What-Cha

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Recent Tasting Notes

70

This tea’s best before date is 36 months after harvest. It’s harvest date is Spring 2017. As such, I have it as best before March 2020 since that’s when Spring officially starts. That means this tea has sat sealed for 3 years and isn’t getting tried until after its best before date has almost passed. I am sorry tea for neglecting you!

This is a nice enough black tea. Smooth and no astringency. Slight malt and a touch of caramel. It’s not in your face flavorful or particularly memorable but that could be the age. Also, I steeped it slightly lower than it should have been steeped and on the shorter time of the suggested range so it could be that at play too.

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I’ve had my fill of Wuyi black teas the past few weeks. The cool, rainy weather has me wanting to sip down my few Japanese teas.

Like Togo, no expectations here.

So what am I greeted with? A massive lilac and sweet pea bouquet, reminiscent of green baozhong oolong, but mixed with deep Assam malt. Intriguing! I notice nobody else has yet mentioned the florality of this tea. The medium body at first hits with a pungent tanginess and tannins then carries into mid-mouth flavors of iodine, wet dark wood, oak, buttery roasted nuts and a drop of dark dry red wine. The swallow presents with lilac mixed with a spicy feel and the umami of buttered popcorn. The lilac lingers for several minutes.

I prepared this 2019 harvest western style according to What-Cha’s parameters. The leaf is chopped and mixed with short lengths of stem. The large surface area created a very strong brew with a 3 minute steep. Second steep is mellower. I’m curious what less time would do, but I really love where this session sits. What a unique black tea. Thank you so much for sharing, Martin :)

Song pairing: Failure — The Nurse Who Loved Me
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVg9GcUDArQ

Flavors: Butter, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Wood, Floral, Flowers, Iodine, Malt, Oak wood, Popcorn, Red Wine, Roasted nuts, Spicy, Tangy, Tannin, Umami, Wet wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Martin Bednář

I am happy that you liked it! I can’t now listen to song pairing, but I will do it as well.

I haven’t noticed florality, but everybody have senses bit different, so maybe I just call it otherway? Just enjoy it :)

Martin Bednář

I just listened to that song and I like it!
It’s not exactly my style; but whatever. Thanks derk!

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This was a treat from Eelong…luscious thick leaves that were at least half a hamster long (no, I don’t know why I chose that unit of measurement, but that was my first impression and I’m sticking with it!)

I neither measured nor steeped scientifically or precisely, but this was a very forgiving tea anyway. Had the gentle graininess of honey wheat bread, and although I was likely influenced by the “purple” in the moniker, the fruitiness I detected was grapey. A lovely serving of toast and jelly to accompany me out the door.

ashmanra

I haven’t had much purple tea but what I did try was fruity. Sounds like you got a good one!

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85

Steeps: 30s,60s,45s,60s

Flavors: Popcorn, Rice, Roasted nuts

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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75

What an interesting dry presentation. . . Looks strange, smells like tamari of all things. . . My cat tried to run off with one (it was safely retrieved with no harm done to either tea or cat). Considerably less unusual in the pot. Nice, light flavor. I didn’t get the advertised apricot, but I did taste a strong overtone of spring wildflower honey that’s very pleasurable and eerily spot on for what my coworker’s bees most recently produced.
It has a downside— unlike most oolong, it did not take kindly to being left in a cooling pot to continue steeping past the initial, recommended point in time, and my second cup was thus bitter. I’d have brewed it in a filter if I’d known it wouldn’t behave as well as most in its class do, but ah well. Hind sight and all that.

Flavors: Honey

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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90

This was another of my recent sipdowns. As a matter of fact, I finished this tea late last week. It was another that I had been looking forward to trying for some time, and with winter steadily winding to a close, it seemed like an appropriate time to break out a floral, fruity oolong. To be honest, it’s always oolong time for me. I drink them year round. Anyway, this was a very nice oolong. I was a little surprise to see it draw a mixed response based on the two previous reviews.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 10 seconds, 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, pine, cedar, straw, honey, and peach. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, malt, blackberry, and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose, violet, and baked bread as well as a subtle dark chocolate scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, butter, malt, rose, peach, and honey that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, straw, cream, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of orange blossom, orange zest, plum, and minerals as well as subtle scents of cream and brown sugar. Stronger roasted almond notes came out in the mouth alongside impressions of orange blossom, orange zest, minerals, rose, roasted peanut, violet, pine, cedar, blackberry, brown sugar, mulberry, and plum. I also detected hints of lychee, pear, cream, dark chocolate, and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, rose, mulberry, and orange zest alongside amplified pear notes and subtler impressions of blackberry, violet, peach, cream, honey, black cherry, and brown sugar.

