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Recent Tasting Notes


I’ve held this off, and was time to finish the 2021 sample. Thank you Alistair for this one, and now, I can properly appreciate it. Whole and golden kissed black needles fell into my tea vessel, having decent length and much larger than usual ceylon size.

So I started indecisive between gong fuing my sample or having it western. Everyone recommended 3 minutes, so I started it out that way in my Manual Tea Brewer (westernized gaiwan) with a slight sip. Light, citrus, caramel, smooth. Not expecting that. A little bit too light, so I let it sit more…then one or two minutes extra as I did some chores. I’m not going to say anything new other than its a smooth and easily drinkable ceylon. I get notes of malt, caramel, oats, citrus rising in the mouth, and a caramel, almost cocoa finish ending in tannin. There was some extra bitterness, but a chocolate kind if tea bitterness.

There was mild astringency, and I was impressed with how smooth the body is. What-cha aims for smooth qualities in all of their teas-hence why I buy from the company so often. It’s got the trademarks of Ceylon teas, but it’s so much easier on the palette than the majority I’ve had.

I decided to go so much shorter, brewing 10 seconds, and it was smooth dark chocolate malt, tea tasting, with some healthy citrus and tannin.

Another 10-15 seconds, less water-3-4 oz, and citrus/orange leads the way. Malty finish still there with a little bit of tannin, yet precisely balanced and mildly drying.

I am going to be able to get more cups, but before I do, I’m pretty much set on what I think. And I have to workout. Time is of the essence.

I’m thankful that Alistair included it because I’m usually one to snub Ceylons and some Assams. I know they are essential for most breakfast teas and the blends I drink regularly, but they’re usually too drying, astringent, or tannic for me. This one was a lot more balanced and resembled some good Yunnan blacks, though the chocolate toffee tannin aftertaste is distinctly Ceylon. Keep in mind I’m using “chocolate” as an approximate adjective and not a accurate one, but it’s got the same bittersweetness chocolate does, and that’s what a lot of people like in their tea. It’s not super robust, and it stands on its own legs easily while being soft and nuanced enough to drink it straight.

Although I won’t have this in my consistent rotation (because I pay too much for other tea), it stands out as one of the easiest to drinks Ceylons I’ve had yet. I think it’s a good stepping stone noob tea, and I’m glad Alistair used it as a way to expand some palettes here on Steepster.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Malt, Oats, Orange Zest, Smooth, Tannic, Tea, Toffee, Wood

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December 2020 harvest.

Worth steeping this gongfu with high leaf:low water, so that when you initially warm the leaf and every time after the tiny teapot or gaiwan lid is lifted, you’re greeted with incredibly complex and nuanced aromas. Chocolate (milk and dark), almond and macadamia, soft grainy malt, mouse fur and cedar chips, heavier notes of pomegranate molasses, old leatherbound books and dank forest earth. Plenty of musk melon-papaya weaving throughout. The bright acidity of raspberry lemonade and orange-ginger seems to aid in differentiating those rich aromas. The complexity and range of aromatic notes remind me of an Ehtiopian Yirgacheffe coffee.

The taste is less spectacular, kind of alkaline.

Brewed western is also good. A thick and chewy cream taste and texture can dominate. But it still tastes like a golden tip tea.

Grandpa, not so much. The leaf leaves a firm ring of tea scum around the glass.
The visual is off-putting.

Flavors: Alkaline, Almond, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Cedar, Citrusy, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Fir, Forest Floor, Fruity, Fur, Ginger, Grain, Hay, Leather, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Malt, Milk, Molasses, Nuts, Nutty, Orange, Orange Zest, Papaya, Paper, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Wet Earth


Do I want to know how you can identify mouse fur as an aroma?


Had a snake for 10 years.


Ah, that would explain it. :)

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Ouch. A tea without my note.
And I have it at work for… quite a long time. It was in the first batch I took with me to the office and I am drinking it very slowly, though it is opened bag… so maybe my notes are affected with age, not a good store (it should be at least in some air-tight container, instead the original opened bag).

Well, happens. This tea I had today at work, while having my head buried in material inventories, which must be exactly down to gram. Checking it each month is stressful job, but luckily it was correct.

I am not sure about used tea — two pinches are…?
This tea was today mild, grassy, when warmer it was buttery with umami, but as it cools down it became rather freshly cut grass, a bit seaweedy and smooth. Umami was in the same level as in hot cup.

