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2007 Three Cranes Top Grade Liubao (50g)

2007 Three Cranes Top Grade Liubao (50g)

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  • Liu bao tea has a long history in Malaysia, where it was imported for Chinese laborers who couldn't afford more expensive tea. Huge stockpiles of this tea were left behind in Malaysia when the laborers returned to China: this tea is now very popular with the Malaysian-Chinese community and tea aficionados worldwide!

    Liu bao is a hei cha,
     or black tea, like liu an, fu cha and pu erh. These black teas are post-fermented, and liu an produced in Guangdong for Hong Kong demand was the inspiration for ripe pu erh production to satisfy Hong Kong demand for pu erh tea! 

I realized last night that liu bao in Malaysia is analogous to pu erh in Hong Kong. Both teas were sold for those who could not afford better tea, and both are now very popular in their own right. These teas have earned the respect they now have the hard way!

While liu bao is not commonly consumed in Hong Kong, there is increasing demand for hei cha among serious tea drinkers in Hong Kong now, and I recently noticed a variety of fu cha bricks for sale at a department store! Fu zhuan tea is very popular right now because of its health benefits, which are contributed by eurotium cristatum.

  • This tea is top grade Three Cranes liu bao from 2007 that I purchased directly from Three Cranes several months before I started Tea Life, and have personally dry stored in HK for two years. It is interesting to note that Three Cranes themselves said to put this tea aside for later consumption! This is what Hong Kong dealers have long done with traditional storage pu erh. Guangxi (where liu bao is from) and Hong Kong are at similar latitudes and have similar environments, so the humid storage notes in this tea are a lot like those in traditional storage pu erh.

  • This tea had seen heavy traditional storage in Three Cranes' own storage facilities before sale, as is traditional. The two years of HK dry storage have knocked the storage notes right down. This is now smooth liu bao that goes down like silk. There is a little betelnut character detectable from the dry leaf when loaded in hot Yixing clay. In the cup, the liquor is smooth with a hint of storage, but the storage note is now nowhere near as prevalent as it used to be! The flavor is classic Three Cranes liu bao with a hint of betelnut.

  • There is a sweet date note in the liquor that I didn't expect! This tea seems to be aging like my dry storage shou, or like modern liu bao, even though it went through seven years of traditional storage, which I find very interesting. This is a unique tea that I only have a single 500g basket of from my own collection, so if you'd like to try some liu bao that has been Hong Kong dry stored and is now lovely to drink, here's your chance!

Brewing suggestion: Full boil, with water of low hardness (15-35 mg/L, with 1-3mg/L of magnesium). Rinse twice, and start with 10-15 second infusions for the first two or three infusions, then add 10-15 seconds to each successive infusion. If the liquor is too weak, add more time. 

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