Pouchong (Bao Zhong) tea is a very lightly fermented variety of Formosa (Taiwanese) oolong. Native to the Wen Shan region of northern Taiwan, it is harvested in both spring and winter. Thanks to a minimal oxidation level of less than 20%, Pouchong tea is widely accepted as the ‘greenest’ of all oolongs. The name ‘Bao Zhong,’ meaning ‘wrapped style,’ alludes to the lightly rolled and twisted form of the dry tea leaves.
How does Pouchong differ from other teas?
Pouchong tea is traditionally produced from the qing xin cultivar, though modern tea masters also craft it from others, including jin xuan. It has characteristically long leaves that are twisted via slow-rolling during processing. This preserves their fresh, uplifting, floral, and melony notes inside, releasing them into your cup when you brew the tea.
How to choose Pouchong?
Many factors at work decide how good a batch of Bao Zhong will be. Pouchong teas harvested in winter and spring tend to be the most sought after. These get maximum cloud cover through the year, because of which they’re low on catechins and rich in L-theanine. The tea cultivar used is another decider. Generally speaking, premium Bao Zhong is made from the Qing Xin cultivar. The price you pay for your Pouchong tea will depend on whether it comes from a single plantation or features a blend of tea leaves from multiple tea gardens. Given all these considerations, Pouchong teas have over a dozen grades, and prices can vary from $25 a pound to upwards of $1500 a pound!
What does Pouchong oolong taste like?
Pouchong tea gives you a smooth, creamy sip and leaves you with a lingering floral finish. Its scent presents a mixed bag of floral and woodsy notes, and the aftertaste often includes a hint of almond. Generally, this type of oolong has a “light,” “buttery” texture that makes it a good “afternoon sipper.” Its “wildflower” and “melon” notes lend themselves well to honey, together with leading to a “crisp flavor profile” that almost “dances on the tongue.”
- How to properly steep Pouchong oolong? Good quality Pouchong generally lasts through multiple infusions. It doesn’t come with too many rules regarding the steeping time and the quantity of tea used for each infusion. You can play with both to derive your preferred notes and brew strength. However, the water temperature should ideally be maintained at about 190-200F. Boiling water can turn your tea bitter, while lukewarm water might not be able to extract the aroma and taste of the tea leaves effectively.
- Also try other Taiwanese oolongs: Oriental Beauty, Milk oolong and Ali Shan High Mountain oolong are some of the most popular.
Where to buy the best Pouchong online?
We feature only the best tea companies and earn from qualifying purchases.
More tea, please!
Isabelle is a freelance writer, self-taught tea nerd, and tea blending enthusiast. She is a herbalist with a strong interest in Ayurveda. Each year Isabelle travels extensively, returning with tea samples from around the world. She is a big fan of handmade teaware and Japanese green teas.