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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
[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
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
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.
March 2019 harvest.
The best morning/afternoon Assam I’ve ever had. Very complex and layered taste and mouthfeel yet approachable due to a distinct lack of bitterness, very light astringency and an inviting aroma. Savory and mineral backbone with plenty of berry tones and a lemony taste that zings. Emergent menthol. The leaves are alive and have plenty to give.
I would serve this to anybody entering my home.
Not for small pocketbooks but well worth a try! It’s very forgiving :)
I really should “add to cupboard” because the sample derk sent was so generous. I suspect that I am going to drink it so fast that it makes more sense not to add to cupboard because I will be taking it off very soon!
Out of a box of super interesting looking teas, I picked this one to go first. I loved the name, and when it comes to Darjeeling I have found that I often prefer Autumn Flush.
Some Darjeeling is quite light, but this one has a nice, copper color. I steeped at 203F as recommended on the website, using a gaiwan.
The leaves are medium brown and have unfolded to reveal whole leaves about one and a half inches long, with lovely little serrations.
I am rewarded with a wonderful aroma and lots of flavor. I smell deeply toasted – but not at all burned – bread, a hint of molasses, and over and over again I think of caramel. I make a pound cake with caramel frosting and this comes to mind as I drink the tea. The tea has medium body and is sweet and smooth.
I made five steeps. By the fifth, a bit of briskness has developed, mostly noticeable in the lingering aftertaste. The color is still gorgeous.
This was paired with one single Godiva White Chocolate Birthday Truffle. Ha ha!
How have I not ordered from What-Cha yet? I must remedy this soon.
Thank you, derk! I can hardly wait to try the others, but I am being nice and waiting for my husband to get to try them with me!
I’ve never had a tea from Vietnam so I thought this would be fun to try. Black tea is my favorite and I found this one to be enjoyable, although you do have to watch you me steep time as it can get a little astringent if you oversteep. That being said my favorite steep was the last when the tea
Mellowed out. Not one that stands up to milk, a little brisk tasting. It’s nice. Although nothing particularly stood out about it to me.
The main takeaways from this session are – a very strong honey aroma; tart and comforting profile; lingering sweet aftertaste; a smooth, buttery texture; and a relaxing cha qi. It’s a very good tea, and although similar to some other GABA teas I’ve had, it does seem to also have its own personality.
The dry leaves really have an overpowering (but beautiful) honey scent, complemented by butter cookies. In the preheated pot, the aroma is more fruity with notes of passion fruit and pear. Wet leaves then smell of grape leaves, spices, and garlic. The taste is pleasantly sour and fruity with flavours such as grape, melon seed, and lime.
Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Fruity, Grapes, Honey, Lime, Melon, Metallic, Passion Fruits, Pear, Plants, Pleasantly Sour, Smooth, Sweet, Tart
This is a really old sample but it’s been stored in its sample bag since I got it without ever having been opened so it’s held pretty well; I brought it with me to Saskatchewan for my vacation because I thought it would be a nice opportunity to give it a whirl!
It was my morning tea today – sipped slowly in my dad’s living room over a little bit of light music and some conversation. It’s been really nice having the time this vacation to just slowly and peacefully have long Gongfu sessions (and usually with some nice surroundings too)! I ended up completely brewing out the tea, and it was handedly a dozen infusions – though since I’m using a teacup much bigger than the pot I’m brewing in they’ve typically been stacked infusions. Two or three at a time.
I like Jin Xuan a lot, but more the greener kind – I haven’t really tried much roasted Jin Xuan, I think. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect but this was smooth, medium bodied and coating in the mouth. It had the creaminess of mouthfeel I’d expect from a greener Jin Xuan without being nearly so creamy and buttery in taste, though it was still a little bit creamy. More so I experienced warming notes of roasted mixed nuts, sweet honey notes, and hints of fruits like prunes – generally with a light woody and floral undertone. I imagine it would have been much better when fresh, but even still this was a great session!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Osv71FQ0quY
[Winter 2017 harvest]
The tasting notes for this tea have been more or less covered. It is a very floral, dry tea that seems to have a lot in common with the more floral of Dan Congs. In fact, I think it is too floral for me, there’s not that many occasions I imagine craving this tea. Or more precisely, the issue I have with it is that there doesn’t seem to be all that much beyond the floral notes.
