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Recent Tasting Notes


The dry leaves in a warm gaiwan smell nutty with a hint of cocoa. After the first infusion, the wet leaves smell like flowers and apples, just a touch of cocoa at the end.

The first infusion is really sweet and honey-like. The flavor isn’t really complex. There’s a hint of white grape and maybe orange. It’s subtle and smooth. The second infusion is much more floral tasting than the first, with a hint of the lingering white grape flavor as before. What’s really interesting about this tea is that it doesn’t taste like tea to me… It tastes like water sweetened with honey and infused with fruit. It’s kind of unique in that way. It is very clean and light, quite easy to drink.

I did a few infusions with this, brewing a bit longer each time. Even if I brewed it really long the flavor never became overpowering.. It was always floral, slightly fruity, not bitter at all.

I must admit, this tea has me nonplussed. I’m not sure what to make of it. I have tried a handful of Darjeeling teas now and have never really been wowed, nor have I disliked them. I’m not sure if Darjeeling is for me. There always seems to be a little something missing, as far as complexity goes, and maybe I’m just not that big on grape flavor. I also brew it Gongfu style like a weirdo, though I’ve tried it in the Western fashion, which is the usual method for enjoying Darjeeling, and I didn’t like it as much that way. This tea is good stuff though. It’s light and easy to drink.

What-Cha’s description says it reminds of red wine. I would have to say it reminds me more of a white wine (maybe because I brew it more lightly), something sweet like a Gewurztraminer.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey, Orange, White Grapes

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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The leaves of this tea have a great mix of gold tips to darker leaves. Lots of pretty gold tips. The dry scent of the leaves in a warm Gongfu teapot reminds me of chocolate and french fries… which is awesome because I love french fries. Seriously, they’re like my second favorite food after sushi. After the first infusion, the leaves are bursting with aroma! There are hints of black cherry, plum vinegar, chocolate, raisins, apricot, and maybe even a bit of wood and flowers. It’s complex and intense.

The taste of the first infusion is incredible. It starts with an apricot taste and ends with a really interesting dark chocolate bitterness. There’s a little bit of plum too. Reminds me of one of those chocolate oranges you have to whack to break apart, but better. The mouthfeel and taste of this tea are exceptionally clean. It has a really wet, juicy feel, and the bitterness that lingers at the end is really enjoyable. It’s a unique kind of bitterness that I haven’t experienced before… kind of tingles and stimulates the tongue. It’s more a sensation than a flavor. It doesn’t really taste bitter.

After the second infusion, there’s more apricot flavor, and a bit of malt flavor creeping in. As I steep to a third and fourth infusion, the fruit tastes back off and more malty flavors arise, reminding me of the red and black tea flavors I’m used to, but as it cools, there are still hints of the apricot and even a bit of fresh ginger.

Overall, this is a really nice tea. It shows its best features on the first infusion, and after that it’s a smooth ride. Still, I’m incredibly eager to find out what this will taste like in my red/black tea seasoned yixing pot. It has a great tendency to smooth out the flavors, cut out the bitterness and make things more robust and sweet. That’ll be a fun one.

I was absolutely amazed by the first infusion, but later infusions didn’t quite live up to the standard it set for itself. If they had, I’d have rated this tea near perfect. Still worthy of quite a high score!

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Plums

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is my 200th review! Rawr!

So, as with all my other milestone reviews, I want to review something rather special. Here goes.

Okay, so… I love the imagery this tea evokes. I love stags. They are beautiful animals and generally just give me an impression of quiet oneness with nature, of freedom and exploration, and tranquility. I am excited about this tea. Straight out of the bag, the twigs smell like cinnamon and spices, even some fruit. It reminds me of the scent of hardened gingerbread that some of the ornaments on the Christmas tree were made out of when I was a kid. And hey, the twigs do in fact look like antlers. So cool!

I’m a little crazy, so I’m going to be gongfu brewing this similar to how I’d brew silver needle white tea, but with longer infusion times like I use with Ya Bao. Why not? I default to gongfu style even with teas that aren’t particularly made for it.

So, into my gaiwan they go, and I’m not even breaking them up. They barely fit in there with the lid on, they’re so long. They’re in there for 1 minute and back out. This is the longest I ever do an initial infusion with Gongfu style and I only do it with Ya Bao, which are very thick, dense buds, and require a lot of soaking to saturate. I figured since these stems are hard and woody i’d do the same with them. The stems smell a bit fruity and floral after the first infusion. I’m not getting lychee so much like the packaging says, but I can see where that’s coming from, since lychee is both fruity and floral. To me this is more of a plum scent mixed with the scent of a good Japanese sake.

