This old Baozhong is a mix of several batches from the mid 1970s. (Most of the leaves are from 1976.) These are leaves that didn't sell within their season. They were put aside when the new harvests arrived, making space for fresher leaves. The tea merchant would roast them from time to time to get rid of excess moisture. The roasting also serves to create new and stronger flavors that many older Taiwanese drinkers like.
After over 30 years of repeated roastings, the dry leaves appear very dark, either black or brown. The scent is unlike fresh tea, somewhere between brandy and Chinese medicine. It's almost like smelling liquor!
The brew has a good transparency and clarity. Its brown color is appealing to the eye.
Old wood, Chinese medicine, chocolate... Many dark and deep flavors can be found in this tea. They last long. The taste is calm and sweet. The longer the brew, the more body and concentration come out. Old teas love long infusion times. This reminds me of a story Teaparker likes to tell us. At one of his first encounters with old tea, the young Teaparker was once scolded by an old merchant. While the old leaves were brewing, the merchant kept on talking and seemed to have forgotten the tea. Teaparker asked if it was time for the brew to be released in the cups. "Young man, we could talk the whole night and only pour the tea tomorrow morning, it would still be delicious!"
For my Cha Xi, I use my Yixing hungni Shi Piao teapot, my 'ivory' white cups and tea boat. The Cha Bu is a Japanese kimono belt. Its elegance and warm colors go hand in hand with this old Baozhong.
J'ai parlé de ce thé en français ici et là.