559 Tasting Notes
My second Floating Leaves Baozhong. Between this and the Farmer’s Choice, this was the better of the two but not by a whole lot.
Dry leaves have a slightly staleish aroma of grass and turnips. When steeped, it changes to egg yolk and buttered lilacs. The tea starts off with a soupy, brothy flavor mingled with lilac and violets. Second steep is clearer with more sweetness and water lily like florals. The next steep is similar but with a thicker body. Eventually, it flattens a bit and settles into a floral-grassy flavor.
This tea lacks the thick mouthfeel and depth of better Baozhongs but is still serviceable.
Flavors: Broth, Flowers
Backlog. This was a free sample that came with my Floating Leaves order. I only managed a couple of sessions with it but the flavor didn’t leave any notable impression.
The tea has the aroma of taro, coconut, grass, and subtle flowers. The brewed tea tasted of steamed vegetables with faint, murky florals. There were a few fruit and citrus hints here and there along the way but overall just a little bland and undistinguished. The description notes that due to weather, the Winter harvest this year lacked intensity which I can affirm.
Flavors: Floral, Grass, Vegetables
Another unique tea from Cameron’s Obubu Tea Farm’s collection. I’ve always been curious to try tencha, the precursor to matcha, but it’s not an easy tea to find.
The familiar smell of matcha, those deep vegetal and umami notes, greet you upon opening the pouch. The leaf looks like a typical sencha although it has more broken leaves and small particle than other Obubu teas. The steeped tea tastes indeed like matcha. Soft peat moss earthiness, umami, and assertive notes of broccoli and spinach. It tastes like a thin matcha but without the intensity and chalkiness. As someone who finds straight matcha too aggressive, I appreciated the lighter, more delicate flavor of this tencha.
Thanks Cameron for once again expanding my experience!
Flavors: Broccoli, Earth, Grass, Spinach, Umami
Been a while since I’ve posted here. Still drinking plenty of tea, just been too lazy to export my tasting notes from MyTeaPal to Steepster. I’ve already polished off nearly everything from my recent Floating Leaves order and wanted to share my impressions while still fresh in my mind.
This was the first of two Baozhong oolongs I bought from FLT. I love Baozhong but have been disappointed by a string of mediocre ones as of late. I specifically sought out Floating Leaves as they have a reputation for sourcing excellent Baozhongs. However, I can’t say I was blown away by this one. The flavor is somewhat muddled. Buttery florals, though not your usual BZ lilacs, mingled with herbaceous elements and a slightly savory underlying vegetal body. It’s not roasted yet oddly has a light amber liquor instead of green. At times, it exhibits yancha like characteristics with sandalwood and pine notes and a little spice.
All in all, this was an atypical baozhong with slightly dissonant notes that lacks the freshness and sensuous florals this kind of tea usually has.
Flavors: Floral, Herbaceous, Savory
Backlog. Another share from Cameron.
This was an exquisite tea. Soft and creamy with mellow grassy notes and a taste that’s reminiscent of mountain mist and tender spring vegetables. It develops a rich, hearty body over successive steeps while remaining well-balanced and smooth. Notes of soy milk and cream along the way before ending bright and fruity. It’s also got staying power as I was able to push it for 4 good steeps.
Flavors: Soybean, Umami, Vegetables
The last tea from my Mountain Stream order before I move on to Floating Leaves. This one turned out to be the best one of the bunch. I had a very similar Orange Blossom from Mountain Stream a couple of years ago – it might even be the same tea – and there are a few differences in this one. It’s cleaner tasting while the other was more rough around the edges with a sharper orange taste.
Grandpa steeped 1.2g in an 8oz glass using 200 F water. Dry leaf smell is very inviting and juicy. Creamy with citrusy notes of tangerine and bergamot. The brewed tea tastes like perfumery orange blossom water and apricot. The taste is evocative of baklava with its sweetness and exotic floral flavor. After topping off with boiling water, the orange fades and gives way to jasmine like florals. Doesn’t become bitter as long as you don’t overleaf.
