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Recent Tasting Notes

85

Alright, I’m posting one more review before signing off for the day. Like the last couple I have posted, this one is for another of my recent sipdowns. By the time I got around to trying this tea, I was no stranger to Yunnan purple black teas, but it had been at least a year since I had tried one. Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable, satisfying offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick 5 second rinse (I have always preferred shorter rinses for Chinese and Taiwanese black teas for whatever reason), I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 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, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, grapefruit, blood orange, cedar, dark chocolate, blackberry, cinnamon, and peach. After the rinse, aromas of red grape, grass, brown sugar, and roasted peanut appeared. The first infusion introduced a roasted almond aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, malt, earth, roasted almond, dark chocolate, red grape, blackberry, and blood orange that were balanced by subtler notes of cinnamon, cooked green beans, brown sugar, baked bread, roasted peanut, and grapefruit. The subsequent infusions quickly brought out aromas of pine, baked bread, lemon, minerals, and camphor. Stronger and more obvious impressions of grapefruit, cooked green beans, baked bread, and brown sugar appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, pine, lemon, pear, red apple, black cherry, and plum. I also detected hints of grass, peach, cedar, camphor, smoke, sugarcane, and maple candy. As the tea faded, the liquor shifted to emphasize notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, brown sugar, and cream that were chased by fleeting impressions of black cherry, blackberry, plum, blood orange, grass, grapefruit, pine, red grape, pear, maple candy, and dark chocolate.

This was a very solid Yunnan purple black tea with a ton to offer. Honestly, its depth and complexity came close to being a little overwhelming at times, but I avoided letting this tea get the better of me. It was also very refined and layered in the way it expressed itself and displayed a playful, energetic presence. In the end, this was a very nice tea, but it was also one that I thought could have been just a bit more focused. I think had some of its subtler flavor components been a bit clearer and more amplified, it would have felt a little more balanced and drinkable than it came off as being.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Camphor, Candy, Cedar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grapefruit, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon, Malt, Maple, Mineral, Orange, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Smoke, Sugarcane

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
derk

Those Yunnan wild purple blacks operate at high frequency.

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64

This was another of my more recent sipdowns. It was also a tea that was wholly new to me. I normally don’t think of oolongs when I think of Ceylonese tea and prefer to stick with the more familiar and readily available Ceylonese black teas while occasionally giving some time to a Ceylonese green or white tea, but when I saw this tea, I was immediately intrigued. I purchased it shortly after What-Cha listed it, but naturally, I didn’t get around to trying it until a little earlier this month. While I loved this tea’s unique and appealing presentation, it was not entirely successful otherwise, as I found the tea liquor to be a bit lacking in body, depth, and complexity.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a standard 10 second rinse, I steeped approximately 6 grams of the formed tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 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, malt, sweet potato, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of cream, butter, and sorghum molasses underscored by a subtle stewed tomato scent. The first infusion introduced aromas of sugarcane and candied orange. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, sorghum molasses, sweet potato, and honey that were balanced by subtler impressions of sugarcane, malt, brown sugar, minerals, pear, and roasted almond. The subsequent infusions revealed aromas of apricot, plum, tamarind, pear, and apple that were balanced by subtle baked bread scents. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of minerals, pear, roasted almond, sugarcane, and malt appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of apricot, tamarind, plum, apple, and lemon zest. Hints of baked bread, stewed tomato, and candied orange were also present. As the tea settled and faded, the liquor began to emphasize notes of minerals, sorghum molasses, cream, malt, lemon zest, sweet potato, honey, and sugarcane that were underscored by lingering hints of apple, pear, roasted almond, butter, candied orange, and brown sugar.

