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Recent Tasting Notes
I don’t have a lot of experience with Yashi Dan Congs, aside from a greener one from Yunnan Sourcing, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. But since it was around $13 for 50 grams, I decided to give it a shot. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry leaves smell overwhelmingly of roasted almonds, with some florals and stonefruit at the edges. Roasted almond dominates the first steep, with hay, cream, orchid, and peach in the background. (The peachy aftertaste is the best part of the steep.) The next couple steeps add notes of honey, grain, apricot, roast, grass, butter, and florals I can’t identify (gardenia?). Steeps four and five are a bit fruitier, with more apricot, peach, and peach pit flavours along with the almond. The next few steeps emphasize the roast and almond, and the tea becomes a bit drying in the mouth. The session ends with almonds, roast, and minerals.
This is a pleasant Dan Cong, especially for the price. I gave it extra points for the lovely peachy aftertaste in the first few steeps. However, I tend to enjoy greener Dan Congs and this just didn’t bowl me over like some previous What-Cha teas I’ve had. I still recommend it for those who like this type of tea and want an affordable option.
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grain, Grass, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Roasted
One of my most favorite teas of all time.
The complexity and flavor of this tea is fantastic.
The melon adds such a unique flavor – I like to toss in a decent sized piece of the melon rind each time I steep.
A great daily drinker tea; one I will continue to drink for years to come.
Flavors: Earth, Melon, Smooth, Soybean, Squash Blossom, Sugarcane, Sweet Potatoes
I have found that I really enjoy most teas from Malawi. I really appreciate What-cha for obtaining so many great teas from this location.
I think (for me) it might be the soil that the tea is grown in because I have yet to find a tea from Malawi that doesn’t have a rich deep earthy yet green flavor – and I can lose myself in the taste.
This tea is no exception. The flavor is of a warm dark soil yet sweet and slightly vegetal.
I like to brew this tea Gong Fu style, where I run close-to-boiling water over it in a flash steep and can get many cups out of a few pearls.
Flavors: Bok Choy, Dry Grass, Earth, Soybean, Sugarcane
After reading the rave reviews of this tea, I picked up 25 grams of it this summer. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 7, 9, 12, 16, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma of these huge, curly leaves is of blackberries, grapes, honey, and malt. The first steep is amazingly complex, with notes of grapes, plums, blackberries, strawberries, malt, honey, fruit leather, and baked bread. The second steep adds notes of cherry, brown sugar, and raisins. There’s no astringency and wow, this tea is good. The fruit explosion continues through the next few steeps, with lots of plum, cherry, grape, and blackberry flavours. By steep six, sweet potato, orange, baked bread, brown sugar, malt, and honey take over, with the fruit in the background. The final steeps have flavours of peanuts, sweet potatoes, malt, wood, and minerals.
Like everyone else who has reviewed this tea, I was incredibly impressed. It’s simultaneously mind-bogglingly complex and very accessible. There’s no astringency and the fruity flavours jump out at you. (Unlike Eastkyteaguy, I didn’t get any menthol.) This is definitely a special occasion tea that repays careful attention. What-Cha really knocked it out of the park with this one.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Cherry, Dried Fruit, Grapes, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange, Peanut, Plums, Raisins, Strawberry, Sweet Potatoes, Wood
Second try, as for first I did two teaspoons in my cup (grandpa back then and today) and was too overwhelming. And today I used just one tea spoon and it seems just right.
Aroma of molasses, roasted nuts, bit of other roasted stuff.
Taste quite heavy, baked goodies, roasted nuts as well, bit of tar maybe? Not a awful way though. I notice as well some sweetness, maybe like vanilla a bit? Or maybe some honey-sweetness. As it brews longer and longer, it brings more subtle notes which are in conclusion very good and enjoyable.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Molasses, Roasted nuts, Tar, Vanilla
This is a reliable Assam with the distinct aroma and taste. The dry leaf aroma was not much to write home about: some maltiness and dry stone fruit. The tea that I prepared in the Western style, though, had a quite distinct fragrance that is hard to describe: wet leather, figs, golden tips… but something else that eluded me.
The taste was pleasant, with the dreaded Assamica maltiness being quite restrained and not overpowering other flavors present: baked bread, apricot, chocolate, plums, honey. This tea was not that far from some dianhongs I had tried. The expected malty aftertaste rounded out the impression.
