What-Cha

Recent Tasting Notes

drank Nepal 2nd Flush Sencha by What-Cha
1318 tasting notes

I have really missed my time with tea and I am happy I picked out a good one today to get reacquainted. The last week has been basically Tetley and Lipton Citrus Green RTD. I like them fine but there is no depth. So yeah, for the good stuff today. I haven’t had Sencha in a long time. This one is a Nepali version of Sencha. Since I have no real working knowledge of Sencha I can only comment on the cup, free of all outside comparisons. Well except I don’t operate in a vacuum so I guess that can’t be true.

This has a steamed spinach aroma after pouring and the taste reminds me of either Chinese Mao Feng or Xinyang Maojian. It has that good bitter bite up front that fades into smooth grassy. What is different here is the grassy begins to be overtaken by a mineral note but before it completes the mission, the sip moves into a bright finish. I like this one. It is nicely complex and has many of the elements that amuse me in a green tea. It does have moderate mouth drying but doesn’t burn the stomach like astringent black teas.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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100

Guess who has perfectly dyed vibrantly teal hair? Yeah, ok, no guess really, it is me, for the first time in a long while my hair turned out perfect, it practically glows with the level of brightness. I have Minecraft diamond hair now, which is awesome. What isn’t awesome is I went nocturnal and I am spending today staying up very late in hopes that I can flip my schedule back to diurnal, the constant struggle, of course this means I might be a bit more rambling than usual.

It is Wednesday, meaning it is time for another tea from What-Cha, today’s lucky leaf is Kenya Premium White Tea. Alright everyone, stop, collaborate, and listen…this tea might be the most unusual tea I have ever had (that is actually Camellia sinensis and not some strange herbal concoction) seriously, go out and buy yourself some, heck buy me some, because I went through my sample of this unique tea in record time. Looking at the dry leaves, it doesn’t look like a white, it looks like a fuzzy golden tea from Yunnan…sniffing the leaves it has the sweet corn notes of a Kenyan Silver Needle, the heady floral notes of an oolong, and the malty, sweet potato, and caramel notes of a golden Yunnan tea. I am confused and totally in love, Ben thought I lost my marbles because of the maniacal giggling coming from me while sniffing the leaves.

After a moment of contemplation on the best way to brew these mysterious chimera like leaves and inevitably settling on my gaiwan, I gave the leaves a good steeping. The aroma of the now quite soggy leaves is delicious, a blend of sweet corn, malt, sweet potatoes, and flowers (specifically peony and orchids) waft out towards my nose. The liquid is much yum, very sweet with notes of peony flowers and sweet corn mixing with malt and cocoa. It is like someone did a cocktail of half Yunnan Gold and half Kenyan Silver Needle…two of my favorite teas, oh dear this might undo me.

If you do heed my advice and buy this tea to try yourself, make sure you are sitting down because this tea will sweep you off your feet. It tastes just like the liquid smells, it starts with sweet corn and peony with delicate mouth tickling trichomes and then transitions to malt, caramel, and cocoa notes. It is quite unlike any tea I have ever experienced before.

Second steep time! The aroma is so wonderful, the sweet corn, peony, and malt notes work really well together, no note overpowers. This steep has more in common with the Yunnan Gold aspects of its personality than the Kenyan White, with notes of malt, caramel, cocoa, and sweet potatoes. At the end there is a strong note of peony and a hint of sweet corn with a lingering aftertaste of molasses.

For the third steep the aroma is very sweet, lots of sweet corn and caramel with a touch of malt. This time the tables turned, the taste is more focused on the Kenyan Silver Needle with more delicate notes of sweet corn and a burst of peony. This fades to a blend of caramel and molasses with lingering sweetness.