This was a very interesting tea with a ton of longevity, but it was just lacking some characteristics that would have made it more appealing to me. As mentioned towards the end of this review’s introductory paragraph, the liquor was a bit thin and struck me as being slightly lacking in depth and complexity. At times, it also came off as being somewhat unbalanced, as the aroma and flavor components sometimes fought one another. This was also a very, very sweet tea. That may not be an issue for some people, but I often found the sweetness overwhelming. In the end, I am certainly glad that I took the opportunity to try this tea. I actually did enjoy it to a certain extent, though I also feel that its flaws were very noticeable and virtually impossible to overlook. Still, it was definitely not an offering to avoid.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Candy, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Pear, Plum, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Sierge Krьstъ

I remember this one from years ago, my expectation was oolongy as a misnomer for blue.

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77

Hey, all. After five days of laziness, I have returned with a new review. This was one of my more recent sipdowns, as I finished my 25g pouch of this tea late last week. Sadly, this ended up being a tea that I wish I enjoyed more than I did. Normally, I am a huge fan of Assam black teas, but this one I struggled with consistently.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to steeping nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of malt, sweet potato, baked bread, and caramel. After infusion, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, honey, cream, butter, and roasted potato that were underscored by subtler aromas of tomato and menthol. In the mouth, the tea liquor was thin and biting, presenting notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, sweet potato, roasted almond, roasted potato, lemon, leather, and roasted walnut that were balanced by subtler impressions of wood, tomato, grapefruit pith, pear, apple, plum, honey, menthol, molasses, caramel, orange zest, red grape, and watermelon rind. Each sip finished in an oily, malty, nutty, and leathery fashion before a swell of bitterness and astringency arose after each swallow.

Honestly, I am still not entirely sure how I feel about this tea. It was complex and presented some unique aromas and flavors, but I also did not find the texture and body of the tea liquor to be all that appealing and found the way it expressed itself to be a bit rough, inconsistent, and unfocused overall. I have no clue where the folks at What-Cha picked up on raspberry jam notes, because I found nothing of the sort in this tea. It struck me as being an astringent, tart, bitter, oily, leathery, nutty, malty tea with some pleasant starchy, vegetal, and sweetly fruity notes scattered throughout. I was hoping for more of either a grassy, vegetal presence or some sort of minty or otherwise herbal presence, since I lately tend to notice such characteristics in teas produced from the clonal Panetola 126 cultivar, but I found such notes to be a bit lacking in this tea. Even when I backed off on the water temperature and reduced the steep time in some of my other brewing attempts, the results were very similar to what I described in the paragraph above. Overall, this was not a bad tea, but it was not quite to my liking. I tend to prefer smoother, creamier, maltier Assam black teas, so this tea did not quite hit the spot for me. Perhaps I’m being a bit hard on it or expected too much, but to me, this was just a pretty good offering. I would not rush to try it again.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Butter, Caramel, Cream, Fruity, Grapefruit, Grapes, Honey, Leather, Lemon, Malt, Menthol, Molasses, Orange Zest, Pear, Plum, Potato, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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This is a backlog from a couple of weeks ago, and I can not remember if this sample came from derk or White Antlers. I need to start writing these things down so I can thank people properly! Many thanks to whomever sent it!

This sample is labeled Summer, July 2020.

I liked this tea more than most other tasters here did, but perhaps that is because it has been a long time since I have had a good quality unflavored black tea other than the same (good) ones that I drink frequently with Ashman. Because caffeine has been keeping me awake, we stopped having evening gong fu, and there are few plain black teas that he enjoys, so I end up drinking Bailin Gong Fu…..a lot.

And this was just different! It isn’t a bust your chops wake up tea. It has the gentler nature often found in many Fujian and Taiwanese black teas. It is more floral and fruity than savory or roasty. The quintessential “tea” flavor that makes me think of a truly fine Ceylon orange pekoe is tucked in with honey and fruit.

It made a really nice morning mental vacation on a day when I could really use it. (Those are frequent for everyone now!)

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The air was thick with humidity today. The marine layer that deposited a fine mist in the air this morning decided to stick around, leaving the day overcast and balmy. In an introverted mood, this evening I finally treated myself to a solo sushi dinner as congratulations for promotion. The booth I sat in gives an unobstructed view to the mountains in the east which were shrouded in fog to a low elevation. I could feel the possibility of rain approaching. I checked the forecast, and sure enough, it called for showers tonight. At home, as I now sit, I can hear the sound of passing cars on wet pavement.

