I wasn’t sure how to categorize this tea. Liuan/Liu An is not a puerh, but that might be the closest flavor profile it resembles! However, this Liuan Jasmine that Red Circle introduced me to is really like no tea I’ve ever tasted.
It was almost sad to drink this tea, because it’s a soon-to-be extinct masterpiece! As Sina and Carnie (co-founders of Red Circle) explained to me, this tea used to be consumed by the locals in the region where it was produced (Anhui province), but people don’t really appreciate anymore. The farmers who knew how to make it have passed away. The only (very old) living farmer who knows how to make it won’t do so anymore, saying that no one knows how to appreciate this tea anymore.
This tea had medium body and a strong “grains” aroma to it, like smelling freshly baked whole wheat rolls.
Despite the name, the tea does not use jasmine flowers, or at least not the ones we normally think of in association with tea—instead, the tea offers tiny scarlet orchid flowers, picked from the Anhui region. The flowers add a gorgeous aroma and sweet flavor, a little like bing cherries. It is a very grounding tea, and extremely smooth.
This tea is a real treasure, and even moreso knowing that it is soon to be extinct! A tea like this Liuan Jasmine is a refreshing change, where a tea lovers gets to push the limits to experience what a rare, quality tea can really be like.