To be honest, there was nothing in it to wow and excite, but also absolutely nothing offputting and disappointing. Plus some character. This tea is a good choice for a breakfast tea that does not clobber you, but rather offers an opportunity to explore its personality while simultaneously giving you a jolt of energy.
Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Chocolate, Fig, Leather, Malt, Plums
This was one of my more recent sipdowns, as I finished what I had of this tea a little earlier in the month. I often start craving stronger, maltier black teas and heavier roasted oolongs this time of year, and around the start of the month, I found myself in a position where I felt like I needed to drink some Assam black tea. I had a couple long work days at that time and plowed through what I had of this tea to keep me going. This tea probably deserved gentler, more considerate treatment than I gave it, but I was still able to get some good notes out of it. Overall, I found it to be a very nice Assam black tea.
I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped approximately 3 grams of loose tea buds in 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not rinse the leaf buds prior to steeping nor did I attempt any additional infusions.
Prior to infusion, the dry leaf buds emitted aromas of malt, cinnamon, molasses, tobacco, and honey. After infusion, I detected aromas of cream, brown toast, roasted walnut, and roasted chestnut that were accompanied by a very subtle straw scent. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of wood, malt, cream, cinnamon, honey, brown toast, molasses, cocoa, straw, smoke, orange zest, lemon rind, roasted walnut, hickory, and roasted chestnut that were accompanied by hints of grass, brown sugar, nutmeg, vanilla, earth, and tobacco. The finish was brisk, woody, and astringent, though some nice malt, cream, brown toast, roasted nut, straw, and molasses notes could still be detected.
This was a very good, very energizing Assam black tea. It was a little astringent for me, especially on the finish, but it was still most certainly an enjoyable, high quality offering. Fans of Assam teas would very likely be pleased with it.
Flavors: Astringent, Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Earth, Grass, Honey, Lemon, Malt, Molasses, Nutmeg, Nutty, Orange Zest, Smoke, Straw, Tobacco, Vanilla, Walnut, Wood
Yellow tea?!? I’ve heard of most tea by now…but yellow. Nah. So when I saw What-cha had it and it was at a reasonable price I couldn’t resist. I had to at least try it! My tea tasting is still very beginner…prolly will always be. And that’s OK. This just tasted like green tea to me. It looks like green tea too. Its Ok steeped for a short time with cooler water. But it wasn’t really anything special. But to be honest…my favorite tea is black. I’m happy to have tried it. But I wouldn’t buy it again. Meh
Flavors: Spinach, Vegetal
I received this as a mystery tea in my last What-Cha order and honestly wasn’t expecting much. Even though the description said it was “lightly roasted,” I’ve learned from experience that this can mean different things to different people. However, What-Cha was telling the truth and this tea is a nice balance between the roast and heady florals. I steeped 6 g of tea in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 20, 15, 20, 25, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.
The dry aroma is of sugar cookies, honeysuckle, orchids, and other flowers. Yeah, this tastes like a floral sugar cookie: honeysuckle, orchid, butter, light roast, and kind of a sugarcane sweetness, with a bit of grass. The second steep has notes of cream and lilac and a drying mouthfeel. After the second steep, the wet leaves in the teapot have a wonderfully heady lilac aroma, which sadly never appears as strongly in the cup. The floral and grassy flavours become even more prominent in the third steep.
From the fourth steep onward, the roast starts taking over, though there’s still some florals. I get walnuts, roast, grass, honeysuckle, spinach, and veggies in the last few steeps.
Even though it peaked early, this tea was a pleasant surprise, and I’m about halfway through my 50 g bag. I definitely recommend it as a daily drinker.
Flavors: Butter, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Orchid, Roasted, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vegetal, Walnut
This was one of my sipdowns from July and a tea I received as a free sample with one of my numerous What-Cha orders. At the time, I was rather bummed to get it because I’m not particularly well-equipped to review Japanese green teas. I don’t own any Japanese brewing gear and have long had neither the money nor the desire to invest in any. I figure there is no point in trying to do so when I drink Japanese green teas so rarely. For whatever reason, I just don’t purchase them very often. Receiving this tea presented me with a dilemma. I wanted to give it a shot, yet I didn’t own anything appropriate in which to prepare it. What did I do? Well, I ended up breaking out one of my standard tea mugs, a mesh strainer, and a tea coaster in an effort to mimic brewing in a kyusu or something similar. It’s what I have done with most Japanese green teas to this point, and I also tend to use this approach for any Korean teas I end up purchasing. This approach has worked well in the past, and quite frankly, it worked far better for this tea than I ever would have imagined.
