Any tea enthusiast who is semi-familiar with the excellent wulongs that are produced in Taiwan have heard of Pouchong (Baozhong) tea. The most famous of this type of wulong, or some call it a green tea due to the low oxidation, hails from the northern Taiwan district of Pinglin.
However, today’s review focuses on the Pouchong Green, as the manufacturer calls it, from PT Harendong Green Farm, located in the Halimun Mountains, Banten Province, Indonesia. The altitude and climate in the Halimun Mountains are very favorable for the cultivation of Chin Shin (Qing Xin) tea bushes, whose leaves are used to produce this version of Pouchong tea. Traditionally, Chin Shin Dahpan is used in Taiwan for production of Pouchong, but Chin Shin is a very suitable substitute.
Chin Shin is well known for producing exceptional aromas. As I open this sample packet, the contents are living up to this reputation. Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves have a very dark forest green color, with light brown stems, and a few silver tips. The leaves are long, whole, and twisted. Some leaves are attached to stems. Stems show a three leaf and small bud pluck. The aroma is quite fresh, with scents of sweet wood, sweet hay, light nut, and light brown sugar.
Five grams of dry leaves were placed in a 9.4 ounce (280 ml) Tokoname kyusu teapot. Purified spring water was heated to 175°F (75°C). The leaves were infused for one minute forty-five seconds.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a bright, light pale yellow color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of sweet cream, orchids, and light brown sugar. The body is light-medium, with a somewhat creamy, silky texture. The taste has strong notes of sweet cream, orchids, very light tree fruit (apple or pear), and very light cooked vegetable. The aftertaste has hints of cream and flowers, with a pleasant flowery essence being left on the breath.
I increased the temperature of the second infusion to 195°F (90°C) to determine the ability of this “green” tea to withstand a higher temperature without becoming bitter. The second infusion produced a liquor with a bright, and slightly darker shade of pale yellow color. The aroma retains the dominant scent of sweet cream, though slightly lighter, with complimentary scents of orchids and light honey (as opposed to brown sugar in the first infusion). The body remains light-medium, and the texture silky. The taste retains the notes of sweet cream and orchids, and very light tree fruit. There is a light honey hint, and the very light vegetable notes are even lighter. The aftertaste retains light notes of sweet cream, and is more flora. The flowery essence has been intensified with the higher temperature. The flowery essence can be felt throughout the mouth, not just in the olfactory area. I prefer the aroma, taste, and general characteristics of this tea more with the higher temperature.
For the third infusion, the higher temperature water was used again, and the infusion time was increased to two minutes. The third infusion produced a liquor with a color nearly identical to the second infusion. The aroma also retained the general characteristics of the second infusion, with very little noticeable diminishing of quality. The body lightened some, and the texture is not quite as creamy. The taste is well balanced among tastes of sweet cream, orchids, and light honey. The light vegetable taste is slightly stronger than in the second infusion. The aftertaste and essence remain dominantly floral and very pleasant.
The infused leaves have a uniform fresh, dark forest green color, with some leaves showing spots of reddish edges, indicating the light oxidation allowed during production. The leaves are fairly short and narrow, and most appear to be quite young and tender. There are very few bare stems. Stems with leaves attached show anywhere from one to three leaves with bud pluck. Buds range in size from fairly mature (3/4 inch or 19 mm) to quite small. The majority of the leaves are whole, with others being large fragments. The aroma has scents of sweet cream, cooked vegetables, and light apple or pear. The infused leaves are quite impressive in appearance and aroma.
It has been about three minutes since I took the last sip of the third infusion, and the flowery essence is still being felt in the olfactory area. Going forward, I will be using strictly the higher temperature water that I would use for wulong teas, as the positive characteristics of this Pouchong tea were magnified by the higher temperature, and no noticeable negative characteristics were produced. With the presence of the slight oxidation observed on the leaves, I would classify this tea as a wulong instead of a green tea.
This Pouchong Green tea from PT Harendong Green Farm was very enjoyable in all respects. The appearance of the leaves in both dry and infused form were impressive, as well as the bright appearance of the liquor. The aroma was very attractive and welcoming. The taste was comforting and consistent through all three infusions, and I am confident that these leaves could produce one or two more worthwhile infusions. The most remarkable aspect of this tea, in my opinion, is the strength and persistence of the flowery essence left in the mouth after the liquor was swallowed. We are going on about five minutes since my last sip, and the essence is very light, but still there at some level. That is exceptional. I am quite impressed by this tea, and any consumer of green or wulong tea will certainly enjoy the Pouchong Green from PT Harendong Green Farms. Cheers!