What-Cha

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Recent Tasting Notes

57

Dropping this note here because I’m fairly certain What-Cha is the origin of this tea I received from White Antlers. That was ONE BIG BALL in a sealed foil packet with Chinese script. The only English characters on the packet alerted me that what I had in my possession was Zhang Ping Shui Xian Cha. The date of the only review for this tea matches White Antlers’ timeline of teas.

So. The ball weighed almost 8g. Steeped in my generic 500mL Chinese pot… for 4 pots! That’s a lot of tea! No surprises between the aroma and taste. Carob, tangy plum, raspberry, chocolate syrup, with hints of geranium, pine, and pomelo and a licorice root type sweetness, very mineral. It was a pretty mellow 4 pots. Flavors became stronger as the tea cooled. Overall smooth and mineral, perhaps a bit of a watery body. The spent leaves look very healthy and a lot of them are sets with two leaves and a bud.

Not exactly to my tastes and I can’t pinpoint why. It does taste a lot like https://steepster.com/teas/what-cha/89012-china-fujian-zhangping-heavy-roasted-shui-xian-oolong-tea-cake but with more developed flavor and aroma. This is a black tea, the other one is an oolong. Thank you, White Antlers, for sending this my way :)

And to my American friends here, please make wise decisions for your health and your families’ this coming Thanksgiving weekend. My grandfather in Ohio passed a few nights ago due to COVID and only COVID. It is sweeping through his nursing home despite tight restrictions. My mom made it sound like he came to terms, accepting that it was his time and that he would pass soon. He was an eccentric man not a family man, a greaser type of guy, a drag car racer, a lover of Pepsi and Butterfingers. His dining room was a dancefloor and at one point he had a yellow station wagon with Bart Simpson images and quips painted on the windows — The Bart Mobile. RIP Dr. Cool.

Flavors: Chocolate, Citrus, Geranium, Licorice, Mineral, Pine, Plums, Raspberry, Smooth, Sweet, Tangy, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 8 g 17 OZ / 500 ML
Martin Bednář

My condolences to you on your loss, my tea-friend! We will miss even those “not-family” family members. Be eccentric even in families have purpose. Maybe we don’t see it while they pass away, but earlier or later we will miss there is nobody “Dr. Cool.”

White Antlers

derk I hope there is a cool After Place for folks like your grandfather, where they can happily be their eccentric selves with no censure and much Other Worldly glee. My sympathy to the grieving folks he left behind.

Mastress Alita

I’m so sorry to hear the news, derk. If you need anything, feel free to contact me. My grandmother’s nursing home has also had an outbreak, just hoping for the best that few residents get it…

(As for me, I have the same holiday plans that I have every year… getting a bunch of Thai takeout on Wednesday and eating it, alone at home, throughout the weekend. I was social distancing before it was “the thing”).

mrmopar

derk, sorry to hear of your loss. Covid is very bad because quarantines are forcing us to have to lose so many people and we aren’t always allowed to see them in their last hours. I still have the same number if you need to call about anything. My prayers for your family.

Todd

I’m sorry for your loss, derk. My parents spent their final years in nursing homes. I think you must have some Dr. Cool in you.

tea-sipper

oh no! I’m so sorry derk. I bet he was one awesome dude.

ashmanra

I am so sorry, derk! He does sound cool!

gmathis

Hugs, friend.

derk

Thanks y’all <3 I wish I had known him better but our lives never really crossed long enough for that to happen. Like Martin said, he did have his place in the family. Hopefully one day soon we can celebrate his life the way he requested – with much hoopla :)

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89

I’ve had a handful of GABA teas and was not that impressed, but Derk’s glowing reviews made me want to try this version. Thanks, Derk, for the sample and for the recommendation to use more leaf than usual. I brewed 7 g of leaf in my 120 ml porcelain teapot at 195F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds, plus a few long, uncounted steeps.

