Had the opportunity to competition style taste the new Baozhong winter harvest at Floating Leaves Tea
the other day with some fellow tea geeks and thought I would give my general impression.
Good Baozhong is yummy amazing nectar of the gods.
My feeling is this winter's harvest is better than this years spring harvest (and last year too) although the fragrance isn't the strongest ever. I haven't had baozhong this good for a while ( I don't really care that much about fragrance though, so take that with a grain of salt ).
Again this harvest the 1st place (gold medal) baozhong is too green for my taste, didn't like it. The 2nd place (silver medal) is much much better for my taste, really an exceptional baozhong. The honorable mention (bronze medal) is not as floral or aromatic, but has a really strong mouth feel and is my hands down personal favorite (what I bought for my use). The farmers choice and the honorable mention are very close this season with the farmers choice being slightly less sweet and floral IMO, I would be happy to drink either one, but unlike past seasons prefer the honorable mention. That may be reflecting my changing tastes towards complexity.
For someone who is looking for a 'standard' baozhong available in the US I don't think the 2008 winter 2nd place from FLT can be beat. The first time I dipped my spoon in the cup and took a wiff my whole face lit up and most everyone there had a similar reaction. Body, aftertaste, aroma, everything is there and spot on. The teas were fresh out of the box, it will be interesting to see how they settle over the next few weeks.
Pictures were taken, look for more info on Shiuwen's blog
eventually, I believe she committed to posting the pictures and putting down her thoughts. She told us some very interesting stories and information on batch numbering and how the competition is run
, etc that I hope will make it to her blog.
Anyway, thought I would share my good fortune. It was a lucky day for nubes like me sitting at that table; besides Shiuwen, there was a graduate of the chinese tea research institute and lifelong student of tea, a Taiwanese tea buyer, someone just back from studying tea in Taiwan with an amazing range of knowledge and years in the business, a longtime tea geek who doesn't say much but is always spot on when he does, and poor little outclassed me trying to keep my mouth shut and listen except to ask many many questions. They were all so mean, making me rate the teas first and commenting on my choices and joking in chinese (which I don't speak but they all do) and laughing a lot. hehehe. Seriously though, I feel so lucky to be able to sit and learn from her and the other tea geeks that seem to always be around there and are always so generous with their knowledge.
Her tea tastings are always the best fun. Gao Shans are next!