​Daily Tea: Liu Bao Dark Tea 1998

Dark tea is a lesser-known variety that is growing in popularity in the Western world. It is already extremely popular in western and southwestern China due to its ability to provide essential minerals and act as a natural diuretic.

What is Unique About the Processing of Liu Bao?

Liu Bao dark tea undergoes a unique processing method that sets it apart from other teas. To create this specific type of dark tea, the tea leaves undergo a composting process known as wet piling. In this process, the damp rolled leaves are piled up in a humid environment to undergo a controlled fermentation process called "wo dui" in Chinese. Essentially, the leaves are in a controlled composting process that lasts for several weeks, encouraging microbial activity. The leaves are periodically turned to ensure even fermentation, resulting in a distinctive dark color, rich aroma, and complex flavor profile.

Why Do People Like This Tea?

One reason people love Liu Bao tea is that it has a unique flavor reminiscent of the smell of old books—a very comforting and nostalgic experience. This tea envelops you with a warm, nourishing vibe and is subtly sweet. It offers a sense of tranquility and comfort, making it a perfect companion for a relaxing day.

How to Brew Liu Bao Dark Tea

First Brewing:

  • Tea Leaves: 5g of dry leaf
  • Teaware: Porcelain cupping set (120ml capacity)
  • Water: Use hot water; the hotter, the better
  • Infusion Times:
    • First infusion: About two minutes. The result is super comforting and not overpowering.
    • Second infusion: One minute and forty seconds. A delightful brew that you could drink all day.
    • Third infusion: Five minutes. The flavor remains rich and comforting.

Second Brewing of the Day:

  • Tea Leaves: 8g
  • Notes: This stronger brew reveals notes of musty wood shed and bourbon. It has a coffee-like quality with no oils and zero acidity.
  • Experience: This brew is transformative, evoking imagery of Paris and ancient countries. In the summer, you can feel the heat radiating from ancient bricks, and in the winter, you can smell the rain saturating the once radiant bricks. It's a journey through time and place, offering a unique sensory experience.


Liu Bao Dark Tea 1998 is an overlooked gem that deserves more recognition. Its unique flavor profile and comforting qualities make it a delightful tea to enjoy throughout the day. Whether you're a seasoned tea drinker or new to dark teas, Liu Bao offers a transformative experience that's hard to match.

What are your experiences with Liu Bao Dark Tea or other dark teas? Please share your thoughts and brewing tips in the comments below. For more insights on tea brewing techniques, check out our additional resources:

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Gong Fu Cha in Six Easy Steps