Quintessentially Taiwanese, Wenshan Baozhong tea is a lightly oxidised oolong tea with a fresh, floral fragrance and a creamy texture.
It is almost exclusively produced in Pinglin, New Taipei City, Taiwan, and is usually made with the Qingxin Oolong (青心烏龍) cultivar.
Why is it called Wenshan Baozhong?
“Wenshan” (文山) is the old name for the New Taipei City area where this tea is grown. “Baozhong” (包種) means “wrapped type” referring to the traditional way the tea was wrapped in paper to be sold.
How is Wenshan Baozhong processed?
Oolong teas go through the most complex processing of any type of tea, as explained in our previous article Tea 101: All about oolong tea.
For most oolongs, the leaves are withered after harvesting to reduce the water content, then tumbled or rolled to induce oxidisation. They are then heated to lock-in the desired level of oxidation, and rolled or shaped, then dried. Some oolongs are also roasted.
How does Wenshan Baozhong compare to other Taiwanese oolongs?
- It is very minimally oxidised (10-15%), making it closer to green tea on the oxidation spectrum. That gives it a fresh, slightly grassy flavour.
- The leaves are twisted in strips, rather than ball-rolled.
- It is typically made from the Qingxin Oolong (青心烏龍) cultivar, which is known to yield complex flavours and aromas with a creamy mouthfeel.
- It is mainly produced in Pinglin, which is a major tea area in Taiwan, home to one of the world's largest tea museums and annual tea competitions.
What is the best way to brew Wenshan Baozhong?
We recommend avoiding boiling water with Wenshan Baozhong tea, because its profile is close to green tea. Temperatures around 90°C water work well, bringing out more nuance and depth of flavour.
If brewing Chinese-style with a gaiwan, we recommend starting with 6g in 100ml of 90°C water for 1 minute, and adjusting from there.
If brewing Western-style in a large teapot, we recommend 8g per 500ml of 90°C water for 3 minutes.
Types of Wenshan Baozhong tea to try
For our teaCLUB in July 2022, we sourced Wenshan Baozhong teas made from two different cultivars, grown on the same farm and processed in the same way. This was to help our members gain first-hand understanding of the character of different cultivars.
The Qingxin Oolong (青心烏龍) cultivar is the traditional choice for making Wenshan Baozhong tea, and is said to yield complex flavours and aromas. The leaves are oval shaped with slightly serrated edges and the tea tastes quite vegetal, almost like a green tea, but with a much more floral, aromatic profile. The texture is creamy with a bright and grassy finish.
The Jinxuan (金萱) cultivar is what gives Milky Oolong its buttery mouthfeel. Its leaves are slightly wider with more pronounced serrated edges. When used for Wenshan Baozhong, it gives a smoother tea with a sweeter flavour and slightly less grassiness than the Qingxin version.
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Meet the farmers
We source these teas from the Bai family who have been making tea in Pinglin for 5 generations.