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Recent Tasting Notes


I received this sample as a gift from Derk, thank you!

It’s a rainy morning here so a darker oolong just sounded right. The aroma is an amalgamation of roasty, earthy, and nutty notes… like nuts harvested from wet, metallic ground. Also a hint of nutmeg aroma on the nose.

It tastes as it smells. Rain-soaked earth, walnuts, a hint of spice. The roast is pleasant, giving it a mild char aftertaste without tasting like chewing on charcoal ash. There are some undertones of very dark, bittersweet chocolate. I don’t get the fruity notes that so many others have noted — maybe a hint of apple sweetness beneath the roast, nuts, and earth? — but perhaps that is due to my heathen Western brewing preference over gong fu.

The warm roastiness and metallic earth really do make this a nice accompaniment for a drizzly morning. Thanks for sharing, Derk!

Flavors: Apple, Burnt, Char, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Earthy, Metallic, Nutmeg, Nutty, Petrichor, Roasted, Roasted Nuts, Spring Water, Toast, Walnut, Wet Earth, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Daylon R Thomas

The fruitier notes were more prominent gong fu or with less leaves. It’s more like a cooked apple or plum than something really fruity. I personally got a lot of earth and some vanilla-maybe parallel to the walnut you’re getting.

Cameron B.

Heathen high-five! :P

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Finished up this tea in the gaiwan this past Sunday, it was very pleasant way to spend a day. After filling my gaiwan, there were a few crumbs at the bottom of the bag – definitely not enough for a full session, or even a small one. So I tossed those leftover bits in my ever growing Everything Jar. Gonna wait a little longer and toss a couple more teas in there before I give it a test steep. Cannot wait for whatever zombie brew it’ll produce hehe.

As I steeped this tea while doing my silly little tasks, I found it to be very soothing to watch the tea deepen in it’s golden color as the brews progressed. It gave me a warm honey flavor throughout with notes of dry prairie grass and a touch of vanilla.


Everything Jars (AKA Junkyard Tea Jar at my house) often result in highly interesting iced teas!


Can’t wait to try mine! It’s got some ancient Dragonwell, a high roast TGY, this white tea, a random black tea, and so much more. I also have an herbal version of my true tea Everything Jar. It’s WILD haha

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Had this with friends recently, I received this tea from another friend, so I’m considering this a friendship tea lol. I gongfu’d it on a majorly rainy day, and it kept us happy and warm while we chatted the afternoon away.

This tea is very reminiscent of Nepalese white teas that I’ve had before. Soft hay, malted milk balls, a little bit of an overripe stonefruit tossed in there. A friend even mistook it for a black tea! I always enjoy unconventional tea growing regions/methods, and this is a fun one to try the next time you’re making a What Cha dream cart.

Flavors: Hay, Malt, Milk Chocolate, Nectarine

5 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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All ass, all the time. Straight from the horse’s butt.

This special style of tea is the clearest example of active fermentation funk I’ve ever experienced.

Still have enough left from beerandbeancurd to sample again and give a more appropriate review if I feel up to it.


Flavors: Barnyard, Beer, Lemon, Mineral, Red Wine, Sour, Soy Sauce


(Snorting like said horse) Things only tea people get…


I really need to dive back into this ass at some point… red wine seems generous, but a girl can hope.


Yeh, gmathis. I’m in the camp of unfiltered impressions when they arise.

beearandbeancurd: Red wine is more of an impression than a taste. Have you ever had Nebbiolo? Something in this is reminiscent of a soft, light vintage.


Ah, yeah, I can see where you’re coming from there.

Mastress Alita

I once had a tea called “Awa Bancha” from Furyu c/o Yunomi that was also ass. It tasted like pickle juice, if pickle juice were bad (note I like actual pickle juice). I read another review for it that compared it to “embalming fluid” and then that was all I could think when I smelled it.


Embalming fluid, hork!

I wonder if someone somewhere enjoys this, or if they’re making it and we’re buying it just so we can all have a good laugh at ourselves. Fair enough, I say… fair enough.

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Beerandbeancurd generously sent me this tea! Thank you!

I have had quite a few sticky rice puerh teas but I don’t think I have ever had a sticky rice oolong. Today’s lunch was a big bowl of broccoli with hollandaise sauce, broccoli shared with Sam but not hollandaise.

It took me a few minutes to pick a tea to go with it. Digestive pain woke me at 3 because I drank a ridiculously large malted milkshake after supper, so I was trying to make a healthy and safe choice. I toyed with this one, sniffed the dry tea, felt guilty about depriving Ashman of the chance to try it and put it back, felt the pouch and realized there was enough for one small session for me today and plenty left over to share with him. So here we go.

