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Recent Tasting Notes

I recently tried the autumn flush from the same estate. They are day and night different. I only thought I knew what Darjeeling looked and tasted like. This one dry has a hay, grass, and orange blossom aroma. The leaf appears more like a green or a white peony. Steeped the liquor is honey yellow with a slight green tint. It certainly has no traits at this point to suggest black tea.

The wet leaf is freshly green and mostly whole leaves. Due to settling there are some large broken pieces but nothing to suggest this is less than top quality.

The wet leaf does have some woodsy muscatel notes to confirm it just might be a black tea after all.

Copying from my blog post concerning the taste: The What-Cha description on the sample label nails this tea, “A brilliant sweet start with a spicy finish.” Attempting to expand on this a little – after the sweetness I catch the first notes of muscatel. It is a light grape leaf like flavor. It fades quickly into a moment of mineral. Just as quickly it moves right into that spicy finish with the leaf taste moving below the spice. The aftertaste lingers well in a sweet fruity note, as just a touch of cheek tingle moves in to further please the senses.

If you find Darjeeling interesting (or if you know almost nothing about them) I highly recommend getting a sample of this one and the autumnal flush to experience the wide range of this tea.

Anlina

I just started getting into Darjeelings, and I’ve been amazed at the huge range of flavours and qualities. I find that there’s a common thread that marks them as Darjeeling, which I have a very hard time describing – sort of a greenish, pungent spiced note (???) but beyond that…

K S

Agreed. Been drinking tea for decades, it still amazes me.

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96

This tea was a cup full of YES for me. It didn’t quite blow me away like some other teas have, but from my first sip it just felt so perfect and right. Caramelly sweetness, plummy fruitiness, a bit of citrus at the end, and so, so smooth. I’m not a black tea fanatic like some people around here are, but this is one of the most delicious, relaxing, and comforting teas I have ever tried.

To expand on that last bit: I brewed a mug western-style so I could have something to sip on while I washed some dishes. I don’t know if it was actual tea-drunkenness, but after a few mouthfuls I started to feel a bit drowsy and floaty, and I’d imagine that if I did a gongfu session with this I’d be flying pretty high. So just a word of caution: This is not a tea for staying alert at the office. This is much better suited for a sleepy evening at home with a book and a cat, or maybe even for sitting in a dimly lit room listening to Dark Side of the Moon.

This is probably my favorite black tea I’ve had yet, which doesn’t surprise me too much given my love of oolongs, and it appears this one is a fully oxidized dancong. The only thing I didn’t like about it was a slight prickly sensation in my throat after the tea had cooled, but that’s a petty quibble. I don’t know if any of my other What-Cha samples can surpass this one, but I have high hopes for them!

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Plums

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

Never had a silver oolong before. This tea from Nepal looks similar to a Taiwanese Bai Hao, an open-leaf style oolong with loosely curled strips and some fuzzy white buds in the mix, though this is more green. There’s a very distinct and familiar smell to this tea that I can’t quite figure out from smelling the dry leaves. It smells like old book pages and something else… I believe the aroma I am getting is pine wood, similar to a pinewood box (fuku masu) for drinking sake when it is wet and full of sake.

When I pulled the lid off my gaiwan after the first infusion, the first words to come out of my mouth were excited expletives, as I wasn’t expecting the intense aroma that drifted over to me. It’s hard to describe, but the scent smells like fruit flowers, maybe a little like orange blossoms, and is very vibrant and uplifting. It reminds me of the aroma of some of the best white teas I’ve had the pleasure to enjoy. There’s a good deal of the scent I’m familiar with in a good quality first flush Darjeeling as well, sort of perfumed, a bit earthy, and lightly fruity.

The brew is very sweet. The taste is very floral with hints of citrus and definite notes of pear.

On the second infusion the aroma is of flowers and fruit, maybe raspberries. The taste is a bit more perfume-like, reminding me once again of orange blossoms. The infusion is a pale creamy yellow. Oh, hey! Look at that. I just checked the website to read up on this tea a bit and they also describe it as having an orange blossom note.

This tea is really vibrant and enjoyable. The energy of this tea is more invigorating than calming.

The fourth infusion tastes more like orange blossoms and herbs. It’s really sweet and relaxing, very spring like.

