This was the first Baozhong I have ever tasted. I was bought immediately. If I describe it, I would say that it is the lightest oolong I have ever tasted which is as fresh as a green tea but at the same time floral, creamy, and heavenly.
As discussed in “The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea” book, the processing of Baozhong is shaped in a way to produce a lighter, gentler and greener oolong. This starts with the plucking when harvesters choose tender leaves that are larger than most green teas but not as big or tough as most oolongs. Plucked leaves go through the following process:
Fresh leaves --> brief sun withering --> indoor withering --> fixing leaves --> rolling leaves --> twisting leaves --> short oxidation --> firing to stop oxidation
This is a complicated process indeed and must have perfected over a century by the tea farmers from Pinglin. This tiny town has been producing Baozhong for over 120 years which is almost equivalent of Taiwanese tea history.
I was not surprised to read that this tea was awarded in New Taipei City Competition because it tasted phenomenal. It had delightful floral aromas, not as flowery as a tie guan yin. I was reading that not all Baozhong has floral notes so this one must be genuinely exceptional. Good news is that Baozhong ages well and I got hold of an aged Baozhong and will share my experience with you in the days to come.
Origin: Pinglin, New Taipei City, Taiwan
Harvest time: October 2019
Leave colour: Tones of green
Liquor colour: Jade/yellow
Tea aroma: Floral and vegetal (dry leaves); subtle vegetal notes (wet leaves)
Tea taste: Fresh, sweet, umami and floral (no grassy notes)
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for about two minutes in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Can be aged if appropriate conditions are provided.