Pouchong is an oolong tea from Taiwan. Pronoucned “Bao Zhong” in Mandarin, it is the lightest and most floral of all the oolong teas. It is only 8-10% oxidized and actually falls somewhere between a green tea and a standard oolong tea. It is usually classified as an oolong though, as it lacks the sharper flavor of a green tea. Instead, it has a rich, mild taste with a floral and melon aroma.
Where to buy
This tea can be found in many specialty tea shops or through a number of online tea vendors. If you are unsure where to begin, you can check out some of my recommendations below.
How to Prepare Pouchong Tea
The preparation instructions given here are for loose leaf teas. For tea bags, you can just follow the instructions given on the box.
The ideal brewing temperature is 90-95ºC (194-205ºF), which is just below the boiling point. You can just boil the water using a simple stove-top kettle and then let it cool for 30 seconds.
If you plan on trying a lot of varieties of tea and/or coffee it might be worth it to invest in a water boiler/warmer or an electric kettle with a variable temperature setting. Personally, I recommend this Cuisinart kettle, because it has presets for every type of tea, so you always get the perfect temperature:
Baozhong tea is best brewed in a porcelain vessel, like a gaiwan
or in a traditional yixing, a teapot made from a purple clay.
- Fill both the teapot and the cup about halfway with hot water to preheat them. Tilt them a bit so that the water creeps up the side and then rotate them so the insides get wet all the way around. Then pour the water out.
- Put 2 teaspoons of tea leaves into the teapot. If using a different vessel, use 2 teaspoons for every 8 oz. (236 ml) of water.
- Fill the teapot with 90-95ºC (194-205ºF) water.
- Place the lid on the teapot and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the tea into the teacups and enjoy your tea!
- You can get 3-4 infusions out of most varieties. Increase the steeping time 30 seconds or so for each infusion. How many infusions you do depends entirely on your taste. Experiment.
Use the amounts given in these instructions as a rough guide. If you find the resulting tea too weak, add more tea leaves; if it is too strong, reduce the amount of leaves used. Similarly, try increasing or decreasing the steeping times.
My favorite Pouchong is Art of Tea’s Bao Zhong High Grade. This hand-picked tea is incredibly smooth to drink and the price is excellent.
Adagio Teas has a higher quality choice, their rare Formosa Pouchong, which is part of their Master’s Series. I’m not sure if it’s worth the high price though; to me it isn’t anyway, but the high rating and the glowing reviews show that not everyone agrees. Adagio also have a much less expensive regular Pouchong that’s quite good too.