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Recent Tasting Notes


Backlong: 1/17/21
Finished the sample of this yesterday. I started drinking it with breakfast, but the moment quickly faded into an adventure. I threw this into a thermos to go, and it was the tea I grandpa styled the remainder of the day. This tea is/was tightly compressed, which was nice, since I was able to toss it into the gaiwan for later use.

It took me a few steeps last night and a couple this morning before I called it quits. This tea will brew and brew, if you want it to. Nice sweet notes of hay and lightly malty.

Flavors: Hay, Honey, Malt

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Medium intensity aroma. Smells earthy with a boiled milk note. Some dark fruits in the background. An element of wet clothes forgotten in the washing machine for many hours. Some dampness and spice-tingling.

Dark, earthy and thick (but at the same time watery?) with a pleasant bitter-sweetness, nice feedback when swallowing and very light cacao aftertaste.
Sweet molasses from the empty cup.

The aroma gets brighter with something in between fruity and floral. The liquor is surprisingly light and smooth even with a very high leaf/water ratio. There’s a light lingering cacao aftertaste in the throat. Qi feels relaxing.

Getting more of that bright fruity element in the liquor. Boiled milk aroma. The leaves are big and beautiful with less broken bits than more mass produced Shu.

I had to push it with a minute steeping to get the right intensity. I think within a year it’ll tighten up.
The liquor now is more pleasantly textured with some spice-tingling aftertaste.
Qi still feels quite focusing and grounding.

Weaker but still enjoyable. Slightly cooling mouthfeel.

15 minutes Steeping.
Still some flavour and body left. Cacao, milk, herbal.

Boiling 7 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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After reading another review, I realized that my palate may be off or I’m just feeling the energy a bit too much from the tea from earlier in the day.

I got a slight note of lemon and kale from the wet leaf aroma. I tasted more of the kale, sweet, ever so slight smoky elements, but that lingering flavor had a touch of lemon peel and custard. I compared it (verbally to a friend) to an IPA. You taste the citrus, but something else is blocking it from completely sticking out. I’m definitely fully tea drunk at this point, so at least I can confirm it’s a qi-filled treat.

Side Note: I’m going to make it a goal to eventually compare the 2020 with the 2021.

Flavors: Kale, Lemon, Smoke, Smooth, Sweet

200 °F / 93 °C

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drank 2021 Moon Waffles by white2tea
71 tasting notes

I’ve been having this for the past three days. So many steepings! Like… around 40 or 50. The square opened up very gradually. Flavors were light for the first few steepings, but then remained creamy and floral-fruity without faltering. This is just perfect for when I want to sip a warm drink endlessly while getting some work done.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Geek Steep S2E15 – Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring


Guys, I didn’t over think my pairing for this week’s fandom. As we talked in depth this episode, I truly believe that pretty much any tea you can possibly think of would be a good pairing for this fandom. It’s so big with so many different elements to it to connect a tea to and they all feel important and have their space to breath.

So, I grabbed a shou to gongfu and just dived right in. It works so well. Just beautifully earthy and robust in a way that feels like it’s speaking to either the deep mines and underground where the dwarves make their home or the magical forests that show up throughout. I had a great time steeping this tea while watching the movie – it’s honestly pretty perfect!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CXWp6zwuHuj/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjpgJjdk52c

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This tea was really, really different!! Is it heicha or is it yellow tea!? After brewing it up I can really understand why this is a tricky tea to class. Everything about the profile sort of just screamed “raw” to me. Not in the sense of sheng/pu’erh but more just like very, very raw cacao nib and dark baker’s chocolate notes mixed with unsalted & unroasted peanut butter, fresh green beans, and just a bit of molasses. Not bitter, really, but a decidedly unsweet and peculiar mix of these more typically decadent notes with the greener vegetal elements. I’m definitely a bit undecided on how I feel about this one, just based on this one session…

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYkGRw4OkWi/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRWtWTPiRFk&ab_channel=EdMount

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I probably could have steeped this better. I was going to do a proper gongfu session with it but I was freezing (new furnace being installed, no heat all day) and it’s hard to stay buried in my blanket nest and gongfu at the same time. I ended up doing a bunch of short gongfu type steeps but poured them all together in a big travel mug so I could bundle myself up with tea and a book. The tea was smooth and sweet but I didn’t really get the fruit-filled baked goods flavors mentioned in the description. Pleasant but unremarkable. I have one more ball of the 2021 and a couple of an earlier version that I’ll try to make more of an effort with. Hopefully not combining steeps will make it more interesting.

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Last year I just bought 1 cake of the snoozefest. This year 1 decided to go for 1 tong + 1 cake.