This tea is incredibly aromatic and seems to be best when brewed somewhat lightly. If you go too heavy on the leaf, it becomes astringent.

Flavors: Fruit Tree Flowers, Orange Blossom, Pear, Pine

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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96

I am so close to being done with my Scourge that resisting rushing through these last steps is soooo hard!! If I rush I end up having my hand slip and that one misstep means I have to go back and redo a section, which I am sure you all know is bloody infuriating. But, I have my Reaver Gunship more or less finished (I need to use anti-shine on the bones since I want them not as shiny as the rest of the chitinous model) and I am going to have a nice photo of the beastie at the end of the blog. Plus, ugh, I think I need a break because my hands are shaky, this is not the time for shaky hands (or shaky cam for that matter!)

So, it is Wednesday, meaning What-Cha time! However it is also Dark Tea week, so I get to unveil a tea I was so hype to review: Malawi 2014 Leafy Dark Tea. Oh yeah, I finally get to have my elephant yixing really shine by drinking a dark tea from Africa! Yeah I giggled in excitement when I saw this sample stuffed in my recent (by recent I mean it was my Christmas gift to myself) order, I am still giggling a little bit, this is just one of those teas that is so cool. Made in the style of a Shou and it certainly smells like one. The aroma of this tea actually, no lies, made me cry a little, ok I like Sheng I really do, but my heart will always belong to Shou, and the reason why is because it smells like a forest floor after a summer rain, it has the smell of wet wood, mushrooms, loam, that delightful steamy aroma that a forest gets on a hot day after rain. It smells like the heavily piney forest that I spent A LOT of my time in as a teenager. That forest has been turned into an apartment complex now and I am getting maudlin, but the smell of a good clean Shou (not one that smells like a Chinese market) takes me home, and this tea is no exception. It has a weightiness to it, like I am sinking into loam and pine needles. This tea is heavenly, I want to hug it.

Into the elephant it goes! I gave it a rinse and a short steep, the aroma of the wet leaves is ecstasy, well if you are into laying face first in a forest floor, and we all know that is my idea of a perfect day. It is so rich with notes of loam, wet pine wood, and a touch of sweet cocoa at the end. The liquid smells loamy and sweet, blending pine sap and wet wood with forest floor.

The first steep starts out pretty subtle and slightly creamy in texture, and by the time it hids the midtaste there is an explosion of rich loam, pine forest and cocoa! It is so good, it manages to be rich while not being overpowering, and that cocoa note goes really well with the natural pinesap sweetness. The aftertaste is sweet cocoa and loam, and it lingers for a while.

The aroma is intensely loamy and earthy, like clean forest soil and wet wood. There is also a distinct mineral note, again it reminds me of a forest after the rain where it has that steamy aroma in the air. The taste is pretty much identical to the first steep but much stronger. The cocoa note is a little diminished, it is all earthy pine forest floor. The finish has a tiny hint of raw honey and has a great salivary effect.

So, I forgot to take a photo of the third steep, or any of the other steeps, I found myself getting tea drunk very early and just getting lost in the memories that this tea evoked, each sip took me to a forest and I was in no hurry to leave. The tea stayed strong and delicious until the 6th steep, and was done by steep 8. I did notice that even though this tea was strong and wonderfully tasty, it did not change much, it felt like I was drinking the same steep, this was fascinating and surprisingly not boring, I think because it was so evocative of something very pleasant for me. So your mileage may vary with that one, but who cares, it is a Dark Tea from Africa and that is still really awesome.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-cha-malawi-2014-leafy-dark-tea-tea.html

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75

Thank you TheLastDodo for the sample!

Misread this one this morning as “Georgia Earl Grey” when I was getting ready for work. Poured the water over the tea and my initial thought was “Man, I can’t smell bergamot at all”. Went back, double checked the tea name. Had that ‘oh – I’m an idiot’ moment.

It was really good though; and once I realized what I was drinking I was pretty on board. I feel like I was oddly observant of the flavours when I was sipping at it on the bus too – perhaps because of already making poor observations before the water had even been poured. I guess I need to over compensate.

This is so smooth and silky; and actually very sweet. I wish there were more reviews on it though ‘cause I think I noticed slightly different things? Primarily I thought this was really yeasty, with some lighter honey notes as well as notes of baker’s chocolate (you know; just a touch bitter). There were also raisin and citrus notes in the background. Really liked the citrus in it; raisin could have been better but it also could have been much worse.

