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Recent Tasting Notes
Sample from last order at What-cha. Prepared western (4 grams), 4-5 minutes steep, boiling water.
It is decent black tea with quite strong astringency with baked bread aroma, bit caramel sweetness. As well heavy on malty side. I think I overbrewed it a bit, because all tastes are too strong and hard to recognize each one. It is decent but too strong.
Next time, more precise brewing please. No rating so far.
Tea from July 2019. Super short steeping time. Brews very light green colour and of course it is clear.
I feel completely tired today, I had another inventory check in night, but it was more okay than I thought. It was duty free shop on Prague airport. So much perfumes I had to scan. I wonder if the price of those perfumes are worth? 200 USD for 75 ml of perfume? I rather spend it on tea.
When dry, it is quite strong as seaweed, buttery, not very appealing. Astringency as well. But when brewed? It is different story! Of course little astringency is still there, then cut grass, some sweet notes, bit of seaweed too. I think it is nice example of sencha. It is not bad one?!
Flavors: Butter, Cut grass, Seaweed, Sweet
This is a nice Darjeeling-type tea. It’s quite green. and aromatic – in fact, its aroma was the strongest point for me with intense meadow, hay and fruit fragrances. Prepared gongfu the taste was similarly intense, sweet and floral, with a typical Darjeeling profile. Muscatel was not too prominent, but flowers and stone fruit notes came out quite strong. Eastkyteaguy and Leafhopper identified individual flavors well enough, so I will not go in there.
The disappointing parts in my experience is that the complexity of taste fades quickly – I could not get many quality steepings. Oh, and also it was quite horrible Western style: just a bland undifferentiated sweetness that turned me off enough that I could not finish my cup (which is rare for me). It probably requires a very high leaf-to-water ratio to shine.
Wow, this is a delicious tea. Leafhopper and eastkyteaguy captured its essence with ease so I feel like this tasting note is redundant.
The tea is incredibly clean and has a satisfying full body edging into creaminess with a tangy citrus quality in the finish. Wonderful aroma. As for the taste — dried tangy apricot and citrus/zest fruitiness, orange blossom, rose and dandelion florals, roasted almond nuttiness and cream abound. Straw and grass, wood, malt, hints of pungency like green bell pepper and curry leaf. Tinges of both spice and spearmint cooling in the back of the mouth. Two infusions.
Substantial, light and refreshing. A beautiful tea!
Song pairing: Stone Temple Pilots — Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Cream, Creamy, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Herbs, Malt, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Rose, Salt, Smooth, Spearmint, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Thick, Wood
Daily drinker that seems impossible to screw up. This tea is thick and so soft. It glides across the tongue smoothly. Sweet and round. Aromas and tastes of cocoa and vanilla (smells like powdered brownie mix), a slight brown toast sharpness, a soft undertone of black raspberry jam, and very light malt and wood, soft minerality. Tastes so much like a Taiwanese Assam, hm. It’s very twiggy — twiggy sweetness. Doesn’t seem very caffeinating.
After running through a 25g bag, I was never left with a strong impression. A rating of 75 seems appropriate for my likes but I can see some people really enjoying this tea.
Brewed western 3tsp to 8oz, water off boiling, 2-3 steeps. Last a good while gongfu, too.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Cocoa, Jam, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Raspberry, Round , Smooth, Vanilla, Wood
After trying it Western I prepared it gongfu and have to bump my rating up a bit. It is way better gongfu. To be certain, it still comes out as rather simple, straightforward tea: the taste is dominated by the bittersweet chocolate, complemented in the first couple of infusion by baked potato and starting in the 5th – by honey and sugared fruit.
There are way to many chocolaty teas to get overtly excited, but it does acquire a certain depth, balance, and pleasant aftertaste – all that I did not find when I steeped it Western style. Also, it produced a remarkably large number of infusions (8 or 10) without tasting tired: actually, I enjoyed the late infusions the most – when the bitter chocolate got muted and honey+fruit intensified.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey
It is a simple, unpretentious tea. The delicate fine leaves produce the brew with floral and “tippy” aroma. Th e taste is quite typical for a Jin Jun Mei: chocolate, sweet potato, clover, light fruit. Not complex at all, but clean, light and hits all the right notes for this type of tea. Regrettably, not much of an aftertaste, but at least it re-steeps well (I had it Western).
Edit: I bumped this tea’s rating up a bit after having it gongfu – it was way better that way.
After trying it I have not been neither disappointed nor excited. Given that Jin Jun Mei is the current rage and the prices it commands are often exorbitant this is not a bad deal at all for someone who wants its taste profile on a budget. I will gladly finish the ounce I had purchased but unlikely to order it again.
