drank 2015 Smooch by white2tea
1255 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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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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