Tea Sessions #5 2016 Qianjiazhai Harmony Xiao Jin Gua (Raw Pu'er)

This is a tea that I really love. I took one sip of it and instantly ordered another cake. This tea is a Raw Pu'er tea. It is a mixture of Spring and Autumn harvests from trees of varying age. Apparently, the age of the trees varies from 300 years old to 1000 years old! It is interesting to note the difference in the taste of Pu'er teas from different aged trees This tea comes from the Qianjiazhai forest in Yunnan, China. I ordered it through one of my favorite tea sources Verdant Tea. This is a well-blended tea that has a great taste and very invigorating qi. 

You can order the tea here: 2016 Harmony Gua



Like most Pu’er tea, the Harmony Gua, is a tea compressed into a “cake”. The compression is light and I am able to separate the leaves into small chunks without breaking them. The leaves are dark and filled with little silver hairs. I have been aging this tea cake for a little over a year now. The leaves have become more fragrant and darker as it has aged. 



Dry: Unwrapping the tea cake there is a strong floral aroma that stimulates qi to simultaneously rise up into the head (at the crown Baihui/GV20) and down through the chest into the feet. Interestingly the aroma stimulates the qi in the chest first then simultaneously rises into the skull and descends markedly through the belly to the feet. As the qi descends it slows in the digestive system.

Wet: With Pu’er tea, I love the aroma of the leaves after the first initial wash before drinking it. With this 2016 Harmony Gua that aroma is AWESOME. It is hard to put words on. The aroma is smokey, floral, fruity and spicy all at the same time. The wet aroma invokes a similar qi reaction. It is more forceful with the wet leaf. It strongly shoots upwards to the crown of the head and then descends through the digestive system to the feet. interesting. 


1st brew (200 Degree, 8 seconds) 

Sweet, floral & Smokey 

As with many Pu’er teas, there is something about the exhale after drinking a cup. This  2016 Harmony Gua leaves a lasting  sweet & smokey flavor/aroma in the throat and nose. There is a lot of upward qi stimulation as I drink the first brew. The qi goes all the way up through the skull to the crown of the head. There is a secondary descending motion that I notice that slows in the lower abdomen. It circulates through the bladder and then descends down the inside of the leg to the big toe and bottom of the foot. This energy sensation is felt faster than the feeling the of tea going down the pipes. A minute or two after drinking my final sip of the first brew, the flavor still lingers and feels as if it is a mist rising up into my skull. 

2nd  (200 Degree, 15 seconds) 

Pu’er can be brewed many times. It is usually the 2-4 brew where the flavor is strongest. Normally when I brew this particular tea I look forward to the 2nd brew.

The flavor is FULL. Some bitter tones start to come out in the 2nd brew which is a nice contrast to the sweet and smokey flavor. With the bitter flavor, there is a more descending qi stimulation. The qi still rises up but it strongly comes down. Again a few minutes after drinking my last sip, the nice sweet/smokey flavor lingers.

3rd-5th brew 

I brewed this tea many times. Each time the qi was similar. Over time the bitterness becomes more dominant. This tea could probobly go up to 10 brews


The color of the brew is dark yellow/orange.


My Thoughts 

When you find a Pu’er that you really like, buy a few cakes of it. There may never be another one quite like it, even from the same trees next year. There are a lot of variables that change the tea year to year. I ordered this last year took one sip and ordered another one. I really like this tea. 

In my experience, the 2016 Harmony Gua initially stimulates the qi of the chest, which quickly rises up strongly to the crown of the head and then descends strongly through the digestive system to the feet. The energy center at the top of the head is called BaiHui and is the point where the Pure Yang Qi / Celestial Qi of the heavens is taken into the body. This tea initially stimulates Yang (Quick, warm & activating) Qi. After the initial shoot upwards in, it goes straight down through the digestive system, where it swirls around the intestines and bladder down the inside of the leg to the big toe (spleen meridian) and bottom of the foot. 

This downward direction is pretty neat. In my opinion, this tea invigorates (but doesn't build) the qi of the spleen. The spleen’s energetic function( in TCM) is basically the transformation and transportation of the fluids and food essence into useable energy. This is definitely a tea that moves dampness, a condition that affects the spleen's energy matrix. Dampness feels soggy, heavy, slow, foggy and cumbersome. Mentally dampness feels like slow and cloudy thinking. This can be the result of a poor diet and a constitutional tendency towards dampness among many other things. This tea is activating and grounding at the same time. I would say slightly more activating than grounding though. After my 5th brew, I am almost "tea drunk”. 

The 2016 Harmony Gua gently wakes up and invigorates energy. It stimulates yang with it's Sweet, Smokey, floral taste and aroma. It grounds that active energy with its slight bitterness that desecneds down to the feet. This is a tea to drink when feeling bogged down or slow, cold, mentally cumbersome and lethargic. It is a good tea for those who feel creatively stuck or those who have a hard time mustering up the energy to get things done.  This would also be an excellent tea to drink after a heavy meal.