106 Tasting Notes
White2Tea 2014 Lao Cha Tou sample from a teafriend. Boiling water, 11g to 100 ml, two rinses. Dark, velvety, vanilla flavored milk chocolate leather sweetness. I’m not a huge fan of ripe, but this is so soothing and that leather like aftertaste really kept me intrigued, especially when the fermentation all clears at around steep 3. I can see what all the hype is about, sad to hear this is gone now.
Flavors: Chocolate, Creamy, Leather, Sweet, Vanilla
The dry leaf on this one smells crazily strongly of dried apricots! Took me aback, honestly, despite someone else describing the taste as oatmeal apricot, heh. This starts off smelling more complex when I poured water on it than it actually ends up being, but the strong prevailing taste of different parts of the apricot remained throughout in a nice way.
First couple of steeps is Jingmai citrus sweetness with a hint of tobacco on the nose and in the cup that blooms into a strong, juicy apricot that turns to a sour tart peel if the liquid cools (although not in a bad way). The apricot goes from juicy to peel to meat minus the juice up through steep 4, with a mild sugar sweetness that lingers in the throat and a heavy/thick creamy texture with an almost basil herb aftertaste quality to it. A strong tobacco nose and flavor kicks in in the mid steeps, overwhelming the sugarcane and almost drowning out the apricot for a while, but then fades out to the sour apricot and then returning with a plummy depth when pushed later.
Very fruity, tobacco-y sheng! I quite enjoyed this, although the energy is kind of giggly and caffeine heavy, almost anxiety jittery level, which wasn’t so pleasant—might be because I back to backed this with another sheng. I thought this was very solid, especially if you like sour apricot fruit notes and tobacco (not the burnt or ashtray kind, thankfully!) as those are the predominant flavors throughout the session. I feel like this would have delivered past the 8 steeps I made, but the jitters made me stop here for this session.
Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Fruity, Pleasantly Sour, Sugarcane, Tobacco
Woah, this tea is a DRUNK, lemme tell ya what. Starts off medicinally herbal with an interesting twist on the dried date flavor if it was stored in weird conditions, and then a pretty heavy astringency kicks in that never leaves, unfortunately. There’s a fair amount of bitterness too, but that fades while the astringency doesn’t, and I hate astringent tea, :(.
The heavy brain tickling, lead finger weighing qi starts to trickle in early, around steep 3 or 4, along with a sweet, syrupy red fruit flavor I quite liked, but doesn’t stick around. Still that heavy undercurrent of woody astringency that is the base of this tea, but wow, I started losing track of the steeps we were on and where the last steep when and where did my notes go around steep 6. Flavors don’t really change much from that sort of ‘medicine woody goodness’ according to my jumbled notes there on, it seems.
Overall, I wasn’t much of a fan of the flavor profile of this one, although I did find the interesting variation on dried date flavor cool. The energy is where this one delivers, however, holy cow! Most tea drunks are like a muted giggly high or tunnel vision/heaviness for me, this was full on stop what the heck is going on, where did my tea go, oh, did I… drink it? level of drunk, lol. I’ll save the rest of my 43g and see if maybe the astringency dies down with more time.
Flavors: Astringent, Dates, Herbaceous, Medicinal, Red Fruits, Wood
Light, creamy, sweet, and predominantly orchid/nectar flowers in my cup, this is a clearing and uplifting green oolong. The aroma tends to retain more of the milky creaminess than the actual taste, but there is definitely a nice milky texture for the first few steeps of this. There’s a slight bit of astringency as the tea goes on, but nothing major or off putting, it actually defines the slight corn silk and flower notes more clearly, I think. There are some nice throat coating feels and sweetness as well.
My takeaway: this is a nice non-flavored milk oolong with more fullness than most green oolongs I’ve tried. More flowery than I’m usually a fan of, but every now and again that’s quite nice.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Creamy, Honey, Nectar, Orchids, Sweet
I had a hard time getting this to brew correctly, but somehow or another, I think I got a good general idea of this tea. It brews up heavy on the sweet potato with some moderate malt that ends in a really nice, deep luscious honey at the end. There is a slight cooling tingle going on, but not very noticeable.
