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Gongfu!

Not writing anything elaborate – tasted exactly like the 2017 pressing to me. Maybe I’d notice differences if I did a side by side, though. I don’t like the 2017 pressing of this tea very much though, so suffice to say that I wasn’t heavily into this one either.

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3ZmpxYAHl7/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi8BhoiYYx4

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69
drank 2018 Milan Dancong by White2Tea
488 tasting notes

Sipdown.

Most forgettable of the three of these for me. I didn’t care for it in a gaiwan, but it was drinkable with longer steep times.

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79
drank 2018 Mini Redheads by White2Tea
479 tasting notes

The power of suggestion is real.

Received a 6.3g coin of this red tea with my last order, quite a while ago this year.

3.some grams western, 8oz, water off boiling, 3 steeps of 3, 8? and 20? min.

Great wakethefuckup tea. Hello. She’s a redhead with redfruits but a strawberry blonde with citrus but a dirty dishwater with malt. With flowers in her hair.

I’m unsure that I’ll get anymore detailed considering I’ll polish this off as tomorrow morning’s brew, which means I won’t have time to take notes.

Album pairing: Soul Coughing — Ruby Vroom
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAEgvswvvo0&list=PLX1YtLvoOe0mFv4XGh-lvyGeDD59OPt5x

Flavors: Citrusy, Floral, Malt, Oats, Red Fruits

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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91
drank 2019 Green Hype by White2Tea
3 tasting notes

Best sheng i’ve tried from white2tea so far. The smell of the wet leaves is honey, floral, slightly smokey and maybe even slightly fruity. The cake is blended from semi aged raw puer, so it isn’t too powerful like a young one. The tea tastes nice and complex and the bitterness comes only in the aftertaste with a nice mouthfeel. I cant really explain the flavour, but for anyone who is interested in raw puer I suggest you to try it!

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Smoke

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79

Gongfu Sipdown (705)!

A freebie, in coin form, from my last W2T order. It looks like most people got Dangerfield coins, but I’m guessing I received this one instead since I had actually ordered a Dangerfield sample. I’m glad it wasn’t another Turtle Dove coin – definitely don’t need more of those in my life. This is an interesting one; probably not something I’d have picked for myself – which makes it the perfect thing to sample/explore.

Soft to start, evolving into something with a smooth, silky top note and slight sweetness and more of a herbaceous and green body & finish w/ a pleasant astringency and mild bitter note. Hard to describe this one; it’s different than what I usually lean towards in a raw pu’erh but still enjoyable…

Side note – I’ve seen my review style go through a lot of changes over the last seven years, and it definitely feels like I’ve hit a place, especially w/ Gongfu tea, where I’m just REALLY casual/vague in describing them!? I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week, and I think it’s because I’m drinking something Gongfu practically every day now but, even a year and a half ago, I only had the time to have a proper Gongfu session MAYBE once a week – if I was lucky. So I don’t want to say that Gongfu has become ‘less special’ to me because that’s not true – but with it being more of normal occurance I feel less of a need hyper document everything like I used to…

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2zSz_-gzRq/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_gN3HgjxYo

derk

I’m down to 1 or 2 gongfu sessions a week compared to the 1 or 2 a day when I first signed up for Steepster a year ago. I say we’re flip-flopped the flippie the flippie to the flip flip flop and we don’t stop. Needless to say, I’m not moving through teas as quickly as I used to. I feel like my reviews are changing, too, though how, I’m not sure. Like most things, the evolution will become apparent with time.

Martin Bednář

Same. Back then I was describing colours, but now? Sometimes. Maybe we are more busy, more bored with describing the tea? I do not know. But it is certainly different. As well gong-fu"ing" teas. Back then I was hyped to do it. Now, it is rather too time consuming and I am not really in mood writing them.

I hope I will return to my “standards”, because last few reviews were really meh. Boring. Nothing well described. Just it itastes like this. Maybe that. That is all. BOOO!

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61
drank 2017 Old Reliable by White2Tea
3 tasting notes

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73
drank Milan Dancong by White2Tea
488 tasting notes

Sipdown. Milan Dancong 2017. I had the last two cups of this western. It’s drinkable, but all of the fruity notes and nuances have disappeared. It’s floral and tingly sour (the good kind).

