What-Cha

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Recent Tasting Notes

77

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Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Malt

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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Flavors: Seaweed, Toasted Rice

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Flavors: Sticky Rice

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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70

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Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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75

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Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 250 ML

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65

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Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 45 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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80

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Flavors: Honey

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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85

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Flavors: Cut Grass, Green

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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60

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Flavors: Honey, Malt, Roasted

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 250 ML

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86

I’ve had this tea for years, and am now just reviewing it. I had to remind myself I really don’t need more tea, and since I’m buying house, I have to actually go through my horde and manage my resources. I will still buy new tea, but I’m only going to pick teas that I know I really like as pure teas and some flavored ones from now on.

This tea is one of the ones I really liked from What-Cha, but I only drank it during warmer winter days or early spring. It would get pretty astringent during the summer months, so I would only have it every once in a while. I’m impressed it’s held up this well despite my neglect.

It’s a fruitier black tea that had a lot of similarities to white tea for me. It’s almost muscatel, but it’s more grapey and floral. I kept tasting apricot and geranium, with more herbal qualities that sometimes reminded me of sage. I guess that’s how the astringency of it hits me with the dry qualities that come up here and there. I’ve mostly done western and gong fu, but I slightly prefer a shorter western session of 2 minutes with a generous 2 teaspoons or less. I got more fruity qualities western than gong fu-gong fu was more herbaceous and floral. Sometimes, the astringency and bitterness would overwhelm me, so I’d have to take breaks from it. I think I could finish it off western easier, and might tumbler fuel it for work this week to sip it down.

Maybe I can save some for Leafhopper if she wants some.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Citrus, Dry Leaves, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Geranium, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Rose, Sage, Straw, White Grapes

tea-sipper

I hope you meant “go THROUGH your horde” of tea and not THROWING tea away! If you need to rehome any tea, I’m open to trying anything, no matter how old it is…

Daylon R Thomas

Yes, it’s through.

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76

Pouring this again for another try, and you know what? It’s better this time. It’s funny to me how this happens.

I didn’t take full notes, but I actually said, “Whoa,” during the second steep. Roasty notes and nutty notes coming through big. Still dissipates pretty quickly, though.

I have cut out a lot of sugar over the past week or two; I feel like that may be having an impact on how much I’m getting out of my tea. Some of them are really tasting so much better over the past few days.

Flavors: Nuts, Roasty

ashmanra

Second steeps are our gong fu favorites!

beerandbeancurd

It’s always where the magic lies in wait!

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76

This is a tea I wasn’t that impressed with on my first tasting; I still think it may be suffering from some covid-neglect. But, even as my attention was primarily on the reading I was doing, I experienced distinct notes of cherry and cocoa in the first steep, and picked up on some mouth-cooling, menthol-like notes in later steeps. I still don’t think I would re-purchase this tea, but I am enjoying the session.

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Menthol

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76

I may be having an off tea day. I’ve had two sessions with new-to-me teas and both were just okay. Maybe I’m getting too expectant after the mind-blowers I’ve had recently. Though… here I sit now, with one of my favorite oolongs (Taiwan Charcoal Roasted from What-Cha), and it’s great, so maybe I just batted 0/2 today.

2020 harvest. This was my first gong fu of the day, and based on the 2015 harvest that folks commented on, I was pretty excited about this tea.

My first 5-sec steep produced a nutty nose, like roasted pecan or walnut, with very subtle hints of roast and spiced baking — like plum pudding baking off in the oven. Not a lot in the first sip, dry leaves. Wisps of dark fruit, like cherry or plum.

Very subtle second steep… it’s a solid cuppa, but not terribly exciting to me. Some floral in the third. Fourth produced some tangy astringency.

Overall it’s a “meh” for me today, but I’ll come back to it.

Flavors: Astringent, Cherry, Dry Leaves, Floral, Pecan, Plum, Spices, Tangy

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96

2022 harvest/roast

What-Cha… WHAT KIND OF SORCERY IS THIS? I can’t even. Just. Love.

Dry leaves have a smell of spinach. Lovely. Unlike any green tea I’ve smelled before, though my experience is mostly Japanese greens — sencha, genmaicha, matcha. I feel like I’m about to go on a ride.

Beautiful yellow-green pour from the first (~5sec) steep. Nose is a big bowl of asparagus soup — cooked asparagus, cream, even some umami/salt, if that’s possible…? Yep, that’s possible — taste is absolutely everything I smelled. Some toast, too. This is making me smile. I didn’t know tea could do this.

Second steep is our second course, apparently — pea risotto now, with everything that implies — cooked rice, garlic scapes, butter, cream, spring peas. Little touch of potato. Umami for days. I got a leaf in my last sip and it was soft and delightful, not tannic when chewed. You could put these in soup.

Very very mild astringency in the third; back to asparagus soup. Starting to get watery in the fourth, but I get squash blossoms as it cools.

My fifth was a much longer steep (managed to forget about it)… light greenish-yellow liquor, some very light olive oil on the nose. Spinach is back and there’s still quite a bit of flavor here, actually. Gave it one more fuggedaboudit steep and it was quite watery.

What an absolute freaking joy.

Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Cream, Garlic, Olive Oil, Peas, Potato, Rice, Salt, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Toast, Umami

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96

2021 harvest/roast.

I love this tea so much. It is the selection that was thrown out as a possible replacement for an oolong I really enjoyed from August Uncommon… I tasted this stuff and that was the day I stopped chasing flavored teas in favor of exploring varieties/regions/craft. I’ve been drinking this so much that I’m afraid of losing the subtleties before I review it, so let me get to it…

First steep pours light brown with a nose of leather, cedar, floral perfume. Floral and charcoal notes come through up front, without a rinse.

Second steep is bigger leather and cedar, more floral, more easy charcoal… the roast is not intrusive, just underlies the other flavor components beautifully.

Third steep, tobacco. Wet leaves. Through several more steeps, the florality holds strong. Even the watery steeps are nicely leafy and twiggy.

This tea is just such a heady, lovely thing. Oolong gateway.

Flavors: Cedar, Charcoal, Floral, Leather, Perfume, Tobacco, Wood

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92

2022 harvest/roast. My first (that I’m aware of) Tie Guan Yin. Pretty excited.

First steep, no rinse, was a light golden-brown pour. Notes of honey, light charcoal, and grapes.

Second steep poured a tan-honey color. Notes of violet, purple grapes, a nice round roast with no sharp edges. I’m getting durian, cotton candy on the nose as it cools, very ripe cantaloupe.

Browner pour, less gold on the third steep. Durian and violet still present, very similar to steep 2… some dry roasty leaves. More mild roasted notes come through in the fourth; this fruit sweetness has a “sickly sweet” note to it. I don’t not like it, it’s just very distinct. But fun. Some maillarded sugar… I wouldn’t quite call it caramel. Mild tannins peeking through.

Mild brown bread in the fifth, with twigs; sweetness is more secondary now. More of the same in the next steep, with a little nip of that sickly sweet flavor coming back… heck is that? Like a nice kukicha for the rest of the steeps. I forgot about one of them and it was still lovely, only mildly tannic. Hint of charcoal at some point.

If this tea had a color profile, it would be purple. Grapes and violet and that sort of overripe-almost-turned kind of sweet. Really delightful little session.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Charcoal, Grapes, Roasty, Violet, Woody

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73

This tea feels a little bizarre. I just read through all the reviews and it seems like everyone gets something different from these little sticks. First session, the first note I picked up, I swear to god, was pickles. Maybe this is what everyone else is calling sake, but I got pickles. Followed straightaway by vanilla…I’m sorry, what? But then, everything is so subtle I start wondering if I’m making things up. Bizarre.

Minerals then, and a kind of florality that I couldn’t really place — a taste I associate with white tea, for sure. Maybe this is the lychee others are describing, though it didn’t scream fruit or even sweet to me — more floral. Licorice crept in and my tongue tingled a bit. I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one who experienced and tried to describe this sensation. Around steep 5 or 6, things got quite astringent, with a pronounced drying effect after swallowing.

I thought I’d erred a little soft on the ratio for my first session; I doubled it for the second — about 2g tea:1oz water. I did get some honey and a more fruity, lychee-esque flavor in this session — but bitterness and astringency were also more pronounced, which maybe stripped some of the more nuanced flavors out for me. I’m not certain at this point which ratio I prefer or would recommend.

I’ll be going back to this tea to explore and dig around. At this point, it feels more like a fun experiment than a straight-up enjoyable experience, but I’m not opposed to a good diversion. I may not invite white antlers over again, but I’m not sad they’re in town for now.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Licorice, Mineral, Vanilla

Nattie

This seems like a really interesting tea!

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76

Gong fu, though I look forward to giving this a western brew. I have always loved a darjeeling (even cheap ones), and this was no exception. It reminded me more of a keemun, though, if I’m honest. The nose offered up more whimsy than the broth during this session, with some floral and toast flitting by. My tasting notes were rather more straightforward, with tangy citrus and leaves dominating each steep, and some drying astringency lingering behind.

ETA:
I’ve now western-style brewed this, and it was lovely. I might actually prefer it this way, which is surprising to me. The limited flavor fluctuations between gong fu steeps, versus the fuller and more nuanced pot brews are tipping me. I steeped the first bowl for 2 minutes, and the second for 3. The second was far more watery, but I think I may actually have done a physical double take when I smelled some butter coming off the second! That was pretty exciting and kept me coming back for more sips, regardless of the toned-down primary flavors.

Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Citrus, Dry Leaves, Tangy, Toast

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94

Gong fu. Cocoa on the nose right up front, big taste of brown bread. So, so smooth and luxurious on the palate. Second steep opened up with bran flakes, white pepper (flavor, not bite or heat), cattails beside a pond (you know that flavor, right? hehe). Third steep was really interesting — cocoa notes were joined by potato, mushroom, soy sauce and just the tiniest hint of tannin. Color and flavor just kept pouring, even with short steeps. Really just had a delightful time with these little snails… as they morphed into slim brown buds in the pot, I found myself considering their long journey to me, and all the hands that ushered them along.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bread, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Mushrooms, Potato, Soy Sauce

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