This is a tea that we first discovered on a day trip to Ping Lin, a suburb of Taipei which is known for its growth and production of this particular Oolong tea. Bao Zhong tea has a different appearance from many of the other Taiwanese Oolong teas in that its processing utilizes a twisting of the tea leaf instead of a tight semi-ball rolled style of tea production. This tea processing is similar to that of the Wuyi Oolong production of Fujian Province in China.
Sample provided by Totem Tea
So, my wife bought me a new camera for my birthday. I probably mentioned this already. I am really not good with it. My $50 point and shoot took good enough blog pictures. A fancy camera with changeable lens should really improve my pictures - right? Not so far. Photography turns out to be kind of hard. I'll keep working at it and hopefully I will soon take in focus and balanced shots. Until then - sorry.
My leaf photograph turned out semi-okay, it is soft and blurry if you look real close. I think it does capture the beauty of the leaf. It is a really dark almost gray looking green. I lightened it a touch so it would show up better. Instead of the normal balls as oolong usually appears, this leaf is long and twisted.
The dry aroma in the sample bag at first struck me as baked and roasted. I was preparing for a dark heavy roasted tea. Then it changed and had more of a grain scent with fruity notes.
The aroma off the cup is so good. It is flowers and a subtle spiciness. The liquor is a bright yellow. Everything about this cup is making me happy... and then I tasted it.
Oh My! This is soooo good. Maybe it is extra special because my day until now has been one battle after another (computers, software, and cameras). Maybe, but I don't think so. This really is that good. You have that wonderful scent along with a smooth buttery corn flavored sip. I can feel it melting the stress away.
For an instant I get a flash of spice at the back of the tongue that I thought was going to turn into briskness but it doesn't. Incredibly smooth.
This is the lighter greener side of oolong. The dark roasting I kind of expected is totally absent. It is nicely complex but subtle. If you only like the grab your throat bold roasty stuff, then this isn't your tea. If like me, you prefer a soothing light green oolong that should steep 4 times, then this is delightful.
You can find Totem Tea Wen Shan Bao Zhong here.