Brewing a liu bao

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

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Apr 21st 09 11:33 pm
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Brewing a liu bao

by Drax » Apr 21st 09 11:33 pm

This question should be easy to answer.

I recently got a liu bao that I wanted to try out. If I understand correctly, it's more similar to shou pu'erh than anything.

Would it be okay, then, to brew it in a yixing pot that I normally dedicate for shou pu'erh? Or would something else work? I don't really have another yixing pot to start yet another type of tea (and since I only have one liu bao, that wouldn't seem worth it anyway).

Thoughts? :D

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by shogun89 » Apr 22nd 09 12:14 am

Yeah, brewing it in a pot dedicated to shou will be perfectly fine. Those teas are like comparing a lake trout to stream trout, extremely similar.

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by Drax » Apr 22nd 09 1:14 am

Cool, sounds good. I will try the liu bao tomorrow night, then! Thanks (:

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by hop_goblin » Apr 22nd 09 1:48 am

shogun89 wrote:Yeah, brewing it in a pot dedicated to shou will be perfectly fine. Those teas are like comparing a lake trout to stream trout, extremely similar.

True, but liu an is very different than the other two.

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by Proinsias » Apr 22nd 09 2:16 am

Does liu an not come in in what roughly approximates to raw and cooked versions, the 'cooked' being somewhat similar to shu or liu bao and the 'raw' being another beast altogether?

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by entropyembrace » Apr 22nd 09 2:41 am

I have a basket of 2004 Liu An...it looks like green tea that's been compressed but it's a tad darker. It doesn't really taste like any other teas I've tried but it's definitely not earthy like shu pu-erh. I don't really know much else about it I don't even remember the vendors description and it doesn't seem to be available anymore.

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by tony shlongini » Apr 22nd 09 3:05 pm

There are slight differences in production and taste, but as far as brewing is concerned, I'd view Liu Bao and shu as interchangeable.

Liu An is a different animal. I received a nice sample from one of our generous benefactors, and found it to be mildly medicinal, but not in a bad way. I think this may be one of thoses teas that needs a lot of time.

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by Drax » Apr 23rd 09 12:36 am

Once again, thanks for the info, everybody! Boy, it's sure nice having such a great group to ask questions. Sure, I'd still be drinking the tea regardless, but I'm enjoying it a lot more thanks to everybody here.

I got to try this liu bao this evening. It's a 2002 basket from YS, which apparently comes from Wuzhou Guangxi. Hey, a 500g basket for < $16 is pretty nice. And it comes in a cute basket.

Anyway, I was really intrigued to try this, because every time I smell it, I can smell the shou-side of it, but it has a brightness or a lightness to the odor that makes me perk my eyebrows. It reminds me of the "ooh, fresh!" scent of some laundry detergents that are labeled "Spring Day" or "April Fresh." But w/o the soap.

I'm on the 4th infusion as I type. It's never really brewed dark amber, but I got a medium-dark brew out of the second cup. The test is reminiscent of that scent -- like a faint shou pu'erh with a perk-up-the-eyebrows "ooh!" kick to it. Not kick in the "knock you over sense" but kick as in addition to the flavor.

Anyway... pretty interesting! I say this with all the teas, but I'm curious to taste how it ages, and at what point it will turn into a basket of dirt? haha

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by hop_goblin » Apr 23rd 09 1:24 am

tony shlongini wrote:
Liu An is a different animal. I received a nice sample from one of our generous benefactors, and found it to be mildly medicinal, but not in a bad way. I think this may be one of thoses teas that needs a lot of time.
Indeed, most don't consider Liu An appropiate to drink until after 20 years or so.

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by Proinsias » Apr 23rd 09 1:33 am

hop_goblin wrote:Indeed, most don't consider Liu An appropiate to drink until after 20 years or so.
I thought that about sheng a few years ago. Maybe if it hits the big time we'll all be guzzling just-off-the-plant liu an in a few years time and sticking it to those traditionalists.

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by entropyembrace » Apr 23rd 09 7:03 pm

The Liu An I bought from jing tea shop is only from 2004 and quite delicious...it's still quite green but has a smoothness I haven't encountered in young sheng or green tea. :D

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by sp1key » Apr 24th 09 1:30 am

a good well aged clean liu an = unforgettable

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by entropyembrace » Apr 24th 09 5:17 am

I gave it another try today...last time I had any was last year...it's not so green anymore! It had strong pine notes and subtler chocolate notes and enough astringency to make my mouth water without being unpleasant. There wasn't a strong sweet aftertaste like I get with some oolong and pu-erh but it left a fresh feeling lingering in my mouth and a sense of warmth and comfort I've only gotten from much older teas before (a 1983 TGY and 1994 sheng pu-erh feng qing? tuo in what I think is a CNNP wrapper)

I wish I ordered another basket or three now! :lol: It's totally shot up to my shortlist of favorite teas.

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by Jedi » Apr 26th 09 7:34 am

Greetings!

I was fortunate to drink some 30 years plus liu bao yesterday at an esteemed teapot collector's home cum shop. While oggling a few nice pieces by Gu Zhing Zhou's pupils, I was treated to a powerful gong-fu style brewing of this venerable tea. It was shown in loose form, on a piece of white paper, which also served as a funnel to direct the tea into the appropriate pot.

The tea resembled loose Pu Erh from afar, with a good ratio of leaf to stem, promising a full bodied brew. As is the preference of the senior members of the tea drinking population here (a status I am far from attaining), almost half the teapot was filled with leaves. The resulting brews (no rinsing) were dark, ominous, with a light yellow/green halo around the liquid. Aromas were varied, starting with a light caramel laced with herbs to a deep oaky bordeaux style perfume. In the mouth, each cup was consistently strong, providing plenty of interest with absolutely no sign of astringency. The flavours were of a deep woody nature, without the earthiness of Pu-Erh. In terms of Qi, the tea alerted the senses and inspired circulation without overtly exciting one. It was a hot day, but the tea did not make one uncomfortable.

Liu Bao / Liu An has a long history in Malaysia, having been brought by our tin-mining ancestors from China, to cure the body of dampness and to ward off evil spirits. Liu Bao would be brewed in large clay kettles and then poured into urns, kept warm on a low fire, to be drunk from a ladle hanging nearby. Over here, there isn't much to distinguish whether one calls the tea Liu Bao or Liu An, and I've never bothered to ask about the tea's provenance, knowing full well that most of what we're drinking these days comes from old stored stock. It's a much maligned 'utility' tea that is now making a renaissance as a 'fine tea' in the wake of the burst Pu Erh bubble. Most notably, back in October '08, an entire basket of 40 years old Liu Bao fetched the handsome sum of USD70,000.00, divided among four elderly gentlemen who pooled their resources to secure their retirement brews.