Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Subtropical Forest Baozhong

This Taiwanese tea comes from pristine conditions atop Wen Shan Mountain.

It's dry leaves dark, shriveled, with a few small stems release an odor when the foil pack is opened. The irresistible smell of syrupy sweet roasted cinnamon and fresh flowers are release in the air and cause one to put the foil pack over ones nose and huff, immediately intoxicating ones system.

Being it a Taiwanese tea, one steeps it in just under boiling water for long intervals, 'Taiwanese style'. The first infusion is spicy, and sweet similar to the way in which it smells. It leaves a slippery feeling all over the tongue and a spiciness at the back of the throat. The second is barely hasher and grittier with a slight dryness on the tongue and sweet floral scent on the breath. The third infusion most of the tea's complexity is lost to soft green-astringency, the aftertaste becomes more roasted spice and less floral. After steeping the leaves for the forth time, it is apparent that nothing much remains in the cup, all flavours are fleeting.

Because there was just enough leaves for another round one decides to now brew the remaining leaves 'Korean style' with much cooler water and for shorter intervals. The first infusion is soft pale and creamy smooth with floral throatiness. The second picks up a roasted sweetness as the flowery scent overcomes taste and smell. In the third, the smoothness starts to wane and a slight sharpness develops with a wheaty taste that hides behind floral notes. The forth infusion allows for the dryness of this tea to stretch out and thinly coat the tongue along with a recognizable greenness with less floral elements. In the fifth, the flavour has thinned right out but still retains its character. The sixth infusion is flatter than before but the floral elements have stamina and continue to impress. After the seventh infusion, the liqour is flat, slightly sweet, with its characteristic taste almost unrecognizable.

The energy of this tea was powerful its effects cascading through ones body into legs and arms, hands and feet, relaxing and energizing. It simply makes one feel good. This tea is a well processed tea with an excellent profile and great young green tea cha qi.

This well rounded tea is available at Tea Masters. Thanks Stephane for providing the wonderful sample.



TeaMasters said...

Thanks for the detailed review. I'm glad you liked it.

It's also interesting to read your comparison between Chinese and Korean brewing methods. You're getting more brews with lower temperature, but apart from that, which method yielded the best results in your opinion?

geneviève meylan said...

nice to read these 2 methods to prepare this tea !

Matt said...

Stephane & Ginkgo,

Both brewing methods had their positive points.

The Korean method allows one to enjoy the way in which the flavour of this tea evolves through multiple infusions. This method also can better show how the teas energy moves throughout ones body.

The Chinese method allows for experiencing the full spectrum of flavour in one cup. The second cup of tea from the Chinese method was one's favorite cup displaying the most depth of flavour.

So really it depends on what you what from your tea rather than what method is actually better.

One must also remember that there is a reason why certain cultures prepare their tea the way they do.

With that said, next time when brewing Baozhong one will probably use the Chinese method.

Thanks again Stephane for such an excellent opportunity to try such great tea from your area.


emmanuel said...

Nice post. I personally enjoy much more bao zhong brewed in the Korean way (now I know it is Korean!).

BTW, congratulations for your blog. Interesting and eye candy... one of my favorites indeed.

Matt said...


Thanks for stopping by. Your blog 'Cha u The' is warming. Nice photos and teas.