96

It seems that the deeper I get into tea, the more impressed I become with the black teas produced in Taiwan. I ended up purchasing a pouch of this tea after seeing several good reviews for it. I almost exclusively associate Floating Leaves Tea with high quality oolongs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after trying this, I can only say that it was a truly exceptional black tea.

I normally gongfu Taiwanese and Chinese black teas, and that is how I ended up preparing this one. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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 clear aromas of honey, baked bread, wood, and stone fruits. After the rinse, I found an emerging aroma of brown toast. The first infusion brought out a vanilla aroma coupled with a rather perfume-like floral scent. In the mouth, the liquor expressed light notes of baked bread, brown toast, honey, and wood underscored by very subtle touches of brown sugar. Surprisingly, there was nothing in the way of any sort of fruitiness or floral character. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger notes of baked bread, honey, brown toast, and brown sugar, as well as distinct notes of cedar, pine, roasted almond, apricot, peach, nectarine, malt, spiced pear, red apple, vanilla, black licorice, raisin, and minerals. The floral notes emerged too but they were elusive. They kind of reminded me of both marigold and geranium, but I could be way off base. They were very difficult to place. The later infusions offered lingering touches of roasted almond, malt, minerals, pine, cedar, baked bread, and black licorice balanced by fleeting impressions of brown sugar and stone fruit sweetness and a hint of floral character.

This tea was so ridiculously deep and complex. I honestly wish I had gotten around to trying it sooner. Some of the aromas and flavors it offered reminded me of both Taiwanese GABA and Gui Fei oolongs, but with much more of an edge. Definitely seek this out if you are a fan of Taiwanese black teas. I doubt it will disappoint.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Cedar, Floral, Fruity, Geranium, Honey, Licorice, Malt, Mineral, Peach, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

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