Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.
I emailed Stéphane several times Friday, got his price list and placed an order but received no Paypal invoice...or replies to changes to my initial order since Friday. He may be out of town or other things may be keeping him away.
Anyway, I have the price list sent Friday if you like.
Anyway, I have the price list sent Friday if you like.
Victoria wrote:Order some Subtropical Baozhong from Stephane. And make sure you're sitting down.
Alright, I've had the Subtropical and Semi-wild now, and they're both very very excellent.
2nd place baozhong is the most... jade/crystal/well-defined/perfect. It's so crisp, and clear, and wonderfully *intricate*. Like the shell of a nautilis...
The subtropical is like freakin' *candy*. It's so warm, and sweet, and life-ful, and completely delightful. It rings my soul like a bell.
The semi-wild is pretty odd for a baozhong. It's warmer, maltier, and wilder. If it reminds me of anything, it reminds me of certain of Imen's dan congs, like 8 Immortals.
They're all terrific baozhong - both the subtropical and the 2nd place are leagues better than any baozhong I've had up to this point.
It definitely shows the aesthetics of the two places. Stephane's teas are much more... knit, and textureful, and wriggling and alive. More physical, more warm and burry. Very hard to seperate the flavors, a warm meld. Floating Leaves' 2nd place baozhong is more even/detailed/distinct/seperated.
Stephane's aesthetic is closest to my personal aesthetic - but the 2nd place baozhong is actually still the one that astonishes me the most. This may just be a testament to how really stunning this tea is.
Anyway - they all please the hell out of me.
Last edited by moot on Sep 19th, '09, 20:55, edited 1 time in total.
teaskeptic wrote:moot wrote:2009 Spring Farmer's Choice Baozhong: for about 3 years, I drank as much baozhong as all other teas put together (mostly from Atlantic Valley Tea, in San Gabriel, CA). This one strikes me as a little... insipid. There's a nice, pearly honey smoothness, but it sort of lacks definition or life. The aroma is similarly pleasant, but lacking.
I have tasted this tea twice now. I think "insipid" is a bit harsh. Very harsh, actually. I've had insipid Taiwanese teas before, and this ain't that. On the other hand, I think it is merely an OK baozhong.
I don't really have any bad things to say about it.. No bitterness, easy to brew, and last about as long as I would expect. I just find it to be a bit lacking. The flavor teases, but seems to fall short. I would probably say that I have enjoyed any of Stephane's baozhongs more than this one. Too bad I wimped out and didn't order the second place BZ.
Actually, I would say pretty much the exact same things about the other FLT tea I've had, the 2009 ShanLinXi. I just want more out of it. It seems to lack some of the brightness that I am used to, at least in the early infusions.
I've had both of these teas twice so far. The second time I used longer infusion times, and that seemed to help. I am almost tempted to say that some freshness has been lost somehow, as if the packages the teas came in seem to be not doing a good enough job. Maybe my opinions will change soon, once I drink them some more. Two sessions are usually not enough.
"Insipid" is perhaps a little harsh - it may just be that, coming after finding something as wonderful as the 2nd place, all else pales in comparison.
But your description is pretty close to how I feel about the farmer's choice... it's pleasant. It's easy to brew. There's nothing wrong with it. But it doesn't go nowhere.
In general: from a sampling of a handful of Stephane's teas, and a big bunch of FTL's, I'd say Stephane's was more about impact - in the soul, in the gut, and FTL's is more about kind of a calm, cool, thoughtful, removed perfection. Stephane's teas make me happy. FTL's teas make me calm and clear.
Intuit wrote:Why, pray tell, would I want to buy an expensive oolong that tastes like asparagus?? How is this desirable, and WHY would someone encourage the genetic development of a cultivar with so odd a flavoring?
Why wouldn't you? Is there some law that expensive oolong must taste like flowers and something something, and not like other stuff? (I am reminded of my girlfriend's favorite perfumer, Christopher Brosius. When asked why he makes such odd scents as Snow, Wet Garden, Library, Burning Leaves, and Wet Sheep, he basically says something like: why, in the millions of interesting smells that we have in this world, do we limit ourselves to only making scents that smell like *flowers*?)
Maybe I should be clear: it doesn't taste like any old asparagus. Not canned, not supermarket off-season. It tastes and smells like the asparagus I can get from the Los Angeles farmer's market, at the height of spring, perfectly in season, perfectly fresh - a kind of crisp, fresh, vegetal, sweet wonder.
I love that asparagus. And I love this tea, which is like that, but sort of even more elevated.
Actually, it's not such a weird taste for high mountain. It's just a particular brand of *vegetal*. Asparagus is, after all, just a species of wild grass, and the asparagus smell of this tea is a sort of deeper, sweeter, fatter version of the taste a lot of people would call "grassy".
tingjunkie wrote:moot wrote: If Floating Leaves is Ella Fitzgerald, and teafromtaiwan is Howlin' Wolf, then Stephane's stuff is somewhere in the vicinity of Sarah Vaughan, or perhaps Billie Holiday.
Ha, I'm only using musicians to describe tea from now on! Good stuff.
If anyone finds some late '70s Lee "Scratch" Perry tea, please let me know... I'm pretty sure that would be some kind of smokey, heavy pu'er with serious fruit reverb notes!
Lee Scratch Perry of teas is clearly the '78 Wild Hong Yin from Imen - sort of an insane, unhinged, "these flavors shouldn't be here at once yet they are and somehow they work, and why do I think I'm actually eating mackeral sashimi? How is it stewed and unstewed at once?" It actually makes me feel drugged and happily confused.
The King Tubby of teas, on the other hand, is probably something like this competition shui xian wuyi from Jing I'm drinking - cool, almost cold, and utterly *seperated*. Almost a disunified crisp high end of mineral, and sweetness of honey - dublike seperated, like they're in different universes, yet somehow melding in the mind.
Smokey, heavy pu-erhs don't make me think of dub. They make me think of... Boris, Sunn))), and the Japanese sludge-metal scene. The weight of them, the oiliness, the slowness, the lurking horror of fermented evil that is shu pu...
I could play this game forever. My question, though, is: what is the Thelonious Monk of tea?
woozl wrote:Lookin' for some Miles, circa *BOO* Brew.
Tough, tough. One instinct is to go Wuyi - for the crisply defined minerals accord with the crisply defined trebles - so crisp they're almost biting. But *BOO* brew is also fat - not juicy, but big and dense and at least chewy. And wuyis tend to be narrow.
Maybe a wild arbor pu-erh, a few years old? Something with some crispness and abusiveness, but not overstrong in any direction... and some of them are pretty hallucinatory...
For some reason, for *BOO* Brew, I want to go liquor - like Bruichladdich The Rocks (a scotch blend to express their love for their rocks of their island) - iodiney and briney and minerally and smokey and dense, with bite. Or maybe Neisson Agricole Rhum Blanc, which is completely berserk. Like seaweed and fennel and glass... also some bite, and hallucinatory vigor.