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Recent Tasting Notes
I was looking through my tea cabinet for something interesting when I came across a small green sealed package simply labeled “Muzha Tieguanyin 2005” I don’t even remember where this came from, or how long I’ve had it (I really ought to keep track of this stuff), but I thought what the hey, I love oolongs, I love tieguanyin, I may as well try it!
I was a bit surprised, to be honest, by the roasty aroma and the very dark, nearly black leaves, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a roasted oolong before, so this was going to be a new experience. for me; I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I had already temped the water at around 175, as I wasn’t expecting such a dark, roasty tea. A couple steepings at this temperature and I quickly learned that wasn’t going to work— I was going to need to reboil the water to pull the full flavors from this one. After that, the roasted flavors sort became much stronger; reminded me of very much of houjicha (but with much less astringency). Rather warm and soothing, but I was a little disappointed that throughout the whole session the flavor remained exactly the same, the strong roasted flavor overshadowing any other flavors the tea might have had.
I wonder, is this typical of roasted oolongs? If so, I’m not sure they fall under my favorites. I have enough left for another session, so maybe next time I’ll brew it alongside my staple houjicha and see if I can find any other flavors under all that roasty-toastiness.
The scent of this right out of the bag was vaguely peachy, which is always lovely. This is my first straight up oolong. It had a nice, mild flavor, very pleasant.
Had some of this today with my friend Camiah. My bag of it is a couple of years old, and it’s lost a bit of its flavor, but it’s still pretty good.
This tea tastes of rose and honey. It is slightly astringent because it is closer to black tea than most Oolongs. It is a “twisted leaf” style Oolong and is fairly tippy.
Floating Leaves’ house green is a great everyday tea. It’s very cleanly scented (both dry and steeped) and the taste, while not life-changing, is fairly memorable. It’s one of the few greens I haven’t oversteeped. (I’m getting better!)
I noticed with this green that the fruitiness only comes out once the tea has cooled, and I can thank my children for allowing me to experience tea at all of the different temperatures. When hot, it’s quite grassy and fresh tasting. I do actually pick up just a hint of spiciness, although I’m not certain where that is coming from. It’s certainly not a flavored tea, but it would make an amazing base for a fruity addition.
I love this tea. I’m on my 5th or 6th infusion (brewed gongfu style in a gaiwan) and the taste & scent are still strong. The scent of the wet leaves is an intoxicating mix of butter, flowers and sweetness/fruit. I really can not stop smelling my gaiwan! The taste of the tea broth is rich and smooth with full mouth feel.
This tea, brewed gongfu style can hold up to between five and seven infusions. The leaves are deep, rich green and are full from tip of the leaf to stem. The aroma is intense and the flavor fills the mouth with each sip. I can still taste this tea long after it is down my throat.
Happy Friday the 13th everyone! :)
Sudden urge for Dong Ding today. Since I usually have bad luck brewing this tea I decided to give it a shot today, but just for fun, with bowl brewing method (http://floatingleavestea.blogspot.com/2010/01/2009-winter-dong-ding.html).
I have to say it’s much more yummy to me! And in the course of my feeble attempts at tea descriptions on this site, I’ve come to realize that for me this means a tea is ‘grainy’ or ‘malty’. With this tea, usually with gaiwan or yixing brewing there was always that roasted floral note that (though probably the winning characteristic of dong ding, for many) was not to my taste. Now, brewing just a scant teaspoon of the leaves in my small cereal bowl, with a lowerish temperature of water (175 to 180), at around a minute and a half (so I guess these are more Western parameters), there was less of the smokiness and dizzying floral. Usually I push the brewing time to get a stronger cup (is how I thought I liked it) but today I erred on the weaker side and though at first I thought it was bland, (but with good mouthfeel, grippy but not too astringent) the hui tian is now pleasing me to no end.
So quite happy with this experiment, and I think I’ll brew my remaining stock of Dong Ding this way. Hope you had a lucky tea day today as well.
This tea is fabulous, and while FL owner recommends the traditional, I prefer this special roast. This rolled Taiwanese oolong has a very smooth mouth feel, a bit roasty, even sweet, but still floral and aromatic. Owner Shiuwen has a great palate as is clearly in evidence with this fine tea.
This tea was superb. Chocolatey, sweet, aromatic, and full-bodied. Unfortunately, it is now all gone, and Floating Leaves will not be getting more for a while…There is no substitute, so I’ll just have to wait.
It was past midnight, and I was reading the comments on this blog post on brewing oolong tea (http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/2009/10/oolong-tea-brewing-now-and-then.html). For some reason the thought of having a suggested integer by which to calculate water:tea ratio really gets me excited, enough that I got out of bed to try it out. The recommendation for taiwan oolong was: “6-7 gr for yixing of 15 cl: brew 2-3 min, 3min, 3 min, 3 min 30 sec, 4 min…” So just for fun ( I KNOW, I am lame) I calculated 6 / 150 = 0.04.
Got out a 90ml clay pot and put in approx (90 × .04 =) 3.6 grams of tea. Off-boiling water. Best batches I placed as the ones at: 1st:65s, 2nd: 25s, 3rd: 35s. Ended my tasting there, but prepared one last brew just to measure and noted that I got 80mL of tea soup.
