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Liu Bao Tea Production: How Liu Bao Cha is Processed

April 12, 2017 No comments

Liu Bao tea is a post-fermented tea from Guangxi with an unique processing method from the 18th century. See below the steps of processing Liu Bao tea from a freshly picked leaf until it's aged for consumption.

Processing Liu Bao tea starts with carefully picking the leaves. These leaves are then uniformly spread on a flat surface allowing them to dry and wither. After a certain withering level is achieved, the oxidation of the leaves is stopped. This is also known as 'sha qing' (or 'kill green').

Afterwards, the leaves are rolled into their desired shape, followed by further machine drying to 'fix' their shapes.

The leaves are then piled together in in a humid, but controlled environment allowing the post-fermentation process to start. This takes about 20 days but varies from farmer to farmer. The goal of this step is to speed up the fermentation that would otherwise take several years to complete.

Once the required fermentation level has been achieved, the leaves are dried and stored in baskets. Sometimes the leaves are first steamed and compressed in bricks for storage. Storage in loose leaves inside bamboo baskets is more common though, as it allows for better air circulation. This is beneficial for further aging of the leaves.

Liu Bao tea is generally at least stored for 1 year before they're sold, but reach their best flavour after at least 3 years of storage. After longer periods, Liu Bao tea sometimes developed yellow dots/molds which are known as 'golden flowers' (jin hua). This is a sign of excellent fermentation and is considered very healthy to drink.

Have you purchased a Liu Bao Tea recently? And do you want to know how to brew it yourself? Then read: How to make Liu Bao Tea