Saturday, June 04, 2016

Roasted Wenshan Baozhong

Before we turn to the roasted Wenshan Baozhong, let me share some feedback I received from Amy in California about my 2016 Spring Top Wenshan Baozhong:
"I brewed it in a rather unorthodox way in a travel glass thermos: toss a handful of leaves in and add some warm water.

Well, I was stopped in my rush when I opened the bag; what a wonderful aroma of these dry leaves! It was so fresh and ethereal… Aaaah! For a moment, I even forgot that I was rushing or that I had to be anywhere or that I had a “to do” list.

The brewed color is beautiful and delicate. The taste is elegant, yet it has that very special note that makes a great baozhong so distinct. I call it a caramel note. The lingering perfume on the palate is nice. It took me about 20 minutes to finish my thermos, with the leaves floating in the brew. Never did I taste any astringency.

This Top Baozhong Spring 2016 is everything I like and everything I want in a baozhong… I love this tea!

Thank you, Stéphane, for making this experience so lovely by working hard to find such good teas…and for selling these teas TO ME and not keeping “the good stuff” hidden in a back room only for your very elite customers!!!"
Thank you so much for your well-written comment, Amy! All my readers belong the elite of the tea world and I am particularly glad to share such teas when I see the happy feelings they create!
Roasted Wenshan Baozhong
During my last trip Pinglin, I tasted some roasted Baozhong and have selected 2 new specimens. The first is very similar to the one I'm drinking in this post. It's a medium roasted 'subtropical forest' Baozhong from spring 2014. The roast was made in winter 2015 with the unsold leaves of spring 2014. Since the Baozhong competitions only involve unroasted Baozhong, there's little incentive to roast the leaves in their first year (like in Dong Ding), unless a customer makes a specific request. So, the roasting is often done after 18 months in order to dry and refreshen the Baozhong.
The roasting degree can vary widely. My preference goes to a medium roasting level to deepens and darkens the originals aromas while preserving the freshness of the leaves. They still open up fully in the gaiwan below. And even though the cultivar, the oxidation level and the roasting levels are the same as for Hung Shui Oolong (in Ding Ding), the fact that the leaves aren't rolled and come from Wenshan instead of Nantou gives them a lighter, more flowery aroma.
This year, I also selected an organic roasted Baozhong (from spring 2013). It has the same roast level, but it brews even lighter colors and scents. The explanation is that its organic leaves are thicker and the heat of the roast doesn't penetrate into the leaves as thoroughly as regular leaves.
The roast adds a darker and sweeter layer to the Baozhong experience. After drinking fresh, energetic Baozhongs, it provides more depth and a slower pace.
This triangular Chaxi is centered around tea. The blue and white colors echo the qinghua porcelain popular during the Qing dynasty (when roasted Oolong was invented).
At this spot, I particularly enjoy the deep connection with Wenshan's nature...

1 comment:

Linda said...

Beautiful photos and wonderful post. You have a lovely blog.