Hello friends! Today I'm reviewing a lesser-known tea here in the Western world, but one that I think will be the next "big" thing. I'm drinking chen xiang wan Yan from MoJun FuCha, a small-leaf post-fermented tea made from 1 year aged maocha before being pressed into bricks. According to Sophia Yang, the representative on Instagram for MoJun FuCha, it won the silver award at the Shaanxi Tea Expo.
Now, today's tea is a fuzhuan heicha, or a post-fermented brick tea from Shaanxi inoculated with golden flowers ("jin hua"- 金花), a type of fungus. I hear you all screaming in horror and let me tell you right now, it's actually delicious. I strongly urge you to open your minds and think of it like a sweetener.
The above picture is of the golden flowers at 100x magnification under a microscope. Now, jin hua are a type of fungus known scientifically as "Eurotium Cristatum". These little golden specks are the fungus and the quantity of golden flowers present indicates the quality of the tea. They impart a nice, honeyed sweetness to the tea and mellow it out. Fuzhuan cha is also made with more stems than you'd usually see in a pressed tea, and this is because the stems provide little pockets of oxygen and space for the fungus to grow throughout the tea. It's quite fascinating, really, and I'll admit I was terrified when I first tried it. "A fungal tea?", I thought. "There's no way I'll like this." Lo and behold, I loved it and have bought several bricks since then from Sophia Yang of Mojun FuCha, aka Shaanxi_fuzhuantea_heicha on Instagram. She kindly sent me photos of the Mojun factory, which I'll share with you. It's one of the cleanest factories I've ever seen and seeing the production up close through videos influenced my decision to not rinse this tea.
10g leaf/100ml gaiwan
Dry leaf smell: Nice smell of honey and sweetened grasses; nice, fermented mead smell?
Warmed gaiwan: The leaves are giving me a smell of some yeasty, sweet, bready goodness
1st steep 10s: This is a sweet, very smooth brew. This tastes like I've put honey in a bit of bread-y water and am drinking that. So, so pleasant and nice for my stomach. Cocoa-y.
2nd steep 20s: The tea is thicker but still a smooth, mellow brew. I'm getting a nice flavor of sugar cane and Chinese plums. Tea soup coats the throat with slick, oily mouthfeel. Very pleasant. Kinda tastes like a sweet version of how I imagine autumn would taste?
3rd steep 30s: The tea soup is still smooth, but thicker and oilier. There is a very nice honey sweetness but with a nice yeasty flavor coming through. This tastes amazing. Honestly, it's the best fu cha yet. The aftertaste is very lingering and sweet, like a nice chocolate or an orange blossom honey.
4th steep 40s: This is interesting- now I'm getting some woody notes combined with honey. Less oily and viscious now, but still very smooth and sweet. Man, this is delicious and calming. The aftertaste is still so sweet and lingers, floating to the nostrils. Wow, the fairness cup smells like honeyed medjool dates!!!!
5th steep 45s: It's getting woodier. Slightly bitter now but balanced nicely by the honeyed date aftertaste.
6th steep 60s: The tea is definitely a bit lighter now. Very vegetal but still sweet. Maybe one or two more steeps left.
7th steep 2min: sweet, light, and tasty. Dying but tasty.
8th steep 5min: The tea leaves are now dead but there is still a nice, sweet aftertaste.
Overall verdict: I would definitely recommend this tea. MoJun FuCha makes the cleanest fucha I've ever had and I feel confident enough to drink it without rinsing it, something I rarely do with post-fermented teas. This tea is pricer from the get-go and runs at $55.00 for a 400g brick, or a price of $0.13/g if you purchase it through other vendors. If you get it directly from Sophia on Instagram, it's significantly cheaper and the service is well-worth it. I recommend it as a great upper-tier fucha that won't break your bank and packs a great punch.