As I do not have much (if any) experience with Japanese sencha, I can not compare it. Nor with senchas from other terroirs. However it was fine and quite easydrinking cup. Shame, I let it opened for so long. It is mostly because I do not have kettle with temperature control at work; and using too hot water doesn’t suit this tea well. Tested!
I am not sure about the harvest either. I have original label there… but of course I haven’t checked it. I assume it could be from 2020, because it was one of the teas I have received from White Antlers.

1 min, 30 sec 17 OZ / 500 ML
Martin Bednář

Update, it is indeed from 2020. Prepared it today again and it was more towards mineral notes, but still pleasant.


I miss White Antlers. Hope she is okay. No way to contact her.


I also hope White Antlers is okay.

Martin Bednář

We all hope… I haven’t heard from her either.

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This was one of my sipdowns from late last year and a tea that I have dreaded reviewing in the months since. I always host posting negative or mixed reviews, especially from vendors whose offerings I tend to like, but that is unfortunately what I have to do here. This tea was just lacking overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After my usual 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose bud and leaf rolls in 4 fluid ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 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, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud rolls emitted aromas of osmanthus, cream, butter, and bread. After the rinse, I discovered new aromas of vanilla, grass, and sugarcane as well as a considerably stronger osmanthus scent. The first proper infusion added subtler aromas of toasted rice and grass. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of cream, butter, lettuce, grass, and bread that were backed up by hints of vanilla, toasted rice, osmanthus, and sugarcane. Aside from subtle orchid, lettuce, and vegetable broth aromas, the rest of the infusions did not add anything of note to the tea’s bouquet. Somewhat stronger and more immediately detectable notes of toasted rice, osmanthus, vanilla, and sugarcane emerged in the mouth, while notes of minerals, orchid, peach, pear, and steamed milk made themselves known. A heavy and at times overbearing vegetable broth presence quickly emerged and muddied the waters. Interesting hints of sea salt, apricot, balsam, plum, and white grape were just barely perceptible in the background. The aftertaste was odd. It reminded me of candy, like something along the lines of SweeTarts or Smarties. As the tea faded, notes of cream, butter, vegetable broth, and toasted rice came to dominate, though they were accompanied by a suddenly amplified sea salt presence and a late golden apple impression before mostly giving way to lingering hints of orchid, osmanthus, pear, grass, vanilla, lettuce, sugarcane, white grape, and steamed milk.

What-Cha usually does a good job of sourcing Jin Xuan from Thailand, but this tea was a misfire. It was all over the place and generally just something of a mess. Bizarrely, the osmanthus not only did not seem to mesh with the base tea, but it was also lacking in strength and presence. Jin Xuan usually accepts floral scents wonderfully and displays natural stone fruit aromas and flavors that one would expect to mesh perfectly with osmanthus, so I have no clue what happened here. I hate to say it, but this was easily one of the most disappointing What-Cha offerings I have tried. I cannot recommend it to others.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Bread, Broth, Butter, Candy, Cream, Grass, Lettuce, Milk, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peach, Pear, Plum, Salt, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, White Grapes

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Thanks to Daylon for sending me a sample of this tea, which I’ve wanted to try for a while. It’s usually out of stock, and I now understand why. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus another few long infusions.

The dry aroma of this tea is an intoxicating blend of peach, lychee, pineapple, lemon, roasted almond, malt, violets, and other flowers. My nose was glued to these leaves for an inordinate amount of time. The first steep presents lemon first, and then reveals malt, roasted almonds, sweet potato, violet, zucchini, orange, pineapple, straw, and soy sauce. Lemon zest is noticeable in the next steep, as are notes of chocolate, baked bread, rose, cream, peach, and pineapple. Orange comes out in steeps three and four, along with all the other complex notes this oolong has to offer. I also notice malt and wood more in these steeps, along with orchid and orange blossom, though at this point my brain is overwhelmed and is probably just throwing out flavours at random. The next couple steeps are more malty and vegetal, with the same amount of citrus but less pineapple and stonefruit. I’m beginning to detect some minerality, and there’s a noticeable soy sauce aftertaste. By the one-minute mark, all the fruit except the citrus has disappeared and the tea leans on its malty, bready, vegetal, floral, and sweet potato profile, with whispers of tannins but no real astringency. The final steeps give me citrus, malt, pine, wood, minerals, roasted almonds, and tannins.

