This morning during a snowfall I drank a newer Liu Bao tea from 2015. This particular tea was produced by Wuzhou Tea Factory. Wuzhou is a well known producer of Liu Bao tea in Guangxi Province, so this tea is probably available from different sources. It came to me through Yunnan Sourcing in a sample pack of different fermented teas.
Teapot Volume: 180 ml
Weight of Loose Tea: 7 grams
Water Temperature: As close to boiling (100°C / 212°F) as I could get
Duration of Wash (to be discarded): 10 seconds
1st Infusion: 15 seconds
2nd Infusion: 30 seconds
3rd Infusion: 45 seconds
4th Infusion: 1 minute
5th Infusion: 2 minutes
6th (final) Infusion: 3 minutes
The dry leaves of this tea had a musty and woody aroma. The smell of the tea was distinctly that of Liu Bao, and did not smell similar to ripe pu’er.
The first infusion was rich, with a smooth and creamy texture. The flavor had the classic woodiness and nuttiness that I associate with Liu Bao. Some of these better flavors were clouded by the mustiness, however. I think this is because this tea is fairly new, being produced only 2 – 3 years ago. This reminded me of how the better flavors of some ripe pu’er teas can be clouded by the funky “piling flavors” (dui wei 堆味 in Chinese) of the fermentation process.
At this point in the session the leaves really started to open up, lending to a fuller and creamier texture. The mustiness was still substantial in the second infusion. This tea is not as mellow as some aged Liu Bao teas can be.
3rd and 4th Infusions
These were the qualities I was hoping for when drinking a Liu Bao tea. The mustiness had faded by this point in the session, but the tea still had pleasant woody, nutty, and earthy flavors. The texture was still full and creamy, which I believe is due to the tippy grade of the tea leaves.
5th and 6th Infusions
At this point of the session the flavor became lighter as the tea started to fade. I decided to stop brewing while the tea was still enjoyable. If the tea were pushed beyond 5 – 6 steepings, I think it would start to become somewhat bland.
Ultimately I thought this was a decent Liu Bao tea. The price is under $4 / ounce, so I think it would be a good candidate for aging. Over time I feel like some of the mustiness would subside. If one were fine with a little mustiness in their tea, then I think it is fine to drink now. After a few infusions the mustiness fades out, leaving a good clean brew with a classic Liu Bao flavor profile.