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Long ago, the wise tea master Lao Cha was on a pilgrimage through the mountainous ranges of Guangxi province, China, when he stumbled upon a tired farmer:
— Shifu, do you have something for me that is comforting, like a thick rice porridge, yet sweet and robust like coffee, that will help me tackle all this work?
— Of course, young one! Let me share with you a woven basket of Liu Bao.
Liu Bao can be considered the sister and, at the same time, the forefather of Shou Pu-erh. This tea originated from Guangxi province in China and dates back to the 1500s. Farmers age it using large bamboo baskets. The production of Liu Bao involves wet piling – the same method that tea producers later adapted to create Ripe Pu-erh.
If you are into the aged qualities of Ripe Pu-erh, we recommend trying Liu Bao Hei Cha. Compared to a Ripe Pu-erh, however, this tea has lighter, more uplifting qualities. The taste of Liu Bao is sweet and soft and has deep notes of red dates, earth, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is relatively thick yet refreshing.
Traditionally farmers make Liu Bao Hei Cha using the "triple-steaming method." That involved steaming, rolling, a second steaming and compressing into boxes for fermentation, additional rolling of the tea leaves, drying, then a final steaming for compressing into boxes. It served a double purpose for the convenience of transportation along with aging and further fermentation.
In the 1960s, the processing of Liu Bao began to change. Farmers began to use the wet-piling process to encourage fermentation. They first pan-fried the tea leaves, wetted them with water, and piled them in controlled conditions. This new production method, in turn, influenced the start of Shou Pu-erh production. However, the processing method for Ripe Pu-erh involved more water and heavier tea piles for an even deeper level of fermentation. That once again influenced Liu Bao's production. Nowadays, farmers produce practically all Liu Bao using the wet-piling method versus the traditional triple-steaming. Naturally, this results in a deeper taste.
Our Liu Bao Hei Cha uses a unique combination of steaming and wet-piling methods. First, farmers wet-pile the freshly harvested tea leaves, after which they steam them and leave them to age.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Liu Bao has both heating and cooling properties (yin and yang). It made Liu Bao Hei Cha has been very popular with Chinese mine workers who went to work in Malaysian tin mines. Large amounts of this tea were exported to Malaysia, where the workers would drink it to combat the harsh and damp conditions of the mines and expel excess dampness from their bodies. Today, you can still find old traditional Liu Bao supplies across Malaysia. Furthermore, locals love drinking this tea in the humid climates of Guangdong and Hong Kong.
A common preparation method is bringing the tea leaves to a boil in a pot, then letting them steep while cooling. The hot temperature doesn't harm the tea or extract any bitterness. Instead, this method only enhances the tea's nutritional value. Liu Bao is a straightforward tea to brew and can be both cooked and steeped as usual.
212℉ / 100℃
1g per 50ml 3-5min
1g per 20ml 10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion
Smooth, smooth, smooth! Excellent mouthfeel and soothing aftertaste. Highly recommended. Perfect companion while meditating.
My favorite pu-erh tea and one I would recommend to people just starting to dip their toes into this type of tea. I've tried a few Pu-erh teas and a lot of them were too grassy in taste, but this one has a great balance. If you've tried other pu-erh teas that aren't too your taste but still want to give it another try, I recommend this one.
I love drinking this in the morning or during meals, it goes great with most foods and is so smooth, and has a lovely earthy taste. I've bought so many teas from this business and have loved them all! It's my favorite place to buy teas from now!
I like pu-erh tea and this one is really something. It is not as strong as others I've tried but that's good. It has the taste and smell of the earth (I always like to tell people unfamiliar with pu-erh that it has a hint of the taste of dirt), and is about as mellow as any tea you'll ever find. Sometimes I forget to set my timer and get busy with whatever and suddenly remember it after it has steeped for an hour and it's totally fine, no bitterness and tastes great even cold. Another thing I like is the color. Some pu-erhs have a color that's not to my liking so this is also a plus. If you take time for tea this one will make you glad that you do.
I haven't been feeling my best self for the past few days, and hence, wasn't in the mood for some of my lighter, more delicate teas. I wanted something that feels very healing, a "pick me up" of sorts. Intuitively, I reached for the Liu Bao Hei Cha I got from Path of Cha. After smelling it, I knew I made the right choice. The aroma is very medicinal. Very herbaceous and I felt even a little minty. Brewing it up in my gaiwan, I was looking forward to its after-effects more than ever. The first sips were as medicinal as the aroma and very comforting. The taste slightly bitter like Chinese medicine, but of course more mellow and pleasant to the palate. The warm woody liquid soaked into my entire body. Almost instantly, I felt energized and rooted, which inspired me to immediately write this review. Thank you!