Monday, July 3, 2017

Teasenz: Guangxi Liu Bao Hei Cha and Honeysuckle Tea, A Contrasting Tea Review

The Prelease for Hour of Devastation is coming up this weekend and I am totally going to go! This is going to be my first Prelease, I have meant to go to all of them since I got back into Magic (my weird, weird, somewhat sad MTG history) but either Ben worked, I was sick, or just completely unable to socialize, but this time I am determined to go! The challenge of sealed appeals to me, even if it does push me out of my 'always play black' comfort zone. Time to spend the week over-analyzing the cards and rules so I can build a decent deck!

Today I am looking at two teas that are from Teasenz, but other than that pretty unrelated, I thought about being clever and calling this blog 'life and death' 'day and night' or something playing off the opposite natures of the teas, but decided nah, just go with the teas. Looking at Guangxi Liu Bao Hei Cha and Honeysuckle Tea, see what I mean, very different worlds these two are in! I will start out with Honeysuckle, one of my favorite flowers to drink medicinally. In TCM it is used to clear heat and relieve sore throats, thanks in part to the plant's high levels of mucilage (aka plant slime) which does wonders for inflamed mucosa. It acts as a demulcent, similar to honey, and forms a sort of film over the throat, protecting it from continued irritation. This is one of the few herbal teas that I take the medicinal claims (somewhat) seriously because it is one of the few things that soothes allergy induced sore throat! Ok, enough medical stuff, it smells really good! It does not exactly smell like honeysuckle flowers on the vine, but it does certainly smell like dried honeysuckle flowers at the end of summer.

I am really fond of drinking this tea two different ways, either blending it (chrysanthemum and osmanthus or bai mu dan are my favorite ways to blend it, still need to try it with a dian hong) or bowl steeping it. I found that gongfu-ing it makes it taste a bit like meat, which is weird, but taking a few blossoms and floating them in water to steep for a while makes for a delicious bowl of tea. It is very thick in texture, definitely, works on the mouth and throat coating spectrum. It tastes of honey, (you guessed it) honeysuckle nectar, and a bit like hay. It is not the same as the exciting summer tradition of sucking honeysuckle nectar out of buds, but it is as close as you can get to having a bowl of the stuff.

Next up is the Liu Bao, now I have not had a whole lot of luck with non-Puerh hei chas, most of them just do not work for me (heck a lot of Puerhs also don't work for me) so I wandered to this one with a bit of trepidation. I do love trying new things though, so maybe this will be the Liu Bao I like! The aroma has the familiar aroma of wet loam, swamp dirt (seriously, so many hei chas and aged shengs smell like swamps to me) milk, and a bit of molasses. Luckily for me the swampy notes are paradoxically clean and not at all like funk, more like a swamp right after it rains, and I am pretty ok with that.

So the taste is pretty good! The taste is surprisingly nutty and milky, reminding me a bit of the taste of Lao Cha Tuo Shou (I always perceive them as a bit lactic) and almond milk. There is a strong loam and wet pine needle, sweet beets, and a finish of starchy bread. This tea combined all the things I like in a dark tea, it very well could be a tea I reach for on a day I am craving this style tea rather than just because it is in my collection and I need to clear space. One thing I found really exciting is it was surprisingly cooling, usually, I find cooked style teas to be very warming, but this was chilly and great for summer drinking!

This tea was sent for review purposes by the company.


  1. Thanks for the review! After reading soo many of your steeping notes, I don't find it strange to hear that you need to clear some space :) My tea closet is also really really full, luckily most of it is pu erh so it doesn't expire. Yet, I still try to clear space for some new teas!

    1. I am so lucky that so many teas get better with age, so if one gets 'forgotten' about I didn't lose out! The only thing I really have to worry about is my greens and of course a lack of space!