Floating Leaves Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

86

This is my second tea from this spring’s Floating Leaves purchase. It took a great amount of willpower not to cut open all my vacuum-sealed bags at once, but it’s worth it to have fresh tea for the next few months. Alishan typically isn’t a favourite of mine, though I’ve had some really good ones. The Alishan from FLT is generally good but not amazing. If I’d waited until the Taiwan site had posted a few more teas, I might have bought something else (I took a gamble on the free Shan Lin Xi, which I’ve reviewed here). I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain teapot using boiling water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of cookies, orchids, honeysuckle, gardenias, and grass. The session starts off with butter, cream corn, cookies, orchid, honeysuckle, spinach, and gardenia, and the Alishan is floral, woodsy, and quite sweet. The second steep adds sweet pea flowers, broccoli, and an herbaceous note I don’t often find in Alishans. The aftertaste is vegetal. Hints of citrus, orange blossom, and apricot appear in steep three, as the grassy and vegetal notes increase. The fruit persists in steeps four and five, though the florals once again predominate with the vegetal and woodsy notes. The heavier florals are still going strong in the next few steeps, particularly orchid, honeysuckle, and orange blossom. The tea remains floral until the end of the session, though the grassy and vegetal notes are more noticeable.

This Alishan has a nice range of florals and some interesting flavours that evolve throughout the session. I’d say it’s on par with other Alishans I’ve had from Floating Leaves. The aromas and flavours I get from this tea also complement the summery smells of flowers and cut grass coming through my window, making it a beautiful accompaniment to the day.

Flavors: Apricot, Broccoli, Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Corn Husk, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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87

I was thrilled when Floating Leaves moved their store to Taiwan, as it meant I could afford to have their teas shipped to Canada. I took advantage of their opening sale to get a free 50 g bag of this tea, then bought another 60 g bag because I anticipated the tea would be amazing based on previous SLX I’d had from this company. After some unpleasantness with DHL over import fees, which the vendor generously helped to clear up, I tore into this tea and was slightly disappointed by how vegetal it was.

I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml porcelain pot using boiling water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of coconut, pineapple, honeydew melon, orchids, and bok choy. The first steep has notes of orchid, butter, cookie, coconut, honeydew, and lettuce. I get some slight minerality, though that could be due to the vendor description, and the tea is already somewhat vegetal, especially on the swallow. The next steep highlights coconut, pineapple, passion fruit, and honeydew, with orchids, honeysuckle, and lilacs in the background. The bottom of the cup smells like coconut fruit punch. The honeysuckle and other florals become more prominent in the third steep, as does the passion fruit, pineapple, and especially the coconut. However, this is mainly in the aroma, and the taste is becoming quite spinachy underneath all the fruity florals. Coconut and spinach are the dominant notes in the next steep, backed up by pineapple, honeysuckle, spinach, bok choy, and grass.

The coconut continues into the fifth steep, though the tea is losing some of its complexity. I still get lots of florals plus the vegetal/grassy note. In the next steep, I notice a bit of the sappy character I associate with Shan Lin Xi. By steep seven, the tea is spinach mixed with faint florals, and it becomes even more vegetal by the end of the session.

This is a very enjoyable Shan Lin Xi that still doesn’t quite measure up to the company’s previous offerings, which I believe I rated in the nineties. I love the abundance of coconut and other tropical flavours, but wish that more of them translated from the aroma to the taste and that the tea was a little less vegetal. I also wish it had more longevity, though this is typical for high mountain oolongs. Nonetheless, I’ve almost finished my first 50 g bag and won’t have trouble finishing the rest.

Flavors: Bok Choy, Butter, Coconut, Cookie, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Passion Fruit, Pineapple, Sap, Spinach, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

After reading yours and Lucky Me’s recent notes of 2021 Taiwanese oolong, I wonder how much an effect the drought had on the quality of spring harvest.