The dry aroma is of honey, nuts, baked pears, apples, raisins, and a slight GABA sourness. The aroma of the wet leaves is mouthwatering! The first steep has notes of honey, nuts, raisins, baked pear, apple, dates, and other dried fruit. It reminds me of a liquid fruit roll-up! Mild spices, brown sugar, and GABA funkiness emerge in steep two. The honey and nuts become slightly more prominent in the next couple steeps, although the tangy, slightly syrupy fruit is still the star. The raisins, dates, apple, and tangy dried fruit overpower the pear in steeps five and six, and I get malt, baked bread, and wood in the background. Finally, on the seventh steep, I notice cream and the sweet potato Derk mentioned. The session ends with malt, wood, almonds, earth, minerals, tannins, and those lovely dried fruits.

This is a treat of a tea. I’m still not a fan of that distinctive GABA taste, but love the array of fruits and the nutty, spicy, comforting profile. I’ll have to stew part of my remaining sample to make the most of those flavours.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Baked Bread, Brown Sugar, Cream, Dates, Dried Fruit, Earth, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Spices, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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83

Another of my 2017 tea haul that I’m trying to work through. Sampler size, still sealed (boy was it ever, I didn’t think I’d ever get the zip at the top of the pouch to come undone!), a First Flush May 2017 harvest with a May 2020 best by. I brewed western with my breakfast-for-lunch, 3.5g leaf to 500ml in 205F water with a 3 minute steep.

The wet leaves have a lovely aroma of sour fruits, lemongrass, and meadow flowers. The tea liquor is a bright, light orange color, and the aroma from my cup is an herbaceous sort of florality (dandelion?), rose, hay, strong citrus (lemongrass and orange zest), and minerals.

Mmm… the tea is very light, citrusy, and floral, and extremely smooth. The aromas are presenting in the flavors as well, as I’m tasting meadow flowers/dandelion, subtle sweet rose, lemongrass, lemon and orange zest, and a bit of malt and hay. I’m just not tasting the minerality that came out on the nose. Probably not the sort of strong, full-bodied tea one would associate with breakfast, but a lovely afternoon cup.

Flavors: Citrus, Dandelion, Floral, Flowers, Herbaceous, Hot hay, Lemon Zest, Lemongrass, Malt, Orange Zest, Rose, Smooth

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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90

I was so sleepy this morning I turned on my kettle before putting the water in. How?! I started hearing a weird “clacking” noise and then a burning rubber smell, and realized what I had done. Then I had to wait a good 15 minutes to know if there was any life left in the old girl so I could make my morning cuppa.

This is from 2017, best by March 2020, but was still vacuum-sealed, so I’m hoping it has held up okay. Brewed western, 3.5g to 350ml in 205F water (if my kettle wasn’t totally borked!), steeped 3 minutes. The leaf looked nicely opened and my liquor is a slightly reddish-brown color. I’ve been a little trepidacious about any oolong boasting itself as “roasted” as I sampled a few Teavivre (through Dazzle Deer) ones and they just weren’t for me, but the aroma coming off this cup is extremely pleasant… A very chocolately scent, as well as some orange zest and a light rosey sort of floral.

Thankfully this isn’t just charcoal in a cup; it is delicious! There is a slightly earthy/mineral roasted nuts quality, with some notes of cocoa and orange zest, a bit of floral sweetness, and a slightly vegetal/woody flavor as well. Everything goes together so well in the cup and is very smooth, warm, and satisfying.

I really like this one!

Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Floral, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Zest, Roasted nuts, Rose, Vegetal, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Leafhopper

“Charcoal in a cup” describes what I think of many roasted oolongs. My kettle decided it wouldn’t turn itself off and boiled dry yesterday, and is on its way out. I’m picking up a new one at the hardware store this afternoon. This is actually decent timing, given that Toronto’s lockdown starts on Monday.

gmathis

Sounds like my trick this morning (putting the water in and staring at the pot wondering why nothing is happening when you failed to push the button).

Mastress Alita

I hope my kettle isn’t on the way out… I’m in an area of the US that isn’t taking “the thing” serious at all (eye roll) but I am also not in a very large town and don’t have good shopping options regardless here, especially considering the kind of fancy-schmancy kettle I prefer. The idea of it dying and having to wait on a new one to arrive via mail order is terrifying…

And clearly they need to design these things with the various levels of unconsciousness at which tea is brewed in mind! ;-)

Leafhopper

My kettle is officially dead. I got one cup of tea out of it this morning before it gave up the ghost, which is not really enough. Fortunately, it’s a cheap, easily replaceable model.

