The Tea Practitioner’s Golden Flower Heicha | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

Two years ago, I tried my first Golden Flower tea, which was a roller coaster of flavours as I never had tea with fungus on it before! I ended that review by stating that I would be open to trying it again in the future, and here I am doing that!

Description: “What makes this tea unique are the “golden flowers” (Jinhua) – a small, yellow fungus on the surface of the brick, caused by wet piling and a 2 year maturation period of the leaves.”

Instructions: Clay Teapot | 5 grams | 150 ml at 95°C | 15 seconds + 5 sec | 5 – 6 steeps  

Review: Whereas the Golden Flower fermented tea I had prior was a flat disk shape tea cake, this Golden Flower tea came in small rectangle bricks with a thin speckling of the “golden flower” growing between the cracks and layers of the compressed tea. The dry bricks had a mellow damp, earthy, musky, and fermented/sour smell.

Since I did not have to a clay pot, I opted for a gaiwan and brewed 5 grams of tea to 100 ml of water. I did not rinse the tea since it was not specified and I assumed that would rinse away the golden flower fungus.

Pre-warmed gaiwan: After heating up the vessel and adding the tea, the warmed leaves had a damp forest, mushroom, mineral, hay, and fermented/sour smell.

Infusion 1 (15 seconds): The liquor brewed into a pale golden colour with sweet, hay/barnyard, and dates taste. It became sweeter and earthier when cooled. The infused leaves smelled like raisins.

Infusion 2 (30 seconds): With the additional 15 seconds, the liquor was a much darker golden orange colour. It was sweet and herb tasting and it reminded me of cough drops. There were also notes of floral, dates/raisins, and citrus. By this infusion, most of the leaves had unfurled.

Infusion 3 (45 seconds): The liquor became the dark reddish liquor associated with fermented teas like pu’er. It had a range of flavours from herbal, medicinal, damp earthy, pithy citrus rinds, and yeast.

Infusion 4 (1 minute): The dark reddish brown liquor had a faint bitter note and was more earthy and less sweet. The flavour was starting to wane slightly and there was dryness at the back of the throat.

Infusion 5 (1 minute and 15 seconds): The lighter coloured liquor tasted pithy and earthy with stronger dryness back of the throat. The flavour was very weak by this point.

Infusion 6 (1 minute and 30 seconds): The tea was spent and the liquor had no smell.

Wet leaves: After 6 infusions, the wet leaves did not have a smell and was comprised of small dark brown broken leaves.

Since it has been some time since the last time I tried the other Golden Flower tea, I am unsure if my taste buds have changed or if there can be a bit of a range of flavours when it comes to this type of tea. I found this tea sweeter and fruitier, which was personally more palatable to me. It did have some of the classic pu’er notes with fermented and earthy flavours. Since there was such a range of flavours between the two golden flower teas, like in my last post, I would be interested in trying another Golden Flower tea in the future(3/5 rating)!

  • Type: Fermented tea
  • Origin: Tao Yuan county, Hunan province, China
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Xa Ma La Ya Handmade tea
  • Company: The Tea Practitioner

The question of the post: Have you had Golden Flower pu’er before? If so, what did it taste like to you?

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!