Guys, it has become fuzzy robe and fluffy blanket season and I am soooo hype!! As it is very well known (really, I never shut-up about it) I loathe the heat, each year it seems to affect me more and my threshold for tolerance drops. All the week the weather has been highs in the mid-70s and lows in the 50s, meaning my windows have not closed. I love the crisp air at night, and it the cooler day air means I can get away with wearing shorts and a sports-bra with a fuzzy robe over it, because stylish! Accuweather says we are going to have another mild winter, which is sad, but maybe I can just leave my windows open all year and never open the heat vent.
Since I am moving into the season of darker teas, I need to get these warmer weather evoking teas reviewed! So, today I am looking at Floating Leaves Tea 2016 Baozhong – Farmer’s Choice, part of the 2016 Baozhong Sampler. Harvested back in May in PingLin, Taiwan, and made from the oh so popular Qing Xin varietal. The aroma of these fluffy leaves (I never tire of looking at Baozhong, such vivid leaves) is sweet and green, a perfect balance of lilac and honeysuckle nectar with herbaceous notes of thyme and sage. It has a very gentle nuttiness adding to the sweetness and a touch of toasted nori seaweed at the finish.
I brewed this tea in my much neglected silver dragon gaiwan, it is a problem with having so much teaware. The aroma of the leaves, which are even more emerald vibrant, is wonderfully late spring in its notes. Lilacs and honeysuckle dance with thyme and sage, but there is a creeping note of lily that starts light and increases with each sniff giving a gentle spice quality. I have a serious weakness for spicy lilies, so much so that they are probably going to be the flowers I use in my wedding. The liquid has wonderfully sweet notes of honeysuckle nectar, peony blossoms, lilacs, and a gentle note of sage and lilies with a finish of sesame seeds.
When I smell and taste a Baozhong and get a balanced blend of green and floral, I know I can settle in for a long session. So many Baozhongs I have interacted with are in the mindset of live fast and die young, and they are almost always dominated by strong flowers and no real depth. This one, however, does have depth! Notes of lilac and honeysuckle blend with gentle thyme and the herb savory (which is more green and herbaceous than actually savory, but it is often used in savory dishes so here we are) The end brings in notes of honey covered sesame seeds and a touch of chestnut with a crisp touch of zucchini in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is light and gentle, with an Oolong’s signature butteriness, just not as intense as say a Shan Lin Xi.
The second steep brings out more of the lily spicy, as well as a stronger honeysuckle quality, which I found very enjoyable. There are notes of thyme and savory, and even a gentle note of sweet snap pea adding to the crispness, these add a more summery quality to a tea that evokes springtime and blooming flowers. Towards the end there is a gentle note of basil which was awesome and blends surprisingly well with the finish of honeyed sesame seeds. The mouthfeel is similar to the first but more of it, and the aftertaste of zucchini and lilacs last even longer.
For the third steep I noticed an increase in the flowery notes as well as sweetness, at this point the green and herbaceous notes have faded to a wisp at the very end. Like walking in a late spring garden with blooming lilacs and succulent honeysuckles with a gentle bloom of spiced lilies. The aftertaste is a lingering lily sweetness with just a touch of nuttiness. This is one of the more green Baozhongs I have had and I loved it, combining the notes of fresh herbs and freshly blooming flowers is enchanting and evocative of a season which has now long passed.