I’ve been drinking the four Japanese teas in my cupboard this week, as the change of the angle of the sun has signaled that autumn is approaching. Nevermind that we don’t get much of an autumn here compared to my home state. If we are lucky to get rain, the transition from dry season to wet can be rather abrupt around November. The rain this evening marks the second out of season precipitation we’ve had in a few weeks. I pray for more rain.

This makes a very pleasant bowl tea for my mood and the weather. The leaf is in great shape, lots of whole leaf and it’s all very shiny. Shiny, somehow both pliable and brittle leaves various shades of roasted brown that sink within several minutes, leaving only the stems to float. Mellow taste. A broth of sweet mushroom and roasted barley, dry florals, a little bit of soy sauce. The florality is the same as what I get from What-Cha’s Okinawa sencha and from Totem Tea’s Kuwacha mulberry leaf processed like sencha.

This is an interesting tea. I think it is considered fermented. I will have to do some reading to learn more.

Flavors: Broth, Caramel, Floral, Licorice, Mushrooms, Nuts, Roasted Barley, Smooth, Soy Sauce, Spring Water, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
gmathis

If I haven’t told you how much I love reading your reviews, I am now. Your quiet evening sounds absolutely delicious.

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83

Alright, round two. This was one of my sipdowns from either late July or early August. That’s right. We’re not dipping quite as far into my nearly three year backlog with this belated review. In the month plus since I have polished off what I had of this tea, I still do not quite know what to make of it. I am providing a numerical score with this review, but honestly, I am not confident my score does this tea justice. Like many of the other offerings Rohini cranks out, this was a very quirky, playful tea that was difficult for me to compare to anything else.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to steeping, the loose leaf material produced aromas of almond, grass, hay, straw, and pine that were accompanied by a subtle fennel scent. After steeping, I detected aromas of muscatel, basil, cream, orange blossom, orange zest, dandelion, lemon, and coriander coming from the tea liquor. In the mouth, the liquor presented notes of grass, hay, straw, lemon, pine, almond, dandelion, dandelion greens, muscatel, orange zest, orange blossom, basil, cream, butter, and baked bread that were supported by hints of fennel, minerals, coriander, green wood, apricot, plum, and pear. The finish was fruity, vegetal, and herbal with just enough malt, cream, and butter notes on the swallow to provide some balance and stave off astringency and bitterness.

For a second flush Darjeeling black tea, this was very strange. Just looking at the loose leaf material, I could have easily mistaken this for a combination of first flush and second flush material had I not already known this was a second flush tea. The tea liquor also fell somewhere between a first flush and a second flush tea in terms of its appearance, body, and texture and in terms of the aroma and flavor components I detected. This tea was too vegetal and brisk to closely resemble most of the second flush Darjeeling black teas I have tried, but it was also too savory, fruity, and thick-bodied to closely resemble most of the first flush Darjeeling black teas I have tried. Overall, this was an interesting Darjeeling black tea, but I was hoping for something a little more consistent and a little more reminiscent of some of the classic second flush Darjeeling black teas that I have enjoyed in the past.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Basil, Coriander, Cream, Dandelion, Fennel, Grass, Green Wood, Hay, Lemon, Mineral, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pear, Pine, Plum, Straw, Vegetal

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
mrmopar

Heading towards Boone mid October.

eastkyteaguy

I wish I were heading down that way. Sadly, I’m probably going to be spending my October recovering from surgery.

Evol Ving Ness

I hope it’s nothing too serious,eastkyteaguy, and that you will keep us posted.

mrmopar

Shoot hate hearing that. I will be praying for your speedy recovery when it happens.

