drank 2015 Smooch by white2tea
1548 tasting notes

I got this as a freebie with my very first White2Tea order. Thanks :) Just now getting around to it.

Gone gaiwan, 150mL, 212F, a prodding steep of 30s, followed by 11 steeps at 30s/10/15/15/15/25/30/35/45/1m/1m30. Strong beginnings, it requires some attention because it does oversteep easily. Anything less than boiling seemed to decrease the mouthfeel.

I could tell by the smell of the dry leaf that this was going to a fairly floral experience. The ball opened up quickly following the initial soak and I was greeted with a fragrant airy white floral, white rose and maybe cherry blossom, all drenched in honey. The smell of the liquor remained fairly strong throughout and was also prominent in the bottom of the cup. The golden liquor produced tastes of honey, airy white florals, hay and straw, faint apricot and mango with a vegetal undertone. It started off strong, thick and viscous with sweetness up front and edged into bitter in the back. The bitterness later moved forward and left my tongue numb. The texture thinned respectably into a light-bodied brew. Minimal astringency and sourness, though it didn’t sit too well in my stomach and a full belly soon became a requirement.

After the session when I took off the lid of the glass gaiwan to customarily poke through the leaf, I noticed impressions of saponin bubbles left behind which might not be visible using a brewing vessel made of different material. I’m guessing the saponins are what caused a slightly queasy stomach. I could quickly tell what made the liquor so thick in the beginning – most of the leaves had hairy, rough undersides. The leaves all appeared to be of the same region source material (Lincang, they say). I love little quirks in my tea and in this one, I found a leaf with its tip cut off that was 10cm long and 4.5cm wide. I’m a little bit of a builder so I sometimes like to measure :P

Given all that, I’ve recently concluded that honey-forward teas aren’t my style. But for someone with that kind of sweet tooth and who doesn’t mind, or even wants some bitterness in their brews, I think this would be a good choice and a good intro to puer for the adventurous who already have some experience brewing with loose leaf.

Boiling 5 OZ / 150 ML

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I most enjoy loose-leaf, unflavored teas and tisanes. Teabags have their place. Some of my favorite teas have a profound effect on mind and body rather than having a specific flavor profile. Terpene fiend.

Favorite teas generally come from China (all provinces), Taiwan, India (Nilgiri and Manipur). Frequently enjoyed though less sipped are teas from Georgia, Japan, Nepal and Darjeeling. While I’m not actively on the hunt, a goal of mine is to try tea from every country that makes it available to the North American market. This is to gain a vague understanding of how Camellia sinensis performs in different climates. I realize that borders are arbitrary and some countries are huge with many climates and tea-growing regions.

I’m convinced European countries make the best herbal teas.

Personal Rating Scale:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.

89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again.

79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.

69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.

59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.

Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s pu’er, I likely think it needs more age.

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