22nd May 2023
A Deep Dive Into Baojing Gold
Boajing Gold producer Mr. Shi Zehong in Xiangmiao Garden in Western Hunan, China
Baojing Gold is delicate with graceful umami and meadow-sweetness from Xiangmiao Garden, Hunan, China
First gifted to an Emperor in 1545, Baojing Gold's incredible flavour has seen it endure through the centuries. An exceptional single garden, spring green tea, hand picked pre Qingming on the 12th March 2023. It captures the purest essence of the tenderest buds and leaves with a fresh green fragrance and layers of umami and meadow-sweetness.
Delicately hand crafted this refreshing umami rich tea is highly prized at its origin and rarely finds its way outside of China.
Fresh growth on the tea bushes after lying dormant over winter
The second of our spring teas to arrive for 2023, Baojing Gold is an ancient and rare tea native to the Miao People of Hunan – descendants of the legendary King Chiyou, one of the three founding fathers of China.
A recent resurgence in awareness of Baojing Gold has brought prosperity to the local farmers in this rural part of the country. After falling for its sappy, refreshing and umami-rich character, our Head of Tea Tom set out to taste more teas from the area and chose this outstanding batch from teamaker Shi Zehong – which is rarely seen or enjoyed outside of China, such is its popularity.
This tea is particularly high in amino acids - reportedly more than 7% - which are known for their numerous health benefits. A specialty of the local ‘gold tea’ cultivar from which Baojing Gold is grown, amino acids are also the sign of a high-quality tea.
Our Baojing Gold comes from the Huang Jin Cha No. 1 cultivar
Exploring the tea garden
Baojing Gold is still grown mainly around where it originates from: the Golden Village of Ludong Mountain, Baojing County, where tea trees are said to be about 400 years old. The annual harvest is highly prized, with one tree honoured as the only living plant on the Hunan’s cultural heritage list.
A view over Golden Village in Ludong Mountain, Baojing County
The climate is subtropical with mist covering the rolling hills
The climate is subtropical, and tea is grown in hilly terrain, meaning winter temperatures are cold and the tea bushes are dormant. There are several cultivars local to the area, and this year’s crop are from Huang Jin Cha No. 1 cultivar, grown without the use of any pesticides or artificial fertilisers.
A view over Xiangmiao Garden in Western Hunan, China
In spring, the bushes sprout new growth and from these buds and leaves, our Baojing Gold is made. These leaves are packed full of nutrients and flavour that the bushes have been storing over winter. Only the highest quality and tenderest buds are selected from the pickings, so the pure ‘essence’ of the spring garden is captured within this tea, with a fresh green fragrance and layers of delicious umami and meadow-sweet notes.
The stuff of legend
Baojing Gold has an extraordinary heritage that can be traced back as far as 1545. Ming Dynasty records at the time relate the story of a military inspection in the town Luqi (today named Hulu) where scores of visiting officials became suddenly unwell. In ancient China, unknown illnesses were often blamed on ‘miasma’, or poisonous air from the mountains.
The account continues that an elderly woman picked and boiled tea leaves from her century-old trees, managing to cure the suffering officials with the tea. As a gesture of thanks, Imperial Supervisor Lu Jie gifted the woman with a bar of solid gold – earning her tea the name ‘Baojing Gold’ – and decreed the restorative drink should be given as a gift to the Emperor.
Baojing Gold is picked in early March hand picked pre Qingming at the start of spring
Only the freshest and tenderest buds are picked in March prior to the local Qingming festival
The vital stats
Origin: Xiangmiao Garden, Baojing County, Hunan, China
Cultivar: Huang Jin Cha No. 1
Name: Baojing Gold / Baojing Huang Jin Cha 保靖黄金茶
Style: Spring-fresh green tea, thick and vegetal with pronounced umami
Terroir: Subtropical and hilly
Picking Season: Spring, March 2023
Leaf: Twisted sets of silver-grey buds and green leaves
Infusion: Thick and milky
Twisted sets of silver-grey buds and green leaves are indicators of a high quality Boajing Gold tea
Baojing Gold has a distictive large vibrant whole green leaf and small bud
The flavour profile ?
Born from fragrant tender tea buds, this is a pure and spring-fresh green tea. While thick and milky with pronounced umami, it also has a delicate, silky mouthfeel and soft character – with notes of the freshest spring flowers.
When to drink?
Delicate green teas can be drunk at any time during the day, but we really like to drink this tea in the early afternoon as it’s so refreshing. This tea will not work with food as you’ll lose a lot of the character and nuance with the flavours of the food dominating.
Baojing Gold has a beautiful spring garden aroma of fragrant tender tea buds, pure and fresh
Baojing Gold after its dried next the tea would be withered
The best way to enjoy it
3 minutes 4g / 2tsp 250ml 70 degrees 3 (can re-infuse twice)
Tall Glass Infusion Method:
We really recommend giving this method a go, as long as you don’t mind getting a few tea leaves in your mouth! It is the way that most spring green teas will be traditionally enjoyed in their home areas in China. All you need is a tall glass.
Delicately hand crafted this refreshing umami rich tea is highly prized at its origin and rarely finds its way outside of China
Use slightly hotter water than the 250ml method. Immediately you will notice that the fragrance or floral aromas are enhanced as they get captured at the top of the glass and are strong for the first few sips. The closer you get to the leaves, the more intense the flavours will be with the umami intensity really strong by the time you reach the last ¼ of the glass. We recommend topping up the glass when there is around 1/3 - ¼ left. You can use the leaves for almost a full morning or afternoon’s drinking – we really like the difference you’ll get from the top to the bottom of the glass as the infusions go on and on.
Try this: 4g/ 250ml; 90 degrees; 5 minutes. .
Preparing Baojing Gold to be hand holled, the last step in the production process
Who is it for?
Fresh with graceful umami and meadow-sweetness, for those of us who really love a spring tea to taste like spring, you can’t do much better than Baojing Gold.
Boajing Gold with a mouthfeel like a silk and a soft, milky character, you'll find notes of the freshest spring flowers and a standout umami finish
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