These dried and aged tea seed shells (pericarps) were picked in 2009 by farmers in Heishi village. These shells once encased the fruit of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, housing one to three tea seeds before they opened and dropped ripened seeds. You can brew these on their own, but they're best used to add more woodiness, deeper flavor, oilier mouthfeel and longer durability to your liu bao brews.
These have a sharp, slightly bitter taste initially, fading to wood, dried fruit, and slight floral notes, with a long aftertaste and returning sweetness after swallowing. I like to add a small amount, maybe a gram or two, to my pot or gaiwan while brewing liu bao to enhance the experience.
Storage is clean, with no moldy flavor or aroma. It was stored in Wuzhou until 2020, then in Seattle, Washington. Wuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%.
More about this tea
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.