943 Tasting Notes

85

Okay, people. It’s time for my weekly wave of tea reviews. This is one of the golden oldies that I have been meaning to review for some time. I recall this sipdown coming from late August. Unlike a lot of the Yunnan Sourcing teas I had tried up to that point, this one was entirely new to me. I had missed out on all of the previous productions. I’m kind of sorry I did because this ended up being a very respectable offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of straw, cedar, malt, honey, baked bread, and cinnamon. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted almond, grass, and pine. The first infusion introduced aromas of roasted peanut and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, butter, cream, straw, baked bread, pine, and roasted peanut that were balanced by subtler impressions of oats, roasted almond, grass, smoke, pear, honey, and cedar. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of smoke, oats, cream, chocolate, black pepper, orange zest, and green bell pepper. Stronger and more immediately evident impressions of oats, grass, pear, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth alongside notes of cinnamon, red apple, minerals, orange zest, plum, earth, and green bell pepper. Hints of black pepper, chocolate, beeswax, and brown sugar were also present. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized impressions of minerals, malt, butter, cream, grass, straw, green bell pepper, roasted peanut, pear, roasted almond, and baked bread that were balanced by fleeting hints of beeswax, red apple, honey, orange zest, oats, and cinnamon.

This was a very approachable and likable Yunnan black tea. As anyone familiar with this offering knows, this tea was processed in the Taiwanese style, and it did a good job of approximating the character of many Taiwanese black teas. I could see it being a good stepping stone into the world of Yunnan black tea for Taiwanese tea drinkers. I also could see it being a good option for fans of Taiwanese black tea that are searching for a value offering capable of standing up to both rigorous gongfu preparations and basic daily drinking.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cedar, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Cream, Earth, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Smoke, Straw

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Okay, here is my final review of the day. This was one of my summer sipdowns, likely coming from either early or mid-August. Though the 2018 Feng Qing black teas have proven to be more variable in terms of quality and appeal than I would typically expect, this was an excellent offering overall.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 17 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of malt, baked bread, marshmallow, hay, sugarcane, and sweet potato. After the rinse, I detected aromas of honey, roasted almond, roasted peanut, and eucalyptus. The first infusion introduced aromas of clove and black pepper in addition to a subtle chocolate scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, cooked green beans, sweet potato, marshmallow, grass, hay, caramel, roasted peanut, and sugarcane that were balanced by hints of baked bread, honey, chocolate, black pepper, and eucalyptus. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of green bell pepper, camphor, roasted pecan, earth, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of baked bread, black pepper, eucalyptus, and chocolate emerged in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, molasses, earth, roasted almond, green bell pepper, orange zest, celery, camphor, roasted pecan, and roasted walnut. I also picked up on hints of clove, cinnamon, plum, caramelized banana, and red pear. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, earth, malt, cooked green bean, baked bread, sweet potato, and marshmallow notes that were underscored by lingering hints of hay, chocolate, orange zest, roasted pecan, roasted almond, camphor, eucalyptus, plum, and sugarcane.

This was a very impressive black tea with the expected herbal, vegetal, and spicy impressions so typical of the Feng Qing style. Aside from the relatively minor quibbles that this tea faded a little faster than I would have liked and there were a few instances in which the herb and spice notes were a little overwhelming, there was not much to fault with it. Fans of Feng Qing black teas would likely be highly satisfied with this offering.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Camphor, Caramel, Celery, Chocolate, Clove, Earth, Eucalyptus, Grass, Green Beans, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pecan, Plums, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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70

