Wenshan Baozhong Tea in the final stage of curing
Batch #55 of the Eco-Cha Tea Club is an award-winning Wenshan Baozhong Tea that was entered in the recent spring tea competition of the local Farmers' Association. Preparation for competition involves removing the bulkier stems from the leaves, and also sorting the leaves by coloration to achieve the most uniform stock of leaf material possible. The most prominent factor that gives Baozhong Tea its distinctive character is that the leaves are not tightly rolled. This preserves an integrity in the constitution of the leaves that allows them to maintain a fresh green quality, even though they undergo an extensive withering, oxidation, and even post oxidation process.
When we procured this batch, the farmer was still preparing different days of harvest, and deciding which batches to enter into the Wenshan Baozhong Tea competitions at the two local farmers' associations. This is a singular batch, meaning that it was not combined with other days of the spring harvest. Two days of the same harvest will often be combined to achieve a more balanced flavor profile and well-rounded composition in the brewed tea. Generally, this is not common practice in Taiwan tea production, but more common in preparing competition batches of tea.
It turns out that this batch of tea made from a single day's harvest got entered into the Shi Ding District Farmers' Association Wenshan Baozhong Tea Competition and achieved Top Category Award (頭等獎), meaning that it ranked within the top 5% of all 511 entries! Given that the amount of Wenshan Baozhong Tea makers is quite minimal in comparison to other tea types in other tea producing regions around Taiwan, the amount of entries in these competitions is less.
A view from the farm in Pinglin, Taiwan
We only found out that this batch was awarded the top category award because we made a passing comment about it when we visited this farmer a month after sourcing it to check out his Black Tea making. Upon our mentioning it, he just uttered, "Oh, that batch got Top Category Prize" in the most off the cuff manner! We somewhat jokingly remarked that perhaps he should wait until after the competition results are in to decide on the selling price! He just laughed and said, regardless of the competitions, he still needs to take care of his loyal customers. This resonates deeply with us, and essentially represents the sustainable platform that we strive to operate on.
View from our Baozhong Tea farmer's home
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