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Recent Tasting Notes

Eastteaguy, you own this too?

Anyway, I was fairly impressed with this batch. I saw oolongowl’s earlier review of a Red Peony on Floating Leaves, and when I saw the price tag, I opted out of it. But when I saw one on What-Cha, I knew I had to try it.

The leafs with this one are very delicate and thin, so I had to opt with a French press. However, the flavor is a little bit sneaky because it can become robust after a while, so I have to use less leaves and or shorter steeps for my preferences.

The dry leaf smell like hay and fresh linens hanging in the sun. Tasting it, it is smooth, clean, and lightly cantaloupe sweet with the cooling menthol taste that Alistair describes, and that is expected with the #18 Red Jade varietal. It is a little creamier gong fu, but pretty much the same overall. It also has some fresh cotton notes in the taste, but the liquid is a light yellow like a high mountain oolong without being nearly as grassy. This is not a delicate white tea, however, and the klondike menthol is not to be underestimated. It can get drying like a white Darjeeling, but not too try to take away from the other notes. That’s why I need this tea to cool off sometimes.

I could get seven steeps minimum from gong fu, and the menthol notes would get higher…if that makes sense. A honeysuckle floral would pop up, and the fruity notes spread out. I’m actually getting something that reminds me of cinnamon butter as a hint. I am going to have to write more about this one because I can get a little overwhelmed by the later steeps…a little bit of a buzz. Cha qi, caffiene, or menthol? Or I just need to let my cup cool down.

Well, I do recommend this one. No idea how to rate it. I personally would not drink this one often because it does overwhelm me a little bit. It does merit a rating in the 90’s although I’m personally taking my time to savor this one. It deserves some special attention. I also need to try it out grandpa or in a tumbler before I make a decision.

__Morgana__

I think he answered on my note instead of yours and said he does own it. :-)

eastkyteaguy

Yep, I got confused.

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94

I cannot believe that I am the first person to get around to reviewing this tea on Steepster. One of my more recent sipdowns, I finished a 10g sample pouch of this tea last week. First thing, what is going on with this tea’s name? I always been under the impression that teas of this sort were called Yin Jun Mei. Sorry, but “Silver Jun Mei” just seems weird to me. Silly name aside, this was an excellent black tea. I actually preferred it to What-Cha’s also totally excellent Jin Jun Mei.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of dark chocolate, malt, pine, and roasted nuts. After the rinse, I found heavier pine and dark chocolate scents plus a new aroma of smoke. There was a hint of charcoal too. The first infusion brought out cleaner aromas of dark chocolate, pine, charcoal, and smoke as well as a stronger malt scent and a clear roasted chestnut aroma. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of malt, smoke, cream, pine, roasted chestnut, and dark chocolate. There were alternating notes of caramel and charcoal as well. On the swallow, I found an interesting and unexpected hint of cooked green beans. The subsequent infusions saw the nose turn a bit smoother. Stronger caramel and cooked green bean notes asserted themselves on the palate, while new flavors of brown sugar, orange zest, mesquite, raisin, date, and minerals emerged. When I pushed myself, I could also identify subtler impressions of honey, tobacco, sweet potato, and ginger. By the time I reached the final infusions, the tea was mostly presenting me with milder notes of minerals, orange zest, cooked green beans, malt, and cream balanced by vaguer honey, date, brown sugar, and raisin impressions in places.

I did not know what to expect going into this one, but I ended up being thrilled with what I got. This was an incredibly durable, complex tea with great texture and a unique combination of aromas and flavors that set it apart from some of the other Wuyi black teas I have tried recently. If you are looking for a black tea with a ton of character and do not mind a few interesting quirks, this would be a tea for you.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Char, Chestnut, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dates, Ginger, Green Beans, Honey, Malt, Orange Zest, Pine, Raisins, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I wanted to try that one so bad, but it ran out of stock when I got the chance to buy some.

What-Cha

Sorry about the silly name, I was worried it would be too confusing to have both a Jin Jun Mei and a Yin Jun Mei on sale at the same time.