Flavors: Chocolate, Fruity, Sweet Potatoes
A Japanese black, which is an intriguing rarity for me. It is broken in tiny pieces with generous helping of stems and tinged with black around the corners: like a weird bancha trying to be rebellious and hip.
Not much of a dry leaf smell: grass, hay, roasted nuts. The wet leaf and the brewed tea itself has a very distinct smell that is hard to describe: there is certainly grass, leafy greens, but also seafood/seaweed and some kind of East Asian spices (soy sauce?). The taste is spicy, umami, pleasantly sour and pungent. Very Japanese, to be sure. It lingers in a big way.
In summary, it is quite distinct and unusual in many aspects. Memorable too. This is probably one of those love/hate teas – and I loved it.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Pleasantly Sour, Roast nuts, Seaweed, Soy sauce, Spicy, Spinach, Umami
This is a typical tea from East Africa, the only differentiating trait is its dry leaf appearance: the leaves are small and twisty, which reminded me of some Chinese reds like Keemuns.
Everything else is rather typical: not much of wet or dry leaf smell besides vague maltiness. The taste is robust but not rough: malt,bread, clear astringency. It is pretty much Lipton but how Lipton would taste if it prioritized taste and storage as much as cost-efficiency.It takes milk and sugar well and if one craves for that traditional English tea experience this is the tea that would suffice. On the other hand, this tea offers nothing original and interesting, so it would probably disappoint more adventurous tea drinkers.
Flavors: Astringent, Baked Bread, Malt
I agree with most of the previous reviews for this tea: it is indeed smooth, not astringent at all and full of stone fruit (plum, apricot, cherry), raisins and baked apples. The best part is the dry leaf appearance: very intricately rolled into wavy, twisty curls.
When I took a first sip (Western style) I thought “Whoa, that’s a unique taste with its combination of sweet and sour!” – but that feeling dissipated quickly: this tea does not grow on you much as you drink it . The main flavors, why pleasant, come as somewhat underpowered, and the tail of the taste is disappointingly sour. It is not a bad tea, but I had decidedly more balanced and lively teas with the stone fruit profile.
Flavors: Apricot, Candied Apple, Cherry, Plums, Raisins, Sour, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes
This was one of my sipdowns from September. I recall finishing what I had of this tea right before I started on What-Cha’s China Fujian Fragrant Rou Gui Oolong Tea. I have already reviewed the latter tea, and like it, this tea was also excellent. To be honest, it was actually just a little bit better than its sister offering.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of charcoal, pomegranate, raisin, blackberry, pine, and blueberry. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, baked bread, smoke, rock sugar, earth, cannabis, and mushroom. The first infusion introduced aromas of rose and grass as well as a subtle vanilla scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of roasted almond, butter, cream, vanilla, rose, blueberry, rock sugar, earth, pine, grass, baked bread, and pomegranate that were backed by hints of raisin, cannabis, mushroom, red raspberry, blackberry, red apple, and charcoal. I even picked up a barely perceptible hint of smoke in the aftertaste. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of cream, red raspberry, red apple, pear, spinach, cinnamon, black cherry, strawberry, and roasted peanut. Stronger and more immediately assertive notes of blackberry, mushroom, and red apple came out in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, pear, spinach, orange zest, roasted peanut, strawberry, and popcorn and hints of cinnamon and black cherry. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, roasted almond, grass, pine, baked bread, earth, charcoal, mushroom, and orange zest that were balanced by hints of rock sugar, roasted peanut, butter, red raspberry, blueberry, red apple, strawberry, spinach, popcorn, and black cherry.
This was a tremendously aromatic and flavorful tea, but it was also one that was consistently approachable and drinkable despite its considerable complexity. Fans of Wuyi Shui Xian would likely find a ton to love about this offering, though I think those who are put off by the more traditional, heavily roasted spring teas would also be pleased with it. It truly had something for everyone and served as proof that some of the teas produced in Wuyishan’s winter harvests have a tremendous amount to offer more open-minded tea drinkers.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Fruity, Grass, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Red Apple, Roasted, Rose, Smoke, Spinach, Sugar, Vanilla
I had it Western style. The dry leaf is long, remarkably wiry and gnarly, which is pleasant. Its smell is restrained, with notes of fresh hay,malt, honey and pepper. The wet leaf acquires undertones of ash, earth, molasses and overripe berries.