Surprisingly, the infusion is a rich medium yellow after just that short amount of time. The brewed tea smells like sweet cinnamon roll dough, pecan pie, a bit of fig or plum and some other fun decadent things.

Oh wow, the taste comes on really sweet. It’s kind of plum like with a hint of floral and a lingering sweetness. It has hints of cinnamon and spice flavors just like the scent. The sweetness really lingers after drinking, as well as a slight cooling sensation on the tongue. The flavor of this tea has some qualities in common with white peony teas I’ve tried before. There’s a bit of autumn leaf taste and scent that both teas share.

I’m really impressed by the quality of this tea’s flavor and aroma. It’s very delicate but very flavorful, has a really definite presence, and is easy to drink like most white teas are. I could drink this tea daily. I’m feeling a bit of an interesting lightheadedness right now, which could be an effect of this tea, or the effect of this being the third tea I’ve reviewed within a few hours.

Second infusion: okay, lychee. I’m gettin’ it now. The wet twigs definitely have that aroma, but still reminds me of plum wine or a really nice sake as well, and the spice notes are ever-present. The second infusion doesn’t seem to have quite as strong of a taste as the first, but is similar and still really nice. It leans towards a more floral nectar kind of taste, not quite as sweet as before. If you roll it on your tongue there’s a hint of metal in the taste as well. As the tea cools, that note is not detectable anymore and the overall flavor is much more like lychee, with a slight aftertaste of spices. There is no bitterness in this tea at all.

I agree with Alistair of What-Cha, this tea is a game-changer. Who knew that such delicious flavor could come from just the stems of tea? I’ve had Japanese kukicha “stem tea” before, and it was nothing like this, nothing to write home about. This, on the other hand, is something I’ll be after to keep in my collection for years to come. I hope for the continued success of the estate that produces this tea! I’d like to take a moment to say, if you haven’t tried many teas from lesser-known growing regions, you really should give them a chance. What-Cha seems to have a real knack for offering many of those, so it’s a great place to start.

My third infusion of the little tea antlers came out a really deep yellow. This time the flavor tastes a little more green, like young white tea, subtle hints of cucumber in the mix. Overall, the taste is waning a bit, but still nice. Four infusions in, the flavor is still really nice and has gotten more generous again. I could see this one going for many, many infusions before running out of delicious flavor.

For timing, I brewed for 1 minute, adding 15 seconds each time. It worked really well with the amount of tea I used. I ignored the recommendation of 176F water for a slightly hotter 185F, which is what I default to for white teas, and this perfomed just great.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Cinnamon, Lychee, Plums, Sake, Spices

185 °F / 85 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Congrats on your 200th review! Sounds like you picked a winner for that review.


Way to go. You have great notes, I wish my writing skills were as good.


Thank you. :3

Roswell Strange

Congrats on 200!

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Yellow tea is a rare creature. It’s not a common tea type because it doesn’t differ too greatly from green tea in a lot of cases, and it is more labor intensive and expensive to produce. This one is unique among yellow teas I’ve seen in that the leaves have a pretty dark appearance, sort of yellowish olive green.

The dry leaves smell really roasted and toasty. After a rinse, the scent of the tea leaves is very complex. It smells really roasty like houjicha but with a note of yellow mustard. The scent of the brewed tea is a more mild roast taste with creamy notes.

The taste of this tea is quite smooth and unoffensive. I think this may be the first “true” yellow tea I have had because it achieves the effect most articles on yellow tea mention the purpose of yellow tea being… to make a tea with similar flavors to green tea but curbing the grassy notes for a more mellow flavor. This tea tastes like a smooth, sweet, mildly roasted green tea, and by golly there is the faintest hint of mustard or dill even in the taste. Maybe there’s a bit of toasted sesame in the flavor. It’s hard to describe. It has a subtle cooling sensation after the sip, and a lingering sweetness.

The liquor color of this tea is a pale yellow. I’m brewing it in a small thin-walled porcelain gaiwan. On the second infusion, I’m getting more toasty flavors with the subtle tanginess of dill. The packaging describes this tea’s flavor as “hazelnut with mango notes”. I can definitely see hazelnut, but I’m not getting the mango notes. Maybe that’s what registers as dill to me. I left the room and came back in and it definitely smells like hazelnuts in here.