Leafhopper

I wonder about that as well. People are saying that oolongs harvested later in the season are better than those harvested earlier. (To my knowledge, this one was picked in early April, which is near the start of the season.) However, I had Wang Family Tea’s Shanlin Xi Wild Garden, which was picked around the same time, and it was excellent. As always, it seems to be a matter of luck.

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve been wondering about that too and I’ve kinda hesitated with some of the 2021 oolongs. Most of the 2020 ones I’ve had were actually really good, but then again, a lot of them were a bit more experimental with the varietals. I’ve only had one 2021 Long Feng so far, and it was really good, but it had a softer profile compared to what I’ve usually had from this terroir. I’m going to write about it soon. I’m really curious to see what everyone else says since a lot of the sellers are going to be promoting their teas despite harsh conditions for this year.

Leafhopper

I’ve only had two 2021 oolongs so far, though I have a bunch more waiting in the wings. I hope my experience is better than LuckyMe’s.

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82

Sweet and creamy, then floral and vegetal. Smooth, still, thick water.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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90

Lovely experience having this on my fire escape during a breezy afternoon. This one’s relaxing in that numbing, slow-down-time sort of way. Savored every cup. Aroma of the wet leaf was irresistible too. Sharp notes like roasted fruit, cherries, peaches, guava, cloves, maybe even bread yeast? Great things going on here.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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94

This Kabuse Sencha was the best tea from my Floating Leaves order. Kind of ironic that a tea shop specializing in Taiwanese oolong sells a low profile green tea that outshines some of their more high end teas. I picked this one up not only to meet the free shipping threshold but also because I enjoyed the Obubu Tea Farms sample of Kabuse Sencha that Cameron gave me recently. I have no idea whether this is sourced from the same tea farm as Obubu but both are sublime teas.

The leaves are dark green and shaped like pine needles. Not quite as pristine as Obubu’s but still handsome. At least by sencha standards anyway. The leaves emit a deep, sweet grassy aroma that changes to a marine like dashi scent upon being heated. Clear, yellowish green liquor. Wet leaves have a slightly marine aroma as well but it’s more oceanic, like fresh caught steamed whitefish.

First infusion is fresh, crisp, and invigorating. Bright, balanced umami with notes of sea shells and snap pea. Second infusion is similar. Smoother and more buttery with light grass and seaweed notes. Flavor drops a bit over the next two steeps. More savory this time with a slight marine finish and a bit more astringency.

Instagram photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CMari68APv9/

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Lettuce, Marine, Ocean Air, Seaweed, Spinach, Umami

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 15 sec 2 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Cameron B.

Looks like this tea is from Satsumasendai, Kagoshima, while Obubu is in Wazuka, Kyoto!

LuckyMe

Ah, that’s good to know. Thought this style was specific to a certain tea growing region.

Cameron B.

I’m not sure if it’s regional, it’s just a shaded sencha that’s not quite shaded enough to be gyokuro.

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86

Backlog.

Another FLT oolong that I wanted to like but didn’t quite work for me. It had some nice floral elements for sure, but was affected by an underlying stale taste. A frustratingly common issue with green oolongs, unfortunately. I really wish all vendors packed their tea in oxygen free packaging like Taiwan Tea Crafts to avoid this problem.

Back to the tea at hand. I gongfued this for 6 infusions. It starts somewhat disappointingly with a stale vegetal taste mixed in with flowers and an unusual chamomile note. The second steep though is clearer with more distinct flowery notes of daffodils and honeysuckle rounded out with hints of vanilla and cream. The next two steeps present a thick, lingering flower nectar, the intensity of which reminds me of lily of the valley. The flavor peters out over the final couple of steeps yet retains a candy like sweetness and the odd chamomile note from the initial steep returned.

All in all, this was the best oolong from my Floating Leaves order although that’s not saying much since all of them were lacking. That’s not a reflection on the vendor though. I’ve had good tea from Floating Leaves before. I suspect it has more to do with the quality of last winter’s harvest.

Flavors: Chamomile, Cream, Flowers, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML
Leafhopper

I’m kind of relieved I didn’t buy any winter 2020 oolongs.