This was one of my most recent sipdowns. As a matter of fact, now that I have gotten into the habit of dating the rough drafts of my reviews, I can assure all of you that I finished the last of my pouch of this tea on Saturday and that I composed my review Friday night. Interestingly, Feng Qing #17 continues to both underwhelm and confound me. I know a lot of people absolutely adore teas produced from Feng Qing #17, but I have yet to have one that blows me away. This one obviously did not buck that trend. It was a pretty good golden needle black tea though.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 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, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds produced aromas of malt, chocolate, cream, cedar, tobacco, and brown sugar. After the rinse, I detected aromas of raisin, roasted almond, and banana as well as a subtle scent of smoke. The first infusion brought out aromas of vanilla, maple syrup, baked bread, and butter. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented delicate notes of malt, cream, butter, baked bread, and chocolate that were backed by hints of roasted almond, banana, brown sugar, vanilla, raisin, marshmallow, and tobacco. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of eucalyptus, honey, lemon zest, camphor, praline, marshmallow, black pepper, plum, roasted pecan, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of roasted almond, vanilla, marshmallow, and banana appeared in the mouth alongside notes of minerals, maple syrup, cedar, eucalyptus, camphor, honey, lemon zest, roasted pecan, black pepper, plum, praline, earth, sweet potato, and orange zest. I also picked out hints of smoke, peach, pear, and red apple lurking here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized mineral, baked bread, lemon zest, orange zest, sweet potato, earth, and roasted almond notes that were balanced by lingering hints of red apple, roasted pecan, butter, cream, tobacco, cedar, plum, pear, eucalyptus, and honey.

This tea displayed admirable depth and complexity, but it was also a little too even-keeled to make much of a lasting impression on me. It ultimately just struck me as a sweet, smooth, approachable, balanced, and steady tea with deceptive depth and complexity. I tend to prefer Yunnan black teas that are a little pricklier and more commanding.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Butter, Camphor, Cedar, Chocolate, Cream, Earth, Eucalyptus, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Maple Syrup, Marshmallow, Mineral, Orange Zest, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Smoke, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

In case anyone who reads my reviews has missed it, I have been focusing on polishing off a lot of the spring 2018 black teas and Dancong oolongs that I purchased that year. I spent way too much money on tea in 2018, and quite frankly, I only realized how many 2018 teas I still had when I recently went through my tea hoard. I’m trying to finish them all prior to the end of spring 2021 since they will likely be more or less at or near their peak up until that point in time. That being said, expect many more reviews of 2018 black and oolong teas over the next 5-6 months. This was one of my last sipdowns of September. At the time I was working my way through what I had of this tea, I recalled liking the spring 2017 version of this tea quite a bit. Fortunately for me, this production had not seemed to have been impacted by its lengthy time in storage and was about as impressive as the previous spring’s offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 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 buds emitted aromas of smoke, malt, pine, cedar, and butter. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of banana, sweet potato, roasted almond, cream, and vanilla. The first infusion introduced aromas of geranium and baked bread as well as a more subtle roasted peanut scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of malt, roasted almond, cream, and butter that were backed by hints of baked bread, smoke, roasted peanut, sweet potato, caramel, and molasses. There was also a bit of a meaty impression left on the palate after each swallow. It reminded me of smoked or barbecued pork, as crazy as that may sound. The subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of caramel, dark chocolate, orange zest, plum, red grape, roasted hazelnut, sugarcane, and roasted walnut. Stronger and more immediately detectable impressions of baked bread, caramel, sweet potato, molasses, and roasted peanut appeared in the mouth alongside notes of earth, minerals, dark chocolate, red grape, pear, plum, roasted hazelnut, roasted walnut, orange zest, cooked green beans, and sugarcane. I also picked up on hints of pine, red apple, cedar, banana, vanilla, and geranium. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized notes of minerals, malt, cooked green beans, roasted peanut, cream, earth, and roasted walnut that were underscored by hints of smoke, dark chocolate, roasted almond, roasted hazelnut, sweet potato, caramel, baked bread, orange zest, and sugarcane.

Overall, this was a great Yunnan black tea. I tend to be a huge sucker for any sort of high grade Yunnan golden bud black tea anyway, but this one really did strike me as being a great offering. I was especially impressed by how well its aroma and flavor components worked together. There were a few things in there that could have easily thrown the liquor off-balance, but they never rocked the boat.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, banana, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Green Beans, Hazelnut, Malt, Meat, Mineral, Molasses, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Pine, Plums, Smoke, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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64

This was the last of the Japanese black teas that I finished in September. Of the three, I found it to be the most challenging and least consistently likable overall. That being said, it was still not a bad tea. I am fairly certain that the way I chose to brew it brought out more bitterness and astringency than would have been present had I opted to dry a different approach.

