Taiwan Wild 'Shan Cha' Black Tea

Tea type
Black Tea
Ingredients
Black Tea Leaves
Flavors
Elderberry, Hazelnut, Jam, Leather, Roasted Nuts, Toast, Umami, Almond, Black Currant, Blackberry, Bread, Cherry, Clove, Cream, Earth, Floral, Geranium, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Red Fruits, Spices, Strawberry, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Bark, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Drying, Fruity, Ginger, Green Wood, Maple Syrup, Menthol, Muscatel, Pine, Plum, Rainforest, Squash, Blueberry, Candy, Grapes, Lemon Zest, Nutmeg, Peanut, Pear, Raspberry, Yams, Fruit Tree Flowers, Sage, Thick
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Caffeine
High
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Shae
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 4 g 7 oz / 196 ml

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21 Tasting Notes View all

From What-Cha

A sweet blackberry aroma coupled with a smooth honey sweet taste and spicy blackberry notes.

A most unique tea which is indigenous to Taiwan and still grows wild in certain areas. It is rarely sold as the plant loses it’s distinct characteristics when cultivated and so the only tea production is from the surviving wild growing bushes.

Tasting Notes:
- Sweet aroma with notes of blackberry
- Smooth honey sweet taste with spicy blackberry notes

Origin: Yuchi Township, Nantou County, Taiwan
Altitude: 500-600m
Producer: Mr. Pong
Sourced: Specialist Taiwanese tea wholesaler

Cultivar: Shan Cha (wild growing tea bush indigenous to Taiwan)
Picking: Hand

Brewing Advice:
- Heat water to roughly 90°C/194°F
- Use 2 teaspoons per cup/small teapot
- Brew for 2-3 minutes

https://what-cha.com/products/taiwan-wild-shan-cha-black-tea

About What-Cha View company

Company description not available.

21 Tasting Notes

99
1 tasting notes

Love this tea! Super organic

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94
389 tasting notes

Had the most curious experience with this tea yesterday. I brewed it twice in a row, because although the first steep was lovely, I really didn’t pick up on any of the berry scent/flavors that most reviews seem to find unmistakable. The leaves are pretty light and fluffy, and I put about a tablespoon and a half (but didn’t weigh them) into my 5oz gong fu pot.

Notes coming off the leaves, both dry and steaming, were super exciting even without much berry: nuts, roast — like someone was cooking supper — and just a hint of floral around the edges. Smell off the first cup was wet dog — which sounds gross, but honestly reminds me of Thai food, when funk-smell usually means great taste (I’m vegan and avoid fermented aquatic creatures, but the point stands). Tasted of toast, nuts, leather. Second steep brought in those florals that were on the nose — lightly, though, with roasted hazelnuts mostly taking the palate.

For my second session, I added maybe 2.5 tablespoons of leaves, which seemed like a LOT… and there it was! BAM — elderberry jam punched me in the face, nearly overtaking every other flavor I’d picked out in the first session. It was like a completely different tea. So interesting. Berries and berries and berries after that. I grew up eating elderberry pie, had mulberry bushes in my backyard, and currently eat shit-tons of blackberries… and I’m going with elderberry here. Cream, honey. The berry scent and taste was jammy, cooked, pie-like — not the acidic, light, flitting flavor that a lot of “berry” teas and tisanes have. I don’t much care for those. All of the umami and nuts (I’m actually glad I under-leafed that first go, as I was able to pick these out separately) underpinning the big jam flavor was really nice. Fairly light mouthfeel despite the big flavors.

This kept being tasty for quite a few steeps, in both sessions, though not as heady as the first sniffs and sips. I’ve had several so-so blacks in the past few days, so this was a lovely surprise. I find I am gravitating hard toward Taiwanese teas — mostly oolongs, admittedly, but all the flavors here made for a black I’ll likely come back to.

Flavors: Elderberry, Hazelnut, Jam, Leather, Roasted Nuts, Toast, Umami

ashmanra

Wow! Awesome flavors hiding in there, and that was a lot of leaf. Wonderful that it didn’t become sour with so much leaf!

beerandbeancurd

I hope I remember to weigh it next time — it is so fluffy and lacking density that I don’t think it was actually more leaf than I’d use any other tea. Didn’t wanna smash it, though!

Leafhopper

I’m glad you got all the berries to emerge! I remember basically filling my 120 ml pot with the fluffy leaves and the tea didn’t become bitter.

bltwo

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95
226 tasting notes

When you take a first whiff of the brewed tea you instantly know that its gonna be good: it is strong and complex, with honeyed sweetness, floral notes, and the forest floor aroma reminiscent of a good red wine.

The taste is powerful and multi-faceted, with sweetness, dark berries and stone fruit dominating. You can spend some time getting new and new notes out of it by alternating brewing times.