This tea reminds me of a lot of houjicha in its taste and aroma, so if you like that, you would probably enjoy this. The flavor doesn’t change a whole lot from one infusion to the next, just becomes more rich. There’s no bitterness at all. It’s mellow, a comfort tea. The third infusion is more sweet and lacking the tangy dill-like note from before.

Infusion times were 15 seconds starting out, then 10 or so on the second infusion and increasing on each one by 10 or so as needed.

Flavors: Dill, Nutty, Sweet, Toasty

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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I was immediately drawn to this tea due to the very imaginative description of it as “green sword” tea. Images of the Green Destiny from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon flashed through my mind, along with all the beautiful art and imagery of that movie and its lush, green landscapes, and I felt an instant tingle in my head.

This tea is not from China, however, but from India and was named because the rolled leaves resemble little swords. In fact, I would say they do even more so in person, because what you can’t tell from the photo is that each of those little slightly curved rolled leaves are an inch or two long, really long for green tea leaves. They’re quite beautiful to look at.

The scent of this tea dry is surprisingly fruity, with a tangerine and mango scent, really potent and enjoyable. After a rinse, The leaves have more of a vegetal kind of scent, with the nutty and green bean notes I’m used to in many green teas, and while the fruit aroma is still there, it is not as strong. The scent of the brewed tea is pleasantly nutty, creamy, and green. The taste is surprisingly clean and light, with a slight nutty taste and a bit of a sweet corn taste. There’s a lingering note of mango or orange. It’s mildly sweet, becoming more so as it cools, and it leaves a lingering sweetness in the mouth as well.

I should mention a few things. Firstly, that I’m brewing this tea in the Gongfu style of brewing in a thin walled porcelain gaiwan, secondly that it takes really well to this method, and last that I have gone through many phases in my enjoyment of green tea, from brewing it very strong and robust to brewing it delicate and light, and seem to have settled on a general preference for brewing it light.

The second infusion of this tea offers many of the same creamy, slightly citrusy notes of the first, but I feel the citrus taste comes through more while the vegetal flavors have backed off some.

The first infusions were so light and crisp, I decided to push the third a little longer than normal to see how it might taste if brewed more rich. It has a more similar profile to most Chinese green teas at this point, more vegetal and green bean like overall. The fruit flavors still linger at the end but not as noticably. I diluted it a bit and it came back to a soft flavor with more noticeable hints of orange.

Later infusions unfolded in a more conventional green tea fashion, but the hint of orange flavor never fully receded.

I am really enjoying this green tea. It’s quite different from any others I’ve had, and I enjoy it’s fresh, clean, crisp subtlety and fruity finish. I’m very glad I bought a bag of this. I made a pretty big What-Cha order of teas I haven’t even tried aside from one, so we’ll see how many suit my tastes. So far, this one is fantastic.

Infusion times: 15 seconds, then quick infusions of 10-20 seconds to follow.

Flavors: Creamy, Green Beans, Mango, Nutty, Orange

1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Vietnam Wild Tiger Monkey Green Tea
Origin: Lung Phin, Ha Giang Province, Vietnam
Elevation: 1500m

Dry Leaves: Another wild growing tea, this time it doesn’t remind me so much of Korean greens; they look a little more Chinese-y then the Five Penny, but I can’t think of any particular style that they remind me of. They had a very nutty and smoky scent.

Temperature: 176oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Smoke, Nutty and Wood
Flavor: Smoke, Nutty, Wood, and Vegetal
Tasting Notes: Again I started out brewing following the suggested times, and then started over with new leaves and cut the brewing time in half. This had a very pleasant wood taste, but it was slightly smokier although the nutty and smoke tastes did linger, but the nutty lingered a little longer.

For $8 for 50g, it isn’t a bad deal I generally like nutty teas, and this is no exception, my only problem with recommending this tea or any of the others is that I don’t know a lot of green tea drinkers who like smoky teas. Although like the other two teas it starts to lose it smoky edge in later infusions.

[From my blog: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-cha-discover-vietnam-part-2.htm]

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Vietnam Wild Five Penny Green Tea
Origin: Suoi Giang, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam
Elevation: 1200m+

Dry Leaves: Again the leaves remind me of Korean teas, although this time they also look a little like curved long Jings. Other than that, they are a lovely shade of grayish-green. There is a slight burning wood smell. I am surprised in the uniformity in the tea leaves since this is a wild grown tea.