A great scented tea if you’re looking for a citrusy floral oolong.
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Jasmine, Orange Blossom
Winter 2020 picking.
Another Mountain Stream Teas oolong that had tremendous promise but didn’t quite deliver. The aroma of the tea enchants the senses with a fruity fragrance of papaya and granny Smith apple followed by buttered flowers when the leaves are placed in a warmed gaiwan. A rinse reveals more complex aromas of custard, coconut cream pie, and meadow flowers.
The brewed tea though is a pale shadow of it’s aroma. Fairly light and nondescript, with vague florals and a little fruitiness here and there. There are echos of the heady aroma but they are faint and not much if any of it comes through in the tea itself. I haven’t tried cold brewing it yet, but I suspect that like the other Mountain Stream oolongs, this too will taste better cold brewed.
Flavors: Apple, Coconut, Custard, Flowers
So glad I bought another pouch of this tea, especially in the midst of this brutal cold spell that’s hit Chicago and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon (thanks Polar Vortex). The windchill was -15 F the other day and I knew my usual morning green tea or green oolong wasn’t going to cut it. I was craving something warm and toasty and this tea came to the rescue.
It’s been a year since I last had this tea which was picked nearly 3 years ago. Despite the age it was still mind-blowingly good. Credit to TTC’s hermetically sealed foil bags…I wish every company packed their tea like they do.
Grandpa steeped 1.3g of leaf in my 8oz mug @ 200 F. I was immediately greeted by that familiar yet delicious honeyed flavor. Nectar sweet with notes of wildflowers, toasted pine nuts, and caramelized minerals. As the tea steeps, wildflower honey gets mingled with a subtle bug bitten sweetness. A wonderful example of a skillfully roasted tea that brings out complex flavors without tasting roasty.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Mineral, Muscatel, Roast Nuts, Toasted
I was excited to try this tea as I haven’t had kukicha in ages. This sample was once again courtesy of Cameron who has been broadening my Japanese tea horizons.
Just looking at the leaves, I could tell this was different from the twiggy kukichas I’ve had before. In fact, it looked more like a standard Sencha with its mostly forestry green leaf and absence of any thick twigs and stems.
The leaves themselves have a very light grassy aroma but upon heating, emit a strong aroma of steamed asparagus. Sure enough, the asparagus came through in the first steep along with umami and edamame. The second infusion is kabusecha like and heavier on the grass. More specifically dry grass on a hot summer day. Last infusion was earthy with a light brothyness and notes of edamame and chestnut.
This was a really interesting tea that evolves over steeps. It’s decidedly more vegetal than Sencha and adds a unique spin on familiar flavor profile. This is a high grade kukicha that holds its own against any Japanese green.
Flavors: Asparagus, Chestnut, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Straw, Umami
Mountain Stream Teas offers 3 different grades of this Li Shan. All of them sourced from the same farm and processed the same, but on different days. The earlier the picking the better the tea is supposed to be. This is their “B” grade which was picked 6 days after the first harvest.
It has similar floral-fruity aromatics as Pear Mountain A with added notes of dried peaches and orchid. I would not recommend following Mountain Stream’s steeping instructions though as I ended up ruining my first cup. Not every tea takes well to boiling water. Anyway, the steeped tea is buttery and thick with mild floral undertones. It leans slightly savory and at time edges towards bitterness which goes away once the water temperature is lowered. Overall, it’s smooth and buttery though not very complex or nuanced.
Now the ambient brew was a totally different story and super delicious. Creamy and elegant, with jasmine like florals and a fruity note akin to strawberry. It had such a clean, effervescent quality to it like fresh water from a mountain spring. I wish I had the finesse to coax out this same flavor from hot steeping.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Jasmine, Orchid, Peach, Strawberry