Black Magic 2015 Yiwu Raw Puer Cha Gao



Cha gao (茶膏/tea paste), also known as “instant puer”, was originally produced during the Tang and Song dynasties, and perfected during the Qing dynasty. At its zenith during the Qing dynasty, cha gao was considered a delicacy and enjoyed only by the elite class. For the last century, however, cha gao’s production methods and quality have not adequately reflected its previous status. Our Black Magic Raw Puer cha gao attempts to restore it to its former glory.

Available in 3 different grades, each version of our Black Magic cha gao is made from 100% Yiwu region raw puer material from both young and old trees. The cha gao, or tea paste, is hand made in Yiwu by soaking the tea for several days in a simmering tank of water until the water has almost entirely evaporated, leaving behind a thick resin. This resin is then spread into sheets and dried. After this, a vital and often overlooked step is taken to ensure an excellent result. Nothing. The cha gao rests for a minimum of one year, during with time any “off” flavours are expelled. Similar to fresh shou puer, cha gao that has been produced too recently may have excessive smokiness and an unpleasant burnt taste. Small ridges along the top surface are a good indication that the cha gao is ready for drinking.

While this cha gao is made entirely of raw puer material and water, the resulting flavour is one that can be surprising. It contains many of the qualities one could expect from a traditional raw puer – fragrance, sweetness, huigan, bitterness, etc, but there is also some earthiness and even light smokiness, though in a unique way. For those new to cha gao or uncertain of whether they will enjoy it, we advise ordering a small amount to start off, then deciding how to proceed.

Our Gold grade is perhaps the most aggressive and boldest of the three. Made from old tree material, this cha gao has a thicker feel and is more likely to exhibit a bitter character.

Our Silver grade is the most fragrant of the 3. Made from higher quality material, this cha gao is very drinkable and enjoyable.

While our Bronze grade is the most affordable, it still holds its own in terms of unique fragrance and lingering sweetness.

We recommend an experimental approach to finding your own brewing parameters with this cha gao, but generally 1 gram in a 120-160ml vessel brewed gongfu style works well. Start with a flash rinse, then brew the first infusion for 5-20 seconds, or as long as desired. The strength is best indicated by the colour of the soup, which will be a light to medium orange-brown colour. For this purpose we also advise using a light coloured or glass vessel in order to accurately gauge. This method should yield at least 3-4 infusions.

It’s worth noting that cha gao is still a condensed tea, so the caffeine (and of course cha qi) will be quite high and very noticeable. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

For additional information and brewing tips, click here.


Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions 3.5 × 3.5 × 7.5 cm

6 reviews for Black Magic 2015 Yiwu Raw Puer Cha Gao

  1. 5 out of 5

    DJPAS (verified owner)

    Wow first time Cha Gao (Gold) and I love it
    First steeps more like instant beef broth
    Turns to cacao/bitter choclate/coffee in later steeps bitter and floral notes
    Nice beef broth/floral smell

  2. 3 out of 5

    Alexandra Verville-Paris (verified owner)

    The dry tea block smell like humid soil. A certain work is needed to collect the 1 gram required for the infusion. Since the paste is really hard, I had to use scissors… it splashed everywhere ahah. What a mess I made. The wet paste has a smell of dried fruits. It has a thin and oily texture. Gentle mouth coating. Pleasant sweetness taste.

  3. 5 out of 5

    hollywaxwing (verified owner)

    This stuff is awesome. I believe I’ve only tried the “gold tier” Cha Gao. When I was first making the leap from craft coffee to the world of tea, this was my coffee replacement during barista shifts at work. I’m glad they source things like this and the crabs legs herbal tea – very special. I have a big chunk stashed away and I need to revisit it while the weather is still cool!

  4. 2 out of 5

    teabooksart (verified owner)


    A very coffee-like tea, and as an avid avoider of coffee… this was not my cup of tea. It has a very sharp, bitter taste that lingers around the tongue. I tried steeping this tea in different quantities and at different temperatures but all I could get was that coffee flavor. I did not experience any lingering sweetness (which was what I was hoping).

    On the plus side, if you like bitter teas or coffee, this one is right for you! My partner liked it well enough, though still prefers other sheng to this style.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ludovitche (verified owner)

    Very nice experience.
    Bitter sweet, with an after taste quite different from ‘regular’ raw puer.

    Is it the best puer I’ve ever had ? Not even close.
    Does it taste like a ‘normal’ raw puer ? Not to me.
    Is it the best cha gao I’ve had ? By far !

    It’s way above the 4 Cha Gao I tried elsewhere (YS, go home).
    Quite convenient when I don’t have time, and I don’t feel like sacrificing taste to lack of time.

    – it comes as rocks of different sizes, so it’s a mess to prepare on the go (I use cha gao to travel) : you have to break it yourself, so unless you weight it, it’s difficult to be consistent…
    – the difference between gold and bronze was too subtle to justify the price difference, I hope the silver is restocked in 2019 ?

    – it’s good
    – strong
    – ready in minutes
    – and.. it’s good !

  6. 4 out of 5

    rudi (verified owner)

    -Gold Grade-
    My last piece from 2017 purchase of the Podium set.
    I reserve this tea for when I go on a trip somewhere. It’s a convenient form of tea for travels.
    It is hard to judge how much to use per brew, but usually a little bit goes a long way.
    Few broken pieces steeped in 90 Celsius water for about a minute. The cha gao pieces melt and infused into the liquid faster than expected.
    The liquor turns into a cloudy and muted caramel in color. It turns darker the longer you steep this sheng cha gao. Kinda looks like a watered-down coffee.
    The taste is more on an earthy bitter side, though not overwhelming. The longer you steep it, the more pronounced its earthy bitterness you get and the darker it gets as well.
    It also has a mellow herbal-like note on the palate with a bitter-sweet aftertaste that is similar to coffee.
    Mouthfeel slightly sticky and some dryness around the lips.
    I have to say that I prefer the Bronze and Silver grades better, for they are less bold compared to this Gold grade, thus friendlier on the palate, which allow me to taste more of the ‘old sheng’ sweet aroma and aftertaste.

Add a review

SKU: 2016YICHG Categories: , , Tags: , , , ,