Wang Family Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

I wish this site would actually save my notes….

Okay, I need to let out some tea verbiage confetti. Before I do that, I will say that the majority of the teas that I’ve drank so far and have mentioned are not on steepster yet, so it will take some time for me to put them up. I missed it when companies used to put the teas on here themselves. Oh well.

Moving onto this one, Wang Family teas never dissapoint. Oolongs dominate their catalogue, but they are all different, but they are all smooth and easy to drink. Gaoshan’s are usually smooth by default, but Wang’s teas smoothen out the rougher edges of their teas, whether that edge is the nuclear spinach quality of most high mountain green oolongs, or the smooth out their roasting edge by relying on charcoal, or at least roasting the tea to caramelize the sugars evenly in their tea.

The Dragon Boat Festival brought up a few new finds on their website that I had to try. I was already scouting out their Oriental Beauty, and thinking about getting more of their Shan Lin Xi because it works as a good morning tea, but then they had to add a few more interesting additions, including this fine tea.

It’s a wild grown one, so I expected some heavy florals, maybe fruitier qualities. The companies description is vivid, breaking it down session by session after the rinse and the 55, 45, 55 second pattern. They describe sweet orchid coating the tea’s flavor, and then detail osmanthus and mung bean in the middle steeps. They found stonefruit and brown sugar in the aroma of the later steeps.

I personally got it in reverse order, and used around 5-6 grams instead of 7. The dry leaf is extremely sweet, having some stonefruit and brown sugar qualities with the already in the dry leaf. I also got more of those notes in steep one after the rinse rather than the third ones. Orchid, followed by osmanthus were obvious. Mung bean and orchid described the rest of it. It was not as vegetal as other Shan Lin Xi’s I’ve had, which is nice given how sweet it is. I also find that it did not evolve to much in the later brews up to brew 7, but they were balanced, sweet and refreshing.

I really enjoyed this one, and the leaves were huge. Even the dryleaf looked like oversized dragonheads. My only nitpick is the price, since it was $16 per 25 grams. I usually expect a little bit more complexity with that price point. It’s a quality tea for sure with a sweetness that stands out against other Shan Lin Xi, but it still has the flavors you can usually expect from this quality tea. I don’t regret buying it for a minute, and I recommend Gaoshan devotees to try it, but I can also see more people being picky about the lack of complexity.

I’d like to see if someone has a similar reaction, though I have a feeling I’d rate it on the higher end than some people just because of my preference for easy going teas. I’m tossed up between 87-92 for the rating.

Flavors: Beany, Brown Sugar, Floral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Stonefruits, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec
White Antlers

Ah! Nice to see a new review, especially one of yours.

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97

Long backlog and sipdown. I’ve mostly been pre-occupied with reading, school-work, parent contact, and binging youtube videos and Netflix to maintain a sense of humor…and of course drinking mugs of tea.

I’ve relied more on longer steeper times and western more than I have gong fu, mostly relying on larger amounts of water for my mugs. I’ve been bad and purchased more sachets, but I still plow through my good loose leaf western. I’ve also used an uncomfortable amount of sachet teas lately for the BWB blends I love (Cardamom French Toast….), but I still turn to the amounts I have from Wang, Whispering Pines, and What-Cha pre-epidemic.

Though I have splurged on Whispering Pines, Tea Spot, and Lupicia (crossing figures it gets to MI alright and the MOMO SUPERGRADE and RIPE MANGO are good- I really wanted Queen’s muscat, but the expiration date for the tea was in July of this year).

Finally getting to this tea from Wang, there is a lot going on with it. It tops as a must try sample in my opinion despite being more expensive, and it honestly competed with the Da Yu Ling from the company.

I was not quite sure what to expect for this one since it is a Tieguanyin varietal grown in Taiwan. I used to love Tie Guan Yin’s, but the orchid-pepper notes have bugged me lately, and switched to Taiwanese teas a while back. Trying this one out, the Cui Feng notes are more prominent than the Tie Guan Yins. It’s very green and has the orchid/green been notes that you get in a Tie Guan Yin, but it’s loaded with the alpine forest notes, some woodiness, but heavy amount of lilac and hyacinth among a thick body and mouthfeel. It is also sweet, and orchid becomes more prominent.

I’ve mostly done western for this one since it does take some time to develop for what I’ve gotten. I could see it working with a lot of leaf gong fu, but it’s very durable western. I’ve gotten six cups minimum, using brewing increments based on minutes. The minimum I’ve done is a minute, but I usually do 1 minute 45 to two minutes in the first two brews either in my 10 oz kyusu or french press.

I’m not sure how else to describe it. It’s a THICC Tie Guanyin-Gaoshan Baby.

Leafhopper

I’ve always wanted to try a Taiwanese green Tie Guan Yin. I might have to check this company out once things settle down. I wonder how much it costs to ship to Canada… That’s always the deal breaker.

