Over the next several days I thought about what Michael had asked. I wondered what would happen if I brewed up a pot of tea using half Wenshan Baozhong leaves and half Formosa Silvertip. Would it be greater than the sum of its parts? The next time I saw Michael I decided we'd find out together (for the sake of science).
I brewed an equal blend of 文山包種茶 and 台灣銀毫茶 using a small ceramic teapot. The aroma was light, bright and pleasant and the tea soup was an odd shade of orange.
I did three infusions with similar results. Each time the flavors were muted and boring. Wenshan Baozhong's classic buttery-flowery notes were overshadowed by the stronger Formosa Silvertip. The resulting cup tasted like weak Formosa Silvertip with some brisk, peachy, woodsy flavors. On their own, these two Taiwanese oolongs have good body and aroma but in this blend they seemed to canceled each other out. The quality of the individual teas did become more apparent after the liquor had cooled to room temperature. At that point the blend was a bit smoother with a nice hint of Baozhong.
In the end this was a worthwhile experiment. Perhaps if I were to repeat it I might try 3/4 Wenshan to 1/4 Formosa.
* Formosa Silvertip is a famous Taiwanese oolong that sometimes goes by many other names. My friend Rob recently did a great blog post on that topic. Here is the link.