The results were tastier than what I would have gotten had I poured out earlier, which I usually do at the 30 second mark. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with this type of tea, but for me it registers as your basic taiwan oolong, with somewhat of a sour aftertaste. That was the notable thing for me, anyway. I feel I can’t really get a good feel for the nuances of the tea just yet, because for this one I used a newly opened pack of tea. It’s like when you’re traveling, I guess, and in a new country, and don’t really feel like yourself… Maybe tomorrow, after the leaves have ‘settled in’ their new atmosphere, I’ll be able to get a more true-to-character(?) batch.
One thing though. I think I’m discovering I like my teas to have just a little little bit of bite, that state juuust before they’re rendered oversteeped/too bitter. At least for the first brew. Maybe to wake my taste buds up, or warm them up. Then the second brew, I like a little lighter. When I sip I like it to feel ‘refreshing’. And for me that round is also the best tasting. Then mostly the third is just to top it all off. For thirst. To get that liquid inside ya. Yeah.
Probably not making sense not as it’s past 1 in the morning, heh. Anyway, will sleep on this, and try to recreate the setup tomorrow. Will also try with a gaiwan.
Gosh, sorry to sound like a total flake/nutTEA professor sciencey person wannabe. THIS IS WHY you do not tea log past midnight. >_<
Still great! Used a LOT more dry leaf this time, which filled up almost half of my small gaiwan. Sadly I was distracted and by default used cooler (190ish) water for the first two brews, only remembering to go for just off-boiling for the third. No biggie. I mixed the first and third to fill a mug. But the second one was juuuuust right. Even when room temperature. I don’t know why I keep mentioning that. Maybe it’s just a sign that this tea is really tasty to me.
This is for the 2009 Spring Buddha Hand, that I got on sale. Admittedly at first sip it didn’t make such an impression, but after a week of letting it settle in its new home, I tried again.
The first steep was at around 1 minute. I didn’t weigh but the dry leaves covered the bottom of my gaiwan. And just to try something out, I used off boiling water (around 95C). Previously I used water that was a little cooler, but I guess this experiment paid off because all I can say is: YUM! I don’t know if it’s supposed to taste like this but it’s like soy milk! It feels so nommy in the mouth, too. So… creamy. Even when it cooled/lukewarm down it was still good.
I steeped the second infusion for less than 30 seconds, and the third at 40-ish, and they came out a little bland. Maybe because I tried a lower temperature. So next time, I’m using off-boiling water for all infusions.
Side note: I gave my mom a glass whistling kettle for mother’s day (Happy Mother’s Day all cool Steepster moms!), and, uhm, borrowed it from her for this session. This is probably the dorkiest thing to say but it was really neat seeing the fish-eye, crab-eye, string of pearls thing going on through the glass. Can’t get that in a plastic/metal electric kettle. So now I’m trying to figure out a way to strap on a thermometer to the kettle so I can practice on eyeballing the temperature through the size of the bubbles.
Last note: omg GIANT LEAVES! No wonder, Buddha Hand. I had a ‘doh!’ moment with that one. The things you learn everyday.
I quite like a good Jin Xuan for breakfast, and this really hit the spot this morning. 5 grams in my 120mL yixing, brewed for good five rounds (30-60, 40, 40, 50, 65) then I surrendered. When my mom arrived near lunchtime I was able to squeeze out two more rounds (wasn’t really counting, probably under two minutes) to fill a huge mug for her. I love this tea. Along with baozhong and alishan, formosa oolongs have been topping my list this month. I really should try more greens…
This is one of the best unroasted, young baozhong teas that I have tried. Very fresh and full-flavored, with a gorgeous aroma that reminds me of fresh lilacs. It’s too bad that it’s currently sold out but I’m sure Floating Leaves owner Shiuwen will have a Spring 2010 version of this tea in shortly.
I received a free sample of this tea when I ordered the Dong Ding special roast. I was very pleased with the quality of this tea. It has the lovely sweet floral taste that I remembered from my first tasting of good “Tong Ting Jade”, now discontinued by Tevana.
very lovely dong ding…….steeped it 4 minutes and refilled the pot 4 times. It changed with each steeping.
A perfect example of a traditional Taiwanese Dong Ding oolong. Lightly roasted for a great aroma and malty taste, but still retaining the lovely fruit and floral aftertastes that make green Dong Dings so special. Can easily stand up to 5+ gong fu style infusions; an exceptional tea.
Still makes me happy, oh yeah.
Light golden liquor, lightly creamy with a nice floral scent. The finish is long and sweet. It is an easy drinking tea. Easily getting 3+ infusions from it. I consider this as a nice, everyday drinking kind of oolong.
A lovely light Taiwanese oolong, delightful for a mid-afternoon cuppa. Nice aroma and flavor even after several infusions, and a beautiful light green liquid result.
This one is mellower than Floating Leaves’ House Black, with a warm gold tone to the leaves. The scent is sweeter and lighter and the liquid is a paler color than House Black. I wouldn’t call this delicate, except in comparison. A nice afternoon tea with half and half.