As expected, leaves expanded mightily. This really really tastes like rice, which I was hoping for since lunch was veggie oriented. Nice pairing. I felt that the rice and oolong flavors were pretty equal but expected steep two to differ wildly with rice flavor subdued.

Not so, I think both flavors were overall the same in steeps two and three.

The oolong is not terribly roasty but also not super green and floral. A little nutty. I think it is a good choice to blend with the rice flavor, which I was surprised to find out years ago is an herb that just…smells exactly like cooked rice.

Thank you, beerandbeancurd!


Ohhhhh, it’s not actual rice?! Fascinating! Welcome! :)


This article tells the name of the herb and how they use it in puerh!


Thank you so much for sharing, brilliant.

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I had found myself taking a bit of a break from high mountain oolongs, for whatever reason, but reached for this sample for a lazy morning outside. I did pick up What-Cha’s regular (ie. non-light-roasted) Shan Lin Xi a couple months ago, and have continually put off making notes on it — I’ve sadly found myself just a little disappointed each time I drink it.

This little lovely, though… all the perfect butter and florals and mouthfeel. Alistair’s note includes balsam, and I’d agree there, too. It doesn’t look much different from the unroasted upon visual inspection — but what a treat and education, to be so surprised by what a tiny bit of roast can do to elevate these little green nugs.

Thank you, derk!

Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Floral

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I have tried this tea up, down, and sideways: gong fu, western, grandpa. Little steeps, big steeps, stew steeps. One steep, two steep, red steep, blue steep.

Everyone’s notes are so lovely and romantic and all I taste is paper bag.


From there to here, from here to there…funny teas are everywhere. (Salute to Theodore Geisel.)

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Sipdown. I liked this. I don’t have any notes for you, but I would purchase it again.

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I’ve had this a few times now, and I’ve found myself just a little disappointed each time. Mouthfeel, florals, creaminess all just feel a bit middling to me. A sort of teasing-at-grass-emptiness along for the ride. A riddle.

More than drinkable… might take this to work for some grandpas.

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass

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Western steeping. One big teaspoon (worth about two normal ones), almost boiling water and…
Oh dear this is floral. Though it is 2020 harvest, but I opened it a few weeks ago; and yes, it is indeed still very floral. Vacuum sealing does the magic. Thanks White Antlers who bought this to me back then and Alistair chose it.

While it is very floral, it has got another amazing quality if steeped right. The creamy and buttery sweetness and amazing mouthfeel.

I am trying to focus what those florals are. CrowKettle says lilacs, but I am not that sure. Hycinth, also mentioned there, seems better. Lily of the valley for me is there too.

Wikipedia says: “In the “language of flowers”, the lily of the valley signifies the return of happiness." Well, that’s lovely! And somehow true today.

I will keep trying this tea and if I found something new and amazing, be sure that I will mention that in new tasting note. Because oolongs have a lot to offer to me and almost never a dud.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

Sounds lovely!


I liked this so much better grandpa than gong fu, too.

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Bright grass, vegetals, and nuttiness. Many others have described this tea so thoroughly and beautifully — I just let myself enjoy it. The leaves are so flat and slickery that I think I spilled and poofed more of them onto the counter than I ever have during preparation. Like trying to contain glitter. Large glitter.

The only echo I wanted to make was of derk’s note that the wet leaves smelled like leeks and beef… I was all ready to assume that was a niche-nose note, but I opened up my pot and I’ll be damned… that curiously empty smell of unseasoned, boiled cow muscle with a little not-quite-onion-yep-that’s-definitely-leeks ghosting in. I didn’t get this scent or flavor anywhere else but from the wet leaf. Nice pin, derk!

165 °F / 73 °C

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Roasted this in the oven today, using the parameters linked below, and stopped at “light roasted.” Tastes much more roasty than the light-roast version that What-Cha already offers — and with less gorgeousness happening — but I have another 50g to fiddle with.

That said: it’s better. And I expect it might rest and get better-better. No caramel or other sweet notes, but some nice rounding that it was otherwise missing.

Fun experiment.


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Okay. I thought I’d brew this up after my session with the lightly roasted version earlier today and try to put some words around how it misses the mark that the light roast hits so well (for me).

The wispy green/jade/vegetal/grassy notes seem to tamp out the floral/butter/cream roundedness that the light-roasted version blossoms into so beautifully. Every steep sort of tastes muted and watery, like an anticipatory rinse that never quite arrives at Second Steep Magic™. I am tempted to experiment with wok-kissing this at home… those notes are in there, I’m sure of it, but need the lid taken off.

Like petting a cat through a duvet.