Temperature: 176oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Smoky, Apricot and Muscatel
Flavor: Smoky and Fruity
Tasting Notes: I brewed this again according to the suggested time, immediately afterwards I started over with new leaves and cut the time in half. The original was too smoky for me and the second was much more pleasant. Although even after cutting the time in half the smoky taste still lingered for quite a long time.

At $8 for 50g (at the time of writing this) it is certainly a good deal, as for whether I’d buy it again, maybe. I don’t have a lot of smoky and fruity teas, I am more of a grassy tea guy, but this might be the easiest of the three teas in the post to drink. Not quite a daily drinker, but it is quite nice if you like a little smoke in your greens. I am comfortable saying this is my favorite of the three, because the fruit tastes was a nice contrast to the smoke and the other two felt very similar to me, although this still feels quite similar to the others, perhaps not as much.

[Read the rest at: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-cha-discover-vietnam-part-2.html)

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Vietnam Fish Hook Green Tea
Origin: Tan Cuong, Thai Nguyen Province, Vietnam
Elevation: 250m

Dry Leaves: They kind of remind me of Korean greens, but they are surprisingly hard. Normally small twisted leaves like these are a little more pliable, but I was surprised by how little it takes for these two snap.

Temperature: 167oF
Brewing Time: Two Minutes
Aroma: Grassy and Ash
Flavor: Ash, Vegetal and Grassy
Tasting Notes: This is a very ashy tea; I almost wanted to say smoky, but the other two teas that are in this post are more what I’d describe as smoky then this. It is a little overwhelming, I hated it using the suggested brewing times, I also had this problem in the other two teas in this post. Luckily I had enough leaves to brew again and only steep for half as long, which produced a much better cup. While it was still ashy was nowhere near as overwhelming.

I may or may not buy this tea again, my problem with these three teas is that the suggested brewing times is way too long, but as long as you don’t brew as long as the suggested time or perhaps at such a high temperature. I am not really fond of brewing teas below 160oF, but these might be the only teas that I’d consider brewing at such a low temperature. Going back to whether or not I’d buy this tea again, the price isn’t bad $8.00 for 50g (at the time of writing this), but I’d have to choose between this and the other two teas in this post. The three have a very similar flavor profile, although there is some differences between the three.

[More at: http://rah-tea.blogspot.com/2015/01/what-cha-discover-vietnam-part-2.html)

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I decided to pay a visit to the thrift store today, to my surprise they were having a 50% off sale on EVERYTHING. I was looking for a new teacup because my cat broke yet another one (so glad they like breaking my cheap thrift store finds instead of my expensive stuff) and found a nice new teacup, a Somayaki cup and creamer (which I will use for a Cha Hai, because why not) and an awesome antique table thing that will be completely redone into a tea table. I got it partially because I wanted a tea table I can sit at that is low to the ground, and also because if all goes well Ben and I will be moving in with a tea loving friend this summer and I want to have the most epic tea room.

So, it is Wednesday (though all week I keep thinking it is the wrong day) meaning it is time for What-Cha! I honestly think I am never going to succeed in my goal of trying all of the teas in that shop, because more keep arriving! New fancy ones from Malawi and Australia are the most recent ones that are making me check and double check my budget to see if I can swing another order soon. Usually I try to order once a season, stocking up on my favorite teas to drink that time of year…and a few favorites that I can’t seem to live without! So anyway, enough squeeing over future tea orders, today we are taking a look at Taiwan Amber Oolong! Yes, it is a roasted Oolong, because I have an obsession, this one is from Wushe Garden in Nantou Taiwan, this particular Oolong is roasted over the Longan Fruit tree’s wood, meaning some of that fruity goodness gets imparted into the tea (much like it is with smoking meat over fruit wood) and since this is a Jin Xuan cultivar, expect extra sweetness! So, the aroma, well…it smells really good! I am getting notes of toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, pie crust…and is that marzipan? After sniffing a bit more, yep, that is definitely marzipan!

The curled up leaves are tossed into the roasty-toasty Oolong Yixing for their happy bath, after which I give the leaves a thorough sniffing. So, this tea smells like pie. Specifically it smells like freshly baked peach pie, but with a nutty crust and a caramel drizzle. The liquid is super sweet and toasty, with notes of caramel, toasted nuts, pie crust, and a heaping pile of charcoal roasted peaches!