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90

Okay, I’m back. It seems that something happens every single time I attempt to start catching up on reviews, but here I am once again. I will be posting about a couple major life updates in some of my upcoming tasting notes, so anyone who is into that sort of thing will probably learn more about me than they ever wanted to learn. If you are not one of those (hopefully) very few people, then I guess you’ll just have to deal with it. Anyway, this is a review from my vast backlog. I finished my 25g pouch of this tea several months back, but I cannot recall precisely when. I have something of a complicated relationship with Yun Wu, and really Anhui green teas in general, but after a bit of back and forth with this one, I got to a point where I greatly enjoyed it.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I started things off by steeping 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 167 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented delicate aromas of grass, roasted sweet corn, butter, cream, and summer squash. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of zucchini, malt, and hay. The first infusion then introduced an aroma of sugarcane coupled with much subtler scents of chestnut and bamboo shoots. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up subtle, deftly layered notes of grass, butter, roasted sweet corn, summer squash, and cream that were balanced by fainter impressions of cucumber, zucchini, hay, chestnut, bamboo shoots, and sugarcane. The bulk of the subsequent infusions brought out aromas of cucumber, lettuce, coriander, parsley, and basil, as well as stronger aromas of chestnut and bamboo shoots. More immediate impressions of zucchini, hay, chestnut, and cucumber appeared in the mouth alongside notes of malt, minerals, coriander, lettuce, and parsley. I also picked up on subtle flavors of lemon, lime, basil, snap peas, bok choy, kale, and fresh green cabbage. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, lettuce, grass, zucchini, summer squash, hay, cream, butter, malt, and chestnut that were chased by lingering hints of cucumber, snap pea, lemon, kale, parsley, and coriander.

This was an extremely refined Chinese green tea. I also found this tea to be kind of a grower of an offering in the sense that it took several tries for me to understand and appreciate. Fortunately, it was well worth the effort. If you are a fan of very nutty, creamy, vegetal green teas, this one will likely be up your alley.

Flavors: Bamboo, Bok Choy, Butter, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Grass, Hay, Herbaceous, Kale, Lemon, Lettuce, Lime, Malt, Mineral, Parsley, Peas, Squash, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal, Zucchini

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Martin Bednář

Let’s hope nothing will happen this time :) glad to see you back at least now and then.

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I don’t want to say how great this sencha is for my preferences knowing there are only 25g bags left at What-Cha, but oh, look what I have done.

What sets this apart from pretty much every sencha I’ve had (which truthfully isn’t a lot because it’s not a preferred type of tea) is a very smooth and colloidal body with an oily, coating mouthfeel. I was not expecting that! It has a very light and dried flowers-sweet grassy-corn husk-nutty flavor with a deeper, wheatgrassy-seaweedy nuance, something to anchor the taste within that body. A gentle cooling finish. The tea doesn’t taste bitter but a mellow bitterness eventually surfaces throughout the mouth. Now at the bottom of my second bowl, my tongue tingles with a pleasant salty-metallic excitement!

This evening, with my first preparation of this tea (btw, all but the few chopped stems sinks), I am getting a drying catch in the throat, so I’ll have to use less leaf next time. Regardless, this is quite interesting, hefty and soothing. Being from Okinawa, I guess this tea is out of the normal range of sencha offered by most western-facing vendors. Worth a try!

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Corn Husk, Drying, Floral, Metallic, Nutty, Olive Oil, Salt, Seaweed, Smooth, Sweet, Warm Grass, Thick

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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April 2021 harvest.

By this point, I’ve determined that of all the green teas I’ve had, lighter Chinese green teas are my jam. The ones that are clean and spring water sweet with nuances of flowers, vegetables and nuttiness. Hints of citrus and spice (in this case, green peppercorn) are always welcome. Those with minimal bitterness, astringency, grassiness and beaniness. This one follows the trend of being delicate and I find it delicious and good for my body.

Whether it’s a Lu Shan Yun Wu or, like this, a Huang Shan Yun Wu, I would consider this style of green tea among my favorites.

