Recently, we have begun the production of spring tea of Wenshen Paochong. After the tea leaves are harvested, they undergo a period of resting and withering. During this time, the whole room seems to be enchanted like a moving castle, slowly filling with a captivating and sweet floral fragrance. This is a favorite part of James(畝士) during the tea making process, and being in the midst of it is truly a delight, savoring the unique tranquility and alluring aroma of the withering process.
「北包種」 which means in the northern region, Paochong tea is well-known, 「南凍頂」is in the southern region, Dong Ding Oolong tea is famous. This is a common saying in Taiwan’s tea industry. As early as the 1880s, the tea company Yuan Long Wu introduced the Paochong tea processing method, where fresh flowers were used for scenting the tea. It was only in the early 20th century that Mr. Wei Jingshi improved the Paochong tea processing method, resulting in higher quality Paochong tea that doesn’t require the use of scented flowers, but instead offers a delicate floral aroma when brewed. During the Japanese in Taiwan period, Paochong tea was mainly produced in the present-day Taipei City and New Taipei City area, which was under the jurisdiction of Wenshan County in Taipei Prefecture. Hence, Paochong tea is now commonly referred to as “Wenshan Paochong.”
Wenshan Paochong is a lightly oxidized and dried Oolong tea without baking or with very light baking. The tea leaves are primarily made from the Qingxin Oolong variety, also known as “Zhen Zai種仔” or “Zhen Cha種茶,” but nowadays, Jin Xua金萱, Cui Yu翠玉, and Ying Xiang迎香 are also used.
In the early days, when packaging the tea leaves, farmers didn’t have vacuum machines and aluminum foil bags like today. Instead, they would use square cloths and square-shaped fringed paper or oil paper to wrap the tea leaves, then print the tea name and the tea shop’s name. Over time, everyone started calling this type of tea ” Paochong tea.”
James畝士 believes that a good Wenshan Paochong’s most significant visual feature is that the tea leaves are different from regular ball-shaped Oolong tea. They have a “strip-like” appearance and are tightly rolled with a glossy dark green color. According to the explanation from the Tea Research and Extension Station of the Council of Agriculture, the infusion of Paochong tea is honey green with a golden hue, offering a refreshing and lively taste, and a fresh and mellow flavor when sipped. Especially when the tea is poured out, a burst of floral fragrance fills the air with aromas of orchid, osmanthus, and cape jasmine swirling in the nostrils. Coupled with a delicate mouthfeel and rich layers of flavors, this kind of Wenshan Paochong will be an exquisite tea that one would love to drink again and again.