This was a tremendously aromatic and flavorful oolong that did a more or less very good job of approximating the character of a quality Taiwanese Oriental Beauty. Compared to some of the Taiwanese Oriental Beauties I have tried, it was a bit rougher and maltier, though not to the extent that the drinking experience was negatively impacted. Overall, this was a very nice offering. I don’t really understand the lukewarm reception it has received to this point.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Rose, Straw, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80

Okay, now that I have access to a working computer again, it’s time to post a review. This was my most recent sipdown and a tea I had been eager to try for some time. Prior to trying this tea, I had never had a brandy oolong, so this was a new experience for me. I was a little surprised to see that this tea was produced from Qing Xin (Green Heart), a cultivar generally associated with Taiwanese oolong production. Overall, this ended up being not quite what I expected, but it was a very pleasant, solid tea nonetheless.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of honey, molasses, sweet potato, and baked bread. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and roasted peanut. The first infusion introduced scents of orange zest, pine, brown sugar, and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, baked bread, and brown sugar that were balanced by hints of pine, cinnamon, and sweet potato. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of plum, red apple, Asian pear, lemon zest, and malt. I also noted a very subtle cocoa scent at times. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of pine, cinnamon, and sweet potato appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging notes of orange zest and hints of molasses. Impressions of Asian pear, plum, red apple, minerals, malt, red grape, and lemon zest were also apparent. I could even pick up some hints of smoke, earth, nectarine, and cocoa here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, roasted almond, Asian pear, plum, orange zest, and red apple that were underscored by hints of honey, roasted peanut, brown sugar, baked bread, and lemon zest.

Since I did not know what to expect out of this tea going into my review session, I reflected on its name and came to expect a warming, smooth, sweet tea. It ended up displaying all of those qualities, but after a point, it struck me as being more nutty and citric. It didn’t really remind me of brandy in any way. It also was the sort of oolong that peaked quickly and then faded rapidly before evening out and clinging to life for an extended period of time. By the time I called it quits, the leaves were still producing a noticeable amount of aroma, but I was not getting much flavor out of the tea liquor. Anyway, this was a pleasant, easy-drinking Fujianese oolong with respectable longevity. The only real knock I can think of is that it was neither a consistently engaging nor uniquely captivating offering.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Earth, Grapes, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Bought this for the blackberry note, but the yam and honey taste was the most prevalent thing in the liquor. It has a lingering sweetness that sticks in your throat after you swallow and that pleasantly funky flavor and aroma that all Taiwan blacks seem to have. Almost like the old paper in an ancient book that aged out of the musty stage. Starting to think that Taiwan blacks aren’t for me because of this note, but that’s alright, this one was a pleasant experience.

Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Yams

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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90

Interesting look: large curly leaves, prominent stalks.
Intriguing aroma: both dry – stone fruits, fallen leaves, smoke – and wet – mineral, resin, pine smoke.
Enjoyable taste: mineral, spice, smoke, camphor, tobacco, dark honeyed sweetness.
Also, it resteeps well and leaves a pleasant lingering aftertaste.
This is a very smooth roasted oolong that is cheerful, dependable, and lacks any obvious flaws or imbalances. Taiwan oolongs are rarely leave me excited due to their subtlety but I really liked this one.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Camphor, Mineral, Pine, Resin, Smoke, Spicy, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tobacco

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100

Spectacular! Worth every cent. Luscious, creamy, cloudy liquor resembles and tastes similar to miso soup with ample seaweed. Delicate floral notes and a grounding hint of earthy bitterness round out the flavor. The nose is something special: it smells precisely like BeauFort London’s Fathom V with the florals boosted. For those unfamiliar, Fathom V calls to mind moss and musk, ozone and the sea, whipped-up white florals and velvety spices. It’s a merger of chypre and aquatic that I find reminiscent of a greenhouse, the section under the misters. I’d just applied some when I opened this bag and was briefly horribly confused.
A note: it is possible I brewed this hotter even than I recorded, as temperatures that low are difficult to eyeball. I think I may have as it resteeped acceptably, but not superbly. I also left my leaves in the pot, which could also have sapped them, but greens usually stand up admirably well to that treatment so I suspect I subjected it to a bit much heat. Will go lower next time and see how it affects longevity.