Thank you for the freebie, What-Cha :)

Flavors: Cashew, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Green Beans, Lemon, Mineral, Orchid, Peppercorn, Smooth, Spring Water, Sugarcane

tea-sipper

Yep, my jam too. :D

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91

Excellent tea, it reminds me a lot of the taste/smell of smoked cherry wood. I regret not buying more and hoarding it

Flavors: Cherry, Earth, Smoke, Smooth, Wood

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95

Oh, this is crazy. I love it. This might sound weird, but this is reminiscent of drinking Acetyl Pyrazine. I used to mix candy flavors (for reasons), and Acetyl Pyrazine was my favorite flavor note, ever. It imparts like this perfect buttery popcorn element, the more you use, the more popcorn territory you get. I was impatient, had an appointment and about five minutes so I just tossed some in a strainer into my Yeti rambler, so this is more dirty first impressions.

Oolong component feels green with a really big sense of very other. My first first impression was very much a broad “Umami”, then a confused “genmaicha?”, “dolsot jasmine rice?” followed by “is this butter?” I struggled to pinpoint the exact flavor, but then Acetyl Pyrazine struck me, this is absolutely 100% those buttery/bread/nutty/popcorn notes. With a hint of a stevia component, like the leafy not-mint part of mint. VERY subdued, it’s definitely not a “this is sweetened with stevia” moment, more the vegetal/herbal component.

If you’d ask me how I’d like some Acetyl Pyrazine steeped with unsweet stevia I’d probably give you a look. In reality, this is very different and enjoyable. Incredibly smooth, rich, an absolute mood. No astringency/tannin vibes. I am incredibly pleased.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Green, Nutty, Popcorn, Seaweed, Umami

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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87

Another tea from Shae, I’ve gotten way behind on my tasting notes, it’s been a busy summer!
This is yummy, yeasty, chocolate malt, and very smooth. The first steep had a bready, caramel aftertaste. The second steep brought in a dark chocolate note. The third steep is weaker, but the malty, chocolate taste is still there. I certainly don’t need any more tea this year, but I’ll keep this in mind for a next order. Thanks for sharing, Shae!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Yeasty

gmathis

You had me at yeasty.

Michelle

I steeped it 5 times! It’s definitely on my purchase list :)

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92

Aroma-driven tea that speaks at the front of the mouth and has a bold wintergreen finish that I expect of #18 cultivar Assamica teas. Viscous with clean notes of honeyed bing cherry and leather, lacking the heaviness or prominent base notes of other black teas. The combination of the wintergreen aroma and the well-integrated briskness clears my mind and my sinuses. This lovely invigorator served many morning cups lately as I’ve been adjusting my being to a new schedule, a new job role and two evening classes. This one doesn’t have the more biting attitude I’ve experienced in other #18s; it has a pretty well balanced and rounded flavor profile.

I’m sure there’s much more complexity to this tea than I have to offer here, but I drank through it so fast that I never had a sit-down with it.

This is one type of tea that I’d always like to have around. I feel that the May 2020 harvest is a great example of both the smooth-tasting, fruity Taiwanese black tea character and the quirky wintergreen note of this cultivar.

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78

I broke into a new tea I have stored for a year or so… as it was ordered to my address by White Antlers, but I had other oolongs to drink and opened. Ass the packages are non-resealable, I was finishing opened ones first.

It seems I got pretty much same package as derk have. May 2020 harvest.

Prepared western today, which is kind of heresy for oolong, but whatever.

It has got a very nice aromas, I noticed mostly woody cinnamon, roasted pears, roasted generally. I liked it and just for aroma it is a winner. However…

taste was nice. But something was lacking, maybe some depth. It was really subtle in flavours, though it was complex. I have noticed again some woodiness, lightly fruity, autumn leaves (thanks derk, I know the flavour, but couldn’t point on it) and some sweet, like maple syrup aftertaste.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Fruity, Maple Syrup, Pear, Roasted, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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94

I treated myself to this one since I am a sucker for regions that don’t commonly produce tea. Brewing it up, western as instructed, it turned out nice. I did some slurps after about a minute, and it was a light yellow with intense fragrance and flavor. This tea is extremely versatile making me think I might gong fu it, or definitely grandpa it. It’s lasted five rich yet balanced brews, and the body is overall lighter, but thick with fruity notes. I personally got some plum at the beginning, stonefruit mid body, berries towards the finish and lingering honey afterwards. The tea is a lot like a Taiwanese black, and it’s got the lighter body of a Georgian black. I like both of those kinds of teas immensely, so I’m extremely happy with this sample. I think anyone would easily love this tea, it’s on the pricier end, yet I personally don’t mind some extra expense as a gift and to support tea businesses.

