Floating Leaves : High Mountain Blind Tasting Sampler

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debunix
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Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:09 am

Still didn't get the trial perfect, because I used too little water in the gaiwans for the quantity of leaf, trying to avoid drinking too much later in the evening, and the over concentrated first infusions, while delicious, masked some of the distinctions between the different samples. I used 1.0 grams of leaf for 28 mL of water (just used a 2 oz measure), just off the boil, and didn't begin to see the distinctions clearly until I diluted the result by about 2 -3 fold in the cups afterwards--it was too concentrated. But then, and after an overnight infusion in cool water, the differences are clearer again. There is one that is the most delicate and floral, and that takes a little longer to open up--the flavor of my first short grandpa style infusion last week was very subtle, but it got deeper quickly with a little longer infusion and less water, and that one was the clear favorite this morning after the overnight. Another is less floral and more summer hay, caramel, a little nutty or touch of roasted grain, still delicious; and one is a bit....harsher seems wrong, but just stronger, with the same flavor notes as the second one.

I've deliberately mixed them up, and will post my more detailed notes at the reveal. But I'm making my guesses now to include with those notes.
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Dresden
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Sun Jun 16, 2019 12:30 am

Did a side-by-side grandpa style comparison tonight with 3 grams of leaf in each mug. They are all good but there is definitely one that stands out in my mind.

I won't give away any tasting notes yet, but below is a photo of 3 grams dry leaf, vs 3 grams wet leaf with a representative sample of each on a 1/4 inch grid for reference. There is definitely a difference in leaf size when it comes to these three with B being the largest and A being the smallest. B may actually be a bit misleading in this photo because I couldn't get the leaf to stay fully open in the picture. Also, one of the teas took notably longer to open up in the mug than the others.

Also, I apologize for the lighting. My office is not the ideal place for photography.
Floating Leaves.png
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Tillerman
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Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:22 pm

It is time, I suppose, so I shall reveal my guesses (and they are guesses indeed) based on one cupping session and one "grandpa" session:

A = Hehuan Shan
B = Alishan
C = Shan Lin Xi

I look forward to the great reveal tomorrow morning.
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Tillerman
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Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:24 pm

Spoiler alert: On the preceding post I name my guesses. If you don't want to be misled yet, don't look at that post.
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Shine Magical
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Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:58 pm

Is this correct?

A = Hehuan Shan
B = Shan Lin Xi
C =Alishan
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Victoria
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Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:59 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:58 pm
Is this correct?

A = Hehuan Shan
B = Shan Lin Xi
C =Alishan
Haha tomorrow all is revealed....
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Victoria
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Mon Jun 17, 2019 10:05 pm

Finally had a chance to sit down with these 3 mystery oolong. Not looking at everyone’s very fine notes above :) .... all are light profile, ie low roast.

Used 3 differently sized gaiwan, so made sure to measure equal leaf/ water/temp/time. Pushed steeps and leaf:water ratio 6gr/80ml/205F/60, 85, 150sec. The thickness variations of gaiwan probably influenced results somewhat. I never post comments after 1st fleet, but here goes:
On second steep; all were effervescent with mineral buttery sweet notes. Hard to tell exactly which light high mountain each is...

A is the most tannic with floral, buttery sweet & warming aromatic liquor. Has smallest leaves. Lowest quality of 3 maybe ShanLinXi
B is richest of 3, super aromatic dry & wet leaf, liquor is buttery sweet, milky, fruity. Has brightest green leaf and biggest leaves. 3rd 4th steeps richest. High quality maybe; DaYuLing, Jin Xuan
C is really smooth, feathery light & lyrical, balanced floral buttery sweet. Has slightly smaller leaves than B. Maybe Alishan, Hehuan Shan, ShanLinXi

Right to Left; A, B, C

FL Mystery H Mnt L1010453.jpg
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Tillerman
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:40 pm