Flavors: Floral, Pleasantly Sour

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33

A strong flavor and medium body with first notes of smoke and leather. I do not like these types of flavors at all so this tea was not for me, but I think whiskey fans might appreciate the profile.

Flavors: Leather, Smoke

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank 2019 Censers by White2Tea
8447 tasting notes

Gongfu!

Tried my sample for the first time yesterday afternoon at work. Ironically, I own a cake of the 2018 pressing of this tea but I’ve never tried it – so 2019 was my first experience. I also have a sample of the 2016 pressing, but I haven’t tasted that one either. I know the 2018 was pretty well liked though, so presumably this 2019 will at least taste somewhat like what the 2019 one did?

Dry leaf smells amazing; super fresh – lemon and green beans!? Steeped tea is fresh, crisp and fairly green; giving me fresh summer grass and citronella vibes in a really nostalgic for childhood summer vacations kinda way. A little bit of straw/honeysuckle!? Has anyone else tried this one yet? What were your thoughts!?

I feel like this could be wonderful Grandpa style…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B2ZQPOUAKnS/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1_IXFQY5Wk

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drank 2018 Arbor Red by White2Tea
101 tasting notes

Glad I did not blind cake this. Given the positive word on the street I strongly considered it multiple times. But I picked up a sample w my last order. It is just smokey to me. Perhaps I am not brewing it right. But to me it is smoky and thin-bodied. Will have to let it rest more and try again but for now I recommend against blindcaking Arbor Red.

Flavors: Smoke

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drank 2018 Lumber Slut by White2Tea
101 tasting notes

Steaming hot wet playground mulch, all the way. We liked it! We have historically responded well to teas that are woody. Fun name and wrapper art as well. Now if only someone would invent a tea that makes the drinkers mosquito bite proof… :( Got SEVEN bites for daring to share 40oz of this with a friend outside.

song pairing: mi persona favorita – alejandro sanz & camila cabello

Flavors: Wet wood

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75
drank 2016 Milan Dancong by White2Tea
488 tasting notes

200F, 100ml shibo, work – no real timing set (10s to 1 min). From White2Tea Club.

First several – weirdly chocolaty, drying, kind of mineral, slightly fruity

Second steep set with much cooler water – might be 190 or 185F
produces a much more fruity and juicy tea. it’s sweeter and seems like it has more body. I wrote viscosity and more ‘liquid’. The drying from earlier is gone or is much reduced due to the cooler temperature.
Fruity aftertaste throughout.

Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Mineral, Sweet, Thick

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73
drank 2009 Jingmai by White2Tea
269 tasting notes

I have got a bit (about 20 grams) from Donatzsky from IRC r/tea. Thanks!

And why I picked this one today? Honestly, I just looked to my Steepster cupboard and this was first one without tasting note. So, I took it and smelled it. It is interesting smell of dry leaf, it is bit metallic, but with some other notes I could not describe much. Maybe honey and herbs (thanks to Char (Oolong owl) with descriptions)? Certainly nice aroma.

Well I rinsed it for quite long and first steep quite short (15 seconds)
It is indeed like honey in aroma, as well some citrus peels. Taste is okay, I expected maybe bit darker (as a shu pu-erh). I don’t know why, when this is another sheng. Otherwise it is same as aroma, bit honey like with citrus notes.

2nd, 20 seconds.
Turns to more bitter, herbal notes appear while honey is disappearing. Citrus notes still somehow same. Not bad steep.

3rd, 30 seconds.
Turns even more bitter. Honey is gone. Citrus are disappearing. Moves to shu pu-erh.

4th, 30 seconds
Okay… similar to 3rd.

5th, 45 seconds
Not so bitter, but it is only note I am able to taste. I am steeping it wrong? Bit like dirty water. But not so disgusting.

6th, 45 seconds
Last one; tea is gone and I have to do something else as well. It is really similar to 5th. Maybe just this tea does not have that longevity as I am used to. It is not bad tea, but overall I am bit dissapointed. Expected maybe bit more of nice notes, less bitterness? I do not know. But it is not such bad. Just not my style.

