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Recent Tasting Notes

Backlog of notes. I ordered this as a sample, and enjoyed all 10 grams. I will order more in the future.

Pleasantly astringent, nicely offsetting flavors of passion fruit and mango. Not a floral oolong.

I imagine this would be great cold-steeped!

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This tea has shown me:

1. My experience of floral qualities can be significantly affected by steep time. I thought of myself as picky about floral teas, so I was quick to write off this tea after a first session that was just too floral for me. But with this tea as well as Liquid Proust’s Silver Jasmine, a shorter steep time has been transformative. When I shortened the first steep to 15-30 sec, I had an enjoyable session with both teas.

2. Cold brewing continues to surprise me. First, this tea transferred much more flavor in a shorter amount of time than I would have ever guessed from my previous experiments in cold brewing. Particularly for a green tea. And second, the flavor profile shifted: while the 176°F infusion was predominantly floral, the cold brew focused on the citrus flavor—and specifically pomelo! My favorite was an 8hr re-steep of the cold brewed leaves, which yielded a light infusion with subtle floral notes and refreshing pomelo (grapefruit-like) flavor.

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81
drank Australia Houjicha by What-Cha
1835 tasting notes

Australia isn’t typically a place that comes to mind when you think of tea, particularly such a specialized variety as hojicha. It looks a bit different in appearance from the usually Japanese hojicha – whereas those are usually a light reddish brown, these tea leaves are darker, more of a greenish black. It has the charcoal-like roasted flavour I’m used to tasting in hojicha but there’s a bit of a greener note that comes through as well. I think I’d have to compare it side by side with the Japanese tea to really pinpoint the difference but I can tell that it is different, though not drastically so. Thanks Roswell for sharing this one. :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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An afternoon tea session.

Starts out a bit astringent but really smooths out by steep three and the flavor really starts to open up at the same time. There’s this heavy fruit medley meets maltiness that really works with this one. It’s only one of two teas that I’ve had that I would compare to sangria in terms of flavor. Really holds out well for multiple infusions too. I counted at least seven before it started to wane. Absolutely beautiful burnt sienna hued liquor.

5g, 100ml, 190F with a 30s first and a 5s second with continued 5s climbs until the leaf would give no more.

I love that tea drinking top hat wearing dragon!
https://instagram.com/p/BHC8bQrhWtL/

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BHC9lIbhFK8/

The liquor:
https://instagram.com/p/BHDA23XhrSc/

The wet leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BHDBbEehD7R/

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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71

There was just something odd going on with this tea. Did a sipdown starting at 195º and 30 second steep and working my way down. After the first steep, I never really got much flavor out of these leaves. I even did a western brew for the last steep, and I still didn’t get much.

The first steep was nice. It was light with a little honey and minerals. Toward the end with the lower temperatures, there was a little vegetal flavor. It was mostly like drinking water though. I never did get the plum that most people described.

Flavors: Honey, Mineral

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Lovely honey sweetness. Gentle, light. Never astringent or harsh. That “clean” flavor that I’ve noticed in all of the Harendong teas. I brewed this tea Western style and found it enjoyable for a bunch of steeps.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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52

Picked this up from a Reddit tea sale. The best way to describe its taste is like a low grade jasmine tea from the Asian supermarket. Overpowering flavoring with a bitter finish. It’s prone to bitterness even when cold steeped. Trying this tea made me feel like I was drinking a bottle of cheap perfume. It’s not even close to Taiwan Tea Craft’s exquisite Citrus Scented Four Seasons, which is the best pomelo flower tea I’ve ever had.

Flavors: Astringent, Jasmine, Perfume

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
Gooseberry Spoon

That’s a shame. I had this in my “hypothetical cart” should I ever pull a trigger on a what-cha order.

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76

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Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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87

Starting to identify some Steepster links to Liquid Proust’s puerh samples, so here’s another one.

The dry leaves smell pretty similar to the Misty Peaks I tried the day before—like raisins—but the flavored of the brewed tea is much deeper tasting. The cake sample was much looser, so maybe the extra space between the leaves allowed the flavor to develop faster? Anyway, it was a perfect tea to break in my new tea pets, Bessie and Fred.

Same deal as last time: alternated 190º and 170º with different steeping times from 30 seconds down to a straight pour through. Unlike the Misty Peaks, the flavor didn’t seem to change with the steepings; it just got stronger or weaker.

The flavor of the tea was grassy with a little astringency and bitterness, slightly sweet, and a flavor I can’t really identify. Something savory—the word “sausage” keeps popping into my head, but it doesn’t really taste like a sausage, so I don’t know where THAT’s coming from. Perhaps that’s best left to the psychologists to figure out. Maybe this is umami? I lack the experience to know for sure. Anyway, it’s nice and enjoyable.

I enjoyed this tea best at its first and strongest steeping.

Flavors: Grass, Sweet, Umami

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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Late evening tea session.

