Sunday, February 15, 2009

Floating Leaves' Taiwan Wuyi

Floating Leaves Tea Shop here in Seattle is one of my favorite places to buy tea. I frequently visit this small tea shop with my daughter while my wife is at work. We enjoy drinking some great tea and practicing our Mandarin with the owner, my good friend Shiuwen from Taiwan. She has some great connections and imports many wonderful oolong teas every season!

Last week I was inspired by Shiuwen's latest blog post about tea leaf cultivars commonly used in Taiwan. Click here to check it out. In that post she mentioned a Wuyi (武夷) style tea being grown in Taiwan. I am not clear if it is a specific Wuyi cultivar but I was very intrigued and decided to buy a couple ounces to taste at home.

Ready for some tea:

The Wuyi Mountains of Fujian province China have many famous heirloom tea plant cultivars. Although my personal experience with this region's tea is quite limited, I have tasted some lovely teas made from the Rougui (肉桂) (cinnamon), Shui Xian (水仙) (water fairy or narcissus), and Da Hong Pao (大紅袍) (big red robe) tea bushes. These teas often have long twisted leaves and a rich brown tea soup due to more oxidation and bake. They are also suitable for careful aging.

This morning I enjoyed the Floating Leaves "Taiwan Wuyi" using my small gaiwan about 60% full of dry leaf. These twisted leaves are very long and elegant. Many leaves are 2 to 3 inches long. They have subtle aroma that remind me of sweet red wine and raisins. I used boiling water and steeped the leaf seven times.

The tea soup:

This tea was lighter in color than I expected, most cups had a soft yellow color that just hinted at brown. The bottom of the gaiwan lid presented the brightest aroma, a little grassy but clean and nutty too. Each cup had medium body and various degree of roast. The taste was always smooth and roasty. It is a very tasty oolong tea.

In the end:

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