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Recent Tasting Notes


I’m still drinking this at the moment. I’m about four steeps in, but I wanted to note on it while I’m on the computer.

I’ve 54g left of this tea. I’m happy to know that W2T still has it listed on their site. However, I’m all through with buying more tea for 2020. I got a huge load of it coming through from Black Friday, that I might’ve missed on getting more of this anytime soon. ;)

Anyway, this is an oddly satisfying session. First steep had a corn (popcorn?) note right off the bat. I brewed the second steep a little longer, and there had been a slight smoky note on the tongue, but it only lasted briefly, and faded back into the corn note. I also noted ‘bran flakes, but not long lasting.’ I’m a bit baffled by the tea, but it’s definitely not as sweet as the tea which I noted on a few moments ago. Rather than experiencing the sweetness from the last tea, I’ve moved on to the savory session.

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So, I’m pretty sure that I bought this tea in 2015 but I only just steeped it for the first time earlier this week. #teahoarderproblems

I made it Monday night after getting home from work as a way to round out my advent teas for the day. I’m almost 100% sure I don’t have any pu’erh in any of my five advents so if I want any during the month of December I’m going to have to make the effort to sneak it in on top of my advent teas. Not a long session – it was late, I’d had a bunch of teas already, and as I’ve mentioned in the past I feel less motivated to brew Gongfu when it’s dark outside/the lighting in my apartment is bad because it just makes me feel kind of sad…

Overall this was thick and brothy; very savory/umami earthy notes with a meatiness to the cup. I have a hard time describing “mushroom” as a flavour because I’m allergic and just don’t have a reference point in my head for that flavour note, but it has the kind of flavour that has often been described to me as mushroomy and is in line with a flavour note I’ve picked out of several teas that have all shared that as a common description. So, I think it’s likely safe to say it tastes mushroomy. Definitely makes the name/pressing of the tea all the more appropriate, as well!

Good, thick mouthfeel too – very coating!

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5lxoAQgtt8/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLR2Wj-llFE

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I started the day and ended the day with this tea. Even before/after the tea room experience, I continued drinking this one. I must say that it is fairly different than the 2017. It has more darker, richer notes. Malty syrup (?) & cocoa bits. It reminded me of a waffle if it were drizzled with molasses rather than syrup, with a touch of woody/slightly spiced notes as the session progressed forward.

The tea starts out thick and sweet, but by the time I was finishing it up, it was smooth woody notes. Odd for sure, but not bad.

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Tea Time: Dang, this is good. I’m grandpa’ing it at the moment. Strong, sweet, and earthy flavors bouncing on the tongue. Powerful stuff (or it could be the rest of the tea I’ve spent drinking throughout the day). I’m giddy because 1. It’s Friday; 2. It’s the weekend; 3. I just got the next two books of the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan in the mail; and 4. I start my MBA in January! :D

Back to the tea: This one brews up for a long time. I decided to grandpa style my way through the last 10g of the tea. I only bought a sample of the 2017 & 2018 to compare the notes, but I lost them a while back (or I forgot which notebook I placed them). I like this shou, but I may not get anymore of it. I’m trying to get as much of the shou I currently have sipped down, so that I may begin storing more and aging some raw puerh.

PS. I’ll have my first tea room experience tomorrow. The wife and I had set an appointment at this place weeks ago because the last time we attempted to drop by, they were booked for the full day. I’ll have to make notes on here afterwards, but it’ll hopefully be a grand time!


Yep, I got three books in the mail today too, so it’s a good day. I can never keep up with them!


I hope you have fun at the tea room tomorrow.


Tea + books in the mail is one of best things, ever.

And thank you! I’m looking forward to it.


I will never completely conquer Mount ToBeRead. Enjoy your tea room date!


Well, I’d like to meet the one person who has any sort of TBR pile that has actually conquered it. There are many TBR mountains in that range. haha. :D


Only book people understand. I was scandalized not long ago when I bit on one of those click-bait features about “30 ways to declutter” … and nearing the top of the list was “get rid of books you’ve read ONCE.” Scandalous!


WHAT once?!?! never.

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drank Smoked Lapsang by White2Tea
6 tasting notes

Some of the best smoky lapsang I’ve ever had.
I really enjoy Lapsang Souchong – I have to be in the mood for it, but when I’m in the mood for it I CRAVE it.
This Lapsang is not too smoky; you can taste the leaf along with the smoke – providing a complex flavor that has not been overpowered. Well done.

Flavors: Campfire, Cherry Wood, Dark Bittersweet, Smoked, Toasty, Tobacco

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g

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This tea is an absolute pleasure.
I feel like it warms your entire body; maybe even the soul. It’s a great way to start the day on a cold chilly winter morning.
Little Lullaby responds well to gong fu style flash steeping and yields many many cups. I don’t think you can overheat this tea – it’s still sweet, even if the water is boiling.
It’s got a soft complexity that maintains through every cup yet it is never overpowering. Have I mentioned that I love this tea? I love this tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Dried Fruit, Sweet, Sweet, warm grass

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g

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drank 2018 Smoove Cocoa Minis by White2Tea
404 tasting notes

It seems like there isn’t a consensus whether this tea is cocoa-like or not. I feel like I land somewhere in between. As far as the liquor goes, to me it mostly tastes like mushroom broth with a bit of a woody flavour. However, in the aftertaste I do get some chocolate note, as well as the kind of dry cocoa butter aftertaste.

The tea has a decent balance with some bitterness, spicy notes in the aftertaste and mild caramel sweetness, but ultimately it does lean quite heavily on the umami side of things.

Flavors: Bitter, Broth, Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Mushrooms, Spicy, Wood

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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drank 2018 Charlie by White2Tea
6 tasting notes

A W2T tea club only tea.
Waited about a year to really dig into this tea, and it aged very well.
This tea yields many sessions with just a few grams; providing complex flavor that changes over time with sweetness and depth.
One of my favorite shou puerhs – a daily drinker that I’m going to miss when it is gone.

Flavors: Camphor, Nutty, Sweet, Wet Earth, Wet Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g

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drank 2019 Gold 8 by White2Tea
8766 tasting notes

In honor of new limited release W2T cakes for Black Friday, today I broke into a limited release cake from earlier in the year… Gongfu, of course.

Light handed leaf & short steeps because I’ve heard this sheng leans pretty bitter, but honestly I’m REALLY loving it. It’s a touch bitter, but also really light and smooth with a sweet undertone the creeps and slips into the body of the sip; reminds me of the simple sweetness of agave nectar but maybe a tiny bit fruity!? I brewed five steeps – and this definitely could have gone at least a little longer, but I could see that the end was neigh given my light handed leaf. The bitterness did pick up throughout the session but it never really got as strong as I’d expected it to be, and it did stay consistently sweet as well.

Has anyone else broken into this cake yet? What were your impressions??

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B5gBygGAlvA/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eahCC9pfzc

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The first half of this session is beautiful scent and energywise but it descends into a lightly smoky yet somehow rather harsh latter half. Have not paid enough attention to pinpoint whether the gentle but persistent harshness is in the belly or the mouth or throat or all of the above. I can try to remember to do that for my final sesskon. The raw sensation isn’t a dealbreaker but makes this less of an impulse buy despite it being at that sub-$100-for-200g sweet spot. Not sure if others are buying this to age but every time I drink this I get major munchies. So I like this a lot but would want the newer materials in it to mellow out further before subjecting my poor tummy to a whole cake of it.

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drank 2018 Ghosts by White2Tea
404 tasting notes

Unlike for TWT, my impression of this tea improved as the session went on. It also lasted about 14 infusions, which is fairly good. Early on, I found the tea too astringent and light bodied. On the other hand, the second half of the session shows more enduring sweetness and a creamier, thicker mouthfeel that remains interesting all the way until the last steep.

I found the aroma of this blend very weak and uninteresting. The only notes sticking out in early stages were those of spearmint and anise. The taste of the rinse is juicy and mineral with a vegetal bitterness. Early infusions are bittersweet and astringent with flavours of honey, green bell pepper, black pepper, fennel seeds and slightly marine character. Late steeps were more floral and agreeable for me personally. The aftertaste is tangy and kind of green tea like. As for the texture, it is coating, drying, and waxy at first, but get very creamy later on as I already alluded to.

2018 Ghosts seems like a mix of the profiles of two other W2T teas I own, namely Year of the Rooster and Demon Slayer. Ultimately, I find it less enjoyable than both, despite being more expensive than either. It is quite an unremarkable tea without a distinctive character all in all.

Flavors: Anise, Astringent, Bitter, Black Pepper, Fennel, Fennel Seed, Floral, Green Bell Peppers, Marine, Spearmint, Sweet, Vegetal

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

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Flavors: Roasted, Wet Rocks

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Gongfu Sipdown (718)!