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73

Here is yet another blast from the past. I think I finished a sample pouch of this tea around two weeks ago, but failed to make an attempt to post a formal review until now. I know several previous reviewers really enjoyed this tea, but honestly, it did not do as much for me. I am used to the Laoshan black teas offered by vendors like Yunnan Sourcing and Verdant Tea, and compared to such offerings, this tea seemed to be harsh and a bit lacking. It was not terrible or anything, but it did suffer a bit compared to some of the other readily available offerings on the market.

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

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of cocoa, honey, and brown toast underscored by hints of cinnamon. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of roasted chestnut, roasted walnut, and malt. The first infusion then brought out aromas of raisin, pine, and black cherry. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of honey, malt, brown toast, and pine balanced by hints of cinnamon, cocoa, roasted nuts, and cream. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn woodier, maltier, and fruitier. Heavier notes of roasted nuts, cream, and cocoa appeared in the mouth. Raisin and black cherry flavors emerged alongside new notes of caramel, minerals, jujube, plum, burnt sugar, butter, juniper, damp grass, and butternut squash. Hints of anise and black licorice made themselves known on the swallow, leaving herbal, spicy impressions in the mouth. The final infusions were dominated by mineral, butter, cream, malt, and roasted walnut notes, though hints of cocoa, jujube, burnt sugar, caramel, and anise could be detected in the background rather consistently.

There was a lot going on in this tea, but it never came together in a way that satisfied me. Moreover, there were a few components that seemed either out of place or out of whack, rendering this tea somewhat unbalanced both on the nose and in the mouth. Though it was a deeper, more complex, and more challenging offering than the Laoshan black teas I have tried in the past, it was neither as pleasant nor as approachable. In the end, I would not caution Laoshan tea aficionados to avoid this tea, but I certainly would encourage people to think twice before committing to the purchase of a considerable amount of it.

Flavors: Anise, Brown Toast, Butter, Butternut Squash, Caramel, Cherry, Chestnut, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fruity, Grass, Honey, Licorice, Malt, Mineral, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Sugar, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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68

I have a few free minutes right now, so I will at least get a start on cleaning out the backlog. I finished a sample pouch of this tea several weeks ago, though I cannot pinpoint a precise date. While I generally tend to like the teas that What-Cha sources from PT Harendong Green Farm, this one ended up being my least favorite of the ones I have tried. It was still not a bad rolled oolong by any means, but it did not display quite as much character as I would have liked.

Naturally, I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 185 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 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, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted mildly floral and fruity aromas. I could not pick up on much of anything specific. After the rinse, I found more pronounced scents of orchid, cream, and vanilla underscored by some stone fruit character. The first infusion then introduced aromas of violet and butter to the tea’s bouquet. The tea liquor started off crisp and clean in the mouth before hints of orchid, vanilla, butter, cream, and apricot started to emerge. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn a bit fruitier, though vegetal qualities also appeared. Stronger flavors of orchid, vanilla, butter, cream, and apricot were apparent in the mouth, while new impressions of sugarcane, minerals, grass, spinach, seaweed, pear, and peach also made themselves known. Violet notes appeared in the mouth as well. The final infusions emphasized lingering orchid, mineral, and sugarcane notes, though some faint wisps of butter, spinach, and seaweed were also still present in the background.

This oolong was decidedly different from the Taiwan Cui Yu oolongs I often enjoy, but unfortunately, it started off timid in the mouth and then faded rather quickly. The mouthfeel of the tea liquor was also somewhat thin for my liking. The aromas and flavors that were present during this tea’s comparatively brief peak were highly enjoyable, however, and that alone pushed me to appreciate what this tea had to offer. Harendong produces better oolongs, but I still do not regret trying this one. Fans of Taiwanese jade oolongs should at least consider giving this tea shot. If nothing else, it very capably demonstrates the effects that a different terroir can have on a tea cultivar.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Cream, Grass, Mineral, Orchid, Peach, Pear, Seaweed, Spinach, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Violet

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

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94

Good frick easteaguy, we would probably restock the same selection of teas if we were to ever swap because you added this one first.

Well, this oolong is certainly special. Although I would easily re-order all of the teas I got in this recent order, and I am staving off drinking them down to keep them as long as possible, this one has a special place out of most of them so far. I expected this tea be something similar to a Darjeeling or an Oriental Beauty, but there is more to the tea than stonefruit notes, muscatel red grape notes, and slight woodiness.