Alas I did not take official notes or snap a picture because I was in a hurry and grabbed the first tea off my desk (this lucky one) to toss in my travel infuser for sipping while out and about. Using slightly cooler water (180) and an obviously longer steep (several hours) I noticed that it started out with sweet corn and peony, very delicate and sweet. This grew into malt and molasses notes until the finish of my sipping which was quite robust and very sweet. Teas like this really make me happy, not only do they taste fantastic, they are outside the ‘norm’ for that type of tea, it reminds me to never go into a tea expecting something, to treat each tea like an adventure…sometimes you get a few new and unusual flavor or aroma notes and sometimes you get something completely unusual and unique.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-cha-kenya-premium-white-tea-tea.html

Flavors: Cocoa, Floral, Kettle Corn, Malt, Molasses

hippiechick 42

Love your hair! Thanks for the great review.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Thank you, and my pleasure :D

TeaBrat

Nice, love the hair :)

A2ShedsJackson

I’m usually a skeptic of white teas, but you make this one sound unbelievable. Also, your hair is awesome. Your new minecraft skin should be an Enderman with a little teal hairdo on top.

What-Cha

Kenya (and Nepal) is really pushing the boundaries in tea experimentation and as a result they are producing teas which are unlike all other teas of the same type. For example the Kenyan Premium White, Purple Varietal Green and Purple Oolong are unlike any other white, green or oolong tea. So even if you are not a fan of these types of tea, you might find yourself becoming a fan of the Kenyan version.

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drank Nepal 1st Flush Oolong by What-Cha
1318 tasting notes

Prepared this two days ago and again today. First attempt was 12 oz. It was supposed to be 8 oz but there were 4 ounces left in the kettle from a previous gongfu session. The tea was very smooth with no bitterness or astringency. It had a mildly thick creamy feel. The flavor was rather straight forward and reminded me of fall leaves. My brain recalls it tasting very similar to a Formosa oolong I had a couple years ago. My brain very often remembers things quite wrong.

I thought maybe if I tried this again with less water I would get different results, and I did. The second time (today) I used 6 oz and 3 g of leaf. A squirrel named Google distracted me and I steeped this five minutes. Holy Cow! This was bitter! Except for that, the flavor was still light and woodsy.

If you are a big, bold, highly flavored, tea drinker, you will not get this one. I prefer light notes even in flavored teas – except my beloved Earl Grey, which must be able to peel paint when needed. This is a simple, light in taste cup, good for a quiet afternoon like today.

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95

After a few other cups, I’m revisiting this one today, with a second steep of the same leaves.

And steep two is so completely different from the first steep. The first was all fresh garden veggies. On the nose is something that I can’t quite identify… hay, corn husks, soy milk and clean furry animals? Weird but not bad.

On the palette the start of the sip is very floral with rose petals, and then moves to cucumber and melon. A touch of tang and astringency on the finish.

Very nice! I’m very intrigued by how this is developing, and how unexpectedly.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Cucumber, Floral, Fur, Hay, Melon, Rose, Soybean

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 5 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
K S

I have got to look in the box and see if I have this one. Clean furry animals – awesome!

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95

Wow, so the nose this is very, very different from any white tea I’ve had before. It smells of corn, spinach and predominantly, lightly cooked zucchini. Maybe even hints of mushroom.

On the palette, my first impression is fresh peas from the garden. Mid sip it transitions into zucchini and dark, leafy greens, and then on the finish the peas are back with some green beans, and subtle corn notes linger after the sip is done. There’s some hints of earth and umami in here too. As I sip and it cools, the zucchini notes get even clearer.

The mouth feel started off pretty silky and there’s just a hint of astringency building, but that doesn’t come out in the flavour at all.

This is crisp and light, and just beautiful. Unlike any tea I’ve ever tasted before. This is tending your garden and eating the ripe produce straight from the ground. It’s vegetal but not at all grassy – it’s all fresh, juicy garden veggies.

Fantastic!

Flavors: Earth, Garden Peas, Green Beans, Mushrooms, Spinach, Umami, Zucchini

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML
Cheri

This sounds amazing.

