Prepare yourself for one of the most pleasant tea experiences you can have…ever – enjoying a fragrant cup of freshly brewed Spring Pouchong. We’ve said one of the most pleasant tea experiences because in order to achieve the pinnacle of pleasant tea experiences you’re going to have to travel to Pinglin township in northern Taiwan. Specifically, you’ll need to travel there during the first 3 weeks of April when this exceptionally rare and entirely heavenly tea is made.
Situated just an hour from Taipei, Pinglin Township is the centre of Taiwanese Pouchong production. Water supply in the region comes from Peishin Stream, one of the country’s most pristine waterways. Thick forest is everywhere, a testament to the persistent environmentalism of the township’s inhabitants. The town of Pinglin, with its small population of 6000 or so, is accessible only by one tiny road, lined on both sides by workshops where artisans produce and pack Pouchong. During tea season, the town is a beehive of activity as everyone sets to work making the teas that have made the place famous. On the breeze, the flowery fragrance of spring tea is everywhere. Tea heaven!
Aside from the beautiful town of its birth, what makes Spring Pouchong so special? There are a few factors. The first has to do with the special bushes on which it is plucked. These bushes grow in only a select few tracts of land around the town and are treated almost like citizens themselves. The next is oxidation. Pouchong, whose character is often compared with some semi-fermented oolongs, actually falls somewhere between oolong and unfermented green tea. After plucking, the fresh leaf is allowed to oxidize for a very limited time before drying – which leads us to the third factor making this tea so special. In Chinese, the word Pouchong literally means the wrapped kind. This name stems from the traditional method of wrapping the leaves in paper during the drying process. The final factor is that with which most exceptional products are made – love. To this day Spring Pouchong is prepared by hand in the same way it has been for more than 5 generations. The result of all of this carefully regulated work is one of the world’s most exceptional brews - a fragrant tea with flowers and melon on the nose and a rich yet mild cup. Not everyone can hop a plane and head for the hills of Taiwan.
Hot tea brewing method: Oolongs teas are best enjoyed when the leaves are briefly infused with hot water, which is then poured off. The tea is then reinfused and tea is poured to the lucky guests after about 1 minute. The leaves may be reinfused several times, with each resulting infusion yielding different liquor from the proceeding cup. Use one heaping tea spoon per six ounced.