Sweet and fruity aromatic leaf and as fruity in aromatics as it is in flavor with an emphasis on cherry, orange and grape. I would call this one the sangria of teas. Absolutely love the color and general look of the leaf of this one as well, both dry and wet.

5g leaf, 120ml Seong-il, 190-195F with 20s, 30s, 30s and moving up in 20s increments till the notes were washed away.

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGdRE-XhUlG/

The session:
https://instagram.com/p/BGdfemThUi2/

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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Early afternoon tea session.

Aromatics on opening are like sweet plump raisins and a walk through the morning woods. With its rich crimson hue and notes of yam, raisin and sweet brown sugar & spice this holds similar notes to a Taiwanese ruby red. A totally enjoyable tea session.

5g leaf, 120ml Seing-il, 190-195F for 30s and climbing in small 5-10s increments till the leaf said no more.

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGcmhCCBUp4/

The session:
https://instagram.com/p/BGc1-xZhUsP/

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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A very enjoyable first tea session of the day. Very similar to a Taiwanese ruby red with its brown sugar, raisin and yam notes as well as its rich crimson hues. This is a tea well worth re-exploring.

5g of leaf, 120ml pot, boiling temperature with 30s, 30s, 45s for three really flavorful heavily aromatic infusions and then two 1m steeps for a more subtle but still enjoyable fourth and fifth infusion of tea.

The dry leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGUy8MVhUgX/

The session:
https://instagram.com/p/BGVBNUbhUmI/

The liquor:
https://instagram.com/p/BGVBn4bBUm7/

The final leaf:
https://instagram.com/p/BGVEec6hUsY/

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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74

This is the first hei cha I’ve ever tried, so I was bracing myself for a weird, weird experience. First sip, and as expected, the tea totally tastes like wood. Not like pine or anything, but more like biting into a chunk of drift wood. Little musty, and spicy—imagine someone grinding pepper onto a log and you’re pretty close. Didn’t notice much changing from strep to steep, just the same woody taste. Not bad at all, although I wouldn’t buy more.

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The Spring Arakai black tea is in many ways similar to the Summer Arakai black tea. First off, its delicious. Similar to the summer batch, it’s mildly malty with sweet fruited notes that dominate, with some floral-like perfume notes (quite oolong like! somewhere between dan cong and taiwan oolong) integrated. This, like the Summer, reminds me of a Taiwanese style black tea, while What-cha likens it to a Korean tea that I’m not familiar with (certainly makes me want to seek out the “Balhyocha teas” of Korea. The leaves of the Spring are whole, twisted, gangly, and well-structured, contrasting against the slightly more broken leaves of the Summer batch.

All-in-all, a really nice tea that is a slightly more refined version of the Summer Arakai with a bit more longevity and clarity.

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84

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Flavors: Dates, Honey, Raisins

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Drank this at work on Friday and it was quite beautiful looking. Looks like a Darjeeling tea with silver hairs all over it. The brew came out nice and dark for the first infusion. This is a solid tea that like Oriental Beauty drops off in strength over a year or two of settling; and this is how I like them both, smoother as time rounds those sharp notes off and leaves behind a softer taste.

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The dry tea leaves look like long thin twigs, mixed with larger leaves. They smell very vegetable, mixed with peas. The brewed tea tastes refreshing, with just a hint of sweetness. Overall a very nice green tea.

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Nepal Golden Ring – Spring 2016

The tea looks similar to a ‘black gold’ pure bud bi luo chun black tea, and smells similarly malty and savory, but has a distinctly fruity aroma similar to a mild Darjeeling. The wet leaves blast the fragrance making the fruity aroma even more apparent. The flavor in the cup is indeed somewhere between a dian hong black tea and a Darjeeling black, with the full bodied satisfaction of a dian hong. There’s also a bit of a hint of a Taiwanese style black in there. For me, 1st flush Darjeelings leave a bit to be desired with regards to body and texture, and I love dian hong and other Yunnan tippy blacks, so this tea really hits a nice spot in being both satisfying and complexly floral.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Malt, Sweet

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The Summer Arakai black tea is fantastic. It’s like a mildly malty Taiwanese black tea. It has the sweet, fruity, and slightly acidic character of a Taiwanese black tea with a slightly more robust, smooth, malty edge. Very enjoyable.

Flavors: Citrus, Fruity, Malt, Sweet

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This is for the 2016 spring version of this tea.

This is a pretty straight-forward but very satisfying black tea. It reminds me of old arbor black tea from yunnan that is leaning just a bit into the Indian Assam territory. The brew is super smooth and dark, clearly a fully oxidized black. The aroma and flavor are mostly malt but with some fruity sweetness and a tiny carob note.

Edit: After spending a bit more time with this tea, I’m getting a fair bit more fruit and honey than I originally was noticing. Perhaps this is due to having recently been drinking more Assam black tea than fruitier/sweeter blacks, thus the non-malt notes are popping out at me a bit more obviously. This seems to fit nicely between the maltier and fruitier/sweeter side of black teas.

Flavors: Fruity, Honey, Malt

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