Friday, August 1, 2014

1989 Baozhong from Oollo Tea

First of all, I'd like to thank Jenny from Oollo Tea for generously providing this sample. I first found this site when researching aged Baozhongs. I was intrigued for several reasons:

  1. I've never heard of them before.
  2. Their Baozhong was bought directly from a farmer they trade with - they also stock a fresh Baozhong from the family.
  3. It's very affordable for an oolong with 25 years of age, only $10 for a 25 gram packet.
  4. It was one of the first things that popped up on Google.
They seem to have a good following in Vancouver, the city they're based in. Just see their Twitter page - it's chock-full of local events they participate in, including pop-up stores, collaborations with local bakeries (Oolong Macaroons!), features in local magazines, etc. Their local presence is there but their online presence really isn't. I couldn't find much about them from online tea communities other than a Steepster page with reviews for their Red Jade (it was apparently included in some subscription box once) and almost every blog post about them is from people blogging about Vancouver, and not blogging about tea. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.

Enough idiotic buzzwords (my SEO is going to be OFF THE CHARTS!!!!!), let's get to the tea.
Search Engine Optimization

The dry leaves are long, thin, and wiry,  just like a Dancong's dry leaves. There's a good amount of earth in the dry leaf aroma, complimented by some fruit and chocolate. After a quick rinse (this is what I use), the leaf begins to smell fruitier. And what about the liquor? It's a dark orange and it smells amazing. It smells exactly like apple pie filling, warm apples, sugar, and sweet spices.

The fruit translates over to the flavor, apples, spice, and some earth (duh, it's from 1989). It's not bitter or roasty at all, and it has a slight sourness that compliments the
apple notes I get from this tea. I feel that a lot of aged oolongs are ruined by improper storage or excessive roasting/re-roasting, so this one is a standout. The sourness gets more intense as the tea cools down, so drink it while it's hot (I'm sure it won't be hard to gulp this down... this is one of the best things created in 1989, not unlike Seinfeld or the famous Energizer Bunny).

HOWEVER...this tea dies pretty quickly. After the 3rd steep it becomes kind of weak, although this may be because I wasn't steeping long enough or maybe 5g/100ml wasn't enough leaf. Either way it's pleasant and I'd definitely consider buying it. Competition is afoot though, as Floating Leaves listed an Aged Baozhong for $10 an ounce as a base price...that doesn't include their significant discounts at larger quantities.

Overall this is a very good tea, that unfortunately doesn't have much staying power, although that may have been on my part. A good candidate to western steep!

P.S. The packaging was quite nice. Here are some pictures I decided to take in the middle of my savage and uncivilized Opening Of The Packet (note that I don't have a Macintosh computer, it's a knockoff of the Apple Wireless keyboard made for Windows machines's wired as well.)


  1. Nice post!

    I'm not too surprised that it gave out pretty quickly. In my experience, Taiwanese Baozhong's (new and aged) don't have the same sort of longevity as other types of Taiwanese oolong.

    My guess is that it's partly due to not being rolled and because Baozhong is usually a lower-elevation tea. Still, three steeps is quite short even using less leaf like you did. Curious to see how the Floating Leaves tea would compare! I think J-Tea might have something similar, but perhaps more expensive.

    1. Yeah, sadly it was super-bland from steep 4 and on, even with prolonged (5min) brewing. Perhaps doing this one grandpa-style would drag out the nice profile, and maybe even bring out some other flavors like it did with the Mystery Aged Oolong or Eco-Cha's Concubine Oolong.

    2. Forgot to add, I got around 9-10 good steeps from another aged Baozhong (hopefully next week's review), although the flavor profile was completely different.

    3. mmm. 9-10 steeps sounds like a real keeper from aged BZ. Excited for that review!