With regard to my specific preparation method, I started off by measuring out 3-4 grams of loose tea leaves and steeping them in approximately 8 ounces of 158 F water for 30 seconds. Note that I did not rinse the leaves prior to infusion. This infusion was followed by 4 additional infusions. For the second infusion, I increased the water temperature to 163 F and steeped the leaves for 45 seconds. The third infusion lasted 1 minute, and the water temperature was increased to 168 F. The fourth infusion lasted 1 minute 30 seconds, and the water temperature was set at 173 F. For the fifth and final infusion, I increased the water temperature to 178 F and steeped the leaves for 3 minutes.
Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of seaweed, spinach, cucumber, butter, zucchini, and grass. After infusion, I noted new aromas of asparagus, honey, and sweet corn. In the mouth, the tea liquor revealed delicate butter, cream, spinach, grass, zucchini, seaweed, cucumber, asparagus, and salty, brothy umami notes that were balanced by subtle hints of vanilla, lightly roasted barley, earth, honey, steamed rice, and minerals. The second infusion saw an umami presence come out on the nose, while new aromas of steamed rice, lettuce, summer squash, and lightly roasted barley also made themselves known. Stronger honey, roasted barley, earth, and mineral notes appeared in the mouth alongside even more amplified butter, cream, seaweed, grass, spinach, cucumber, zucchini, and umami impressions. New notes of summer squash, baked bread, lettuce, and oats also appeared alongside belatedly emerging impressions of sweet corn. I was even able to pick up on some hints of sugarcane, fennel, and spearmint. The third infusion saw aromas of oats, baked bread, and hay emerge along with a subtle fennel scent and stronger umami, seaweed, and grass aromas. Slightly more amplified earth and mineral impressions appeared in the mouth while notes of seaweed, grass, fennel, umami, cucumber, and zucchini continued to build. New impressions of hay and sea salt emerged along with a slightly enhanced sugarcane presence and hints of lemon. The fourth infusion saw the tea’s bouquet start to decline. The tea liquor turned very grassy and vegetal with pronounced earth, umami, and seaweed notes and a slightly enhanced sea salt presence. The final infusion saw the tea’s bouquet turn very clean. It was heavy on mineral aromas, though I could also pick up on some umami, grass, earth, lemon, and sea salt scents. The tea liquor was soft and smooth in the mouth despite pronounced mineral and umami characters. Softer, subtler notes of grass, lemon, and sea salt could still be detected along with fleeting hints of spinach, seaweed, and sugarcane.
This was one of the more challenging green teas I have consumed and reviewed this year, but it was also one of the most enjoyable. I do not pretend to be anything close to an expert on sencha (or anything else really), but this one struck me as being an exceptional offering. This tea displayed tremendous character both on the nose and in the mouth. The tea liquor had tremendous body and texture as well. Quite simply, there was so much to love about this tea. With as much as I enjoyed this one, I should probably start trying some of the other Japanese green teas offered by What-Cha in the near future.
Flavors: Asparagus, Asparagus, Baked Bread, Baked Bread, Butter, Butter, Cream, Cream, Cucumber, Cucumber, Earth, Earth, Fennel, Fennel, Grass, Grass, Hay, Hay, Honey, Honey, Lemon, Lemon, Lettuce, Lettuce, Mineral, Mineral, Oats, Oats, Rice, Rice, Roasted Barley, Roasted Barley, Salt, Salt, Seaweed, Seaweed, Spearmint, Spearmint, Spinach, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sugarcane, Sweet, Sweet, Umami, Umami, Vanilla, Vanilla, Vegetal, Vegetal, Zucchini, Zucchini
I worked my way through a 25g pouch within a few weeks, which, to me, attests to a tea’s daily drinkability.
Leafhopper has great descriptions for the flavors present in the 2019 harvest, so this note is pretty much an echo. I found the flavor notes to also be present in the aroma with no additions. Orange blossom dominates the high note which hits instantly, followed by a rich, well balanced mix of honey, orange zest, autumn leaf, muscatel, a sappy quality and faint butter and almond. Some earthiness and a hint of chocolate provide a delicate grounding for those substantial, rounded mid-notes. Nothing about this tea runs away from me. I really appreciate that the honey doesn’t dominate, especially in sweetness.