I brewed this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of hay, malt, and autumn leaves. After infusion, I noted new aromas of cinnamon, cream, butter, baked bread, pine, cherry, and orange zest. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of hay, grass, malt, cream, butter, baked bread, autumn leaves, orange zest, lemon rind, vegetable broth-like umami, apricot, earth, cinnamon, Asian pear, red apple, plum, pine, kumquat, roasted walnut, oak, and cherry that were balanced by hints of bitter hickory, blackberry, and grapefruit pith before a bitter, astringent, tannic, and earthy fade.

As stated earlier, this was the most challenging and least approachable of the three Japanese black teas I polished off last month. I should have followed the brewing guidelines recommended by What-Cha, but I tend to brew my black teas strong in order to bring out the most in terms of aroma and flavor. I had also had success with longer infusion times for Japanese black teas in the past, so I did not see a reason to alter my usual approach with this tea. Honestly, I was just being lazy and trying to finish it off as quickly as possible. It deserved more attention, consideration, and respect than I showed it. Despite the distracting bitterness and astringency (again, very likely the result of me insisting on sticking with a 5 minute infusion time), this tea had some very nice aroma and flavor components. I would be interested in seeing what someone with a lighter touch would be able to get out of it.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Bitter, Blackberry, Butter, Cherry, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Earth, Grapefruit, Grass, Hay, Lemon, Malt, Nutty, Oak, Orange Zest, Pear, Pine, Plums, Red Apple, Umami, Walnut

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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77

This was another late summer sipdown. I think it actually may have been either my last sipdown of August or my first sipdown of September. As usual, I can’t remember. Anyway, this struck me as being a pretty good autumn flush Darjeeling black tea. I tend to be quite picky about such offerings, though, so some people are bound to enjoy this tea more than I did.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of malt, baked bread, red grape, and fig. After infusion, I detected aromas of plum, earth, black cherry, oak, smoke, cream, and cocoa. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, earth, grass, oak, fig, black cherry, blackberry, plum, red grape, cream, baked bread, cocoa, hickory, roasted walnut, and orange zest that were balanced by hints of smoke, straw, blueberry, lemon zest, caramel, roasted peanut, cooked green beans, and red pear. The finish of each sip was dry, oaky, and fruity, reminding me a bit of red wine.

This was a complex, deep, and in some respects, extremely refined offering. I absolutely loved the heft and texture of the tea liquor in the mouth and the way it finished on each swallow, but there were also some aroma and flavor components that clashed for me. Like several other Darjeeling black teas I have sampled from 2018 to the present, this one struck me as a mixed bag, though there was considerably more to like than to dislike about it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Fig, Grapes, Grass, Green Beans, Lemon Zest, Malt, Nutty, Oak, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Plums, Smoke, Straw, Walnut

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

Okay, people. I’m back. This whole not having a working computer at home thing is killing me. Hopefully, I can get that issue resolved in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I’m going to bust out a handful of reviews while I’m here at my parents’ office in town. This was one of my sipdowns from either late August or early September. I found this tea to be enjoyable though inconsistent and confounding. No two cups were the same. Sometimes I loved it, and sometimes I totally hated it.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in around 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of raisin, tobacco, prune, baked bread, and pine. After infusion, I detected new aromas of malt, straw, strawberry, green olive, honey, rose, smoke, and orange blossom. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of grass, straw, pine, raisin, strawberry, raspberry, cream, butter, prune, baked bread, pine, green olive, green bell pepper, honey, grape leaf, and smoke that were balanced by lighter, subtler impressions of earth, orange zest, tobacco, roasted almond, black walnut, rose, peach, orange blossom, and marigold. The finish of each sip was smooth, malty, nutty, and rather vegetal with some indistinct fruity and floral characteristics.