It is a remarkable black tea and I will stock up on that for sure. Looking at other reviews, pretty much everyone who tried it was taken by this Shan Cha and rated it extremely high.

Leafhopper

Yeah, I don’t know how this tea is still in stock! I hope Alistair can source his Yu Chi Assam and Red Jade this year as well.

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94
408 tasting notes

I’ve had this hongcha in my tea museum for an embarrassingly long time. Alistair’s Ruby 18 and Taiwanese Assam were so good that I finally decided to try this one, especially as it’s the only one of his higher-end Taiwanese black teas that’s currently in stock. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus some uncounted steeps.

The dry leaves have lovely aromas of blackberries, strawberries, honey, florals, and spice. The first steep is full of jammy red fruit (blackberries, strawberries, and currants), plus lemon, malt, bread, honey, geranium (thanks, Derk!), and clove. The second steep adds sweet potato, tangy orange, and almond in the aftertaste. The next two steeps add notes of cherry along with all the other red fruit, and the geranium, honey, and malt are a little more prominent. Steeps five and six have some malt and earthiness, but are still full of red fruit, sweet potato, cream, and lemon. In the next couple steeps, the fruit starts to fade, though it’s still very much in evidence, and I can taste the sweet potato a little more. The sweet potato and jammy red fruit continue over several more steeps, with malt, honey, grass, earth, and minerals becoming stronger near the end of the session.

This is the kind of lush, aroma-forward tea I gravitate toward. The early steeps remind me of Fruit Roll-Ups, especially if I’m not paying attention, and this is far from a bad thing. There’s never any astringency during my extended gongfu sessions. The body can be a bit thin sometimes, but that jammy red fruit keeps me coming back for more.

Flavors: Almond, Black Currant, Blackberry, Bread, Cherry, Clove, Cream, Earth, Floral, Geranium, Grass, Honey, Jam, Lemon, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Red Fruits, Spices, Strawberry, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
ashmanra

I love “tea museum”! LOL

Leafhopper

Yeah, that phrase has stuck with me, mainly because it’s real! I need to clear out a few of the artifacts before my new Black Friday acquisitions arrive.

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95
1189 tasting notes

Shae! Thank you so much for the sample! The hotel ran out of hot water in the breakfast area. I didn’t feel like waiting so I just put cold water in. Even cold steeped the notes come out fairly quickly. Chocolate notes, baked vegetal notes, squash, slight woodsy notes. This very much reminds me of the New Zealand black. The aroma of the wet leaf PEPPER! Sorry. I smelled it a second time just now and it reminded me of raw orange and yellow peppers. Also a mic of earth, wet twigs, and something herbacous I can’t quite put my finger on… Can’t wait to see how this one unfolds when it’s hot.

Shae

I haven’t tried this one yet – it sounds really complex!

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1548 tasting notes

July 2020 harvest

This tea would be a delight for flavor-focused drinkers, new and seasoned alike. It has all the right malty-but-not-heavy, fruity and baking spice notes, along with a strong florality that melds with those notes so well that it may be imperceptible. While the tea itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor beyond tanginess, the aromatics absolutely coat every surface of the mouth and into nose. That’s where the beauty of this tea lies. I swallow and the vibrant, complex aroma just lingers forever, transforming wildly over the minutes.

I’ve drank this tea both western and gongfu and my experience says western doesn’t do this tea justice. It still has all the notes, however a bit muddled and it must be steeped with more leaf than you’d think based on the aroma of the dry leaf alone. Either method doesn’t seem to amplify the body of the tea, though. It is always medium-bodied. This tea can take boiling water. Wait until it cools for a bit like an Assam black tea to be able to fully taste what it has to offer.

The one thing that keeps me from repurchasing this tea is that I am, without fail, grumpy after drinking it; that or I drink it when I’m unaware that I’m in a foul mood and having a cup of tea brings brings it to light. Either way, I don’t think it complements my constitution. It is a fairly cooling tea, and the feel and flavor profile speak to me as an early fall brew when warm days can still surprise.

I’ve had the Camellia formosensis species processed as an oolong that was not much to my tastes. If this Wild ‘Shan Cha’ is of the same species, I’m inclined to say that black tea processing does the species a great favor.

Flavors: Bark, Black Currant, Blackberry, Butter, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Geranium, Ginger, Green Wood, Lemon, Malt, Maple Syrup, Menthol, Mineral, Muscatel, Pine, Plum, Rainforest, Squash, Strawberry, Tangy

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2878 tasting notes

(Moving a note to the correct tea. I got my shan’s mixed up.)

