White2Tea Iron Arhat (铁罗汉)
4g in 100 ml Duanni pot
Filtered brita water off the boil
Dry leaves smell chocolatey and sort of inky but also some semblance of dried fruit notes
Wet leaves just smell like smoke
Infusion tastes lightly smokey with a sweet aftertaste
Some backstory. I’ve figured out by now that deeply roasted young yancha is just perhaps not for me. This note overall was pretty lame but I can’t seem to pick up the notes others get on these. I read all these beautiful descriptions of heavy roasted oolongs and yancha but whenever I try them for myself, I’m like “Man, this is some heavy smoke” and I can’t pick out much else. My parents got a Lao Cong Shui Xian that they love and my only thoughts on it were along the lines of “this is like drinking smoke, but medicinal tasting”. They no longer share their LCSX with me, haha. The best tea I can remember having is a Chinese yancha that was apparently packaged in 2006 and not opened by me until 2019 (a gift with 2 mini packs one of which I will always regret gifting away), and I suppose that with what I read about the smokey notes fading with time, made that the best thing I’ve ever tasted, except I can’t put my finger on why. Though I’ve been drinking teas all my life, I didn’t start writing detailed notes (and anyone who’s been gifted Chinese packaged teas will know why; many of them are packaged very nicely and yet provide little usable information on production and origin (let’s talk 100% legitimate info, it’s hard to escape fake marketing of which there is plenty of in tea and in general China) so it’s hard to tell apart the pyrite from the gold) really until I made my Steepster account and going bigger on my own purchases as I gained more interest in the brewing and culture. Because before, tea was a habit, not a hobby. A gram scale to standardize brews and gaiwan were the best bang for buck investments into the hobby I’ve made.
Anyway, I veered pretty far off the course, but overall I hope these reviews help some people, especially since many teas can be rather unremarkable and sellers can overhype like mad. Do the Ducklers legitimately taste the 30 notes they include on each tea? I don’t know (no hate, I love their (mostly) well-priced teaware but haven’t been blown away by any teas they offer), but I include what I do taste, and I would assume untrained palates are more like your average drinker. Yeah, drink whatever you like, and premium product for price whatever, but this is for fun, so I like the non-academic hobbyist aspect too. Hope Steepster’s able to get back to the olden days of less spam and more reviews, because when I can find reviews of teas I want to purchase, it’s nice especially as a student with a limited budget. Life’s for exploring after all. Teaforum, teachat, and r/tea are nice, but I do believe Steepster has the best setup for reviews (some things could use improvement and streamlining, but that applies to most of the world at large).
I veered off again. I’ll stop here and recommend this just for experiencing the unique and very pleasant aftertaste and now I get to claim that I’ve tried 3 of 4 big name Wuyi Yanchas hah. (da hong pao, Lao cong shui xian, and tie luo han). Maybe when I’m older and appreciate more smokey mellow things I’ll give rou gui a shot, but for now, I’ll save my money since I know I won’t like it in particular.
Flavors: Chocolate, Smoke, Sweet