Before trying this, I wanted to try tea I bought two years ago on Aliexpress. I never found out what is it, now I have tried Google translate and it seems it was leaves of Morus plant. I opened the bag, carefuly, because of collection. And I smelled it. It was disgusting. I throw it away. Maybe it was old, maybe it was because morus, I do not know, I did not wanted to drink it.

Food pairing: open sandwiches from my granny, we call them chlebíčky here.
No song pairing.

Flavors: Bitter, Citrus Zest, Honey, Metallic

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 85 ML

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80
drank 2016 A&P by White2Tea
479 tasting notes

Brewed this black (red) tea pretty strong western, a small-heaped tablespoon, roughly 5g at 205F for 3 and 5 minutes.

The dry leaf has an awesome aroma dominated by cocoa, molasses, tobacco, and berries with fleeting hints of red plum, brown sugar, coffee, barnyard, malt, sweet potato, and woody incense.

When it was hot, the tea tasted mostly of malt and leather. I approached the cup again after a lengthy cool down. Flavors of chocolate barley malt, leather and coffee presented in the oily and smooth brew. As Togo mentioned, it’s savory and earthy. I’m not finding any bitterness. There is a delayed light returning sweetness of dark brown sugar. Freaking delicious!

Brewed at this strength, it tastes like a flat English stout with some sweetness and a light finish not dry but one that tastes like marion berries and clotted cream.

I had been wanting to try A&P since it was released. It is not sold as a sample and I never felt like committing to a 100g cake. So thank you Togo for the opportunity to try it! I might have to order a cake for winter evenings.

Todays pairing: WHAT?! YAYUH!! OKAAAY!

Flavors: Barnyard, Berries, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Earth, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Plums, Roasted Barley, Round , Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85
drank 2009 Yiwu Raw Puer by White2Tea
357 tasting notes

Unlike a lot of other teas in a similar category, this one is very well balanced. It is probably a bit more expensive than what I’d be happy to pay for a cake though.

It has aromas of wooden cabinet, wet earth, water lilies and some medicinal ones. The taste is tart and fruity with a crisp vegetal note appearing throughout the session and a bitter finish. I can taste dates and honey, although the profile is not very sweet overall. In late infusions, the taste is quite spicy too. The aftertaste is dry and has a perfume-like quality with notes of peach skin, wood, and black pepper.

Body is medium to light, but the texture is at least a bit interesting. The liquor has a coating, cooling and slightly numbing mouthfeel with good astringency. As for the cha qi, I found it to be quite heady and elevating with a mild body warming sensation.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Dates, Flowers, Fruity, Honey, Medicinal, Mud, Peach, Perfume, Tart, Vegetal, Wet Earth, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank 2013 Gongmei by White2Tea
8447 tasting notes

Gongfu!

I realize I have a ton of white teas from W2T that I’ve not tried before, so I think over the next month or so I want to prioritize getting through some of those samples. Starting with this one, which was just arbitrarily picked…

Steeped in the evening on a work night, so a shorter session – still like five to seven solid infusions though! It was thick for a white tea, with red fruit and hot summer hay notes. After the third infusion or so, the end of the sip picked up this wonderful molasses-y brown sugar taste as well! Also had a bit of a raw spaghetti squash kind of component to it as well, which was unique and took me a fair bit of time to really nail down and identify.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B19ABqOgLrD/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7yXav31eVA

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77
drank 2016 Hot Brandy by White2Tea
357 tasting notes

An interesting concept, blending white and black tea. It tastes more or less how you’d expect, but the progression of flavours is interesting, with more of a dianhong character early on and aged white notes being prevalent in later steeps.

Aromas of the tea are predominately sweet and woody, just like the flavour profile in the mouth in fact. There are notes of autumn leaf pile, oak wood, and orange blossoms. The taste hits flavours like stonefruits, chocolate, and fermented fruits. There is a nice sourness developing in late infusions. Aftertaste is long and cooling and overwhelmingly sweet. It has notes of apricots and various spices, as well as a slightly metallic tone and a tingling sensation in the throat. The mouthfeel is not very memorable, but decent. It is drying, smooth, and somewhat soft. I can feel there is a decent amount of caffeine in the tea, but the feeling is not too rushy thankfully.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Metallic, Oak wood, Orange Blossom, Smooth, Sour, Spices, Stonefruits, Sweet, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 140 ML

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85

Gongfu!

