This sheng liu bao was produced in 1999 from Teji (特级, "top grade") material from trees of the local gui qing varietal (桂青种) of Camellia sinensis.
Teji grade indicates it's mostly buds and tips with few if any stems or larger leaves. See the brewing tips below for how to get the best of this grade when brewing.
Gui qing varietal has medium-sized leaves, puts out new growth late in the season, has relatively low yield, and is prized for its robust structure that holds up well during processing and for its long-lasting fragrance and mellow flavor. For another tea made with this varietal in a rougher grade, see our 2006 Osmanthus Fragranct Farmer Style Raw Liu Bao.
Upon rinsing, this tea offers mellow, woody, wine-y fragrance. The wood continues into the flavor, along with carob and occasional fruitiness. It is not bitter or sharp, but mellow and with a soft rich texture. Brewed longer or stronger, betelnut aroma becomes more apparent but not overpowering.
Brewing tips (gongfu)
Because of this tea's higher grade, it tends to give flavor more quickly. I recommend 7.5g of leaf per 100ml, which balances the profile. 7g/100ml makes this tea sweeter but a bit thin, and 8g brings a punchier woodiness and a longer aftertaste. Whatever ratio you use, as with most liu bao teas, you'll brew a more delicious tea when you push your infusion times a little longer than you would for something like pu'er or oolong.
Storage is clean, with no moldy flavor or aroma. It was aged naturally in Wuzhou until 2021, then in Seattle, Washington. Wuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%.