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2017 Three Cranes Grade III Liubao (100g)

2017 Three Cranes Grade III Liubao (100g)

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This tea was released last year (2019) after two years of traditional storage in Guangxi. Three Cranes is the only producer I will buy liubao from: their quality is top notch, and this tea had no detected pesticides when tested against Chinese standards. The storage method they use, which has been called "Hong Kong style," is very well controlled. 

This is the lowest standard grade of liubao produced by Three Cranes, but it is still an excellent tea and a great daily drinker. This is a great entry point into the world of liubao for those who don't want to pony up for super grade, but you don't have to sacrifice quality and go with a producer who doesn't meet the same standards as Three Cranes.

The traditional storage aroma is evident in the dry leaf and in the cup. I used a modern Jingdezhen iron sand clay pot to test this tea, which does have a muting effect on storage to some extent. The storage has been done very well on this tea, and Three Cranes have their traditional warehousing process very well dialed in. I get some betelnut character in the cup as well, and more bitterness than I'd get from the Super Grade liubaos. This bitterness is very tolerable, however, and I believe it will age out over time. The bitterness in this tea reminded me of the kind of bitterness I get from gushu pu erh: it's thin, deep and long lasting. I don't know if that will make sense to everyone, but it's something I find in gushu pu erh specifically (and now this liubao too, apparently).

The big surprise for me was how thick the liquor was with this grade, which was a pleasant surprise. I almost felt like I was drinking syrup!

There is also some kuwei in later infusions (sweetness after the swallow). The storage note dissipated rather quickly when brewing and I got some pleasant date aftertaste. I didn't find this tea as profoundly calming as the super grade, but for the price point, this tea is excellent value. 

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