I have another cup’s worth – looking forward to it!

Also, I think this was my first What-Cha tea? Good experience overall.

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drank Keemun Black Tea by What-Cha
3103 tasting notes

Another one from Sil, & much more to my liking this morning. The pine is very forward in this cup, backed up by a bright tart plum, & both leave a lingering tongue sensation. It’s not particularly sweet, & I’m too lazy to get up & add anything to it, but it will do. :)

Terri HarpLady

In retrospect, both of these teas from what-cha left me with a lingering burning sensation in my lips, sinuses, tongue, mouth & throat, tummy, & also on the skin on my cheeks. I’m not gonna say what that means, but being chemically sensitive, I have my suspicions.

Terri HarpLady

Now my eyes are watering & burning. Tony said I’m like litmus paper.

Tealizzy

Oh no, Terri! That’s awful!

looseTman

Have you tried any of the What-Cha teas from Greenland Organic Farm, Nepal http://what-cha.com/brands/Greenland-Organic-Farm%2C-Nepal.html?

For Chinese teas, I think Mandala, TeaVivre, Verdant, Yezi, & Whispering Pines are very careful about pesticide residue levels.

looseTman

Have you had this same type of reaction to any other teas?

looseTman

Have you also seen:
“Yunnan Sourcing LLC guarantees that all Pu-erh teas produced under the Yunnan Sourcing Brand label from October 2013 onward comply with the European Commission’s Safety Standards for Pesticide content.”
http://yunnansourcing.com/en/content/20-eu-compliance

Terri HarpLady

It’s starting to fade now, thank god, although I have a residual soapy taste in my mouth, a slight headache, some congestion in the back of my sinuses, & some of my tastebuds hurt. Tman, most of the teas in my cupboards are from YS, Verdant’s, or teavivre. I have had a reaction before, but never this severe, & never to any of those 3 companies.

looseTman

Do you need Benadryl or to be checked out by an MD?

Terri HarpLady

No, I just need to let it pass. Then I’ll have some Laoshan Black, because I know that’s a safe choice!

looseTman

“…Laoshan Black, because I know that’s a safe choice!” +1

Which do you enjoy more: LB, Yu Lu Yan Cha Black, or Zhu Rong Yunnan Black?

looseTman

http://what-cha.com/black-tea/nepal-2nd-flush-2014-golden-tips-black-tea/ is also a safe choice if you enjoy an extremely smooth & mellow Golden Tip black tea.

What-Cha

Hi Terri,

I’m really sorry to hear about the reaction you had. The Yunnan Dragon Pearls and the Keemun Black come from two different sources and have been tested and are within EU limits but as with most Chinese teas are not organic.

Hygiene on my side of things is unlikely to be the cause as I have had my premises inspected recently for food hygiene and got the top rating – http://ratings.food.gov.uk/business/en-GB/724317/What-Cha-Islington

I’ve not had or heard any reports of others having any negative reactions to any of the teas I’ve sold and I’m at a loss to explain your reaction.

Please accept my sincere apologies for the reaction you had and if you register an account on What-Cha, I’ll add £10 credit to it.

Sil

woah terri… i’m so sorry!!

Terri HarpLady

Tman: I enjoy all 3 of them, along with several other blacks from several other companies.
Sil: Not your fault! I’m still glad to have the opportunity to sample them, & always grateful for our friendship & all our tea trades :)
What-Cha: I want to start off by saying I’m sorry for this negative review. I am very sensitive to a lot of things: chemicals. flavorings, etc. I don’t know which tea I reacted to, or if it was both. Initially I thought it was the kind of sensations I get from a sheng puer, some tingling, etc, but then it became more of a burning sensation that spread, which I’m still experiencing, hours later, even after coconut oil pulling, teeth brushing, & breakfast. I know there weren’t any flavorings added to these teas, & I believe you when you say they are tested. I don’t hold you accountable in any way, as I don’t know for sure what I was reacting to, only that I had a reaction. Thanks for your offer. :)

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Good morning Steepster friends!
I’m starting my day with some teas that Sil recently left on my front porch. I brought the whole bag to Tony’s for the weekend. So here’s my first cup of the day, & it’s just so so. I am a lover of Pearl shaped teas, but this one is definitely not what I expected. There were 3 pearls in package, & I used all three in a large mug. (Normally I would use 6 or 8, depending on the brand, steep 3 min & 5). I gave it 3 & tested, & all I got was a soapy/salty kind of maltiness. I’m sure somebody is thinking that the cup had soap residue, but no, I never use soap on my cups, teapots, or strainers. I soak them in hot water & then rub the cups down with a clean cloth. Anyway, I gave it a little more time, & that made it more so. I tried adding more water….:p
Maybe it’s my tastebuds…sigh…NEXt!