Maybe you can get a back-up fancy-schmancy kettle during the Black Friday sales? I agree, though, that waiting would be miserable, so I hope yours survives to make many more cups of tea!

AJRimmer

Ha yeah my kettle died a few months ago, and I boiled water on the stove until a replacement arrived. Then that one died, so more stove boiling until that replacement came.

Dustin

Isn’t there a saying about how the problem with making coffee in the morning is you have to make it before you’ve had coffee? Or maybe it was a friend that said that. I think the same idea applies to tea.

Mastress Alita

Wise friend, and very true!

Leafhopper

AJRimmer, you seem to have bad luck with kettles. Mine typically last between one and two years, but then again, I get the cheap ones.

I just got home with a replacement kettle and will be making my second cup of tea shortly.

tea-sipper

So many breaking kettles. I like my cheapo Bodum. I can get them to last for years, using it three times a day usually:
https://www.target.com/p/bodum-bistro-electric-water-kettle/-/A-50562814?preselect=21561839#lnk=sametab
The first Bodum was vintage from my Gram about 15 years ago, and I’ve only had to buy two Bodums since the vintage one finally broke. Good enough for me!

Mastress Alita

My kettle is still working fine so far. It just didn’t for about 15-20 minutes after “the incident”. But I insist on having a froo-froo temperature control kettle. :-P

Leafhopper

Tea-sipper, I typically do one gongfu session per day, which produces ten to fourteen small cups of tea. Since I do two steeps at once, I might use my kettle seven times for that session alone, plus whatever other teas I drink Western style. Not surprisingly, I go through kettles quickly.

Mastress Alita, I’m glad your fancy kettle is still working! :)

Dustin

I’m on my third Breville kettle and when this one breaks like the others, I’m switching to a different brand.

Cameron B.

@Dustin – I use the Cuisinart PerfecTemp kettle and love it, haven’t had any issues yet over several years.

Dustin

I’m kind of in hate with Cuisinart right now. I just had a Cuisinart toaster oven/air fryer die within their two year warranty and they wouldn’t honor their warranty or offer any help because I couldn’t find the receipt. Maybe my hate for them will have worn off by the time this kettle dies.

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100

Hands down, this is one of my favorite teas from What-Cha in the last few years. I was already devoted the green version, but this one has moved up.

In terms of flavor, it’s comparable to the Nectar and the Wild Mountain Black so highly rated on here. Like Alistair notes, it’s got tons of layers of florals, nutiness, and sweetness. However, the mouthfeel is so sweet and full that it reminds me of funnel cakes in how sugary it tastes without additatives western or gong fu. There are definitely some florals like lilac, but then it leans heavily into all kinds of fruit. Sometimes I got citrus, apricot, peach, plum, cherry, grapes and rhaspberry. I could be exagerating, but it was top notch. Then there’s the savory sweet qualities, like brown sugar and butter. So, so good. I’m stealing a note from another Lishan black, and also adding butternut squash.

Anyway, this tea has a lot to offer, and the way in changes in layers is great. I actually found myself more drawn to the small amount I have of this tea than my Oolong…which is a big statement, because that Lishan oolong is one of my cabinet staples.

Essentially, this tea is what I hoped it would be, and I will be determined to get more from my next paycheck.

Courtney

Wow. This one will be added to my wishlist!

Leafhopper

This sounds amazing! Your review has definitely pushed me toward making a Black Friday order.

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100

Thank you Alistair!!!

Love this so far. Definitely on the sweet side-more notes coming soon.

Leafhopper

I’ve been eying this one. I look forward to your notes.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s top notch. It compares to some the Great’s on here.

Leafhopper

That’s good to know. I’ve also been considering What-Cha’s regular Li Shan oolong.

Daylon R Thomas

The regular one is actually one of my favorites. The 2019 Lishan was a little green for me, but the notes still compare to more expensive ones-it’s personally one of the better bangs for my buck.

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78

A sample I get from White Antlers via derk. Thank you!
I haven’t read the derk’s note prior drinking this morning (but I read it earlier, but just don’t recall).

