Porcelain gaiwan, 200-210 Ozarka water
Full disclosure – I have never had a liu bao before today, so salt all comments heavily before tasting.
My first note is that, should I ever drink liu bao again, I have been quite forcefully taught by this experience that a single quick rinse is not at all sufficient to the task at hand. Probably if I had a little more experience, the appearance of the first steep would definitely have clued me in.
I imagine if one were to be buried alive and forced to drink rainwater seeping down through the topsoil in order to survive, it would provide similar sensations to that first “steep”.
After I used an industrial strength road grader to remove the mud caked onto my tongue and proceeded, however, I was rewarded with several brews of a pleasing earthy and warming character, much more like I was expecting. I did not feel the thickness in the mouth that an excellent shou will provide, but this may have been due to inexperienced brewing. It also may have been the dry storage finepuer openly noted in the vendor description.
All in all, it left me desirous of trying more liu bao – but probably not this one.