I tend to greatly enjoy Darjeeling black teas produced exclusively from the clonal AV2 cultivar, but this one was more of a mixed bag. For the most part, it was still a more or less very enjoyable offering, but there were times in which the aroma and flavor components I found to be the roughest and least appealing stood out more to me than I would have liked. As a matter of fact, I absolutely despised the first two cups of this tea that I brewed and ended up sitting the rest of it aside for a couple of days. I found it way more enjoyable after picking it back up, so maybe there was something up with me when I first tried this tea, but even after I resumed going through the remainder of my pouch, the tea remained somewhat inconsistent from cup to cup. Overall, this was a very solid tea with a lot to offer, but it was inconsistent and temperamental. I have definitely encountered several other Rohini black teas that I have found to be more enjoyable.

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Dried Fruit, Earth, Floral, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Honey, Malt, Olives, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Peach, Pine, Raisins, Raspberry, Rose, Smoke, Straw, Strawberry, Tobacco, Vegetal, Walnut

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Leafhopper

Sorry to hear you don’t have a working computer. That must be incredibly frustrating. I was thinking of getting this tea to compare it to the wonderful Rohini Gold Buds I had last year, but maybe that was the better choice all along.

eastkyteaguy

Yeah, the computer at the home office I share with my mother is ancient, and we have had so many problems with it as well as our terrible satellite internet connection (literally the only thing available in this area) that we purchased a new computer system and arranged for new everything to go in. Unfortunately, our IT guy was exposed to COVID-19. Though he tested negative, he still had to go into quarantine for two weeks. Right now, I have got the new computer, but I do not have internet access, so I have to use the computer at the family office to pay bills and write. And that means I have to drive 8 miles into town on terrible country roads in my nearly 10 year old car each time I want or need to use the computer. I’m hoping that my home internet access will be restored in the next two or three weeks, so it should not be an issue for much longer.

As far as this tea goes, it was actually quite good. I probably made it sound way worse than it was, but personally, I would have taken the previous two iterations of Rohini Golden Buds over this particular offering. In my opinion, both were more accessible and consistent. I have gotten really bizarrely picky about Darjeeling teas over the last year or two, though, so YMMV with regard to this tea.

Leafhopper

That sounds like a nightmare! I’m not sure why your IT guy would have to quarantine if his results were negative. I somehow got it into my mind that the Rohini AV2 was a slightly higher quality version of the Golden Buds, so I’m glad to know that they’re actually quite different teas. (Those buds from 2019 were so amazing that I’m considering buying more of them, even though I don’t usually buy older Darjeelings.)

eastkyteaguy

Actually, and I’m sure you’ll find this interesting, but the Rohini Golden Buds are also produced from the AV2 cultivar. One thing to keep in mind with tea leaf/bud grading is that it is mostly visual based on the color, shape, and size of the leaves and/or buds picked, so what is visually a higher grade of tea may not necessarily taste the best in the cup.

Leafhopper

That is interesting. I’m not surprised it’s from AV2 bushes, which I also find make really good Darjeeling. You’re right that there’s an assumption that the prettier a tea is, the better it will taste, and that’s not always true.

Martin Bednář

I wish you that those 14 days will be short and everything will be working soon!

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70

This was the second of the Japanese black teas I worked my way through last month. At the time I started to work my way through it, I was excited because I had just finished the absolutely stunning Golden Valley Yabukita and expected similarly great things of this tea. Unfortunately, I did not find this one to be nearly as good, but it was still a solidly better-than-average offering.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of baked bread, autumn leaves, raisin, hay, malt, pine, and straw. After infusion, I detected aromas of cinnamon, cream, butter, and roasted almond as well as a slightly amplified malt scent. In the mouth, I picked up flavors of autumn leaves, hay, straw, raisin, cream, butter, baked bread, pine, malt, sawdust, and roasted almond that soon gave way to impressions of oats, roasted peanut, black walnut, umami, plum, red pear, red apple, and green peas that were underscored by touches of cinnamon, lemon zest, and orange zest. Compared to the Golden Valley Yabukita Black Tea, the finish of this offering was pricklier and more astringent with a punchier and more unpredictable energy.