LuckyMe

Yeah they’ve all been duds so far

Daylon R Thomas

What did you guys think of the 2020 spring?

LuckyMe

Spring 2020 was okay, better than this winter’s crop but no real standouts aside from an AliShan from Mountain Stream Tea. I ordered from Mountain Stream Tea, Green Terrace, and Taiwan Tea Crafts.

Past favorites weren’t as good last spring. There were several teas that were very aromatic but lacking in flavor.

LuckyMe

Fingers crossed for spring 2021!

Leafhopper

I’ve had a few nice spring 2020 oolongs (Cha Yi’s Alishan and What-Cha’s Li Shan come to mind). Most of the others I had were decent, though as LuckyMe said, they were stronger on aroma than flavour. I ordered from Cha Yi, Tillerman (haven’t tried all of the ones I got), What-Cha (the Jade Oolong was surprisingly good as well), and Camellia Sinensis.

Also, I just had a sample of What-Cha’s Li Shan Tie Guan Yin from Daylon, which I think was a winter 2021 harvest, and it was awesome!

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85

My second Floating Leaves Baozhong. Between this and the Farmer’s Choice, this was the better of the two but not by a whole lot.

Dry leaves have a slightly staleish aroma of grass and turnips. When steeped, it changes to egg yolk and buttered lilacs. The tea starts off with a soupy, brothy flavor mingled with lilac and violets. Second steep is clearer with more sweetness and water lily like florals. The next steep is similar but with a thicker body. Eventually, it flattens a bit and settles into a floral-grassy flavor.

This tea lacks the thick mouthfeel and depth of better Baozhongs but is still serviceable.

Flavors: Broth, Flowers

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
tea-sipper

Egg yolk! That’s a new one.

TeaEarleGreyHot

I always associated the scent of lilacs with insect spray. So we’ve got stale grass, turnips, sulpherous egg yolk and Raid in this tea. I think I’ll pass. LoL!

LuckyMe

@TeaEarleGreyHotabout Lol! It’s more creamy yolk than sulfur. A bug spray that smells like flowers? I gotta get me some!

TeaEarleGreyHot

@LuckyMe, yeah I was just joking around! Your descriptions are vivid, and I am sure helpful to those who may enjoy this tea. Egg yolk is, after all, the basis of delicious pudding/custard. I had never smelled lilac blossoms until moving as an adult to an area where they were common, and then I instantly recognized the fragrance as that used in a some bug spray. Unfortunately, the connection is firmly established for me. :-)

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75

Backlog. This was a free sample that came with my Floating Leaves order. I only managed a couple of sessions with it but the flavor didn’t leave any notable impression.

The tea has the aroma of taro, coconut, grass, and subtle flowers. The brewed tea tasted of steamed vegetables with faint, murky florals. There were a few fruit and citrus hints here and there along the way but overall just a little bland and undistinguished. The description notes that due to weather, the Winter harvest this year lacked intensity which I can affirm.

Flavors: Floral, Grass, Vegetables

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 0 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 160 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I have been trying to avoid the 2020 winter harvest. The spring was actually good, but I’ve also focused on more new developments from Wang Family Tea and from Trident. They have a ShanLinXi grown ShuiXian that is really good.

LuckyMe

Thanks the recommendations Daylon and yeah my experience of the winter 2020 harvest was the same. I’ll have to check those vendors out as I’ve had everything from my usual tea shops and want to try something different

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80

Been a while since I’ve posted here. Still drinking plenty of tea, just been too lazy to export my tasting notes from MyTeaPal to Steepster. I’ve already polished off nearly everything from my recent Floating Leaves order and wanted to share my impressions while still fresh in my mind.

This was the first of two Baozhong oolongs I bought from FLT. I love Baozhong but have been disappointed by a string of mediocre ones as of late. I specifically sought out Floating Leaves as they have a reputation for sourcing excellent Baozhongs. However, I can’t say I was blown away by this one. The flavor is somewhat muddled. Buttery florals, though not your usual BZ lilacs, mingled with herbaceous elements and a slightly savory underlying vegetal body. It’s not roasted yet oddly has a light amber liquor instead of green. At times, it exhibits yancha like characteristics with sandalwood and pine notes and a little spice.

