; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2016 Chawangshop Hekai ;

Monday, July 3, 2017

2016 Chawangshop Hekai

Tong Shrine
My tong of 2016 Hekai from Hanshan Tea House aka Chawangshop arrived while I was in Las Vegas for the Tea Expo. A tong of tea is a welcome sight to return home to, and yes, a whole tong because I purchased the 2015 200g cake and drank up the bulk of it in only a few short months. By the time I needed more of this tea, the 2015 production sold out. Therefore I am not messing around buying one beengcha at a time, developing a need for a tea, only to find the puerh heads have bought it up. I don’t trust none of yas, and as soon as my tax refund arrived this was first on the shopping list. After all, none of yas need this tea the way I do, except maybe a few others in the older puerh drinker category.

A gentle tea with a fierce warrior.
Chawangshop released most of their 2016 teas last December shortly after a late pressing. From what I am hearing again this year, factory pressing time is even more at a premium, perhaps this is the reason why the tea house held their spring maocha until winter. In a way, I regret missing the first six months of this Hekai tea, because the 2015 early green tea period was a lovely time in this tea’s life. Yet the green tea of the 2016 pokes through for a couple of infusions even a year later, after about five steeps or so. On the positive side, the tea has firmed up rather well and yields a mostly golden yellow brew which indicates a proper processing on the front end. In other words, this tea is one that will continue to change as a puerh should.

Hello, friend.
This tea is firmly in my gaiwan as we speak and I have just quaffed four infusions in short order for emergency purposes. As for sessions, this is my fourth session with this tea since it arrived. I do not know whether this tea is truly gushu or not, what matters for me is that the source of the leaves is the same as the 2015 production, according to the listing. 

A very nice bum.
I cannot overstate the agreeableness of this tea for medicinal purposes of treating edema and overheating within my body, which I experience on a daily basis and all the worse in the summer. Some of this is medication-related, and some is just I have had an overly warm constitution. On top of that my son made buttered popcorn for a movie we watched on DVD, and I really should not have salty popcorn which makes the edema all the worse, though to Son’s credit he used less salt and added garlic powder instead.

Tea leaf shape beengcha knife by JTTea, Inc.
So this Hekai production is very much like a water pill for me, and does the job faster than the actual water pill I take in the morning. In fact, when I feel my legs stiff and full of water just two cups of this tea will relieve the leg pressure within fifteen minutes, and then I start my trips to the bathroom within an hour or so. Maybe green tea in general works this way for most people, but none of my considerable and really obscene number of puerh teas has as much of a diuretic effect as this tea.

Knife with sheath on a hinge.
I am not the only person to feel this. Since my review of the 2015, several people in my age group emailed to report they have the same diuretic effect and need this for their own physical condition. So we commiserated when the 2016 production arrived at the tea shop and I can report more than one of us bought the full tong right away. Really every tasting note I read on the 2015 was positive, and unless you don’t want a mild and sweet tea with low bitterness I cannot find anything to complain about on the drinker side. While this tea may certainly age and change, my purchase is very much about drinking up starting right now.

Ready for surgery.
Cracking open the tong and opening up a cake gave me the opportunity to try out a new puerh knife I bought at the World Tea Expo from JTTea, Inc. for $10. The company is working on a retail website, but right now has only a wholesale catalog for vendors. The knife is shaped like a tea leaf but opens up in a Persian knife shape. This knife is meant to easily slide through a beengcha to lift up a perfect half. It looks very sharp, but in fact the blade is about 2 mm thick and rather dull so I won’t cut my fingers very easily.

A perfect split.
I felt a little crazy buying this because I had to Fed Ex mail it to myself. I considered buying a leather thong to use the bael and wear like a necklace “hey it’s a tea leaf” but did not dare risk losing it at airport security, as if yes I plan to cut up people with a very blunt tool. Now I am glad to have it because it works better than a regular pick at prying up large pieces of a puerh pie.

I also bought a teeny, tiny clay teapot from JTTea, Inc.
The coin for reference is a small American dime.
Teapot made in Taiwan.
Other than the sweet and mild nature of this tea, with just a bit of bitterness, the experience is straightforward overall until the diuretic effect kicks in. Honza said to me he doesn’t know why a number of us find this tea a particularly nice diuretic and so none of us can explain it. As with any green puerh, one needs at least something in the stomach beforehand to protect the lining even though the tea is mild for a puerh. I do not taste or see much char, the processing is very clean. The tea fades at about ten steepings, which is just fine. In a taller vessel like my milk creamer I can smell a nice floral scent which gets lost in a wider cup. The mix of leaves include buds, and overall the leaves are smaller than many other teas. Supposedly the tea is a single origin which is nice to know but hardly important to me given how agreeable the brew is.

Relief is at hand. After about eight brews, some green shows
in the mostly golden liquid.
I am glad the tea is back in stock, and hope for a 2017 production. This 2016 costs $38/200g and is $2 more than in 2015. At 19 cents a gram, a tong of five cakes rings up at $190 which is less than many single teas I have purchased. Chawangshop continues to excel in finding high quality teas in the easy drinking price range, a characteristic of this vendor I very much appreciate. I have my eye on a few other teas from the 2016 line up for later this year assuming they don’t sell out on me first. No, I will not tell you what those are. ;)

1 comment:

  1. Schucks. Yeah, you knew so many of us were about to pounce to ask which CWS productions you are considering. Keep the tea purchasing plan secret. Keep it safe. ;)