The scent of this long-leafed delectation alone is swoon-worthy. There. I used a big word. Now back to my regular wonky vocabulary. It smelled like fresh-baked pumpkin bread or gingerbread as it steeped. The sweet bread vibe continues in the cup, with something deliciously rich and fruity going on. Essence of stewed sweet black cherries, maybe, that stays in your mouth long after each sip.

Dearest derk, thank you for a tea to think about!

Evol Ving Ness

Wow, this one sounds very lovely.

gmathis

Other reviews don’t mention precisely the same flavor tones that I do, but “fruity” does seem to be a common denominator.

Crowkettle

Mmm, Wild Shan Cha’s are usually wonderful.

blone

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93
1048 tasting notes

This was another of my sipdowns from either March or April. As a matter of fact, I am pretty certain that I finished and reviewed this tea immediately after the China Fujian Non-Smoky Lapsang Souchong, but I could be wrong about that. Anyway, I found this to be an excellent Taiwanese black tea. To be honest, I am rarely if ever truly disappointed with this type of tea, but this one still struck me as being a great offering.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of honey, baked bread, sweet potato, cinnamon, blueberry, blackberry, and strawberry. After the rinse, I detected new aromas of roasted peanut, roasted almond, cream, and butter. The first infusion introduced aromas of candied orange, raspberry, geranium, and black grape. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of candied orange, butter, cream, baked bread, and roasted peanut that were balanced by hints of roasted almond, blackberry, raspberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, blueberry, green wood, and plum. The bulk of the subsequent infusions coaxed out aromas of Asian pear, caramel, green wood, menthol, and plum. Notes of honey and black grape appeared in the mouth alongside stronger and more immediately evident notes of roasted almond, blackberry, sweet potato, Asian pear, green wood, and plum. I also detected notes of minerals, caramel, malt, lemon zest, and menthol as well as hints of earth, cocoa, cinnamon, geranium, strawberry, and nutmeg. As the tea faded, the liquor emphasized lingering notes of minerals, candied orange, plum, black grape, green wood, butter, and lemon zest that were chased by hints of caramel, malt, baked bread, roasted almond, Asian pear, cocoa, blackberry and earth, as well as a slight touch of menthol after the swallow.

This was a very complex yet approachable Taiwanese black tea. The tea liquor produced great body and texture in the mouth. Throughout my lengthy gongfu session, it also remained more or less perfectly balanced. While I do wish that some of the fruitier aromas and flavors had been a little clearer and more assertive in places, that is a fairly minor complaint as this was a fantastic offering overall.

Flavors: Almond, Blackberry, Blueberry, Bread, Butter, Candy, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Green Wood, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Nutmeg, Orange, Peanut, Pear, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Nattie

I love Taiwanese blacks. This one sounds fantastic!

Kawaii433

Omgosh, this one sounds lovely.

eastkyteaguy

This one is a truly great tea and seems to be consistent in quality from year to year. In terms of look, aroma, flavor and mouthfeel, I find that it sits comfortably between a Yu Chi Assam and a Yu Chi Red Jade. It’s not as heavy and minty as a typical Red Jade black tea, but it also is not quite as bready and malty as a Taiwanese Assam.

Nattie

Okay, I’ve added it to my wishlist. Quit selling it to me already :P

eastkyteaguy

Well, now I have to figure out a way to keep selling it.

eastkyteaguy

Oh, the tea liquor is very attractive too. It’s a very rich, clear amber. It looks almost like wildflower honey.

Nattie

Lol, I am too weak to hear this.

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66 tasting notes

Bought this for the blackberry note, but the yam and honey taste was the most prevalent thing in the liquor. It has a lingering sweetness that sticks in your throat after you swallow and that pleasantly funky flavor and aroma that all Taiwan blacks seem to have. Almost like the old paper in an ancient book that aged out of the musty stage. Starting to think that Taiwan blacks aren’t for me because of this note, but that’s alright, this one was a pleasant experience.

Flavors: Honey, Sweet, Yams

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 30 sec 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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306 tasting notes

I bought this tea as a curio due to it being a wild cultivar and described as having a strong blackberry note. Brewing this gongfu style, after the first infusion the wet leaves smell unmistakably fruity, like blackberries, black plums, and figs. The color of the first infusion is a rich amber color and I’m really looking forward to tasting it.

The flavor of the first infusion is really unique. The brewed tea tastes kind of leafy (almost in the way that shiso or mint leaves taste, but without the distinct flavors of shiso or mint, if that makes sense). It’s mellow, sweet, and smooth, with a mulberry-like flavor (rather than blackberry). The aftertaste is sweet and reminds me of spices (cinnamon, clove). Second infusion is more of the same with a much more rich flavor. This tea has a bit of a dry finish to it, but it’s still very pleasant. Later infusions have a bit of that autumn leaf pile quality that some good white peony teas have.

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