I am thinking that if that super-heavily roasted tea can be thought of as a “cooked” version of aged oolong, then this tea today can be called a “dry stored” baozhong.
The dry leaves are not too indicative of anything. You can sniff a faint smell of aged oolongs, but the leaves are obviously quite intact and look good — it doesn’t show very well in the photo
The cup of tea looks similarly good
It starts out a little sour — the first cup or two has some sourness in it, but it dissipates quickly and by the third infusion you’re not getting any sourness from it anymore. Instead, it’s got a nice aged flavour to it — I can’t describe quite how “aged” it taste, but it reminds me of old puerh, plus a little fruitiness. There’s no roasted flavour at all to the tea, and in fact, after a few infusions you start tasting some greeness in the back end — it seems like there’s a green oolong undertone to the tea. It hits the throat well, with an obvious aftertaste that lingers well after I swallowed. There’s also some qi — I was feeling the effects of drinking this tea. It’s always a good thing.
The tea lasts many infusions — this is taken after maybe 10 cups?
The wet leaves are a bit interesting
You can see there are some leaves that are almost green, while most are brownish. Most leaves feel a bit roasted — they’re not soft and pliable like unroasted oolongs, but are a bit stiffer, but not stiff enough so that you can’t open them up. The roasting done on these teas is probably fairly light — and I even wonder if it was reroasted at all. The taste is sufficiently aged to tell me that it’s probably not faked, and it probably took some time to develop, especially considering the relatively light roasting done.
You can see the slight variations in the colour of the leaves
It did occur to me whether or not this tea was blended with some new baozhongs. I would think though that the dry (and new) baozhong would stick out like a sore thumb with its dark green rather than dark brown colour. I didn’t see any of that when I put the leaves in. I’ll probably look more carefully next time to make sure.
Regardless though, I really like this tea, and it’s also nice that it’s not expensive at all.