Recent Tasting Notes

Dry this is sweet and fruity. Its kind of pipe tobacco like. Steeped the dark caramel cup scent remains sweet and fruity but now reminds me of Darjeeling. The taste begins light with a slight maltiness. Then the tannins kick in and flood your tongue. It is refreshing and passes quickly leaving a slight toffee note that just as quickly turns into a fruity aftertaste.

Between the first and second cup I took my wife out for lunch. We went to BBQ place in town. I had 1/4 rack of ribs, baked beans, and smashed potatoes. My wife had tenderloin and fries. It was so extremely good. While eating, I was treated to watching a bald eagle soar outside my window. Such a beautiful site.

Came home and prepared a second cup of this one. It had a maltier scent than the first. The taste was very much like the first. This is a solid cup of black tea. I highly recommend a repeat of my entire day.

Maddy Barone

I have that one in my stash! Might have to move it up in the queue.


It always makes me happy to see someone here describing something nice that happened in their day :)


Tea and positivity…I love Steepster. :)

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I’ve never had ‘pearl’ tea before so when I placed an order with What-Cha I decided to get a 10 gram sample of this tea. OMgosh, I’m glad I did! It’s so smooth! With just a tiny hint of natural sweetness. My second steep seemed jsut a teensy bit sweeter. This one might have to go on the re-order list!

185 °F / 85 °C 4 min, 15 sec 2 g 14 OZ / 414 ML

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I had this one for breakfast! A very nice tea, smooth and easy to drink on a cold January morning in North Dakota USA. I love that What-Cha allows online orders of 10 grams. I don’t want to buy 50 grams only to find out I don’t like the tea. I wish other tea companies would do that too. I think it would bring more return customers. If I buy ten 10 gram samples and find 4 that I love, the company will probably get a 200 gram order from me, or more, because I’ll probably throw in a few more samples I want to try. But my pocketbook and cabinet space tell me I can’t afford to buy too many 50 gram pouches of new tea, so maybe I won’t make an order at all from a new-to-me company to try new-to-me tea.

So far the two from What-Cha that I’ve sampled have been lovely. I’ve enjoyed them and can;’t wait to try more of my loot!

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Small samples are the best. I’m still mostly in try all the teas mode, but I do tend to skip over companies that only sell larger quantities unless their prices are incredibly low. I’d rather spend $50 on a huge pile of samples and then reorder the ones I love, than $50 on a small number of teas and maybe end up with nothing I like.

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Today has been a glimpse of Spring in the middle of Winter, at least temperature wise, visually it is all brown and dingy, typical Kansas City Winter color pallete. Even though I am never a fan of the drab part of Winter (give me snow and evergreens, along with the green grass of central Pennsylvania and I am in seasonal bliss) it was too nice of a day for me to stay in, so off to Kauffman Gardens I went to practice some phone photography. My new phone is better than my original camera that I started photography with (a measly 3MP) at 5MP but it pales in comparison to the 12 MP camera I use for nature photography, and my dream one at 18MP, one day I will have that camera! Anyway, this little phone is not half bad, it lacks a macro lens, so I will have to make one from an old disk drive or something, lots of good tutorials for that, and of course playing with all the filters and such is fun. It is an interesting disconnect in my brain, other than cropping I rarely alter my photos taken with my camera, but with my phone I have quite a lot of fun editing them, funny ol’ world we live in.

Since it is Wednesday, that means it is time to take another journey into What-Cha’s epic catalog of tea in my attempt to try all of the teas. Today’s tea is Nepal 2nd Flush 2014 Golden Tips Black Tea, another offering from Greenland Organic Farms in East Nepal in the shadow of Mt. Kancghenjunga. You all know me well enough by now to know how much of a sucker I am for golden teas, and this tea does not disappoint, curly leaves covered in delicate golden trichomes. The aroma rich, a touch on the sweet side, but more rich than sweet. The notes are primarily roasted peanuts, malt, and a touch of sweet potatoes and stewed fruit. At the end there is the most delicate note of rose and pepper, I run into pepper quite often, but the notes of rose were a pleasant surprise.

