My first introduction to Liua Bao Hei Cha was a good one with this tea. In fact not only was it my first Liu Bao, but also my first hei cha. For those of you who do not know what hei cha is: Hei cha means ‘black tea’ and is a term that is generally used for all post-fermented tea other than ripe/shou pu-erh (shou pu-erh is technically also a hei cha, but from a specific region).

When I had brewed this 16 year old tea what I noticed was that it had a sort of ‘sour’ fruity flavour that I hadn’t experienced with shou pu-erh before. There was also a hint of pine. After several steepings it turned into a sweet licorice kind of smell. The taste was fairly sweet, smooth and creamy. The qi was powerful enough to give me an alert and awake feeling, but it wasn’t over-powering. It was very enjoyable to drink. Aftertaste was the sort of dark chocolaty woody taste that people who are familiar with shou pu-erh will probably recognise.. I could get quite a number of steepings out of this tea, it was only after 12 (large) cups that the strength of the tea started to diminish so much that it wasn’t enjoyable to me anymore (I must say that I like my tea quite strong, so people who enjoy their teas lighter may even get more steepings out of it).

This tea has definately made me interested in trying more tea of this hei cha ‘style’. If you like shou pu-erh you will probably like this tea as well.. Even though this is my first Liu Bao, and therefore I don’t know how this tea holds up to other teas of the same style, I am fairly confident to say that this is a good tea in general for the price and as such I can recommend it to all people who are interested in post-fermented tea, especially those who are interested in older teas of this type.

Flavors: Berries, Dark Chocolate, Pine, Pleasantly Sour, Spices, Wet Wood

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