The tong and the cake are stored in a mylar bag with a bovida pack, and the first thing I notice when opening the bag is a very strong apricot smell.

Flavors: Apricot

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Grandpa style!

So W2T recently added a heicha section to their site and I thought it was a great opportunity to get a sample of every heicha to taste through and get a really good sense of their style/direction and just, also, learn and expand my familiarity with this style of tea.

I’m not actually sure if I’ve tried a Liu’An style heicha before – I’m definitely more familiar with golden flower, Liubao, and Tianjian styles. I think the jury is still a bit out in if I liked it. I felt like it was this interesting mix of smoky petrichor, wet rock, spice, camphor, and almost like a BBQ sauce taste!? But all of that tinged with notes of rubber as well. The rubber was kind of what through me off the most; everything else is sort of flavour notes that generally would be right up my alley. I do appreciate how clean the finish was though!

Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYXNtbRuT4t/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-drynJqyv14&ab_channel=DarwinDeezVEVO

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I had no idea how much I needed smoked sheng in my life until W2T decided to carry one and now, having steeped it, I am fully obsessed. Compared to 2021 Smokeshou, the shou pu’erh counterpart released at the same time, this probably isn’t something I would reach for as frequently for a daily tea session but the flavour is incredible. I would actually say that the smoke notes in this tea come off as a bit more strong and intense, just without the same earthy body and deepness. Instead, I found early infusions of this sheng much sweeter underneath the top note smoke blanket; sort of like a jammy red fruit and citrus note coupled with the greener nature of the young sheng. It’s gonna be wild seeing how this tea ages!!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYcV41MuO4f/

There’s something super satisfying about the colour of your teaware matching the artwork on the tea’s wrapper…

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNNp-UOOmlc&ab_channel=Arlie


I’ve been trying to decide between this one and Yunnan Sourcing’s Smoky Dragon Balls Aged Raw. W2T’s smoking sounds more intentional but both sound good.

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The flavor here is quite mild, so I may have underleafed or understeeped it. The website didn’t have steeping instructions. At first, I got a light metallic flavor along with something else difficult to identify. Once I added milk, the flavor sort of reminded me of string cheese, but in a good way. There’s also a sort of almost spiced depth here. I enjoyed this one, it was just very mild due to my inexperience. I resteeped it for longer, and the flavor was pure metal, which wasn’t great. Another fun find from a recent tea box!

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This is such a thick and brothy shou with heavier mineral rich and savory meat-y notes coupled w/ just a hint of very dark bittersweet cacao. I definitely feel like there’s almost a disconnect with the brighter floral pink and purple teaware I selected for this tea session but I am enjoying the tea itself. The soup is so syrupy and the overall profile so umami rich that it feels a bit more like it would be the perfect hearty pu’erh to drink in place of a stew during a more bone chilling winter storm. Of course, worth noting that as usual I absolutely loaded up my gaiwan with an unruly amount of leaf, so it’ll be interesting to at some point try a more restrained session to see if I get a profile more close to W2T’s described tasting notes…

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYPXr2wuhB1/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16MvJnUByrA&ab_channel=DannyandAlex


“Unruly amount of leaf” pairs with “reckless” though. I definitely like an “Unruly amount of leaf” when I steep shou

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drank Pine Sap Lapsang by white2tea
1337 tasting notes

This is quite smoky and meaty. With milk and sugar, it’s drinkable, but I wouldn’t really want a whole mug of this. A few sips is plenty. It’s slightly more nuanced than other lapsang blends, I guess due to the pine, but it’s still too much smoke for me.


Interesting name. I love the smell of pine but… I can’ say id ever want to taste it ^^;


I enjoy pine flavor! Not smoke though, unfortunately.

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drank Pomelo Flower Dancong by white2tea
133 tasting notes

Got this in a mystery box (yes, I broke my own rules for this, but only partially regret it) from Paul of W2T and the package said 柚花香 and basically matches the listing on the site for the Pomelo flower Dancong so I’m assuming it’s the same thing.

4.5g, 90 mL gaiwan.
dry leaf is light roast smell and sweet orange, almost cola-like.
Wet leaf is perfumed floral smell, extremely sweet, almost cloying.
quick boiling rinse, then 3x 205f steeps. No detailed notes since I didn’t like this one and stopped at steep 4, so this tea has the honor of being one of the only teas I didn’t even bother to thermos in quite a while. It’s a soft and sweet tea overall with a grassy base and strong aroma, very heady floral. Only lightly oxidized, since the lightly yellow brews left over turned into a murky brown gray color when left out, an even more drastic color change than I’ve seen from my accidental leaving out of green tea brews. I kept the leaves in a cup at my desk, and they smell quite pleasant, but I really cannot stand the taste.

I really should’ve known from what I’ve read about dancongs online being more fruity floral heavy that I would not like this. I remember liking the One River Tea ones I tried before, but the roast was much more standard yancha like roast (and tasted like it!), and not like this one in the line of my impression of standard dancongs with leaf color a mix of greenish and brown. The mass of recommendations to try Imen’s and Hojo’s pricier dancong offerings are always tempting, but I’ve confirmed I do not enjoy this sort of profile and will remain content with my newfound affection for bland shou.

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drank 2015 Pin by white2tea
41 tasting notes

Finishing my 10g sample.
The dry leaves smell earthy and slightly fruity. After a quick rinse the aroma gets really strong and vibrant. Dried fruits are the main element. Apricot, raisin, a bit of wood, tobacco. The aroma is one of the most high-pitched and intense I’ve got from a raw puer.

Liquor: light camphor, wood, TCM, dried fruits. tobacco, medium body. Pungency. Slight bitterness. Almost exotic fruits.

Thicker body. bittersweet, juicy. Pungent.

Vanilla. More bite. There’s something in common with Post Truth. Warming feeling and brain massage.

Proceeding towards clarity. Bittersweet, thick. Strong body feeling. Not so intense Huigan.

5 and 6
Pungency, perfume, wild herbs. relaxing. slightly more drying.

I think this could be a good tea as an introduction to aged puer. Easy to like.

Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 90 ML

I like this one too.

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drank 2021 Patti Mini by white2tea
12453 tasting notes


This is from one of the more recent drops this past Autumn!! I know I was not alone in being curious about these three white tea sisters and grabbing some dragonballs of each seemed like a great way to taste through the differences! This is the one I’m starting with since the description, while intriguing, was farthest off from my usual white tea preferences.

The liquor has a really, really good texture to it though; creamy and smooth as velvet with just the faintest astringency only after swallowing. I think the idea of this being more savory/umami is what was initially less attractive to me but in reality, while still brothy, I’m still getting lots of the notes of peas and other garden vegetables that I enjoy in white tea – it’s just heavier and almost sort of “cooked” versus the more crisp sweetness I lean towards. The savory quality really stands out in the aftertaste. It makes me think of a creamier split pea soup, perhaps? But with a little molasses in the undertones.

If you’ve tried this, I’d be really curious to hear your thoughts as it’s really making me think hard as I’m sipping!! Also makes me excited to try Beebe and Judy!

Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CYHmeICOu5w/

Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQwVKr8rCYw&ab_channel=DisneyMusicVEVO

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I wasn’t sure about ordering Sunskate. The description saying it’s kind of oolong-like made me hesitant. I’m still trying to figure out how I feel about oolongs. Every oolong I have ever had brewed western style has been a disappointment. But I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve gongfu-ed. I’m not sure if it’s the particular teas I’ve tried or if I just prefer oolongs gongfu. Or maybe certain kinds of oolong. Sunskate is tasty, though, so I’m glad it got squeezed into my order.

All glass teaware again. I considered using a yixing quick pot easy gaiwan type thing for a change but I feel like the flavors of the clay hide some tea flavors sometimes.

The dry tea smelled like some kind of fruit and something else that seemed familiar but I couldn’t figure out what. The brewed tea has a sweet fresh fruit scent. I’m not sure I get peaches out of it like Roswell Strange mentions in a review for the cake of Sunskate but it’s been ages since I’ve had a fresh peach. Going through a list of every fruit I can think of, nothing is an exact match. The tea doesn’t really taste the way it smells to me. The flavor is more of a grainy, malty lighter black tea than fruity for me. After reading Ros’s notes I’m getting a peachy aftertaste I hadn’t noticed before, though. Power of suggestion? It’s not a super thick and heavy feeling tea but I still get a bit of that nice tongue-coating feeling. I rescued a Walker’s shortbread advent calendar from an after Christmas clearance basket and the tea and cookie went pretty well together. I meant to start cookie advent on January 1 but it was a rough morning (furnace is trying to die and it’s the coldest week so far this winter, out of town family members inviting themselves to visit) so I decided to start my cookie a day early. I think the shortbread would make a great companion to a tea advent next year if I can choose one (just one because I don’t think I can keep up with doing several advent teas every day like some of you).


So jealous of that shortbread clearance snag! Enjoy!


I didn’t see them until mid-December or I would have joined the 2021 advent crowd. There should really be more countdown to whatever calendars…opening a little box every day is far more exciting than it should be, even if you already know what’s in it. It’s definitely more fun than buying a regular box of cookies.

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I had high hopes for Judy based on White2Tea’s description but I didn’t taste anything that fantastic. It wasn’t a bad tea, I just didn’t get the sort of complexity I was expecting. Maybe it was my mood or maybe I need to tweak my brewing technique a bit. It was smooth and sweet but that’s about all I was getting out of it. None of the three white tea “ladies” have impressed me as much as I thought they would. I don’t know if they’re just not my thing or if I haven’t found the best way of steeping them. I have a couple more minis of each left to experiment with so I’ll give them more chances but unless something changes I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy more. Of the three, I think Beebe was my favorite. Judy was probably my least favorite but being the most expensive of the three and having the most interesting sounding description probably made it more of a letdown when it wasn’t mindblowingly amazing. They were all good but not life-changingly good.

I tried to steep Judy the same as Beebe and Patti…glass bottle, glass pitcher and glass teacup. Around 130-ish ml of near boiling water, steeps staring at about 30 seconds. Measurements and times are approximate, as usual, due to eyeballing the water level in my brewing bottle and counting seconds instead of using a timer.

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drank Blush Hojicha by white2tea
1337 tasting notes

This smelled too savory, but surprisingly, it’s actually quite good! It’s definitely heavy on the umami, but sweetened, it has some pleasant complexity. I’m enjoying this more than the various flavored hojichas I’ve tried. I would totally drink this again. Very rich and satisfying. I didn’t save myself any from the TTB, but I should have.

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Of the three teas in this group, Patti was the one I was most unsure about ordering. I just didn’t know about brothy and umami in a white tea.

Glass gongfu bottle, glass cha hai, glass teacup. Near boiling water, about 130ml for 7g ball of tea, steeps starting at about 30 seconds.

Patti isn’t as scary as I was afraid she’d be but she’s definitely different. The smell of the dry leaf kind of reminds me of a rose ripe pu-erh I have. The wet leaf smells…kinda fruity, kinda floral…but darker than a white tea? Slightly tart flavor that makes me think of cherries and rosehips but I don’t think it’s exactly either of those things. I sometimes got an aftertaste of toasted rice but not with every sip…more as the tea cooled, I think. Other times I got the sugary sweetness I was getting from Beebe. Longer steeps feel more black tea-like. Both Beebe and Patti have had a darker golden orangey color than I expected. Patti’s leaves look pretty broken up but not as much as Beebe’s were. Interesting to try. I don’t hate it but I probably wouldn’t buy it again.

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Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!
I’m not sure white teas really say Christmas but the holidays are full of indulging in things that make us happy, right? Or I could reeeeeeaaalllyy stretch it and say a white Christmas needs a white tea? But a fair bit of our snow melted yesterday so it’s not really that white out…

Anyway…glass gongfu bottle, glass cha hai, double-walled glass teacup. Near boiling water, about 130-ish ml for the 7g ball of tea, steeps starting at 20-ish seconds.

The dry tea smells like some kind of jam or baked fruity desserty thing. Pie filling but not so much the pie crust. The brewed tea doesn’t smell as fruity to me. Or at least not the same kind of fruity. Smells a bit like a pu-erh or maybe a black tea with sugar. Tastes smooth and sweet. Hot I mostly taste something that reminds me of fancy sugar…really good molassesy dark brown sugar or one of those gourmet raw sugars. Like make one of those crystal rock candy stick things out of the really good sugar and swirl it around in hot water for a while. As the tea cools I get more flavors that remind me of a darker tea. Something almost woody. Not the damp bark type wood you can get from ripe pu-eras, more like things that have been barrel-aged and have a little bit of a wood taste but the wood also gives a little bit of vanilla-ish flavor too?. The ball came apart more quickly and the leaves are more broken up than a lot of the White2Tea dragon balls I’ve had. Around the fourth steep I thought I could smell some of that pie filling type scent I could smell in the dry leaf, and maaaayyyybee get a little of it in the aftertaste of the tea. Or it could have just been my imagination as I was dreaming of cherry pie. Or peach pie. Any pie! 1:30am pie cravings are the worst. Everything is closed (in my corner of the middle of nowhere, anyway, especially on Christmas) and you’ll wake the whole house if you decide to go crashing around the kitchen to bake something. This tea is not really what I was expecting but it’s not bad. It’s kind of like taking all the sweetness of a white tea and sticking that in a mild black tea. It feels like a kind of mellow and soothing flavor. Sweet and easy to drink, not bombarding you with all kinds of crazy flavors. It does really make me want fresh from the oven baked goods, though. I think this is one where I might pick up a few more minis if I can fit them into a future order but I’m not sure I need a whole cake of it. I’m curious how the Patti and Judy white teas released at the same time will compare.


Merry Christmas :)

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