1970's Pinglin Baozhong - Aged Taiwan Oolong Tea
This tea's leaves are the long and twisted shape characteristic of the famous Baozhong teas of Pinglin District, which is part of an area formerly known as Wenshan that lies to the Southeast of Taipei in the rugged, mountainous area between Taipei's basin and the coast. The fragrance of the dry leaves is light with hints of dried Chinese plums. When infused, the medium bodied, red/brown liquor is crisp and clean with notes of Chinese plums, dark skinned raisins, and maybe just a touch of dried tropical fruit (pineapple?) layered on top of its dank, cedar-woody backbone. The woody & dried-fruity flavors mingle to create a complex and nuanced tea with a mouth-watering bittersweet aftertaste that lingers beautifully.
This was stored where it was produced in Pinglin until around 2007, when it was purchased from the farm. It was low temperature roasted every few years during initial storage to drive out excess moisture which builds up over time in Taiwan's extremely humid climate. This excess moisture would most likely cause decomposition and development of off flavors in the leaves, and roasting serves to keep the tea from decomposing and to help bring out or highlight some of the amazing fruit flavors that come through in the cup today. It was last roasted in 2007/2008, after it was acquired by a friend of mine, and it has been stored in a climate controlled environment since that final roast. Only a very slight trace of this tea's multiple roastings over the years shows up in the cup, so I am reluctant to categorize this as a "roasted oolong" tea even though the multiple roastings have contributed immensely to this tea's character over its approximately 40 years of existence since it was first made.
Harvest: Late 1970's
Origin: Pinglin District, Taiwan
Cultivar: Hong Xin (Red Heart) Oolong
Roast: Medium-High (4/5) (Roast is not a forward flavor at this point)
Packaging: Resealable stand-up pouch