Flavors: Butter, Earth, Floral, Marine, Seaweed

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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87

Another non-rated tea yet?

Okay, let’s write something down. What-cha recommends quite fast steep (60-90 s), I think I did 2 minutes, but 300 ml of hot water. Ehm, hot? Warm! I have not used thermometer, but I think it was just around 75°C, maybe even lower.

The tea brews very light green colour with bit of lilac aroma. But when sipped! It is light, floral tea, slight vegetal / green flavours; just plain enjoyable tea! It is not much of complex, not the freshest tea as well (well, it is year old), but the taste is clear and no off notes! It is not overly vegetal, or too astringent too.

Flavors: Floral, Flowers

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
LuckyMe

This pretty much sums up my experience with Taiwanese green teas, They are incredibly aromatic but have a simple flavor. Not really as complex as Chinese and Japanese greens.

Martin Bednář

It’s not bad choice when you are looking for something simple. I am not always fan of complex flavours, especially, when I don’t have much time to enjoy it fully!

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Made a quick and dirty cold brew of this before leaving the house yesterday morning. About a tablespoon of leaves unceremoniously dumped into the bottom of a 16 ounce double-walled glass thermos, filled with cold tap water, flimsy mesh strainer insert to keep the leaves down in the liquid where they belong. It then got to sit in my icy cold car (yay, 11F February afternoons!) until 3 pm, when I was able to briefly scuttle out of the haul truck I was operating and nab it to sip on for the rest of the day.

First impression: smells like warm red grapes and tobacco. I had made a heavenly batch of cold brewed Shan Tuyet the day before using the same method, and the contrast between those two cups really shows how different black teas can be. They can go from the malty cocoa goodness of cold Shan Tuyet to…. well, tasting like blood on the first sip. Really thought I screwed something up with this one because it has that overripe red raspberry flavor that teeters into the sanguine category of tastes. Lots of acidic, wine-y, tobacco notes behind that. It has depth once you get past the initial pungency.

It’s not unpalatable by any means, but I don’t think this tea and I are compatible. Going to try it in hot water before I give it a numerical rating. Who knows, that blood flavor might go away with some heat! (I hope.)

Flavors: Raspberry, Red Wine, Sour, Tobacco

Preparation
Iced 8 min or more 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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85

Malawi is a country I associate with the score upon score of colorful fish that fill up its eponymous rift lake. Lake Malawi is a precious jewel to those studying vertebrate evolution— those fish are geologically young species, and relatively closely related, yet incredibly diverse in form and favor, and still radiating at a rapid clip. It was this image of Malawi— Malawi, place of adaption— that I sat down to make this tea.

Firstly, if you taste with your eyes, you’ll love this one. Verdigris, ocher, and sable splay across big, furling things. The leaves look great in the bag and even more enticing in the pot.
One of the reasons I picked this tea out was those striking leaves. The other is that I have not had tea grown in Africa before and think it’s interesting to compare teas grown in the plant’s native range to those outside of it. This is certainly unlike any white tea produced in China; it has changed in its new country (perhaps not surprising, given that African growers have had since the late 1800s to apply artificial selection to their bushes). It shares with its kin a sweet and floral, almost rosy nose, but on the tongue is another animal. It is almost bracing, with a sturdy heart of tea and velvety peach skin, and a long finish that plays out on the palate in sequence. First comes grass and autumn leaves— it reminds me of how the air smells after mowing the lawn for the last few times— then peach resurfaces, skinned this time, and it’s an unusual peach in that it’s not accompanied by nectar-sweetness. It’s an assertive, just-picked peach, still firm and almost sour. Then comes grass, fresh at first, which dries and dies along with the flavor. For this transformation alone it is worth drinking. I grabbed this expecting something simple and easy to follow along while I worked on a drawing, but wound up stopping briefly just to take note of that finish.

I quite enjoyed this taste of Malawi and will likely double down my efforts to try more African tea as a result.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cut grass, Dry Grass, Floral, Peach, Rose, Sweet, Tea

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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83

Brewed some of this in a Pyrex measuring cup before pouring it into a plastic travel mug like a sophisticated person last night. Didn’t want to waste my last chance to have a cup of caffeinated tea even though I had to run down to the barn after work for horse activities. It’s a really interesting brew, even with the notes of polymer that you get from pouring hot tea into a “microwave safe” plastic cup and letting it sit in there until it’s cool enough to drink.

