Wan Ling Tea House

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Recent Tasting Notes


Thank you Roughage for this Sample Tea!

I keep apologizing for my lack of knowledge about darjeelings. Like the clumsy schoolgirl I was at my first 6th grade dance, I have no idea what I’m supposed to do. At age 11 and 5’9" there’s no way I was letting a short stubby boy even think of SLOW dancing with me (which they all wanted to do with their evil grins)!

Darjeelings grin their evil grins at me too. They all look the same to me. I don’t know why. I’M NOT A DARGEELING BIGOT!

Roughage was so kind to send me this tea. I need to buck up and slow dance with it. Sigh….

So…I smoothed out my dress, looked at my dance card and there were no instructions on brewing this tea. Oh great! What was I to do? No chit chat on the dance floor to get me going.
I had to duck in a corner to look up the instructions under another First Flush Darjeeling and just wing it.
(My cheeks were turning pink)
Ok, deep breath…I took the recommended steps to brew the tea and waited.
Everything stopped for 4 minutes. So long a wait.

The liquor was floral and golden amber. This was expected. I had seen this before.
What would make this different or special?

I went to a corner chair and sat down, putting my hands in my lap and looked down at my knees. “I must be stupid!”, I said…“I never can understand this type of tea.” And I sighed again. Then I just sat.

After a time, I walked back to my cup of tea and looked into it. I took a big sip and thought how it tasted a little like grape skins and peaches. It smelled like warm flowers but not orchids. I was about to say PASTRY but out of fear of being mocked…changed my mind (pastry ha ha ha)! There was a short biting bit of astringency that I didn’t mind. Instead of being too brisk there was balanced smoothness. Good flavor!

It appears that I had slow danced after all!
I’m sure I stepped on toes.

Either I’ll grow to be more elegant and refined a dancer or you’ll grow taller and able to match with me and be my teacher. I need all the help I can get.

(Hope none of you Darjeeling lovers mind my liberties…I mean no disrespect to the tea…I mean it when I say I am a Darjeeling idiot!)


Bonnie I had no idea you where that tall! Wow that must have been a little difficult at a young age.


Yes! There was a discussion about removing bone from my legs …eek! When we changed from elementary to Jr.High (different school) many students thought I was a teacher. (We wore skirts or dresses to school way back in the old days) . I was every little boys symbol of emerging womanhood! Therefore, No slow dancing!!! (You can imagine where the foreheads of those little boys landed!) Garrrr!

Hesper June

What a apt description for how I feel about Darjeeling’s too.
Very well written, Bonnie!

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Thank you TeaEqualsBliss for sending me a bit of this tea!

And what a lovely Keemun this is. I get what TeaEqualsBliss says about this being a “lighter” Keemun, but, I find a robustness to this too, not so much in body but more in the spice set in the background. This has a lovely complexity to it. It has a lovely peppery quality, rich yet calm and relaxed. This isn’t your “get up and go” kind of Keemun, it is more like a contemplative cup that you’ll want to explore.

Really nice.

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Three new Darjeelings turned up on my doorstep today. It’s almost as if I ordered them!

Anyway, ordered on Tuesday, arrived on Thursday. Thank you, Wan Ling, for getting them to me so quickly. I was torn about which to try first so I put all three boxes in front of me, closed my eyes and picked one at random. After managing to select my desk lamp, a pen and a book, I eventually managed to put my hands on this one.

The dry leaves vary from a light olive colour through to a brownish green. They are whole and curly with a thick floral aroma. When steeped they unfurl to reveal quite a lot of whole leaves. The aroma is still floral, that thick heady scent of a flower meadow, I think. Tasting the tea seems to get every part of my tongue going. It is light, refreshing, floral. There is a hint of something darker lurking in there, a slight astringency maybe, that lends itself well to extending the aftertaste so that I enjoy the tea for a fair while after I have swallowed it. I breathe in and out so that the air across my tongue and the aroma on my breath enhances that aftertaste. This tea makes me feel good and also demonstrates beautifully why Darjeeling is the Champagne of teas. It has that same light, bubbly feelgood factor. I hope the other two are as good or better. I’m positively giddy about trying them!

200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 30 sec

I love my darjeelings!

Jim Marks

For all that I’ve heard that this is a difficult year, the first flush all seem to be quite good. I’m so excited for the second flushes which are almost always better.


Lovely visual review! Remind me to play cards with you! (Stick to cooking!) I look forward to the comparisons between all three Darjeelings!


Jim, the tea certainly seems to be good. I had heard that it was meant to be a difficult year, but the tasting so far suggests that there are few problems.

Bonnie, we can play cards any time. :-)

Jim Marks

I know that with wheat, ideal conditions produces a very pretty, but nutritionally useless crop. Strain on the plant is what produces protein and fiber.

The Japanese shade their tea bushes to strain the plant, and produce some of the finest tea in the world.

My guess is that it is because of the difficult conditions that this year’s Darjeelings are so good.


I had not thought of it in those terms, Jim, but that certainly seems to make sense.

