Floating Leaves

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Recent Tasting Notes

Spring 2022 harvest

Not wanting to brew this in glass or porcelain, I decided to use a clay pot normally used for sheng pu’er only. The tea turned out very well. Maybe the clay softened some tannins that Leafhopper experienced.

Complex aroma hangs close to the cup, vacillating quickly and quietly between fleshy geranium and marshmallow and other niceties.
Taste is savory, crisp and clear, juicy and bright, dark earthy tone.
Wintergreen and sarsaparilla, dried cherries, malt, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, cedarwood.
The third steep got away from me. When I came back to pour, the tea did not nip at me. I took it for another 4 or 5 pours after that.

I’ve had a Ruby 18 like this before and greatly appreciate this one’s flavor profile today.

Flavors: Bright, Cedar, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Earthy, Forest Floor, Geranium, Juicy, Malt, Marshmallow, Olives, Sarsaparilla, Savory, Tangy, Tomato, Wintergreen

205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

This sounds dreamy.

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This is my third Ruby 18 in the past few months. The one from What-Cha was so good that I now consider picking up samples of other Red Jades, even though this is a tea type I often find too tannic and astringent. This version is from the 2022 harvest. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of sweet potato, caramel, malt, menthol, sassafras, and tomato vine. The first steep has notes of sweet potato, raisin, menthol, sassafras, malt, tomato vine, and brown sugar. The tea is a bit drying and already has some astringency. The next steep has even more raisin, sweet potato, and menthol notes, with tannins, malt, caramel, cream, sassafras, and wood in the background. Steeps three and four emphasize menthol, sweet potato, earth, raisins, and caramel, with increasing levels of tannins and a hint of something floral that I can’t name. More malt, tannins, and raisins appear in the next few steeps, though the tea is still quite sweet in spite of its astringency. The sweet potato persists into the end of the session, though the tea also becomes more tannic, earthy, woody, and mineral.

A solid Ruby 18, this tea nonetheless falls short compared to my beloved What-Cha version due to its higher levels of astringency and less complex palate. However, I liked the sweet potato and caramel, and this is a nice example of the type. I’m now completely out of Ruby 18 and I’m not sure if I mind. I think I like Shan Cha and Taiwanese high mountain black teas more than Ruby 18, in spite of its intriguing sassafras/menthol elements. Aside from the What-Cha version, it’s just too tannic for me to really enjoy.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Cream, Drying, Earth, Floral, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Raisins, Sarsaparilla, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Tomato, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

Now I have to try a What-Cha Ruby 18. I can’t get my beloved one from Southern Season anymore.


It’s honestly the best one I’ve tried. It has lots of menthol and fruity flavour without most of the astringency associated with this varietal. However, I’m not sure Alistair will be able to get it back in stock. :(


Tomato, wow!


It’s that strong, tangy, tomato-plant scent you get when picking a tomato from the vine. I think someone else gave me this descriptor at some point and it fits certain teas.


Ah, that’s awesome. Can’t wait to find it.

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130ML water
7.2 G tea leaves
oolong-seasoned yixing white jade teapot

I rinsed this tea in near boiling water for 5-10 seconds and steeped for 30 seconds to start.

My first brew was light colored which reflected the amount of flavor imparted initially. Notes for the first brew are marshmallow cream and syrupy with vaguely vegetal aftertaste. I’ve been sick for some time so my tastebuds may not pick up nuanced flavors as well.

I’d enjoy a richer flavor so I reduced the volume of water to 110 and increased steep time to 45 seconds. The broth was marginally deeper colored, still a mix of faint gold and light lemon. this time, notes of stone and minerals gently wafted on the nose. if i searched hard enough, i might have detected a trace of kiwi. the taste presented an unexpected experience of what i can only describe as rain or even a thunderstorm — perhaps due to a limestone undertone. maybe thats why they call it smooth water?

Flavors: Kiwi, Limestone, Marshmallow, Spring Water

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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What an amazing tea! I love high mountain oolongs and Floating Leaves has many great options, but I hadn’t been such a big fan of baozhongs because they are usually a little too light/mild for me. This one is not! At its apex, it has a rich honeydew melon-like sweetness and a pleasant bitterness that is distinct from the higher elevation oolongs like Lishan. It tastes much greener, as well. I brewed it gong fu in a ~140 ml yixing-style clay pot with ~96C water for 30 seconds each infusion. The first 2 infusions were very floral and not all that rich, but by the third infusion it had opened up a lot! Significant body high feeling, as well. Brews strong for easily 6+ infusions, increasing time slightly after infusion 4.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Cut Grass, Floral, Honeydew, Tannin

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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As I enjoy Floating Leaves oolongs thought I’d try one of their black teas.