Three teaspoons/300 ml. Typical set up I guess.
Anyway, it is very robust tea after two minutes of steep. Quite bitter, very citrusy, almost too sour. As well malt note is certainly present. Although it seem quite hard to drink, it is certainly not that case. It is actually pretty much smooth.

Do I recommend it? Well, if you desire for strong tea, it is certainly worth. If not, it’s tea from Kenya at least. Either way, it is an uncommon tea.

Flavors: Citrusy, Malt, Pleasantly Sour

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML

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78

Another of my old What-cha teas. Brewed western, I had the same problem I had with my black Dragon Pearls, where the leaf didn’t properly open up during the steep time (come on leaves, be in agony!), so this may have to be a tea for gong fu or grandpa brewing, as well.

What I did get from my western-brewed cup was a delicate green tea with a lot of sweet florality, honeyed pears, and a soft vegetal taste, though I can’t quite place it. It’s actually quite pleasant, considering the age of the tea and the lack of unfurling I got from the pearls. Mostly, I’ve been preparing this as a cold brew, though, since that is my main preparation method for “past their prime” green tea. This also allows me to leave the pearls in a mason jar for twenty-four hours in the fridge, which allows them enough time to open up fully, before straining. The flavor in my iced brew still has the qualities found in the warm cup, but I’m definitely getting a stronger, less delicate flavor (the floral tastes more prominently orchid here), and I’m also getting a citrus taste that lingers on the tongue. Very refreshing!

Even though there is now snow on the ground I still like to keep a cold brew in the fridge and that is likely how I will finish off this bag.

Flavors: Citrus, Floral, Honey, Orchid, Pear, Smooth, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 g 12 OZ / 350 ML
Martin Bednář

I have just imagined leaves screaming for mercy. With googly eyes.

Mastress Alita

Ha! I was participating in a Tea Quiz in a vendor “booth” (aka a Zoom room) on the International Virtual Tea Festival and one of the questions was “What is the unfurling of the leaves in the cup called?” The answer… “agony of the leaves.” I didn’t know that one! (But I did take fifth place and won a set of British boxed teas!)

tea-sipper

oh cool, you won something! I half forgot and half was busy and half was enjoying the nice weather to “attend” the tea fest. :/

Mastress Alita

I don’t think new accounts can be made now, but if you had an account made for the event but “missed out” you can still sign into the site and watch any of the content from the “Pre-Recorded Sessions” section until January 31st!

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83

Still whitling away the day sick, congested, and crampy watching content from the International Virtual Tea Festival. Decided to brew up a cup of this, as I’m still working on my 2017 sipdowns. This was a Spring 2017 harvest, 36 month best by, sealed packaging.

I know I have enjoyed Black Dragon Pearls before (from Adagio, no less!) but I’ve actually been a bit unimpressed with this particular one. I am aware of its age, but other equally old straight teas that were in still-sealed packaging has seemed to have held up quite well, so I’d be surprised if that’s all that is going on here. I think, mainly, it’s hard for me to judge a good water/leaf ratio with these large pearls. The packaging says “one pearl per cup” which seems logical given their size, and I brewed one for 350ml, but the flavor felt a bit weak. I also feel like I just don’t get very good expansion on these larger pearls compared to the smaller ones (those fully open up, while these just sort of “bloom” in a flower/octopus like shape… the tea is still somewhat bound together in the middle). I left the pearl in the infuser and added a second for my next cup, hoping to urge out a bit more flavor (so one pearl on the first steep, with an additional pearl on its second steep).

This produced a much nicer color in the liquor. The aroma is malty with a touch of molasses and spices, and a hint of citrus rind and cocoa. I was happier with the flavor this time; malt, baked bread, sweet potato, honey, and maybe a subtle hint of cocoa and cherry. So I think I just need to use double the amount of pearls to get the sort of flavor I’m looking for — or, if the tea doesn’t go astringent, perhaps try it grandpa in my thermos. I’ll leave that experiment for the work week.

So I still like the flavor of black Dragon Pearls, but I think for me, I have an easier time brewing/controlling the right amount with smaller sized pearls. In the future, I’ll probably look for the little pearls again when I restock a black Dragon Pearl. I love the taste though, good for mornings or lazy weekend afternoons!