Once I give the tea a steeping in the bat gaiwan I notice the rose and pepper aroma are much stronger, which is awesome, after that initial spicy and flowery burst there are strong notes of malt and sweet potato with a rich finish of cocoa. Where the leaves were rich the liquid is sweet, notes of sweet potato and cocoa waft out of my cha hai, yes I did have my nose stuffed in this one, luckily I did not burn it, though I do frequently tend to, especially if a tea smells good!

Ok, first steep, it has a pretty strong start, it lacks the usual mildness that a first steep has. The start is quite malty, and here is the fun part, I am skipping over the midtaste because it is even maltier at the finish, like the back of my throat is kicked with malt. The midtaste has a hint of cocoa and pepper, and the aftertaste is rich and sweet, a touch creamy.

Second steeping time, as per usual I stick my nose in my cha hai and give the tea a nice hefty sniff. I often debate when is the best time to sniff the freshly steeped tea, pre pour when it is in the cha hai or once I have poured it into a tiny cup, so far the cha hai seems more fun. The aroma of this steep is a blend of sweet potatoes and cocoa at the front and finish of rose and pepper, still really digging the rose notes. The taste is just as rich as the first steep, and pretty smooth, I would even go so far as to say it is velvety. In fact, this tea has absolutely no dryness whatsoever. The finish has a hint of pepper and leaves a sweet potato aftertaste that lingers for a while.

Third time around, the aroma is not as potent as previously, primarily there are notes of sweet potatoes and a nice hint of malt at the finish. Tasting the tea, well, it is still super velvety and smooth, just like the previous two steeps, and still pretty rich, but it is mellowing out to a sweetness. The notes that dominate this steeping are sweet potatoes and malt with a real nice peppery finish. I should point out that the peppery notes are more the taste of pepper, not the spicy heat, it is always very fascinating to me when flavor notes act like that, or my favorite, when a flavor note is present but it lacks the aroma or texture of the food (or random piece of wood if you are a weirdo like me) that it is imitating. Tea, and the way we perceive it, never stops being a thing of wonder to me.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-cha-nepal-2nd-flush-2014-golden.html

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My order from What-Cha arrived today. Oh, boy, it is just like Christmas around here! This one says “Full-bodied with a sweet raisin and citrus taste.” I don’t taste the raisin (no big surprise, since I have no sense of smell) but I can detect a hint of citrus. Just a little tang at the end of a mouthful. Not sour. The tea is more robust than mild, but smooth, with no bitterness, no astringency, and just a bit sweet on its own. I’m really, really glad I ordered this one!

Flavors: Citrus, Smooth

200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Plus, LOVE the name!

Maddy Barone

Yes, me too! I think I’ll try the Old Lady tea next. It fits! LOL

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This is an interesting tea. The dry leaf is rolled into small pellets, slightly bigger than gun powder, but smaller than most rolled oolongs or pearl teas. From the dry leaf, I immediately get a whiff of honey, which is always exciting. Honey is one of my favourite notes in tea.

Steeped 1tsp (about 4g) in 75C water for 2:30. The liquor is golden and quite clear. The steeped leaves are only partially unfurled, and smell nutty.

The liquor smells sweet, nutty and umami, and these notes are reflected in the taste. There’s a hint of hone, but not as much as I would have expected from the dry leaf smell. I also get a pretty strong, cooling vegetal tang of grass. There’s also a bit of bitterness and a moderate amount of astringency.

The finish is long, but only on parts of the tongue. The way the flavours develop within the sip feels a bit off – there’s a big punch of lots of flavours at the beginning of the sip, and then they fade out quickly. The full mouth flavour at the beginning ends up being just a sides of the tongue kind of flavour by the time I swallow and then into the finish.

This is alright, but I was hoping for something a bit more balanced.

Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grass, Honey, Nutty, Sweet, Umami

170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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A smooth, caramel, molasses, thick, rich, smokey keemun! I enjoy the smooth texture and the caramel notes. The smoke and richness of this tea keeps you on your toes! I don’t mind a bit of smoke, so I found this the smoke level pleasant with the other flavor notes.

