1048 Tasting Notes

70

Now this was a weird one! This was the last tea I drank before I got sick in September, and prior to trying it, I had never previously tried black tea powder. I expected it to basically be prepared like matcha, and I was right. To me, it kind of came off somewhere between a Yunnan black tea and either a ripe pu’erh or a Liu Bao.

I prepared this tea by dumping approximately three grams of loose tea powder in an eight ounce mug and then adding a little 212 F water. After mixing the water and tea powder into a paste, I filled the mug with 212 F water and stirred briskly with a spoon. That’s it.

Prior to preparation, the tea powder gave off aromas of dust, earth, wood, old paper, smoke, and grass. After preparation, the aroma profile of the tea liquor did not seem different from that of the tea powder. In the mouth, I detected notes of earth, mushroom, forest floor, dust, grass, lemon rind, wood, cocoa, old paper, leather, smoke, and cream that were balanced by hints of ash, raisin, caramel, nutmeg, roasted walnut, brown sugar, coffee, roasted chestnut, betel nut, and cinnamon. The tea liquor was very gritty and bitter in the mouth and possessed a pronounced astringency. The aftertaste was odd, reminding me greatly of either a ripe pu’erh or a Liu Bao from Guangxi.

Honestly, I still have no clue how I feel about this tea. It was strange and not something I would be in any rush to try again, but at the same time, it was not exactly unpleasant. I kind of hated it at first, but the more of it I drank, the more I warmed up to it. If you can get past the gritty texture, the bitterness and astringency of the tea liquor, and the odd combination of aromas and flavors, this is actually something of a fun little offering with more depth and complexity than one should reasonably expect.

Flavors: Ash, Astringent, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Coffee, Cream, Dust, Earth, Forest Floor, Grass, Leather, Lemon, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Nuts, Paper, Raisins, Smoke, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

93

This was another of my sample sipdowns from early in the year. It is also a tea that I did not really know anything about prior to drinking it. I still don’t know anything about it other than it was the 2019 version of the traditional Shui Xian that Old Ways Tea seems to stock every year. In truth, I was not expecting much, but as it turned out, this was a great offering. It was not as durable as some of Old Ways Tea’s specialized or higher end Shui Xian, but it offered tremendously enjoyable aromas, flavors, and texture.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were 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 cinnamon, pine, charcoal, blackberry, and black cherry. After the rinse, I picked up new aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, smoke, baked bread, and rock sugar. The first infusion introduced a pomegranate aroma underscored by subtler grass and cannabis scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, pine, smoke, charcoal, roasted almond, grass, blackberry, and black cherry that were chased by subtler flavors of tobacco, nutmeg, baked bread, roasted peanut, and pomegranate. The bulk of the subsequent infusions gradually added new aromas of dark chocolate, plum, tobacco, and red grape. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of tobacco, roasted peanut, and baked bread appeared in the mouth alongside fresh notes of minerals, red grape, orchid, caramel, rock sugar, plum, earth, black currant, orange zest, and violet. Hints of black raspberry, dark chocolate, peach, and cannabis could also be detected here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, baked bread, caramel, roasted almond, black cherry, grass, tobacco, pine, and red grape that were balanced by lingering hints of earth, roasted peanut, charcoal, blackberry, orange zest, black raspberry, black currant, and dark chocolate.

For a standard Shui Xian, this was very interesting. It was very heavy on dark fruit flavors, possessing a more pronounced sweetness than I would generally expect of a tea of this type. There were also one or two truly unique notes in this tea. In particular, that lovely violet flavor that was so noticeable in some of the middle infusions was really something special and unexpected. Despite its lack of durability and refinement compared to some of Old Ways Tea’s higher end Shui Xian offerings, this one was a winner. I now kind of wish I had bought more.

Flavors: Almond, Black Currant, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Bread, Cannabis, Caramel, Charcoal, Cherry, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Pomegranate, Smoke, Sugar, Tobacco, Violet

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

78

Well, I’m back after a long absence. My time has been eaten up by work and health problems for the last three months. A bout of COVID in late September left me unable to smell or taste much of anything for an extended period of time. It was so bizarre. I couldn’t smell or taste anything save for tea while I was sick, but then afterwards, tea was the only thing I could not smell or taste. I’ve noticed that I am still not quite as perceptive to certain aromas or flavors as I used to be, but for whatever reason, I am now much more sensitive to texture. I have no clue when or if I will be able to fully work my way back to where I was before I got sick, but for now, I’m easing my way back into things and starting off by posting one of my backlogged reviews from much earlier in the year. As Bai Ji Guan goes, this one was not bad, but it was far from the best I have ever had. I certainly did not think it measured up to Old Ways Tea’s 2018 offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 10 seconds, I kicked things off with a 5 second infusion. 18 additional infusions followed. Steep times for these infusions were 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, straw, honey, apricot, earth, and golden raisin. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted chestnut, roasted peanut, and grass that were underscored by a subtle smokiness. The first infusion added aromas of bread, dandelion, and dandelion greens. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of hay, grass, straw, earth, dandelion, roasted carrot, roasted chestnut, and baked bread that were chased by hints of smoke, golden raisin, apricot, honey, pear, butter, apple, dandelion greens, and roasted peanut. The bulk of the subsequent infusions gradually introduced aromas of roasted carrot, minerals, butter, mushroom, roasted almond, and parsley. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of roasted carrot, butter, pear, apple, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, cream, roasted almond, white grape, spinach, mushroom, parsley, and lettuce. I also picked up hints of watercress, orange zest, caramel, and sugarcane. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize lasting notes of minerals, grass, hay, butter, parsley, roasted almond, spinach, baked bread, and roasted chestnut that were underscored by rather fleeting hints of mushroom, lettuce, watercress, pear, honey, sugarcane, earth, roasted peanut, smoke, and golden raisin.

Compared to the 2018 production of this tea, this offering did not come off as being as deep or as complex, yet it was also oddly not as approachable. The aromas it offered seemed a bit flat and muted, while the mouthfeel of the tea liquor was not as sharp or crisp as I was hoping it would be. Still, this was far from a bad tea. It did offer some truly nice aromas and flavors. It just could have been more elegant and better balanced.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Chestnut, Cream, Dandelion, Earth, Grass, Hay, Honey, Lettuce, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Parsley, Peanut, Pear, Raisins, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Vegetal, White Grapes

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
Martin Bednář

Always happy to read your vast notes! Bizzare how Covid affects everyone differently.

ashmanra

Wow, that must be a powerful impact for you as I have always thought you must be a supertaster. I hope it all come back to normal.

tea-sipper

oh no! I’m so sorry Covid hit you so badly as a supertaster. Covid: still weird.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

84

This was another of my recent sipdowns and a tea from which I expected a little more. Li Shan teas usually do it for me, and What-Cha tends to do a great job of sourcing stuff from Li Shan. While this was still a very good tea overall, I have had better Li Shan oolongs.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the rolled leaf and bud sets in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 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 minutes, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud sets emitted aromas of bread, honey, sweet potato, and cream. After the rinse, fresh aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, butter, and green wood emerged. The first infusion then added a slight banana scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, bread, malt, honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and green wood that were chased by delicate hints of banana, golden raisin, sugarcane, green apple, pear, caramel, and chocolate. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of sugarcane, chocolate, orange zest, lemon zest, caramel, and vanilla. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of caramel, chocolate, pear, sugarcane, and green apple emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, oats, orange zest, lemon zest, and sweet potato. Hints of grass, apricot, plum, cedar, juniper, peach, and cinnamon could also be detected around the fringes. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize lingering notes of minerals, cream, malt, bread, pear, roasted almond, roasted peanut, green wood, orange zest, and lemon zest that were chased by hints of honey, green apple, caramel, chocolate, sweet potato, sugarcane, and grass.

On the one hand, this tea offered a lot of the aromas and flavors I have come to expect of heavily oxidized and/or roasted Li Shan oolongs, but on the other hand, the oxidation was significant enough to bring out several notes I tend to get out of many black teas. Because of this, drinking this tea was something of an odd experience for me. It simultaneously reminded me of both Li Shan oolong and black teas, but it did not walk the line between oolong and black tea well enough to really stand out to me. It ultimately struck me as being a quality tea that had a few awkward characteristics and did not manage to do any one thing well enough to push it to the top of What-Cha’s small pile of consistently amazing Li Shan offerings.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, banana, Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Raisins, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

77

This was another of my recent sipdowns. Like the review of What-Cha’s Taiwan Shan Lin Xi black tea that I just posted, I am also piecing this review together from the shredded remnants of my handwritten rough draft. Pet ownership is fun. The same cat responsible for shredding my current notebook enjoys making nests or little hoards out of things she steals from me. I’m certain that the pages she wallowed, ripped, and tore loose from the notebook’s binding would have quickly made their way into such a creation, and then there would have been no recovery of any information contained on them. The last time I stumbled upon a Mean Baby cache, I found ink pens, paper clips, bottle caps, rubber bands, cat toys, various coins, and a dirty sock. She had stuffed these items under the base of a floor lamp in my living room. I can only imagine where these notes would have ended up. Anyway, this tea represented something of a first for me, as I’m pretty sure it was the first tea from Sandakphu that I had ever tried. Bizarrely, I had previously tried several teas from each of the other major Nepalese tea producers, but at the time I was working my way through the sole pouch of this tea that I had purchased, I could not recall trying any other Sandakphu tea. It was a respectable enough offering with something of a different character compared to the other Nepalese black teas offered by What-Cha.

I took a break from gongfu brewing with this tea, opting to brew it Western style. I prepared it by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the tea leaves prior to infusion, nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of bread, malt, cocoa, brown sugar, and sweet potato. After infusion, I noted new aromas of earth, butter, roasted peanut, stewed tomato, geranium, and prune. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered a unique mix of earth, cream, stewed tomato, cooked green bean, brown sugar, sweet potato, orange zest, malt, bread, cocoa, grass, lemon zest, pine, roasted peanut, geranium, roasted almond, butter, hay, prune, and roasted walnut flavors. Additional impressions of black cherry, oak, and blackberry were little more than background notes. The finish was creamy, malty, and vegetal, but it also displayed a pronounced woodiness, powerful astringency, fairly heavy roasted nut notes, and something of a lingering fruity character.

Overall, this was a pretty good Nepalese black tea, but it struck me as having some obvious flaws. First, its flavors frequently came across as muddled. There were times where the balance of the tea liquor was lacking. It was also a bit lacking in texture, and the finish was a bit too astringent for me. Still, this was not a horrible offering, pretty far from one actually. I’m happy that I took the opportunity to give it a try.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Blackberry, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Lemon Zest, Malt, Oak, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Prune, Sweet Potatoes, Tomato, Walnut

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Leafhopper

I had to laugh at your cat’s hoarding instincts. I’m glad none of your tea has ended up in her nests!

eastkyteaguy

It actually has. She has been known to turn the garbage bin over to munch on spent tea leaves. She will also steal pouches of tea, tear them open, and then wallow and eat the dry leaves.

Leafhopper

Sounds like one determined (and destructive) cat! :)

eastkyteaguy

Oh, she is. Just in the recent past, she has stolen my wallet and hidden it, stolen my car keys, taken food out of my hands and run off with it, and stolen credit cards out of my wallet.

Leafhopper

Haha, she sounds like a toddler!

eastkyteaguy

I think she is a toddler. She’s one of the smartest, most inquistive, and most vocal cats I’ve ever encountered. You can look at her and just tell that the wheels are turning. She is constantly trying to figure out how to get more attention, how to get more food, how things in my house work, and how to get things she isn’t supposed to have.

eastkyteaguy

Just FYI, her name is Mean Baby.

Leafhopper

You named her well! Maybe you should invest in cat-proof bins for your tea, or lock it up and see if opening combination locks is one of her skills. If nothing else, you could post that on YouTube. :) I’m not sure how you’d go about protecting wallets and other important loose items.

tea-sipper

AH, I can’t stop laughing at Mean Baby’s name. And it sounds like a perfect name for her. :D

mrmopar

Too funny. We have one that will fetch a small ball of aluminum foil. Won’t bother with anything else.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

88

This was one of my recent sipdowns, coming from around a month or two ago. I wasn’t planning on reviewing this tea just yet, but Mean Baby, the naughtiest tortie in recorded history, decided to wallow my current review notebook and rip more pages out of it. She nearly shredded the page containing this review, so I am now typing it from loose pieces of notebook paper that have been pressed back together. Anyway, I had huge expectations for this tea after being floored by What-Cha’s absolutely incredible Li Shan black tea. In comparison, this Shan Lin Xi black was not quite as good, but it was still a high quality offering with a ton to offer.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick 5 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased 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 honey, plum, black raspberry, bread, sweet potato, black grape, and cinnamon. After the rinse, aromas of roasted almond, roasted peanut, and roasted potato appeared. The first infusion added aromas of brown sugar and violet. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, roasted almond, sweet potato, pear, bread, roasted potato, plum, cream, and butter that were balanced by hints of roasted peanut, black grape, and brown sugar. The bulk of the subsequent infusions added aromas of dark chocolate, red apple, molasses, orange zest, lychee, malt, peach, pear, elderflower, and maple syrup to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of roasted peanut and black grape emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, red apple, caramel, rose, dark chocolate, orange zest, lychee, violet, malt, and elderflower. Subtle hints of cinnamon, ginger, earth, molasses, black cherry, black raspberry, peach, elderberry, and maple syrup could also be detected here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, butter, cream, bread, malt, roasted almond, roasted peanut, roasted potato, dark chocolate, caramel, and orange zest that were chased by elusive hints of brown sugar, honey, pear, earth, sweet potato, red apple, lychee, and maple syrup.

This was an interesting and satisfying tea with tremendous poise, depth, and complexity. I greatly admired the harmonious and sophisticated layering of its aromas and flavors and adored the smooth, silky, creamy texture of its liquor. At the same time, I was hoping for a little more longevity and a more dynamic presence in the mouth. I wanted more intensity, but this tea was consistently mellow, relaxed, and gentle. Perhaps my expectations were unfair. I often find myself wanting a little more out of teas from Shan Lin Xi, even those that I find to be very enjoyable, such as this one. Definitely try it if you are looking for an elegant Taiwanese black tea.

Flavors: Almond, Black Raspberry, Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Elderberry, Elderflower, Ginger, Grapes, Honey, Lychee, Malt, Maple Syrup, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Plum, Potato, Red Apple, Sweet Potatoes, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

It’s getting late here, but I want to get at least one new tea review posted before I head for bed. This was my most recent sipdown and a tea I had been looking forward to trying for months. After going through several Yunnan, Fujian, and Guangxi silver needles over the course of 2021, I had a couple pouches of Fujian Wild Silver Needle, this one from What-Cha and one from Whispering Pines Tea Company, left to try. Both came from the spring 2021 harvest in Zhenghe, or at least I think that’s the case. I still haven’t tried the version offered by Whispering Pines, but I finished this one off today. My overall impression was that it was a great offering with a fairly unique character compared to the other Fujian silver needles I have tried.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose tea buds in 4 fluid ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 20 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, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted powerful aromas of almond, peanut, hay, straw, and cinnamon. I could tell that this tea was going to offer a different experience immediately. Silver needle white teas usually offer a very gentle dry bud fragrance, but this tea was incredibly aromatic. Looking at the dry buds, they were also smaller and thicker than other teas of this type. After the rinse, I detected strong aromas of kale, peas, broccoli, and cabbage. The first proper infusion then added a somewhat subtler aroma of fresh green bell pepper. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of almond, peanut, hay, straw, green banana, kale, broccoli, snap pea, cabbage, cream, vanilla, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler impressions of pear, cinnamon, and minerals. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of white pepper, cream, butter, sugarcane, moss, green wood, and green banana to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of minerals came out in the mouth alongside notes of butter, green bell pepper, chili leaf, white grape, moss, green wood, and watermelon rind. An interesting melange of white pepper, white peach, apricot, macadamia, guava, coconut, pineapple, birch bark, orange zest, and honeydew swirled in the background. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to play up clear notes of minerals, hay, cabbage, broccoli, cream, peanut, almond, butter, and green bell pepper that were underscored by lingering moss, straw, orange zest, green banana, white grape, green wood, guava, white peach, apricot, honeydew, and watermelon rind hints.

