This Liubao is a compressed disc version of this tea made by the Wuzhou Tea Factory under their TF Three Cranes Brand. Liubao is an old style tea – it is an example of the historic border tea that was sent from China to nomadic people living in the border lands located north and west of China. We love it’s straightforward, earnest style and appearance.
Liubao is a simple, easy-to-like, tasty tea with light oxidation and light 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 developing and aging as air-exchange is essential for the tea to breath. If the tea is to be compressed into discs this occurs after the storage and aging.
This Liubao was manufactured in 2005 and released in 2007. The tea is light and sweet – with just a moderate amount of wo dui taste and aroma.
We noted a little woodsy, smoky flavor in the liquor, which, coupled with the smooth body, gives this tea a flavor that is slightly reminiscent of a tippy Zheng Shan. The second steeping brought out a lovely, clean flavor of forest floor and mushroom. Subsequent steepings bring out more of a rich umami quality which shows the tea’s chewy mouth-feel.
This tea is clear and bright throughout – no muddy qualities or funky tastes. As the leaf opened during subsequent steepings, the flavor gave us hints of tobacco, cocoa, and moss.
The cake has been given tight compression which makes it firm and dense. The leaf can be broken off in bits and pieces and crumbles with a tea pick or tea knife. It is essential to give Liubao a quick rinse with hot water before the initial 1st steeping to rinse away the crumbled bits. We steeped this tea 3 times and it could have yielded many more rounds of good tea drinking. Similar to a shou Pu-erh ‘iron cake’ (tight compression) these Liubao cakes have very little aroma until the leaf is in water.
This is an excellent Liubao for those who like a little age on their tea or for those who want to explore the flavor of this interesting type of tea.