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What is Wenshan Baozhong Tea?

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. 

Tea farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Wenshan Baozhong | Plantation by teakha

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.

Tea leaves being withered in bamboo baskets | Wenshan Baozhong Tea Farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Plantation by teakha

Tea leaves after harvesting at a tea farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Wenshan Baozhong | Plantation by teakha

Tea rolling or 'make green' | Wenshan Baozhong Tea Farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Plantation by teakha

Tea leaves being tumbled at a tea farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Wenshan Baozhong Oolong Tea | Plantation by teakha

How does Wenshan Baozhong compare to other Taiwanese oolongs?

  1. 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. 
  2. The leaves are twisted in strips, rather than ball-rolled.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Tea mountain in Pinglin, Taiwan | Wenshan Baozhong oolong tea | Plantation by teakha

    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. 

    Tea cultivars growing on a tea farm in Pinglin, Taiwan | Wenshan Baozhong oolong tea | Plantation by teakha

    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.

    teaCLUB | Wenshan Baozhong oolong tea leaves and liquor and postcard | Plantation by teakha

    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.

    teaCLUB | Wenshan baozhong oolong tea leaves and liquor | Tea Tasting Journal | Plantation by teakha

    If you'd like to satisfy your curiosity about tea, join our teaCLUB and get a curated tea experience delivered to your door every month!

    Meet the farmers

    We source these teas from the Bai family who have been making tea in Pinglin for 5 generations.

    Read their full story here.

     

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