1341 Tasting Notes


What-Cha actually had a sale, and OMG, WHAT-CHA had a sale on a LISHAN. Why? What could it be? Did this years drought really effect the tea? Was there too much purchased and now needs to get drank?

I got some because #1-this is my What-Cha staple, and #2, I was curious about the 2021 Spring Lishan. I grabbed 25 grams, but yet again, I wish I grabbed 50 because it still has the profile I’m so used to. I went lighter than normal than this time around to try some new teas too… since I have too much Green Oolong that I’ll guzzle empty anyway.

The leaves are really small this time around, but not lacking on floral aroma. The nutty citrus green flavor in an uncous body is there too. It’s just more delicate than it has been in a while. Last few seasons have been spinachy and buttery whereas this one leans more into its light florals and delicate fruitiness. It’s also pretty forgiving going back and forth western and gong fu as a I play with the times and amounts, 6 to 3 oz, 3 minute to 45 sec in no order. Though it’s sometimes a little bit one dimensional in some steeps, the more complex tones were in steep 1 after 3 min, steep 3 after 2 min, 5 after 45 sec and 3 oz of hot water. I’m actually pretty happy with how this season turned out, and am looking forward to what I get with the Alishan and Alishan Jin Xuan.

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Lilac, Lime, Milk, Mineral, Nutty, Osmanthus, Peach, Pear, Pine, Pineapple, Sugarcane, Sweet

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I’ve wanted to try this one for a while, and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to get a small 25 grams or a sample from my last What-Cha order. This one could have been an easy daily drinker for me if I tried it sooner. I was surprised by how fruity it was-it reminds me distinctly of fruit loops or apple jacks cereal. It’s got all the trademarks of a Dianhong, and the leaves are thickly dense with golden trichomes. The malt is really nice, and the tea has some sweet-potato and cocoa notes, but then it leans heavily into the honey and fruit. I do get banana in the first two steeps western, but then orange later on. Reminds my a lot of the Kenyan White Rhino. More to come on this one.

Flavors: Baked Bread, banana, Caramel, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Malt, Nectarine, Sweet Potatoes, Wood

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I’ve hoarded and not opened this for over a year. Given the crap shoot of this year, I should have opened it earlier. Instead, I opened it to help me reset when I go into a new trimester. This remains as my favorite expensive black tea right now. It sometimes has a chocolate note, but it’s more in texture as light malt and sweetness. The other dessert qualities are more forward. Too bad it was soo limited.

Notes abound-I’ll just put them in the flavor notes cause I forgot to input them last time.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Cinnamon, Fruity, Honey, Nutty, Raspberry, Sage, Sweet

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drank Evoolong by Brutaliteas
1341 tasting notes

It’s been too long since I’ve had a jade oolong that was actually cheaper than $10 an oz. I got one oz of this, and I was really surprised with how flavorful and long lasting this one was. The slightly higher oxidation was also a surprise, but the overall character of the tea is still immensely floral like an extremely high quality Tieguanyin.

Minerality, Taiwanese viscosity, and some imagined leafy lemony floral fruitiness are the edge this one has over some other Taiwanese Teas. It was actually more flavorful than a Dayulin I have….I know, blasphemy.

Earlier steeps heavily leaned into orchid and some osmanthus, and later steeps reminded me of skittles in it’s sugar cane-citrus (lemon or orange???)-peach-apricot-WTF-melon? sweetness, accented by hinting grass notes and watercress, or water-chestnut texture in the aftertaste. Honestly, I can’t pin down the fruit I’m getting. It’s like anything from green, yellow, and orange fruits in accents. Playing Foo Fighters is a perfect fit for this, and it’s a contender for becoming a daily drinker.

I’ve waited here for you

Tonight, I throw myself into
And out of the hong
Daily oolong, I sang
And I wonder
When I sip along with you

If every taste could ever be this real forever
If any tea could ever be this good again
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you
You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when
I sang

Flavors: Apricot, Chestnut, Floral, Grass, Green, Green Melons, Mineral, Orchids, Osmanthus, Spring Water

Evol Ving Ness

Every time I see the name of this tea, I feel like I am being summoned.

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Backlong: Not quite as good as the first time, but reliable tumbler and western fuel with an occasionally solid gong fu session. Consistent chocolate malt notes, and some tannin/bitterness here and there. 1/2 way done through it, and flavors not lasting quite as long as I’d hope, leading me to rate it an 84-85. I need to finish it quickly, then. Great for the price.

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Fun one, and smells like a warm Christmas. The chestnut sold me, and my brother wanted a chai. This was kinda tough to drink straight, but was good with just sugar at minimum, but better with some condensed milk. It’s a typical chai, but the warming chestnut adds much needed savory nutty qualities that contrast with the almost minty yerbe mate, which is hinted in the background.

I can get the winter vibe from the film in this one, but not sure if it’s super pleasing for a horror movie vibe. It’s inviting, which could be the point. Not certain about a rating, but know I’m pretty happy with it.

Evol Ving Ness

Anything is better with condensed milk!

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It’s been too long since I’ve actually gotten affordable, non-fancy loose leaf, and I was really stoked about this one. I had a hard time deciding what to sample-I wanted to get some of the Dragonforce or Needlejuice, but those were not in the sampler option. Fortunately, I got this, Chaining, and Evoolong-all of which were exactly what I was looking for.

This one is pretty unique. I love the flavor combo, especially the rich almond, cranberry, and pistachio, though this last nut is more subdued and creamy in comparison. I drank this tea straight, and though the marizipan was a bit much, I still liked it immensely. I think I’ll try this with milk and sugar, maybe just sugar next time. Either way, I’m pleased.

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Sample Sipdown!

Not quite as good in the tumbler. I probably needed more leaf, maybe more time. Sipped it, and mostly floral, toast, osmanthus, wood, mineral. It needed to air out, so I dumped it into a large mug. It was much the same, but the sweeter cocoa notes slipped it in as the liquid cooled down. Airing out and cooling it down worked, and while it’s decent tumbler style, this one works way better Gong Fu or Western.

It’s still easily one of the better Da Hong Pao style oolongs I’ve had, and it’s pretty close to the 90’s. I might have to pick up an oz next time I restock on my Jasmine Green and Hugo Grey Teas.

Flavors: Brown Toast, Mineral, Osmanthus, Roasted, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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drank Milk Oolong by Paru Tea Bar
1341 tasting notes

This is one of the first milk oolongs that was not overly vegetal in my tumbler. Butter? Yes. Coconut like? Yes. Milky? Yes. Green like spirulina and a grassy protein shake for a cow? Yes, but smooth and well rounded by the other flavor profiles being close to a greener dessert.

I’m contemplating on making this a staple…but it’s $42 for 4 oz….eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we’ll see. I do really like it. 93 rating minimum that will likely go up-price is the main thing holding this one back because I’ve very rarely had Alishan Jin Xuans that actually have a fruity note, and this one has a very prominent lychee flavor as it cools down in third steeps.


Is it flavored? Have you tried Premium Silky Green from Bird Pick? It has that buttery silky vibe. They sell it as a green but it is deffo milk oolong and cheaper than that. Not sure about a fruity note as it has been ages since I have had any.


Paru Tea Bar appears to have some cool teas but their prices make me hesitate.

Need to try Bird Pick.

Evol Ving Ness

I thought Mandala was the be all and end all of milk oolongs? Or the mango one from what cha?

Evol Ving Ness

That said, if you’ve found what you like, sometimes it is best to just suck it up and get exactly what you want.


I also ADORE J E Milky from The O Dor but it is rather expensive.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m pretty sure it’s flavored-though they don’t say. I personally was not as big of a fan of the J E Milky. I still think Mandala’s one is, What-Cha is the best quality for the best price. The thing that’s unusual about this one is the lychee note, and it’s actually not too far off from the same price as Mandala’s-only slightly more expensive. And I still haven’t tried the one from bird pick yet! I remember when you recommended it so long ago!

Daylon R Thomas

One benefit is that there is a $40 free shipping cap for U.S. The problem is that you’d have to get a tea flight to sample their teas, and they mostly come in 3’s. I do think there are a few teas that are worth it from Paru, but it is steep in comparison.

Daylon R Thomas

Bird pick has also put the oolong in the oolong category


Daylon: I am glad to hear they moved it. It was in the green section for years. I called them once to ask about it and the young woman who answered the phone said it was deffo green tea because oolongs are smoky…I explained that there is a whole range of oolong and she was really surprised and said she needed to find out more about it. She didn’t get defensive or cross, just really was surprised and very nice. I checked a few more times and it still was listed as a green, so I am glad they have now moved it to where it belongs!


I vaguely remember the oolong debacle! Also glad to see they changed it. Now, if only they shipped to Canada.

Evol Ving Ness

Hahaha, the Canada shipping thing. Yeah. And then there’s the paying gazillions of dollars, not on tea, on shipping (and customs/duties if they ding you.

Evol Ving Ness

Sorry, having a bitter moment.


Also bitter. It used to be sort of affordable. On the flipside, I hear that by the end of the month Canada is dropping the testing for trips across the border less than 72hrs in length. This may give us more tea buying options lol

Evol Ving Ness

Good news! Not helpful to me, yay anyway.

In the past week or so, I’ve lost my mind completely, so I may not need any more tea. Ever.

Daylon R Thomas

Lol teaching been nuts up there too?

Evol Ving Ness

Interesting times, interesting times.

But I meant more in terms of impulsive tea purchases (and it’s not even Black Friday).

Evol Ving Ness

How’ve you been managing, Daylon?


Oh cool, Bird Pick still exists!


I’m almost there with you Evol. I’m telling myself I can’t buy more tea until I sipdown all the August Uncommon and old 52teas (and start the advents). But then I wish for things I don’t have (oolong. always oolong).

Evol Ving Ness

I KNOW! And then there’s the oh, things have been hard and I deserve a treat (or five) thing.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s been tough, and interesting. By no means the worst year I’ve taught (first year still takes the cake),but I’ve made some progress despite some hurtles. Being sick and being a leader in a nonprofit has been draining. Ergo, like you, more tea. Luckily, the weekly subbing on my prep has helped supplement income a little.

Daylon R Thomas

I’ve got a good stash, but too much black, not enough oolong. Barely have touched my white teas.


I laughed at your description of some oolongs as “protein shakes for a cow.” So true!

I, too, have gone overboard on impulsive tea purchases and may not be participating in Black Friday. Unlike you, my stash is oolong heavy and “needs” more black tea. (My only BF temptation would be the oolongs from White2Tea, One River Tea, etc., etc.) Do you have any decent unsmoked Lapsang Souchong? In my impulsive buy from Wuyi Origin, I managed to pick up only 50 g of Old Bush Lapsang and 75 g of Jin Jun Mei (plus 50 g of their lower-priced Benefit Tea, ugh), plus three Dan Congs. I’m starting to feel a bit of buyer’s remorse…

Evol Ving Ness

Nothing beats the first year!

I expanded my horizons by splurging on matcha, as well, of course, as the usual suspects.

Leafhopper, no remorse allowed. Some we like, some we drink, some we give away, some we age and get to eventually, hopefully while they are still tasty.

I am also interested in a good unsmoked lapsang. Please let me know if you come across something lovely.

Daylon R Thomas

I sent a list of some in a message, Leafhopper. Most of them are less than 1 oz from Trident Cafe in Colorado.

Evol Ving Ness

Hello? Not for public consumption?


Evol Ving Ness, you’re right, the tea will be drunk, swapped, or stored for years in my tea museum, so I don’t need to feel any remorse. The best unsmoked Lapsang I’ve had is the one from TheTea.pl., which is full of tropical fruit. Wuyi Origin’s Old Bush Lapsang Souchong is a close second, though it leans more toward sweet potato and brown sugar.


Daylon, I’m not sure your message went through. I can’t see it in my inbox.

Evol Ving Ness

Thank you, Leafhopper. Making a note of your suggestions.

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drank Mei Zhan by Wuyi Origin
1341 tasting notes

Smoky and minerally yancha, heavy on the cooked fruit aspects. I personally get some plum and red/purple fruits, and the roast borders on cocoa on occasion. I’m enjoying the oz I have. More to come, and better gong fu so far.

Flavors: Charcoal, Cocoa, Fruity, Mineral, Plum, Roasted, Stonefruit, Wet Rocks

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Grand Crew Teas
Wuyi Origins Jin Jun Mei Sampler
What-Cha Jin Jun Mei
Good Luxurious Work Teas
A good Qilan
Best Sachet Teas

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwaneese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong


I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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