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December 2016

Vintage Liu Bao - King of Black Teas


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Vintage Liu Bao - King of Black Teas

by Global Tea Hut


No matter how you rank the best black teas in the world, Liu Bao is certainly amongst the best. We decided to show you some famous vintages which are paragons of the genre, starting with the best of the best, which is actually amongst the most wonderful teas we have ever tried, full stop.
Considered the best Liu Bao tea in the world, and one of the best teas we have ever tried in general, is 1950s Pu Tian Gong Qing or "Joy to the World." It was named by Master Lin himself. It was a higher grade of Liu Bao reserved for the managers and owners of the mines. Some people think that this tea may have been produced from Yunnanese raw material traded to Guangxi in a year of lower yield, arguing that beneath the processing it has a puerh body. Master Lin thinks that this is not true, however. "Joy to the World" is a deep and gorgeous tea that fills your being, bringing bliss in waves.
普 天 共 慶

1970s Shuang Xing Hao Yin (双星号印 / SSHC Penang) is amongst our favorite Liu Bao teas, mostly because it seems to be easier to find and therefore more accessible than teas like 1950s Fu Hua or LLLL367 (both of which are better). SSHC is red and mellow, billowy and nutty. It has fragrant elements, tasting of Chinese herbs, sometimes sandalwood and, of course, betel nut. It feels rich in the mouth while staying lighter and more clear than puerh teas of a similar vintage. The Qi is strong, bold and vibrant and makes for a deep and lasting session. SSHC is very patient and, we find, often wonderful in the late afternoon or early evening.
双 星 号 印

Guangxi Wuzhou Tea Factory's (广西梧州茶厂) famous "VIVE" from the 1980s is a deep and rich Liu Bao, with loamy flavors that taste of autumn forest walks. It has the deeper, wetter and hotter piling of the 1980s, which began due to the influence of shou puerh. It is thicker and richer than earlier Liu Bao vintages, though it lacks their refinement, grace and glory. It is still wonderful, reminding you of camphor and thick, dreamy days. This tea is deep and patient, with a more grounding Qi that relaxes and loosens the moment, descending to the core and bringing the warmth of a bath on a cold day.
广 西 梧 州 茶 厂