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