Edit: After drinking this for several mornings as my “work thermos tea”, I have pinpointed my preferred steeping parameters. Firstly… I really don’t like grandpa style, it just becomes far too astringent for my personal preferences that way. One pearl for 8 oz. of water (so a standard 12 oz. mug tastes too weak to me with one pearl; I’ve been using a 16 oz. sized thermos with two pearls) and steeping for double what I usually give blacks (6 minutes instead of 3 minutes), which seems to allow the leaves to fully open, give the tea a nice color, but not reach levels of bitterness I don’t like.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cherry, Citrus Zest, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Smooth, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 350 ML

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This tea was kind of dismal for me. Thanks anyway derk
Prepared western in my classic set-up, 2 tsp and 300 ml and I let it steep for 3 minutes at first. It was pretty much bland, so I let it steep more, for next two minutes.

It wasn’t much better to be honest, but some florals started to appear, but weakly. I have same experience as Bluegreen, though I was able to finish the cup. It was just like some heavily underleafed Darjeeling in very short steeping, though it was quite long one. I am surprised to get so different experience than eastkyteaguy had. Or it has suffered by age? It’s from Spring 2018, so not that old!

I guess I will brew the rest gongfu to make stronger brews.

Flavors: Floral

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
Leafhopper

This tea is on the lighter side, though I’m not sure I’d call it bland. However, it’s definitely in Darjeeling territory. (Also, does anyone else get all the Nepalese teas from What-Cha confused? I have to keep looking them up to see which ones I bought, which ones Derk sent me, and which ones I think I have but actually don’t.)

Martin Bednář

It is indeed quite confusing in names, that’s true. I don’t keep any directory though and I just pick some tea and decide to brew it. I was just disappointed with this tea. I don’t expect any explosion of tastes, but it was just lightly something floral.

Leafhopper

That’s too bad, though of course, everyone’s tastes are different. I think I used a bit more leaf than you and brewed it at a lower temperature (maybe 195F). It’s still a subtle tea.

derk

I also brewed mine at 195F and didn’t find it necessarily subtle. If you have preferences leaning more toward robust black teas, I can see this being underwhelming.

Martin Bednář

derk: Indeed I prefer more robust black teas, but I also like Darjeelings which aren’t necessary subtle. Maybe it was really underleafed, and I will try colder water as well.

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94

March 2014 harvest.

Rich, robust, bright, complex and fleeting, highly structured. Tastes is somewhat like a mix of a bright and fruity Kenyan black with the savory and complex tastes of an unsmoked lapsang souchong. Thick finishing dry with a great sourness and persistent aftertastes. This tea was a lot of fun to drink! The citrusy-sour backbone was a pleasant jolt in the morning. The orange-flesh vegetable tastes mixed with malt, autumn leaf, dried fruits and herbs and spices fit spectacularly this time of year where I live.

An awesome lower-oxidation black tea treat that tastes like it was made this year.

Thank you Malawi, What-Cha and Leafhopper :) I would love to see this around again :)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Biting, Black Currant, Black Pepper, Brown Sugar, Carrot, Cherry, Citrusy, Coriander Seed, Cream, Drying, Earth, Flowers, Herbs, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mushrooms, Nutmeg, Oak wood, Orange, Orange Zest, Pleasantly Sour, Pumpkin, Raisins, Saffron, Sage, Spicy, Sweet Potatoes, Tannin, Tea, Thick, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Leafhopper

I remembered that you wanted to try it and I still had it in my cupboard! (This says something about my tea stash.) I’m glad you enjoyed it and that it held up over all these years.

White Antlers

Good to know I am not the only person ‘guilty’ of Old Tea. LOL

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90

This is second tea I have no idea about. It is from What-Cha, based on White Antlers order (Thank you!) and delivered as a gift to my house. And again, like Manna Green tea from Georgia, it’s not even on the website of What-Cha. So Alistair, I assume it is again some very limited quantity of tea I am lucky having in my hands and I am grateful!