My whole review of this tea could have been “Wow!” This is what other black teas want to be when they grow up. As Daylon has mentioned, it’s very similar to the Lapsang from TheTea.pl, though I think the range of fruits is even wider. (This would be a perfect opportunity to break out my newly acquired 2021 Lapsang from TheTea for comparison!) This tea has excellent longevity and lovely, complex, comforting aromas and flavours, especially in the first few steeps. Thanks again to Daylon for giving up some of this tea for me to try.

Flavors: Almond, Bread, Chocolate, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Pineapple, Rose, Soy Sauce, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Vegetal, Violet, Wood, Zucchini

195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Backlog: This one is elusively light. I’ve put off writing about it to properly describe it, but doesn’t usually last passed the 3rd or 4th cup. It’s smooth, sweet, floral-vaguely rosey, balanced, and honeyed in a bright amber liquor, but then it fades to a light orange or yellow. The second steep is kinda in the chocolaty category of blacks, but honey dominates. I haven’t really pinned it down-it burst in flavor once then becomes weak.

I’d say it’s a good one, but a more subtle tea overall unless I gong fu it at a ratio that is just right. Over leafing it muddles the flavor gong fu or western, but it’s way too weak with too little leaf, and too malty tumbler.

Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Honey, Malt, Smooth


I had difficulty with this tea. I could tell it was well crafted, but I also found it very light and subtle.

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Let’s see if I can keep the reviewing train rolling today. This was another of my sipdowns from earlier in the year and yet another tea that impressed me greatly. I had no clue what to expect of it prior to trying it, since Rohini teas have always seemed so variable to me. The Rohini Tea Estate always seems to produce interesting, quirky, high quality teas, but what they produce does not always hit the spot for me. Fortunately, this tea did. It was a real knockout.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of bread, cream, vanilla, and grass. After the rinse, I detected aromas of violet, mandarin orange, coconut, sugarcane, and dandelion. The first infusion then introduced aromas of butter, roasted almond, and roasted peanut. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented pleasant notes of cream, bread, butter, dandelion, dandelion greens, vanilla, grass, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, coconut, banana, green apple, mandarin orange, coriander, white grape, and pear. The majority of the subsequent infusions collectively introduced aromas of pear, white grape, dandelion greens, geranium, caramel, and cashew. Stronger and more immediately apparent notes of roasted almond, pear, coriander, mandarin orange, and white grape emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, tangerine, violet, carambola, geranium, fennel, and caramel. I was also able to pick out delicate hints of apricot, yellow plum, cucumber, honey, cashew, and roasted peanut. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, cream, bread, violet, dandelion, dandelion greens, butter, grass, roasted almond, and sugarcane that were backed by a melange of lingering vanilla, white grape, cashew, pear, honey, banana, fennel, and mandarin orange flavors.

Honestly, this was easily one of the most unique and satisfying oolongs I have ever tried. My only real complaints with it were that the tea liquor was a bit thin, and some of the more interesting aroma and flavor components never emerged to the extent I would have preferred. Aside from those two quibbles, I could not find anything to fault, and again, this tea was awesome regardless.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, banana, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cashew, Coconut, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Dandelion, Fennel, Fruity, Geranium, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Mandarin, Mineral, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Sugarcane, Tangerine, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet, White Grapes

185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Last month I had fun going through the prompts multiple times, but I did overdo it when I attempted a fourth passthrough. (And made it!) That was my fauly!I love the Sipdown Challenge, though!

Since I have finished early, I will proceed at a leisurely pace to use it as inspiration, and this African tea was a brilliant option for today.

Heat index yesterday was 107F, or 41.6C. (Thank you, Alexa, for converting that for me.) Today is supposed to be several degrees hotter and we are under an extreme heat advisory.

This tea is brilliant, and I think if at all possible it is going to be a cupboard staple for me. I have steeped it three times now. The first two steeps had auch rich caramel flavor. As I went out to the garden to make periodic short, planned strikes at the work that needs doing there, I could still taste that thick brown sugar. The color of the steeped tea is a very rich amber/brown.

Good golly, I love this tea. Thank you, Superanna.

Martin Bednář

I would melt in those temperatures.


Beat you! 109 in Missouri!


Oh, gmathis! That is awful! Make everyone stay hydrated!


