Friday, March 24, 2023

Why try this Osmanthus scented Baozhong?

Osmanthus flowers in San Hsia

Fans of high quality loose tea have a natural suspicion towards artificially scented teas! (Pun intended) In most cases, this suspicion is warranted. There are so many 'teas' on the market that barely deserve this name, because 99% of their aromas are completely artificial, lab engineered and chemically produced. The tea leaf is just there to hold and release the artificial scent of milk, strawberry, peach... and fool customers to think that it's natural.

Flower scented teas are very different from such artificial teas. Instead of using chemical additives or oils, the scent of the flower is transferred by a prolonged contact between the flower and the tea. This is a traditional and natural scenting technique already used in Taiwan over 100 years ago. Chen Zhao Jun, a Taipei merchant who built the Taipei Story House, specialized in selling flower scented Baozhong to other South East Asia countries. So, this Osmanthus scented Baozhong is just as traditional as unscented Baozhong!   

The osmanthus tree grows on the tea plantation

Another critique of flower scented teas is that if the tea were top notch, it wouldn't require the addition of flower fragrances! Indeed, this is very often the case. Most cheap flower teas don't use very good tea leaves, but the flower scents help to hide this fact to some extent, especially for people who focus on the nose instead of the palate. This winter Osmanthus Baozhong is made from the organic tea plantation that produces my spring BiLuoChun. And what's special is that the osmanthus flowers also come from this plantation. (These flowers are most active during the winter season. Now there are few left on this pictures). This is actually a good fit, because winter Baozhongs are usually quite powerful and sweet, but less fragrant than spring Baozhongs. So, the Osmanthus scents do help to improve on a weakness in this tea, while still preserving the round taste of the tea.
If you are not familiar with osmanthus' scents, I particularly recommend that you taste this Baozhong, because osmanthus is a scent I often detect in unscented Taiwanese Oolongs and Baozhongs. Flower scents are often difficult to describe, because they are so light and evanescent. So, it's very useful to have osmanthus scents in your memory in order to recognize it (but also jasmine, lily flower...)

And if this is still not convincing you to add this delicious, natural, organic, traditional osmanthus scented Baozhong to your next cart, I have now discounted it by 10%! 

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