The tea itself is quite crushed, but not yet CTC. At least I don’t think so. Tea from Persia… ehm Iran nowdays, seems very rare. Harvest is from last year summer. Wikipedia don’t say much:
“Historically, Lahijan is the first town in Iran to have tea plantations. With its mild weather, soil quality and fresh spring water, Lahijan stands to have the largest area of tea cultivation in Iran. But today the country’s tea industry is deep in trouble and the verdant gardens that once sustained millions of farmers and their workers are used only for grazing sheep and other personal purposes. Despite having one of the world’s most avid tea drinking populations, the Iranian tea economy is reeling from an influx of foreign imports and smugglers who, local traders complain, often have close family ties to powerful figures in the Islamic government. The consequences are plain to see. In Lahijan, the historic capital of Iran’s tea industry, land that was once a lush vista of tea bushes is now occupied by houses and flats, built by tea factory owners who have moved into the building trade in response to their industry’s decline. Several of the town’s tea mills are derelict. Others are at a stand-still or operating at half capacity. Some 40% of the half-million tea farmers in tea-rich Gilan province have gone out of business, because the factories are no longer buying their crops. Hundreds of thousands of pickers have been forced out of work. "

That said, I am happy to have this opportunity to try it. I took two teaspoons and steeped for four minutes. I was quite afraid it will turn astringent, bitter and dark, but Alistair have correct preparation method on the label and it turned out great!

I don’t want to believe, but it was quite tannic, but sweet as well and lots of red berries, while mostly I noticed red currants I think. Weak in malt, but instead it was bit with roasted nuts (maybe) flavour. It reminded me as well bit of Guria Likhauri (tea from Georgia), but much less malty and no “jam” notes. The aftertaste lingers and is it mild one and it’s not rough at all.

It is quite strong in caffeine as well as I had it as breakfast tea. Not that perfect as Mokalbari, but another great and tasty pure black tea.

Flavors: Berries, Red Fruits, Roast nuts, Tannic

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 300 ML
White Antlers

wow! That sounds like a wonderful way to start the day, Martin!

Martin Bednář

It was; it is such an amazing tea. Especially the long steeping for such broken leaf surprised me.

What-Cha

Glad you enjoyed it, I did have a more premium handmade version also but sadly US regulations made the sale of Persian tea very complicated and means it’s not viable.

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Opened Steepster this morning (it’s 6 pm now), that I will write impressions of morning session. But we need to go shopping (tomorrow is “bad” bank holiday — shops are closed down); we had to visit the cemetery, so I rather, after week @home, went outside. I needed it pretty much badly, because I was so tired with staying home. But of course, all measures had to be taken, so facemask, disinfections, one-use gloves and so on. But pretty good morning!

Ah well, the tea. In the morning, I have used 80°C water, 3 grams, western. Nothing wrong with that, quite fast steep — 2 minutes. It was quite fruity, not sure about mango or papaya as previous raters said, but it was fresh as it could be (harvest in July 2015!), and quite enjoyable. Some earthy nose though, dry forest floor and quite… not amazing.

In the afternoon (I had two 90 minutes lectures from 1 pm) I prepared it again, with same parameters, but only (and recommended) 75°C water. It was much more earthy, sand-aroma like, drying, smoky…

It was like totally different tea, much worse and older, almost no of that nice tropical flavours.

No rating, no recommend → yes/no, as it was just totally different. For now, I will give it around average rating though. Thank you though White Antlers

Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Mango, Sand, Tropical

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80

Another tea from White Antlers Thank you :)

And same pouch as derk had, she sent the left amount to me. So yeah, June 2014 harvest, best before June 2017. But it still looks pretty well.

Dark green cannon balls, which looks bit more to oolong than actual green tea.

But anyway to the brew. I took around 10 those cannon balls, which were unknown weight, but on the label there is 3-4 balls per cup. I used again the 300 ml cup, so well, maybe it was just right? Steeping was minute and half, maybe two minutes recommended time is 45-60 seconds. I think I maybe used recommended temperature, it is said 75°C/167°F. But I haven’t measured it.

The taste should be good lemon blossom taste. Again, I have no experience tasting lemon blossom, nor smelling it, so I hope… it is correct. I noticed lemony notes, sweet grass, buttery and well others say astringency but I don’t had it at all. Maybe the age mellowed it?
Anyway, pretty tasty, though old. The caffeine boost was somewhere in the middle. Quite smooth and mouthcoating. I look forward to try another brewing methods. Maybe gongfu would work better to unfurl the balls completely.

