Qixing Stove, the tool that gives Anhua Dark Tea its soul

Qixing Stove

Anhua Dark Tea is certainly one of the tea varieties that requires the most processing steps. While every single step has its purpose in the making of the final product, none is as defining as the Qixing Stove (七星灶) sequence. It is also unique to Anhua Dark Tea. All its variations go through it.

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Bailiang Tea compression

Bailiang Tea compression

The final compression is an important processing step for all sizes of Huajuan Tea (Shiliang Tea, Bailiang Tea, Qianliang Tea). The steamed leaves are compressed into their three layers of vegetal wrapping, before resting in the open air for about a month.

The video below shows the different tools and actions involved in this key processing step.

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Anhua County impressions

Anhua County impressions

Artisanal tea is always closely linked to its place of origin. Anhua County in central Hunan Province is the place where Anhua Dark Tea is grown and processed. The comforting character of Anhua Dark Tea is strongly associated with the misty mountain forests of Anhua County and the many streams that cross it.

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Introducing 2017 Gongjian Fu Brick

2017 Gongjian Fu Brick

Among all variations of Anhua Dark Tea, Fu Brick Tea is the only one that is intentionally processed in such a way to produce ‘Golden Flowers’ (金花). These beneficial microorganisms are reputed for their healthy properties and their mellowing effect on the tea leaves. While they can appear naturally in a humid environment like Anhua County, they are not always welcome by local tea artisans, as they transform the quality of the tea leaves. However, in the case of Fu Brick Tea, ’Golden Flowers’ are an integral part of the experience.
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