Hey, at least I got one right! :A, flipped the other two. Great education to taste blind like this; as Shiuwen noted, this is less about guessing the tea and more about making your decisions without being influenced by the "label." Congratulations to Floating Leaves on the best promotion I've seen in a very long while. And with the bao zhong coming up in July, please count me in. Finally, remember, in baseball batting .333 is considered OK (nobody on the Giants is even close but that's another sad story.)
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Victoria
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:43 pm

@Tillerman
So what are the results? Very chit chatty, somehow didn’t hear results...
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Tillerman
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:51 pm

@Victoria :

A = Hehuan Shan
B = SLX
C = Alishan
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Victoria
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:56 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:51 pm
Victoria :

A = Hehuan Shan
B = SLX
C = Alishan
Oh wow, @Shine Magical got them All spot on !!! 💥🌞☄️ da bomb.
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FloatingLeaves
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Tue Jun 18, 2019 3:20 pm

The Big Reveal *spoiler alert*

Duh Duh Duh...

A = Hehuan Shan
B = Shan Lin Xi
C = Alishan

Thank you so much to everybody who got involved in this! It was so much fun for both me and Shiuwen. Tillerman, I just told her about the Giants' batting average as .333, and she said she feels much better now (for those who didn't see the "live" she guessed C as Hehuan Shan and A as Alishan).

We're thinking about doing another blind tasting like this in July, but for Baozhong. Shiuwen said she's a "sucker" mom, not a soccer mom, so she gave in to the tea friends who were asking us to do the BZ tasting on the live session today.

Again, thank you all for making this so fun! I feel like I know you all a little better as tea drinkers and tea friends now.


-Noah
Floating Leaves Tea
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debunix
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Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:49 pm

I got them all wrong....

First tasting session, improvised/grandpa style

Sample B had the richest scent from the freshly opened packet, but all had that delightful warm summer meadow note that is so mellow and comforting. I didn't have a scale with me, so I tried to more or less match about 6 rolled leaves of similar size to each cup. Then I added water just off the boil, judging how much to add by eye so it was more or less even, waited a bit, and drank the first infusion a few sips at a time. The liquor was pale gold for all of them, and the leaves opened up to be large and green and quite intact.

Sample A had that warm rich flavor, more cured hay than vegetal, not especially floral, but delicious. Sample B was more potent than sample A, but with the same deep golden warm summer hay notes. Sample C had the same primary flavor notes, but a more delicate/floral overtones that was particularly pleasing.

I had time for about 3 infusions, then set the leaves with one more infusion, and diluted and drank this last 10 hour infusion later, and it was similar to the first except for sample C, where the overall delicacy of flavor had been amplified to a deeper background notes, while the floral sweet delicate notes were still there (despite this steep being in open cups for hours).


Second tasting session

50mL glazed porcelain gaiwans
1.0 grams of leaf each
2 oz/28 mL water for first infusions
Irregularly timed infusions, I got distracted

C is still the most delicate and floral, with the summer hay and caramel and butter base being less promintent than the others, and this is the one that took a little longer to open up--the flavor of my first short grandpa style infusion last week was very subtle, but it got deeper quickly with a little longer infusion and less water, and that one was the clear favorite this morning after the overnight. A is less floral and more summer hay, caramel, a little nutty or touch of roasted grain, still delicious; and C is a bit....harsher seems wrong, but just stronger (deeper? coarser? more in-your-face? ) with the same flavor notes as the second one.

Guessing (committed guesses on 6/13 after an overnight steep from my 2nd tasting session:

A is Alishan
B is Hehuan Shan
C is Shan Lin Xi
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Victoria
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Thu Jun 20, 2019 12:00 am

@debunix so interesting how many TF members picked those exact three oolong, even if the order was a little different in the end.
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FloatingLeaves
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Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:43 pm

@debunix I'm a little late to the party, but your descriptions are SUPER on point. Names are names are names. You may have gotten them 'wrong', but the description of each tea was very mindful and concise. I think the one you described as harsher/deeper/in-your-face you meant to write B, is that correct?
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