Flavors: Buffalo Grass, Butter, Lemon, Lemon Zest

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 45 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

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April 2016 harvest.

Dry leaf smells like rich chocolate syrup with undertones of black raspberry and faint wood. I went for the maximum recommended brewing parameters since it’s old: 2tsp (3g), 300mL, 180F, 45s

Steep 1, 45s: thin and watery with a hint of licorice root. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.1, 90s: brisk with faint wood and malt. Let’s go longer.
Steep 1.2, 180s: fuller body, brisk, mostly wood, a little bit more malt, fleeting grass, hints of black raspberry and chocolate, lightly cooling. Aroma is noticeable now, with chocolate and black raspberry undertone like the dry leaf. I think I’ll stop here.

This was my first Korean black tea and I have no reference with which to compare. It reminds me a bit of Japanese black teas. Based on my limited experience with Korean green teas and tisanes, I would’ve expected a simple warm and roasty flavor profile. It has nailed simple; I’m guessing age hasn’t favored this tea. I’d be interested in trying a fresh harvest.

Thank you, White Antlers, for the opportunity :)

Flavors: Astringent, Chocolate, Grass, Licorice, Malt, Raspberry, Wood

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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80

This was a sampler I received in an old 2017 What-cha order. Still sealed. I wanted it to go with my potstickers for dinner tonight, so I brewed it up as a pot, western style. Smells precisely as one would expect, with strong nuo mi xiang herb aroma, as well as some fainter aromas of butter and minerals. Perhaps something lightly vegetal, like cauliflower?

Flavor is nice; I’ve really enjoyed a sticky rice pu’erh I have, so I was expecting to enjoy this. Lovely umami nuo mi xiang herb flavor, rice, butter, vegetables, and a faint minerality toward the end of the sip. I think the only thing I could possibly complain about with a tea like this is that I have to deep clean my infuser every time I make it, because the aroma is so strong every cup of tea I make afterwards will taste of sticky rice if I don’t.

Flavors: Butter, Herbs, Mineral, Rice, Smooth, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 5 g 17 OZ / 500 ML

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89

It’s time to take a quick break from reviewing black teas. I finished a 25g pouch of this tea last week, and I have kind of been itching to review it ever since. It was easily one of the most unique white teas I have tried in some time.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After rinsing, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 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, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea buds emitted aromas of corn husk, malt, hay, straw, and butter. After the rinse, I detected aromas of roasted almond, sugarcane, cream, and golden raisin. The first infusion introduced aromas of honeydew, cantaloupe, and marshmallow. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of corn husk, malt, butter, hay, straw, and sugarcane that were balanced by subtler flavors of honeydew, cantaloupe, and golden raisin. The majority of the subsequent infusions brought forth aromas of plum, apricot, watermelon, vanilla, wheat toast, cinnamon, minerals, autumn leaves, white pepper, caramel, horehound, camphor, honey, and sweet potato. Stronger and more immediately notable impressions of honeydew and cantaloupe appeared in the mouth alongside notes of wheat toast, marshmallow, cream, minerals, roasted almond, plum, golden apple, vanilla, apricot, bark, autumn leaves, caramel, red pear, cucumber, orange zest, sweet potato, horehound, watermelon rind, and honey. Hints of lychee, cinnamon, white pepper, ginger, and camphor lurked around the fringes. Once the tea began to fade, the liquor started emphasizing notes of minerals, malt, cucumber, wheat toast, watermelon rind, caramel, cream, honeydew, and sweet potato that were chased by lingering hints of orange zest, marshmallow, sugarcane, roasted almond, autumn leaves, vanilla, bark, horehound, ginger, and honey.

This was a durable and amazingly complex Indian white tea with a very unique mix of aroma and flavor components. It reminded me a good deal of an awesome Ceylonese white tea I purchased from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company several years ago. Compared to that tea, this one was somewhat less refined. Its aroma and flavor components grew increasingly muddled as my review session progressed, and the tea liquor thinned out a little more than I hoped it would. Still, this was a very nice white tea that struck me as stopping perhaps just a hair shy of crossing the threshold of excellence. I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a unique and challenging white tea that is also an absolute blast to drink and pick apart.

