This tea was produced in 2012 by a small farmer. It is made of grade 1 leaves from tea trees aged 40-50 years. This tea underwent a shorter/lighter fermentation period, resulting in a brighter color and flavor. This is an affordable liu bao that is a great introduction to liu bao tea that has the signature betelnut flavor.
The dry leaf fragrance reminds me of traditional stored pu'er. Immediately after rinsing, the warm leaves carry betelnut fragrance to the nose, and under this are mossy, mineral aromas. A friend who tasted this with me said it was a "Pacific Northwest" scent.
The betelnut flavor is unmissable in every infusion, and in later infusions (infusion 5 and onward) the underlying wood and straw notes become more apparent as the tea thins. It's not particularly complicated, but it's an easy tea to like, and a good daily drinker.
Brewing tips (gongfu)
A standard ratio of 7g of leaf in a 100ml worked well. After infusion 4 I found longer-than-usual steep times made for better tea. After infusion 8 or 9, I suggest doing one long steep of ~5 minutes to pull the remaining flavor from the leaves. After that, any subsequent long steeps are sweet but watery.
Storage is clean, with no moldy flavor or aroma. It was aged naturally in Wuzhou until 2020, then in Seattle, Washington. Wuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%.