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Snow and ice. My youngest left at 5:30 this morning for work. 10 minutes later he pulled back in the drive. I asked him what was going on. His reply, “It’s just McDonalds. It’s not work the risk.” I’d like to say I taught him well but truth is I was never that smart.

I can’t post on my blog until the new billing cycle. I can write on it just fine but pictures can’t be uploaded while I am throttled for going over my data limit. le sigh.

So you guys get first crack at my take on this oolong. A Nepal oolong is unusual enough. This one is rolled into pearls. Not sure what effect monsoon flush has on the taste but thanks to the pickers who got wet so I could try it. The brewed aroma is strongly apricot and nectarine. The taste is much less so, but is stone fruit. Starts mellow and smooth of fruit. Then turns sweet and mineral. Next it develops a peppery spiciness (not too strong – just enough to be interesting), along with hints of mushroom. It trails off into a sweet aftertaste. I notice hints of cucumber making my connection to this more white tea like than oolong.

If you aren’t normally an oolong fan because they tend to be either a cup of geranium or too heavily roasted, then you might just find this appealing. It is very much not your typical oolong.

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Alright, so I got the caramel flavor in this but again with the aftertaste? It’s not a bad taste, it’s just so unexpected that it’s distracting. I’ve got a couple of the purple oolongs to try from What-Cha that I’m hoping might be more up my alley. Thanks for the chance to try, Ost!

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Another What-Cha sample from Ost. Sweet potatoes?? Man I wish I could taste the things you all taste sometimes. I just got an overall smooth tea with a very light taste and that same aftertaste I’ve been getting with the black What-Cha teas I’ve tried.

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The description of this on the sample package Ost so generously sent me says, “Incredibly smooth with gentle malt tones.” The incredibly smooth is incredibly correct, but those gently malt tones are too gently for my tastes. In fact, the taste overall was maybe too smooth and not punchy enough for me. It had a strange aftertaste that kept grabbing at my attention, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. Maybe I underleafed? It recommends 1-2tsp per cup and I did 1.5 tsp for my 8 oz cup. I’ll try it again with 2 tsp to see if anything changes.

Lindsay

This is the one that tastes like sweet potatoes to me. :) And yeah, it’s a very light, fluffy tea. I usually just measure out 3g with my scale, but I think that would be at least 2 tsp… maybe more.

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93

I just had the most epic fall, seriously, if it didn’t hurt so bad I would say it was a thing of beauty. Yours truly was standing on the bed snuggling Espeon who was on the top bunk (bunk beds are awesome for storage) sleeping in her bed. When I went to get down my foot somehow managed to get tangled in the sheet and instead of stepping off the bed I crashed to the hardwood floor. My hip and wrist took most of the fall, making it hard to sit and type, my clumsiness really is a thing of legend. But at least I have my pre-New Years cleaning done!

And since it is the day before possibly my favorite holiday (it really is a tie between New Year and the Mid Autumn Festival) I am going to review one of What-Cha’s Chinese Oolongs, specifcally Fujian Cinnamon ‘Rou Gui’ Wuyi Rock Oolong Tea, yes it is Yancha time! I am noticing a trend, each time there is an important event I seem to review a Yancha, so this is officially going to be a thing now. So, first off, a little backstory, this specific Wuyi oolong first showed up in the Qing dynasty (which could be somewhat recent or a really long time ago) and is the most recent tea to be added to Wuyi’s famous bushes, this one bringing it up to five. The name Rou Gui is a reference to its cinnamon notes that are supposedly present in the aroma and taste. So, history aside, let us get to the sniffing! The aroma is, well, heavy, it is very heavy, like sinking into a hot bath when you are super sore and tired, you just kind of fall into it. There are notes of sweet cocoa, honey, cooked plums, and distant sweet spice. There is also a fairly gentle aroma of char and smoke, but it is more like a distant campfire than a raging coal furnace. This tea smells like warmth and smelling it makes me feel immensely relaxed.