Flavors: Grass, Green, Vegetal, Watery


I wonder if overleafing might help, too.


I know I tried that at least once, but don’t remember it making too much difference.


“Like petting a cat through a duvet.” Love that imagery XD

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A coffee-less morning here, as I felt more drawn to my teas and a gentle start. Pulled this one down, weighed it, and promptly dumped it into my fairness cup instead of the pot. Off to a great start.

This is a sweet black that I might assume was a Taiwan red oolong if I didn’t know better — it manages to stay light and juicy, without much in the way of tannin or malt/bread/etc. I see the cultivar is the same as the What-Cha four seasons red oolong I drank a couple days ago; the processing here seems to have fully exposed what is darting and peeking in that one.

I didn’t take notes; getting the leaves in the right vessel was good enough for me, and there are great notes already here. It’s incredibly smooth, with persistent honey sweetness, gentle cinnamon, fruity florals (think honeysuckle and nectar, reminiscent of bug-bitten character), green grape and apricot. Steeps for days, and long steeps only find a hint of tannic ping. Some spring water minerality in later steeps, which may be contributing to how smoothed and nuanced the flavors appear… an invitation to explore, rather than being clunked over the head.

Flavors: Apricot, Bubblegum, Cinnamon, Fruit Tree Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Juicy, Nectar, Spring Water, Sweet, White Grapes

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Sipdown. This is delicious. I don’t know that I have much to add beyond what derk and leafhopper have noted. I’m not super-drawn to red oolongs, but woo… this is lush with plenty of mystery.

Edited to add: I realize I called this is sipdown, when my intention was to do a western brew after my gong fu. I just brewed the last serving western now, a couple days later — it is fantastic here, as well, and quite a bit different, actually! The overriding note was now caramel, with that fluffy, white-flour sweetness that pancakes have without any syrup (that often makes me question putting syrup on them at all). Fruit presented more in the second second (~6min) steep. I’m not quite ready to put this in the 90s (my definite reorders), but I think this is a lovely red oolong that I’d like to spend some more time with in the future.

Flavors: Caramel


I remember this being good. Red Buffalo is another winner if they still have it.


I keep seeing it mentioned — I’ll keep an eye out.

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Steaming leaves give up toast, roast, vaguely medicinal cherries, herbs. Pours a very slightly pinkish tan.

(As I give it a good sniff, I confirm this is this third cup today that’s had chlorine coming off of it… ordered a new filter between steeps… yick!)

Although the nugs are dark and small, which typically makes me expect a wallop of baking spices and liquor, the first steep seemed quite light, so I let the second sit for far longer than I normally would — maybe two minutes. No astringency, and the flavors did manage to pop. Baking spices, plum and prune both, tart cherry, vanilla, some citrus zest. Tannins in the third after another long steep. Wisps of cherry and tannins barely hung on while it got watery.

Maybe the lack of passion for this tea lies in its subtlety; it is missing substantial body, and I can see how it might creep in and back out before anyone notices it showed up. An easy daily drinker, and certainly a lovely cuppa to share with a tea-tuned friend or lover while sussing out its corners… holy in the way it’s embraced, if not in its own right.

I gave my remaining 6g a western brew for a sipdown. Kept the volume low (350ml) and went for a full five minutes. More oolong character came through, some biscuit appeared to back up those spices… and suddenly I felt strangely protective of this little “chase me” flirt.

And then it was all gone in the second steep. Ugh.


Flavors: Biscuit, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Herbs, Medicinal, Plum, Prune, Roasted, Spices, Tannin, Toast, Vanilla

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March Sipdown Prompt – a single origin tea

I discovered this pouch in my “finer teas” box – a box of teas I will only drink when I have time to pay attention to them. I am sure this must be a gift from derk, and I am sorry it didn’t get sampled much sooner, because it deserved better treatment than this.

I think I have enjoyed every tea from What-Cha I have tried, and the teas from Nepal have pretty predictably been winners. No exception here.

First impression was that this tea has that taste I find hard to describe, but that was prominent in Wild Forest Oolong. It is giving me the same vibe on the swallow – a lovely, rising sweetness and then a mineral aftertaste.

Although this is a fairly light tea, it packs a lot of complexity and flavor. The medium gold color of the liquor doesn’t foretell what you will taste.

I could have kicked myself for taking a bite of food before sipping, but this is where the tea surprised me. It was just brisk enough to say, “Look at me!” despite the heavy breakfast fare. I made sure to leave enough to get a thorough taste after the meal.

I agree with derk entirely on the notes for this one. When my cupboard gets lower I would definitely be in the market for some Nepalese oolongs.

Thank you, derk! I am sorry it took so long to get to this one!


Sorry? What’s that? <3

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