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75

I think I got a little bit spoiled by how amazing and evocative my first yellow tea (Darjeeling 2nd Flush 2014 Jungpana AV2 Yellow Tea, What-Chat) was, because while this was nice, I just kept thinking about the other one.

This one was roasty and astringent, with lots of corn and a bit nutty. A touch bitter on the first steep, though that mellowed with subsequent steeps. I was hoping that the character of this would develop some more but each of my steeps (four?) tasted pretty much the same, with strength and bitterness being the only major variation.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Nutty, Popcorn, Roasted

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 OZ / 88 ML

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85

I am really glad that I took a “gamble” and ordered a few of the blends that What- Cha offers. When I sniffed What-Cha’s English Breakfast blend in the bag, my eyes got big (like cartoon eyes, I’m sure!) Cocoa!!! Stonefruit!! Malt!! Rah! Rah! Rah! The leaves were large, dark and twisty, a wonderful sign of things to come, I hoped….. and I was right! The blend of Kenyan Orthodox, Assam, Nepal and 2 types of Ceylon creates a dark amber liquor that smells of toasted grains and biscuits, malt, and a “lurking” of cocoa. I over-leafed this tea on purpose, and the cup I poured for myself was STRONG and GOOD. Milk and honey added that comfort feeling that I love so much in UK blends. The Nepal tea brings a woodsy rose note to this tea that is unexpected, and I LOVE that in a tea! This is a nicely rounded cup with some expected (malt, toasty grains, light astringency) and unexpected (woodsy, rose) notes that English blend-lovers should try. The smaller boutique tea purveyors like What-Cha that produce blended teas are helping me understand more about what goes into blends and how creative they can be when done on a small scale. Well done and recommended.

Flavors: Burnt, Cocoa, Grain, Malt, Rose, Stonefruits, Wood

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
What-Cha

I’m very glad that it met with your approval and thanks once again for the detailed review, it truly is invaluable (especially so on blends).

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Second steep of my leaves from the other day, 3min, with hotter water (probably 90ishC?)

Ah yes, I think this is paying off now. The liquor is a deep gold and on the nose I’m getting plum, caramel and chestnuts, even hints of baked bread.

Once it cooled enough to drink, it was still a bit weak, so I put the leaves back for another 2 minutes. I still feel like there’s more depth to this tea than I’m getting. Notes of plum and baked bread are there, but still faint.

Further steeping added a bit of astringency but not much else.

Hopefully try three will be better. I can tell this tea has a lot to offer if I can get the steeping right.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Caramel, Chestnut, Plums

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I’m having trouble brewing this one right. The rolled leaves are incredibly long and fluffy, so measuring a teaspoon was a lot of guess work, and then some of my leaves were clumped together and didn’t really separate and open up properly on first steep. 3min at 80C didn’t yield a lot of flavour, so I pulled apart the clumped leaves, added a few more from the bag in case I underleafed it, and steeped for another minute.

I still feel like I haven’t done this tea justice. More flavour is coming out as it cools, but it still seems far too mild for an oolong. I’m getting some malt, fruitiness, some floral notes and a touch of honey, but they’re all so, so subtle and not distinctive.

I need to give this another try before I rate it, because I can tell there’s more to this that I’m just not getting on this steep.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Honey, Malt, Sweet

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML
What-Cha

I have found that the second and third steepings are best with the flavour evolving and changing from the first. In my experience it is very hard to overbrew purple varietal teas so you could try increasing the water temperature to see if it yields a better brew.

Anlina

Thanks for the tip! I will definitely keep that in mind for my next cup.

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90

This will be my first yellow tea.

I’m really enjoying the smell of the dried leaf – very strong notes of sweet hay, that remind me of farmland in autumn or being in a clean barn.

The liquor is a warm yellow, and there are notes of hay, malty sweetness and a hint of vegetal on the nose.

On the tongue it’s rich and nutty, sweet and malty, with hay, fresh corn and a hint of green grass. There’s a slight tang on the finish, and dry leaves.