First of all, the dry leaves are beautiful. Spindly and long like antlers, they hook around each other with the curled ends and lift out of the bag in gnarled clumps. The scent is peppery and dark with hints of grape. When you brew them, they smell… like a classic black tea. Heady and brisk with a hint of tannins that you don’t actually end up tasting.

The flavor is completely free of astringency—I think. The plastic notes were overwhelming some stuff in the flavor, but I’ve had it once before in a proper mug and recall it being terribly smooth—with a definite brandy taste. Red grapes, aged wine. Nothing sour or tart about it. It’s easy to forget that you’re drinking this because there aren’t any potentially unpleasant or out-of-place notes that grab your attention. I think the best way I can describe it is as a polished Lipton. It tastes familiar and I wouldn’t hesitate to offer it to someone who likes a plain black cup of tea without any frills.

Flavors: Ash, Black Pepper, Brandy, Grapes, Red Wine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 15 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 354 ML

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90

This is another old review that has been sitting around unposted since either November or December. At the time I was working on this one, I only had a mini sample of this tea to work with, but I have since acquired a larger amount, so I will very likely be posting an updated review of this tea at some point in the next few months. My first impression of it was very good. I was obviously a huge fan of What-Cha’s previous Guranse offering, so my expectations of this tea were high, and fortunately for me, it did not disappoint.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 195 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of pine, straw, hay, peanut, grass, chrysanthemum, dandelion, and rose. After infusion, new aromas of malt, butter, cream, apricot, toast, plum, orange blossom, and green bell pepper were apparent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, hay, straw, pine, grass, cream, butter, rose, toast, dandelion, apricot, pear, plum, orange blossom, chrysanthemum, violet, green apple, white grape, peanut, chestnut, hazelnut, lemon zest, and green bell pepper. The finish blended floral, vegetal, and nutty characteristics with subtle maltiness, mellow notes of butter and cream, clear and distinct impressions of lemon zest, white grape, green pine, and pear, moderate astringency, and some lingering apricot and plum hints that were most apparent after each swallow.

Overall, I found this to be a very nice Nepalese black tea. The liquor was a bit thinner than the previous Guranse offering that I tried, but that was ultimately a minor quibble. This was still a very complex, pleasant, and balanced tea. Fans of Nepalese black teas should get a lot out of it.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Hazelnut, Lemon Zest, Malt, Orange Blossom, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Rose, Straw, Toast, Violet, White Grapes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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93

Okay, I guess I’m back on Steepster for now. It seems like I never get time to post any reviews anymore. I’m reaching into the backlog with this one, as this was a tea I finished sometime back around November. I enjoyed this tea greatly, more so than the previous reviewer.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of baked bread, malt, chocolate, and butter as well as a subtle sweet potato scent. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond and spearmint that were coupled with a greatly amplified chocolate aroma and a subtle black raspberry scent. The first infusion brought out a roasted peanut scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of baked bread, sweet potato, butter, cream, brown sugar, roasted almond, and malt that were balanced by subtler impressions of chocolate, black raspberry, vanilla, and roasted peanut. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of raisin, oats, brown sugar, vanilla, black cherry, and black currant as well as a somewhat stronger black raspberry aroma and a subtle pine presence. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of chocolate, vanilla, and black raspberry appeared in the mouth alongside mineral, oat, blackberry, black cherry, gooseberry, black currant, spearmint, and pine notes. I also picked up hints of fig, earth, blueberry, raisin, and honey. As the tea faded, the liquor amplified the raisin and earth notes, though impressions of minerals, baked bread, pine, malt, cream, and butter remained strong. Underlying hints of spearmint, roasted almond, vanilla, honey, black cherry, sweet potato, brown sugar, and chocolate continued to provide some depth, balance, and intrigue.

This was a very nice offering that came off as a refined hybrid of a Taiwanese Assam and a traditional Vietnamese black tea. I could see it pleasing fans of both types of tea. If you are looking for a new and experimental black tea, this would be one well worth trying.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Currant, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Fig, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Peanut, Pine, Raisins, Raspberry, Spearmint, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
derk

Glad to see your impression of this tea!

Martin Bednář

It osunds like a nice tea :) In wishlist, because of your review.

eastkyteaguy

Derk, thank you. I keep trying to get on here and write more, but my work schedule, health concerns, and consistent difficulty logging in to my account due to 503 errors make it almost impossible for me to do on many days. I also do not have internet access and no longer have cell service at home (which I’m trying to remedy today).

