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