Flavors: Almond, Apple, Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Butter, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Caramel, Cinnamon, Corn Husk, Cream, Cucumber, Ginger, Hay, Herbaceous, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Malt, Marshmallow, Melon, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Pepper, Plums, Raisins, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Vanilla, Wheat

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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93

Alright, it’s time to review something I finished earlier in the year. I finished this tea sometime during the spring. I had no intentions to drink it when I did, but I accidentally tore the side of the pouch removing it from the box it arrived in, so I immediately started working my way through what I had of it. Oddly, Nilgiri black teas do not often do a ton for me, yet the ones that impress me really impress me. This was one of those impressive offerings for me.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 197 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion nor did I attempt any additional infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of straw, blueberry, cream, orange zest, raisin, and strawberry. After infusion, I detected aromas of apricot, plum, honey, cherry, and brown sugar. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of straw, cream, apricot, plum, honey, baked bread, roasted almond, strawberry, raisin, malt, orange zest, blackberry, blueberry, red apple, cherry, pear, and brown sugar that were balanced by hints of butter, vanilla, and fig. Each sip then finished in a smooth, malty, creamy, and very fruity fashion.

I may be alone here, but I found this to be a knockout Nilgiri black tea. I loved its robust fruity notes and the smooth, mellow finish of each sip. What-Cha has been knocking it out of the park for at least the past year or two with their Nilgiri offerings. Each one I try ends up serving as a reminder that I need to devote some time to trying more Nilgiri teas.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Baked Bread, Blackberry, Blueberry, Brown Sugar, Butter, Cherry, Cream, Fig, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Pear, Plums, Raisins, Red Apple, Straw, Strawberry, Vanilla

Preparation
5 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML
Courtney

Wow — this one sounds amazing! The straw and cream with honey and the fruits (blackberry!). I can’t get over how tasty this one sounds.

derk

It seems I have a palate that more often than not overlaps with yours, guy, but I couldn’t seem to pull much from this one; I think I have a difficult time parsing exceptionally smooth teas. Glad to finally read your experience!

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73

Received four pearls from derk, thank you!
I took one, though there is written 2 pearls as good preparation, but as well 3-4 minutes steeping time.

I prepared grandpa. And I got baked bread, malt, and overral typical black tea notes. They were fine, it wasn’t bitter at all even it was steeping for 30 minutes or something. It has dissolved pretty well too. I have expected just more overall flavour, it was bit like washed out, but maybe because the age (spring 2016).

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 10 OZ / 300 ML

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45

The loose leaf looks great, though it is 6 years old. As derk noticed, as it is from her, and actually from White Antlers (Thank you both!). The leaf looks pretty much as on photo, though bit darker.

I decided to brew 3 grams in my 300 ml glass cup. I broke my gaiwan today, so I have decided to order a new one! From Tangpin (someone suggested them and I kinda liked some stuff they had and this was the “last drip” to place an order)

Well, it wasn’t remarkable tea. It was green with mineral notes, quite dry. Overall somehow too much hay-like. This tea seems I will get rid off soon somehow. Not really impressed and having way more another greens which needs to be drank as well and they are better.

Flavors: Hay, Mineral

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Leafhopper

Sorry to hear you broke your gaiwan, though new teaware is always nice! I also have trouble getting through my green teas, to the point that I rarely buy them anymore.

Cameron B.

Ooh, they do have pretty gaiwan! Too bad I never use one… XD

White Antlers

I am not a gaiwan user, even though I have several. If we lived closer, Martin, I’d give you a few of them. Green tea is something I realized is not for me-so more of the good greens for everyone else! : )

Martin Bednář

https://ibb.co/28Hbvt0 This is what I have ordered! I hope it will come soon and in one piece :)

White Antlers

Oh, that’s beautiful! Happy brewing and drinking!

Mastress Alita

Oh, I think I was the one that mentioned Tangpin (unless someone else did as well). I ordered from them recently and have been very happy with my teaware so far!

Martin Bednář

I thought it was you Mastress Alita, but I wasn’t sure. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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