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45

Not much to this particular oolong. It’s got a pretty stock-standard ‘tea’ flavor that gives way to something fruity at the very end— wild blackberry, maybe— tangy and not too sweet. Not the most nuanced drinking experience in the world. It may be better suited for gong fu brewing, as on the second steep there was a little more fruitiness to it, although unfortunately the body was flatter and blander that go around.
Note: temperature given is for my first steeping. I increased it a notch on the second.

Flavors: Blackberry, Tea

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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80

I realize teas like this typically “should” be drunk gong fu, and maybe I will still get around to that (I have 50g, so plenty more to experiment), but today I just wanted to brew up a quick mug of something to go with my grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Originally I was going to make a straight black but when I started digging through my straight tea storage, I saw this pouch, it had been opened at some point, and it’s old, so I figured, why not? (It has been brought to my attention my definition of “old” and other Steepsterers definition of “old” is not the same, so I will specify this is the Spring 2017 harvest. Yes, I consider 2017 teas “old.” Remember, I didn’t get into the tea game until fall of 2016 so my oldest teas in my collection are currently 2017 teas, and those are the ones I’d rather get out to replace with fresh.)

Anyway, I was certain I’d reviewed this before, since it was an opened package, but I did a Ctrl+F on my Steepster.txt file where I keep all my review writings and… nope! So here we go. Considering this is an older tea and brewed western, I’m sure it will not be as nuanced, so take anything I say with a grain of salt. (To be fair, anything I say about oolongs should be taken with a grain of salt anyway).

3.5g brewed in 350ml water at 205F for a 3 minute steep. The aroma is incredibly fruity, like oranges and honey, immediately making me think of marmalade jam. I’m getting a bit of an apricot note in the aroma as well, and a more subtle maltiness. The flavor is quite tasty, definitely very heavy in the fruity notes that were coming out in the aroma. Mainly I’m getting an orange taste, but it is sweeter and honeyed rather than citrusy, and I’m getting a strong stonefruit impression. There is a bit of a maltiness with hints of baked bread, cocoa, cinnamon, raisin, and toward the end of the sip, a sweet florality toward the back of the tongue that tastes of rose to me. I’m really enjoying it and impressed with how much flavor I’m getting considering the age and brewing method I chose.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Jam, Malt, Orange, Raisins, Rose, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML

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82

This seems to be the only Li Shan that What-cha carries so it must be this one that Kawaii433 sent me.  It was a while ago, but thank you very much again for that excellent package!  I will be drinking it alongside the crazy flavored Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and that may be a mistake, but I will see what I can taste here anyway.  I’m also eating some melon so there are all sorts of flavors happening.  The oolong itself is very tightly bundled and very dark green. It’s very smooth, silky, with a strong minerals, hint of cream and coconut… as it cools, pineapple.  So an odd oolong for flavor notes for me… but I think I had one like this before where it tasted both of coconut and pineapple.  Possibly that is how Li Shan varietals taste to me?  I like it, but there was also a biteyness to the leaves throughout the consistently flavored steeps, which seems out of place considering the cooler water and short steeps I used.  Always glad to try something once though!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 22 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 20 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep   
Steep #3 // 3 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep 
2020 Sipdowns: 10

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mineral, Pineapple

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Life in general has been beating the crap out of me so I decided that today is a rat lunch day! It made me smile to think of KS and our rat lunch reviews and I needed a smile and a good memory.

For those who don’t know, rat lunch is toasted cheese and tea – good, solid, black tea specifically. We got it from the children’s book “I Was A Rat” that JacquelineM introduced me to. And I really wanted to try this gift from derk and this is the perfect time since I am alone today for lunch and don’t have to pick a tea that everyone else likes.

May I say….it could not have been more perfect. It has everything one loves about Assam but not the thing that keeps me away from Assam so often – boiling heartburn. As soon as I smelled it, I knew. I fell hard for this guy and he is probably going to make me break my “no ordering” ban. (Ha, like I really observe that anyway!)

Malty, bready, rich, thick, full body, dark, just the right amount of tingle. It is the perfect tea for today. It resteeps well. Rat lunch has done me a lot of good.

Thank you, derk!

tea-sipper

Stop beating up ashmanra, life!
Hope things get better for you soon – you deserve it.

