Origin: Somewhere in Taiwan
Year: 2007 (presumably)
Vendor: Floating Leaves Tea (Product page)
Price: $19.00 (4oz) / $5.00 (1oz)
First off, I offer my thanks to Tenuki, a fellow TeaChatter, for recommending this tea. The first time I brewed it I wasn't too thrilled, but I have come to enjoy this specimen very much since then.
Firstly, this tea's name needs to be clarified. It is a Taiwanese baozhong tea made from a varietal of tea plant brought from the Wuyi mountains of China. However, it is also slightly oxidized and roasted, so it has solid Wuyi yancha character, despite not being a real Wuyi yancha. This is one of those interesting cases, however, where the imitation (though this tea doesn't really seem to be trying to imitate yancha) is as good as the original.
The dry leaf is beautiful, and markedly different from either baozhong or yancha. It is still a striped leaf shape, but is a luscious dark green color. It smells... different. The aroma is quite similar to baozhong, but with a warm hint of vanilla (I think) that lets you know it isn't your everyday baozhong.
As far as parameters go, I used boiling water and 6 grams of leaf in my new ~150mL yixing pot; I started infusions at 30s and worked my way up. This produced a truly unique liquor, one I really enjoy. It's an odd mixture reminiscent of dong ding, yancha, and baozhong, wrapped up into one beautiful synthesis of flavor.
There is the fruit and roasted grain taste of dong ding, the characteristic chocolate and spice of yancha (this reminded me of Rou Gui, in particular), but with the smoothness and sweetness of baozhong. On top of it all, there's a lovely vanilla note that can sometimes be smelled from even a few feet away. This tea also leaves a nice, cool aftertaste, and a thin oil on the lips, which I love.
This tea is very fun to drink, and it is interesting to follow the development of its flavor. The fruit and grain flavors are especially apparent in the early brews, while the chocolate and spice seem to come out near the end of the session, which is (regrettably) only about 3-4 good infusions long. It does not have the boldness and strength of a true Wuyi yancha, but it has enough of its own unique character that it does not need to lean on the "Wuyi" title. I wholeheartedly recommend giving this tea a try!
The Circle is Complete
5 days ago