Aged & Rested Liubao 1st grade 2008 hei cha

Liubao 1st Grade 2012


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Hei Cha (fermented)


Liubao 1st Grade 2012


Appearance: even leaf size, very little twig
Flavor: clean tasting and bright, and slightly fruity
Aroma: pleasant, appealing earthy aroma
Liquor: deep red in color in the cup



Wuzhou Tea Factory
Liubao Town, Cangwu County,
Guangxi Province, China

2012 Late Spring Pluck
(9-years aged)


This Liubao was made in 2012 and packed in large 45-kilo baskets.
The tea was stored for several years for aging and developing flavor and re-packed for sale in 2015.

Note on Steeping Hei Cha:


Liubao is traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped. This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. The rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping.  Use  additional appropriately-heated water for the 1st steeping and subsequent re-steepings.


Western-style steeping in a medium-large sized teapot 25-32 ounces:


Use 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea per 6 oz water
Use water that is 200°F- 210°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 3-4 minutes
Re-steep this leaf 1-2 additional times


Asian-style steeping in a small teapot under 10 oz or in a gaiwan:


Use 4 teaspoons (6 grams) of tea per 6 oz water
Use water that is 200°F-210°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 25 seconds
Increase the steeping time an additional 5-10 seconds with each re-steep
Re-steep this leaf 4-6 times or more

Coming Soon!

Liubao is from Liubao Town in Cangwu County, Guangxi province, where this tea has been in production since the Qing Dynasty Jiaqing period ( 1796-1820).


Traditionally, Liubao was (and still is) packed into bamboo baskets, stuffed into lengths of fresh bamboo or pressed into small flat discs of tea called beeng cha.


The leaf used for Liubao can be small. medium or large and is usually thick and rough looking. Some tea bush twigs are present, too.


One of the unique features of Liubao is that the leaf is given a shorter fermentation period in the tea factory than shou Pu-erh – 7 to 10 days compared to 30 to 40+ days. Because of this short fermentation time, Liubao is sweeter, milder and pleasantly aromatic.


Tea drinkers who find shou Pu-erh too strong for their liking may find Liubao to be just right. In the cup the tea is rich, sweet, flavorsome and mellow, and can be described as combining the best qualities of a rich mellow China black tea with just a touch of shou Pu-erh earthiness and sass.

This Liubao 1st grade was made by the Wuzhou Tea Factory under their TF Three Cranes Brand. It was made from high quality 2012 spring raw material and kept in storage for 3-years until its release in 2015. Specifically, it is made from small, 1st grade yi ji or top grade leaves.

Liubao is an old-style tea – it is an example of the historic ‘border tea’ that was sent from China (via the Tea-Horse Route and other long-established ancient trade routes) to nomadic people living in the border lands located north and west of China. We love its straightforward, earnest style and appearance.

Liubao is a simple, easy-to-like, tasty tea with light oxidation and minimal fermentation. Once the tea is made, loose-leaf Liubao is packed into 45-kilo bamboo baskets for storage and aging, but is then packed into smaller baskets of about 1.5 kilos of tea for retail sale.  The baskets allow the tea to continue to develop, as air-exchange is essential for the tea to breathe and age.

Liubao is classified as a ‘dark tea’ (the same broad category that includes Pu-erh) and can be comprised of large or small leaf and include few-to-many twigs. Despite its sometimes rough and tumble appearance, Liubao is known for its light mouth-feel, a slightly woodsy flavor, and well-balanced and soft liquor. Overall, this batch of Liubao is smooth, sweet and full in the mouth. The tea is clean-tasting and bright, and slightly fruity with a pleasant, appealingly earthy aroma. The overall style of Liubao is softer, lighter, and generally more accessible for casual drinking than is the style of either sheng or shou Pu-erh. However, there are many similarities; and the differences in Liubao are the result of the leaf used, aging, terroir, and storage prior to sale.

This tea is a great value for tasty, everyday tea drinking. It has been stored carefully in dry storage and will provide many cups of good quality Liubao. Think of it as comfort tea for the cold winter months and the damp wet spring weather to follow. Consider a side-by-side tasting of several of our Liubao. More than the difference of years will be the overall characteristics of the leaf from each of the manufactures.

Loose-leaf Liubao is similar to the Liubao bricks and beeng cha discs that we sell, but offers the convenience of loose-leaf tea.


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