This is beautiful, and a perfect tea for the beginning of autumn. It evokes cool breezes and warm, bright sun and being outdoors in the prairies, bundled up in warm clothes with pinking cheeks. So good.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Grass, Hay, Malt, Nutty, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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74

I am a BIG black blend tea fan. Frisian blends, Scottish, English, Irish….they’re all good with me, as long as they are married to milk and honey! So obviously, I was rather excited to get my hands on the blends offered by What-Cha. The promise of a blend including Nepal tea was too much to resist. The first time my husband and I tried a cup of this tea, I immediately looked at the bag to make sure I leafed it correctly…. the tea was very weak and non-descript. Hmmmmm…. so I tried again this morning. Sadly, I had the same experience. I use spring water for my tea, so I know it wasn’t the water…. I finally had to use 3 teaspoons of tea in 12 oz of water to get the tea to stand up to milk and sugar. Now mind you, the flavor of the blend isn’t bad, it was just weak. What-Cha uses 2 different Ceylons in this blend (along with Assam and Nepal), and they are what comes through strongest in this blend. There is a woodsy note, as well as a green note that floats languidly in the cup…. but overall, the thin mouthfeel and the lack of roundness in the flavor profile just didn’t make it something I would order again. If you like Ceylons and drink your black tea without milk and sugar, I would give this tea a go…. the Ceylon in this blend seems to offer something inviting, but for me it was just from too far away…..

Flavors: Green Wood, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
What-Cha

I’m sorry it wasn’t quite to your taste, I very much modelled the blends on what I enjoy in a cup of tea and as someone who drinks tea exclusively without milk, in hindsight its unsurprising that the blends can come across on the weaker side. I’ve only produced a limited amount of each blend and when they are sold out, I will take on board all feedback and evaluate what changes need making or possibly drop the current blends and create more unique blends better tailored to the regions I specialise in rather than trying to recreate known blends.

What-Cha

Forgot to say thanks for the tasting notes, I really appreciate your taking the time to write the notes and it is invaluable for me as a retailer to see what needs changing and what does not

donkeytiara

You are very welcome! This wasn’t a bad tea by any means, but I guess I was expecting something to put hair on a chest (not mine…my husbands, please.) :) I will anxiously watch for the announcement of your new blends…and I still have the English and the Irish to try!

What-Cha

Hopefully the Irish and English will be more to your taste, as the Irish is predominantly Assam and the English is predominantly Kenyan. Also a longer steeping time of 4-5 minutes should help the strength.

donkeytiara

Review of English is up! :)

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73

Another from my What-Cha order. The dry leaf smells very malty with notes of chestnut.

Steeped, on the nose it’s very fruity and malty, with a bit of floral notes. Also picking up some soapiness, which makes me worry that I didn’t rinse my tea ware well enough when I did the dishes, but I think I did.

On the palette it’s floral and malty, and very smooth. Three minutes left it a bit on the weak side, but an extra minute has given it more depth.

This is a nice, easy to drink tea. Not terribly distinctive, but enjoyable, and a good first cup of the day.

Flavors: Chestnut, Floral, Fruity, Malt, Smooth, Soap

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I first tried this tea when Steepster was behaving badly. I am actually glad I couldn’t post a review. My first experience was not the best. I did a western style per directions (176 F, 3 minute steep, and 3 g of leaf). There was almost no taste.

Next I brewed it in a 90 ml gaiwan. I used 3 g and 190 F and long 3 minute steep. It was better. It reminded me of potato with some White peony notes and a pine note late in the sip. Later steeps developed a TGY like aftertaste.

Today, I prepared it western mug style with the last 3+ g of leaf, 190 F water and an 8 minute steep. It was the best cup yet. Slight potato when hot but as it cooled that faded. The cup was more white peony like but as with the gaiwan I really thought it closer to camellia flowers which are more wood like in flavor. It had some light fruit notes and maintained what to me is a light green oolong aftertaste.

