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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I am back to Seattle!

I had a great trip to Taiwan and I am back to share the tea that I found.

For the unique varietals, I found a Buddha's Hand, a Taiwan Wuyi, and a Shei Shan. All of these teas have enough body, a nice mouth feel, and distinctive taste. For Baozhong, I purchased Farmer's Choice and Honorable Mention from Farmer Chen. There will be no first place this year, but you will get a chance to taste it at our Baozhong tea tastings.

There is also a selection of Dong Ding and Tieguanyin teas; some of them are very low in quantity. Both of these teas have full mouth feel.

For the high mountain teas, I chose a Shanlinxi, one Lishan, one Dayuling, and one Hehuanshan. This spring, the high mountain tea is gentler and has a softer body than previous winter teas. For the Alishan lovers, I'm sorry, but I couldn't t find one that was good enough to bring it back for you to drink. There is also an aged Buddha's Hand produced in 1991 and possibly an aged Tieguanyin.

In a couple of days, I will post some of these new teas on the website and offer you some tasting notes. Please keep an eye out for our upcoming newsletters for a series of tea tastings.

See you all very soon for new and age teas.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2009 Taiwan Tea Trip

I can't believe that I have to leave Taiwan in three days. It feels like I just got here and I am getting used to the rhythm of life. I am grateful to the people that I've met. They were helpful and generous. I will write more about this trip when I get back to Seattle. Here are some notes about the tea I have already tasted and that you will be able to try some soon.

I tasted 7 Dong Ding teas. Six of them are Spring teas and one of them is winter tea. This farmer is dedicated to producing tea the traditional way. A lot of attention and the best leaves that are actually from Dong Ding mountain go into making this tea so high in quality. All of his tea has very nice mouth feel and the flavor will stay in the mouth and throat for many hours. I chose one that I thought is the most balanced one. The farmer also gave me a small bag of aged Dong Ding. He didn't remember how old it is and told me not to sell that tea. If you can come by soon, I will share this with you when I am back.

My friend, Mr. Tsai, took me to Pinglin. We wanted to meet a farmer who has Xia Sha varietal. He told me that the farmer worked very hard and is dedicated to organic farming. Unfortunately, the farmer was not there that day. Mr. Tsai already ordered some tea for me. I will see if I can try it this Wednesday. Then we went to meet Farmer Chen and his wife. I probably tried 10 different Baozhongs. My favorite one was one that didn't win at the competition. I thought it has more weigh than the rest and it's very smooth. I also tried some aged oolongs. I chose one that was made from the Buddha's Hand varietal. This age Oolong has a very clear plum smell and it tastes very clean. 

On the third day in Taipei, I went to meet farmer Zheng and his family in the Mu Zha area. He is dedicated in making Tieguanyin. They were very friendly and very eager to let me try their teas. I lost count of how many I tried. They wanted me to try more. I told them I couldn't drink any more tea. I was not completely satisfied with this year's Tieguanyin so I chose a couple of teas that are about three to five years old.

I also drank a lot of high mountain teas. So far, I am not too crazy about Alishan tea. I did like one ShanLinXi, which has a very smooth body. I will try more high mountain teas over two days and decide what I want to bring back to Seattle.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's good to be in Taiwan again!

My son Konghai and I arrived in Taiwan 5 days ago. We spent 3 days with our family. It was the first time my family has seen Konghai. They were all very excited and happy to see him!

I have been living in Seattle for too long. It's hot here! My first cup of tea in Taiwan was a cup of bubble tea. It was just plain black tea. In hot weather like this, that cup of bubble tea tasted pretty good.

I was not serious about looking for tea during the first three days. The most important thing was to spend time with my family.

Tomorrow, I will tell you my trip to Dong Ding Mountain.

Friday, May 08, 2009

2009 Spring Taiwan Wuyi

The new Spring 2009 Taiwan Wuyi Oolong arrived yesterday. As some of you already know, I prefer a simple comparison style when reviewing teas, so here are my notes comparing the previous season's Taiwan Wuyi and this season's:

This Spring's Taiwan Wuyi is not as roasted compared to last season's. However, it has a nicer mouth feel and it feels cleaner. I haven't been able to consistently get the flavor to come out 100%, but aside from that, I consider this is a well balanced tea. It has more aftertaste, too. And this tea will stand up to a long soaking.

I talked to Mr. Tsai last night, one of my tea producers, to see why he finished this Taiwan Wuyi the way it it. He told me that after he tried the raw tea, he really enjoyed the way it tasted and felt, so he wanted to keep it as original as possible. I told him that some people might prefer this tea a bit more roasted. He said that he kept a bag of Mao Cha for me to try. After I try it, I can decide if I want to have the tea more roasted than this.

I will give you some reports after I meet him and see what we are going to do with this tea. Come in and try this tea before I leave for Taiwan this coming Wednesday and let me know what you think!

Don't forget that since I'm leaving this Wednesday to buy the new season's tea, all of the Winter 08 Oolongs are on sale = 30% off. Yes, that's THIRTY percent off until they've all sold out. Orders that come in while I'm away will be processed upon my return.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Spring Tea Harvest

I just talked to a tea friend in Taiwan. He told me that he tried some high mountain teas and they are all pretty good! My friend said that the early-harvest teas may only be average due to the lack of rain earlier this year, but after that dry period, the rain kicked in and there have been many sunny days since.

I am so excited to hear this. I will be in Taiwan from May 14th to May 27th to taste this season's teas! Both the tea shop and the online shop will be closed, so stock up your tea and wait for me to come back.

By the way, all of last season's teas are discounted. Everything from the winter season is on sale now.

I will do my best to give you tea news when I am in Taiwan. Let's see what kind of special teas I can pick up, too!