OMG, HOW!!! This tea taste exactly like peach cobbler with an oat crust and caramelized sugar, that is just uncanny! I kinda had to do a double take because I was sitting at my computer..took a sip…looked down at my cup, took another sip, and was totally blown away. It is sweet and toasted, with the toasted notes of oats and grain, and the sweet notes of fruit. That was an impressive first steep.

Second steep time, and I hope it still smells like pie. Hah, nope, now it smells like peach cobbler! Not a huge difference, except cobbler the way I had it had a crumbly oat crust, giving it more of a grain smell. The taste is still sweet and fruity, like a cobbler, but it has a sharper roasted taste. Along with that strong peach taste, there is also a nice cherry note and spicebush at the finish which lingers for quite a while.

Third steeping, the aroma is pretty mellow, blending peaches and toasted grains for a sweet yet subtle aroma. The taste has also mellowed out a bit, there is still a sweet peach and toasted grain taste, but it is a lot more subtle. Sadly this tea lacked staying power, but it made up for it in a crazy good taste, so I am not too sad, it has become a new staple in my ‘must have around’ collection because sometimes I really want a roasted Oolong but do not have the time for multiple steepings, and I hate having it go to waste, so this is perfect for a quick couple of steepings session.

For photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-cha-taiwan-amber-oolong-tea-review.html

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I’ve decided that “Fengqing” isn’t my favorite black tea. There is something about them that just isn’t for me. Oh well – always happy to try things when an awesome teafriend sends them to you. Thanks Sil

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I finished off my sample of this tea yesterday afternoon. I love how cooling this tea is when I’ve just finished a long workout. I like to treat myself to one of my ‘reserve teas’ after subjecting myself to rec center. And yes, ma’am, this is a really nice reserve tea. I brewed it gyokuro style, and the sweet kettle corn and light floral taste hit the spot, big time. I wrote about my first experience with this tea on the sororiTea blogosphere, so give it a read:


ETA: If anyone was curious about my Dodo wings flapping in the wind and how they fit in with this tea, please, click on and find out for yourself!

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The leaf on this looks like it was plucked five minutes ago and put into the bag. They are perfect, with many classic examples of a leaf and a bud. The liquor is bright clear and like yellow gold. The taste is complex and changes as the cup cools and with each steep. For reasons I can’t explain, this one just didn’t grab me. The taste starts kind of dusty. Once the cup cools it picks up a woodsy flavor under a vine taste. There is also a touch of muscat grape type flavor. The aftertaste is strong, lingering, slightly sweet, and plant like. The second cup has a duel personality going on. It is darker, more woodsy, and almost mushroom. At the same time it has a brighter, more green sheng, almost bitter but not, flavor. There is a stone fruit kind of thing like almost an apricot present. As it cools I am noticing more of a floral note that reminds me of peonies. The aftertaste is again strong and green vines with a citrus touch. Reading this, it sounds right up my alley. I should love this. Why don’t I? I guess I have to admit, I really can’t love them all. That makes me sad especially since there is nothing wrong with the tea.

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I did it! I finally found the time to garden, and yes I have a ton of other things I need to do and should finish them, but I needed to go play in the dirt. The point of this little patch of dirt that I will put plants in (and hopefully not kill them, I am not the best at gardening) is totally therapeutic. I need nature and a reason to go outside, and this was the perfect solution. So, my patch is all cleared of weeds, grass, and leaves, just need to get the soil’s health up a bit and then introduce some plants to it. I feel good, even if I have dirt in my hair now.

So, I got my hands on some money for doing a little fancy secret research work, and the first thing I spent it on was a shopping spree at What-Cha, some old favorites for my stash and some new fun ones to try for What-Cha Wednesday, a thing I hope never ends, and not just because I adore getting boxes from England. Today’s tea is not from my most recent order, but it is one that has been promoted to ‘must always have on hand’ status, and yet it has taken me a while to write about it, because it is a mind boggler, I worry I won’t do it justice, and that tea is: Korea Dong Cheon Daejak 2013 Sparrow’s Tongue ‘Jakseol’ Green Tea. This is the fourth ( Deajak) and cheapest of the Korean green tea flushes, and also this is the first Korean tea I have tried (well except my addiction to Oksuscha, the roasted corn tea of happiness) and it seemed like a good way to introduce me to it. I admit, much to my shame, that the Korean tea culture is probably one of my weakest knowledge points, a lot of it due to having a heck of a time finding things easily, but it is something I am working on. Ok, enough stalling, onto the tea! The aroma is, omg it is so good, there are notes of toasted sesame, tahini, toasted corn, a touch of creaminess, a tiny bit of toasted nori, and lastly a bright green ‘tea’ note. See, here is where it gets hard, that last note, it smells like the very distilled essence of the idea of green tea!

