Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Tale of Two Aged Baozhongs

     First up is an aged Baozhong from 1976, from Origin Tea by way of James. The main draw to this tea is the fact that the storage was wetter than most aged oolongs. Wet storage is generally NO BUENO for aged oolongs, so I want to see what happens with this tea.

     The first thing that I noticed is the size of the dry leaf. Baozhong dry leaves are usually 2-3x the size of these, so I was confused. The dry leaf smells normal, fruity, earthy, blah blah blah. The wet leaf smells more metallic than most. The liquor is very dark, almost black, and smells mineral (making this tea a good replacement for breakfast cereal, as you get your essential minerals through the tea instead). The first flavor I notice is sourness, probably due to the humid storage. The sourness almost reminds me of alcohol for some reason. Beneath that sourness there's an intense earthy flavor. There's also some super-dark chocolate going on, which I like. After 2 steeps the sourness goes away and what's left is a solid, strong aged oolong. It goes pretty nicely for ~6 steeps until it dies out.

     Next we have another aged Baozhong - this time from 1982 and from Everlasting Teas. Their website just went through a big update, so I would advise you to check it out because they have some awesome teas.

     Dry leaf is also small, greyish, and smells normal (fruity and earthy). Wet leaf smells fruity and slightly metallic. Liquor is a very dark brown and smells herbal and fruity.

     I drank the rinse. Yep, even in the rinse there's that nice plummy sweet flavor us aged oolong fans have come to crave. Aged oolong connoisseurs like us usually have to make sacrifices though, that plummy flavor is ALWAYS accompanied by some intense sourness, right? Not with this tea. The sourness is still there in the background, but not even close to the intensity of the sourness of the other Aged Baozhong featured in this blog post. There's also some leather that comes through, especially in the later steeps, along with the strawberry jam-esque aftertaste (jam of a lifetime). It also picks up some soft floral-ness (lilac?) in the later steeps. This is a tea that will appeal to all of the aged oolong aficionados out there, as it has the essential flavor profile that fellow aged oolong devotees seek. The price is right as well, priced at $15 US Dollars for a one ounce canister of this tea. That's right, you get a free reusable canister with your tea, which run $2-4 each. This tea gets around ~9-10 steeps, which is good for aged Baozhong. Overall, I really like this tea, especially when made STRONG. It's much different than the other aged Baozhong that Everlasting sells (1972 from the same farm), which is quite interesting as the only difference between the two is the age, everything else surrounding it is the same AFAIK. This one is much sweeter and fruitier while the 1972 has an awesome herbal flavor. Both are great.

Note that this is one of the later steeps - so the liquor is a bit too light colored.

     Next Week: Two Aged Anxi Tie Guan Yins  fight to the death - Who will win? 20 Year Old or 1985 Nanyan? Find out on the next episode of: DRINKING TEAS

Closed captioning brought to you by Everlasting Teas.

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