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Recent Tasting Notes

84

This Qi Lan is a much gentler animal than the one I had from Tao Tea Leaf a few hours ago. I steeped around 5 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

The first steep is surprisingly light for a Wuyi oolong. Honey and florals show up first, followed by roast and light tobacco. The second steep has a few more of those char and tobacco notes, but is still very floral and sweet. I also get roasted veggies and maybe some fruit (Lichi? Honeydew? I can’t tell.).

As Amanda Wilson said in her tasting note about this tea, it has some qualities that make it similar to a Dan Cong. Its honey character softens the roast, especially as the session progresses. Although the tea starts to get drying by the sixth or seventh steep, the honey carries it through.

As someone who likes greener oolongs, I enjoyed this Qi Lan more than its roastier counterpart from Tao Tea Leaf. It’ll be fun to see whether storing my remaining 30 g for a couple more years will mellow it out even further.

Flavors: Char, Floral, Honey, Honeydew, Lychee, Mineral, Roasted, Vegetables

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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85

I am a brisk, strong, larged flavored black tea lover. I was won over by the reviews of no astringency. This tea is that, my friend. It has the biggest leaf cut of any Assam I have ever had. I think that might be why there’s no puckering.

I bought a sample, and have drank the whole sample within 2 hours (I am also studying for finals, I need my fuel). This tea is yum.

This isn’t your typical Assam at all. I almost thought it was more similar to some of the Ceylons I’ve had. Still strong in flavor, and 2 tsp is needed per cup. I would purchase this again. I really think Assam tea companies need to follow suit, and not cut up the leaf so much. This was a really pleasant cup.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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79

oh this worked out much better this time. Upped the leaf and brewed it for a little longer. now it’s a much heavier brew…little bit of astringency, but it’s still smooth and there are hints of cocoa. noms. Now to go play some board games!

__Morgana__

What are you going to play?

Sil

probably Robinson Crusoe, Fallout or Clans of Caledonia haha

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79

Need to try this one again. So far it’s not bad..but it’s really…light? Maybe a gonfu session. Anyway, jury is still out on this one – efels sort of oolongy…but there are some flavours hiding there that i’d like to take another crack at :)

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I picked up a few LB’s from companies over the black friday sale. I wanted to see how they compared to verdant/yunnan sourcing. this one is good. tasty…chocolatey, malty….smooth. Going to enjoy drinking more of this.

Dexter

So is this closer to LB than the one from Teabento? LOL that What-Cha order might happen yet. ;)

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70
drank Vietnam Gui Fei Oolong Tea by What-Cha
9034 tasting notes

Free same in our group what-cha order. I tried this one today so i can divy up the rest of it for VariaTEA and Evolvingness. On the whole, not one i’d order for myself, though i generally like roastier oolongs. Had a cup of this while i tried to make wonton soup from scratch! haha. All in all, a decent cup but nothing to knock my socks off. IE. glad i tried it but that’s enough for me.

Dexter

You were making wonton soup from scratch? Wow that’s awesome!!!

Sil

Yeah…was a fun experiment and turned out really well…technically I used broth for the soup, but I added things to it, so I think that counts! Wonton making is fun…got the hang of it after the first couple.

Indigobloom

wonton… its even fun to say :P

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80

No notes yet. Add one?

Flavors: Baked Bread, Malt

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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81

Finished this one off this morning, comparing it with the black sheep from Teabento. This one is malty, slightly sweet and smooth. It’s similar to the dragon pearls from teavivre but different. I’d need to try them side by side to really get a sense of which i prefer. These also kinda of remind me of the flowering cones from Mandala. All in all, a good cup.

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81

directions on this are 1 per cup…now i’m more inclined to say 2 per cup as the strength of the cup was a little weak imo. Still a good cup. I’ll try and do a comparison of this and the teabento ones just for fun later!

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76

Orchid aroma, tastes buttery, creamy cashew nuts, and coats the insides of cheeks with an asian pear like acidity.

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Pear

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 150 OZ / 4436 ML

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80

I have been on a quest to try all different types of teas from elsewhere. What-cha fills in the need. This is my first Georgian tea. It has NO BITTERNESS. I feel you need 2 FULL tsp per 8 oz. I like my brew strong, so this is what I did. It’s mellow for a black, more mellow than what I usually drink or am used to.

