Ten Ren sells ‘Pouchong’ in several grades—1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. I first encountered it when I bought a green tin simply labelled ‘Pouchong’ at a chinese grocery store, and promptly put it in the back of the cupboard and forgot about it. A few years and a cross-country move later, I opened it and was very pleased by the mellowness of this very green-looking tea. I was quite surprised, when I looked into it later, to realize that it was technically an oolong, because to that point I’d only had some traditional dark roast Ti Kuan Yin and Wuyi Oolongs. I was happy to discover the TenRen store in my local chinatown and bought some of this ‘3rd grade’ pouchong because it seemed about the same price as what I’d bought in the tin.
It is a solid, but not spectacular, lightly oxidized oolong tea, sweet, tasting of hay and warm summer meadows, not strongly floral, and the sweet fades faster than with the handmade BaoZhong I recently tried. But it tolerates a wide variety of steep times and temps and is exceptionally forgiving of rushed or off brewing.
I like it best about 1g of tea per oz water at 195 degrees, infused about 30 seconds to start, and it is quite pleasant through 3-4 steeps, and better than plain water for several more, although the high notes of sweet and floral are gone by then.