All in all, this was an atypical baozhong with slightly dissonant notes that lacks the freshness and sensuous florals this kind of tea usually has.

Flavors: Floral, Herbaceous, Savory

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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My eldest daughter, Superanna, shopped for my birthday present here on Steepster using the wishlist. She noticed a tea from this company, and in addition to the one on my wishlist, chose this one. Floating Leaves also included a personal note and a nice sample of another pu!

This is the first one I am trying, as my youngest daughter gets tummy ache from sweets and wanted pu after the birthday cake yesterday.

I made it gong fu using my larger gaiwan. From one little tuo, we got 1.5 liters of good tea!

There was little of the horse-y manure aroma ripe pu can have. Instead this one seemed very woodsy like wood shavings from using hand tools that have lain on earth for a while. So earthy and woodsy.

It was super dark even with a very short steep around steeps two through five (I did pour off a rinse and let it rest) but it was smooth and mild. This is a good daily drinker type puerh that is probably hard to mess up.it didn’t seem at all finicky.

Thank you, Superanna, for the gifts!

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70

I’mma say this is the tea I’ve sipped down. This is more green tasting that I would prefer. I got a lot of vegetal notes – green bean and spinach. But also buttery and sweet. Very different flavors in the same steep and not ones I’d want paired together.

Western, 190-205F, 2 min -ish

Flavors: Butter, Green Beans, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

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88

This was Oolong C in a blind tasting set of high-mountain teas, and I correctly guessed it was Alishan because it was so darn floral. I got distracted during my first reviewing session and had to drink it again, which explains why this note is a bit later than the others. (Also, “having” to drink this tea again was by no means a hardship!) I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry and wet leaves smell like lilacs, orange blossoms, and other flowers. The first steep has notes of spring flowers, maybe orange blossom, lilac, and honeysuckle, plus pear, honey, cream, and grass. The next steep is more herbaceous and citrusy. This oolong is less overwhelmingly fruity and sweet than the lovely SLX, but it’s still tasty.

Steeps three and four have heavier orange blossom and other floral and herbaceous notes, and a nice, silky texture. The fruit is gone by steep five, and the tea becomes increasingly grassy as it nears the end of its life. This Alishan doesn’t have the staying power of the other two oolongs, but neither does it become an astringent, grassy mess.

This was a very good tea that seemed to be more typical of its terroir than the other oolongs in the set. It’s definitely nothing to sneeze at, especially for floral oolong lovers, but it wasn’t as memorable for me as the He Huan Shan or Shan Lin Xi. Still, I will have no problem finishing my remaining 20 grams.

Flavors: Citrus, Cream, Floral, Grass, Heavy, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Pear, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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97

This was Oolong B in a blind tasting set of three high-mountain teas. I steeped 6 g in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the warmed teapot, the leaves smell like honey and spring flowers. The first steep has notes of apple, lilac, honeysuckle, sweet pea, dulce de leche, butter, and (sigh) ethereal mountain air. The aftertaste is mineral and floral. I’m huffing the floral/sweet aroma left behind in the cup. The second steep is apricot/nectarine, heavy florals, and balsam. The tea is fuzzy and thick with a grassy and herbaceous aftertaste.

Steep three has complex fruity notes, maybe apricot and honeydew melon, plus buttery sweetness, florals, and balsam. If “unctuous” weren’t such an off-putting word, that’s what this tea would be. The aftertaste has a distinct hint of grass clippings, but you can tell it’s expensive grass. The fourth is a greener version of the third with a few more floral notes. The next couple steeps go back to apricot/peach with a thinner body and a mineral, grassy edge. The tea fades gradually to minerals and veggies, but the florals hang on faintly until the end of the session.