Beautiful leaves. Just good for a mellow kind of day.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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85

Another late-night What-cha sample tea. Lately I’m loving nighttime grandpa teas. This tea is working beautifully brewed this way. It’s roasty and creamy, and hasn’t gotten bitter. It’s keeping me warm and reasonably content while I work on my interminable term papers. When I first tried it, it was a little too roasty for me, but it’s really grown on me. I’m finding the combo of roast and smooth to be very dessert-like and pleasant. This might be one I’ll buy again in a bigger size. Time will tell, because I want to see how much I like it compared to all of my other samples.

Update: it’s starting to remind me of a milk oolong, as I keep adding water and drinking it. Yum!

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95

Rasseru, you have made my life just a little better by letting me get a sample of this excellent tea.

This Qilan is great-it has lot of fruit, a lot of green creamy florals, and a great balance with the textured minerals and hints of charcoal from the roast. This is definitely on the greener side of yanchas bearing, but the fruit notes and the minerals are the things that make it really stand out along with its clear and well composed notes.

I agree with you Rasseru, that the first five steeps are higher quality and the later are typical of a yancha, but I still would come back to this again for its sheer balance of notes. This is a great example of this cultivar, and I recommend buying it while it is still on sale because it is good, and I have rarely had a yancha that is so green and so balanced.

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70

Allow me to start this review by stating that I have long admired the Amba Estate. Not only does Amba make a seemingly honest attempt to produce their teas ethically and sustainably, but the estate also produces a fairly unique, quirky range of black teas. That being said, I have yet to try an Amba tea that blows me away. To be clear, I always find their teas enjoyable and appreciate their little quirks, but I have yet to have that one Amba tea that just clicks for me. Unfortunately, this tea did not do that either.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. I did not attempt any subsequent infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of malt, toffee, and roasted nuts. After infusion, I found stronger aromas of malt, toffee, and roasted nuts accompanied by emerging scents of orange and sorghum. Robust notes of black walnut, hickory, roasted almond, and toasted cashew were evident on the entry. They were soon balanced by impressions of sorghum, honey, malt, cream, wood, leather, and orange. The finish offered lingering touches of malt, orange, and toffee with something of a nuttiness just before every other lingering flavor component faded away.

In terms of what this tea actually offered on the nose and in the mouth, I was pleased. Like many other Uva teas, however, I found this tea to be somewhat more tannic and astringent than I generally like, and as I played around with it, I could never quite seem to get it where I wanted and needed it to be. Overall, this was not a bad tea, it just did not quite do it for me.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Cream, Honey, Leather, Malt, Molasses, Orange, Roasted nuts, Tannic, Toffee, Walnut, Wood

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

Aww, well that is really cool to know about the estate, in spite of not finding much luck with their blends.

eastkyteaguy

Fjellrev, I think how much you like Amba teas largely depends upon your appreciation of Uva Highlands black teas as a whole. If you don’t mind brisk nutty, citrusy teas with pronounced tannic character and astringency, then they are probably up your alley. I often find them to be a little too intense for my liking.

Fjellrev

Ah, that does sound a little too much for me too. Brisk and tannic aren’t my favourite.

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92

Another tea from the backlog that I am steadily making progress toward completely clearing, I finished a sample pouch of this oolong last week. This was the sort of tea that made me wonder what my specific gripe with so many flavored/scented oolongs has always been because, as scented oolongs go, this was great. It was the sort of tea with which I could not find anything to seriously fault.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 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, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted a vibrant, powerful jasmine aroma. After the rinse, the jasmine scent was still dominant, though I caught touches of cream, butter, daylily, and sugarcane as well. I could not find anything all that different on the nose with the first infusion. In the mouth, the liquor offered a light jasmine note backed by hints of cream and butter with a touch of vegetal character. Subsequent infusions brought out stronger impressions of jasmine, cream, and butter. The daylily and sugarcane appeared on the palate and new impressions of daylily shoots, lettuce, orchid, coriander, sweetgrass, spinach, seaweed, parsley, mineral, and vanilla joined the fray. I could also detect hints of honeydew, cantaloupe, and pear lurking around the fringes. The later infusions were smooth and mellow with a delicate jasmine character surprisingly remaining on several of them. Notes of daylily blossoms and shoots, sweetgrass, butter, parsley, coriander, sugarcane, and cream were still there too. Surprisingly, the mineral notes never really took charge, though there was a subtle minerality present throughout the last series of infusions.