Brewing the tea is really what caused me to start going into fits, I was first trying this tea while visiting my mom, and she will tell you if you ask, I did start to make all sorts of noises, and ran over with tea gear for her to sniff it! I brewed it in my gaiwan that I also use as a pseudo-houhin because it resembles the travel sets sold in Korean tea stores, improvising! The aroma of the soggy bright green leaves is FANTASTIC, it is a blend of sweet corn, roasted sesame seeds, and a strong underlying toasted nori. It mixes grain and seaweed in a very happy way. The liquid is delicate, a blend of sweet and seaweed, it reminds me of one of my favorite snacks!

Yes, that favorite snack would be those nori wrapped rice crackers, I am not sure what they are called, you can buy them in bulk at a lot of grocery stores or at International markets, they are wonderful. I have not had them in a while because of stupid food intolerances, so a tea that tastes like a favorite food, yes please! So, the taste is fascinating, a blend of sweetness like sweet corn and toasted rice with toasted nori. The finish has a bright greenness to it, reminiscent of the grassy green of Matcha. Me likes!

Second steep! So, it smells like cereal, like Kix or something sweet and corn like, very grainy with a touch of rice and a delicate whiff of seaweed. Which is hilarious because the taste starts off with a much stronger toasted nori note, it is much more savory this time around, blending seaweed with green grass and a strong finish of corn cereal and toasted rice that linger for an eternity.

The aroma of the third steep is subtle in comparison to the previous steeps, mixing grains and seaweed in a perfect balance of sweet and umami. The taste is also milder, but it does not go quietly into the night, there is a sharpness this time, like the sharpness of biting into fresh artichoke, it tingles the tip of my tongue. The primary taste notes are cereal and seaweed with a touch of kale, there is not much sweetness until the finish where it lingers with a rice syrup like quality. I have had this tea numerous times since then, it is not an everday tea, it is one that I need to devote a time to contemplate.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-cha-korea-dong-cheon-daejak-2013.html


MMmm Sounds like my kind of tea. I think I’ve had some almost like that tea that are between a Chinese and Japanese green.

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I love white tea. I love the deep quiet flavors of it. I really did not know what to expect from an assam silver needle but it is What-Cha and they know how to pick them. The moment I caught the first hints out of the bag I knew I would like this. It is sweet fresh grassy hay, like really fresh cut hay. Yet it is different as this smells nicely of malt. I mean it is assam so maybe I should expect it or at least hope for it, but honestly it surprised me. It looks like silver needle but not. It is more needle like and darker than Chinese silver needle. The tea brews to a light white grape color.

The taste is so good. I taste the hay and light touches of melon that I expect but I also get the malt. This nicely sweet with no rough edges or bitterness. It could stop right there and I would have been happy. But it doesn’t.

I prepared a single mug in my clear teapot. What I loved most, no, what I LOVED most about this was the surprise note of honeysuckle. I almost never taste what I’m willing to call honeysuckle because it grows everywhere here and is one of my favorite spring fragrances. Nothing duplicates it for me. Until now. It even has the wonderful taste of that single drop of ambrosia from inside the flower that we used to harvest as kids and place on our tongue. To get both the floral scent and honey like taste is unheard of for me.

My disclaimer – it is a white tea so it won’t give you the breakfast assam smack down of flavor. If you love a wonderfully gentle and deep flavored tea then I highly recommend trying this one.

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I made this into iced tea. O M G! It is good that way! My mom and brothers were over for supper tonight. My mom always says she likes iced tea, but what she really means is she likes those presweetened powdered ice tea mixes from Lipton and Nestea. I served this with supper and she was polite, but I could tell she didn’t really care for it. Sometimes I wonder how I came from that woman. Not intending any offense to those who enjoy Lipton powdered tea, but to me those are just so fake that I can’t bear it.

Anyway, I still have several servings of this to drink, so yay!