The liquor is pale and it takes some time for it to darken appreciably. The taste is similarly understated: baked bread, malt, molasses, smoke, dark cherries, citrus zest. It has a good lasting power and could be sipped for a long time at different temperatures. A nice and balanced aftertaste.
Overall, it is a very enjoyable restrained tea with the profile of mostly baked bread + cherry/molasses sweetness. No astringency whatsoever. It could be a reliable daily drinker.
Flavors: Ash, Baked Bread, Berries, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Hay, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Smoke
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This was the first ‘aged’ Taiwanese oolong I had ever tasted. Sixteen years old. My youngest sibling was 2 when this tea was produced. I went in with an open mind and was more than content with the experience.
This is a very complex tea that complemented my mood on this beautiful morning. From what I’ve gleaned, Green Heart is another name for the Qing Xin cultivar. I can taste the Qing Xin characteristics in a tea that I assume was low to moderately oxidized and re-roasted several times throughout the years, though the roast notes have faded away. I appreciate this because I’m generally not a fan of moderate or heavily roasted Taiwanese oolong (dark roast Wuyi oolong are a different story!).
There is a distinct herbal-sweet spice character to the dry leaf that calls to mind cardamom, which I’ve experienced once before in a wild oolong from Mountain Stream Teas. I found it strange in that tea and found it strange here but it was very welcome. I wondered how a tea so old could have such a pronounced dry leaf fragrance with other notes of floral walnut, wood, frankincense, cinnamon, sour cherry, hints of cannabis and peanut with a ribbon of raisin or prune in the undertone. The aroma of the liquor is complex and deep, pronounced yet delicate — sweet, floral and nutty.
The liquor is much the same in its flavor — floral, nutty and sweet with spice/incense of the dry leaf. Smooth and oily with no astringency, medium-bodied with a brightening mineral quality. The fruity aromas of the dry leaf come out in taste, too, though not quite cherry and raisin but leaning more toward sweet Asian pear followed by a milky finish. The aftertaste takes a minute to bloom but it does so with great length and notes of honey, pear and osmanthus. Camphor taste and feeling comes in soon after the swallow and persists into each successive infusion. It seems to dominate the sip in the following cups which then mellows into the oolong profile.
I can’t emphasize how much of a calm state this tea induced.
Really happy to have this in my collection and a great starting point for piquing my interest in aged Taiwanese oolong.
[5g, 100mL clay gaiwan, 212F, 10s rinse followed by 14 steeps starting at 10s]
Flavors: Banana, Camphor, Cannabis, Caramel, Cardamon, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Floral, Graham, Grain, Hazelnut, Honey, Milk, Mineral, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peanut, Pear, Plant Stems, Plums, Raisins, Round , Smooth, Spicy, Sweet, Toast, Walnut, Wood
Wow, so much peach in the dry leave and peach-pit in the cup. Lovely pale-green clear liquor and very light in the mouth. Will revisit when deep into the bag, and looking forward to seeing what others with better taste buds can identify.
This was one of my last sipdowns in September. I recall buying a sample of this tea during either the summer or fall of 2016. I was just getting into some of What-Cha’s offerings at the time and was experimenting with aged Tie Guan Yin, but after a number of bad experiences with aged Tie Guan Yin from other vendors, I shelved this tea indefinitely. Clearly, curiosity got the better of me late last month. I’m glad it did because this ended up being a very enjoyable tea.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves and dried bitter melon pieces in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 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, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaf and melon piece blend emitted aromas of raisin, dried blueberry, pine, plum, cedar, and malt. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of fig, butter, cream, black raspberry, and black currant. The first infusion introduced aromas of black cherry and roasted almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of raisin, dried blueberry, cedar, pine, malt, butter, cream, and fig that were complimented by hints of black raspberry, black currant, roasted almond, black cherry, and earth. The following infusions introduced aromas of vanilla, brown sugar, roasted barley, baked bread, roasted hazelnut, cinnamon, and straw. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of black cherry, earth, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging notes of plum and butter. Impressions of baked bread, minerals, vanilla, roasted barley, roasted hazelnut, orange zest, and straw also appeared alongside hints of brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cattail shoots, and peat. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, earth, baked bread, roasted barley, pine, butter, and cream that were balanced by a late popcorn note and hints of raisin, plum, straw, cattail shoots, orange zest, and vanilla.