Oof! That’ll probably be us in a week or so. Summer is my least favourite season.

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First prompt for June – an African tea! And it is one of the best African teas I have tasted.

First, it is filthy, ridiculous hot outside. A family cancelled lessons today so I have some free time and I decided to plant the flowers that have been languishing ever since I put my back out last week and haven’t been able to stand without screaming. My back was better today, so I figured I had better get them in the ground.

Just as I got too hot, a shepherd’s hook fell over from the weight of a freshly watered basket, and I had to throw the hose and catch the very heavy basket while the hose drenched the blanket I was using to kneel on to plant the flowers in the beds. Sigh.

When I finally got inside, I wanted cold tea FAST and I remembered Verdant email about flash chilling gong fu tea in a cocktail shaker and how it develops a foamy head. I chose this tea, and man oh man, was that a good choice.

This tea came out sooooo burnt caramel flavored. It is golden with a foamy top. I got a phone call from Ashman just as I poured the water, wandered off, and forgot I was making tea for a minute, but wandered back in time. I am sure it is a little oversteeped, but it is still really, really good.

This is a great method when you want good quality tea without sacrificing its flavor and with no sugar. (Most of our iced tea is sweet.) Since it isn’t sweetened and it s good tea made gong fu style, there isn’t the issue with it needing time for the flavors to meld. I plan to do this again – probably often – this summer.

I still have half a flat of vincas to plant and it is pushing 100F. Sigh. Back to it.

Edited to add: finished planting and came in and made second steep. Timed it properly this time. Golden sweet, light, and burnt sugar now more than burnt caramel. Still foamed when shaken, although I think greens foam even more, probably due to natural saponins.


OK, I’m just envisioning your garden adventures in slow motion …. ;) Is your back still OK after all that?


Ahh White Rhino. This was my all-time favourite from Butiki and I never managed to find a replacement. But you’ve reminded me this one is on my wishlist and I really need to look at the What-Cha webshop!


Gmathis: it is a little stiff just from kneeling to plant the flowers, but the basket incident does not seem to have done additional harm!

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Again with no note from me? How?

This fulfills the prompt for a tea with a color in the name for the April challenge. It also fulfills the desire to drink something amazing today.

The color is a rich gold, and the aroma made me think at first that I might want to use this as a “woody” tea, but I have already chosen who will fill that spot, and on tasting, this medium-to-thick bodied tea is honey up front, with a little baked sweet potato. A bare hint if mineral?

We both sat and sniffed the pot after the tea was gone, and you could have convinced anyone that it had held honey mixed with a little hot water.

Marvelous. A gift from Superanna.


This one sounds delicious! It’s always sold out whenever I check their website, but one day!

Daylon R Thomas

That tea was a staple for me before I went hard into oolongs. It’s still one of my favorite white teas. The Needles is good too, though this one is like an impossible mix between a black and a white tea having both buttery and savory black tea notes with the fruity honey ones.

Daylon R Thomas

And I could have sworn I saw a note you did on this one ashmanra!

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Mastress Alita’s sipdown challenge, March 2022: A tea with spinach/artichoke notes

Spinach and artichoke aren’t notes that spring quickly to mind when I drink tea – although, I do associate the former a tiny bit with Dragon Well/Long Jing style. While not quite as pronounced, this Da Fang tastes a like a close relative of Dragon Well: it’s nutty, with a squeeze of lemon on a light, calcium-rich leafy green base. It brings to mind Gomae (spinach, sesame sauce). It’s pleasingly smooth, and without that bitter kale-like note that some green teas have; it’s a forgiving tea.

I love this tea’s profile and am glad What-Cha included it as a sample (I even horded my last cup’s worth, but open packets of green tea need to go at this time of the year). I’d definitely consider picking up more at some point.

Steep Count: 3

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Lemon, Mineral, Nutty, Smooth, Spinach, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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A light cup today, but full of flavor. Creamy and thick. The aroma is very sweet potato. Tastes of dark chocolate and cocoa with full bodied mouthfeel. It’s better with cooler water. A good choice for after lunch.
I’ll re-order this once I’ve made some progress with my cupboard numbers.

Flavors: Cocoa, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Sweet Potatoes, Thick, Yams

195 °F / 90 °C

Golden Snail is soooooo good.

