In the eyes of the average tea drinker, this tea may seem, for a lack of a better term, very different.
Being a 2005 production, with a solid 15 years aging under it’s belt, it certainly presents dominantly as a post fermented tea. However, hints and whispers of oolong dance about, intriguing the senses and making us reach for the cup, time and time again.
Liu An Dark Tea’s processing is quite underreported in English, and lots of confusing explanations exist. To the best of my understanding, Liu An’s unique character is the result of 4 key parts:
Small Leaf Material (Camellia Sinensis Sinensis)
Resting overnight to absorb the morning dew
Pressed into fresh, green, hand woven, bamboo baskets
Roasted over charcoal inside of their baskets
The hot soup presents a nose that reminds of a freshly worked garden bed. Dark earth and flowers fill the senses, while bamboo leaf aromas intermingle. There is an aged tea medicinal quality in the taste that is supported by the most subtle of roasted character that reminds of toasted nuts and some oolongs.
The dark, smooth, and outdoorsy front profile transforms into an herbal, floral, medicinal, and quite oolong like fragrance that hangs in the mouth after drinking.
Liu an is a style of tea often missed out on in the west. But without a doubt it’s character is unique and unmatched in the world of Dark Teas.