Definitely requires long steeps to develop the flavor. My least favorite from What-Cha but the neat part of the experience is getting to try a purple varietal white tea – from Kenya.

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94

A very strange bit of gaming news crept across my radar this morning as I found myself wondering ‘why in the name of all things holy am I still awake’ that made me switch to wondering ‘have I fallen asleep at my computer and am now just dreaming of weird news?’ I mean I did dream I was a computer simulation and saw the world in coding the other day, so this is entirely possible…but no, upon further investigation, this rumor is not a dream. It seems there is a rumor about Microsoft buying Mojang for $2billion, which is really strange and out of character for Notch. I am worried for the future of Minecraft, but hopefully Microsoft will be smart and not change too many things, it will be interesting to see how this unfolds, but more on my thoughts about this on my Saturday Ramblings post.

Introducing a new feature on the blog: What-Cha Wednesdays! I have a small mountain of their teas to review (and will probably get more once I run out, their teas fascinate me and at times become addictions, so I want to Pokemon it and try them all) and until I run out I shall have this be a weekly thing. Today’s What-Cha is Nepal Monsoon Flush 2014 Pearl Oolong Tea, and everything about it is new to me. It is from Nepal (a tea region I have very little experience with, tragically) and rolled into tight pearls, reminiscent of dragon pearl tea, a shape I have never seen an oolong curled into. There is also the plucking time of Monsoon Flush, which is also referred to as Rainy Tea, it is plucked between the Second and Autumn Flush between July and September, a time of continuous rain. It has been a cool, drizzly, day so I thought the timing to review this tea was perfect. The aroma of the little pearls is not very strong, I catch little whiffs of aromas, much like the tightly curled pearls are hiding their secrets from me. There are gentle notes of nuttiness and fruitiness, a mix of stone fruit and citrus, with just a tiny hint of sesame seeds.

As suspected, giving the pearls a bath released some of its hidden aroma as they unfurled, though the pearls remind me of baby Cthulhu-esque monsters which endears them to me immensely. The aroma of the leaves is very interesting, notes of dry apricot, sweet wine, and an undertone of pepper drift up from the leaves, it is very sweet and rich while still being light. The liquid is sweet, with a blend of apricot juice and scuppernong fruit, it does not smell like ‘fruit nectar’ but the juices of a ripe fruit as you bite into it.

The first steep is incredibly gentle and light, it tastes like spring rain, mineral laden spring water…specifically it reminds of the taste of the water I would drink from Boiling Spring’s Bubble (an artesian cold spring from limestone rich rock) giving me a powerful case of nostalgia. There is more to this tea than clean water and minerals, there are also notes of ripe apricots and freshly mown hay.

The second and third steep are identical in both aroma and taste. The aroma of the liquid is very sweet, mixing apricots,a touch of citrus, and nice bit of muscatel and minerals at the finish. The taste has the same clean spring water and rain taste of the first steep, but the real show stealing taste this time around is the apricot and fresh citrus notes. I feel like sipping this tea is cleansing, it is very light and refreshing and makes my soul feel good, I shall have to get more and put it aside for special occasions. This tea is a wonderful reminder how diverse tea can be, it is unlike any oolong I have ever had, in fact if I did not know what it was I might label it a white tea or an unusual Darjeeling, tea has so much to teach and I hope to never stop learning.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/09/what-cha-nepal-monsoon-flush-2014-pearl.html

Flavors: Apricot, Citrus, Mineral, Nuts

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75

The dry leaf smells like your typical Earl Grey, lots of bergamot. The leaf is small, not CTC but fannings?

Steeped, this tea is very different from any other Earl Grey I’ve tried. On the nose it’s a bit creamy on top of the bergamot scent, and then on the palette it’s very, very light. The tea base is a bit astringent and sweet, malty, almost nutty. The bergamot is light and well balanced.