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92

Backlog

I should have written a note before I finished off the rest of it. I might have some left, but drank it quickly. This was by far one of my favorite of the lighter roasts from Wang Family Tea. Like most of them, it had the nutty floral combo with the roast. The first steep is very much like almond, but after steep two, the longan charcoal brings out a bit of a caramelized sugar note, and slowly, brings out some fruit notes. They generally fade as the more alpine floral notes take over. The roast is still there, but it is not as present. It also does have a sweetness and like scotch.

It does not have the stone fruit thing going on like the light roast Alishan did, but it was a different balance of subtlety while resembling that one over the Fenghuang Dong Ding and the light roast Li Shan. It also had a little bit more body than the Lishan Light Raost did. This one was a little bit easier for me to pin point flavors overall, but it was also more complex in the florals. I recommend this one a little bit for more advanced drinkers because certain elements might be a little too subtle for newbie drinkers despite how easy it is to drink. It’s sweet and approachable, but does take a little bit of patience to appreciate it. It was doable western, but I ended up rushing a little too much. It was a little bit better suited in a slower Gong Fu, or a slower western at least. Think like Dolly Parton-sings at an even pace and is rounded in all the right places.

So many more teas to add…I think I have five to go. At minimum.

Flavors: Almond, Flowers, Fruit Tree Flowers, Green, Nutty, Pine, Roast nuts, Scotch, Smooth, Sugar

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96

I’ve had a few Wu Yi style mimic teas, and I’ve personally had mixed feelings about them. The ones I’ve had in my experience tend to up the charcoal and juice out as much stone fruit and cannabis as possible in taste…which I am personally not a huge fan of, especially the one served by Taiwan Sourcing. But this one was a different story and a much needed surprise.

Opening the bag, it is woody and roasty….and almost nutty….like hazelnut or chestnut. I try this out, and the aroma is fairly smokey, but the taste….holy crap it’s smooth and heavenly. I played around a lot with this one, and did a semi western while sipping it ever so often in a smaller vessel. After about 30 seconds, I pour my kyusu, and it is super sweet. It reminded me of Japanese milk candy, but with a slight roast in the aftertaste.

I do it again after about 12 sec, and some fruit comes along. Not quite sure what. The roast is there, but the tea is still super viscous and not cloying or overwhelming.

I brew the rest of the pot after about another minute, and what I was tasting was unusual. It got the milky caramel candy notes with the fruity and the roast, but it rose from floral, to milky, to fruity, to whatever-the-hell is this sweetness is, and then, to a woodsy charcoal in a silky finish that contrasts and balances nicely. I then thought-holy heavens WTF IS THIS. Smoke on the water…..Fire IN MY TEA CUP! DE-NE-NA-ne-NA!

Here’s how they described it on their page:

“After rinsing, the leaves give off a light aroma of sugar, and a strong aroma of wood. The first round of brewing expresses the warming smell of longan charcoal. The first sip gives you a calming feeling. The taste is that of sweet cream with a hint of hazelnut. Already the tea is expressing a mellow cha qi (tea energy). The color of the tea liquor is a dark golden brown. Second round intensifies the woody aroma. The cha qi continues to spread throughout the body. It causes a pleasant warmth. The third round introduces the flavor of stone fruits. With the stone fruits, the charcoal flavor, and the sweetness, it reminds us of flambeed fruit. At this point, the cha qi has spread throughout our entire bodies. We feel deeply relaxed and calm.”

Pretty much exactly what I got. The tea was medium in its re-brew strength, and I usually got 5-8 cups from 5 grams using 10 oz, averaging closer to 6. It’s good both Western or Gong Fu, and good light with grand pa, but I find that I prefer most of Wang Family Teas western.

The Wuyi oolong has quickly become a favorite becuase it is so easy to drink and smooth. It’s warming and relaxing, and perfect for a rainy day. I thought that I’d prefer the greener teas or the lighter roasts, but man, does this tea kick most of their leaves out of the water in balance and smoothness. Now, I pick teas deliberately if they are smooth, but I did not expect it from something that is supposed to emulate a Wuyi style, which tend to be rougher from my experience.

I can say that I highly recommend this tea. It is a lot more like a traditional Lu Yu or Dong Ding in style, but it does have some florals and milkiness that Wu Yi’s can. It’s definitely oolong, and I really think almost anyone could enjoy this one, but I think it might be better for intermediate to experienced drinkers. If someone new tries it, I think they would like it if brewed with care. It is pretty forgiving, but I could see it becoming a little too smokey if oversteeped.

Well, my sample is almost gone. I just give it a subjective 96. I might raise it. I might not. We’ll see. It’s been my favorite in quarantine anyway.

