Sunday, August 24, 2014

Floating Leaves Tea - Aged Pinglin Oolong and Aged Muzha TGY

SORRY FOR THE DELAY

First off, I got some clarification on the origin of the roasted oolong that I tasted in my last post - It's an organic charcoal roasted oolong that my friend bought in the YingGe district, known for its pottery.

Back to scheduled programming, this is the second of the three aged oolongs I picked up during the Floating Leaves sale. This time it comes from PingLin, which is well known for their Baozhong production. However, this is not a Baozhong. I'm not sure how exactly it differs from a Baozhong other than the leaf shape. This is rolled, unlike Baozhong, which is always processed into a long strip shape.

6g/100ml 

When I first opened the bag this oolong smelled extremely fruity and sweet. But now that I put it into a Gaiwan.... it smells like a hotdog (microwaved) for some reason. The dry leaves are loosely rolled and black (I was so impressed with the dry leaves that I forgot to take a picture, I guess.) However, that smell rinses away and it goes back to the earthy/fruity smell of a good aged oolong, however it's not as present as other teas I've had. The liquor is also less aromatic than other oolongs I've had. It steeps out to a dark orange-brown color. This tea tastes pretty good. It's not too flavorful, however it's plummy and not super-earthy. It's on the sweeter end of aged oolongs that I've tried. It's not sour at all, which seems to be pretty rare. The aftertaste is quite present, it leaves a honey/caramelly sweetness that lingers for a while. It's pretty durable in terms of number of steeps, since it's rolled.




Overall, I'm not sure if I love this tea. If it was a bit more flavorful it would be an absolute winner, but it's still quite pleasant. I would probably buy this again.

I also tried this in a Yixing after I wrote that blurb.. 4g/95ml. Even though I only used 4g it had tons of flavor, more than 6g in a gaiwan. It tasted so much better that I heard my wallet whimper quietly. Definite re-buy, sorry wallet.


Muzha TGY:

(IGNORE THIS IF YOU KNOW ABOUT MUZHA TIEGUANYIN)
Muzha Tieguanyin (TGY) is a Taiwanese version of Tieguanyin (usually a Chinese oolong), which is always processed in the traditional manner. Muzha is located in the Wenshan district, known for their Baozhong, like PingLin. But Muzha is known for their excellent traditionally processed Tieguanyin, a refreshing change from all of the green oolongs coming out of Taiwan and China (not that those can't be great, it's just that they're way too common in my opinion.) Traditionally processed Tieguanyin is more oxidized and roasted than modern greener Tieguanyin, which is more appealing to the palates of a good amount of enthusiasts due to the darker, more intense flavor. However, greener Tieguanyin is more popular. The flavor is very light and inoffensive, and is easier for farmers to process (production of traditional-style Tieguanyin is a very complicated process).

(START HERE FOR THE REVIEW)

Anyways, the tea in question is an aged Muzha Tieguanyin sold by Floating Leaves Tea, the last of the three aged oolongs I picked up from there. It's the most expensive of the 4 aged oolongs that they sell, retailing for $15 an ounce, most likely due to the price of Muzha Tieguanyin already being pretty high without aging.

The dry leaf is rolled and smells earthy and slightly roasty. The color is a deep black, a product of the roasting and the aging both working together to darken the leaf. I decided to use my little aged oolong pot for this tea, as Floating Leaves advises that a Yixing pot helps smooth the flavor a lot. I used about 5 and a half grams for the ~95ml pot.

The liquor ended up being a very deep brown, and it smelled quite earthy and mineral. The first couple of steeps tasted mildly roasty with a hint of butter. This tea probably wasn't re-roasted, and if so it was very sparingly. It really started to shine around the 3rd or 4th steep, where it got a deep, earthy, mineral flavor. It even had some herbal, wet notes, which I love. This tea has a very thick, oily body, it coats the mouth and throat very nicely. The aftertaste is earthy, and lasting. I'm not sure why, but it reminds me of matured yancha after the first couple of steeps.

Overall, this tea is also very nice, but I'm not sure if it's worth $15 per ounce. I hope to find some cheaper teas with this profile, because it is quite nice, but too expensive for what it brings to the table. Sadly Muzha Tieguanyin is always going to be expensive, so I can't blame the pricepoint on FLT, but on the market in general

Floating Leaves Tea: The first vendor to be approved by this blog for having great aged teas at good prices. I also ordered several other teas from them (Hong Shui, 2012 Muzha TGY, Charcoal Dong Ding, 2014 Baozhong Farmer's Choice, Roasted Hehuanshan) and all that I've tried are excellent as well (haven't gotten to the BZ or TGY). Their prices are a little on the higher side, but the quality is there as well.

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