I’m having a hard time pinning down how to completely describe how this is different from other Earl Greys – I keep thinking light, silky (though the astringency doesn’t actually give it a silky mouth feel), and like I’m tasting the flavours of an Earl Grey but on different parts of my tongue than usual.

I don’t think this would be my go-to Earl Grey, but I always love trying new variations on my old favourite, and discovering new stuff.

Flavors: Astringent, Bergamot, Creamy, Malt, Nutty, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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95

Mmm, opening up the bag sent a rich waft of butter up to my nose.

Steeped at 90C for 3 minutes, the liquor is pale yellow, and smells buttery, with vegetal, umami and seaweed notes.

On the palette this is interesting. Very, very floral (jasmine?), a wee bit sweet, and very creamy, buttery. A burst of sweet hay mid sip, and then seaweed and umami linger on the finish.

As this cup cools the floral notes develop even further, becoming even more full-mouth, and taking on an almost perfumey quality, that is very pleasant. I also start to pick up some really awesome, round fruity notes – juicy, fresh and tropical, lychee, peach, mango. Toasty notes are blossoming on the finish as this cup develops further.

Continued sipping reveals rich coconut notes at the opening of the sip.

This is very different from the other milk oolongs I’ve tried, and I’m really enjoying the complexity and uniqueness of this. I’ve never had a cup of tea that has changed so much in a single steeping.

The second steep, again 90C, 3 min, still smells very buttery, but the taste is very vegetal, almost grassy, still lots of umami. A touch of tang and astringency, notes of toastiness again. A bit creamy still, though that’s mostly retreated to mouth feel rather than flavour. Floral notes on the finish instead of mid sip and much more subtle, and then lingering hay long after the sip is done.

As I sip and the cup cools, I’m getting more of the butter notes back on my palette. The grassy note is just a fleeting burst as the tea hits my tongue and then mellows right away, and the more it cools, the more the dominant notes shift from vegetal to buttery. There’s also a touch of astringent mouth feel developing as I get closer to the bottom of the cup.

The second cup isn’t as amazing as the first, but it’s still pretty amazing.

Third steep, 90C, 2 minutes, half as much water.

It’s both buttery and very perfumey on the nose. The perfumey taste is also the opening note on the tongue with this cup, which then draws in some vegetal and butter, and a bit of grassy tang on the finish. There’s a slight bitter note which only peeks out for a second before it’s gone.

I think I’m about done with these leaves for now, but I am super impressed with this tea. I think it’s going to be a staple in my cupboard.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Coconut, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Jasmine, Lychee, Mango, Peach, Perfume, Seaweed, Tangy, Toasty, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
mj

Aaaandddd wishlisted! Sounds fantastic :-)

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100

Fantastic! Dry, it smells like a slightly lemon scented dragon well. Steeped, it starts with sweet corn, fills the mouth with sweet grass/straw/nuts and finishes with a surprising and amazingly strong citrus peel that lasts and lasts. Really nice!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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85

After reading on Reddit yesterday that this tea is Alastair’s (of What-Cha) favorite black tea, I put it in front of the tea line for this morning’s cup. Definitely not disappointed! I don’t know that I had ever had a tea from Nepal before but now I am really intrigued! My favorite teas are the malty blacks from Yunnan, and I could easily have mistaken this for one of those. Even the look of the leaves – with that delicious cocoa like powder on the inside of the envelope – was the same. Really, really delicious and definitely worth your attention!

Cameron B.

Yum, I love teas that leave magical golden fairy dust on the inside of the package! :D

Kat_Maria

I love the idea of a ‘tea line’ for a given day…

What-Cha

Thanks for the review Marzipan. I like to think of my tea as my children when you ought not to have a favourite but sometimes you just can’t help but favour one more than the others. This is very much the case with the Nepal Golden Tips.

Cheri

Sounds yummy! I definitely need to place a What-Cha order one of these days….

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84

What-Cha is a small business in the UK that has some very interesting and unique offerings for tea drinkers. I am a true fan of of most quality Yunnan teas, and this tea is certainly one of those.