The iced tea of choice around these parts is pre-mixed Red Diamond tea that comes in a gallon jug and tastes like the plastic. Blecccccch!

Maddy Barone

Bleccccch is right! I just cannot understand why people drink that stuff! I suppose it’s convenient, and probably a lot cheaper. But I’d rather spend a little more and take the time to set something to steep before bed.


I will—when nothing else is available—drink Gold Peak bottled or soda-machine tea; it’s not tainted with so much citric acid you can’t taste it. Do you have McAlister’s Delis in your part of the world? They’re known for their tea and it also tastes like real tea.

Maddy Barone

Never heard of McAlisters Delis! I have sometimes gotten a 16 oz bottle of Lipton’s Real Leaf Raspberry tea from the case at work. It’s pre sweetened, and cold, and tasty, but I consider it more of a non carbonated soft drink than tea! I guess I have no business looking down on anyone else’s drink of choice.

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I enjoy a straight black tea in the morning. Something plain and robust but not bitter. This tea is more mellow than robust, but it is smooth and mild. I don’t get that bitter coating on my tongue after the swallow. After reading some other comments, I followed the brewing directions and made sure the water wasn’t boiling when I poured it into the pot. Really a nice cup! And mild enough to enjoy any time of the day. Glad I tried this one!

185 °F / 85 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 14 OZ / 414 ML

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This is a wonderful and well made green tea. It’s smooth, slightly sweet and brothy, like eating freshly made kettle corn while drinking vegetable broth. Sounds like a good time to me!

See the full review here:

Flavors: Bok Choy, Popcorn, Vegetable Broth

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I went a little crazy when I found out that What-cha has a bunch of Georgian Teas. I have a coworker/friend that is from Georgia, and I was super excited to see his home country well represented in What-cha’s offerings! So, of course, I bought them all :P All of them have been pretty great, I am not disappointed by any of them.

This one I got in a sample size, and it is one of the better ones I have tried. It’s warm and comforting, it’s got all the fresh baked bread and malt notes that I crave, as well as an ever so slightly sweet date note that really hits Da spot.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dates, Limestone, Malt

205 °F / 96 °C 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is once again, an amazingly smooth and moderate black from What-Cha. Very unlike other Kenyan teas I’ve had. I know that orange is unrelated to any flavor the tea possesses, but rather to the grade of leaf. However, like donkeytiara, I also get a little hint of orange in this tea. It’s mainly moderately malty and light with no bitterness or astringency, even as it cools. Really, really good.

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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I get no citrus from this but it’s a tasty tea with raisin notes. It’s good. Not one I’ll order but good. Thanks for sharing, Maddy Barone!

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This was an interesting tea. It looks like rosemary.

It is definitely fresh in aroma and taste. At first it was a bit offputting as it smelled lightly of fish to me but that is nowhere in the taste. The first sips are smooth and buttery, like a lightly oxidized oolong. It’s not one that will make me shift over to white teas over my beloved malty blacks, but it’s a unique white that is appealing and light.

Thanks for sharing this, KS

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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What-Cha keeps impressing me with their ability to find the unusual and delicious. The leaf is so white it looks ghostly. Instead of soft tender buds, these seem more crisp. The dry aroma is field grass. Once brewed the first cup seemed more green tea like than white. At first I thought it tasted dairy or milky. As it cooled it became creamy corn. Behind it is a vegetal green flavor and the good type bitter of excellent green tea. This is interestingly complex but not particularly subtle. That is unusual for a white. Had I not seen the dry leaf, I would have a hard time believing. A white tea for people who don’t care for subtle white tea.

The second cup is totally different. It reminds me of sheng. The main flavor is apricot. Along with it is the bright sheng bitter. It doesn’t seem drying and doesn’t have cheek tingle. It just has a neat edge. A shorter second steep might calm it but I’m kind of liking it. So I have a white tea, that is at first like a bold green, then becomes a young sheng. How cool is that?

I am finding Vietnam teas to be bolder and just different than other regions in a good way.

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This seems like a Taiwan black tea. Grapey, wine ish, light, sweet, a little astringent.

It’s not bad, just not my favorite style.

Thanks Sil for the opportunity to try it. :)

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This is the other yellow tea that Sil sent to me.

I think I like the other one better. This one is a little bit too green for me and little too bitter. It’s more grass than hay.
Oh well happy to try it. Thanks Sil

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