Full review on Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/keemun-mao-feng-black-tea-cha-tea-review/

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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This was a sample in my What Cha order. I don’t even remember noticing this one on the website. But since most of the teas in my order didn’t really suit me well, I assumed I wouldn’t like this one either.
I was pleasantly surprised!
It was definitely malty, not overly so, but enough to notice.
There’s another really strong flavor in this, but I can’t for the life of me think of what it is. People mention cocoa and chocolate notes, but I’m not really getting any of that.
I’m sure that the next time I drink this I’ll figure it out. But I do enjoy the maltiness of this one. (:

Thanks for the sample, What Cha!!

Flavors: Malt


Oops, for some reason sweet girl, Steepster says I’m not following you anymore :-(
Lets remedy that right now! :-)


Really? Weird! Haha I was actually going to message you tonight-guess it’s good you followed me again! XD
Seems like Steepster is having all sorts of weird issues lately. xD

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mmm this was another from yesterday – the overnight caught up with me and i ended up passing out before i got around to finishing my tea posting haha. I don’t recall much about this besides the fact that it was sweet and reminded me of a darjeeling. I’ll do better next time i have it :)

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Wow. What I get from this is a whole heaping mouthful of cocoa and some fruit. Mainly cocoa though. Like Sil noted, maybe something that might read as smoke hovering around. I like these a lot.

Used 2 pearls in a 6 oz pot. Let steep as I sipped. I think 3-4 minutes was the range where the pearls were fully opened and I started to get more than a lightly flavored hot water. :) Went up through about 7 minutes and while it cooled off, it didn’t turn bitter.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

Sweetened, unsweetened, or bittersweet cocoa?


unsweetened, not at all bitter


Cool, thanks!


See now this is why I’m in trouble – dragon pearl black is another area that I haven’t really explored that much – this sounds like something I should look into… :))

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not crazy about this one…but then i didn’t expect to be. there’s a slight bitterness to this cup and floral notes in the background. this is more fruity than muscat tasting… it’s sort of like apricot? i guess? sort of that vague fruity note that i get sometimes…never comes across as a specific for me. overall…“meh”

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drank Yunnan Dianhong Black Tea by What-Cha
5605 tasting notes

This one is a little creamy..sort of a unique taste in my opinion as i’m not sure i’ve had any yunnan dian hong that have had this sort of a profile to them. very smooth brew…a little malty but not too much….some hints of a sweetness in the background…but mostly a sort of creamy taste… interesting!

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drank Keemun Black Tea by What-Cha
5605 tasting notes

this is the sort of keemun i don’t love. This is a fruity, plum sort of keemun. For me, this results in a weird after taste drinking this. I’m glad i compared it against what-cha’s other offering since if this one was the one i’d tried, i don’t know that i’d have ever risked the other one. If you like fruity sorts of teas…this would be a keemun for you. It’s just not for me!

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drank Keemun Mao Feng Black Tea by What-Cha
5605 tasting notes

Another sample from my what-cha order. This keemun says “caramel aroma and taste” I’m not sure i’m getting that unless i think really hard about it. Most people would probably find this one to be on the smokey side, though not extremely so. This is the sort of keemun that i add maple syrup to! However, this has a nice smooth body to it, and i’m enjoying it today. I’d be curious to compare this one to teavivre’s offering but sadly my cupboard is all out of that currently heh


Which Teavivre one? Because I have a bunch of them still, I think.


mmmm i like uh.. the organic one and #2 i think? i’d have to go look lol

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A great everyday-any time black tea. Smooth, beautiful color. Good hot or cold!

Boiling 3 min, 30 sec 4 tsp 20 OZ / 591 ML

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Wishing I had a box of Goldfish crackers to go with my Fish Hook tea. Ohh, I saw where M&Ms has rereleased Crispy M&Ms. I loved those. Dang it. Now I’m snack hungry. I blame What-Cha! ha.

