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.