One of the best scented oolongs I have tried to this point, this was an exceptional, interesting tea. It was a very pleasant drinking experience throughout and displayed admirable longevity, depth, and complexity. Definitely consider giving it a shot.

Flavors: Butter, Cantaloupe, Coriander, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Parsley, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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So, I woke up today thinking oolong.

I am just starting with the first steep and I have honeyed malt—a bit like honey black— against a floral backdrop. Interesting. Unusual. Nice.

Now, as much as I’d like to continue lounging around in my flannel pjs drinking tea on this massively foggy day, I am revving myself up to go participate in some movement. Part of my inspiration is that yesterday I left one of my travel mugs in my locker at the gym and I need it for my multiple steepings in the coming days. So I may as well go have a workout. You guys can be my witnesses as I get into motion. Getting up now….

Thank you, Crowkettle. A lovely entry into the selection you so generously shared with me.

The steeps will continue. Stay tuned.

Well, I drank this until the steeps gave up almost nothing. So, yay! Deliciousness!

And it’s a sip down! I’d happily order this one the next time What-Cha hears from me.

Fjellrev

That’s an interesting way to motivate oneself to go to the gym more, actually. Leave something you need there so you have to go back haha.

Evol Ving Ness

Also, because crazy tea lady who carries four travel canisters of hot tea wherever she goes.

Evol Ving Ness

Of course, some remain hotter than others.

CrowKettle

Woo-ho, workout inspiration (whatever works)! Looking forward to getting back into exercise things this month too! :)

Evol Ving Ness

Hurray, yay! I find that it is all far less painful when I build it into my day and regularity makes it even more pleasant because then you get to know people there and the hellos and light banter make things even that much nicer. Also, it blows my mind when I am able to retain some sort of a routine. Though some days, of course, I do need that something something to propel myself out the door.

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85

“Hot, flat lemondae.” Thank you Rasseru for letting me try this. For me, it was like sprite in tea form, but it stood out in its citrus -flower power combo. I like my oolongs citrusy and floral, and this served that purpose, and the florals stretched out in later steeps. It was doable gong fu, and western that bordered on grandpa style for late steeps of 6 minutes. I personally got orchids, honeysuckle, lemongrass, and hints of jasmine and violets in the florals, and tart and lush bergamot pervading in the body.

I will likely get another sample, or perhaps 50 more grams of this because I did enjoy it. The flat lemonade tendency may bug people, but I highly recommend this for a unique alternative to Earl Grey. Maybe I can whip up my own version of the Earl of Anxi with this? I honestly have to try it again to see what I would realistically rate it, but I do think that 85 is the minimum.

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93

I meant to get this review up a couple days ago, but I have been swamped and kind of sick lately. As a result, I have had neither the time nor the motivation to post regularly. I know I mentioned it in my review of What-Cha’s Indonesia Toba Wangi ‘Needle’ Green Tea, but this was the other tea from the Toba Wangi green tea shootout I recently did. Unlike the other tea, this one was produced from Si Ji Chun, a cultivar of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis most popular in Taiwan where it is heavily associated with oolong production (four season oolongs, anyone?). I had seen this tea described as coming across almost like a Dancong, and I have to say that description is largely accurate. I greatly enjoyed this tea. As a matter of fact, this may have been the most unique green tea I have tried to this point in the year.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. I normally do not rinse green teas, but since this tea had been in storage for some time and I had flash rinsed the other tea in the shootout, I flash rinsed this tea as well. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced interesting aromas of honey, pine, cedar, and roasted nuts. The rinse brought out malt, citrus, and flowers. The first infusion brought out a touch of straw on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered delicate notes of honey, malt, grass, and straw balanced by hints of roasted nuts and fresh flowers. Subsequent infusions grew considerably more complex. Impressions of cream, butter, nectar, orange blossom, tangerine, oats, spinach, seaweed, tea flower, pomelo, gardenia, pine, cedar, lettuce, and minerals all appeared at one point or another. The later infusions offered a more pronounced mineral presence and mild notes of spinach, seaweed, pine, and cedar coupled with fleeting hints of cream, butter, and roasted nuts.