Flavors: Berries, Honey, Nectar, Plum, Smooth, Stonefruit, Sweet, Thick

derk

Placed an order with What-Cha a few hours ago. Did not include the Jersey black or green :( even though I’ve been eyeing them for a few weeks. Guess I have my $/g limits.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s good to have limits. I’m still plowing through the consequences of my “limits”

What-Cha

Great to read you enjoyed it Daylon :)

I will probably discount both Jersey teas shortly as sales of them have been a bit slow.

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I amped up the leafs a lot filling a third to a fourth of my gaiwan. I also improvised the heck out of the brewing and let the leaves soak until I got a honey color. The sweetness and body amped up. It’s still lacking in any astringency, bitterness, and it’s super light on the malt. The honey note actually came up this time in like heathered honey. There’s more honeydew melon in the texture, but it’s there. Oddly, the sweetness this time lingered into corn territory in the first brews, and then heavy brown sugar in the later brews. I’m holding back on rating it yet, but I enjoyed it more this time with the generous amount of leaves. Like I said in the last review, not boring.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 45 sec
eastkyteaguy

I’m hoping to pick some of this up soon. I’m intrigued.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s very subtle and extremely unusual for a black. Alistair always goes for less astringent teas anyway, but this one, the bitterness and astringency are really nonexistent. Coaxing the flavors out was a challenge though. There are a lot of similarities to the Kenya Gold Needle and the Fujian Snow Tips for profile reference, yet again, this one is more subdued.

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Just came back from visiting Saint Augustine, and when I thought I was just going to save up for my trip, I decided YOLO and got some tea samples that waited for me when I got back home.

This tea is probably one of the more expensive ones I’ve gotten from What-Cha, but I was really curious about it because One: I’m going through a Jin Jun Mei phase, and Two: Alistair described this one having honeydew notes, which is extremely unusual for a Fujian Black Tea. The single review also raved about it gong fu, and I figured this one would probably disappear.

Brewing it up western in my kyusu with 2 teaspoons and 195 F water, I pour a testing sip to see what I taste. Honeysuckle, milky texture and hot water. This tea is probably one of the most subtle blacks I’ve ever had, and the profile was identical to a Yin Zhin white. Interesting. I decided to let it sit for two more minutes, and the tea had a little bit more to it. It’s not flavor forward at all so far, but it’s not boring. The texture is heavily viscous, and the bitterness and astringency are nonexistent. There’s slight malt, but it’s barely there. The honeydew is there a little bit more dominating mouthfeel and texture rather than flavor. Honeysuckle is the main flavor through and through, bordering on being kinda like a chamomile. Sometimes, I got weird hints like incense or cardamom.

Not satisfied with that session, I decided to be heavily more generous with the leaves gong fu, and got more of the honey flavor and a denser after taste. Honeysuckle is still dominant with the flavor having more trademark black tea qualities like sweet potato. The thing that’s unusual is that those qualities are a lot more subdued, and again, the tea resembles a white tea more than what I think of a black one in flavor.

While I’m being pretty critical about the flavor, the tea definitely is not one dimensional. It resembles the Snow Tips a lot in its overall profile, whereas that one was more rosy, and this one is more “yellow” i n the florals and soft. It’s also extremely calming, which is a nice change of pace for a black.

I’m not fully decided on this one yet. There are cool things about the tea I really enjoy, though it’s too subtle for me so far. Out of all the teas I’ve reviewed, this one is what I’d personally rank as an expert’s tea because of it’s subdued nature and nuance. I know professional sommelier’s look for something that they can slirp without astringency or bitterness, and I can see this tea hitting high marks because of how dense in texture and lacking in abrasion it is. A newer drinker would think it tastes like hot water, and I intermediate drinkers who like blacks would be pickier. I do see white tea drinkers liking this one a lot though if they are exploring Fujian Blacks.