The leaf on this is tiny and battleship gray and yes, it kind of looks like a fish hook. OK, this tea was steeped one (ONE!) minute. To look at the lovely lightly yellow liquor, you would expect a lovely quiet cup. Then you take a sip and the bite grabs you, shakes you out of your inattentiveness, and shouts, “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!” Well, that’s what I heard anyway. I’m not sure it is astringent as I don’t notice much dryness at all. I just think it is the good clean bitter that I love in a green tea.

The taste, now that I’m paying attention is kind of grassy and kind of corn like. I think it is kind of sweet, but as a sweeteneraholic trying to leave the monkey behind, it is hard for me to say for sure.

The second cup had less bite, more cheek tingle, and still only a little dryness. The grassiness was predominate with corn following behind. The sip ends with a mineral note and fleeting floral notes.

My kind of green. Now to find some munchies.

Thomas Edward(Toad)

A friend at the dialysis clinic brought me some of this type of tea the other day and I’ve really been enjoying it.
Corn? I totally agree
I remember when i was a kid we would sneak and eat the corn off the cob while it was growing in the garden(before it was ready to harvest), this tea totally reminds me of those days, that sweet, grassy, veggie taste and unique sweet smell, i love it :)


Awesome! I totally respect any tea that brings out happy memories, especially from childhood.

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So, my first blog update from the library, what an adventure! As expected, not a fan of their keyboard, and I cannot alter the screen brightness, so we have to hope my photos look better on other people’s computers, but hey, no complaining because I am hooked into the system again! Thanks to my new phone I have been able to keep somewhat connected to all my tea friends, but not being able to write has been so hard, it is my passion!

So it is Wednesday, that means it is time for a tea from What-Cha, specifically a purple green tea, yes, we are taking another look at the Anthocyanin heavy tea leaves, unlike the White version I tried last time, this one is green. Though really, I am very tempted to call these purple varietal Drow Teas, but I have a serious thing for dark elves, any chance to reference them I get, I take. Kenya Steamed Purple Varietal Green Tea, from the Mount Kenya region of Kenya does not look at all like a green tea, in fact if you showed this to me without any context I would probably guess it is a black or a very heavily oxidized oolong. After sniffing it though, you can tell it is a green, with strong notes of stir fried veggies and a hint of nuttiness, this is a savory green. It starts out with a distinct note of artichoke, then transitions into cooked spinach, stir fried bok choy, and mushrooms. The finish is toasted sesame with just a tiny hint of sweetness. Teas with these notes tend to make me hungry, so fair warning if you are susceptible to the oh so tantalizing savory.

So, into the gaiwan it goes! I know, technically brewing a Kenyan tea in a gaiwan might not be correct, but since the tradition of tea in Kenya was brought by Western tea drinkers, I can improvise. Plus, I was in the mood to have tea in my gaiwan, specifically my tall and slender one. Anyway, the aroma of the rather dark leaves (you can see hints of gray, purple, and just a tiny bit of green depending on light) has switched from savory to sweet, with notes of cooked plums and sesame seeds with a distinct grilled fruit aroma. You know, a blend of smoke and cooked peaches, a smell very evocative of summer. The liquid, it reminds me of fruit leather, a blend of cherries, peaches, plums, and grapes. Super yummy! There is also a hint of sesame at the finish giving it a hint of nuttiness.

Holy moly, this tea is legit purple! I honestly was not expecting that after the white tea was so pale, but nope this tea is purple, so cool! The taste of the first steep can honestly be summed up as a fruit explosion, seriously intense notes of apricots, plums, and cherries, it is super sweet and juicy. The initial fruit bomb fades to sweet sesame and a tiny hint of sweetgrass at the finish. I really found it neat that breathing out rather than in while sipping this tea made the taste of the fruit even more intense.

Hello sesame seeds and apricots! The aroma of the second steep is a pretty even mix of toasted sesame seeds and fruit, with blended notes of apricots and plums, it is like a crustless fruit pie. Somehow the second steep managed to be even sweeter than the previous one, the fruit explosion is now joined by really intense wildflower honey and hay. At the finish there is a distinct smoky fruit finish that lingers for a while, more teas need to have smoky fruit notes, because it is so evocative of eating grilled fruit while camping.

