Our Wenshan Baozhong Tea is now back in stock! Read on to find out more about this year's spring harvest!
We kept in close contact with our source of Wenshan Baozhong through the harvest, so that we could show up at his doorstep as soon as he was done processing his spring tea.
Along with the harvesting and processing of the tea on the premises of his home factory, he now does the post production sorting and destemming himself as well — with his new computerized scanner/sorter. This machine mechanically removes the stems from the dried leaves, and also sorts the leaves by coloration! He ends up with three separate grades of tea from a given batch. Grade A is the prime pick of the crop. Grade B is slightly larger leaves that tend to have a yellower hue, and Grade C is mostly stem. Of course, we sourced his Grade A tea.
And since we were the early bird, we got to taste and choose from three different blends of two days of harvest mixed together 50/50, and one singular day's harvest that was sorted more meticulously in preparation for competition. It was sorted more meticulously by separating out the leaves that were in a tighter spectrum of coloration, which coincides with uniformity in leaf size. So the outer appearance of the leaves is optimal. This farmer and craftsman explained to us how he tastes each day's harvest to determine their strengths and weaknesses in the overall flavor profile, and then decides which batches will complement each other to improve the overall quality.
He related how this is important for competition, as the leaves will be carefully assessed on their appearance, aromatic profile, and finally the flavor profile — including the mouthfeel of the brewed tea. It's often the case that the most aromatic teas are thinner in texture, and conversely, the teas with a smoother texture tend to be slightly flatter in the nose and finish. So combining two days of the same harvest maximizes the quality of the final product.
We can honestly say that we had already tasted and decided on which one we liked the most before the artisan related all the details above. We had chosen one of the blends as our favorite, and the singular batch as a very nice alternative, with a bit less substance that was made up for by its pronounced aromatic profile and pure character. That made us feel pretty good! To top it off, the maker of the teas matter-of-factly concurred with our take on the cupping — Yes!
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