First off, the dry leaf scent is amazing. Autumn leaves, honey, fruit flowers, fried rice, and butter was what I got. Drinking it, this tea had the nectarine-peach-apricot note that I’m used to from Nepal teas, but it also was brimming with the scent and the taste of bee pollen mid-sip, and ever lingering in the honeyed thick aftertaste. They combine so well with a slight and pleasant dryness in the mid sip to be finished off by honey sweetness. The color was amber, and so that was the color of its energy….whoah…shades of gold displayed naturally …Again, that bee pollen note makes me think I’m drinking a sunset on an orchard in the spring, or even a sunset in the fall with the trees aging and the fruit ready for harvest. This really should be a fall tea because of its autumn leaf qualities, and it is the kinda tea that you read a book near an ornate fireplace, but the bee pollen note….it’s so good.

If only this were not one of the pricier ones. Obviously, this tea ranks as a good one if it gave me synesthesiatic visions. A part of me preferred this to the Bouquet because I could drink it any time of year with its sunny bee-pollen notes, but the Himalayan Bouquet did have some of my favorite notes in a greener oolong without the grassines… Anyway, I deeply enjoyed this one, and I recommend it more for tea snobs, or for someone that you can see turning into one because it is that seductive.

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90

This was my most recent sipdown. I had difficulty sleeping last night due to neck spasms, thus I stayed up late drinking tea and listening to music. At first, I was unimpressed by this flavored/scented oolong, but it grew on me in a big way over the course of my review session.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of rolled, scented tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 194 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 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 leaves emitted aromas of cream, butter, vanilla, and sticky rice. After the rinse, I noted emerging sugarcane and custard aromas and an almost overpowering sticky rice scent. The first infusion saw the sticky rice absolutely dominate the nose. In the mouth, the liquor offered strong notes of sticky rice, cream, butter, vanilla, and custard chased by hints of sugarcane and banana. Subsequent infusions gradually softened, revealing mineral, popcorn, grass, daylily shoot, spinach, and seaweed impressions in the mouth. The scent of sticky rice continued to dominate the nose, but it gradually smoothed out, allowing the scents of cream, butter, vanilla, sugarcane, and custard to reassert themselves somewhat. A hint of popcorn also gradually became evident on the nose. The final infusions were very soft and smooth, offering lingering sticky rice, butter, and mineral notes balanced by somewhat subtler impressions of vanilla, cream, popcorn, and seaweed.

I was tempted to give up on this tea after the first three infusions. Though I love sticky rice, this tea was way too heavy on the sticky rice aromas and flavors in the early goings. As I pressed forward, however, the characteristics of the tea began to assert themselves more and a nice balance of Jin Xuan and sticky rice was achieved. Due to this occurrence, I found that my opinion of this tea had done a complete 180 by the time I wrapped up my review session. Definitely a tea worth trying, give this one a shot if you are the sort of person who enjoys flavored oolongs.

Flavors: banana, Butter, Cream, Custard, Grass, Popcorn, Rice, Seaweed, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
CrowKettle

Yay! Glad this one worked out for you in the end :)

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91

It seems like every time I get started on getting my backlogged reviews posted, something happens that puts me further behind. This week it has been a combination of work craziness and a neck injury. The latter is nothing too serious, but my mobility is somewhat limited at the moment and will continue to be for at least the next two or three days. I’ve been able to keep up my drinking schedule, however, and have made more progress on the sample mountain, finishing a sample pouch of this tea around three or four days ago. Though Jin Jun Mei is normally not one of my things, I greatly enjoyed this one.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a very brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of honey, smoke, sweet potato, and sorghum molasses coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of malt and roasted walnut. The first infusion brought out a creamy scent as well as a quality that was almost floral. In the mouth, I noted flavors of smoke, cream, malt, sweet potato, sorghum molasses, roasted walnut, and roasted chestnut. Oddly, I detected no honey in the mouth, but I did get a fairly pronounced note of brown sugar on the swallow. Subsequent infusions displayed even stronger honey, sorghum molasses, and sweet potato aromas as well as something of an increased nuttiness. There were some touches of brown sugar on the nose too. New flavors of candied ginger, minerals, orange peel, and caramel revealed themselves alongside stronger notes of brown sugar and subtle, belatedly emerging impressions of honey. The final infusions offered mineral, cream, and caramel notes balanced by touches of candied ginger, brown sugar, and orange peel.