I expect Keemun/Qimen leaves to be tiny having purchased previously from a different source, but I was taken back by the coffee grind size of these leaves. As it is really bitty I am using a filter when pouring from a small Nixing teapot to cup. So far I am not a fan but I don’t want to waste tea.

If anyone else has had this tea recently perhaps they’d share their method of brewing and tasting notes.

Edit: A small porcelain teapot worked well so I had a few sessions with this tea.

Perhaps it is just this particular production but I found it to be very sour.


What about the tea do you not like? I had a 2019 pre qing ming Keemun recently that I think might’ve been oxidized just shy of proper (whatever that is) because it has a sour taste and the wet leaf shows a green undertone. The only method that I enjoy for that tea is western with low leaf:water.


Many of my black (red) teas tend to be robust Yunnan’s. I think I must have over leafed my pot with the keemun, it just became muddled. Your brewing tip makes sense, thank you derk I will use the western method in the morning.

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An interesting tea that can be quite tasty, but is easily overbrewed, drawing a strong artichoke and chrysanthemum flavor that is a bit odd, but not entirely bad. It’s a long-lasting tea with a silky mouthfeel that’s well rounded in sweetness and tannin, but the artichoke flavor makes this more of a novelty that’s interesting to try rather than a tea I would love to sip on all day.

Flavors: Apricot, Artichoke, Caramel, Tannic, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 7 OZ / 200 ML

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I drank this. I know I liked it, but I have no notes for this. I always expect good things from Floating Leaves and this tea is no exception. I just wish I remember what it tasted like. XD
Maybe I’ll have it tomorrow during the snowstorm….very very tired of winter.

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drank Taiwan Wuyi by Floating Leaves
485 tasting notes

Great value tea from FLT. Not an overly complex oolong, but very enjoyable regardless. Aroma and flavor are both mostly roasted nuts, coffee, and a strong caramel-sweet finish. This one does a good job of toeing the line – it tastes pretty heavily roasted, but isn’t sour or dominated completely by roasty notes. Texture is smooth and full throughout the session as well. Really pleasant daily drinker type of tea.

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I didn’t bother measuring; just covered the bottom of 60ml gaiwan and went from there. Ripe plums and strawberries on the nose meld with bittersweet dark chocolate on the tongue. Fills the mouth and finishes long. No astringency; instead produces a slight salivatory effect. Well processed and medium roasted, flavors harmonize on the palate. Massive, pleasingly plump leaves after steeps six or seven.

Flavors: Cacao, Dark Chocolate, Plum, Roasted, Smooth, Strawberry

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 2 OZ / 60 ML

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drank Yunnan Gold by Floating Leaves
2 tasting notes

For reference, I used the following steep times (gongfu brewing): 10 s wash, 10s, 15s, 20, 30s, 45s, 4-5 one min steeps, and a final 3 min steep.

The dry leaves smell chocolatey and sweet. Once awakened, they take on a malty, yet almost fruity scent that causes some salivation.

The first few infusions are smooth, yet heavy and thick in the throat. The liquor is a deep reddish gold. The tea has structure and body, leading with sweet, honey-like notes that give way to a malty aftertaste.

Towards the final infusions, the heaviness of the tea seems replaced with creamier notes that linger in the back of the throat. The tea is fruitier — perhaps reminiscent of dried cranberries? Some astringency can be tasted. Overall, a stronger tea that can be taken with food as its flavor is not dampened easily.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Cranberry, Fruity, Honey, Malt

190 °F / 87 °C 8 min or more 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Late Night Session
Tea Swap

I have had this tea in my stash since last December from a Secret Santa gift exchange/tea swap. I have reorganized my stash to start drinking the older teas first, rather than breaking into the “newer” stuff. I figured that with my new system in 2018, I might as well start with the old and work my way to the “new.”

This was from a swap/tea exchange from 2016 (thank you again, Matu); which I’m currently finished drinking/sampling/sipping. This tea is the last of the stash! :)

Rinse/1st Steep: Buttery, crispy, & fruity.
2nd Steep: Creamier/milkier, buttery, & refreshing.
3rd Steep: Creamy & fruity

And the notes end there.

Evol Ving Ness

You inspire me! Thank you!
Going to reorganize stash this minute. Or at least part of it.


Evol Ving Ness—Do it! It’ll help give a perspective of how much tea one truly has! :P

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drank Da Hong Pao by Floating Leaves
485 tasting notes

I received a free sample of this one with my last FLT order. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too impressed by it. I did two sessions. In the first one, the flavor had a bit of an unpleasant sour characteristic to it, though that was likely not helped by the fact that I overleafed it a bit. I kept steep times down, so I wouldn’t have expected it to impact the flavor to that level, but it definitely could have been user error.

