The time was right to write a post about one of my favourite puerh regions. I have tasted several sheng puerh teas from the Hekai area and I’m a big fan. I don’t really know what it is exactly, but every time I have a session with tea from this area, I feel happy and satisfied. The tea I’m drinking today is a 2015 Hekai sheng puerh from Terre de Ciel.
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TdC 2015 Hekai
The TdC 2015 Hekai sheng puerh is a tea from their own Terre de Ciel brand. They went to Yunnan and picked this tea because they really liked the mao cha. It’s from old trees and was picked in the autumn of 2015.
The dry leaves have a dark brown colour with some lighter tints. Medium-sized leaves, stems and some buds. The aroma is slightly fruity and sweet with a hint of honey and golden raisins. Worth mentioning is that I used two tightly compressed parts of the middle of the cake for this session.
The aroma of the wet leaves has more fruity notes to it and I’m also picking up a spicyness. It’s a really sweet and exotic fruitiness with hints of herbs and spices. The colour is dark olive green and I mostly see medium-sized leaves, stems and smaller pieces of leaves (from the tightly compressed chunks).
- Water 90°C
- 5g for a 70ml Zisha teapot
- 1 rinse
- 6 infusions
Infusion 1 (15 sec): it starts out really subtle. I guess the tightly compressed parts have not opened yet. There are some really light hints of spices and an even lighter sweetness. The aroma of the leaves in the pot is intense, while the infusion itself is rather subtle.
Infusion 2 (20 sec): I’m definitely doing a longer one now. The flavours have moved to the front and I’m really starting to feel the typical Hekai flavour. It starts out with hints of spices and herbs again, but slowly evolves into really sweet fruits. This sweetness flows through the finish with such elegance and sticks around for the aftertaste. It reminds me of previous sessions with this tea. So good!
Infusion 3 (20 sec): it’s less spices now at the start, but I feel that the herbaceous notes have increased a bit. I guess that this might be because of the tightly compressed leaves from the middle of the cake. These leaves are a lot smaller and more broken. After this, it becomes sweeter again. No fruitiness, only some light sweetness and subtle astringency in the aftertaste. Once the astringency fades, the sweetness takes over!
Infusion 4 (25 sec): still herbaceous at the start, but it’s a bit less intense. The sweetness is more noticeable and this is the main flavour. This sweetness is the main reason Hekai is one of my favourite puerh regions. It’s similar to wild honey, but it has an extra ‘zing’ to it, if that makes sense. This is also what I’m getting in the aftertaste; a slightly bitter touch.
Infusion 5 (25 sec): flavours are less intense, especially the herbaceous notes at the start. From the middle, I’m getting some spices that I also experienced during the first infusions. Again, this spiciness slowly evolves into something sweet with a bitter edge. The aftertaste is a combination of sweet and bitter, of which the bitterness comes first and changes into a lasting sweetness.
Infusion 6 (30 sec): more spices at the start and it feels quite astringent from the middle onwards. There is a light sweetness, but it’s more spices now. The aftertaste of this one is definitely a bit tonic.
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This session was a true delight. I’ve had numerous sessions with this tea and no two sessions are the same. Today’s session had more bitter and tonic notes than usual, but I guess that might be due to the smaller leaves from the tightly compressed middle of the cake. Still, this was a really good session. Other sessions were fruitier and sweeter, while this one was a bit more bitter. I also got sweet and fruity notes during this one, but they didn’t stay around for long. Luckily, I still have a lot of sessions left in my puerh storage. The more tonic notes added some extra character to the session. Hekai was and still is one of my favourite puerh regions.
If you want to buy a cake of this tea, go here.