I hope my review didn’t disappoint you, Alistair. I’m going to try this one out again soon and am very happy I have it. I do have a descent sommelier book, and I am going to read it to see if I get any more insights. I am looking forward to a very leaf intense gong fu session!

Flavors: Chamomile, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Malt, Smooth

ashmanra

It sounds fascinating to me!

Daylon R Thomas

It is, but very, very subtle.

Leafhopper

Interesting! This sounds like the opposite of the other Jin Jun Mei you gave me to try from them. I wonder if this subtlety is typical of higher-priced Jin Jun Mei.

Daylon R Thomas

Maybe? I’m not an expert on it-I’d be curious if Alistair or anyone else can weigh in. I do notice that some of the more expensive Jin Jun Mei’s are more subtle/vegetal like from Old Ways Teas, but otherwise, I’m clueless.

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70

I finally cracked how to brew Sencha right, so I thought it was time to try Gyokuro. I like it, but it’s as different from Chinese greens as you can get. Good though, really good.

Flavors: Melon, Peas, Sweet, Thick, Umami

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 1 min, 0 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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72

The last time I tried a Sencha it was nasty, but seeing other love them I decided it was my brewing. This time I looked up some YT vids on brewing. The secret for me was low and slow. Cool water probably around 70c and a first steep of more than a minute, all with minimal fussing the leaves.

I was rewarded with the delicious brothiness everyone talks about. Fantastic. Not quite one I’d seek out again, but it has made me look anew at Japanese green.

Flavors: Alfalfa, Beany, Vegetable Broth

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
LuckyMe

Japanese greens can be quite finicky. Glad you stuck with it and made some adjustments!

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Had a free sample long ago and don’t recall writing a note. This was again another free sample provided with my latest order, so thank you!

April 2021 harvest. Dry leaf has a floral roasted honey note. Steeped western, the tea is fairly smooth and sweet. It tastes like floral honey-mixed fruity-brown sugar with a bright almost citrusy (verging orange and lemongrass) ‘black tea’ tone. The floral aspect is roselike; very light cinnamon, brown sugar, cream and wood notes. It’s actually more complex than that, but I’m not in the mood to go hunting. Becomes woodier with a mild tannic edge and a buttery finish in the second steep.

Easy drinker, flavorful but not overpowering.

Addendum: 2g in 300mL brewed for howeverlong produced a thick and juicy, somewhat tannic cup. Lots of flavor, fruitier banana-yam now, stronger cinnamon. Apricot finish, young grass aftertaste that’s short, brown sugar returning sweetness. Do I like it better this way with less leaf and longer steep?

Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Lemongrass, Mineral, Orange, Rose, Smooth, Sweet, Tannin, Tea, Thick, Wood, Yams

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Shae

I’m amazing by your notes. All those flavors in one cup!

gmathis

Ooh. Just ooh!

derk

Thanks, Shae. If I have more than a sample, I try to get in at least one ‘tasting’ session. I enjoy picking apart teas to an extent. The rest of my drinking is rather unfocused.

gmathis: If I had more than the 5g sample, you’d be getting a package from me. And thanks for the past few correspondences <3

gmathis

<3 Back at ya.

Martin Bednář

Into a wishlist it goes!
Sounds great indeed. But who has lots of tea now and slowly drinking any?

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92

Very glad I managed to get my hands on some of this tea before it went out of stock. I was absolutely enamored with What-Cha’s green Qing Xin and had high expectations for the white version.
I was surprised by how massive the pouch was when it arrived – the leaves are very large, light, and delicate, something like dried bay leaves in appearance!
Just as delicate as the leaves themselves are the aromas and flavors that burst out of them and the balance between them, the smooth tactility of sipping the liquor, and the light feeling it leaves you with on a sweltering summer day. Highly recommended.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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90

Baked green apples and poached pears – need I say more?
In all seriousness, this is a solid and interesting GABA oolong. Sweet pome fruits dominate at the beginning and on the lingering finish, while in between they give way to a tartness (somewhere between citrus and pomegranate?). The sweet potato mentioned in the description definitely shows up in later infusions.

