Sunday, September 9, 2018

LIu An Tea - Novelty Brewing

I was looking to refill my Liu An stash and had started to sample this tea whenever I see them in the tea shops.  I looked for the traditional packed ones that are wrapped with bamboo leaves ( it actually looked more like lotus leaves like those used to wrap rice dumplings) and packed in a bamboo basket.  These baskets are normally packed with 500g of Liu An tea.  Many tea drinkers and collectors store them away in its actual unopened packaging and would normally start drinking them after 10 years.  Older ones are even expensive now.

Liu An tea is a very pleasant tea to drink.  At about 10 years old, the tea takes on a herbal and medicinal finish. Many Chinese medical halls used Liu An tea as a herbal soup base adding the herbs used to treat various ailments of their customers.  Many of my tea drinker friends brew up a few sessions of this tea when they are coming down with a cold or flu.  I have tried this tea when I was sick with some success.....but it could be seen as 'drinking lots of liquid' that had help eased my discomfort.

A few tea shops where I had recently sampled Liu An tea cut off a few strips of the bamboo leaves and adding these pieces to the tea brewing process (see pix 3).  The result - there is a additional aroma, slightly sweet smelling.  This could be directly from the bamboo leaves  or it could be from interacting with the Liu An tea.  It is to me, quite pleasant.

However, this style of brewing, in my opinion is a novelty brew.  Adding rose or chrysanthemum flower petals to ripe pu erh tea are also novelty brews.  They are interesting and enjoyable.  However,  a good tea can and should be appreciated on its own.

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