The leaf does well brewed at a range of times with water off-boiling. A longer initial infusion can produce some astringency but not so much that I feel it detracts from a good morning sip.
Thanks for sourcing another satisfying Rohini tea, What-Cha.
Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Butter, Chocolate, Earth, Floral, Honey, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Sap, Smooth
Sample from last order at What-cha. Prepared western (4 grams), 4-5 minutes steep, boiling water.
It is decent black tea with quite strong astringency with baked bread aroma, bit caramel sweetness. As well heavy on malty side. I think I overbrewed it a bit, because all tastes are too strong and hard to recognize each one. It is decent but too strong.
Next time, more precise brewing please. No rating so far.
Tea from July 2019. Super short steeping time. Brews very light green colour and of course it is clear.
I feel completely tired today, I had another inventory check in night, but it was more okay than I thought. It was duty free shop on Prague airport. So much perfumes I had to scan. I wonder if the price of those perfumes are worth? 200 USD for 75 ml of perfume? I rather spend it on tea.
When dry, it is quite strong as seaweed, buttery, not very appealing. Astringency as well. But when brewed? It is different story! Of course little astringency is still there, then cut grass, some sweet notes, bit of seaweed too. I think it is nice example of sencha. It is not bad one?!
Flavors: Butter, Cut grass, Seaweed, Sweet
This is a nice Darjeeling-type tea. It’s quite green. and aromatic – in fact, its aroma was the strongest point for me with intense meadow, hay and fruit fragrances. Prepared gongfu the taste was similarly intense, sweet and floral, with a typical Darjeeling profile. Muscatel was not too prominent, but flowers and stone fruit notes came out quite strong. Eastkyteaguy and Leafhopper identified individual flavors well enough, so I will not go in there.
The disappointing parts in my experience is that the complexity of taste fades quickly – I could not get many quality steepings. Oh, and also it was quite horrible Western style: just a bland undifferentiated sweetness that turned me off enough that I could not finish my cup (which is rare for me). It probably requires a very high leaf-to-water ratio to shine.
Wow, this is a delicious tea. Leafhopper and eastkyteaguy captured its essence with ease so I feel like this tasting note is redundant.
The tea is incredibly clean and has a satisfying full body edging into creaminess with a tangy citrus quality in the finish. Wonderful aroma. As for the taste — dried tangy apricot and citrus/zest fruitiness, orange blossom, rose, geranium and dandelion florals, roasted almond nuttiness and cream abound. Straw and grass, wood, malt, hints of pungency like green bell pepper and curry leaf. Tinges of both spice and spearmint cooling in the back of the mouth. Two infusions.
Substantial, light and refreshing. A beautiful tea!
Song pairing: Stone Temple Pilots — Trippin’ on a Hole in a Paper Heart
Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Citrus Zest, Citrusy, Cream, Creamy, Dandelion, Floral, Geranium, Grass, Green Bell Peppers, Herbs, Malt, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Rose, Salt, Smooth, Spearmint, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Thick, Wood
Daily drinker that seems impossible to screw up. This tea is thick and so soft. It glides across the tongue smoothly. Sweet and round. Aromas and tastes of cocoa and vanilla (smells like powdered brownie mix), a slight brown toast sharpness, a soft undertone of black raspberry jam, and very light malt and wood, soft minerality. Tastes so much like a Taiwanese Assam, hm. It’s very twiggy — twiggy sweetness. Doesn’t seem very caffeinating.
After running through a 25g bag, I was never left with a strong impression. A rating of 75 seems appropriate for my likes but I can see some people really enjoying this tea.
Brewed western 3tsp to 8oz, water off boiling, 2-3 steeps. Last a good while gongfu, too.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Brown Toast, Cocoa, Jam, Malt, Mineral, Nectar, Raspberry, Round , Smooth, Vanilla, Wood
After trying it Western I prepared it gongfu and have to bump my rating up a bit. It is way better gongfu. To be certain, it still comes out as rather simple, straightforward tea: the taste is dominated by the bittersweet chocolate, complemented in the first couple of infusion by baked potato and starting in the 5th – by honey and sugared fruit.
There are way to many chocolaty teas to get overtly excited, but it does acquire a certain depth, balance, and pleasant aftertaste – all that I did not find when I steeped it Western style. Also, it produced a remarkably large number of infusions (8 or 10) without tasting tired: actually, I enjoyed the late infusions the most – when the bitter chocolate got muted and honey+fruit intensified.
Flavors: Fruity, Honey