Wow! This was the best oolong I’ve had this year, hands down. I was positive it was the He Huan Shan, but nope. If you like over-the-top fruity oolongs with nice longevity, you’ll probably enjoy this. It convinces me once again that Shan Lin Xi provides the best quality-to-price ratio for high-mountain oolongs.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Creamy, Custard, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Peach, Resin, Stonefruit, Thick, Vegetal

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

whyyyy

Leafhopper

LOL. Sorry. If you’re in the U.S., the shipping is more reasonable—not that I’m tempting you to buy more tea. :)

ashmanra

Added to wishlist!

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92

Welp, I fell off the no-tea-buying wagon. On Reddit, which I really shouldn’t visit if I don’t want to buy tea, I learned that Floating Leaves was having a blind tasting of three of their spring high mountain oolongs, Alishan, Shan Lin Xi, and He Huan Shan. I had some high mountain oolongs from this company in 2016 and was incredibly pleased with them, but the $15 shipping to Canada made me reluctant to order from them again. Still, they were offering 16 g each of three pricy oolongs for $10, and would be revealing which was which in a couple weeks. My inner tea addict reminded me that an ounce of each of these things would normally cost $33, so of course, I bought two sets for $35!

It was actually well worth it, as all three oolongs were amazing. I have waited to post my reviews until after the big reveal.

I steeped 6 g of this mystery oolong, which was called Oolong A, in a 120 ml teapot at boiling for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is an intoxicating blend of orange blossoms and other flowers. The first steep has notes of orange blossoms, orchids, violets, cream corn, butter, and grass. The corn becomes more apparent in the second steep, and there are hints of citrus and herbs. By steep three, there’s a nice balance of flowers, citrus, corn, cream, cotton candy, balsam, and minerals. It’s hard to tell what’s going on because this tea is so complicated!

The next three steeps remain sweet and floral, with a honeydew-like fruitiness replacing the citrus. The flavours become more subtle as the session progresses, but even the final steeps are enjoyable.

My guess for this tea was Shan Lin Xi because of its smoothness and strong corn and balsam notes. This was an unusual and understatedly elegant oolong that is definitely high quality. I don’t regret my impulse purchase at all!

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Corn Husk, Cotton Candy, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Herbaceous, Honeydew, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Resin, Smooth, Violet

Preparation
Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
derk

omg, don’t tease me!

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75

2016 Spring, sipdown.
205F, 2min
green, creamy, floral
Kind of typical green oolong

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Green

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83

Backlog
200F 2min 12 oz
floral, thick, lilac

It was good.

Flavors: Floral, Thick

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81

I had this catalogued incorrectly. Because it said black, I’m like oh yeah black tea, but it’s actually referring to the roasting of this tea.
The roast was done well and had settled into a nice roasted plum flavor. All the roasted teas I’ve had from Floating Leaves have been well done. I had this western: 200F for 2min.

Flavors: Plum, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML
Cameron B.

Not sure if this is the same, but there’s already a listing:

https://steepster.com/teas/floating-leaves-tea/77202-alishan-black-tea

And it is listed under black/red teas on their website.

Cameron B.

I have a similar tea from Taiwan Tea Crafts, and I believe they describe it as a sort of red/oolong hybrid tea. So really, it’s both! :P

hawkband1

Probably the same tea. I really hate adding unnecessary teas to the database. Why don’t they come up during search??? argh! I have it listed twice in my spreadsheet as well, which mean I have two different packages of this. Thanks!

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83

Sipdown – present

Gave the last of this to my brother for Christmas. I hope he enjoys it as much as I did.

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85

It has a nice fragrance and taste. It has a bitter chocolaty taste but it was also a little sweet. It’s tea I wouldn’t mind having often. I think it’s a good tea for people who don’t usually drink tea to try, because of the chocolate flavor. It might appeal more to coffee drinkers than green tea would.