When I brew Yancha I load my teapot with leaves, I mean I really fill it up, and usually use just under boiling water and super short steeps, think a few seconds. Not the brewing method for everyone, but this is my technique, in case anyone were curious how I brew my beloved Yanchas. So the leaves, once thoroughly soggy smell quite mouth watering. The heaviness from the dry leaf is still present, it is joined with a stronger char note, the cocoa is also stronger, and now there is a bit of loam and Spicebush. The liquid is spicy and sweet, like chocolate and molasses with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. The finish is a bit of char and honey.

Ok, first steeping time! I got bouncy waiting for my cup to cool to a suitable drinking temperature, nothing worse than a burned tongue…ok, burning your tongue and then spilling it all over your lap is also pretty awful. So, as expected, this tea is rich and heavy, it starts with lite molasses and toasted oats then builds to dates and spicebush at the middle. The finish is a bit of cocoa and loam with a surprising cooling sensation at the back of the throat.

The aroma of the second steep is heady, heavy, and sweet, it blends the molasses and char notes with succulently sweet spicebush and honey notes. I am such a fan of spicebush notes in tea, it is probably one of my favorite flower scents. So this time around the taste is not as sweet, the char notes are more predominant, and it has some nutty notes as well. Think a blend of fire roasted walnuts, tobacco, cinnamon, and a touch of molasses at the finish and you have this tea, also fun is that it warms this steep instead of cools.

Time for round three! The aroma this time is cocoa, heavy, and rich. It makes me feel sleepy and relaxed. The taste is milder and softer, starting with cocoa and char, moving into tobacco, plums, and nutmeg, and finishing with a distant taste of smoke and walnuts. I shan’t bore you all with further tasting notes, but I did get several more steepings out of this tea, and according to my notes, promptly took a tea drunk fueled nap afterwards!

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-cha-fujian-cinnamon-rou-gui-wuyi.html

Maddy Barone

Geez, I’m sorry you took a tumble. Hope your bruises heal up quickly! I really enjoy this tea, and I loved your poetic description.

ashmanra

Holy cow, I keep picturing that fall in slo mo. Hope you feel better!

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Thanks you two! I am feeling better today, sore though surprisingly less so than I expected, so that is awesome!

OMGsrsly

D: I’m glad you’re feeling better than expected! That sounds nasty.

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A very light and fruity oolong. I’m almost reminded of a white tea. No bitterness or astringency, just lots of light apricot notes.

I steeped 6 pearls grandpa style. Quite tasty, but I think this needs another try.

Flavors: Apricot, Fruity

Haveteawilltravel

I’ve been hearing the term “grandpa style” a lot lately hahah I’m just know figuring out what it is. :)

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80

This is a nice, quality leaf with a mild flavor and citrus taste without it being indistinguishable from orange or lemon or too perfume-y. I received the box in the mail today. I was starting to wonder when I would receive it, but it arrived at a fairly reasonable time. This is my first time trying What-Cha tea, but I will definitely buy more in the future.

Alistair seems cool too. I didn’t buy much tea, but he wrote a note for me and sent me a sample of Nepal Silver Oolong. I don’t know much about business, but that’s enough for me to become a repeat customer. I also kept all of the stamps. I think some of them fell off, though… so I kept what was still on the box.

What-Cha

Glad to hear it arrived safely, in spite of some of the stamps falling off (some are 40+ years old so they don’t glue so well).

Thanks for the kind words :)

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88

Made a pot of this tea this morning. It is still a favorite. Mild, smooth, slightly sweet. I have enough left to send a sample over to another Steepsterian.

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88

I had this one for my mid-morning tea, and I’m going to re-steep for my after lunch tea. Yum! Smooth, a bit of sweet, this might actually be the best of the Discover Georgia sampler I ordered from What-Cha.