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Backlogging from Friday…I enjoyed this one!It sort of reminded me of a Kettle Corn type Salty/Sugary Sweet Combo! Very neat!


Nice set of flavors!

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This smells like dark leafy greens and marigolds! WOW! Intense Aroma! Impressive!

Upon first sip…

Ohhhh! Incredibly clean – squeaky! Certainly a greenish-oolong! Near Buttery! Sweet! It’s like a cross between a Red Bell Pepper kind of sweet and a sweet corn sweet.

The lovely smooth-sweet combo lingers…so pure…so warming and friendly.


Love the name of this one! Sounds delicious too

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I can’t tell if I’m picking up slight plum notes or slight apricot notes…perhaps both! Regardless this is very VERY good! It’s sweet! It’s a bit fruity! It’s incredible clean and crisp! There are sweet-floral notes yet it’s smooth! It’s REALLY lovely! The more I sip – the more I LOVE it! YUP! This is pretty amazing!

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While listening to Butterfly by Jason Mraz I’m totally digging this tea. It’s more involved than other White Peony’s I have tried…Maybe even more vegetal, too! I really like this tho! It’s a nice, full white! Smooth end sip! Very nice!

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Lightly oxidised tie guan yin oolong. Aroma is sweet and slightly floral, with very little vegetal or green tones.

Hugely sweet and sticky fruit (apricot?), particularly on first infusion. Crisp grape at the start quickly gives way to a syrupy middle and finish. Typical tie guan yin flavours are present throughout, but very refined with no harshness and lots of depth to the flavour. Honey and slight fruit in the aftertaste. Very satisfying and easy drinking.

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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First let me say I DO like this tea – it’s tasty. But I, personally, wouldn’t call it robust. I found it to be a bit on the lighter side…it’s mellow yet airy and crisp. It’s a very gentle Keemun. I think that is why I like it…it’s different. It’s always nice to have a soothing black tea in your back pocket, ya know??

It’s a bit sweet and I really like the sweet notes!

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Good, orthodox Keemun red. Sweet, crisp with some floral notes. Honey on finish.

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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drank Jin Yao Shi by Wan Ling Tea House
11 tasting notes

Very complex. Slightly roasty, very sweet & sticky aroma on leaves. Fruit start – notes of pear & stoned fruit. Viscous but clean middle, hint of spice (allspice?). Soft finish, with a hint of astringency. Subdued but complex aftertaste.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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Very light and gentle as high grade green should be.
Dont expect explosion of taste from this one but it fills me with energy with every cup.
I use it as reference and compare all other Mao Fengs with this one :)
Still my number one.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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I don’t know how I haven’t logged this one yet, but I guess I was concentrating on finishing up the Jungpana first flush I still had from DT. So delicious. Delicate but with so much personality!

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Unfortunately, and hopefully due to my sniffle/sore throat, I’m not getting any flavour beyond hot water from a rather hearty steeping of this one.


aw, feel better soon! I have a stash of the Throat tea from Teaopia, if you happen to be in my area I’ll gladly share!


Thanks! Do you find it helps? My throat is feeling better but it sounds like something good to know for future reference!


Oh definitely, but I’m not sure how much better it is than most of the other “get well/throat” blends out there… I really don’t enjoy the flavour but keep it around for those odd days when I need the relief!

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Oh, yum. So fresh and re-freshing! This is incredibly light; it looks almost just like water in my cup. It’s gentle and sweet, with a lightly floral aftertaste.

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I think I am officially over ordering tea from the US, for the most part. I’ve found great options from the UK, and I cannot get over the difference in shipping cost. Also, I placed my order on May 29 around noon (i.e. end of working day in the UK), and I just received it on June 2. This is blowing my mind.

Anyway, on to the tea itself. This has plenty of green in it, though less than the Jungpana. The dry leaf smells quite like hay. The liquor is nice and gold-amber, and yum! This is definitely less green-tasting than the Jungpana and with a bit more body. Deliciously smooth and sweet.


I’m amazed that it isn’t both faster and cheaper from the US O.o Exactly how fierce is the US/Canada border control???

(UK based, I’ve had a number of interesting things from Nothing But Tea, they’re recommendable.)


What??? Delivery in three days…Holy Hannah, I need in. Something to consider next time I try out a new company – What was the shipping like?


Thank you! I will check Nothing But Tea out as I’ve seen them mentioned before as well.

I’m not sure what border control is really like, but when I have packages with tracking crossing the border never seems to be the part that takes forever. It doesn’t actually cost a fortune to ship US-Canada, but a lot of American companies see it as a way to make some extra money off our orders which doesn’t seem to be the case with the UK companies I’ve looked at. A few American companies have been reasonable, but most are ridiculous.

Uniquity: I only ordered 125g of tea and shipping was something like $4 for air mail. Air mail wouldn’t be necessary, I think, because this was so fast!


Oh, and this tea house mentions something on their site about optimized small package shipping rates for orders between 500g and 1kg.

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