This was an interesting black tea, and there was quite a lot to appreciate about it, but it also was a bit harsh. I do not often get caffeine highs, but this tea left me feeling agitated, jittery, and overloaded for a long time after I finished each drinking session. Even though I enjoyed drinking it and found it to offer a lot of flavors I liked, it was also a bit rough for my liking. In the end, I would not caution others to avoid this tea, but if it comes down to a choice between this tea or the Golden Valley Yabukita, choose the latter.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Baked Bread, Butter, Cinnamon, Cream, Hay, Lemon Zest, Malt, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Pear, Peas, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Sawdust, Straw, Umami, Walnut

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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92

This was one of my sipdowns from around the middle of last month. It was also the first of three Japanese black teas that I plowed my way through in just under a week. Of the bunch, it was easily the best. This tea had a mild and mellow character as well as a refinement that the other two teas lacked.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose leaf material in about 8 ounces of 194 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material emitted aromas of dark chocolate, straw, and pine. After infusion, I detected aromas of cinnamon, cream, malt, raisin, caramel, and baked bread. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of dark chocolate, raisin, straw, hay, pine, malt, cream, butter, umami, oats, cinnamon, peas, baked bread, damp grass, roasted peanut, roasted hazelnut, earth, moss, minerals, and orange zest. There were also hints of cinnamon, caramel, and plum here and there. The finish was very smooth and creamy with a gently invigorating afterglow.

Overall, this was a subtly rich, earthy, nutty, and vegetal black tea. It was easy to tell that it had been produced from a cultivar normally associated with green tea production. I particularly appreciated its lively, textured liquor and its skillful integration of aromas and flavors that had the possibility to clash badly. I wish it had been just a little sweeter and fruitier, but that’s me nitpicking. This was a wonderful black tea and one that I would have no difficulty recommending to open-minded tea drinkers.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Grass, Hay, Hazelnut, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Oats, Orange Zest, Peanut, Peas, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Straw, Umami

Preparation
3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
mrmopar

Sounds like I need a What-Cha order.

eastkyteaguy

Luckily, this tea is still in stock.

Leafhopper

I also checked the What-Cha website after reading your review. I’ve always stayed away from Japanese black tea because I wasn’t sure how to brew it, but you might have changed my mind.

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74

This was another recent sipdown of mine. I polished off the ridiculous 100g pouch at the start of last week. Going back through all of my tasting notes, I was surprised to discover that this was going to wind up as being the first tea from the Sakhira Estate to receive a review from me. I had long been aware that Sakhira was considered one of the better and more reliable Nepalese tea producers, but for whatever reason, I had just never bothered to explore any of their offerings. That being said, I probably should not have started with this one. It was not a bad tea, but it was kind of standard issue in many ways. I have definitely had better Nepalese black teas.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 185 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf material prior to infusion, and I did not attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry leaf material produced aromas of pine, hay, straw, basil, anise, and green bell pepper. After infusion, I picked up aromas of apricot, plum, malt, orange zest, baked bread, and almond. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of pine, hay, straw, basil, grass, green bell pepper, watermelon rind, cream, butter, baked bread, malt, apricot, plum, sour cherry, orange zest, lemon rind, almond, green apple, and white grape with occasional hints of anise and a little pear in the aftertaste.

Overall, this was a pretty decent Nepalese first flush black tea. It definitely was not among the best I have ever had, but it was serviceable. I felt that its liquor was a little too pungent and prickly in the mouth for it to be easily enjoyed. It did, however, display solid depth and complexity, and that counts for something with me. Really, this tea was something of a mixed bag, but there was more good than bad. I certainly do not regret trying it.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Apricot, Baked Bread, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Hay, Herbaceous, Lemon, Malt, Melon, Orange Zest, Pear, Pine, Plums, Straw, White Grapes

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 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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