Late 1990s "Farmer Style" Heishi Mountain Large Tree Aged Raw Liu Bao

Regular price $15.88

Desciription

This aged "farmer style" raw/sheng liu bao tea was produced in the late 1990s by farmers in Heishi village. Heishi is considered one of the best, if not the best, sources of liu bao tea because of the village's remote location, higher elevation, traditional production methods, and older "semi-wild" tea trees, with the local heritage tree estimated at 700 years old. This tea was produced from tea trees supposedly around 100 years old.

Tasting notes

This older tree tea offers a rich, mellow woody taste with a thick mouthfeel and sweet aftertaste unlike the punchier teas from Wuzhou Tea Factory/3 Cranes. Aged on wood boards to give the sought-after "betelnut" flavor, this is an excellent example of raw liu bao made and aged by traditional processes. It's easily the best example of aged liu bao that we currently carry.

Storage history

Storage is clean, with no moldy flavor or aroma. It was aged naturally in Heishi until 2015, then in Wuzhou until 2019, then in Seattle, Washington. Heishi and Wuzhou have a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%. Heishi is somewhat more temperate than Wuzhou.

What is "farmer style" liu bao?

Farmer style liu bao comes from a more traditional or old school process compared to how liu bao teas are typically created and graded today.

To understand farmer style liu bao, you need to know a little about how liu bao is produced and graded.  

Liu bao tea is graded using a standard system, where "top grade" (特级) and "grade 1" (一级) include only bud tips. As grade numbers increase, leaves from farther down the bud stem are included. Grade 2 includes very little stem. Grade 3 includes larger leaves and tender stems. Grade 4 can include stems that aren't tender, i.e., small woody sticks. I have seen some labeled grade 5 and 7, where 7 was mostly mature leaves (called 黄片, huangpian, "yellow pieces", based on the color these leaves turn when dry, compared to the rich green of more tender bud leaves) and sticks.

Farmer style liu bao is produced with the entire bud stem and doesn't fall easily into the grading system, but averages about grade 3, with tender stems and large bud leaves, but little to no sticks or fully matured leaves. This is the household tea of small farmstead owners, stored and aged in the family's own wood board sheds.

In addition, farmer style tea typically does not undergo wet piling, and is instead kept "raw" (生). Wet piling is the controlled fermentation process used to produce most factory liu bao teas nowadays, and is similar to the process for how "cooked" pu'er (aka shu pu'er, 熟普洱) is made.

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