Surprisingly, the dry leaf wasn’t actually as tippy as I though it would be, considering the fragrance coming off the leaf! The dry leaf is long and twist…the kind that won’t stay in the teaspoon and you’re never quite sure that you’re measuring properly because it won’t go IN the teaspoon. But I’m not going to complain about that quality in any tea! Notes of cocoa, apricot and yam were gentle but present in the dry leaf. Wet, the leaf is long and beautiful, leaving a golden amber liquor in the cup.

This tea has the same wonderful notes that make me a true fan of teas from this region: dark cocoa, earthy sweet potato skin, a touch of raisin….but this tea also has a woodsy note that some Yunnans have. It’s the taste that reminds me of long-forgotten secret places and old trees that should be visited with reverence. The earthy yam skin and cocoa notes give this tea a beautiful base to balance the raisin and woodsy note on. There is a slight apricot top note, but the strength in this tea lies in it’s deeper notes. Overall this is a well balanced cup of tea, with no astringency and a medium well-rounded mouthfeel that is worthy of a tea drinkers favorite thing….quiet contemplation and enjoyment.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML
K S

Sounds yum!

SimpliciTEA

Great review!

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95

So, this is my new favorite green tea.

It sips in strong with lots of nectarine/peach notes and a little straw with a delicate light finish. After each sip there is a bit of dryness and a strong distinctive apricot taste that hangs out for awhile. The resteep isn’t bad but is moderately dry and a bit acidic.

This unflavored green is more apricot flavored than apricot flavored added tea blends! WHAT SORCERY IS THIS?!

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/azores-teas-cha/

donkeytiara

I just got my order from them….can’t wait to start dipping into it….

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85

I love how delicate this black starts off. It has a light creamy texture, woodsy, vanilla and fruit salad notes. You know, the fruit salad with diced peaches, pears and not enough green grapes (no cherries though – not in this tea). The tea finishes off dry and brisky.

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/azores-teas-cha/

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I had this one a couple days ago when Steepster was down. Adding it now. Edited from my blog post:

I used my press and water heated to the recommended 95 C (203 F) and steeped it for 2 1/2 minutes. The guidelines say 2-3 minutes. The result is a nicely orange liquor that sparkles as I pour it.

Cooled to drinking temperature – which is probably cooler than most of you like it but I don’t care for extremely hot tea. My first sip is… really nice. This is extremely smooth. Honestly I was expecting a lot of throat grabbing bite. Nope. None. No bitterness. If it is astringent, I am immune. I am also not noticing any problem with stomach burn on an empty stomach.

What I am getting is a really smooth malty sip with a fruitiness mid sip. This dissolves into as close as this gets to bite, which is really more of a woodsy taste. What-Cha calls it an earthy finish.

Second cup: While the cup was hotter than I normally like it, I took a sip and thought it was kind of mushroom and pond water. However, as the cup cooled the smooth malt returned at the front of the sip, then finished with earthy woodsy taste blended with the mushroom. The really hot cup was not my style but I quite enjoyed this second cup, once it cooled. It remains very smooth.

I am once again impressed by the offerings of What-Cha. This is a very delicious black tea.

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100

As some of you might know, I make tea themed advent calenders each year for Christmas, it started as gifts to friends and has exploded into me selling them. I had to do pre-orders early since I will be in Pennsylvania for the holiday (really three months that also include holidays) and as of now, four days before pre-orders close, I am making ten calenders. I am so excited for all the folding of origami envelopes and awesome tea I am going to be introducing people to. I am like some sort holiday elf spreading tea joy to people, which is really fun.

Today’s tea is Kenyan Silver Needle White Tea by What-Cha, as you can tell by the name, this tea comes from the Mount Kenya region of Kenya, Africa. Usually when you see Silver Needle (Baihao Yinzhen) it comes from Fujian, China, but this fuzzy tea brings a unique twist since it is from a whole new terroir. The aroma of this particular silver needle is nothing short of mouthwatering, which is why I advise pouring the tea you wish to sniff out of the bag, don’t want to ruin tea by drooling. It is incredibly sweet with notes of peaches and sweet corn, this transitions to floral notes that very much so brings to mind blooming peony flowers. This tea is very fragrant and so very sweet!

