Liu Bao tea (六堡茶, Liù Bǎo Chá) literally called Six Forts tea is a kind of Chinese dark tea. It is native to the Liu Bao Town of Cangwu County in Guangxi Province.
Liu Bao tea is made from a special tea tree that is native to Guangxi Province. It is a national Geographical Indicator Product of China.
Liu Bao tea is commonly called “grandpa and grandchildren tea”, which means the tea made by grandpa is reserved for the grandchildren.
The newly produced Liu Bao tea is usually aged for several years to become more flavorful, so the tea is handed down from generation to generation. The more aged the Liu Bao tea, the more valuable it is.
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History of Liu Bao Tea
Liu Bao tea is a famous tea in Chinese history. It has a long history of production, which is said to be more than 1,500 years.
In the early Qing Dynasty (1636-1912), Liu Bao had become popular. Later, it was regarded as a famous tea due to its special betelnut fragrance.
At that time, almost every family in Liu Bao Town grew tea trees and produced Liu Bao tea. It is a major source of income for the local tea farmers.
In the 19th century, Liu Bao tea was mainly exported to Hong Kong, Macao, and Southeast Asia.
With the outbreak of war in the early 20th century, the production and sales of Liu Bao tea decreased gradually. After the founding of New China, with the improvement and development of the domestic economy, Liu Bao tea returned to the public again.
In the early 1990s, the processing technology of Liu Bao tea was separated from the original way. It is from the family workshop to industrial production. Subsequently, the production of Liu Bao tea entered a stable mature period.
In 2011, the State Administration of Quality Supervision and Inspection of China approved the implementation of the protection of geographical indication products for “Liu Bao Tea”.
Characteristics of Liu Bao Tea
In Liu Bao Town, the tea trees are mostly planted on hillsides or canyons, 3-10km away from the town. There are crisscross streams, beautiful mountains, and fog is all year around.
Because the tea trees are located in the mountains, their water content is sufficient. Every afternoon, the sun can’t shine on the trees. The water evaporation of tea trees is less, so the leaves are thick and big and rich in nutrition.
In the right fermentation environment, the aged Liu Bao tea will generate a kind of beneficial bacteria called Jin Hua (golden flower), which is called Eurotium cristatum in biology.
This kind of beneficial bacteria can produce a variety of enzymes to catalyze the transformation of various substances in tea, forming a unique color, fragrance, and taste of the tea.
The newly produced Liu Bao tea needs a long time to age before it can be sold. Some very expensive Liu Bao tea has been aged for 30-50 years.
“Red, thick, mellow, and aged” is the obvious characteristic of Liu Bao tea. The shape of Liu Bao tea is curled and tight. Its color is dark and glossy. After brewing, the color of the tea liquid is strong red and bright. Its fragrance is similar to that of betelnut or smoking pine. Its taste is mellow.
Benefits of Liu Bao Tea
For hundreds of years, Liu Bao tea has often been used in the form of medicine. The climate of Liu Bao Town is wet and rainy. The local people use Liu Bao tea to treat dysentery and dispel dampness in the body. Up to now, this traditional habit has been maintained.
Scientific experiments have proved that Liu Bao tea not only contains a variety of essential elements, such as amino acids, vitamins, and trace elements but also contains higher lipolytic enzymes than other teas.
Benefits of Liu Bao tea: