876 Tasting Notes

90

Alright, here is my last review for the day. I finished a sample pouch of this chai around the start of the month. Normally, I am not a huge fan of chai blends, but this one was pretty much excellent.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of the loose tea and spice blend in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I neither performed a rinse nor attempted any additional infusions. I also tried this blend with and without an addition of 2% milk.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaf and spice mix emitted aromas of ginger, cardamom, clove, and cinnamon that were underscored by hints of black pepper. After infusion, scents of malt, cream, and caramel emerged. In the mouth, the liquor was brisk, biting, and astringent, expressing wood, caramel, cream, malt, brown toast, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper notes before a spicy, peppery finish heavy on lingering cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, and black pepper impressions. The addition of 2% milk tamed the astringency and briskness of this blend somewhat while allowing for greater integration of the aromas and flavors of the CTC black tea and the added spices.

To be totally honest, a preblended masala chai will likely never be able to top one that is homemade, but for what this was, it was more or less excellent. I could see it being good for those instances when one is craving chai, but does not have the time to prepare one from scratch. Overall, I have no real complaints with this blend. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quality masala chai.

Flavors: Astringent, Biting, Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Caramel, Cardamon, Cinnamon, Clove, Cream, Ginger, Malt, Wood

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Tabby

Your reviews are always such a good read. I hope I can learn to taste as thoroughly as you do one day, haha. :)

Mastress Alita

I think we all aspire to have eastkyteaguy’s God Tongue.

eastkyteaguy

Tabby, thank you. It just takes practice and patience. I’m still learning as I go.

eastkyteaguy

Mastress Alita, I can’t shoot fireballs or lightning bolts from my tongue, so it does not qualify as the God Tongue yet. I’m working on it, though.

derk

In the meantime, folks, say hello to the Steepster demigod. Don’t tremble in fear just yet.

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85

This was one of my most recent sipdowns as I finished what I had of this tea a couple days ago. What-Cha advertised it as being a good inexpensive baozhong, and I have to echo that sentiment. Actually, I would go a step further and say that I found it to be a very good inexpensive baozhong, one that would be perfect for regular consumption.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 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, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of cream, butter, custard, vanilla, gardenia, baked bread, and parsley. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of honeysuckle, orange blossom, sugarcane, grass, and watercress. The first infusion introduced an oat scent along with some hints of cinnamon and honeydew. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, grass, watercress, baked bread, oats, and sugarcane that were backed by custard, parsley, and orange blossom hints. The subsequent infusions introduced scents of violet, coriander, cucumber, and spinach. Cinnamon, vanilla, gardenia, honeysuckle, and honeydew notes came out in the mouth alongside stronger orange blossom impressions and new notes of minerals, coriander, cucumber, spinach, green apple, violet, pear, umami, and honey. By the end of the session, I could still pick up notes of minerals, grass, honey, vanilla, baked bread, sugarcane, cream, butter, pear, and orange blossom that were underscored by hints of spinach, grass, and umami.

Given the price and origin of this tea, I was not expecting something so complex and resilient. Honestly, this tea actually beat some of the supposedly premium Wenshan baozhongs I have tried in recent years. If you happen to be looking for an affordable baozhong with a lot to offer or a quality introduction to oolongs of this type, this will very likely be the tea for you.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cream, Cucumber, Custard, Gardenias, Grass, Green Apple, Honey, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Oats, Orange Blossom, Parsley, Pear, Spinach, Sugarcane, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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91

Here is another review from the backlog. I finished a 10g sample pouch of this tea either at the end of the first week or at the start of the second week in the month. To be totally honest here, this was not a tea I purchased myself. Alistair included it as a free sample with one of my more recent What-Cha orders because he wanted to see what I thought of it. For the most part, I have made a point of avoiding Korean green teas simply because I do not know a ton about them, and not only is information on them rather scarce, but it also often seems to be unreliable. This Korean green tea, however, struck me as being a great offering. I may have to explore the world of Korean green teas more thoroughly in the near future.

In terms of preparation, I could not find any sort of consistent guidelines for brewing this tea, so I just kind of winged it. I started by rinsing approximately 3-4 g of loose tea leaves in 158 F water and then steeped them in 8 oz of 158 F water for 30 seconds. This infusion was followed by 45 second, 1 minute 15 second, 2 minute, and 3 minute infusions. I used the same water temperature for each additional infusion. I have no clue whether that was appropriate or not.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced a sweet, delicate toasted grain scent. After the rinse, I picked up scents of grass, straw, asparagus, and zucchini. The first infusion introduced some additional toasted grain aromas that I could not place. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up soft, delicate, and subtle sweet corn, honey, and sugarcane notes that quickly gave way to impressions of toasted rice, grass, asparagus, zucchini, and spinach. Something of a nectar and/or honeydew sweetness came out after the swallow and lingered in the mouth. The second infusion brought out some salty and brothy qualities on the nose with some subtle impressions of spinach and chestnut appearing as well. Stronger grass, zucchini, asparagus, and spinach notes appeared in the mouth as well as stronger and more immediately noticeable nectar and honeydew impressions. Butter, cream, umami, chestnut, and sea salt notes also emerged alongside hints of seaweed. The third infusion brought out a little more chestnut on the nose as well as some subtle honeydew scents. Stronger honeydew, chestnut, and sea salt notes were present in the mouth while new impressions of minerals, lettuce, and oats also made themselves known. The fourth infusion saw the nose turn nuttier, saltier, and more marine. Notes of straw finally came out in the mouth along with stronger mineral, spinach, seaweed, lettuce, sea salt, oat, and umami impressions. Some sweet, fruity underpinnings were still detectable in the background, but I did not make much of an effort to analyze them. The final infusion brought out heavy mineral and sea salt aromas that were underscored by some vague vegetal hints. Notes of minerals, umami, spinach, lettuce, seaweed, sea salt, and cream were present in the mouth and were backed by fleeting hints of sweet corn, toasted rice, chestnut, honeydew, and sugarcane.

This was an extremely deep and complex green tea with a ridiculously sophisticated layering of aromas and flavors and tons of body and texture in the mouth. I especially appreciated the fact that each infusion offered something different, holding my attention from start to finish. Even with me most likely butchering the preparation, this was still a fantastic tea. I would recommend it to green tea drinkers who are looking for something different and highly unique.

Flavors: Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Grass, Honey, Honeydew, Lettuce, Mineral, Nectar, Oats, Salt, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Umami, Zucchini

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

After a much longer layoff than anticipated, I am back. School and work have been eating up just about all of my time for the past couple of weeks, but I am now at a point where the workload in my class has slowed to a crawl and I have a few days off of work, so hopefully, I can get some more reviews posted. This was one of the last teas I finished in October. Even though Jin Jun Mei is often hit or miss for me, I found this one to be very pleasant.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, baked bread, sweet potato, cocoa, and straw. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut and malt underscored by hints of spice. The first infusion brought out aromas of rose, geranium, and violet that were underscored by hints of brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, baked bread, cocoa, straw, roasted peanut, and brown sugar that were backed by hints of honey, orange zest, pine, and roasted almond. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger floral character on the nose as well as an orange zest aroma. Hints of violet, geranium, and rose appeared in the mouth alongside belatedly emerging malt notes. New impressions of minerals, cream, butter, and green beans also appeared alongside subtle cinnamon, nutmeg, grass, and pear notes and stronger pine and orange zest flavors. By the end of the session, I could still pick up on notes of minerals, malt, cream, butter, and roasted peanut that were balanced by pine, pear, orange zest, and sweet potato impressions as well as ghostly floral touches.

This was a very nice Jin Jun Mei with more depth and complexity than anticipated. I would have liked to see slightly stronger floral character, but for the most part, this was a very good tea. I would have no difficulty recommending it to fans of sweeter black teas.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Geranium, Grass, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Rose, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Violet

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
derk

Welcome back. It’s nice to see your reviews again.

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87

This was another of my recent sipdowns. I finished what I had of this tea a couple days ago. I was a big fan of What-Cha’s other Kenyan white teas, so I went into my review session for this one with incredibly high expectations. Fortunately, it delivered, yet I could not help feeling a slight tinge of disappointment with it because it was a couple steps down from the others in terms of appeal for me.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf buds in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 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, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry buds produced aromas of hay, cedar, sugarcane, vanilla, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I picked up on new aromas of almond, cream, butter, straw, and marshmallow. The first infusion then introduced a slight peony scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered delicate notes of cream, butter, almond, and vanilla that were chased by faint straw, sugarcane, and eucalyptus hints. The subsequent infusions brought out aromas of toffee, plum, peanut, malt, menthol, and baked bread as well as a few traces of tobacco. Impressions of hay, marshmallow, and cedar belatedly emerged in the mouth alongside stronger sugarcane and eucalyptus notes and a few stray hints of peony. I also noted new impressions of minerals, plum, peanut, pear, malt, baked bread, and tangerine zest as well as some hints of menthol, tobacco, apricot, and toffee. By the time I decided to wrap up my review session, I could still pick out notes of minerals, malt, baked bread, butter, cream, almond, and sugarcane to go along with stronger toffee notes. There were also some lingering hints of tobacco, eucalyptus, straw, menthol, pear, and plum in the background.

This was a subtle yet incredibly deep and complex white tea with tremendous longevity. I was particularly impressed by the sophisticated and harmonious integration of its eclectic aroma and flavor components. That being said, I was often left wishing for a little more oomph in terms of body, texture, and overall flavor. All in all, this was a very good and very unique white tea, but when compared to some of the other Kenyan white teas sourced by What-Cha, it suffered somewhat. A lot of that is due to the combination of the busy and cluttered composition, understated expression, lighter body, and delicate, airy texture of its liquor. Since no one component or set of components was overly attention grabbing, this tea ended up being one of those that required extreme focus to appreciate. Honestly, it made for a challenging drinking experience that was ultimately a bit exhausting for me. Normally, I can squeeze a couple of gongfu sessions into a day if I so choose, but after doing a lengthy session with this tea, I was simply done for the day. I know that I am being a bit hard on this tea, but it was just not as fun or as immediately likable as some of What-Cha’s other Kenyan whites. It was still very good, though, and I would not caution interested drinkers to avoid it.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cedar, Citrus Zest, Cream, Eucalyptus, Floral, Hay, Malt, Marshmallow, Menthol, Mineral, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Straw, Sugarcane, Tobacco, Toffee, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

This was my most recent sipdown since I finished my sample of this tea this morning. It was an excellent Wuyi black tea with great body and texture to go along with wonderful aromatics and flavor components. I suppose I should not have been surprised, however, since Old Ways Tea seems to have a way with Wuyi blacks.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 3 ounces of 185 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 baked bread, sweet potato, and malt underscored by hints of grass. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted peanut and honey as well as a slight orchid fragrance. The first infusion introduced aromas of brown sugar and candied orange. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of sweet potato, honey, orchid, and candied orange that gave way to impressions of malt, roasted peanut, and brown sugar. There were also subtle notes of pear, grass, and peach in the aftertaste. The subsequent infusions brought out scents of violet, apple, pear, and chocolate. Baked bread notes came out in the mouth along with impressions of minerals, violet, cream, apple, chocolate, and nectarine. There were some very subtle hints of straw too. The previously mentioned notes of pear and peach were more intense, swelling on the finish and merging with lingering touches of brown sugar, violet, orchid, candied orange, and honey in the mouth for a unique afterglow. By the end of the session, I could still pick out mineral, malt, cream, and roasted peanut notes that were accented by hints of violet, honey, pear, brown sugar, and sweet potato.

Okay, I may as well just come out and say it: I enjoyed this tea much more than I expected to. It was a much sweeter, fruitier, and more floral tea than its name suggested, and it clearly had not lost a step in storage. All in all, this was a wonderful Wuyi black tea. I could see it being tremendously satisfying for fans of sweeter and more robustly flavored black teas.

Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Candy, Chocolate, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Orchid, Peach, Peanut, Pear, Stonefruits, Straw, Sweet Potatoes, Violet

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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72

This was one of my most recent sipdowns. I finished the last of what I had of this tea last night. As the previous reviewer noted, the tea pellets were not as tightly rolled as one would expect from a tea of this type, looking a little more like small snails than round balls. As Chinese gunpowder green teas go, this one was a good bit quirkier, more likable, and more complex than most, but it was still by no means a truly spectacular offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. Teavivre recommended a water temperature of 194 F for this tea, but I tend to be more comfortable brewing Chinese green teas under 190 F, so I opted to use 185 F water for the entirety of the session. After rinsing 7 grams of loose tea pellets in 5 ounces of 185 F water, I started my session off with a 5 second infusion. Fourteen 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, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry pellets emitted aromas of cooked cabbage, straw, hay, roasted carrot, smoke, char, and honey. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of spinach and peas. The first infusion introduced a subtle grass scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, straw, grass, spinach, peas, cooked cabbage, smoke, and roasted carrot that were chased by hints of honey, lemon, and caramel. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of cooked green beans, butter, and green olive. Stronger lemon notes appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging char hints. New impressions of minerals, butter, seaweed, cooked green beans, roasted barley, and green olive also appeared alongside hints of malt and wood. By the end of the review session, I was still able to detect subtle impressions of minerals, spinach, grass, and seaweed that were backed by fleeting honey, straw, roasted carrot, and cooked cabbage hints.

This was a pretty solid gunpowder green tea. It was a bit rough around the edges (some fairly pronounced astringency here and there), but overall, it was a likable tea. Gunpowder green teas are rarely ever super high end and are mostly just intended to be regular drinking teas anyway, so it is not really fair to expect them to compare to higher end Chinese green teas. For what this was, it was pretty good. I would imagine that fans of such teas would find it rather enjoyable.

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Carrot, Char, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Olives, Peas, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Straw, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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95

This was my most recent sipdown as I finished my 25g pouch last night. The weather here changed very suddenly a couple days ago, and since I have been once again dealing with sinus issues as a result, I have been spending a tremendous amount of time nursing hot beverages. Not wanting to cause ridiculous insomnia, I have been consuming tisanes in the evening. Though I do not go out of my way to drink it often, I am a huge fan of wild jujube. I am happy to report that I found this one to be an excellent offering.

I prepared this tisane gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of jujube leaf in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 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, and 15 minutes. I actually could have kept going for at least one or two more infusions, but I decided to stop where I did because it was getting late.

Prior to the rinse, the dry jujube leaves emitted aromas of toasted rice, toasted walnut, spinach, turnip greens, and roasted Brussels sprouts. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of collard greens and roasted carrots. The first infusion brought out a subtle roasted barley scent. In the mouth, I noted unexpected mushroom notes along with the expected impressions of turnip greens, spinach, collard greens, and roasted Brussels sprouts. Notes of ginseng, honey, vanilla, sugarcane, and toasted walnut started out as hints of flavor lingering in the background before coming out powerfully on the finish. Subsequent infusions introduced aromas of vanilla, ginseng, sugarcane, mushroom, honey, and seaweed. Notes of toasted rice, roasted carrot, and roasted barley emerged alongside impressions of baked bread, soybean, umami, seaweed, butter, minerals, grass, and radish. By the time I ended my review session, I was still picking up on notes of umami, minerals, butter, roasted barley, spinach, turnip greens, and toasted walnut that were balanced by hints of roasted Brussels sprouts, collard greens, mushroom, sugarcane, vanilla, and ginseng.

