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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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

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