Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Opening of the 1970s Liu An Sun Yishun Basket

Opening a rare 1970s Liu An Sun Yishun basket.

An old tea like this is a representation of time and history. It is only from the accumulation of time spanning many decades that enables age tea to transform and reach this exceptional state of maturity. The tea represents a period in history and captures the efforts of the people and culture from a different generation. The crafting of the 1970s Liu An Sun Yishun basket relied on skilled craftsmen and intensive human labor. Big industry and large scale factory operations had yet to fully enter into China. As a result it was through traditional processing techniques combined with human skill and effort that would shape the tea, resulting in a very good age tea that has stood up to the test of time.

The 1970s Liu An Sun Yishun marks the return of Liu An tea production after over 20 years of absence in China. The disappearance of Liu An tea production in China stemming from the 1950s takeover under Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist Party is a reminder of a key event in world history and the cascading effect on the lives and ideologies of the Chinese people for many decades to follow. At the time Liu An tea being synonymous with the enjoyment and pleasures of the overthrown elite and wealthy class was associated with an old and corrupt China and had no place in the new emerging “The People's Republic of China”. It was only after much of the upheaval and turmoil of the initial 2 decades under Communism have subsided that the production of Liu An tea would restart.

For those interested in obtaining and experiencing this tea, samples are available at the minimum weight of 10g.

Pricing (does not include shipping cost)
10g Sample – US$60
12g Sample (packed into 4 teabags x 3g for thermo brewing) – US$72

Please contact me to place an order or customize weight of item. I can be reached by email at varatphong@yahoo.com

3 Inner Labels
The small leaves and their uniformity in appearance is the result of meticulous and tremendous effort and labor.
 The traditional brewing of Liu An includes steeping the tea leaves and bamboo leaves together.
Steeping in a small thermo helps to maintain optimal heat and maximizes the extraction of old tea leaves. This helps to ensure that you are getting the most from your tea leaves.
Small and tender top leaves are used in a high quality Liu An tea.


  1. Dear Varat, I take it these would be one of the first Macau reproduction baskets? As far as the literature goes, Mainland liuan reproduction (under CNNP) only started in the mid to late 80s. I ask because I own one such 70s basket and would love to cross-compare information. Is this basket half-sheng, half-shu? Would love to see the spent leaves. Will try to get a sample asap.

    1. Hello Pedro,

      I’ve spent years hunting down old stocks of Liu An tea. Alongside obtaining these precious tea baskets I’ve also spent much time searching and looking for information as well as being on the ground talking to old vendors and tea enthusiasts. The article titled “Discovery and Guesswork of Liu An Tea” by Yang Kai pretty much sums it up for me. The dates are often based on estimates and guesswork depending on who you ask. That said each era possesses a distinctive profile. When you spend enough time drinking teas from different eras and understand the history behind it, these teas tell their story and these magical experiences are very much connected with the people and the times.

      Sun Yi Shun has a long history in China that goes back over a hundred years. They operate in China and their products are highly regarded and sought after. This is due to the high quality of the tea. I am inclined to believe this as the quality of these 1970s SYS baskets exceeds all other Liu An teas I have encountered from that era. I was brewing the tea yesterday so I have added the picture of the wet leaves to the post.

      What do you think of the CNNP Liu An production from the 1980s? I remember these baskets with the Zhongcha symbol inside.

      In the past Liu An teas underwent a traditional processing that is unique to this category of tea. The new variations and terms half-sheng, half-shu is not something associated with old traditional Liu An. This is a puerh influence crossing over to modern productions.