Friday, May 19, 2017

Spring 2017 Wenshan Baozhong

This year's spring harvests were delayed by roughly 2 weeks due to the late end of winter. But the wait is finally over and I am glad to announce that I have completed my spring selection of Wenshan Baozhongs!

Subtropical forest Baozhong
This calls for a celebration and a special Spring 2017 Wenshan Baozhong Chaxi on a pavilion surrounded by tea plantations near Pinglin.

I chose my lowest priced Baozhong, the 'subtropical forest' Baozhong made of qingxin Oolong because this year's version exceeded my expectations and its scents are so similar to those of these surroundings.

This Chaxi is composed of:

- an Yixing zhuni Xishi teapot,
- 3 light celadon singing cups,
- 3 glass flower chatuo,
- a qinghua porcelain jar,
- a small Qing dynasty qinghua dish for the dry leaves,
- a medium Qing dynasty qinghua tea boat for the teapot,
- a celadon Jianshui (waste water container)
- a Green spring flowers chabu and a long bamboo mat below.

The celadon wares and green Chabu gives this Chaxi a fresh spring mood. The celadon cups also enhance the pale hue of the brew.

The ancient wares are also a reminder that Baozhong's tradition in northern Taiwan dates back to the end of the 19th century.
What confuses people most about Baozhong are cultivars. In Nantou county, in the center of Taiwan, the teas are mostly named after their cultivar: a Jinxuan, a SiJiChun, a Jade Oolong... But in the north, the name Baozhong doesn't refer to a cultivar, but simply how it used to be wrapped in paper in the past. This means that Baozhong can be made with just any type of cultivar. This makes it very important to get the information about the cultivar used in your Baozhong. There are big differences in quality and price from one cultivar to an other.
Qingxin Oolong remains the traditional top choice for Wenshan Baozhong. Besides this subtropical forest Baozhong, you also find it in my '3G' Baozhong. The Yingzhi Hongxin is a lesser known cultivar that provides an zesty variation or a more flowery profile when low oxidized. This year, I was able to get put my hands on a new cultivar, Ying Xiang (TTES No 20) that has been developed to suit Baozhong tea in 2004. The result is very powerful.
Open leaves of Subtropical forest Baozhong, spring 2017
Enter the Wenshan forest with a cup of Wenshan Baozhong!

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