The dry leaf aroma seems to be a mix of cookies, star anise, chocolate, and wood; while wet leaves smell mostly of malt, citrus, and honey. Furthermore, there is an elderberry flower scent rising from the empty cha hai. The taste is savoury, bitter, and floral, with dominant notes such as honeysuckle, walnut, dandelion, all of which were already mentioned by other reviewers. Aftertaste is then sweeter and quite dry. This is where the advertised orange blossom seems to appear as well. Body is medium to light and the mouthfeel is very coating.
Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Chocolate, Citrus, Cookie, Dandelion, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Honeysuckle, Malt, Orange Blossom, Walnut, Wood
Non-smoked Lapsangs are one of my favorite kinds of tea, so I had big expectations for this one .
This tea is very similar to China Fujian Basic ‘Jin Jun Mei’ from What-Cha. It’s less remarkably dry, but distinguishes itself by having a wider flavor palette, with malty and chocolaty notes providing a background for the baked bread and sweet potatoes.
However, the overall taste is quite muted and generic. Also, it does not resteep well. There was nothing in this tea that would stick in my memory and drive me back to it. Any other Lapsang that I tried was decidedly more interesting.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Drying, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
This is one of those elusive teas that I feel I don’t have the right words to describe. It is a bit like a cross between Dong Ding and high mountain Jade oolong. One thing is for sure though, I like it a lot!
The aroma has a lot going on, but I really can’t place it. There are some notes of pastries and stone fruits, but that’s far from a complete list. Taste starts off vegetal, grassy, and bitter with a very sweet finish. There is a nice short-lasting astringent bite and flavours such as butter, flowers, apple, peach. Aftertaste is more floral and has notes of forest floor and pine as well as a long-lasting sweetness. As derk mentioned, there is also a strong menthol quality in late steeps. I also got a bit of a fenugreek flavour, not unlike the one you get from some wild Taiwanese varietals.
The mouthfeel is thick, oily, soft, and slightly numbing with a throat-cooling quality – this tea certainly doesn’t lack in the texture department. It is also very calming and body-warming and makes me sweat a bit. A final point to note is that it lasts a long time, I can easily get 200ml/g from it, and if pushed, even quite a bit more.
Flavors: Apple, Bitter, Butter, Floral, Flowers, Forest Floor, Grass, Menthol, Pastries, Peach, Pine, Stonefruits, Sweet, Thick, Vegetal
This was my second sipdown of the month. It was a tea I wanted to get out of the way more than anything, but that’s not because it was a bad tea. I’ve had a lot of Jin Jun Mei this year, and since Jin Jun Mei is not one of my favorite Chinese black teas, I did not want this tea hanging over my head as the year drew to a close. Actually, it was pretty good as Jin Jun Mei goes. It was definitely less challenging and more approachable than quite a few of the others I have tried, but that being said, it also lacked a bit in terms of body, texture, longevity, and depth.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 203 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 buds produced aromas of baked bread, malt, sweet potato, pine, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of butter, roasted peanut, and roasted almond. The first infusion brought out a molasses aroma and a subtler scent of honey. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, malt, butter, molasses, sweet potato, and baked bread that were chased by hints of cocoa, roasted peanut, pine, honey, and cinnamon. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of orange zest, cocoa, cream, earth, and marshmallow. Stronger and more immediate notes of honey, cocoa, and pine appeared in the mouth alongside hints of roasted almond, black pepper, and eucalyptus. Notes of orange zest, earth, grass, minerals, red grape, and marshmallow also emerged. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, sweet potato, roasted peanut, butter, and cream that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, marshmallow, grass, cinnamon, pine, orange zest, and red grape.