Flavors: Char, Chestnut, Cream, Hazelnut, Roast nuts, Smoke, Smooth, Stonefruits, Sweet, Vanilla, Wood

tea-sipper

I’ve never heard of Beishan before. It sounds interesting!

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처음 맛을 보았을 때는 그냥 밍밍했는데 이번에는 달큰하고 고소하다. 꿀보리건빵 향이라고나 할까? 보리차를 진하게 내려서 꿀을 타도 비슷할 것이다. 차의 세계는 참으로 신비하고 흥미롭기 짝이 없는 것 같다.

Maybe all of my tea samples needed to rest? This wasn’t great the first time I tried it but is remarkably pleasant with strong barley (or other grain) and honey notes this morning.

Flavors: Honey, Roasted Barley

Preparation
4 g 2 OZ / 55 ML

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This one’s good. I didn’t have much to say about the dong pian or the honey scent. But this black tea smells fabulous. Plums? A garden in some hot exotic climate. It is the kind of tea that reminds you that places with much nicer weather exist and makes you wonder if you will ever retire in such a locale. When I say it tastes tropical I don’t mean those chewing gum flavors. I mean it feels like I just landed in some island vacation destination. The history of why the tea came to exist is quite sad. But it is yummy all the same.

Flavors: Black Currant, Plums, Tropical

Preparation
4 g

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drank GABA Oolong by Wang Family Tea
121 tasting notes

Fascinating. I will have to try more GABA tea before I can develop a more nuanced opinion, but I know the following things:

1. It tastes unmistakeably like sweet potatoes (고구마). When my friends were snacking on potato chips, my grandmother was placing endless bowls of steamed potatoes and sweet potatoes on the kitchen table as our grab and go snack so that is the natural level of sweetness to expect – not the candied yams level of sweetness in the American Thanksgiving side dish topped with marshmallows. Capisce?

2. There is an interesting longlasting buzz in the mouth. Hope that is normal and not indicative of absurdly high pesticide content or anything like that.

3. I became used to the roasty toasty taste of the MST GABA and have to admit I prefer that profile. However, MST’s is far more expensive so therein lies the tradeoff. This one from the Wang family is calming but also energizing. The finish is bold and aggressively… sweet potato-y. There is a mild but persistent, uncomfortably arresting sense of raw tuber in the tummy and in the chest that belies the tongue and throat sensations, a rawness that could possibly be avoided or cloaked by eating real food before drinking the tea.

Flavors: Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML
derk

I have a fond memory of a Korean sweet potato truck in Santa Clara. Nothing but a hot, steamy sweet potato tucked into a paper lunch bag.

derk

I know it’s subjective but a persistent buzz or tingling on the underside of my tongue/salivary glands is indicative of high mineral content, ‘clean’ tea.

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96

Sipdown, and bumping up the rating. It was super refreshing, floral, fruity, and creamy this morning. Crystaline defines how clean this tea is. I cannot recommend this one enough.

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96

One of my favorites from Wang so far. Very light color in the liquor, but nicely creamy and citrusy with all the floral you can love, and the freshness of of spring and summer. I’ll be lazy and post their description. This is true gong fu or in tumbler mode.

“Starting with a visual inspection of the tea leaves. We see that the leaves are medium in size, tightly curled, and have a wonderful verdant green color to them. There is a light sweet aroma to the dry leaves. After giving the tea a quick rinse, we are rewarded by an enhanced aroma of sweetness that is joined by a strong aroma of freshly cut grass. Moving on to the first round of brewing, we start to see the true character of this tea.

The tea liquor is as clear as glass, and has the color of citrine. The aroma of this tea continues to sweeten. The previously mentioned aroma of freshly cut grass gives way to the more refined, elegant fragrance of orchids. The taste of this tea is a perfect reflection of the teas aroma, sweet, with the enchanting taste of orchids. The aftertaste of this tea has that distinctive orchid sweetness that grows stronger with time.

The second round of brewing brings more changes to this teas character. While the tea maintains its aroma and taste of sweet orchids, a lighter, more bright character of florality starts to come through. Upon sipping the tea, you’ll notice that the texture of the tea has become softer, and rounder. We feel that this tea has a comforting feeling in the mouth and throat. Very smooth.

The third round kicks up the sweetness. The florality introduced in the last round starts to become more dominant. The aftertaste is also stronger. It now lingers for quite a while."

It’s green oolong done right, and a favorite. I got more florals than orchid alone, like Iris and honeysuckle and orange blossom, but that’s personal. I’ll down this one quickly.

Flavors: Apple, Citrusy, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Green, Honeydew, Lemongrass, Orchids, Sweet

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90

I wish I had more to play around with, because this was an interesting tea. Of course the company’s description is the most reliable, but I’ll summarize it instead of just quoting it.

