West China Tea CompanyEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Cat sitting continues with more gongfu while reading articles from the back issues of Eighty Degrees magazine – very cool magazine focused all on tea. This shou is really delicious with it’s heavy handed notes of camphorous forest undergrowth and potting soil. This is complimented by notes of spices like clove and, unsurprisingly, vanilla. The steeping aroma is intoxicating; and the whole tea session works perfectly with a handful of cherries enjoyed between steeps!
I was also a bit surprised by how light the steeped tea liquor was – very red/brown but leaning more red. Not the most opaque either, after a steep or two.
First of all, don’t break off an enormous piece of the bing like i did. just use a normal-sized chunk, say about the size of a quarter, less volume than a large marshmallow, for use in your gaiwan. HOWEVER if you do accidentally start with too much, you can always dilute with a touch more hot water; the flavor is not hurt by doing this.
SECOND OF ALL this was a wonderful investment! My friend Emma and I ventured across town to have a Tea Sit at the delightful West China Tea House, where the owner served us several fine teas and regaled us with stories of his own tea journey. Quite a lovely afternoon interrupted at last by the arrival of hazardous weather conditions that drove us all indoors.
For our second tea of the Sit, we were served round after round of this incredibly deep and textured pu’er directly from a tea farmer venturing into pressing their home-grown pu’er (most pu’er comes from government owned factories!), and every teacup was a journey unto its own. The flavors waxed and waned like cycles of the moon, and taking the time to savor each slurp was simply lovely, especially with friends. Emma and I split a bing to bring home, and this morning while lounging i am enjoying my over-leaf’d tea session immensely. Once i get the ratio of tea:water perfected, this will be a daily drinker for quite a while, and i. am. pleased.
Flavors: Earth, Green, Vegetal, Wet Rocks
I did two sessions with this particular tea.
The following info is from brewing it in a 110ml porcelain gaiwan. I also brewed this in a chaozhou clay teapot (see link below for that information)
*Teaware: Gaiwan 110ml
*Water Amount: ~ 100ml
*Tea Amount: 5.19
*Brewing Temperatures: 198, 200-206
*Time (seconds): 10, 20, 30, 48
*High notes of the aroma: Sweet, fruity, sugary
*Low notes of the aroma: Cooked stone fruit, smoke, roasted
*Broth: Sweet, viscous, with notes of honey & fruit
Overall, this is a really good tea with nice fruity, honey flavors. It starts off well with short steeps at higher temps. I tend to like my teas a little on the stronger side, but WCT’s recommendations are pretty spot on with the tea, although I did drop the water temperature slightly starting at #3, because I was noticing a bitterness not present in the first two.
It started diminishing around 4-5 steeps, which isn’t too bad.
This tea is similar to other honey orchids with a slight difference in viscosity and flavors. Most people might not notice. It’s not as sweet as other honey orchids I’ve tasted, but plenty sweet enough
More details & photos at my teablog: https://jadeoolong.blogspot.com/2021/05/tea-tasting-gold-thread-honey-orchid.html
I was looking for “C Teas” for the alphabet challenge a few days ago, and I noticed that I hadn’t written a tasting note for this one. It stood out because I had a very memorable session with this tea over my holiday break. So… capturing a tasting note now!
(Better late than never – and thankfully I wrote out good notes on IG for it.)
This Phoenix Oolong has a lot of interesting layers of flavour to peel back; starting with a toasty sesame and sushi rice flavour. Those notes are followed by a slightly floral note of just over ripe pineapple, grilled nori, and just a hint of minerality. It’s just a bit astringent and very calming overall despite the complexity of the intermingled flavours. I was skeptical when I read WCT’s tasting notes, but having now sipped through a session I definitely understand where they’re coming from!
I got a new gaiwan as a birthday present to myself!! The colours and textures in this gaiwan are frankly insane – it’s truly a piece of art! I definitely used this past birthday as an excuse to order a lot of tea and teaware I’d been eyeing up – but I could afford it and I was feeling sad about not being able to do anything for my birthday because of the pandemic, so the retail therapy helped…
This is the tea that I broke the gaiwan in with and it was lovely. It’s so syrupy in mouthfeel and it tastes heavily of brandied fruits, plummy stonefruit, red currant and raisins with these taunting hints of chocolate, leather, and peanut brittle in the undertones!! Just an exciting and sweet explosion of flavours – a really great way to spend the afternoon. I think I got around six infusions out of it, which I thought was pretty good for a black tea. I see the name inspiration as well – definitely makes sense with those boozier fruity notes.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJr40dkVMs&abchannel=mariolinan
This tea uses a puerh varietal, which you can smell when opening the bag. Although the dried leaves (and subsequent high notes of the brewed tea) smell of puerh, it only has a very very mild hint of a puerh flavor. (it’s like a proto-puerh)
It’s got some decent sweet / dried fruit flavors to it. There’s a nice hui gan with a a dry astringent finish but very juicy. I can feel the cha qi in my throat after drinking it. The initial ru kou 入口 of the tea is very good with a mild sweet/dried fruit flavor.
My only gripe with this tea is that the soup is thinner / less viscous than I would like. I’ve noticed this about some of the teas that are oxidized by the sun (like Sun-Dried Reds) versus being heat dried. The middle steeps are probably some of the better ones for most sun-dried teas, and this tea isn’t an exception.
-Teaware: 110 ml Gaiwan
-Water Amount: ~ 100 ml
-Tea Amount: 5.4 grams.
-Brewing Temperatures: 200 – 208 F
-Time in seconds: 10s, 25, 40, 60, 120
More details and photos on my blog:
Backlog from three days ago.
Purchased 30 grams only of this one since it was $14.99. Almost got 50. Glad I got 30, though I would buy it again.
Roswell’s note sold me on it. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleased with this one. It’s an Anxi varietal for sure. Gong fu or western, this one has the trademarked condensed milk and savory coconut milk viscous texture note of a gong fu, but some fruity notes later on bordering on peach, mango, or something else tropical. Sometimes, it reminded me of pear-not usual. Personally, orchid and extremely dense lilac notes are prominent in aroma and taste, with some vanilla. It’s also fairly woodsy and stemy. It can be vegetal if I brew it for longer, but when I go lighter Western or Gong Fu, it’s really not that vegetal for an oolong. It continues to rebrew 5 times from shorter western steeps, and 7 times from gong fu. It’s a little bit smoother western, a little bit woodsier gong fu. I might have to change some parameters.
I’ve had similar Jin Xuans before, specifically What-Cha’s Anxi and a few others. The particualr flavor profile of this is one resembles the Jin Xuan from The O Dor, but this one has more fruit in its accents whereas that one is more cakey.
I definitely like this one, but I am not entirely convinced this was not at least scented, or flavored. The lilac and the condensed milk aspects are too strong even in the dry leaf when you open the bag. It’s almost oily when I whiff off it from the opening seal. The fruity notes are kinda expected from the Anxi varietal, but the others are almost perfumey. Natural, but strong.
With that said, it’s a bit steep in price. It seems you cut most of the costs from West China Tea through it’s loyalty program. The 6-7 business day shipping policy also kinda bugs me. I usually don’t have an issue if it takes long and letting people actually be human beings that have lives, but I was kinda perturbed considering the cost with shipping. Despite this minor complaint, I was satisfied with the tea, and I also hope the company is doing alright with the winter storm power outages from the last few weeks.
Overall, I would recommend this tea for others and get it again. It’s got all the flavors I look for in my oolong, and it is pretty darn close in rank to the Mandala one personally. I also like some of the unique profiles I get from the lilacs and the interesting fruit notes that pop up. There are a few other teas I’d be willing to try from West China’s selection, like their Black TGY, but I’m going to plan it out if I do another purchase. While this is one of my more mixed and critical reviews, and I am very satisfied with the customer service, the price and the possibility of flavoring still bugs me. I’m curious to see what others think.
Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Coconut, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Mango, Milk, Orchid, Peach, Popcorn, Savory, Stems, Stonefruit, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood
Gongfu… and, well, fuck me. This was good!
Had this one during the afternoon a few days ago when it was a pretty grey and chilly day filled with some pretty substantial snowfall. I leaned in hard to the cozy and comforting teas and this was my favourite of the day – it’s just so thick and creamy with notes fatty whipped fresh cream, double churned butter, and coconut milk w/ a delicate soothing floral orchid and lilac undertone. So coating on the palate, and a very lush mouthfeel! Can’t think of a tea that would have satisfied this afternoon more than this one!
My first tea from West China Tea! I have several friends on IG who speak very highly about this company so I finally decided to play a big order from a bunch of samples to see what the hype was all about.
The tea leaf looks gorgeous – it’s spindly leaves scattered w/ gold tips. Mild aroma until hit with water, and then it’s a building bouquet of plum & oak wafting from the gaiwan. Deep red liquor, and a warming feeling very early on into the tea session compliments smooth notes of just slightly unripened plum & pine/oak woods. Late session is a touch more syrupy, with some red fruit & a fleeting flowery top note. More umami/earthy overall & not overly sweet or intense, this was a delightfully easy sipping tea that held up well when pushed!!
Is it the profile that I normally gravitate towards in a black tea? To be honest, not particularly – but for that flavour profile I do think it’s really beautiful and almost, in a way, understated. I don’t know that I feel like the name matches the flavour though; it’s pretty calm and gentle and “Gamma Ray” to me seems like it would convey some sort of punch or heavy impacting flavour.
I’m excited for the other black tea that I ordered – my snap impression here is that this was very good (even if possibly not my typical style) and I understand the love of it!
Goddamn! By far the best oolong I’ve ever had. Instantly in my top five.
I need to process and meditate on this cup before I can make a review because there is just WAY too much going on in this. Whoa. Will give a full review in a bit, once my tea drunk wears off.
Flavors: Blood Orange, Jasmine, Mineral, Summer, Sweet Potatoes
Although it’s called Brothers Oolong, it has a very feminine energy to it, definitely a “princess” of teas. Steeped liquid is very light in color, which is deceiving for how incredibly deep and flavorful it is. Very floral yet very well balanced. Sipping it brings images of white orchid gardens, egyptian cotton bedding and silk garments. Leaves change color dramatically through several steepings, from a deep velvet black to a wonderful jade green. Can be enjoyed by any level of tea drinker, but it takes a skilled hand to bring out the best in it. Truly a world class tea by any standards. Actual steeping time I used for this tasting was closer to 7 seconds at 212f. A delicate tea to brew, steeping any longer risks pulling too much bitterness from the tea and masking the deep and complex floral aspects of it.
Flavors: Berries, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Gardenias, Grapes, Orchids, Vanilla