An almost unbelievably aromatic and flavorful tisane, I currently wish that I had purchased more of this when I had the money. This made for an excellent evening hot beverage that had the added benefit of temporarily clearing my sinuses while also serving as a sleep aid. If I were to directly compare it to anything, I would compare it to vegetable soup broth. I always crave vegetable soup when I am sick and/or when the weather starts to turn cold, so this really hit the spot for me. Definitely make a point of trying this offering if you are at all into Chinese herbal brews.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Carrot, Grass, Herbaceous, Honey, Mineral, Mushrooms, Roasted Barley, Seaweed, Soybean, Spinach, Sugarcane, Toasted Rice, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

I am once again starting to clear out my backlog of tea reviews. I think I finished what I had of this tea right at the end of October. It was either the last or next to last sipdown of the month. As silver needle white teas go, I found it to be tremendously enjoyable. It was oddly a heavier and more accessible tea than many of its Chinese counterparts.

Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 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, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of hay, eucalyptus, vanilla, and malt that were underscored by hints of smoke and corn husk. After the rinse, I detected stronger corn husk and smoke scents along with aromas of cream, celery, and butter. I did not notice any difference in the tea’s bouquet on the first infusion. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, smoke, eucalyptus, cream, corn husk, and butter that were backed by hints of vanilla. Subsequent infusions introduced scents of green beans, sugarcane, apricot, fennel, puff pastry, and marshmallow as well as well as a subtle honeydew aroma. Stronger vanilla notes emerged in the mouth as well as belatedly emerging impressions of malt and celery. New impressions of minerals, green beans, sugarcane, apple, puff pastry, honeydew, marshmallow, apricot, fennel, and orange zest also emerged. At the end of the session, the tea liquor had grown a bit astringent, but I could still pick up mineral, celery, cream, fennel, butter, and sugarcane impressions framed by accents of hay, honeydew, apple, vanilla, and eucalyptus.

This was an absolutely fantastic silver needle white tea, one that I would honestly rank up above some of the better Chinese silver needles I have tried. I think I would even put it above the few Darjeeling silver needles I have tried to this point. I would recommend it highly to anyone with an interest in quality white teas, especially someone looking for something more exotic than the traditional Chinese offerings.

Flavors: Apple, Apricot, Butter, Celery, Corn Husk, Cream, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Green Beans, Hay, Honeydew, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pastries, Smoke, Sugarcane, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

It is finally time to get the last of the Zhangping Shui Xian mini cake reviews posted. I had one each of the 2016 and 2017 “Premium Floral” Cakes, consuming them in back-to-back gongfu sessions at the end of last week. I found both to be very good, definitely a few steps above the regular Zhangping Shui Xian “Floral” Cakes offered by What-Cha. Just to be clear, this review will specifically detail my experience with the 2016 cake. I will review the 2017 cake in a separate review at a later date.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, I prepared this tea gongfu style. I plopped the whole cake into my 160 ml celadon gaiwan, rinsed it in 203 F water for about 10 seconds, and then steeped it for 10 seconds to start. This initial infusion was then 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 mini cake emitted aromas of cream, butter, custard, honeysuckle, and gardenia. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of steamed milk, sugarcane, grass, and vanilla. The first infusion brought out subtle orange blossom scents. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, butter, and grass that were chased by hints of sugarcane, orange blossom, tart cherry, and gardenia. The subsequent infusions brought out mineral, cinnamon, baked bread, mushroom, and almond aromas. Notes of steamed milk, custard, vanilla, and honeysuckle came out in the mouth along with new notes of minerals, coconut, almond, apple, orange zest, pear, mushroom, cattail shoots, and baked bread. The previously mentioned impressions of grass and tart cherry grew a little stronger as well. By the end of the session, I was just able to pick up on lingering mineral, cattail shoot, grass, tart cherry, orange zest, and butter notes that were underscored by fleeting hints of cream, baked bread, pear, apple, vanilla, and sugarcane.

Much like the other Zhangping Shui Xian mini cakes sourced by What-Cha, this was a subtle and delicate tea that often emphasized body and texture over aroma and flavor. Unlike those other teas, this one was more consistent in terms of body and texture, and the aromas and flavors present were a little more prominent and were layered in a more appealing and sophisticated fashion. Honestly, this blew the other Zhangping Shui Xian mini cakes out of the water, but I also doubt that I would have appreciated this one as much had I not taken the time to try the others.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Milk, Mineral, Mushrooms, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Pear, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
8 g 5 OZ / 160 ML

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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.

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