This was a very unusual tea. It came off as being a little more rustic than other Fujian silver needles, but it also produced an aromatic and satisfying tea liquor of tremendous depth, complexity, and texture. Definitely one for the connoisseurs, this would most certainly not be a tea for beginners or casual drinkers. In the end, this was a very worthwhile tea, but if you haven’t tried at least a couple of different Fujian silver needles, hold off on trying a tea of this type for now.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, banana, Bark, Broccoli, Butter, Cabbage, Chili, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Guava, Hay, Honeydew, Kale, Macadamia, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Peas, Pepper, Pineapple, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Watermelon, White Grapes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
TeaEarleGreyHot You are truly blessed to have such exquisite taste buds and the ability to discriminate so many unique flavors! Every time I read one of your reviews I am amazed!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

Okay, while I still have the energy, it’s time to post another previously unposted review from 2021. This one I think came from either late summer or early fall, but I have no way of being certain about that. The Old Tree Shui Xian that Old Ways Tea offers each year is usually great stuff, and this 2018 production was another winner.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of the loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cinnamon, earth, blackberry, black cherry, charcoal, bread, and smoke. After the rinse, aromas of tar, ash, mushroom, and roasted peanut emerged. The first infusion added roasted almond and black raspberry fragrances along with hints of rock sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cinnamon, charcoal, black cherry, roasted peanut, smoke, ash, and tar that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, blackberry, mushroom, bread, and earth. The majority of the subsequent infusions added aromas of pine, tobacco, minerals, orange zest, and roasted barley to the tea’s bouquet. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of roasted almond, mushroom, earth, bread, and blackberry emerged in the mouth alongside impressions of minerals, tobacco, pine, cream, butter, orange zest, rock sugar, black raspberry, plum, and roasted barley. Hints of red apple, blueberry, grass, fig, and toasted rice could also be detected. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, roasted almond, cream, butter, orange zest, and roasted barley that were chased by lingering hints of cinnamon, earth, toasted rice, grass, charcoal, pine, mushroom, roasted peanut, black cherry, and blackberry.

This tea was kind of a typical Old Tree Shui Xian in many ways. It produced a liquor that frequently emphasized sharp mineral texture over aroma or flavor and provided a warming, soothing, subtly invigorating energy. I was a little surprised that it gave out when it did and probably could and should have tried to push it a little harder, but I also kind of appreciated that it did not overstay its welcome. Compared to some of the previous versions offered by Old Ways Tea, this one was very rich and smooth with slightly more pronounced earthy, savory, nutty, vegetal, and roasted characteristics and less fruity and/or floral character. Actually, floral character seemed to be totally absent in this tea, allowing other characteristics to shine through and an even greater emphasis to be placed on the all-important texture of the tea liquor. Though it did not really surprise me in any way, this was a more or less great tea. I have had better Old Tree Shui Xian, but this was still a tremendously enjoyable offering overall.

Flavors: Almond, Ash, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Charcoal, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grass, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pine, Plum, Red Apple, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Sugar, Tar, Toasted Rice, Tobacco

