When we talk about dark tea, we are most likely referring to Liu Bao Dark Tea and Pu’er, although there are several other teas which fall into the category of dark tea.
Liu Bao Dark Tea (Hei Cha) falls within the same category as Pu’erh Tea as a post-fermented tea, meaning it is fermented longer than Oolong but less than black tea. Liu Bao Dark Tea belongs to the “warm-natured” teas. In addition to having the health benefits common to other teas, it is more distinct in its effects of promoting digestion and detoxification. Liu Bao Dark Tea contains a large amount of amino acids, vitamins and enzymes; it helps to break down fat, and lower the body’s levels of glucolipids, cholesterol and triglycerides.
The signature taste of Liubao is that of betelnuts, lotus leaves and rice milk. It tastes earthy and smooth. Some varieties exhibit a woody personality and leave behind a whisper of sweetness that lingers in the back of the throat.
- Choose a traditional Chinese gaiwan or an unglazed clay teapot that is between 150-200 ml, roughly 5-6 ounces in size.
- Put 5g tea into a teapot and keep the ratio of tea to water at 1:50.
- Pour boiling water into the teapot, brew for about 5 seconds and pour out the water.
- Pour new boiling water in again, brew for about 10 seconds, then pour the tea water into the cups for enjoyment. One measure of Liubao Dark Tea can be used for more than a dozen cycles like that described above. Brewing time should be increased as the tea is used.
Liu Bao tea can be re-infused many times. It should be steeped this way in order to enjoy the many phases of flavour. It should be savoured calmly and leisurely to get the best of its health benefits. In addition to the process described above, tea which has been through a number of cycles may then be brewed by placing it over a tea burner, which will bring out a very different flavor.