Ordered this tea from W2T a while back as part of a MASSIVE sample order; and because this is a really polarizing tea I had only intended to pick myself up a sample of it to see if I was in the camp of people who like this tea. However, I inadvertently added a whole brick of this to my cart instead of a sample and I didn’t catch this until the order arrived. Brewed it up for the first time last weekend and thankfully I’m able to report that I am definitely in the group of people who enjoy this tea!

I sipped like nine or ten infusions while casually listening to some music and reading some comics, on Sunday morning while just relaxing and enjoying the weekend. It’s super sweet and tangy, with nice lemon and nectarine notes. It’s even call it juicy. Has a little bit of greenness to it, but overall well balanced and yummy! Basically a lot of the flavour notes of an yiwu that I know I love…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B147HnTgsoV/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gQcL-frLSY

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drank 2013 Shoumei by White2Tea
101 tasting notes

Wet leaf scent will immediately strike Koreans who grew up drinking hanyak as well… hanyak. I’ve half a mind to call my childhood 한의사 to ask if white tea aged for 6+ years was part of the recipe.

Taste is very mild if you gongfu, but I forgot I was steeping the last one and the resulting dark liquor tasted unmistakably like hanyak. This isn’t a bad thing. I’d be surprised to meet non East Asians who like this, though. It is probably an acquired medicinal taste.

As a Korean I want to boil the heck outta this tea and see what happens. But if you’ve never had eastern traditional medicine, see if you like it made with short steeps.

It would be fun to experiment adding dried dates and pine nuts and honey and maybe a cinnamon stick . Possibly also goji berries and snow fungus. It is a tea that invites attempts to make it into a complex but harmonious wellness dessert.

수미차 백차
노백차 수미[老白茶 寿眉]

This person seems to know what he or she is talking about: blog.daum.net/puerchalove/7815983?np_nil_b=-2

Flavors: Dates

Preparation
5 g

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drank 2018 Turtle Dove by White2Tea
101 tasting notes

Dry leaf scent: honey
Wet leaf scent: familiar
Soup color: rich orange amber
Reminds me of: Hot Brandy
Caffeine levels: feels very very very high

The taste of this one is overwhelmingly that of honey for me. Is this normal for sundried whites? I’ve been drinking “moonlight” white almost daily and the difference is certainly very stark.

Just like Hot Brandy, TD comes across as a blue collar energy drink, perfect for people who need to physically work their asses off in the next few hours. I will try to only drink this in the mornings. Do NOT drink this before bed or maybe brew very lightly. I guess 6g is more than I normally make of a tea.

Soooooo caffeine buzzed right now. It is 7:30pm and I feel ready for a 3 hour hike or some sort of dance marathon. Home Depot (where I’m headed next for a thingamajig to fix my dashcam mount) had better watch out. This tea should be called Rabbit Cheetah.

Song pairing: 흔들리는 꽃들 속에서 네 샴푸향이 느껴진거야 – 장범준

Edit: Oh, right, turtle doves are actually one creature [https://www.britannica.com/animal/turtledove]. How did I forget when that song for the 12 days of xmas specifically mentions them? On the 2nd day of xmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree~~ yes yes. Well for one, I don’t believe they ever appear naturally in North America. Anyway, is the tea sweet enough that your true love might give you two bricks or cakes of it for the holidays? Sure. But from the monstrous energy levels available therein, it would seem that your true love might then expect you to do all the snow shoveling and gift wrapping this winter. Or did they mean the all-white domesticated hybrid that magicians are famous for using? I just want answers!

Edit2: What a rabbit hole. Okay. At first, I thought it had to be the magicians because of the turban. But the origin of the W2T Turtle Dove art is an 1800’s (Victorian era) tradecard and advertisement for Hall’s Vegetable Sicilian Hair Renewer
[https://www.worthpoint.com/worthopedia/halls-vegetable-sicilian-hair-renewer-471419639] He cropped out only the lady from “Japan” and kept the other 4 for the brick label. In more recent years, it’s mostly Persia who graces the center of the Turtle Dove cake wrapper.