On the second session, I got more of what i would expect from a DHP. It was smooth and mineral-y, with a slight bit of fruit distantly detectable in the aftertaste. On this session, though, the flavor was very light – even when I steeped it rather hard – and the tea did not have very impressive longevity.

Certainly possible I just didn’t brew this well, as I’ve come to expect pretty good teas from FLT, but this one was not a particularly good one for me.

Flavors: Mineral, Roasted

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Backlog April 30th -
So this note is actually for the 2016 Spring Tea.
6g/100ml gaiwan, 200F – smells buttery
rinse – floral, faint sweetness. I let it sit here a minute for the leaves to start to open.
15s – slightly sweet, soft florals, delicate taste, not sweet like sugar, but honeysuckle or clover
25s – pushed it more timewise and it turned vegetal and buttery
I dropped back to 15s and it returned to floral sweetness but was still pretty faint. I did a couple of more steeps at 15s. It’s a pretty delicate tea and I feel the need to play around with the temperature so more to see if there is a sweet spot. It’s not as nearly strongly flavored as I expected given the tea style versus the other two I’ve had.
It’s got staying power since I’m 5 or 6 steeps in but the flavor’s are delicate.

I tried raising the temperature to boiling just to see what it’d do, but the flavors are not significantly different. I need to play with this some more.

Flavors: Floral, Honeysuckle, Sweet

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drank Da Hong Pao by Floating Leaves
527 tasting notes

Sipdown. I don’t remember too much about this tea. I finished it off at work a couple of weeks ago. Minerally, a hint of sweetness/fruit, roasted.
Not a repurchase for me.

Flavors: Mineral, Roasted

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drank Da Hong Pao by Floating Leaves
527 tasting notes

Backlog – April 30th
5.5g/100ml gaiwan 200F (most likely)
dry leaf – hint of roast, minerally, pretty big leaves
rinsed – smooth, roast is mild and not overpowering
10s – roasted wet rocks (?) seriously though, smooth, slightly roasted, minerally
20, 25, 30, 45, ?, flavor profile doesn’t change. The roast lingers in my moth. I think that this is a good tea that’s a little more roasted than I prefer. Though it is quite mellow.

Flavors: Mineral, Roasted, Smooth, Wet Rocks

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I’ve been meaning to try Ruby 18 for some time and finally ordered this one from Floating Leaves.

The tea has a strong note of sweet potato which I really like and a thick somewhat malty mouth feel.
The cooling sensation was just the ticket as I burnt my tongue last night on hot soup.

It is an interesting tea, I will look for other samples of Ruby 18 to experience the differences.

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Prep: 100cc gaiwan, 4-8g, boiling water. Have steeped short — like 10s increasing by 10 — or long — starting with 45s and increasing by 30.
Sessions with this tea: 6

Taste: Dates, raisins, sour dark fruit and some mustiness.

Body: Mouth puckering when you let the sour brew out in longer steeps. Pretty thick mouthfeel. Energy sits deep in my chest or upper abdomen and radiates slow waves of soothing.

This is A material. The body is great, the flavor is great. If you haven’t had a rich aged oolong and experienced the dark fruit sensation, then this is a good choice. There is just this tiny unpleasant musty note which transiently wafts into some steeps then disappears again, seeming randomly. If not for this note, would be A+. I’ve sampled this before and decided to buy a larger quantity, and I’m glad I did. This tea is fantastic for winding down a day or opening up a calm morning — the energy is just amazing.

Edit: the sour note is unpleasant if you let the tea cool down. This tempers my opinion somewhat, but needless to say drink this one hot.

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drank 2002 Muzha by Floating Leaves
1113 tasting notes

Last week I went to an interview for a promotion. Didn’t think I’d get it because I was up against people who have been there for 10 years, but.. my skillset and ambition were seen by the three people who interviewed me and I got the promotion!

Really excited about getting to a position that I’ll be in with only 10 months at my company. Next step is training and then a presentation for my MBA; which they pay 100% of admission!

Anyways, I pulled out this tea with my bestfriend over. We started it up and it was like a melted old candy bar. Pretty smooth, some nutty and chocolate tones underneath the interesting caramel notes. Not the pleasant type of sugary drink, but that ‘oh this is interesting’ type of drink. Good, but if you don’t know what you’re drinking it can be very confusing as I tried to experience it with my best friend who doesn’t drink aged oolong at all. The end notes came through quite salty which let me know it was dying out.

A decent amount of infusions off of this. I think the quality of the leaf wasn’t that great which is why it was aged and all; one can tell by the shape, size, and tearing of the leaf as it brews out. Would love to find a larger leaf Muzha that was aged because those tight curls over time could retain some stronger notes which I also want to find with an aged dongding or shanlinxi.

Enjoyable session.


Congrats! Confidence is always a good attribute to have. Glad you got it!




Wow! Congrats on the promotion!

Roswell Strange

Congrats! Sounds like you earned it! :)


Congrats, good sir!

Evol Ving Ness

Congratulations! Well done!

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Following guidlines on the package, Steeps 25s, 20s, 17s, 20s, 35s

First steeping has a vegetal scent and flavour.
As the leaves open up floral notes arrive.
By the fouth steep this is very refreshing.

Flavors: Floral, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Prep: 100cc gaiwan, covered the bottom with leaf, had to take some out of my gaiwan when it expanded and overflowed one session. Tried boiling water and 190F water both.
Sessions with this tea: 5

Taste: Onions are the king of vegetables. This is soup made with celery and onion and maybe some sweetness of carrot. The thing is vegetal throughout, and is one of the most “soup” tasting teas I’ve ever had. It’s savory and buttery and I might drink it to compliment a meat dish. There was a tiny slice of lemon or maybe a bay leaf added as an afterthought, which imparts a glimpse of citrus. The aroma has some floral fragrance to it, but the taste had none of that. This is a hearty affair throughout. It maintained the flavor very well too, without too much evolution, and only faded after a long session.

Body: Holy moly, bring a spoon. This is thick and amazing feeling in how it coats your mouth. When steeped with boiling water this was very pleasant. Very light, airy energy from this tea.

Summary: I think this is a tea for people who do not enjoy the floral/fragrance end of the oolong spectrum. It’s not really roasty either, but is vegetal and savory and buttery to me. I probably will not buy this again, but I think there is a subset of the drinking population who would love this tea, as it is probably the boldest tea of that particular corner of the flavor spectrum which I have had.

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Prep: 60 or 100cc gaiwan, 4-8g, boiling water, start at 5, (10, 15, 20, 30, etc)
Sessions with this tea: 10+

Taste: Boom big caramel to start. Yes sweet potato comes into the picture, as well as some anise. The menthol starts really early and is very cooling and very good. After steep 4 or so the caramel drops out and it turns into a kinda incensy woody sweetness with anise, still with some potato note. Only the late steeps lose the potato note and give a hearty, woody, pine/cedar flavor.

Body: Very thick mouthfeel, slurpy good. Mild, calming energy. The cooling/menthol sensation starts early and gets really intense through the middle steepings. This also retains its body and steeps out a lot longer than I expected for a black tea.

Extremely enjoyable. I continue to love floating leaves offerings. I’m glad I bought a larger quantity of this and look forward to continued enjoyment.

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Brewed gong fu style, 4g leaf to 100ml water for about 20s.
Color is a lovely light pale green. Wet leaves smell wonderfully vegetal.
Flavour is a good rich green tea flavour – vegetal and a rich brothiness with slight sweetness and some very slight spicy notes and a very slight nuttiness
Mouthfeel is rich and full with no astringency at all.

Spice flavours start appearing more on the second infusion, and mouthfeel is less full.
Astringency is appearing, but isn’t overwhelming.

Flavors: Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Prep: usually 100cc gaiwan, enough leaf to cover the bottom, 190F or boiling water. I give it a long rinse steep plus 5 minutes of sitting with the lid on to allow the leaves to open. Then usually something like 10s, 30s, 30s, 40s, 40s, 60s, 60s, then add time as necessary to chase flavor. I have tried flashing/shorter steeps, and I have tried much much longer steeps as well, but I like this method ok.
Sessions with this tea: 6

Taste: Starts out mildly floral sweet, a vegetal note comes into later steeps. Has a very “open” feel to it. Longer steeps brought out more sweetness, shorter/hotter brought out more veg.

Body: Very thick mouthfeel, slurpy good. Mild, calming energy. Good for early morning I think.

Very enjoyable. I continue to love floating leaves offerings.

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Here’s Hoping TTB

There was just enough for a tasting of this one left. I’m still trying to branch out from typical flavored blacks and this one was interesting to say the least. It’s very savory, with heavy sweet potato notes. I’ll have to hunt down some more samples of Ruby 18 – this one intrigued me.

Flavors: Sweet Potatoes


The Rubies are worth hunting down. :D Zentealife.com has a nice one.

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