This was a free sample in an earlier W2T order this year – I liked the 2018 pressing of this tea quite a bit so I was excited to get to try the 2019. It’s actually something I’d have likely ordered for myself at some point anyway, so it was nice to get my hands on some for free!

I used the whole sample for the session in a larger gaiwan – so about 10g/150ml.

I find the 2019 pressing a little more drying than I did the 2018, in terms of mouthfeel. However it’s still a beautiful tea with a really pleasant and intense transition from woody/roasty notes and astringency to aromatic orchid & lilac with deep juicy sweetness in the form of muscatel grape, lychee, and overripe plum notes. The astringency might linger on the sides of the mouth, but so does that sticky sweet fruit note and in my opinion it’s a more than fair trade off!

I don’t think I’d buy this one – but it was a good session. I’d definitely feel more inclined to just pick up more of the 2018 pressing if I were to consider ‘bricking’ something like this tea…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4-HTU6gv97/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eo-73037xY


Wow, an oolong brick. I never heard of that before. And the flavors sound awesome.

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Office Gongfu!

Thanks Hachachacha for the gentle peer pressure to try this sheng, I really enjoyed it! Fruity/tangy initially – somewhere in the realm of nectarine/peach or maybe even something slightly more tropical like mango?? A little more astringent and bitter as the session progressed but never aggressively so – picked up an anise note in some infusions!

I generally don’t keep track of steep count at work – I kind of just brew until the tea is tapped out, and that was the case here. Took a while though, I remember that.


Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B46Hq7Ggjj9/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oioDwNv7zkI

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Doing what I do every time I place a giant White2tea order & trying to finish up some samples; starting with an afternoon teas ession of 2018 Lumberslut shou puer and some beet & feta mini scones from my lufafarms box!!

Love the combo of this thick and deeply earthy & woody shou paired w/ this flavour of scone. The tea is really dense and heavy, and has all those really great petrichor/wet soil and wood qualities that I love. In the scones, the beet adds some earthiness as well which compliments, but is slightly sweeter and brighter & the feta has a lovely tang and saltiness to contrast. Plus the scone is also just very flakey and buttery. It’s a really wonderful tea and food pairing!!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4qJyb9AazB/

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

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drank 2019 Duh by White2Tea
26 tasting notes

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Wednesday morning there was filming going on in the tea lab all morning and they needed the lab to be completely quiet/empty for the duration so I decided to work from home during the morning since my desk is in the lab and I didn’t really want to share a workspace with someone in the main part of the office. I really enjoy having the flexibility to do that on occaison when my workload permits. Most of my job duties, like lab testing and tastings, can’t be done from home – so it’s nice when it works out.

I got to save the hour of time I would have spent commuting and use it instead for an early morning Gongfu session – and I decided that shou was exactly what I wanted. I think I bought these mini coins last Black Friday, and it’s almost been a year without trying them so I decided to dig them out and give ’em a whirl! Since it was the day before Halloween, I also blasted the Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack. It was a good time!

Tea was thick – very oily/heavy mouthfeel. A bit shroomy in it’s umami/earthy overall profile. I felt, in a couple infusions, more like I was drinking some sort of umami bomb type of soup stock – but a really good stock. Other infusions were more the petrichor sweetness that I really like in a shou. I guess with a name like “Smoove Cocoa” I expected more overall sweetness and, you know, some type of cocoa or chocolate note – but that’s not what I got. Still very nice though!

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4P876BB0L_/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vBrSWZnB9c

Really, as I said above, it was the whole album that I was listening to but this is the RHPS song that I had stuck in my head the whole week leading up to Halloween…

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This is a tea. I drank it. I liked it – a lot.

Really, I have very little memory of what it tasted like though. I more remember the circumstances around drinking it over the taste – I had just gotten home from work and by some miracle it wasn’t already dark yet so I frantically scrambled to boil some water, assemble some teaware, and grab the first roasted tea that I could find because I was going to have the chance to brew something toasty and comforting gongfu while watching a motherfucking sunset. So that’s what I did – and I know that it was lovely!


I. Just. Don’t. Remember. It.

Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4AGp60Ay6x/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8DfTTcJCJQ&list=LL1M1wDjmJD4SJr_CwzXAGuQ&index=13&t=0s

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drank Iron Arhat by White2Tea
8766 tasting notes


This is a super flavourful oolong tea, even really early on!! Medium roasty toasty goodness, with top notes of campfire wood, charcoal & semi salted peanuts, and more of a sweet cocoa and juicy overripe plum in the body of the sip. More fragrant and rich floral notes emerge as the leaves open up, married with the syrupy stonefruit/plum. It feels very deep and well balanced!

