Notes of earth, mint, and plum.
Aged oolong from Taiwan・1960s・陳年包種・Unsprayed
This tea is a rare find. It is a baozhong oolong grown on Wenshan from a heritage cultivar that no longer exists today. This red-stemmed cultivar was eventually replaced by the more popular qing xin cultivar. The producer from whom we purchased had the foresight to set a small amount of the tea aside for aging in the 1960s. And for the next 50 years, the tea aged in ceramic urns.
Modern day baozhongs are light oxidized twisted oolongs, crafted in the manner of a Wuyi yancha, but light oxidized to preserve the tea’s innate aromatics. In the 1960s when this tea was crafted, baozhongs would have seen higher oxidation and longer roasting, producing notes of baked sugar and cream.
In the intervening years, the tea’s gradual aging has transformed it into something altogether different. Gradual oxidation produces the plum and mint notes, and mild fermentation also produces an earthiness akin to light sheng pu-erhs. The result is startlingly refreshing and delicious.