LiuBao Tea is a kind of dark tea. It is a specialty of WuZhou City, GuangXi. Since the age of tin Mining, miners consume LiuBao Tea daily for its health benefits. Malaysia became one of the main importers of WuZhou LiuBao Tea, and Ipoh, famous for its tin mining, has forged an indissoluble bond with Liubao Tea.

Although LiuBao tea was originally from WuZhou, China, Malaysia have been recognised as the second home of LiuBao tea. 

Southern Chinese workers who arrived in Nanyang in search of work has brought along LiuBao tea since the late Qing Dynasty. It was, at that time, a relief for homesick. As the weather in Malaysia is hot and humid, mining workers often experience headaches, heat strokes and rheumatism. The miners soon realise that the LiuBao tea they brought from home eases these symptoms. LiuBao tea became popular in mining areas.

It became a necessity for tin miners alike, where miners would bring their own LiuBao tea every morning to drink during work. At its peak, as many as 350 tons of LiuBao tea is delivered to Malaysia, marking Malaysia as the largest importer of LiuBao tea.

It's easy to mix up LiuBao tea and Pu'er tea, and some even ask: "Aren't they the same?" (Which is very understandable)
Although both LiuBao and Pu’er are categorised as dark tea ( HeiCha 黑茶 ), distinguished by its post-fermentation technique, there are some notable difference between them.

1) Place of origin
LiuBao tea originated from WuZhou; Pu’er tea originated from Yunnan.

2) Raw materials

LiuBao tea is made from Cangwu County species group large and medium leaf varietal tea, whereas Pu’er tea uses sundried Yunnan large leaf varietal tea maocha.

3) Processing
Their processing are largely identical but with minor differences. Even with similar fermentation duration, the end product of Pu’er tea has higher fermentation level than LiuBao tea. The difference lies in its moisture level – moisture level in Pu’er tea ranges around 30 - 40% as compared to 25% in LiuBao tea.

4) Shaping and aging
After the piling ( wodui 渥堆 ) process, Pu’er tea is then stored loose or pressed into tea cakes ( chabing 茶饼 ). On the other hand, LiuBao tea are steamed and pressed into weaved baskets (More about weaved baskets here: What is with woven bamboo baskets & LiuBao tea?  ) Steaming is an important process of LiuBao tea as the tea undergoes another round of hot fermentation. The whole process takes around 180 days (half a year) or more. In the older days, traditional LiuBao tea needs to sit for at least 3 years until it is ready to drink.

5) Liquor
Pu’er tea liquor is of a dark shade of red, dense, smooth and solid mouthfeel. LiuBao tea liquor carries a tint of red, crisp mouthfeel with a flush of green vegetal flavours (think raw Pu’er tea).

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