An incredibly complex and decidedly nontraditional green tea, this tea honestly had a lot in common with many greener oolongs. I do not think it would be a stretch to state that your enjoyment of it will likely depend upon your perceptions of such oolongs. Personally, I love Taiwanese four season oolongs, jade Tieguanyin, Wenshan baozhong, and some of the lighter Dancongs, so this tea was right up my alley. I would definitely recommend it highly to adventurous green tea drinkers and oolong fans alike.

Flavors: Butter, Cedar, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honey, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Oats, Orange Blossom, Pine, Roasted nuts, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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92

I haven’t reviewed as many Darjeelings this month, but in all honesty, that has ended up being a good thing. I was starting to get a little burnt-out on them and needed to take some time to focus on other types of tea. On that note, I have recently allowed myself to get back into green tea and roasted oolongs, which has been wonderful for me. I have been making the time to drink those types of tea more frequently. Quite frankly, I kind of forgot how much I liked them. When I noticed a few Darjeelings on What-Cha’s website that I had not previously tried, however, I had to pull the trigger, and naturally enough, I rushed to try them once I received them. I tend to like the Darjeelings Alistair sources and this one was no exception. In fact, I wish I had purchased a larger amount!

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose leaf material in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. No additional infusions were attempted.

Prior to infusion, I picked up aromas of anise, licorice, and wood coming from the dry leaf material. After infusion, I found that aromas of chocolate, malt, Muscatel, caramel, and orange blossom had emerged. The liquor offered notes of grass, anise, licorice, toast, malt, cream, butter, roasted almond, violet, orange blossom, rose, and Muscatel balanced by subtler-than-expected flavors of chocolate and caramel. Oddly, I did not pick up any notes of wood. The finish was smooth and clean, offering lingering notes of malt, roasted almond, orange blossom, cream, and Muscatel.

I’m a huge fan of darker, toastier second flush Darjeelings, especially those that have a heavy Muscatel character, so it should come as no surprise that this tea did the trick for me. I greatly appreciated the complexity this tea offered and was especially impressed by its nice mouthfeel and overall depth. Definitely one for connoisseurs, I recommend this tea highly to anyone who is even remotely appreciative of Darjeeling black teas.

Flavors: Almond, Anise, Butter, Caramel, Chocolate, Cream, Grass, Licorice, Malt, Muscatel, Orange Blossom, Rose, Toast, Violet

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

I had a 2014 Rohini Enigma Second Flush Darjeeling from Lochan Tea that also had rose notes, and it was good enough that I still remember it fondly. I used to steep it around 180F to bring out the maximum florals, though it probably muted a bunch of other things. I also have a 2017 version of Rohini Enigma from Lochan that I’ve yet to try.

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90

I’m getting to this one later than anticipated. What’s new, right? A couple months ago, I developed a plan to do a shootout of Toba Wangi teas, but I never got around to it and that bothered me. As tea producers go, Toba Wangi absolutely fascinates me. A newer producer, they have established two estates in West Java, one producing cultivars of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis and one producing cultivars of Camellia sinensis var. assamica. While Indonesia is mostly known in the West for producing commercial black teas, Toba Wangi produces a range of high quality teas and is becoming increasingly known for their green teas and oolongs. Since I still had samples of a number of their teas, I decided to revive my Toba Wangi shootout idea last week. I then decided to limit myself to two teas and ended up selecting this tea (produced from the Gambung 7 cultivar of Camellia sinensis var. assamica) and a green tea made from a cultivar of Camellia sinensis var. sinensis, for which I will hopefully be posting a review very shortly. What was the verdict? Both were winners.

I prepared this tea in my familiar, personalized version of gongfu style. I often do not rinse green teas, but opted to here. After a true flash rinse (literally water on, water off), I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves offered unique aromas of lemon, grass, and something of a restrained sheng-like funk. The rinsed leaves offered stronger lemon and grass aromas coupled with emerging scents of nuts, malt, and hay. A hint of grapefruit was just barely detectable, and of course, the previously mentioned sheng-like funkiness was still present. The first infusion brought out a hint of wood on the nose. In the mouth, the liquor expressed mild notes of lemon, nuts, malt, hay, grass, and a slight funk. Subsequent infusions brought out the grapefruit on the palate as well as notes of straw, spinach, seaweed, herbs, and pine. Clearly defined notes of chestnut, walnut, and beechnut appeared, and I also caught some interesting impressions of tart cherry, sour plum, lettuce, minerals, sorghum, and artichoke lurking around the fringes. The later infusions saw a pronounced increase in mineral presence. Rather faint impressions of nuts, malt, grass, lettuce, seaweed, and spinach were there too, as was something of a subtle funk.

