Hong Ya Revisited

hong ya 2 - dry leaf

Or, a tale of three biscuits.

Oh, sorry, spoilers

This is the last of the four black teas that made up my recent four tea mini-haul. It went onto my shopping list as part of an on-going project to dig a little deeper into the black teas of Fuding.

I also had another reason to want to buy a full cargo of these leaves.

I’d previously had an encounter with this tea as a free, 3 gram sample in November of last year, and was impressed enough to place it on my “must buy later” list, in order to satisfy my curiosity as to how it stacked up in the gong-fu stakes.

The dry leaf fresh out the caddy smelt sweet and malty, like the malt extract in a home brew beer kit.

Looking at those small, delicate needles I couldn’t help feeling that I was in for a hard and fast ride with this session, not to mention that simply keeping the leaves in the gaiwan was going to require fine control of the aperture between lid and bowl.

Steeping method
Water Used: Filtered tap water
Weight of dry leaf: 6 grams
Infusion style: Gong-fu
Steeping vessel: 150 ml porcelain gaiwan
Water temperature: 95°C
No. & duration: 7 infusions of 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, and 60 seconds duration

After allowing the leaf to warm up in the rinsed out gaiwan, it started giving me strong suggestions of chocolate chip cookies.

Before taking my initial sip of the first infusion I had a good old sniff of the wet leaf. There was a kind of smokiness there, which closely resembled slightly burnt bread crust just out of a toaster.

hong ya 2 - a cup of

That first infusion switched the biscuity focus. Chocolate chip cookies had been replaced by a British classic, the custard cream, with its sweet, vanilla tinged creaminess and lightly baked background.

Just one round later that particular biccy left the stage, allowing another well known treat from Blighty to hop into the spotlight, the Bourbon cream. Now we were back into choco-territory, and a darker, more caramelized tone.

It has to be said that for a tea made up of such small, fine leaves this liquor was surprisingly beefy in the mouthfeel stakes, nice and oily in fact.

The first signs of slippage appeared during the 6th. steeping, and after another round we were all done.

hong ya 2 - used leaves

I’ve noticed that Yorkshire Tea’s “Biscuit Brew” has been getting a fair bit of attention on Reddit ( /tea, amongst other places) lately.

I suppose as a Yorkshireman myself that I should be championing that beverage, going into bat for it you might say, if you were going to reference the stereotypical depictions of Yorkshire life on the packaging, but I can’t help feeling that if I want to be reminded of classic British baked goods whilst drinking tea then the leaves from Fuding, rather than the blend from Harrogate, would probably give me a far better result.

This batch of Hong Ya has quickly carved out a niche for itself as a top end of the range daily drinker in a mid-afternoon time slot. No biscuits required.

Good stuff.


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5 Responses to Hong Ya Revisited

  1. Funnily enough, I had five boxes of Biscuit Brew in my house at one point (it was from Amazon and apparently the minimum amount to buy). My family loved it – looks like I should introduce this to them if I can get ahold of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • What does it actually taste like? Can you identify a particular type of biscuit?

      I don’t know why, but I get the impression that it might taste like a fairly standard English Breakfast that’s got half a broken up, soggy digestive biscuit slowly dissolving at the bottom of the cup… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had the impression of a digestive but that was mostly in the smell. I did have friends who said they could taste the biscuit as well, but for me it was just a bit sweeter than a normal supermarket black tea (with milk I can almost taste the biscuit notes but at that point I’m probably going to be munching on an actual biscuit as well)


  2. I like every Fujianese black tea I have ever had. I need to try this one now too.

    Liked by 1 person

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