Maybe eight or nine steeps, wager I could’ve done another three or four though.

Now that I have a general idea of the taste, next time I think I’ll make this one up in my yancha yixing…

Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/B4F8MybgIhp/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKLWC93nvAU

(Good song – but playing it a lot lately just ‘cause of Spooky Season, but it’s really awesome in general and I think I’m still gonna be hooked on it long after Halloween…)

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drank 2016 Head by White2Tea
506 tasting notes

Song pairing first this time: Portishead — Strangers
(Roseland NYC Live album on my turntable)

Did you realize no one can see inside your view?

Stoner tea if you believe in tea energy. Like a heady sativa dominant strain with enough grounding indica to keep me in one spot. Sedating hyper-awareness. How uncomfortable. This feeling is why I no longer smoke marijuana. I submit, though. How could I not to such a power?

A sample courtesy of Togo.

Dry leaf is shades of brown with leaves and buds furry beige and camel. Smells citric tart and vegetal with a hint of unripe raspberry. Warmed leaf brings out a leafy, bitter medicinal smell with powdered sugar. Rinsed leaf aroma is old wood, buttery floral, sweet vegetal. Drank the rinse. it was very good.

The tea begins viscous with an undeniable lingering rubber-aspirin bitterness. You can’t hide from it. It is there and you know it. The liquor is substantial yet light as in it’s heavy, yet no one characteristic or flavor dominates; well balanced. Leafy medicinal with cotton candy and corn soup sweetness, osmanthus florality. Drying with thick gummy-fluffy salivation. High minerality leaves a clean finish. Initial aftertaste of gingerbread catches me off guard. Warming in throat, cooling in chest. The thing about this tea in its current state — it’s really quite drying but that quality just lets this ridiculously complex, space-filling peachy-plummy-floral-buttery aftertaste resonate for what feels like forever. Time dilation with too much thinking. My brain whirls, I come back to the aftertaste. Too much thinking again. Oh hey, how am I still tasting this tea? And she’s off again.

By the fourth infusion, camphor is coming out my ears and each inhalation through my parted lips cools my entire mouth. I sit for a while with a deep returning honey sweetness. Fifth and sixth infusions, the astringency finally departs, opening up to a less viscous but bittersweet, buttery-rich liquor with apricot-osmanthus, honey-powdered sugar, hay. Tongue coated in tea oil. I have no idea how many infusions I got. Ten? eleven? longer than usual gongfu steep times before I called it.

The experience of this sheng gripped me for better or for worse. I loved what it had to offer but the heady energy was overwhelming for my currently questioning mindset. I agree with Togo’s assessment that this is a fairly standard sheng flavor-wise but if you’re into powerful teas and crave that bitterness, for the current price of $0.38 USD/g I can recommend Head. It does seem like it will age well.

Flavors: Apricot, Bitter, Butter, Camphor, Cotton Candy, Drying, Floral, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Medicinal, Mineral, Osmanthus, Peach, Plums, Powdered sugar, Raspberry, Spices, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal, Wood

Boiling 7 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

Dummy is one of my favorite albums of all time, and Strangers is one of my two favorite tracks on it (the other is Wandering Star). Just saying.


I think I’m going to start doing tea and song pairings just for fun, except all of my pairings are going to be ridiculous death and/or black metal. I might even do full album pairings for gongfu sessions. I’ll be like, "Here. Enjoy this lovely, delicate, complex Shui Jin Gui in a lengthy gongfu session while you simultaneously slam that sickness to Disgorge’s classic sophomore album, ‘She Lay Gutted,’ on repeat. That would be a great way for me to shake things up a bit.


Come to think of it, I think a Shui Jin Gui would be more of a “Cranial Impalement” than a “She Lay Gutted” type of tea. I can’t explain why I feel that way. It’s just a hunch. Also, I should really quit staying up late and mixing alcohol with tea.


Steepster won’t let me send you a message. Did your tea arrive?


eastkyteaguy: Do it.

ashmanra: It did, thank you! Between housesitting and the wildfire effecting my people, I haven’t been on Steepster to notify you (even though I have your email, geez).

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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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drank 2018 Milan Dancong by White2Tea
495 tasting notes


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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drank 2018 Mini Redheads by White2Tea
506 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

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

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

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drank 2019 Green Hype by White2Tea
2 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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