Friday, September 10, 2010

Mid 1970s Wenshan Baozhong

This old Baozhong is a mix of several batches from the mid 1970s. (Most of the leaves are from 1976.) These are leaves that didn't sell within their season. They were put aside when the new harvests arrived, making space for fresher leaves. The tea merchant would roast them from time to time to get rid of excess moisture. The roasting also serves to create new and stronger flavors that many older Taiwanese drinkers like.

After over 30 years of repeated roastings, the dry leaves appear very dark, either black or brown. The scent is unlike fresh tea, somewhere between brandy and Chinese medicine. It's almost like smelling liquor!
The brew has a good transparency and clarity. Its brown color is appealing to the eye.

Old wood, Chinese medicine, chocolate... Many dark and deep flavors can be found in this tea. They last long. The taste is calm and sweet. The longer the brew, the more body and concentration come out. Old teas love long infusion times. This reminds me of a story Teaparker likes to tell us. At one of his first encounters with old tea, the young Teaparker was once scolded by an old merchant. While the old leaves were brewing, the merchant kept on talking and seemed to have forgotten the tea. Teaparker asked if it was time for the brew to be released in the cups. "Young man, we could talk the whole night and only pour the tea tomorrow morning, it would still be delicious!"

For my Cha Xi, I use my Yixing hungni Shi Piao teapot, my 'ivory' white cups and tea boat. The Cha Bu is a Japanese kimono belt. Its elegance and warm colors go hand in hand with this old Baozhong.

J'ai parlé de ce thé en français ici et .

5 comments:

Evan said...

How coincidental that you post an article on aged Wenshan Baozhong this weekend. This afternoon I tasted and compared two different ~12-year aged Baozhongs at a shop here in Seattle called Floating Leaves. While the teas were supposedly aged for roughly the same amount of time, they were surprisingly different. One had fairly low notes and a medium roast while the other had higher notes and pronounced remnants of a fruity Baozhong. The latter seemed in a transition phase between fresh and aged tea.

The proprietor of the shop mentioned that tea often becomes aged coincidentally when a seller fails to move their product. It's good to have this statement verified by a second source.

Stephane said...

Evan,
Yes, Baozhong and Oolong need around 20 years to age.
And say hi to Shuiwen for me next time you visit her shop!

Rene said...

where can i buy this nice mat for tea cups. rene

Stephane said...

Please send me an email with your request, René.
The cups are on copper Cha Tuos, which are on a kimono belt.

Todd Kuebler said...

Really enjoyed this tea with friends last weekend. Surprisingly I'm still drinking it 4 days later - although I'm brewing it around 12 hours an infusion at this point. Amazing tea worth the price!