This young sheng/raw liu bao tea from Heishi Mountain was produced when a mild winter in 2019 caused new shoots to grow at a time when the tea trees are normally dormant. Only 35 kilos in total were produced.
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 2018 Heishi Mountain "Frost-bitten" raw liu bao.
Anise! Honey! Hui gan!
This young raw liu bao is weird and wonderful. It smells and tastes strongly of anise and honey, with wild charm and thick texture. It brews many infusions without weakening. The closest thing it reminds me of is dancong oolong, insomuch as it has offers strong, perfectly mimicked flavors. Unlike the gentleness and mellowness dancong, this tea has the punch and astringency of a young hei cha.
Brewing tips (gongfu)
For this liu bao, ignore our usual advice to use slightly more leaf and slightly longer infusions when brewing. This tea should be brewed with 6g/100ml or 7g max, with shorter infusions, or it may become too strong. It is not picky about vessel, and will force its aromas on you no matter how you brew it, but a little finesse will avoid the astringency and bitterness of its youth.
For the two years this tea was around before coming to Seattle in 2021, it was kept in Wuzhou. Wuzhou has a humid subtropical climate with an average relative humidity of 60-80%.
More about this tea
Winter teas are relatively uncommon, because tea plants mostly stay dormant and don't put out strong new growth during the cold months and short days. Moreso than just a warm snap, which can trigger the growth of new buds that soon become damaged when the cold returns, winter teas require an extended period of mild weather, enough for the leaf buds to develop and open.