Wen Shan Bao Zhong is one of Taiwan's signature teas. Tea leaves undergone light fermentation and light rolling. Each twig of tea leaves are loosely curled. When brewed, tea omits an intense and refreshing floral note reminiscent of spring blossom.
Many experts rate oolong tea as the most difficult tea to produce. This is due to the fact that the oxidation degree (fermentation degree) of oolong tea is ranging widely in between 10 to nearly 80-%, and it is very difficult to control the oxidation level. Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea is one of the most lightly fermented teas. For this reason, people who drink it for the first time are often mistaken it as a green tea. Wen Shan Bao Zhong is characterized by a sweet and refreshing taste with an intense floral aroma and a hint of green tea. Hojo particularly selected the Wen Shan Bao Zhong produced in spring as spring tea always give a soft touch in taste.
Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea with a green seaweed-like aroma has been very popular in recent years.
For Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea, the flower-like scent is known as the trademark of this tea.
In recent years, a lot of Wen Shan Bao Zhong teas gives the flavor like seaweed. In fact, many Wen Shan Bao Zhong teas have a slightly green scent like seaweed, even if you try it in Taiwan. Many producers insist that this is the flavor of Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea. But, in my memory, Wen Shan Bao Zhong really had a floral scent. The reason for this change is that tea leaf is not sufficiently cooled down after drying and it is still hot while packing. Originally, tea needs to be cooled down with blowing air after it is heated. If the tea leaves is hot, it generates steam, which causes water condensation on the surface of the tea leaves and oxidizes the tea leaves. When Wen Shan Bao Zhong is oxidized, it smells like seaweed. In recent years, there have been a large number of Wen Shan Bao Zhong that gives this scent of seaweed, and there are very few teas that have a scent that I am satisfied with. Therefore, at HOJO, we bake tea at low temperature to bring out the original floral scent of Wen Shan Bao Zhong and cool it down immediately to prevent water condensation. Please enjoy the traditional, flower-like scent of Wen Shan Bao Zhong.
History of Wen Shan Bao Zhong Tea
Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea has a history of more than 100 years. The Wen Shan district of Taiwan is said to be the area where the oolong tea plant was first planted. The name Bao Zhong tea was first used in Anxi and Fuzhou in Fujian Province. The origin of the name Bao Zhong comes from the way tea was wrapped. Around 1820, Anxi tea was made by imitating the method of making oolong tea in Wuyi area. However, at that time, the oolong tea made in Anxi was sent to Fuzhou, where it was sold as a flavored oolong tea after scenting it with flowers. This tea was called Bao Zhong tea because it was wrapped in paper and sold in a rectangular-shaped package. In Chinese, Bao Zhong means "package type".
In 1873, the making of oolong tea began in the Wen Shan district of Taiwan. At that time, the world economy was not good, the tea market was also badly affected. The price of Taiwan tea was high, so Taiwanese traders refused to buy Taiwan oolong tea, resulting in a large amount of unsold tea was piled up. To overcome this situation, Taiwanese producers sent unsold oolong tea to Fujian to flavor it with flowers, and the tea was sold as a flavored tea in Southeast Asia. Like Bao Zhong tea from Anxi, Taiwanese flavored oolong tea was wrapped in paper, so it was called Bao Zhong tea.
In 1881, Fujian invited a tea master to Taiwan, and flavored tea was produced in Taiwan and sold in Southeast Asia as well. Since 1885, further research efforts have been made to improve the quality and processing methods of Bao Zhong tea. As a result, the refined-fermentation method was developed and succeeded in bringing out the natural sweet floral scent of tea. Although now the tea is no longer wrapped with the paper, but it is still called Bao Zhong tea (Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea), following the name at that time.
Production area and variety of Wen Shan Bao Zhong
The main production area of Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea is distributed around Pinglin Township in Wen Shan District, New Taipei City of Taiwan. This area is relatively close to Taipei, with an altitude of 600-800m. The main variety is Qingxin oolong, which is characterized by a thick scent.
Processing details of Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea
Wen Shan Bao Zhong tea is the least fermented tea among Taiwan oolong teas and it is made with light rolling. For this reason, many people tend to think that production is relatively easy, but the opposite is true. Since the degree of fermentation is low, it is necessary to control the fermentation very accurately. For this purpose, it is necessary to get the tea leaves of homogeneous size. So, the strict management and more care is required starting from the beginning of the tea picking.