Flavors: Chocolate

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I was really looking forward to this one, after having enjoyed FLT’s Lishan Tie Guanin more than I have enjoyed much of any tgy previously. I was a little disappointed, unfortunately. It was certainly enjoyable, but that metallic tgy taste was quite prominent. I find it rather distracting in teas, as it is not a taste/sensation I appreciate, personally. The description of this tea specifically states that it has the “classic metallic mouthfeel that TGY drinkers love,” which leads me to believe I may have been correct in classifying myself as a non-TGY drinker.

That said, it wasn’t too overpowering, and it was accompanied by some nice ripe fruity notes and a bit of caramel roastiness. I would not personally go for it again.

Mine was the 2018 version of this tea.

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89

This was the only remaining tea in my July backlog. I drank it alongside the Spring 2017 Farmer’s Choice Baozhong from Floating Leaves Tea, apparently finishing it a day or two after I finished its non-competition counterpart. Perhaps not surprisingly, I thought this tea was very good though slightly less enjoyable than the farmer’s choice offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. My brewing method mirrored the one used for the other tea. I quickly rinsed 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water and then started with a 5 second steep. I then conducted steeps of 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes before finishing with a 5 minute steep. The temperature of the brewing water was kept at 195 F throughout the session. I generally only change water temperatures when brewing certain green teas, when I am experimenting with new preparations, or when I feel the session absolutely calls for it.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of butter, custard, vanilla, gardenia, honeysuckle, and lilac. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of cream, violet, baked bread, and tangerine. The first infusion then introduced a gentle sweet pea scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, vanilla, gardenia, honeysuckle, violet, and lilac before hints of green apple, pear, and apricot appeared on the swallow. The following infusions saw subtle cinnamon, umami, grass, and spinach aromas emerge. Notes of sweet pea, tangerine, custard, and baked bread belatedly appeared in the mouth along with stronger green apple, pear, and apricot notes and new flavors of cinnamon, umami, lettuce, and grass. The final few infusions introduced very soft mineral impressions while retaining somewhat pronounced green apple and butter notes. Hints of umami, grass, and lettuce could still be identified in the background with fleeting, ghostly sweet pea and violet impressions as well.

This was yet another quality baozhong from Floating Leaves Tea, though it was not quite as enjoyable to drink as its counterpart. Both teas displayed a number of similarities, but there were also some very pronounced differences between the two. This tea was more vegetal and more pungently fruity while also being softer and less mineral-heavy in the mouth. The overall mouthfeel of this tea was neither as quirky nor as lively, and the body was comparatively lighter too. While I greatly admired this tea’s restraint and sophistication, I preferred the more engaging nature of its less expensive counterpart.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Lettuce, Mineral, Pear, Spinach, Umami, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

This is a tea that has been trapped in my steadily shrinking backlog for far too long. I finished a one ounce pouch of it back around either the middle or end of July, but quite honestly, I totally forgot about it until going through my review notebook. I am a huge fan of baozhong in general, and I tend to love the ones offered by Seattle’s Floating Leaves Tea. This one was yet another winner.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, sugarcane, lilac, gardenia, and vanilla. After the rinse, I found new aromas of pineapple, tangerine, and violet. The first infusion introduced an even stronger violet aroma as well as subtle scents of apple and sweet pea. In the mouth, the tea liquor initially presented notes of lilac, violet, and sweet pea underscored by hints of gardenia before revealing impressions of tangerine, apple, pineapple, and vanilla. Baked bread, butter, cream, and subtle sugarcane notes then appeared on the swallow. The following infusions introduced scents of rose, pear, cream, butter, and custard. Stronger and more immediate baked bread, cream, and butter notes appeared in the mouth while custard, pear, honeydew, rose, lime, umami, mineral, spinach, and lettuce impressions also made themselves known. The final few infusions offered lingering mineral, apple, vanilla, and butter notes that were backed by umami, citrus, lettuce, spinach, and vague floral hints.

Like the majority of the other baozhongs I have tried from Floating Leaves Tea, this one was complex and gorgeously layered with a very appealing and smooth texture in the mouth. As these teas go, it was a knockout and further proof that the more expensive and widely revered competition grade teas do not always offer the best or most consistent drinking experiences. This tea was a winner.

Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Butter, Citrus, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Honeydew, Lettuce, Lime, Mineral, Pear, Pineapple, Rose, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Nice tea with a medium roast on it. I’m usually not a fan of TGY (especially green ones, but sometimes have trouble with roasty ones as well), but I ordered a few nice sounding ones from FLT. The metallic taste common in TGY is always where they lose me. Until rather recently, I thought that was the result of a fault somewhere in the processing of the tea, but in talking to teafriends, I have learned this is an intentional, often sought-after flavor in TGY. It was enlightening and helped lead me back to giving TGY another try with a more open mind. Based on this tea, I’m sure glad I did.

The dry leaf had a buttery and salty aroma with a bit of that metallic/sour character. Also maybe some fruit, like lychee. After a rinse, the leaf smelled richly fruity, with notes of raisin and honey, and a light sourness. The roasted aroma was surprisingly subdued.

The flavor started off rather light, with fruitiness and a savory brothiness. The finish reminded me of sweet melon. There was some bit of sourness to it, but not the sharpness in the corners of my mouth that I have experienced from some TGY. The mouthfeel was pretty thick, and could also be described as brothy. This tea’s flavors deepened as the session went on – fewer of the high notes. The melon-y finish yielded to more of a sticky, dark fruitiness. The sour note remained throughout the session, but I found it pleasant rather than overpowering.

I am curious whether my palate has changed from the previous time I tried TGY, or if this tea is simply a much better example of the style, and this lighter sour/metallic note is what my teafriends praised. I have a few more TGY from Floating Leaves to try, so hopefully those will help me find the answer.

Flavors: Broth, Fruity, Honey, Melon, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML
Togo

I have also had troubles appreciating TGY (and still do), I wonder if the reasons are similar. I haven’t tried too many though, so I will check out a few more. It’s possible that as I learn more about them, I will be able to appreciate them more, or just find the right one for me. Recently, the one I got from Tao Tea Leaf showed me that it should be possible, I quite like that one.

Daylon R Thomas

I’d love to get myself some if it weren’t so expensive. I was not a huge fan of the Muzha that I’ve had, but a Lishan terroir with a Tie Guan Yin sounds like a lovely combo. Taiwan Sourcing had one that was greener, but again, just as high in price and now no longer available.

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70

This was the last of the spring 2017 Taiwanese rolled oolongs that I tried. I finished a pouch of this tea back around the middle of June, and I have to say that, of the few spring 2017 high mountain oolongs I have tried to this point, this was one of the least likable. I am normally a huge fan of Dayuling oolongs, but this one was rather odd and came off as being somewhat rough around the edges.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 195 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the rolled tea leaves emitted aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, and baked bread. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of custard, cinnamon, and sweet corn. The first infusion then introduced a subtle umami scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, custard, umami, and sweet corn that were backed by subtle impressions of spinach and grass just prior to the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn somewhat more vegetal, but also more floral as I definitely picked up some scents of violet and hyacinth. In the mouth, notes of violet and hyacinth appeared alongside notes of green apple, minerals, parsley, lettuce, seaweed, apricot, and orange zest. The previously missing notes of baked bread, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugarcane also appeared while odd notes of fennel lurked around the edges. There were even some subtle hints of white grape that appeared on the swallow during these infusions. The final infusions emphasized lingering impressions of umami, butter, minerals, spinach, violet, cream, and sugarcane that were balanced by fleeting hints of pear, grass, lettuce, seaweed, and vanilla.

Though this tea displayed considerable depth and complexity, not all of its aroma and flavor components were well-integrated and harmonious. The odd touches of fennel and white grape, in particular, kept distracting me. I also have to state that the combination of pear and vanilla with grass, lettuce, and seaweed on the tail end of the final infusions was strange and off-putting. For me, this tea just did not come together the way I hoped it would. It was not terrible, but it also did not really compare to some of the other Dayuling oolongs I have tried.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Custard, Fennel, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Lettuce, Mineral, Orange Zest, Parsley, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Umami, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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