This is a young sheng/raw liu bao tea produced in the early fall of 2018 shortly after an early first frost on Heishi Mountain, from tea trees aged 80-100 years. The cold shock to the leaves turns them a darker black-green and enhances the flavor and aroma of the autumn buds, creating a bold and punchy tea.
This is one of two young raw liu bao we are carrying at the request of some of our regular customers who were curious about what these teas taste like when new. The other is the 2019 Heishi Mountain "Winter's Nectar", which we will continue to carry.
This one is limited quantity, and we are only selling samples until it is gone. If you would like to purchase this tea in greater quantities, please inquire with us.
This tea is a kick in the mouth. It has a strong scent of hay, with a faint smoke note in the background. It is most akin to the Hunan tea, tian jian, in terms of flavor: herbaceous and bitter up front, turning into a honey note after swallowing.
Brewing tips (gongfu)
For this liu bao, ignore our usual advice to use slightly more leaf and slightly longer infusions when brewing this genre. This tea should be brewed with 6g/100ml or 7g max, with shorter infusions, lest it become overwhelmingly bitter. Choose a thinner glazed vessel to capture the best of the aroma of this tea. Pay it a lot of attention when brewing and you'll be rewarded with some truly delightful hui gan.
For the few years this tea was around before 2021, it was kept in Wuzhou before coming to Seattle, Washington. Wuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%.
More about this tea
Early frosts, mild winters, late rains: Knowing the timing of when to pick tea and how the weather affects its flavors and aromas is part of the deep knowledge of tea makers who make truly exceptional teas. The thing that made this tea particularly well suited to picking was that the early frost came when these bushes had already started leafing out their autumn buds. That first autumn flush was frost-bitten and fell from the plant, and the next flush that grew responded to those conditions by growing thicker and darker and producing more flavor compounds, presumably to protect against weather and insects.