So, I am the library and I have my headphones on and I am totally rocking out to Thrift Shop, everyone is giving me funny looks…this is why I like to blog alone! Thought I would share that with you all, a little bit of my writing process…yes there is almost always music and me dancing in my chair. Ok, this tea is still sweet and the purple is still strong, I used to have hair that exact same color, how fun! The aroma is all cooked fruit this time, no nutty notes, just strong fruit. The taste starts out super fruity and sweet and is joined at the front with smoky notes and hay. This tea was so sweet and fun, yum!!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-cha-kenya-steamed-purple-varietal.html

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This is delicious. Strong honey flavour, with a hint of cinnamon. Sweet and grassy, a touch of astringency. Fragrance of honey and sweet corn. Wonderful.

I used seven cannon balls, since several of them were quite small, and steeped for just over 3 min.

Flavors: Astringent, Cinnamon, Grass, Honey, Popcorn, Sweet

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 15 sec 8 OZ / 236 ML

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What an interesting tea.

The dry leaf is fluffy and silvery green, and has a very delicate smell of hay. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear this was a white tea.

Steeped for 3min in 96C water, it yields a very pale coloured liquor with a light body. The steeped leaf is pale yellow green and smells faintly peachy. The flavour is likewise delicate, with notes of peach and grape. There are also the flavours that make this unmistakably a Darjeeling, though those become less distinct as the cup cools.

While this was tasty, I did feel like I wanted a bit more complexity and flavour from the brew. Perhaps a bit more leaf next time, as the flavours that were there were excellent.

One of the Darjeelings I have enjoyed the most as of late, and a very interesting black tea.

Flavors: Fruity, Grapes, Hay, Peach

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

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A delightful purple Oolong.

A lighter texture than typical Oolong teas, this doesn’t have that buttery mouthfeel that you might experience from a greener type of Oolong. It doesn’t feel or taste creamy.

It tastes strongly of fruit! A slight sugary type of taste to it. There is a moderate astringency. Later infusions focused on plum notes and sugar cane. Keep on steeping this tea, because you’ll be rewarded with later infusions that are very smooth, less astringent, and even slightly creamy.

A really nice Oolong. Here’s my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2014/11/24/kenya-hand-rolled-purple-varietal-oolong-tea-from-what-cha-tea/

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I would for sure agree with the description on this one – smooth with gentle sweet citrus tones. It’s not citrus like BLERGAMOT…but it’s got that note in it while still being a really smooth tasty cup. I think i like this one better than the old lady georgia tea from what-cha :)

Maddy Barone

OK, you have to stop posting these reviews! I just went to the WHAT-CHA site and ordered $40 worth of tea! LOL Actually, thanks for opening the world of tea to me. I can’t wait to try these.


haha the nice thing about what-cha is that you can get all samples! It’s my first time ordering from them and all i did was buy 10g samples of about 20? teas?

Maddy Barone

That’s what I did too. I bought one of their “Discover Teas” and then samples of four others that I wanted to try. I wish more online tea vendors would let us do that.


Samples are the best AND the worst. :D I’m gonna try to sip some down today.


i just did that too, and BEFORE i read this particular review. thanks a LOT, y’all.



sorry… i’ve renamed bergamot to blergamot because i hate it so much

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sooo many teas in my cupboard and that number is just climbing haha hard to believe that i was at 75 in december….and in the nearish future i may be damn near pushing 200 lol it’s ok though since a lot of them are smaller sizes that i can sip down in a couple of cups. PLus it gives me incentive over the year to really stop buying teas to get down to 50 by the end of the year haha.

this is is a really nice tea and one that i’d consider getting again if the price point was compareable to other malty sort of teas that i like. A nice find from what-cha!


Oh Sil, I would love to be down to fifty with a clear conscience. Maybe that should be my goal! My cupboard doesn’t include samples so I have a looooong way to go. I have given away so much and have just started setting it out for almost ALL of my students. We are working on it, so you go, girl!


i got down to 75 last year…. this year i’m knocking 25 off that to see if i can get there by dec 31. It’s a fun game to play with myself…even if i don’t achieve it…it’s incentive enough to keep me focused hahaha

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