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Slightly spicy (warming, tingly?) on the tongue. Fruity/chocolate notes. Full mouth feel, creamy aftertaste. I like it – so much so that when I noticed I was running low I ordered more.
Temp 195-212F Some leaves in the strainer. Couple of minutes steep time.

Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Fruity, Spicy, Thick

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I received this as a sample in my large Black Friday order with Derk in 2020. (Will I ever be finished reviewing these teas?) It’s from March 2020, so not that old in the scheme of things. I steeped all 5 g in my 120 ml teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The dry aroma is of charcoal, toasted grains, and nuts. The first steep has notes of grain, Graham cracker, butter, honey, oats, walnuts, hazelnuts, and roast. The next steep has a bit of honeysuckle florality that reminds me this is a Jin Xuan. Charcoal, bread, and Graham crackers are more prominent in the next couple steeps, and the tea develops a slightly sour, vegetal taste. By steep five, the charcoal and roast are fairly strong and the tea is much less sweet. Sadly, I’m starting to lose interest, though there are many steeps to go. The rest of the session is all about the roast, with notes of minerals and wood appearing as it nears its end.

Whether due to my palate or my steeping parameters, I thought this tea was nice but fairly basic. The charcoal roast took over rather quickly, though I enjoyed the s’mores-like flavours and the florals. It’s possible I’m being too hard on this tea since the tap on my bathroom sink just broke and I’ll need to call the super to fix it.

Flavors: Bread, Butter, Charcoal, Floral, Graham Cracker, Grain, Hazelnut, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Oats, Pleasantly Sour, Roasted, Vegetal, Walnut, Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Thank you Alistair for this sample. I decided to finally brew my 2020 sample during a cold, winter day with the mega storm passing through as I grade. Japanese blacks are always extremely woodsy for me, and are usually a strong hit or miss. This one is a happy medium with a nice bit of complexity.

I should have aimed to use more water to cut down on some astringency, but I did three flash point gong fu sessions. Eastteaguys florid description is on point. Like other Japanese blacks for me, there is a cherry wood quality to it that is pretty nice, and heavy with plum, dark chocolate, malt, drying straw, and sweet wood. It’s very earthy, and kind of feels like a darker hojicha. The texture is incredible despite the bitterness I got, and the color yields a deep red that’s gorgeous to look at.

It’s a good tea that fits a lot of what I like from most teas, though it’s a little bit woodsy and bitter for me to get more of. I could brew it more carefully next time to improve my enjoyment, but I know how Japanese blacks can be. I still recommend it for people trying out Japanese blacks. I could see this tea blending with roses pretty nicely personally.

Flavors: Astringent, Bread, Cherry Wood, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Dry Grass, Drying, Plum, Straw, Sweet

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drank Keemun Black Tea by What-Cha
5940 tasting notes

2022 Sipdown 37/365!

Looks like this was a sample from Sil judging from the handwriting – thanks! This was actually quite tasty, and not the profile I expected at all – it was rich and chocolatey and quite delicious.

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This tea shines more with cooler water. Every time I’ve pushed temperature, it gives more of a roasted flavor (a little burnt and unpleasant). It’s be wonderfully chocolatey, full bodied and smooth when the water is cooler. I also think it’s not as good when I overleaf.

Honestly, good but not great. It’s not as flexible as I would like. Not quite a sipdown…there’s a little bit left in the package.

Flavors: Burnt, Chocolate, Roasty, Smooth

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2021 Harvest
First time trying out last night, and I was very happy with it so far. Huge, bulbous leaves heavy with intensely creamy florals. Visually, I kept on getting purple, blue, white, and yellow flowers in the taste and aroma. The flavor is extremely faint and light, but the texture is viscous while having just the right amount of floral flavor to taste like a light milky custard. Again, not straightforward in the flavor, but blooming in fragrance with some sweetness in taste.

Not rating it yet, but I like it. Only really down side is it does not last long. I only got 5cups using 1 min, 2 min, 3, 4, and 5, 5 being fiant.

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The dry leaf smells wonderful a big wallop of fruity spiced compote but the experience is severely disjointed and displays only some of those notes within the watery body. Wet rocks taste but not mineral with vestigial oddities that I can’t place. A strange bitter-herbaceous finish that I imagine as the taste of chomping on some water-logged thistle flowers. Flowery-plum skin aftertaste lingers and with this third steep, the brew does taste like plum but not sweet. The first steep gave a warming/cooling camphorous rush in my chest which, beyond the dry leaf aroma, is my favorite part of this tea. I’m not going to bother going beyond this third infusion.

