Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Healer

You have probably been there...from time to time it happens. You meet tea which brings new perspective into your tea world . I have experienced that with mature leaves from Guangxi province - completely new taste profile, unknown story. But most notably there was kind of energy I haven't experienced so strongly before.

The tea I am talking about is 1980's Liu Bao Tea from The Eccense of tea

Dry leaves, as you can see above, are not perfect. I mean if you don't know that we are talking about aged liubao here. There are some stems, broken leaves but also nice whole leaves and some of them are still slightly pressed into some kind of chunks- probably as a remnant of traditional storage in bamboo basket. The first clue of this beeing something special you probably are going get (as I did), when you will sniff to those leaves. Aged aroma is sweet, mellow and oak-like fragrances prevail.

First infusion...

If I didn't hold myself back then the word mellow is written in every part of my description. From first sniffing, thru smell to wet leaves till savoring of last infusions - there are no sharp edges. Liquor isn't so thick - compare to ShegPu of similar age. Also color is nicely chestnut brown. There are no yellow-brown (sheng) or red-black-brown hues (shu). And here we get to an interesting point - it is better to relieve your mind from comparing to other teas here. Although it is closer to aged Puer then to aged oolongs - by comparing this you can miss some important parts of nature of this tea.

Second infusion...

Sipping this chestnut like liquor I felt calmed and there was spring like water refreshing sensation in my throat. In taste there was woody and sweet tones. Resin of pine wood, oak - using my imagination I felt like standing in a calm morning on the edge of an old forest. In first two infusions there was kind of herbal bitterness in back of my mouth - but without astringency what so ever.
Morning sun helps even to my small, old camera to take decent pictures... 

Probably the best part of tea session with the liubao is its impact on your mind and your body. That is why I label this post The Healer. Its energy is soothing, calm. Combination of mellow sensation in mouth and throat with confoming effect on the body make this tea special to me. Here is the comparison with an younger sheng
appropriate: shengs are (in most cases) warm and make my mind sharper on the other hand this liubao cools down and makes my mind calm and quiet.

Like with most well aged teas you can brew it for many times. Enjoing this tea in the morning I have stopped after fifth infusion and go back to continue with few more brews during afternoon. The taste is not changing dramatically thru those brews - even latter, lighter cups were very enjoyable.

Do those left over leaves look black here? If you think so, believe me - it is dark but not black. Study them closelly you can still see that the material was partly oxidized. And if there was fermentation (wodui process) then it didn't "burn" all color down.

Patient reader of my blog could notice new teapot, which I am using here for very first time. It was made for one of my dear customers. It was ready to be pack and send, when I have catch sight of small crack, unfortunately it leaks. So I keept it for myself and devote it to Heicha. It is without glaze inside and I am curious how it will work after catching some patina.

Thank you for reading!


  1. It's always a pleasure to read your articles. The online translator is a good compromise to understand the English language.

    I read regularly "Pots and Tea"

    Your pictures also express a lot of things where words are powerless.

    Thank you for this post.


  2. I love your setup with the small tray and the beautiful "wabi" teapot and the cloth under the teacup... a fairytale in pictures... thank you.

  3. Dear Nicolas, Thank you for your friendly comment. Time to time the google translator helps me enjoy also your blog.

    Ulla C, It is my "morning tea set up" which is easy to take outside. I am glad that you like it. Although mornings are getting colder it is still great to sit with my first cup of tea near to trees:)