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88

This is the last of my samples from What-Cha to try. I’ve enjoyed all the samples from the Georgia Sampler, but I think this might be my favorite. It’s a full-bodied, bold black tea, but not at all bitter. In fact, there’s a shadow of natural sweetness to it that really appeals to me. We have another month and half of winter to go through here in North Dakota, but I’m already trying to decide which teas would be good iced. I thin kthis one might be perfect for iced tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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68

Well, the inevitable happened, I have become addicted to another game. This time around it is the game Plague Inc that has hooked me, it is a strategy game where you play as a strain of (in my case) bacteria trying to wipe out humanity. I also hate this game because I spent hours staring at my phone playing and did not win a single game, this game is hard! Currently I am playing the free version, but I really want the full version, but no offense phone, I want it on my computer. Sadly I lack the $15 to shell out on a new game, and if I had it I would be putting it towards finally getting Minecraft on the PC, le sigh, so many games, so little time.

Today’s tea for What-Cha Wednesday is Ceylon Golden Tips Black Tea, it is so fuzzy and pretty, very golden! Ok, you guys caught me red handed, I spent way too much time staring at the leaves, they are adorably downy, like little caterpillars, though what really struck me was how they have a slight silvery sheen to them, unlike the fuzzy golds from China, which are Shining Gold (yes like the Citadel paint) these have a dullness too them. This tea fascinated me, though I do wish there had been a tiny bit more information as to where in Sri Lanka they come from. The aroma of the fuzzy leaves is iconically a Ceylon, it is brisk and bright, but it also has notes of oak wood, roasted peanuts, distant flowers, malt, and fruit. The fruit notes are muscatel and cherry, in fact, this tea reminds me of a three way dance between an Assam, Ceylon, and Darjeeling, how fascinating! The aroma is not overwhelmingly strong, it is delicate and a bit pretty, much like the leaves themselves.

I waffled back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to go Western or Gongfu style for steeping, deciding on Gongfu for now. The aroma of the now soggy and not quite so golden leaves is pretty malty and brisk, it wakes up my nose with an almost effervescent quality (I love when I have an excuse to use that word) the sharp notes of oak wood blend with a touch of flowers and muscatel sweetness. The liquid lacks all briskness, it is smooth and sweet with notes of malt and a creamy touch of cocoa, it is almost like night and day!

The first steep is surprisingly light in color and taste, also the brew is cloudy from all the leaf fuzz, this might be the first time I have ever wanted a strainer because I am pretty sure I could have made an adorable little fluff ball out of all the fuzz. The taste starts out with delicate notes of fresh grapes and malt, this transitions to cocoa that lingers. I am surprised at how smooth the mouthfeel is, I was expecting it to be all tickly from the fuzz.

The second steep, oddly, has pretty much no aroma at all, there is a tiny hint of malt and that it is. The taste was also a bit odd, there was a surprising note of rich yam and a bit of malt, that was about it. It was strange how this tea seemed to lack all body and yet had such a rich yam note.

So, clearly I need to steep this tea Western style to see how it compares, and I can safely say that this tea is one of the strangest I have encountered! While it lacked any and all body, it had a really delicious taste. The taste is a blend of raisins, malt, a touch of cocoa and a tiny bit of maple syrup at the finish. I am baffled how a tea can have a lovely taste but absolutely no substance and weight, it was like drinking warm flavored water instead of tea. It confuses me! It does not taste stale or off in anyway, just like the ‘cha qi’ or lifeforce of the tea has been removed, maybe this tea was attacked by a tea vampire or something. I dunno, I feel very conflicted by this tea, it tasted nice but was so lacking in oomph, so yeah, I am going to blame pixies or something fantasy related as to why this was the case.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-cha-ceylon-golden-tips-black-tea.html

OMGsrsly

Bunnicula got to the tea. For sure. :)

Amanda 'SoggyEnderman' Wilson

Eeee! I loved Bunnicula as a kid, thank you so much for that reference!

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68

Well, the inevitable happened, I have become addicted to another game. This time around it is the game Plague Inc that has hooked me, it is a strategy game where you play as a strain of (in my case) bacteria trying to wipe out humanity. I also hate this game because I spent hours staring at my phone playing and did not win a single game, this game is hard! Currently I am playing the free version, but I really want the full version, but no offense phone, I want it on my computer. Sadly I lack the $15 to shell out on a new game, and if I had it I would be putting it towards finally getting Minecraft on the PC, le sigh, so many games, so little time.

