are new, and most Heicha products are not stinky when they are new.

Also I don't know where to put Liu An tea that can be aged for a long time. Basically it's a green tea, but most other greens are not as age-able as Liu An. It would sound a little strange either to put it with puerh or with Heicha, although the fermentation can be seen as a somewhat common feature.

But the concept of categorization came much later than the invention of tea processing procedures. So probably there is no perfect way of categorization. I've also found most books are very vague on the categorization of puerh, probably because most authors of general tea books are not puerh specialists. Then when someone writes a book just about puerh, sure enough he would think puerh is so special that it shouldn't be categorized together with any other teas :D

門前塵土三千丈,不到薰爐茗碗旁