5 Tasting Notes
Procedure for drinking Big Green Hype:
1. Break off a 6-7g chunk.
2. Brew gongfu style at 200 degrees.
3. Immediately remember why you originally stuck this in the bottom of your tea collection, instructing yourself not to bother with it until 2025. After 6-7 steeps, arrive at all the sweet floral notes that remind you why you’re keeping it around until then.
4. Put back where you found it.
At 10 years old, this tea is boring and watery for the first few steeps — I’ve brewed it at 6 and 7g/100ml, and will up it to 8g next time — but around steep 4 it reveals an interior life: flowers and the prickle of camphor and a little barnyard. By steep 5 it begins smoothing out, and the huigan becomes notably cooling. Whether I’ve brewed it well or poorly, the most remarkable thing about this tea is the cha qi. In general, I react most strongly to the caffeine in tea, but here the qi is super calming and fuzzy-brained. A real two-hit stoner high — I can only drink this tea on a weekend.
What I enjoy about this tea is its body. Aroma-wise, it’s not the headiest (at least at age 3), though the wet leaf smells a lot like a Taiwanese oolong in its latter, more vegetal steeps. There’s no smoke and very little bitterness or astringency. It seems to need to be pushed a little. But around the third steeping, it begins rolling around on the tongue like cream, and clings to the back of the mouth, a tiny bit of camphor, a little spice and pancake batter.
Flavors: Cake, Cream, Orchid, Vegetal
This is one of my first daily drinkers. Bought a cake after tasting a YS sample.
Cake is compressed loosely enough that it breaks apart into long, twisted leaves rather than chunks. I brew 6s, 12s, 15s, 20s, etc., going for about 8-9 steeps. From the second steep on, the liquor is bronzed and ruddy.
The dry leaves smell so cedar cabinet-y that I’d love to store the cake with my sweaters. For the first few steeps right now, though, the tea comes off scratchy and bitter. At the third steep, though, the dried fruit comes together with the leather and wood, and for the next three-four steeps I am enjoying the tea far more than the morning news I’m often reading on my computer while I sip. The tea’s qi is light but pleasant, settling in my head and upper chest. No morning sweats.
There’s not much by way of body or aftertaste. A soft sweetness around the sides of the mouth comes out around steep 6, along with the echo of flowers without being floral, which keeps me going back for longer and longer steeps while I get ready for work until I walk out the door.
Flavors: Cedar, Leather, Raisins, Spices, Tobacco
Had this one sitting around the house for a month after receiving my White2Tea order, where it came as an extra. Picked it up one morning and thought, eh, why not? Then when I unwrapped the ball, even the paper smelled like incense and flowers.
What was so surprising was that the first 4-5 steeps tasted just like the dry leaf smelled. Like sticking my nose into a bowl of potpourri: crushed flower petals, dried fruit and maybe a little dried apple, pieces of cinnamon stick. 8 grams is a lot for my gaiwan, and so it was hard not to bring out the bitterness, but the fragrance kept rolling in, as well as a richer body and slight tongue-drying quality. The cha qi seemed to blast down from my forehead, as if the tea was trying to launch my head off my shoulders.
Sometimes unexpected pleasures are the best ones! Now hoping the order I have incoming from W2T includes another one.
Flavors: Apple Candy, Cinnamon, Flowers, Honey, Lavender