Floating LeavesEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
My favorite out of the 2016 Floating Leaves High Mountain oolongs. This one has good balance of floral, buttery, and sweet with a thick body. The thick creamy body is what I like best about this oolong. It does well gaiwan or bowl style. I even boil this oolong and it doesn’t get too dry.
Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/hooty-tea-travels-floating-leaves-tea-seattle-part-22/
I did a 5 oolong comparison. I found ShanLinXi was my favorite. The DaYuLing tasted better (gaiwan only, it wasn’t good in a bowl), but the ShanLinXi price is much better for me, haha!
Vegetal, grassy, fresh, and very light, with limited depth, and not much back-of-the-throat pleasant bitterness that I like so much from higher mountain oolongs. It’s quite pleasant, but not particularly remarkable.
Flavors: Apricot, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Guava
(Here’s another review from the Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox! Actually all my reviews lately are from the teabox although I may have forgotten to mention it once or twice.)
Mmmm. I think this is the first tea I’ve actually tasted the “sweet potato” flavor in. That seems to be the strongest note, although I think I can detect some malt in there too. But it tastes so much like sweet potato I’m thinking of putting brown sugar and marshmallows in and calling it Thanksgiving or something. (Have you ever put marshmallows in your tea? I haven’t. It probably doesn’t go over as well as putting them in hot chocolate.) It’s a very full-bodied flavor and an interesting one, although I’m not sure yet whether it’s going to be one of my favorites or not.
(ETA: I have decided that I quite like it and that it is extremely excellent with milk and sugar and also goes well with french toast.)
Because it was drizzling in New York City, this was a perfect day to taste this new tea that just came today. This is quite a discovery. This tea is like a Christmas pudding in many ways, The deep color of the first infusions. The smell of the wet leaves. The taste of the tea that is packed with intense plum and dates flavors. The bold taste gets smoother and tones of minerals and dried cranberries appear while the tea leaves smell of dried apricots. A real enjoyment.
Flavors: Cacao, Cranberry, Dates, Dried Fruit, Mineral, Plums, Raisins, Wet Wood
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox – Round #5 – Tea #44
I had this one a few days ago so this will basically be an “I drank this” note. It’s one of those “roman nougat” type teas I love, but again, this one isn’t as roman nougat as I would like it to be. I just want one with a huge amount of flavor like that! I’m not sure if it is possible. I’m not sure if that depends on age of the tea or the harvest itself. But if I find one with a lot of “roman nougat”, I will definitely stock up! This resulted in delicious steeps anyway. It’s nice to have a couple of these types of teas in the teabox for an example for the newbies!
Here’s Hoping TTB R5 #6
Ok, stick with me here but this tea I swear tastes like bacon, sweet potato and olives… its super savory which is actually making my taste buds pretty happy! Reading the description online I’m supposed to be getting a very sweet scent (nope) and taste (double nope) with a minty aftertaste (triple nope) and hints of caramel (quadruple nope) and sweet potato (BINGO!!!)… so I’m definitely not experiencing what I’m supposed to.. instead of sweet and minty I’m getting very strong savory notes but its still a tasty drop and one I would consider purchasing if and when my tea cupboard is finally under control…
Irregularly shaped nuggets, dark green to dark brown. Dry leaves have a sweet, almost cake-like smell.
Broth has a comforting, silky, mildly brothy texture. The first steeping has a sweet, vibrant taste like fresh, lightly sauteed summer squash. The next few steeps add depth with a slight bitterness like steamed spinach.
It started to lose flavor at 3 or 4 steeps for me, so not the longest-lasting tea, but wonderful while it lasts.
Flavors: Spinach, Zucchini
Tightly rolled, very dark green nuggets. There is a nice floral aroma along with a brothy, almost creamy scent.
The first few steeps are very green, as opposed to a more roasted oolong. Strong umami. brothy flavor with a fairly thick mouthfeel. The umami notes dominate, there’s just a hint of the floral notes in the brewed tea. Later/longer steepings bring out a touch of mouth-puckering astringency that adds a nice bite to the flavor.
A hearty and vibrant tea nice for breakfast or midday.
Flavors: Broth, Floral, Vegetal
My first tea of the morning is a sample from Blodeuyn. Keemun is one of the black teas that I want to try more of, since my experience so far is fairly limited. I heard early-on that they’re supposed to be smoky, and I haven’t really seen that too much in the ones I’ve tried. This tea has very small leaves, and they’re thin and black. Dry scent is musty hay with malt and some smoke. These leaves are very easy to measure, so I actually used a level teaspoon this time! :P I let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
The aroma is an interesting juxtaposition of creamy and smooth with mineral and smoky. And the taste is the same way! The texture is very smooth and there’s a definite creaminess to the taste, but there’s also a fairly strong mineral note and a touch of smoke in the background. In the middle is a grainy/bready note and some malt, helping to bring the two sides together. A very interesting, almost split personality tea. And a somewhat smoky Keemun! :)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Creamy, Earth, Grain, Malt, Mineral, Smoke, Smooth
I reached into my big bag o’ black tea samples this morning, and this is what came out! :P This sample came from Blodeuyn, thanks dear. It has those telltale Taiwanese “creepy tree branch” leaves that are jet black in color. The dry scent was sweet and malty with some fruit notes. I let it steep for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Mm, brewed aroma is all sweet potato! It’s accompanied by malt and brown sugar with just a hint of fruit aroma. Sweet potato is the star in the taste as well, and I am happy to see that the tea’s description agrees with me. There’s a fair bit of malt and some nice dark molasses or burnt sugar notes, but I also get a small wisp of something that reminds me of jasmine. As I let the tea cool (aka forgot about it while playing games, doh), I could taste this floral note more. I also got an interesting savory flavor that reminded me of green olives (I know that sounds terrible, but it wasn’t) – not necessarily the sourness, but the overall flavor profile. Interesting! :)
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Jasmine, Malt, Molasses, Olives, Sweet Potatoes
Dry leaf aroma: Pure cocoa.
Dry leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/sc5ybFlcOu/
Wet leaf aroma: Smoky with a hint of damp hay.
Wet leaf appearance: http://instagram.com/p/sc6h_ylcPv/
Preparation: Brewed western style in an all glass infuser mug.
First steeping: 3 minutes 30 seconds at 205 degrees. Smoky aroma with notes of earth and hay. While the cup is hot I taste strong smoke and malt flavors, with a hint of bitterness. As I let the cup cool the bitterness is more pronounced.
Second steeping: 4 minutes at 205 degrees. Almost identical to the first steeping.
I was hoping the second steeping would bring out more flavor but I think I just personally perceive this tea as a very smoky Keemun. I’ve never experienced a smoky flavor in Keemun before and I’m not sure I will finish the sample package, though I’ve considered using it in a custom Breakfast blend.
Flavors: Earth, Hay, Smoke
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.
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.
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.