Wednesday, February 6, 2008

TNT 2003 Vintage Dark Tea (Fucha) from Art of Tea

Scent: almost none, though my roll has been open for awhile.
Brewed in: Glass teapot (1 disk)
Steeped: 4 min. @ boiling
Cup: Ceramic teacup

According to Art of Tea’s blog, this tea is double fermented in a process longer than that of making puerh (I assume they mean cooked puerh, as it can take a really long time to age raw puerh!). Fucha is supposed to have helpful properties that aid in digestion and metabolism, much like puerh. I would expect a double fermented tea to be completely black, but these small tea disks have very distinctive flecks of green tea leaves throughout (it’s very noticeable after brewing).

It brews up dark, as one might expect from fermented, aged tea, and has that distinctive smell of wet dirt and cellars, much like puerh, though not as complex in my opinion. It’s odd to bring it to your lips expecting the thickness of puerh, and instead experiencing a brew thinner in viscosity than the opaque soup suggests.

The taste is earthy, with some small hints of woodiness, but mostly just earthy and…dare I say…”dirty”. Unfortunately, it’s also very astringent, and left a very dry, almost powdery sensation in my mouth, as if I had actually been drinking dirt. I sipped, slurped, swirled it in my mouth, looking for any complexities or layers to the brew, but really couldn’t distinguish any other than “dirt”. Not an unpleasant dirt, but nothing really interesting either. There was a slight bitterness to the outset, much like one might find with a young puerh (surprising again, since this tea is fermented twice and aged).

All in all, it’s “okay”. There are many twigs and very small leaf bits that make up the compressed disks, and most of the leaf bits are green. I guess I could see someone drinking it for medical reasons (it did seem to aid my digestion of dinner a bit), but actual puerh tastes much better (and is much more interesting). Also one might want to try this tea gong fu style – unfortunately, I didn’t really have time for that last night, but it may well bring out other complexities of the tea with the shorter steeps and multiple infusions.
I’ll keep mine around just to let it age further with my puerh cakes…we’ll see how it does in the long run. But I don’t think I’d suggest it for anyone who hasn’t already experienced regular puerh (cooked or raw)…puerh has much greater complexity and is vastly more interesting than this tea, for now at least.


  1. Thank you very much. That did help, and I appreciate your re-sampling it for the review. I've really enjoyed your site. I like the way you tell scent, brewing vessel, cup material, brewing temperature and all of the flavour sensations. I find it very helpful, and as previously stated, enjoyable.
    I apologize about the "anonymous" bit. I suppose I need to make a blogger account. :)

  2. You're most welcome, anon. Sampling teas is always my pleasure - what a great hobby! I'm glad you enjoy the site so much, and I hope you'll stay with us awhile. :-)


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