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

70

This was yet another of my late 2021 sipdowns. At the time I set about giving this tea a fair shake, I had been looking forward to trying it for some time despite being preoccupied with finishing off a number of other teas in my possession. Qi Dan, on its own, can be hit or miss, but as Old Ways Tea handles Rou Gui very well, and Qi Dan is or can be remarkably similar to Rou Gui, I had high expectations for this tea prior to setting about reviewing it. Unfortunately, it was something of a disappointment for me. While it was not a terrible offering by any means, it also did not offer a consistently compelling or enjoyable drinking experience.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minutes 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of bread, cinnamon, pine, black cherry, and blueberry that were underpinned by a subtle smoky scent. After the rinse, I discovered the emergence of roasted almond, rock sugar, and cannabis aromas that were accompanied by a slight charcoal fragrance. The first proper infusion added subtle orchid, grass, and blackberry presences. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up notes of cinnamon, blueberry, black cherry, charcoal, and roasted almond that were balanced by hints of smoke, grass, cannabis, pear, blackberry, roasted peanut, and orchid. The bulk of the subsequent infusions gradually provided fresh aromas of roasted peanut, orange zest, and earth in addition to noticeably stronger grassy scents. More immediately detectable impressions of smoke, blackberry, grass, and roasted peanut emerged in the mouth accompanied by notes of minerals, butter, rock sugar, orange zest, plum, earth, and pine. Roasted walnut and bitter, oily hickory nut notes thrived on the back of the throat. Hints of peach, red grape, and bread could be picked up here and there. As the tea gradually faded, the liquor continued to pound my palate with notes of minerals, orange zest, blueberry, black cherry, roasted almond, and roasted walnut before a mix of subtler impressions of grass, earth, pine, red grape, blackberry, charcoal, rock sugar, bread, plum, and smoke made themselves known.

What an odd tea this was! It was all over the place. It started off seemingly confused and unfocused. The impressions it offered were somewhat scattered and unclear, but then as it quickly evened out, that bitter, nutty, and somewhat odd aftertaste became ever more noticeable. The best sipping this tea offered came towards the end of my drinking session. If this tea had one standout characteristic, it was its clear and consistent minerality, though I would describe the texture of the tea liquor as being slippery and thin, even for a Wuyi oolong. At this point, I know it may seem like I am really slamming this tea hard, but it was not unenjoyable. It had a lot of nice flavor notes. I just wish it had been more consistent and balanced from the start. Overall, this was an okay offering. It just wasn’t what I was expecting it to be.

Flavors: Almond, Bitter, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Cannabis, Charcoal, Cherry, Cinnamon, Earth, Grapes, Grass, Mineral, Orange Zest, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plum, Smoke, Sugar, Walnut

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

83
drank Butter Flower by white2tea
1048 tasting notes

This was another sipdown of mine from late last year. I ended up receiving a free sample of this tea with an order from teaware.house. I had no real information on it at the time and still am not certain whether this tea was a 2018 or 2019 production. I found it to be an odd tea with tremendously intense character, though it did not strike me as being unappealing.

As I only had a 5g sample pouch of this tea with which to work, I opted to prepare it gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 fluid ounces of 203 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minutes, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of pomegranate, red wine, blackberry, plum, and black raspberry. After the rinse, new aromas of orchid, candied pomelo, cream, butter, and honeysuckle emerged along with a subtle spinach scent. The first proper infusion added additional aromas of bread and vanilla. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of pomegranate, butter, red wine, sour cherry, blackberry, orchid, and cream that were balanced by hints of bread, black raspberry, black currant, fig, and candied pomelo. The majority of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of violet, peach, sour cherry, and sugarcane in addition to a much stronger candied pomelo fragrance. More dominant notes of bread and candied pomelo emerged alongside impressions of violet, almond, grass, minerals, earth, sugarcane, plum, and nectarine. Hints of honeysuckle, apple, peach, spinach, and vanilla were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, grass, sour cherry, pomegranate, nectarine, butter, and orchid in addition to a stronger peach-like presence. Fleeting hints of almond, plum, spinach, cream, blackberry, bread, candied pomelo, red wine, and sugarcane continued to be detectable in the background.

I don’t normally write extensive concluding notes for teas I review, but I did for this one. The tea had a boozy presence in the mouth and packed a huge caffeine wallop. The energy it provided was almost overpowering at times. The texture of the tea liquor was typically thin and slippery, but it had a habit of shifting unpredictably, creating something of a chaotic presence that kept me on my toes through the entirety of the drinking session. While I respected this tea’s complexity, vigor, and durability, it offered a lot to process. I doubt it would be suitable for beginners or casual drinkers.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Black Currant, Black Raspberry, Blackberry, Bread, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nectarine, Orchid, Peach, Plum, Pomegranate, Red Wine, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.

Location

KY

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer