1313 Tasting Notes

88

Thank you Whiteantlers!

This is a backlog from yesterday. I’ve avoided opening this one because I put Bitterleaf Teas on a pedestal of pricy. But then I looked at the 2016 date, and the time was now.

This tea is interesting and doesn’t have the same astringency as most Dan Congs, or the Ripe Heady florals of most of the Yashi’s I’ve drank. Russ’s notes cherry were interesting because it does have a weird tang and fruitiness that resembles cherries, but lighter pink ones instead of the red ones that usually come to mind. The note itself had the soft tartness of some cascara, or coffee cherries, and that’s what I’m going to pick for my palette vocab today.

The tea’s overall character though is very milky, floral, and laced with minerals. The tea’s color itself is a very creamy yellow in shorter steeps and orange color in longer steeps, and the flavor with the mouthfeel create an almost dairy like sensation. The minerals that follow up are like mineral water, and while slightly sweet, they just add a lot of texture in every brew of the tea gong fu. Otherwise, the flavor is pretty light and I needed to add more leaves in the next session to get more flavor, and grant a medium for the bizarre cascara notes. Aroma packed a much more extreme profile that was almost like japanese milk candy. I’d almost use lychee to describe the smell, but I am so frickin’ tired of that note moniker, and the fruitiness is not tropical and not prominent.

I really liked this tea because it was easy to drink and combined my favorite elements unique to oologs. You don’t get heavy minerals combied with a creamier flavor often, Dancongs also usually go to astringent extremes between the floral, fruity, and toasty, but this one is very balanced. If I didn’t feel weird about the shipping, I’d probably would have gotten some this myself, but thankfully, Whiteantlers gave me the opportunity to drink this up.

I’d also add Hugo Tea’s Yashi Dancong they have is pretty similar to this one and a little bit heavier in its body, and has cheaper shipping costs in U.S. It does have a little bit more sourdough flavor to it, but it’s comparable. This one still highly appeals to me-I’m bumping up the rating to reflect that as I sip it down today.

Flavors: Cherry, Cream, Floral, Milk, Mineral, Sugar

White Antlers

So glad it went to an appreciative home, Daylon! :)

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95

Rando Experiment Note:

I decided to combine this one with the Fujian Black Jasmine I got from What-Cha. I was bad and did not measure, but I eyeballed it beginning with the black wiry jasmine black leaves, and then topped it with the golden Jin Jun Mei as the foreground. I tossed them up, and poured some water that I should have heated more. I let it sit for 30 seconds, and was surprised at the punch of flavor. It tasted like a sugary lychee candy or a Japanese cold drink you get from a store. I was impressed by my lukewarm accident.

Moving on to a more proper steep of a hot 195 F and two minutes, this one had lychee as a main note, followed by jasmine, rose, malt, grains, and finally thick dark chocolate. Viscous, silky texture, and medium body. I finished it quickly, but sweet flavor and aroma remained in my empty cup. It remained like brown sugar at the bottom of a cookie pan…but FanCY.

Anyway, this is a fun note. I usually don’t blend my teas since I’m a purist, but I have a lot of tea, and figured this make a fun combo of note. I didn’t expect the tea to be as rich as it was. This little experimental session is credit to this teas desert like qualities and to the quality of the scenting of the Jasmine.

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94

My note didn’t get saved right. Anyway, more flavors listed down below on top of what I’ve written on its page. Some mineral during steep three and four from my gong fu session. The notes made me think of lemon or honey crystals. Steep two and five reminded me of honeydew.

I am thankful to have acquired some of this tea, and even more thankful I get to enjoy it on a grey Sunday Morning. Well, Sunday noon now, but I woke up at 10:00. That’s still morning.

Flavors: Green, Green Apple, Honeydew, Lemon, Lemongrass, Mineral, Rose, Sugarcane

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95

This is a newer Jin Jun Mei that What-Cha has started selling in the last few years. I personally have had an on and off again relationship with this variety of tea because they can be very vegetal for a black tea and can have very strong tobacco notes. The older one that was sold was excellent, deep, complex, thick, and rich. This one is a lot softer, but instensley aromatic and flavorful.

What-Cha’s notes are a bit unusual for what you usually see, but it get’s “sweet malt loaf” and “subtle rose hints” in its description and as always they’re reliable when I purchase their teas. The rose was actually not subtle for me personally, but was extremely natural and very welcomed. The tea is breadsy, savory, and buttery as well as floral and rosy. There’s some malt and sweet potato too, but the push and pull of the dry and viscosity in the texture make it more grainy and breadsy by approximation.

So far, I have not gotten too much difference from it western in a tumbler and Gong Fu this morning. It’s very sweet, smooth, drinkable, and pleasing. I could see some people using the “chocolate” moniker on this one when the tea cools down, nevermind that’s just Fujian Wuyi quality.

I don’t really have more to add on this one other than the fact I wish I got more. It’s a very soft and refined black tea that combines floral with savory and malty. I highly recommend those who like more floral blacks. I wish I could write more, but that’s what I have for now.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Grain, Malt, Rose, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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92

Quick backlog.

It’s been a while since I had buddier blacks, and since I got some, I craved more since the last year I had some. Most of my notes of late will consist of black teas, mostly Taiwanese blacks and Fujian blacks.

I’m also making this one quick and will add more in the future. I had this as morning tumbler fuel, and it’s definitely chocolatey with more emphasis on the malt. I didn’t expect the tea was going to be as bright as it was with the malt. It’s not bitter, astringent, or strong, but there’s some nice briskness. I personally got citrus, sweet potato, dandelion, and brassy tannin from it from the two western steeps in the tumbler giving the tea a more sunny visual in my head as I drank it. It definitely woke me up with its Qi. The flavor is still smooth and great without being as bitter as the usual Assams or occasional Keemums, though it’s powerful enough to be a breakfast tea.

I very much like it, but need to do some Gong Fu before I rate it. I still recommend it and will share. I look forward to see what other people write about it on here.

Flavors: Chocolate, Citrus Zest, Dandelion, Malt, Smooth, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin

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95

I’m so happy that I got 50 grams of this from 2020. It remains as one of my favorites. I had it in one of my tumblers, and it was nice and citrusy, floral, malty, and sweet. I’ll do more detailed notes in the future.

Thank you Alistair and Co.!

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56

Thank you Whiteantlers!

Backlog that will be super short.

Most of the notes describing the tea have already been posted. This one is much better in the second steep, and is very mushroomy and creamy. I usually like creamy whites, but the more herbacaeous and mushroom profile are a little off putting. It was like drinking a cold floral miso in the first steep, and then a mushroomy and more intensely floral second steep.

This is not something you’d normally hear from me, but I like the black version of this tea significantly more. I know it’s ‘cause of my basic preference for more fruity notes in teas, but…I don’t know. I just don’t like this one.

Flavors: Floral, Herbs, Mushrooms

White Antlers

Whispering Pines is generally quite good but every once in awhile, you’ll hit on something that’s just not for you. For me, it was his Moonlight Sonata-the urinous/dill tasting white.
: P

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80

I’ve been meaning to do this one a while. I may have cheated and described it on another note for another tea. Oh well, here’s the story about how I changed my mind on this tea.

This one is interesting. I tried it two years back as a looseleaf to see if I would get it as a daily sachet work oolong in bulk. Their description is really interesting for when I purchased it in 2018 and in 2019- wild honey- sandalwood-and white pepper. Since it was oddly specific, I figured the notes weren’t off, and they weren’t. It’s profile is very close to a Tie Guan Yin type of tea with a little bit more sharpness and complexity. I wasn’t in love with it at first since it was kinda thin, water-cresty and too intense with the tangy orchid florals. I decided against buying the 100 bag pack and Hugo’s Jasmine would become my staple.

Trying it now after sorting through the teas I need to drink through, I dumped the sample in my Yuppy version of a Gaiwan that’s called the Manual Brewer from Spirit Tea, which I pronounce Man-U-El everytime I read the description in my head. The durability and double wall of the Gaiwan and cup are great, but the lack of filtration and the glass make my teas taste a hair more astringent than they do in porcelain or clay.

Aside from the mini-teaware review aside, the sampler dumping ground combo with terse steeps of 10-15 second increments did the trick really well. The texture was fuller and thicker, and the honey cascaded nicely with the orchid florals, some very light roast, and a nice sharp edge of spiciness like ginger and the white pepper described. I kept on going back to it and it evolved. Earlier steeps were more honey and orchid forward, middle more pepper, and later ones get spicier followed up by the water chestnut flavor I’ve personally associated with Tie Guan Yin similar Chinese oolongs.

