02.01.2013

Mid 1970s Baozhong from Tea Masters

Frohes neues Jahr!
Happy New Year!
新年好
明けましておめでとう
Godt nytår!

and of course bonne année!, because the input for today's post comes once again from that wonderful French gentleman in Taiwan, Stéphane.

Wer lieber eine deutsche Fassung lesen möchte: hier auf www.teetalk.de

As mentioned in my last post, the christmas teapot came with an abundance of samples. The one I kept for the first quiet evening in a long time was a tea which was harvested about the time I started elementary school:

Good looking leaves, right? But this tea was not 'love at first sight' butrather something like 'insane passion at first sniff'. If there was any method to transmit olfactory sensations via internet, this tea would be sold out in a flash.
Imagine walking into Bruxelles' best chocolate shop, inhaling deeply and getting a noseful of chocolate truffles: dark cocoa, aged brandy, creamy butter and roasted nuts all laced together by an immense sweetness. Yes, that's how I experienced this Baozhong's fragrance.

Could the brew live up to the high expectations raised by the fragrance?

Yes!
Cocoa flavour, some hints of brandy and even some fleeting impressions of dark fruits (dried plums) where all to be found in the cup. It was pure bliss to drink this tea. It kept going for about 6 fantastic infusions all at the same level of satisfaction before it suddenly dropped. But hey, I was stingy with the leaves (keeping half the sample for another session), so I had pretty long infusions - and was prepared for a reduced number of brews. Still I was happy: in my book 6 fantastic infusions beat 15 mediocre ones without fail!

Strange to think it is a blend of leftovers, but that is just what Stéphane gives as the origin of this tea:

"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."
Even I have an experience with leftover Baozhong. About a year ago I rediscovered one on the bottom of a tin with tea bags I never got around to finish. There was a Baozhong I must have bought about ten years earlier. It was that type of very light, greenish Oolong I hardly ever choose - at least it was in my memory. But then I brewed it and was amazed by the rich taste of very dark chocolate and a slightly creamy mouthfeel. That made me realize that my conditions to age Oolong are quite good.

Recently we at TeeGschwendner added a Wenshan Baozhong to our range of specialties. It will not be on the shelves for long - perhaps I'll better get myself two tins of it for long term storage. In case I forget - please remind me in 2023 to try how the ageing turned out.

P.S. I made about three attempts to publish this post. But the morning after my last post I woke up coughing, with a sore throat and the feeling someone was trying to dig a tunnel through my head. Since then it hasn't got much better, though I practically feed on medicine and keep to the bed most of the time. Still the coughing makes sleeping hard and my paranasal sinuses make me feel like my head is shrouded in cotton. So please forgive me for not posting in a long time and being late to wish you all a happy new year.

Kommentare:

  1. Hi!
    So sorry you're ill - I had been through a similar thing a couple of days before and it is a mess...

    Anyway, strong ginger "tea" with honey helped me with it tremendously, it might help you too.

    Best,
    Jakub

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  2. Happy New Year, Gero!
    The description sounds very delicious and I hope I can convince my teafriends to try this one anytime soon.

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  3. I find that's the main problem with TW aged oolongs--interesting and compelling flavor for maybe 5-7 infusions--and then just dead.

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