I brought back a hearty 2009 Muzha Tieguanyin to add to this season's tea selection. A traditional Muzha Tieguanyin is the tea I go for in cooler weather and especially during the winter. The tea broth is rich and savory, and it brings a lot of warmth. I also really enjoy all that a good Tieguanyin has to offer: Hui Gan (salivating) and Hou Yun (a wonderful sensation at the back-of-the throat area while the broth passes through it).
When I first tasted this 2009 Tieguanyin, I thought it was on the heavy side. However, as the tea opened up, it kept tasting better and better throughout multiple infusions. The stimulation of anticipatory salivation, the feeling of the tea broth, and the pleasantly warm sensations throughout my body just keep going on and on.
I was very happy I got to taste Tieguanyin with Mr. and Mrs. Zhang on my recent Taiwan trip. It is always a delight to taste tea with them. They let me taste two of the Tieguanyins that were made in November 2014. The tea tasted good, but some of the good features that a high quality Tieguanyin have were not present. A traditional Tieguanyin goes through a lot of rolling/bruising and multiple slow roasting processes. It takes time for the tea to integrate and open. This is different from letting a new bag of tea sit for a couple of weeks before it fully opens. You have probably already noticed by now that Floating Leaves Tea carries current seasonal teas like the Spring and Winter Baozhong, High Mountain Oolongs, Dong Ding, etc.... However, the traditional Muzha Tieguanyin that I chose for the shop is not the current season's production because a good one can take a little longer (one or more seasons) to transform into something really special. Lighter and greener Tieguanyin teas, such as what's popular in mainland China now, do not generally benefit from age or more processing, so mainland Tieguanyin is often enjoyed while it's fresh.
The date for tasting the new season's Oolong teas is Feb. 21st from 11am to 1pm. You can request the tea you want to try and there are no reservations needed. Come early as it may get busy and it will be first come, first served. If I am organized enough, I will try to have some treats for Chinese New Year on that day, too!