Kawaii433

Hope things improve for you soon, ashmanra!

mrmopar

Life on earth is just a precursor to what is after. The trials here will do merit elsewhere. Rat lunch , haven’t heard that in a while. I hope my old buddy KS will have it again with me in attendance this time.

derk

You’re welcome, ashmanra. I’m glad this special tea and the fond memory of your friend afforded you the fortitude to make it through another day. You know the sources of your strength <3

Martin Bednář

I hope you will feel better soon!

gmathis

We had grilled cheese on rye for dinner :)

Ilse Wouters

As we say in Spain : “Animo!” …and if a rat lunch (thanks for making me aware of this, I´ll use it!) can make you feel better, we´ll all drink (tea) on it!

gmathis

mrmopar, let’s just schedule a Steepster family reunion right now ;)

mrmopar

@gmathis I would be up to that. I came across his blog searching a while back. Had to reread some of those notes…

ashmanra

Thank you for your good wishes, everyone! Life has some hard seasons. This is one of them. I am trying to pay attention to all those things I have to thankful for, like you folks here on Steepster, <3

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83

[Summer 2019 harvest]

It’s always fun to drink teas without knowing much what to expect, but these experiences seem to get rarer as we move along our tea journey, at least unless we specifically design them to be such. Today was the first time I tried a Japanese black tea and I really wasn’t sure what to expect. It turned out to be a bit like an autumn flush Darjeeling with extra umami notes. The most striking feature was the long, pungent and abrasive aftertaste, but the flavour notes were quite interesting too.

Dry leaves smelled of stonefruit pits and burnt meadow/hay, while the wet leaf aroma was more on the side of sweet wood, butter, peach, and anchovies. In the empty cup, I could also detect lavender and aged red wine.

The first infusion was very sharp and astringent with a light body, but a bold spicy, tart and bitter taste. Subsequent steeps didn’t really have any of that bitterness, but had more sourness (rice vinegar), umami (soy sauce), sweetness (caramel), woody and malty notes. The texture also became very smooth quickly, while still retaining a lot of that astringency. The body was medium to light and the mouthfeel fairly bubbly.

Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Burnt, Butter, Caramel, Drying, Hay, Lavender, Malt, Oak wood, Peach, Red Wine, Rice, Sour, Soy sauce, Spices, Spicy, Stonefruits, Sweet, Tart, Umami, Vinegar, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
Martin Bednář

Interesting Togo! I haven!t notice any sharp and astringent flavours. And I prepared it grandpa. Abrasive aftertaste? No way.

But, that’s us. Everybody have different senses :)

Togo

haha yeah. Next time I will try a different method of preparation and see what it brings :)

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85

Brewed grandpa, 2 tsp, 300 ml.

It was amazing how the small pieces of tea (it is not whole leaf, no way) floated in the water. So nice to watch. But now, all tea settled on the bottom and it brings following:

Colour: light brown or copper, maybe orange, similar to light pieces on the photo.
Aroma of brewed tea: wet wood, roasted nuts, bit into sweet notes. I do not notice much of soy sauce, grassy, or seafood/weed as Bluegreen noticed before me. Maybe I just have different sense of smell.
Taste: lighter than expected, still somehow woody, but – with subtle sweet notes. I am afraid I could not explain it somehow better, not bitter at all, maybe little malty. It reminds me something, but I could not find out what it is.

Derk – do you want a sample to your envelope?

Flavors: Malt, Roasted nuts, Sweet, Wet Wood, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 min or more 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
derk

Sure :)

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98

Holy crap I love this tea. It fits me like a good pair of pants.

Summer 2018 harvest, gongfu.

The fragrance and the way it carries into the mouth and lingers is on point. A caramel sweetness is suspended loftily by intense creamy white floral perfume maybe with orange blossom, the kind of heady scent that relaxes you. The deeper notes of the tea are distinctly sandalwood, nuts, musk and banana leaf. Great body with mineral brightness and salivation. Later, a succulent white peach aftertaste develops as the strength of the florals subsides. The finished cup smells so strong and sweet. Initial violet floral bitterness and vegetal-woody astringency grow ever stronger with each steep, eventually numbing the tongue. While I find those qualities to add depth to the experience, if there is one thing to turn others away, it’s the combination of growing bitterness and astringency. That and the low brewing temperature, which is a necessity. And the price. And the lack of availability. Shucks.

I wonder why it’s called Moondrops.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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