I tend to like green teas produced from assamica cultivars and I also tend to like quite a few non-Chinese green teas. With the previously expressed tendencies in mind, it should come as no surprise that I enjoyed this tea as much as I did. It displayed considerable depth and complexity on the nose and in the mouth, yet it was never overwhelming or unapproachable. I find teas like this to be as fun and engaging as they are challenging and would have no issue recommending this tea to fans of traditional Yunnan green teas or green tea drinkers looking for something a little exotic.

Flavors: Artichoke, Cherry, Chestnut, Grapefruit, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Lemon, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutty, Pine, Plums, Seaweed, Spinach, Straw, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

I don’t think anyone can understand just how much I have been looking forward to reviewing this tea. One of my favorite desserts is sticky rice and custard, and my love of oolong teas is common knowledge. The idea of two things I adore seemingly combined was a dream come true. But would this tea stand up to my high expectations? Fortunately, it was excellent. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

I opted to prepare this tea gongfu style. After a flash rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 7 seconds. This infusion was followed by infusions of 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of custard and sticky rice. After the rinse, the aromas of custard and sticky rice grew stronger. They were joined by scents of cream and fresh flowers. The first infusion released some subtle scents of grass and spinach. In the mouth, the liquor was very light, though I still detected relatively clear notes of cream, butter, grass, custard, and sticky rice. Subsequent infusions better brought out these flavors. They were accompanied by delicate impressions of lilac, honeysuckle, orchid, coconut milk, minerals, mango, and pineapple, as well as hints of pastry and seaweed. The spinach notes finally emerged on the palate too. Later infusions offered lingering notes of minerals, sticky rice, and custard that were underscored by traces of butter, grass, and seaweed.

I know I have said it before, but I am normally not one to go for flavored/scented oolongs. I may be steadily softening on that stance, however, since I have recently discovered a number of these teas that I like. I can safely count this one among that number. This was an exceptionally enjoyable oolong with a great mix of aromas and flavors. If you are a fan of similar teas and/or sticky rice, you owe it to yourself to try this tea.

Flavors: Butter, Coconut, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mango, Mineral, Orchid, Pastries, Pineapple, Rice, Seaweed, Spinach

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75
I totally forgot that I had written a review of this tea. After taking a break from sweeping my mother’s front porch and raking leaves, I decided to listen to some music. I’ve been on a huge progressive rock kick this month and today’s album choice ended up being “The Aerosol Grey Machine” by Van der Graaf Generator. Anyway, as I was listening to music and spacing out, I ended up flipping through my review notebook and discovered a write-up for this tea. I then realized that I had never posted a review of it here on Steepster and promptly got to work. Overall, I found it to be an interesting Assamica, but I also found it to be the sort of tea that I would only want to have occasionally.

I prepared this tea in the Western style. I steeped 3 grams of loose tea leaves in approximately 8 ounces of 203 F water for 5 minutes. No subsequent infusions were attempted.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves emitted malty, woody aromas. After infusion, I found scents of malt, smoke, wood, roasted nuts, cocoa, molasses, and caramel. In the mouth, the liquor was fairly astringent and tannic. I noticed heavy notes of oak wood and smoked pine accompanied by notes of spruce, cedar, wildflower honey, hazelnut, roasted chestnut, and black walnut that eventually gave way to softer, subtler impressions of cream, malt, cocoa, caramel, molasses, nutmeg, and black pepper. The finish was woody, malty, smoky, and nutty, though I could still detect impressions of molasses and wildflower honey.

This was a heavy, punchy tea that had a ton to offer in the flavor department, but it was also not the most drinkable Assamica out there. I found the mouthfeel to be a bit harsh, and at times, it was a little too astringent for my liking. As much as I enjoyed getting to a try an exotic New World tea, I cannot see myself ever reaching for this over a good Indian or Yunnan Assamica. I’m still willing to bet, however, that Assamica fans would enjoy this tea on one level or another.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Caramel, Cedar, Chestnut, Cocoa, Cream, Hazelnut, Honey, Malt, Molasses, Nutmeg, Oak wood, Pine, Walnut

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

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