Today’s tea for What-Cha Wednesday is Ceylon Golden Tips Black Tea, it is so fuzzy and pretty, very golden! Ok, you guys caught me red handed, I spent way too much time staring at the leaves, they are adorably downy, like little caterpillars, though what really struck me was how they have a slight silvery sheen to them, unlike the fuzzy golds from China, which are Shining Gold (yes like the Citadel paint) these have a dullness too them. This tea fascinated me, though I do wish there had been a tiny bit more information as to where in Sri Lanka they come from. The aroma of the fuzzy leaves is iconically a Ceylon, it is brisk and bright, but it also has notes of oak wood, roasted peanuts, distant flowers, malt, and fruit. The fruit notes are muscatel and cherry, in fact, this tea reminds me of a three way dance between an Assam, Ceylon, and Darjeeling, how fascinating! The aroma is not overwhelmingly strong, it is delicate and a bit pretty, much like the leaves themselves.

I waffled back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to go Western or Gongfu style for steeping, deciding on Gongfu for now. The aroma of the now soggy and not quite so golden leaves is pretty malty and brisk, it wakes up my nose with an almost effervescent quality (I love when I have an excuse to use that word) the sharp notes of oak wood blend with a touch of flowers and muscatel sweetness. The liquid lacks all briskness, it is smooth and sweet with notes of malt and a creamy touch of cocoa, it is almost like night and day!

The first steep is surprisingly light in color and taste, also the brew is cloudy from all the leaf fuzz, this might be the first time I have ever wanted a strainer because I am pretty sure I could have made an adorable little fluff ball out of all the fuzz. The taste starts out with delicate notes of fresh grapes and malt, this transitions to cocoa that lingers. I am surprised at how smooth the mouthfeel is, I was expecting it to be all tickly from the fuzz.

The second steep, oddly, has pretty much no aroma at all, there is a tiny hint of malt and that it is. The taste was also a bit odd, there was a surprising note of rich yam and a bit of malt, that was about it. It was strange how this tea seemed to lack all body and yet had such a rich yam note.

So, clearly I need to steep this tea Western style to see how it compares, and I can safely say that this tea is one of the strangest I have encountered! While it lacked any and all body, it had a really delicious taste. The taste is a blend of raisins, malt, a touch of cocoa and a tiny bit of maple syrup at the finish. I am baffled how a tea can have a lovely taste but absolutely no substance and weight, it was like drinking warm flavored water instead of tea. It confuses me! It does not taste stale or off in anyway, just like the ‘cha qi’ or lifeforce of the tea has been removed, maybe this tea was attacked by a tea vampire or something. I dunno, I feel very conflicted by this tea, it tasted nice but was so lacking in oomph, so yeah, I am going to blame pixies or something fantasy related as to why this was the case.

For blog and photos: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2015/02/what-cha-ceylon-golden-tips-black-tea.html

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80

Had this one this morning help me wake up. It’s full-bodied and a bit malty, but smooth. No astringency or bitterness. A great cup for the morning!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 6 OZ / 177 ML

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88

An exceptional white tea. The dry tea leaves do look like silvery-green needles and brewed, the tea is a very pale color in the cup. I had another of What-Cha’s teas yesterday, and I enjoyed it, but I think I like this one even better. A very delicate flavor, not sweet, not sour, not astringent, and not bitter. A lovely cup for the afternoon or evening.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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84

Normally I want a black tea right away in the morning, but my sinus infection has gone into my lungs (sino-bronchitis, it’s called. lovely) and my throat is raw so I looked for something mild and soothing. I haven’t had this one in a while, so I decided on it. Such a lovely tea, so light and mild I can’t imagine anyone not liking it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Anlina

Hope you’re feeling better soon!

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84

Well, I DO like oolongs! I had a flavored oolong a year ago that I didnt’ really like, so I thought I wouldn’t like any oolong. I was wrong! This tea brews up quite pale in color, with a delicate flavor that doesn’t require sweetener. We’re having our first real snow of the year (Imagine, Fargo, North Dakota, USA with bare grass showing until Feb 9! Now it’s all covered with light white stuff that blows around before finally settling on the ground) and I’m enjoying a nice cup of this while I work. In fact, off to see how well a second steep tastes!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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83

I like this tea. It isn’t spectacular but nice. Has no bitterness or astringency. Nice honey, maltiness flavor. I really like this company and some of their teas are my favorites. This isn’t bad by any means, but they have some I like better.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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