Edit3: As long as we’re looking up W2T label art origins, Nightlife wrapper appears to be a fun, star-spangled alteration of a June 1914 American Vanity Fair cover, itself digitally restored. [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vanity_Fair_June_1914b.jpg]

Edit4: Splendid’s old lady in a bonnet AND spectacles AND shawl are from this 1881 Currier & Ives print. [https://bit.ly/2k1ldOf]

Edit5: Pussy’s woman w/ two cats is a May 1897 cover by Edward Penfield for Harper’s Magazine [https://bit.ly/2kesKcF]

Flavors: Honey

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79

Gongfu Sipdown (708)!

Another one from Hachachacha and the last of the Lapsang from the June sub box. I saved this one for last because general consensus seems to be that this is the “best” of the five options – and best for last, right? Maybe that caused me to set my expectations high, but personally I didn’t find this one to be the best – although it was still really good. I mean, none of the Lapsang offerings were bad though. I just prefer a more intense smoke note, so I actually liked Smoked Lapsang the best of the five.

Here’s what I wrote on instagram though:

This is another smoked one, AKA right up my alley!! Definitely a less intense smoke than the other, though still pretty full bodied and strong in the initial infusions. Aside from the distinct, woody smoke note I found Pine Sap had a slight raisin-y undertone and a sweet milk chocolate note, as well as some malt and leather notes. The milk chocolate note, most present in the middle of the session, was the most interesting aspect of the tea for me!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1mFoiXg4b6/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vabaTWEqWkE

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86

Gongfu Sipdown (709)!

Another Lapsang shared by Hachachacha that came from the June sub box – I drank it last weekend while trying to figure out which of the Lapsangs I wanted to order larger amounts of. I really, really enjoyed this one and did highly debate picking some up but I’m really trying to narrow down the amount of money I spend on tea so I opted to not get it simply because it was less unique than Fruit Bomb (the unsmoked option I bought) and Smoked was my absolute favourite. It was still so good!

My instagram summary:

This one brews up smooth and full bodied, with well rounded notes of peat, malt, raisins, and brandy – that sweeter, boozey fruit note is especially present in the finish and lingers on the bed of my mouth afterwards.

This one also had some really impressive resteep life for a black tea; I was still going strong like eight or nine steeps in which is something you can’t say about many black teas…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1l4Z0sADpM/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W91Ofs6W8Nw

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91

Gongfu Sipdown (710)!

Last weekend W2T ran a “Back to School” sale w/ free shipping at a really reasonable threshold while, at the same time, releasing 4/5 of the Lapsangs from the June Box online. I’d only tried 2/5 of them at that point, so I began the weekend goal of trying the remaining three offerings (shared with me by Hachachacha) so that I could make an informed decision when it came to buying some Lapsang…

I started with this one and, well, I was blown away.

Fruit Bomb has a deep red liquor and sweet floral leaf aroma – like lilacs in July! The mouthfeel is viscous and syrupy, and coats the mouth. It’s like drinking fresh cut fruit salad in liquid form – red fruits, a wide range of stone fruit, prune, and a hint of citrus. Early infusions have a heady floral undertone. It finishes with malt and caramelized sugar notes. Later infusions are comparable fruit notes, but less fresh cut and more “fruit leather”.

I was massively impressed with how unique and delicious this Lapsang is – and it ended up being one of two that I ordered for myself! I look forward to having more of it in my stash, for sure!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1kPhBRgaGL/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c25zdY4aAec

Been binging this artist so hard recently; the variety of genres he covers is truly impressive and the music is SO GOOD!

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76
drank Shui Xian Oolong by White2Tea
488 tasting notes

From W2T club:
100 ml shibo, 205F, 5g?

Taste is dark fruit like raisins. Roasted sour at the end of the sip that goes away as the steep count increases. Long lasting fruity aftertaste. It did get astringent as the steep count went on and became much more drying. I don’t mind the roast here as it goes away relatively quickly. I got 8 or so steeps.

Flavors: Drying, Fruity, Malt, Raisins, Roasted, Sour

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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