I liked what this tea had to offer and was surprised I was able to pick up as much as I did. If I had been going solely by aroma and flavor, I would have scored this tea higher. Unfortunately, the liquor was a bit thin, and the texture was not as sharp and defined as one would expect of a Jin Jun Mei. I also noticed that this tea peaked early and faded rapidly. Still, this tea had a lot to offer for what it was. This was clearly intended to be treated as a basic offering, and for anyone looking for a quality introduction to Jin Jun Mei or a solid daily drinker, this tea would fit the bill. Did it hold up to more expensive Jin Jun Mei? Well, yes and no. I have had worse higher end Jin Jun Mei, but I also have had better, and this tea didn’t threaten the positions of those higher quality offerings. Again, for what it was, it was good. I doubt I would go out of my way to acquire it again, but I am certainly glad I took the opportunity to try it.
Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grapes, Grass, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Sweet Potatoes
I don’t have a lot of experience with Yashi Dan Congs, aside from a greener one from Yunnan Sourcing, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. But since it was around $13 for 50 grams, I decided to give it a shot. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry leaves smell overwhelmingly of roasted almonds, with some florals and stonefruit at the edges. Roasted almond dominates the first steep, with hay, cream, orchid, and peach in the background. (The peachy aftertaste is the best part of the steep.) The next couple steeps add notes of honey, grain, apricot, roast, grass, butter, and florals I can’t identify (gardenia?). Steeps four and five are a bit fruitier, with more apricot, peach, and peach pit flavours along with the almond. The next few steeps emphasize the roast and almond, and the tea becomes a bit drying in the mouth. The session ends with almonds, roast, and minerals.
This is a pleasant Dan Cong, especially for the price. I gave it extra points for the lovely peachy aftertaste in the first few steeps. However, I tend to enjoy greener Dan Congs and this just didn’t bowl me over like some previous What-Cha teas I’ve had. I still recommend it for those who like this type of tea and want an affordable option.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Roasted
One of my most favorite teas of all time.
The complexity and flavor of this tea is fantastic.
The melon adds such a unique flavor – I like to toss in a decent sized piece of the melon rind each time I steep.
A great daily drinker tea; one I will continue to drink for years to come.
Flavors: Earth, Melon, Smooth, Soybean, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes
I have found that I really enjoy most teas from Malawi. I really appreciate What-cha for obtaining so many great teas from this location.
I think (for me) it might be the soil that the tea is grown in because I have yet to find a tea from Malawi that doesn’t have a rich deep earthy yet green flavor – and I can lose myself in the taste.
This tea is no exception. The flavor is of a warm dark soil yet sweet and slightly vegetal.
I like to brew this tea Gong Fu style, where I run close-to-boiling water over it in a flash steep and can get many cups out of a few pearls.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Sugarcane
After reading the rave reviews of this tea, I picked up 25 grams of it this summer. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma of these huge, curly leaves is of blackberries, grapes, honey, and malt. The first steep is amazingly complex, with notes of grapes, plums, blackberries, strawberries, malt, honey, fruit leather, and baked bread. The second steep adds notes of cherry, brown sugar, and raisins. There’s no astringency and wow, this tea is good. The fruit explosion continues through the next few steeps, with lots of plum, cherry, grape, and blackberry flavours. By steep six, sweet potato, orange, baked bread, brown sugar, malt, and honey take over, with the fruit in the background. The final steeps have flavours of peanuts, sweet potatoes, malt, wood, and minerals.
Like everyone else who has reviewed this tea, I was incredibly impressed. It’s simultaneously mind-bogglingly complex and very accessible. There’s no astringency and the fruity flavours jump out at you. (Unlike Eastkyteaguy, I didn’t get any menthol.) This is definitely a special occasion tea that repays careful attention. What-Cha really knocked it out of the park with this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
Second try, as for first I did two teaspoons in my cup (grandpa back then and today) and was too overwhelming. And today I used just one tea spoon and it seems just right.
Aroma of molasses, roasted nuts, bit of other roasted stuff.
