Friday, June 24, 2011

Three Grades of Spring 2011 Baozhong Tea

Yesterday, I cupped three grades of Spring 2011 Wenshan Baozhong Tea (文山包種茶) produced by my buddy Amin (and his family) in Pinglin, Taiwan. If you read Chinese (unlike me) and/or if you'd like to see videos of Amin making tea with his family, here is the link to his blog.

For this post, I will call the teas C (lowest grade), B (middle grade) and A (highest grade). I've tasted A a few times already on its own and I really like it, but I've never tried B and C before this cupping. According to Amin, these teas were picked in mid-May using the qing xin (清心) tea plant (which is common in Pinglin for Baozhong tea), and pass SGS tests for pesticide residue.

I set up a "more casual than usual" cupping station and then measured out 5 grams of dry leaf for each tea. I used spring water at a full boil.

C (top left)
B (top right)
A (low middle)

I was very pleased that my tasting notes and Amin's descriptions were analogous. Not that I ever expected otherwise. He has earned my trust over these last 4 years by always selling me great tea at a fair price.

This was a very pleasant cupping indeed (wish you could have been here). The window was open and the cool misty morning breeze filled the house with delightful garden aromas. I poured into each cup and then just put my nose in real close. Ahh.

C was nice... but when it was compared to the other two teas it didn't stand a chance. It came across as grassy and bright with fleeting fragrance and weak body.

B was the creamiest. It also appeared to be a little heavier oxidation. Great texture, even a little bit better than A, but lacking for aroma. It had a nice ripe honeydew melon note.

A: This tea was the king for floral fragrance, yielding lots of sweet lilac and mock orange blossom notes. The liquor felt thick and buttery with many wonderful pine, fruit and herbal notes.

PS: I have about 12 ounces left of A and I'd really love to place it in good homes (for $10 per ounce). If you and your teapot (or gaiwan, I don't discriminate) are looking to adopt some Baozhong tea (or Spring 2011 Alishan Zhang Shu Hu for that matter), please email me at

1 comment:

FamilyAndTea said...

Gotta eat 'em all! Looks like fun. The only 2011 teas I have cupped are maochas. Let me know if you want to trade some of those around~.