Flavors: Apple, Pear, Pomegranate, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tart, Tree Fruit

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
ashmanra

That sounds great!

jonjonjonjon

Definitely a fun one. Looking forward to teasing out more details from it next time I sit down to indulge in it :-)

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93

Damn, getting back on here is difficult. It’s been awhile, huh? I have no clue how to start this thing. Anyway, in case anyone who used to pay attention to the reviews I posted here on Steepster hadn’t noticed, I have been away and generally unreachable for a few months now. Some things happened. Let’s just leave it at that. Prior to today, I had no intention of ever making any further contributions to this platform as a reviewer, but before I call it a day for good, I want to take one more crack at this and just see what happens. I’m starting this new test run off with a tea I drank last year and never reviewed here.

I prepared this tea in what I imagine to be fairly typical Western fashion. I rinsed and then steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water. I did not attempt any further infusions.

Prior to rinsing, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of hay, straw, grass, almond, and chili leaf. After rinsing, I noted new aromas of dandelion, violet, and lemon zest accompanied by subtler scents of fresh spinach and wintergreen. The 5 minute infusion brought out aromas of cream, muscatel, peanut, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor expressed smooth, satisfying notes of cream, almond, malt, violet, dandelion, grass, hay, straw, dandelion greens, lemon zest, chili leaf, green wood, orange zest, baked bread, peanut, and muscatel that were underscored by subtle touches of fresh spinach, wintergreen, butter, grapefruit, and green apple. The finish was nutty and smooth, displaying a pleasant balance of almond, peanut, cream, malt, lemon zest, and orange zest notes and mild-to-moderate astringency.

This was basically a typical higher end first flush Nepalese black tea, but it was a very likable and drinkable one. The tea liquor was very aromatic and displayed excellent depth and complexity in the mouth. There was nothing out of place or unpleasant about it. The way Jun Chiyabari just cranks out great tea after great tea never ceases to amaze me. This was yet another winner in their portfolio.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Dandelion, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Apple, Green Wood, Hay, Herbaceous, Lemon Zest, Malt, Muscatel, Orange Zest, Peanut, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
derk

It’s been a minute. Always happy to see your tasting notes.

Roswell Strange

Seconding Derk’s comment! I hope everything’s alright with whatever it is that happened.

tea-sipper

Welcome back!!!

mrmopar

Glad to see ya back. We are still doing the NC thing in October. Going to meet someone in Wilkesboro too.

Leafhopper

It’s nice to see you back on Steepster!

Martin Bednář

Glad to see you back! Your tasting notes are fun to read all the times. I have slowed down posting as well and don’t feel rushed that you have to post! But I am glad that you posted again :)

Daylon R Thomas

Glad you are back on!

Lexie Aleah

Glad to see you back!

LuckyMe

Happy to see you back here. Always look forward to your tasting notes.

Tiffany :)

Please stay on, I also enjoy your tasting notes although I haven’t posted in awhile myself (need to catch up from June).

Evol Ving Ness

I have also meandered away for a bit, unintentionally. And now I have wandered back and I am delighted to see you here. I would be sad to see you gone forever. Your tasting notes and not only useful to me as an aspiring tea person but also give me a strong sense of who you are inside yourself. Whether or not my sense of who you are is accurate or not, I would miss you here on steepster.

eastkyteaguy

Ness, thank you for the kind words. I don’t plan on leaving Steepster entirely at this point. Right now, my issue is that I just don’t have the time or the motivation that I used to have. I’ve been meaning to post numerous reviews this month, but every time I sit down to do it, something always gets in the way.

Evol Ving Ness

Life does that. My motivation comes and goes. health reasons mostly. Good to see you here.

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92

Really, really beautiful and fun to drink. I’ll get around to posting full tasting notes after the next session I have with it.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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