This was a very nice aged oolong. Though I often find that aged oolongs, especially aged Tie Guan Yin, can develop something of a musty, papery profile, this one was very smooth and balanced with a nice, complimentary blend of aromas and flavors. Nothing seemed out of place. My only complaints with this tea were that it started to fade a little sooner than anticipated, and some of its more intriguing aromas and flavors faded a little too soon. Otherwise, this was a very enjoyable offering.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Currant, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Fig, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peat, Pine, Plums, Popcorn, Raisins, Raspberry, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Straw, Vanilla, Vegetal
This was another of my sipdowns from last month. In truth, I had put off trying this tea for a while because Rou Gui is not one of my favorite Wuyi oolong cultivars, and I had always heard that the winter harvests in Wuyishan tend to yield teas of poor quality. At the time I resolved to try this tea, however, I knew that some of the recent winter harvested Wuyi teas were starting to change the overall perception of teas produced outside the traditionally highly regarded spring harvests, so I resolved to approach this tea with an open mind. It immediately shocked me. First, I was surprised by the quality of the leaves. They looked much better than expected. Second, I noticed how light the roast was. According to What-Cha, this tea was given a light-to-medium roast, but to me, the roast looked light. Light roasted Rou Gui is not all that common. Third, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this tea. It was really a great Wuyi oolong.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cinnamon, charcoal, baked bread, malt, pine, red grape, tart cherry, and roasted almond. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, grass, mushroom, and cannabis. The first infusion introduced aromas of rock sugar, pomegranate, and smoke. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, grass, cannabis, cream, butter, mushroom, charcoal, and baked bread that were complimented by hints of malt, tart cherry, smoke, red grape, and roasted almond. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of minerals, ginger, dark chocolate, red apple, roasted barley, pear, oak, and tobacco. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of tart cherry, smoke, red grape, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, roasted peanut, pine, rock sugar, earth, roasted walnut, pear, red apple, ginger, dark chocolate, oak, tree bark, tobacco, orange zest, and roasted barley. There were also some very subtle hints of pomegranate here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, earth, oak, roasted barley, grass, charcoal, mushroom, and malt that were balanced by hints of baked bread, roasted almond, cannabis, roasted peanut, red grape, tart cherry, tree bark, tobacco, and orange zest.
This tea was both incredibly interesting and incredibly satisfying. Normally, Rou Gui tends to strike me as being very spicy and heavy, but this tea was light, fruity, earthy, nutty, and woody. While I was drinking it, I could not compare it to any other Rou Gui I had tried. Even at this point, I find it to be a very memorable, unique tea and unlike any other Wuyi oolong I have consumed. Definitely check this tea out if you are looking for a unique Wuyi Rou Gui that avoids the heaviness of some of the more traditional takes on the style.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Bark, Butter, Cannabis, Char, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Ginger, Grapes, Grass, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Red Apple, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco
I’m still trying to get back into the swing of posting reviews more regularly. Time has not been on my side as of late, and I fear that it is going to be a couple months before my schedule starts to normalize. On the occasions that I do get to be active on Steepster, I will continue to primarily focus on cleaning out the rest of my backlogged reviews. This was one of my sipdowns from last month. I had meant to get to this tea much sooner (like July or August), but things got in the way, so it became one of my September sipdowns. Honestly, I was surprised by how much I ended up enjoying this tea. Nilgiri teas are not usually among my favorite things in the world, but this one was great. I could easily see myself coming back to it in the future.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 197 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of apricot, pine, prune, and tobacco. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of new malt, butter, roasted peanut, baked bread, sugarcane, and raisin aromas. The first infusion introduced something of a red grape scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of apricot, hay, pine, prune, tobacco, raisin, malt, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of roasted peanut, butter, cream, and oats. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cream, vanilla, hay, oats, violet, rose, and red apple. Stronger and more immediately noticeable impressions of butter, cream, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, red grape, grass, cedar, orange zest, rose, violet, red pear, red apple, and roasted chestnut. I also picked up some hints of leather, sweet potato, and brown sugar. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, malt, roasted peanut, roasted chestnut, cedar, hay, orange zest, and sugarcane notes that were complimented by amplified leather impressions and hints of raisin, sweet potato, baked bread, oats, red pear, red apple, pine, and tobacco.
This was a tremendously aromatic, flavorful tea that was also approachable, drinkable, beautifully textured, lively, and superbly balanced. It also proved to be durable and highly adaptable; I brewed some of what I had in the Western style and got great results out of it. This tea was a winner. It forced me to consider Nilgiri teas in a new light because it displayed none of the negative characteristics I tend to associate with such teas. Definitely consider giving it a try if you are looking for a Nilgiri tea with a lot to offer.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chestnut, Cream, Dried Fruit, Grapes, Grass, Hay, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Raisins, Red Apple, Rose, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla, Violet