Floating Leaves Tea Home ---Shiuwen's Blog!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Rare Tea Tasting

In 2007, I was in Taiwan visiting a tea house with six customers, who were a part of my 2007 Taiwan Tea Tour. That was our first day in Taiwan so we decided to do something relaxing. We already had two pots of tea and I asked if they wanted more or if instead, they would want to go visit a temple. They all decided to have more tea because the tea house is so tranquil and nice. We saw a 25-year-old Dong Ding and they said they had never had an aged Oolong before, so we ordered that one. That was a good tea! It was very smooth and complex. And I paid $100 USD for that pot of tea!

This year, one of our tea buyers was in Taiwan and he was on a mission to find exclusive fine teas. He went to the same tea house that I had taken my customers to in 2007 and he tried the same 25 year old aged Dong Ding that I had tried for $100 per pot. As he sat with the owners, they ended up trying three more aged Dong Ding teas, each of which would sell for the same $100 per pot. The buyer brought back a sample of the one with the most complexity and smoothness. He also spent time in the Muzha region outside of Taipei, and was able to source some very high-end, full-bodied and richly-roasted Tieguanyins as well.

Having returned with these rare and high-end samples, we will be tasting these exciting teas with customers as part of our VIP tea tasting series. We will be offering 2 Dong Ding teas, 2 Tieguanyin, and one Puer. Most of these teas are aged and they all have an exceptional mouth feel. We don't have those teas for sale, but I thought it will be good to let people have a chance to taste some of the best tea anywhere in the world. The Dong Ding and Puer both retail for more than $1500 per pound, so this tasting is for the true tea lover looking for an exceptional tea. Good tea is for sharing, isn't it?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Good Company

Josh from J-Tea International came up to Seattle for a visit. I've known Josh since 2005. Brett from

Black Dragon Tea Bar introduced us.

Before Josh came up, I asked him to bring good Dong Ding samples. I had his 2nd tier Competition Dong Ding from 2008. And It was a good tea!

Earlier on that day, Josh did a tea tasting at TeaCup. Before he showed up at Floating Leaves Tea, Michael from TeaGeek, David and Rich were waiting for him. Josh walked in and started to take pictures. When we all settled in, I started with my Traditional Dong Ding from winter 2008. I asked Josh how he thought of that tea. He just said,"Not bad. Not bad." He then took out three Dong Ding samples. So we went on to try his teas. We also tried Michael's Dong Ding and an Aged Baozhong. Laughter and happiness continued throughout the entire tea tasting. We just went on joking with each other. This is the way I like to drink tea. Everyone is relaxed and happy. I think we drank 15 pots of tea. I was very hungry and wired after that!

I asked Josh to see if he is interested in teaching a tea roasting class. He said he might be. I will let everyone know if he does!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dong Ding and Tieguanyin Tea Tastings

Last weekend, I did two tea tastings, one for Dong Ding凍頂 and one for Tieguanyin鐵觀音.

We tried a Dong Ding from Zhu Shan竹山, and two from Dong Ding mountain. Before the tastings start, I normally ask participants to pay attention to how the tea will feel in the mouths, what the tea tastes like, and what tastes and flavors come up after one swallows the tea. It turned out that all of the participants did a great job!

The Zhu Shan Dong Ding is a modern style tea, which means it's a very lightly oxidized Oolong. The mouth feel is good, but it does not have enough body. The fragrance of the tea is very nice. In the fourth infusion, the taste of the Zhu Shan Dong Ding was gone. Then we moved on to the Dong Ding 101. People immediately noticed the difference in the way it felt in the mouth. I told them that I was going to brew 5 infusions. I asked them to tell me if the taste was still there in the fifth infusion. After the first sip of the 5th infusion, they all agreed that the taste was still there. Then we moved on to Dong Ding 301. After the first sip of the first infusion, I was smiling. Some people said that the tea was so creamy. They were delighted to taste a tea like this. After the sixth infusion, we studied the open leaves closely. Dong Ding 301 has red color on the edges of the leaves. That's a more traditionally done Oolong. I was happy that people were able to notice the traditional style Oolong's amazingly creamy and smooth mouth feel. Of course, they walked away with bags of tea. And 301 is sold out now (I kept 2 ounces for myself to drink).

The Tieyuanyin tasting was very fun, too. We started the tasting with a modern lightly oxidized Tieguanyin from China. Once again, I reminded people to pay attention to mouth feel, taste, and such. The green TGY is a pleasant tea. It is light with a very bright bouquet. We continued with a 1995 Tieguanyin. I passed the Gaiwan around to let people smell the bouquet. Everyone was amazed by the way it smelled. We drank five infusions of the Tieguanyin. People were very intrigued by the taste and the smell since not many people have had aged Oolong before. We finished with a 10-year-old Tieguanyin. It was smooth, sweet and round. People were very thankful for this experience.

And I am very thankful for those farmers who made these fantastic teas.

Next month, I'll be doing a special tea tasting as part of a Connosieur's tea series. The teas are from private collections, and will include rare and superb examples of oolongs and a puerh. Please check on the Floating Leaves site for soon-to-appear event information and contact me to sign up, since space will be limited and the store will be closed for this special event.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Dong Ding

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Here are some pictures to show how Dong Ding is made.

Picture 1: Picking tea.

Picture 2: Out door withering.

Picture 3: In door withering.

Picture 4: Stirring Green.

Picture 5: Killing Green(stop oxidation.)

Picture 6: Rolling

Picture 7: First baking

Picture 8: Further rolling.

Picture 9: More roasting.

Picture 10: Tasting the tea.