2016 Oriental Beauty

10/04/2016Raymond Dalessandro
I'm not really a sensory expert who is able to pick out individual nuances in aroma and flavor of foods and beverages every time, but this tea has inspired me to do so. I have had "Oriental Beauty" tea from another vendor, and could not pick out those flavor notes, but it was still good enough for me to know that I like this type of tea. What I received from Floating Leaves was more pronounced in aroma and flavor than from the previous vendor. The dry leaves were a bit curly and wire-like, so it was hard to measure by spoonful. If you are a perfectionist, you may want measure according to weight instead. I used a rounded tablespoonful for 12 ounces of water, with a brewing temperature of 155° F. for three minutes. The brew was clear brownish amber, and the color of the wet leaves varied from green to light brown all in the same leaf, with many full leaves about one inch in length and ⅝ inch in width. I successfully picked out a definite scent close to honeysuckle, along with what could only be described as "garden after the rain". The taste had these notes as well, along with tropical fruit like guava (which in my opinion is a slightly spicy smelling fruit). A second steeping (same temperature and length) was the same strength, and maybe a very slight less of the guava than I tasted before. I found that a third steeping is better at a higher temperature and longer time, although it becomes less complex overall at that point. I'm no expert, but knowing what I like, this has become my favorite tea.