I decided to go pseudo-gongfu for my first brewing of the leaves. I discovered (thanks to the power of books and experimentation) that if you brew a silver needle at 185 degrees for 15 minutes, it is fantastic. So I used my gaiwan and tiny cups (mainly for aesthetic reasons, I really like my auspicious gaiwan) and just used less leaf than I would for a usual gongfu session. The brewed leaves have a very strong aroma, even more floral with notes of peony being dominant with a touch of honeysuckle and hyacinth. There are also notes of sweet corn giving the tea leaves an extra sweetness and richness. The poured off liquid is very creamy and sweet with notes of sweet corn and honey.

After a slightly long wait (the only real problem with a 15 minute steep) the mouth feel is very smooth with just a hint of fuzz from the leaves. The taste, well it is fantastic, it manages to be delicate and very rich, it fills up the mouth while not overpowering. The tea starts out very sweet with notes of hay and sweet corn, this transitions to sweet sesame seed, like Halva. After the sweetness there is a strong peony blossom that that lingers into a nectar like aftertaste. The finish is surprisingly fuzzy, adding a delightful tickle to the back of the tongue.

I will admit, I have become mildly addicted to this tea, it Grandpa Styles wonderfully and I have found myself sipping on it for hours. As the tea loses its steam it becomes more floral and slightly vegetal with a lettuce tinge at the end. This tea has become one of my go-to teas to use in my travel steeper, especially on my Thursday game nights where everyone comments on the pretty leaves floating in water. For those wondering how it compares to Silver Needles from Fujian, I would say it is definitely sweeter and has a wonderful sweet corn note that the Chinese variety lacks, the Fujian Silver Needle is much milder and tastes more of fresh vegetation and sweet flowers. I still love the Chinese Silver Needle, but Kenyan Needle has stolen my heart.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/08/what-cha-kenyan-silver-needle-white-tea.html

Cathy Zheng

Tea advent calendar!! What a clever idea :D

Cheri

So wait, how can I get in on this tea advent calendar?! It sounds AWESOMETASTIC!

Cheri

Also, the tea sounds wonderful. Silver needle does wonderfully grandpa style. I think it’s my favorite style of tea to do this way.

mj

This sounds amazing! I’m loving the white teas lately, so I need to pick some of this up!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Cheri: I just sent you a note about it :)

I totally recommend this tea, I have had another Kenyan Silver Needle (review happening eventually :P ) and it had a lot of the same elements, it did lack the peony flower notes so that makes this one my favorite :)

Starfevre

Can you clarify or point me to a definition of ‘Grandpa Style’?

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Of course! Here is a great description (with pictures) http://floatingleavestea.blogspot.com/2014/03/grandpa-style-tea.html I have also seen it referred to as ‘cup brewing’ if that helps :)

Starfevre

OIC. Wish I could use it. It takes me a long time to drink tea that things get bitter if I brew them without a way to get them out again.

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

It does for me as well, I have only found a few so far that I can sip on for hours that do not get bitter.

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90

Oh, this tea is really unique. It’s incredibly sweet and tastes and smells exactly like honey. If you were to give some of this to a non-tea drinker, I’m positive they wouldn’t believe you hadn’t added any to it. The liquor is even thick and slightly opaque, like it would be if you had dropped in some honey. Along with the lovely sweet honey there is a bit of butterscotch and a nice malt ending.
Even though it brewed up light compared to my usual preference, I think I’m going to have to pick up more of these soon.
I used 2 pearls for 7oz brewed with 212º water for 3 minutes.

Flavors: Butterscotch, Honey, Malt

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 7 OZ / 207 ML

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