Taste quite heavy, baked goodies, roasted nuts as well, bit of tar maybe? Not a awful way though. I notice as well some sweetness, maybe like vanilla a bit? Or maybe some honey-sweetness. As it brews longer and longer, it brings more subtle notes which are in conclusion very good and enjoyable.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Molasses, Roasted nuts, Tar, Vanilla
This is a reliable Assam with the distinct aroma and taste. The dry leaf aroma was not much to write home about: some maltiness and dry stone fruit. The tea that I prepared in the Western style, though, had a quite distinct fragrance that is hard to describe: wet leather, figs, golden tips… but something else that eluded me.
The taste was pleasant, with the dreaded Assamica maltiness being quite restrained and not overpowering other flavors present: baked bread, apricot, chocolate, plums, honey. This tea was not that far from some dianhongs I had tried. The expected malty aftertaste rounded out the impression.
To be honest, there was nothing in it to wow and excite, but also absolutely nothing offputting and disappointing. Plus some character. This tea is a good choice for a breakfast tea that does not clobber you, but rather offers an opportunity to explore its personality while simultaneously giving you a jolt of energy.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Chocolate, Fig, Leather, Malt, Plums
This was one of my more recent sipdowns, as I finished what I had of this tea a little earlier in the month. I often start craving stronger, maltier black teas and heavier roasted oolongs this time of year, and around the start of the month, I found myself in a position where I felt like I needed to drink some Assam black tea. I had a couple long work days at that time and plowed through what I had of this tea to keep me going. This tea probably deserved gentler, more considerate treatment than I gave it, but I was still able to get some good notes out of it. Overall, I found it to be a very nice Assam black tea.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea buds in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf buds prior to steeping nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf buds emitted aromas of malt, cinnamon, molasses, tobacco, and honey. After infusion, I detected aromas of cream, brown toast, roasted walnut, and roasted chestnut that were accompanied by a very subtle straw scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of wood, malt, cream, cinnamon, honey, brown toast, molasses, cocoa, straw, smoke, orange zest, lemon rind, roasted walnut, hickory, and roasted chestnut that were accompanied by hints of grass, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, earth, and tobacco. The finish was brisk, woody, and astringent, though some nice malt, cream, brown toast, roasted nut, straw, and molasses notes could still be detected.
This was a very good, very energizing Assam black tea. It was a little astringent for me, especially on the finish, but it was still most certainly an enjoyable, high quality offering. Fans of Assam teas would very likely be pleased with it.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orange Zest, Smoke, Straw, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut, Wood
Yellow tea?!? I’ve heard of most tea by now…but yellow. Nah. So when I saw What-cha had it and it was at a reasonable price I couldn’t resist. I had to at least try it! My tea tasting is still very beginner…prolly will always be. And that’s OK. This just tasted like green tea to me. It looks like green tea too. Its Ok steeped for a short time with cooler water. But it wasn’t really anything special. But to be honest…my favorite tea is black. I’m happy to have tried it. But I wouldn’t buy it again. Meh
Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal
I received this as a mystery tea in my last What-Cha order and honestly wasn’t expecting much. Even though the description said it was “lightly roasted,” I’ve learned from experience that this can mean different things to different people. However, What-Cha was telling the truth and this tea is a nice balance between the roast and heady florals. I steeped 6 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of sugar cookies, honeysuckle, orchids, and other flowers. Yeah, this tastes like a floral sugar cookie: honeysuckle, orchid, butter, light roast, and kind of a sugarcane sweetness, with a bit of grass. The second steep has notes of cream and lilac and a drying mouthfeel. After the second steep, the wet leaves in the teapot have a wonderfully heady lilac aroma, which sadly never appears as strongly in the cup. The floral and grassy flavours become even more prominent in the third steep.
From the fourth steep onward, the roast starts taking over, though there’s still some florals. I get walnuts, roast, grass, honeysuckle, spinach, and veggies in the last few steeps.
Even though it peaked early, this tea was a pleasant surprise, and I’m about halfway through my 50 g bag. I definitely recommend it as a daily drinker.
Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Roasted, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Walnut
This was one of my sipdowns from July and a tea I received as a free sample with one of my numerous What-Cha orders. At the time, I was rather bummed to get it because I’m not particularly well-equipped to review Japanese green teas. I don’t own any Japanese brewing gear and have long had neither the money nor the desire to invest in any. I figure there is no point in trying to do so when I drink Japanese green teas so rarely. For whatever reason, I just don’t purchase them very often. Receiving this tea presented me with a dilemma. I wanted to give it a shot, yet I didn’t own anything appropriate in which to prepare it. What did I do? Well, I ended up breaking out one of my standard tea mugs, a mesh strainer, and a tea coaster in an effort to mimic brewing in a kyusu or something similar. It’s what I have done with most Japanese green teas to this point, and I also tend to use this approach for any Korean teas I end up purchasing. This approach has worked well in the past, and quite frankly, it worked far better for this tea than I ever would have imagined.
With regard to my specific preparation method, I started off by measuring out 3-4 grams of loose tea leaves and steeping them in approximately 8 ounces of 158 F water for 30 seconds. Note that I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion. This infusion was followed by 4 additional infusions. For the second infusion, I increased the water temperature to 163 F and steeped the leaves for 45 seconds. The third infusion lasted 1 minute, and the water temperature was increased to 168 F. The fourth infusion lasted 1 minute 30 seconds, and the water temperature was set at 173 F. For the fifth and final infusion, I increased the water temperature to 178 F and steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.
Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of seaweed, spinach, cucumber, butter, zucchini, and grass. After infusion, I noted new aromas of asparagus, honey, and sweet corn. In the mouth, the tea liquor revealed delicate butter, cream, spinach, grass, zucchini, seaweed, cucumber, asparagus, and salty, brothy umami notes that were balanced by subtle hints of vanilla, lightly roasted barley, earth, honey, steamed rice, and minerals. The second infusion saw an umami presence come out on the nose, while new aromas of steamed rice, lettuce, summer squash, and lightly roasted barley also made themselves known. Stronger honey, roasted barley, earth, and mineral notes appeared in the mouth alongside even more amplified butter, cream, seaweed, grass, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, and umami impressions. New notes of summer squash, baked bread, lettuce, and oats also appeared alongside belatedly emerging impressions of sweet corn. I was even able to pick up on some hints of sugarcane, fennel, and spearmint. The third infusion saw aromas of oats, baked bread, and hay emerge along with a subtle fennel scent and stronger umami, seaweed, and grass aromas. Slightly more amplified earth and mineral impressions appeared in the mouth while notes of seaweed, grass, fennel, umami, cucumber, and zucchini continued to build. New impressions of hay and sea salt emerged along with a slightly enhanced sugarcane presence and hints of lemon. The fourth infusion saw the tea’s bouquet start to decline. The tea liquor turned very grassy and vegetal with pronounced earth, umami, and seaweed notes and a slightly enhanced sea salt presence. The final infusion saw the tea’s bouquet turn very clean. It was heavy on mineral aromas, though I could also pick up on some umami, grass, earth, lemon, and sea salt scents. The tea liquor was soft and smooth in the mouth despite pronounced mineral and umami characters. Softer, subtler notes of grass, lemon, and sea salt could still be detected along with fleeting hints of spinach, seaweed, and sugarcane.
This was one of the more challenging green teas I have consumed and reviewed this year, but it was also one of the most enjoyable. I do not pretend to be anything close to an expert on sencha (or anything else really), but this one struck me as being an exceptional offering. This tea displayed tremendous character both on the nose and in the mouth. The tea liquor had tremendous body and texture as well. Quite simply, there was so much to love about this tea. With as much as I enjoyed this one, I should probably start trying some of the other Japanese green teas offered by What-Cha in the near future.
Flavors: Asparagus, Asparagus, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Butter, Butter, Cream, Cream, Cucumber, Cucumber, Earth, Earth, Fennel, Fennel, Grass, Grass, Hay, Hay, Honey, Honey, Lemon, Lemon, Lettuce, Lettuce, Mineral, Mineral, Oats, Oats, Rice, Rice, Roasted Barley, Roasted Barley, Salt, Salt, Seaweed, Seaweed, Spearmint, Spearmint, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Sweet, Sweet, Umami, Umami, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal, Zucchini, Zucchini