2005 Liu An Basket of Anhui Keemun Liu An Tea Co.
Liu An is a love of mine. The real stuff is becoming rarer, although as demand is increasing, this may no longer be the case, thankfully. This Liu An from Puerhshop is a 2005 production of the Anhui Keemun Liu An Tea Co. The basket is squatter than most other liu an baskets I've seen. It has a rustic neifei:
The leaves are bigger than average and green. Twigs make up about 1/3 of the basket's volume, but this is on par with older liu an. However, bigger leaf means that there are very few tips, which concerned me. Also, brewing raw liu an from 2005 usually results in very bitter, unpalatable tea.
A close look at the leaves shows their color, size, and grade. Notice the prominent yellow-green leaves amongst the darker green.
The taste was mild, surprising for a young liu an, but not surprising for the size of the leaf. The twigs also help cut the strength of the tea, but I feel like this was a leaf grade issue. I can't say what this will age into. In fact, because of the huge production gap with liu an, late 1950s to the early 1980s, no one really knows what our new liu an baskets will become in 30~50 years. I've had some very good late 1980s Sun Yi Shun brand liu an, but that tea had few twigs and many tips. If that's the right recipe for good liu an, I'm concerned with this basket. However, liu an I've had from the 1930s and 1950s has had many twigs and a varied blend of leaf, so I have to withhold judgment of this basket.
I do wish it tasted stronger and activated more energy. There's no such thing as an "everyday" young liu an tea.
I won't be buying another basket, but I'm glad to have this one just to know what happens to it with time. Since the cultural revolution, so much about knowing what young teas will age well is reinventing the wheel, as much with liu an as with pu'er.