I did shorter and longer brewing parameters, and as with most of these teas, longer steeps are better suited to them with a rinse. When I did it on my own I started going more in the 30-45 second range. Then I read how they do it online, and the do it using 55, 45, 55 which is better suited for the later notes. I’ll write more about how that turns out.

The first thing that struck me about the tea before was that it was more on the floral sweet side of roasted, albeit nutty. Whether western or gong fu, it starts up woodsy and transitions into the sweet honeyed peanut notes in the first brew. Sometimes, it’s closer to brown sugar for me. The second one has a stonefruit note that comes up, and it got more apparent with each rebrew as the charcoal slowly fades into a background note. It’s got floral hyacinth, lilac notes, with maybe some osmanthus, but the nuttiness and peachy notes lead the way. Sometimes, I did think of plums, but lighter peach is what I get and it’s not super apparent, but present. It’s gets a little bit more green, but not super vegetal towards the end.

I really like this one and have a little left, though I gotta say I don’t properly know it quite yet. I can see it being great tumbler fuel-then again, almost all of the teas I’ve had from Wang tend to be durable. I’ll leave it at a 90 for now, and then figure out how I’m going to drink it next time. I have more What-Cha and other Wang Family Teas to catch up on.

Flavors: Apple, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Green, Honey, Nutty, Peach, Peanut, Roasted, Stonefruits, Wood

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88

Backlog of the many that come…hopefully.

History lesson about my tea journey. At first, I was into green jasmines. And then, I was into oolongs, falling especially in love with the graham cracker complexity of Rishi’s Tie Guan Yin. And then, I got to know Andrew, and dived into tea…falling in love with the Nuclear green Gaoshan, and got bored of some roasted oolongs. Then I slowly got back into it, and as I’ve sampled Wang’s family teas, I’ve slowly gotten back into them.

Although I prefer Wang’s green oolongs right now, their roasted teas are frickin awesome and typically balanced by the longan charcoal they normally use. And this one is a nice pick up tea. I think-well, I want something I wouldn’t mind, and then I have the tea, and I more than don’t mind it-I actually enjoyed it.

I didn’t take any detailed notes, and I paid a little bit attention, but I remember cookie and nuts being one of the things I picked up. It’s fairly roasted and woodsy, being between the green and roasted bit. There’s some greenness more akin to cooked squash or zucchini, but this is not a vegetal tea. The company’s description does more than fine describing the rest:

“The taste is smooth, and sweet. The longan charcoal flavor is present, but is in no way overpowering. Successive rounds of brewing deepen every aspect of this tea. The color of the tea soup shifts from light yellow, to a vibrant gold; the aroma is strongly nutty, and now has a hint of cream; the flavor of this tea has become very sweet, woodsy, and slightly fruity thanks to the longan charcoal. The finish is sweet, and lasts for a good amount of time.”

I got anywhere between seven and ten brews out of the tea gong fu, and a minimum of six cups western. It’s consistent for the most part. It’s creamier in the second through fourth brews, and the fruitiness is towards the end. It’s more stonefruit-peachy, but it’s super subtle amidst roast, nuttiness, and just a pebble of minerals. The sweetness is close to brown sugar, but it’s not as obvious as it is in the Alishan Light Roast.

What strikes me about this one is its durability and balance. I think I might have enjoyed it a little bit more in colder months, but I kept coming back to it, and finished it in three days. I’m curious to see how someone a bit more experienced or preferential to traditional Dong Dings think. This is more for intermediate drinkers, but it’s very easy to drink and very chill. This is a “Hey, you want to chill, bro?” tea

Flavors: Almond, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cookie, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Nuts, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal, Wood

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90

Backlog: I was impulsive, and got a treasure chest of nearly every one of Wang’s Teas except their Shan Lin Xi. I’ve sampled several so far, and this was one of the first ones.

I think the company’s description does this one the most service. It’s got the nutty profile of any light roast in the dry leaf, and brewing it up, the aroma is also nutty like almonds and marzipan with a little bit of a roast, something that you find in peanuts. The first brew is very light, yet smooth. I get the brown sugar note the most in the first and second brews gong fu and western. Honeysuckle was the most prominent floral to me, though there was another lighter airy floral. Maybe hyacinth, but I’m not sure. It’s not heady, but it’s noticeable. Later brews turned into the usual green oolong notes you can imagine, though more on the floral and vegetal end. It was also a little bit woodsy in profile, but pleasantly so.

I finished this sample very quickly. The tea was fairly resilient grandpa with lighter leaves, though I had to be careful with western. The roast would occasionally smoothen over the florals, but it was still very forgiving. Pie crust and squash would also be good equivalents. I highly enjoyed this one. It was a little bit too light for my preferences overall, but it was still very good and among one of my favorites so far. It’s like a friend you don’t see often, but always appreciate when they are there.

Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Creamy, Floral, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Peanut, Squash Blossom, Sweet, Wood

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