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Liubao 2014 Beeng Cha

$12.00

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Hei Cha (fermented)

 

Liubao Beeng Cha

 

Pressed in 2013 from spring tea materials plucked in 2012
Released in 2014
(2-years aged)

 

Price is for one 3.75 ounce (100-gram) beeng cha

 

Appearance: uniformly dark, finely chopped leaf
Flavor: light wood, smoke and mushroom flavor
Aroma: delicate ‘wo-dui’ process aroma and flavor
Liquor: coppery-brown colored liquor

 

Guangxi Wuzhou Tea Factory
Guangxi Province, China

Pressed in 2013 from spring tea materials plucked in 2012
Released in 2014
(2-years aged)

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

 

Use 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea per 6oz 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 10oz or in a gaiwan:

 

Use 4 teaspoons (6 grams) of tea per 6oz 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

 

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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 packed into bamboo baskets, stuffed into lengths of fresh bamboo or pressed into small flat discs. Our discs of Liubao are similar in appearance to a small cake or a birds-nest-shaped tuo cha of Pu-erh .
Liubao are usually small in diameter and thick .They have smooth sides, a flat bottom and a small indent ( Pu-erhs tend to be wide and thin and tuo chas are half-round with a thumb-sized indent).

 

The leaf used for Liubao is thick and rough looking, and some tea bush twigs are present, too. The cake is uniformly dark in color without much variation in leaf size or tone. The appearance of a new or old Liubao cake can be quite similar; in fact, the paper wrapper on an old Liubao is apt to show its age more than the disc of tea.

 

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 30-40+ 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.

These Liubao were pressed in 2013 and released in 2014. The raw materials for these beeng cha were plucked in 2011 and the blended mao cha is comprised of Grade 1 & Grade 3 leaf.

The tea is light and sweet – and a moderate amount of the ‘wo dui’ taste and aroma (and less than in the 2010 Liubao). 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 steeped.

This is an excellent Liubao for those who like a little age on their tea or for those who want to explore the benefits mellowing this tea further at home.