Aged & Rested

Liubao Regular 2012

$11.00$80.00

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Hei Cha (fermented)

 

Liubao 2012

 

Appearance: even, slightly large leaf, very little twig
Flavor: clean tasting and bright, and slightly fruity
Aroma: pleasant, appealing earthy aroma
Liquor: deep, red-amber 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’ very quickly 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, as with Pu-erh, oolong-varietal black teas, most oolongs, some green teas and smoked tea. Do not sort these out!

 

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.

 

Liubao is reminiscent of mao cha, an early step in Pu-erh manufacture that is frequently drunk in Yunnan Province just as aracha is drunk by some tea enthusiasts in Japan, and un-finished oolong is drunk by tea farmers in Fujian Province; however the leaf used for mao cha and Liubao are quite different, so their flavors are different too.

 

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 special Liubao (a delicious Tea Trekker discovery!) was made with the excellent, ‘vintage-quality‘ spring 2012 raw material that so impressed many dark tea enthusiasts in its harvest year that it sold out in short order. As was the custom at that time with such an incredible harvest, it was kept in storage for 3-years and released 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 teas‘ that were sent from China to the nomadic people living in the remote 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 ‘base’ tea is made, loose-leaf Liubao is packed into 45-kilo bamboo baskets for storage and aging, and is then packed into smaller baskets of about 1.5 kilos net weight for retail sale within China.  The baskets allow the tea to continue to develop, because air-exchange is essential for the tea to breathe and continue to age properly.

Liubao is classified as a ‘dark tea’, (hei cha) and can be comprised of large or small leaf and may include few-to-many twigs.

[NOTE: as is true with the unique black teas made on Taiwan or in eastern China with the leaf of oolong varietals, (such as FHDC Black and Sun Moon Lake Black teas) do not edit the twigs out; they are an important contributor to the overall flavor of this tea and it will not taste ‘right’ if they are removed]

 

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.

Liubao is noteworthy for its plentiful chi, which may (or may not – depending on your awareness) offer the drinker a Pu-erh-like warming sensation in one’s mid-section, and they usually have a tempered caffeine content due to the fermentation that is an integral part of its early manufacture.

Liubao as a category is a great value for tasty, everyday tea drinking. This version, our ‘Regular 2012‘ has been stored carefully in dry storage since being released in 2015 following its manufacture and principal aging, and will provide many re-steepings of good quality steeped Liubao (you should receive back 500-600+ cups of tea per lb rather than the more traditional estimate of 200 cups for most black teas).

Think of it as comfort tea for cold winter months, the damp & wet spring weather months that follow, and anytime a rich, ‘brothy’ style tea is appropriate (try it with spicy ribs or sweet & sour shrimp for dim sum on a clear day in July!). Consider a side-by-side tasting of several of our Liubao teas. More than any difference in their years of production is the distinctiveness and overall characteristic of the leaf from each of these teas.

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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