This one is very green, but not too beeny green. It’s very floral, and very sharp. I swear Hugo teas differ season to season. For example, earlier years and seasons of the jasmine where more citrusy last time, but this past years was more grapey and on the dryer side with the jasmine. The previous season of Earl Grey taste was more acidic, but the recent one was more pithy and malty as a sachet. The tasting notes have actually changed in the last few years for most of their teas. A part of that is marketing since the company is slowly catering more to a Gong Fu Cha-Consuming crowd, but this particular 2019 Spring batch does taste sharper and fuller than the 2018 one did. That one was almost too floral and watery, which could be due to how I brewed it, but it was fuller this time and well balanced. The sharper notes clashed with the sweeter honey notes making me grimace like it was sour or tart last time, but the thicker honey and the tangy sharper spicier notes made the orchid florals less intense.

Anyway, while this is still not my favorite tea just due to my Taiwanese, Dan Cong, and Nepal preferences, it stands out compared to many much more generic oolongs I’ve had. I dig the natural spiciness to it, and it’s actually pretty easy to drink. I still much prefer Hugo’s Earl Grey and Jasmine Green right now and recommend them stronger, this one is a great foundation for an oolong and it might not be a bad staple.

The only challenge is that this one is in a weird crossroads for who might like it. I think newer drinkers would be into it, but I could see some be off put by the orchid profile and the weird spicy kick this tea has, putting it more into tea snob territory. It’s also a bit more experimental since it’s a Taiwanese varietal grown in China and styled like a Tie Guan Yin from the same region that specializes in Dragonwell and Jasmine, so that’s another point to tea snobs and tea nerds. It’s also fairly durable, but I think Gong Fu is the way to tame this dragon, nevermind I think this is a good example of most Chinese Oolongs since many have both spicy, sweet, and floral qualities. This one just combines it into one, making a good education tea I’d use on a noob to say “THIS IS OOLONG”. I do highly recommend and prefer the more oxidized Dong Fang Mei Ren version of this one, the Champagne Long Lou, but this tea is a solid and fun oolong.

I apologize for my verbosity. You don’t always get a tea that makes you change your mind like this one, and I do think that a Chinese Fan Style Qin Xin that is sold as both a loose tea and a sachet tea is more than noteworthy.

Flavors: Floral, Ginger, Green, Honey, Orchid, Pepper, Sour, Spicy, Sweet, Tangy, Vanilla

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Backlog from December 30th sitting on the front porch with my bro for any remaining sunlight for the short day. We listened to a Mythunderstood Podcast about Janus and Ragnarok: Derk, you nailed the rice and paper thing and it’s very heavy in the kettle corn popcorn flavor for me.

I am still not decided on this one. I still lean towards the Mandala, and this one is personally more vegetal, vanilla, spinachy and bordering cakey than I like. Not getting caramel personally, but I do get caramel stickiness. I am also not convinced its Jin Xuan in the body since it’s got more florals like a fan styled Chinese oolong, or even a Tie Guan Yin…but who knows, I’m probably wrong. I’ve gotten through more of it and gifted a friend a decent amount as I work through.

I personally don’t see why this one is rated so highly, but enjoy it . I’m still indebted to Kawaii.

Flavors: Artificial, Cake, Grass, Kettle Corn, Popcorn, Rice, Rice Pudding, Spinach, Sweet, Vanilla

ashmanra

I love this tea! And my daughter Superanna, does, too! But I can see where you are coming from.

Daylon R Thomas

Thank you for your comment! I think I would have loved it when I was first getting into tea since I love tropical creamy flavored or unflavored oolongs. Since I’ve been spoiled with Taiwanese Gaoshan and Lupicia, I’ve gotten way to picky. And pricy. I also tend to over-leaf, and I tend to find a higher water to leaf ratio works better for me when I drink this one along with shorter steep times.

ashmanra

What do you recommend from Lupicia? I have never tried Gaoshan. Must have a look.

Daylon R Thomas

Gaoshan is a fancy way of saying High Mountain Oolongs like Shan Lin Xi, Dayuling, Lishan, Dong Ding, Alishan, etc. For Lupicia, I personally really like their Mango Oolong and their Momo Oolong both loose leaf and as sachets. Momo is rose peach.

White Antlers

I second the mango and momo oolongs from Lupicia. Generally I abhor flavored teas, but these 2 are very well done.

Daylon R Thomas

Most of their flavors for teas are well done. I am pickier about their black and green, but most if not all of their oolongs are good. I would also recommend the Muscat Oolong they have Ashmanra, but they only do it seasonally. I was able to snag some thanks to Whiteantlers. I am still curious about their green white blend version, but I’m waiting on that one till I go through my other oolong horde.

ashmanra

Excellent! Thank you for the recommendations! Then I have indeed had gaoshan and love goashan!

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Bio

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

Me:

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.

Location

Michigan, USA

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