This is a good candidate for a home re-roasting.

Flavors: Allspice, Apricot, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Camphor, Chocolate, Coffee, Flowers, Herbaceous, Honey, Peat, Plum, Raspberry, Sour, Thistle, Wet Rocks, Wet Wood

Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Your “wet rocks but not mineral” makes me think of the way Turkey Creek smells after a flash flood :)


There you go, making me miss Midwest thunderstorms. I did get to experience a hair-raising one in Florida a few weeks ago.


Every da Hong pao I’ve ever tasted has reminded me of pine cones boiled in bong water. Not in an unpleasant way just weird. Goes nicely with a Szechuan hot pot but otherwise not something I crave


There’s a big difference between Dahongpao that is composed of Beidou and/or Qidan cultivars compared to many that are mixes of ‘brick weed’. Lighter processing can give me that flavor reminiscent of bong water. A lot of times I pick up on cannabis in lighter roasted yancha. Darker roasts of Dahongpao made with Beidou and/or Qidan can produce some surprisingly complex and smooth teas without that funk. Some people may mention the difference between Banyan- and Zhengyan-grown teas; I don’t have enough experience comparing the two since Zhengyan teas are generally prohibitively expensive. Glad you can enjoy the funky ones.

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Been drinking this western the past several days. It’s a pretty good tea this way, and I’m able to mostly avoid the parched throat effect. If oversteeped, it tastes like persimmon butter but with a very clean mouthfeel-taste, some kind of spice (allspice?) and plumeria, which I would have never guessed if I hadn’t read Tea Necromancer’s note from years past. Also bitter and a bit parchy.

The fruity flavors aren’t as pronounced or nuanced prepared western as with gongfu but it makes a gulpable and rather caffeinating cup.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Brisk, Cherry, Drying, Flowers, Mineral, Persimmon, Spices, Viscous

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March 2021 harvest, gone gongfu.

This is a very approachable oolong like most highly oxidized, or red, oolong. In character, it is much like a bug-bittern oolong mixed with a dark white tea.

The aromas and quickly developing, lingering aftertaste are really a treat. In the hard and shiny nuggets of the dry leaf, I pick up on white grape juice, muscatel and sweet, roasted notes. In addition to those, warming the leaf brings a strong aroma of honeyed, baked cherries — very natural. Rinsing brings the roasted notes more forward as roasted nuts, and they are supplemented by paper, plum, blackberry, cherry and some hints of resin; in general, sweet and tangy, roasted.

At first the aroma of the tea tends toward honeyed baked cherries. As steepings progress, the aroma turns into a dominant white grape-muscatel. With that transformation, the tea also becomes noticeably floral. Jasmine comes to mind and that fits my experience of some jasmine-scented teas of white, green and black types — many of them tend to have a strong grape note to my senses.

With the juicy, pleasing aroma also comes an array of fruit in the mouth. The main taste of the tea is rather woody with a light touch of honey, but as soon as I swallow, tangy fruit tones bloom and merge with the supple and fluid juicy tones. I pick up on apricot and cooked plantain mixed with cherry, white grape juice, muscatel, plums, blackberries. Soon after, a bright buttery-cream taste merges with the fruitiness in the aftertaste. It’s just the right accent, not overtaking the palate. Final steeps become woodier, more floral and drier as the butter-cream aftertaste persists.

The tea has a body like soft spring water and leaves an impression of being somewhat pectic and oily. Initial infusions have a clean and glassy mineral quality and a noticeable salivation effect. One thing I take issue with is the tea has a tendency to have a papery-tannic drying quality in the throat, making for a laborious swallow in the minutes after finishing a cup.

I admit I drink some snooty teas so when I do have a session with an affordable tea with easily accessible qualities, I get so excited at the idea of recommending it to newer gongfu tea drinkers. I don’t think you can go wrong with this Thai oolong, just be aware of the dry throat effect!

Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Blackberry, Brown Toast, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Juicy, Mineral, Muscatel, Oily, Paper, Plum, Resin, Roasted Nuts, Smooth, Soft, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Tannin, White Grapes, Woody

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Oh, this harvest sounds good! And agree that the price point for this is great!


I liked it a lot and very much recommend it for the price.

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