In the beginning, the flavor was a bit weak for me and the astringency a bit too strong, but it evens out after another couple of steeps. I think this would have been better western as stacking gong fu steeps turned out much better than the initial two solo steeps. I liked it in the end but would strongly recommend brewing this Western.
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
A quick session for today while scrambling to get my holiday shopping out of the way on a somewhat decent schedule for once. Light and fruity in a citrus way in the standard young Jingmai fashion, the flavor has a sour pineapple tinge in addition that I found interesting. There’s a bit of a honeyed tone that you can pick out if you search for it in the early steeps, but it succumbs to the focal sour citrus flavor quickly.
This is one of their cheaper teas, I believe, and an autumn production. While it is not particularly complex in flavor profile, it is very approachable, possessing a decent vegetal depth to the fruitiness while having no astringency and very little bitterness to it, I’d say it was quite solidly pleasant for the price.
I liked the pineapple notes I got from this (I’ve only had one other tea that I got pineapple off of before) and consider it quite light and pleasant, although this is not difficult to turn distinctly unpleasant if oversteeped. It is surprisingly generous with the resteeps at this price point as well, and I’m curious to see how that pineapple flavor would age, but I prefer something with a little more complexity to my tea, so I’m looking forward to see how the taste progressions change as I drink my way up the ladder of Farmerleaf’s offerings.
Flavors: Citrus, Pineapple, Sour, Vegetal
The predominant flavor on this one was a yummy nutty note that transformed into a grains/barley flavor backed with a sweet roast. This is topped by an additional sweetness that went from plummy, to honey, to syrup, with a very light throat coating effect. It starts off deeper and smooth, no astringency whatsoever, and almost no bitterness either (lightest trace in the barley flavor).
Overall, I liked what this one wanted to be, and it’s not unpleasant by any means, being an easy drinker—sweet, savory and soothing. The money steeps are in the very beginning (steeps 1-3) before you become accustomed to the consistent roast flavor and it has a bit more depth to it, although it never really lives up to the fullness of the flavors it hints at, to my disappointment. It also drops off sharply in flavor after just a couple of steeps, perhaps due to the more chopped size of the leaf.
Flavors: Honey, Pancake Syrup, Plums, Roast nuts, Roasted Barley
This is a subtle tea. It has a light malt body, reminiscent of a hong but smoother, with a cooling tingle of red fruits and a silky suggestion of cocoa. This lightness probably wasn’t helped by my underleafing it (4g to 100 ml as opposed to the recommended 5g), but there were 7g in the sample bag, so, my being unwilling to figure out what to do with 2g leftover or to do dump the whole thing in, I decided to do the incredibly wishy washy thing, as usual.
It is lightly astringent, and the malt is the most obvious flavor, but it has a bit of sweetness to the depth and the aroma hints at the subtle layering of delicate flavors within. Best brewed with a light hand to pick those flavors apart and to minimize astringency, but don’t underleaf if you do.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Red Fruits
True to the written description, this is a remarkably old tasting tea for a 2006. It’s starting to venture into shou territory (although without the fermentation taste, cleared or otherwise) in terms of color and flavor and is a very pleasant, calming tea. Got that nice aged thing with some storage must flavors to it, but not unpleasantly or overwhelmingly so.
Behind the storage, it is quite woody and savory, with wisps of smoke at the start and hints of dried fruit/date sweetness as the storage clears out towards the end. There is a bit of dry spinach acridity/astringency to the mouth as you drink this that never really goes away, but not quite off-putting enough to be a negative, especially as it’s a forgiving brew to steep even with that.
Overall, I liked this and it has a good aged flavor to it, but it’s not particularly complex or interesting, just quite solid.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Musty, Smoke, Wood