A pleasant and relatively durable Wuyi black tea, this was not quite what I was expecting. I figured that this tea would be incredibly honeyed and sweet, but this was smoother and more balanced with a nice, crisp, sharp texture in the mouth. I’m still not entirely sold on Jin Jun Mei, but this tea made me appreciate teas of this style more. For fans of traditional Wuyi black teas, this would most certainly be a tea worth trying.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Caramel, Chestnut, Cream, Ginger, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Walnut

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Yeah, I got this tea, and pretty much second eastteaguys notes, but I am not sure about the rating yet.

I tried this thinking “Yeah, this is what I’d expect from a baozhong slirp-ooooh apple. But there are so many other teas to purchase, maybe I should not have gotten fifty grams-slirp mmm violet…..” And then I drank this for three mornings. It is particularly bright, green, immensely creamy, and immensely floral. Sweet pea, cream, vanilla, gardenia, green apple, and violet are the most prominent notes I get from this bad boy, and they can shift depending on how I do the gong fu. I do like this western a tad bit more since I’ve gotten more apple notes then with a touch of citrus in the aftertaste, whereas gong fu has brought out the more floral notes in momentary dividends.

Although I’d drink this tea anytime because Baozhongs are teas that I can’t really say no to, this is a spring tea for sure, when the cool air of the winter meets the sun for the new buds of the season. And this is not a tea that I would drink at night from the little buzz I get from the green notes and the caffeie. Again, this tea is very sunny.

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96

Why didn’t I get this when it was on sale, because this is one of the most versatile teas that I’ve had to date. I could drink it western or grandpa with just a sprinkle of leaves, and the notes of pear, vanilla, and rock sugar blended with minerals in a smooth texture. I got the same thing with lighter splashes gong fu, but with more leaves, and occasionally longer steeps, it can become sticky sweet, malty, and roasted with the vanilla in the background. The same logic applies western with more leaves. Of course, I could rebrew it twelve times gong fu….with about 6-7 grams of leaves in 6 oz.

That pretty much described why I really enjoyed the tea, but it was able to be sweeter than my high mountain oolongs, and smoother WITHOUT vegetal notes. As for the roast notes, those could be avoided with lighter steeps if I wanted to.

This was one of the few roasted oolongs that is sweeter because of its roast for my palette, and this is something that I highly recommend to anyone who likes roasted pear or wants something unique because I’ve had few teas with the same notes that this one has.

LuckyMe

This sounds intriguing. Fruity roasted teas are the kind i seek out. Will have to check this out

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70

It starts off with almost no taste. Let it soak a bit at first to get the ball open. After its open you get an extremely earthy strong taste straight up tastes like grass and moss. Just like a forest smells. Tastes way more like a pureh typically does and almost nothing like an oolong. Lasts for a ton of steeps. Just not really my thing.

Flavors: Forest Floor, Hay, Wet Earth, Wet Moss, Wet Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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88

It starts off with a light roasted and sweet taste. It quickly grows into a heavy roast and then around steep 8 switches around into a sweet taste. Not a heavy one but an extremely pleasant flavor that contrasts and enhances the toasty flavor reminds me of apples somehow. Been steeping it for a couple hours now and it hasn’t given out at all. Highly recommend it.

Flavors: Apple, Burnt, Dark Wood, Honey, Roasted, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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92

Continuing the posting of reviews from this week’s black tea kick, we arrive at the second black tea sample I finished over the course of the last few days. I greatly enjoyed the previous Shan Tuyet teas offered by What-Cha and could not resist the urge to just tear through this one. Of the the group, this ended up being my favorite. It was a sweeter, subtler, more delicate black tea compared to the other Shan Tuyet black tea that I tried.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves presented aromas of raisin, honey, and prune. After the rinse, I found new aromas of baked bread, citrus, and roasted chestnut. The first infusion then brought out aromas of roasted peanut and candied orange peel. In the mouth, the liquor offered notes of honey, raisin, prune, malt, lemon zest, and roasted chestnut underscored by hints of roasted peanut. Subsequent infusions brought out a stronger citrus presence as well as caramel and sorghum molasses on the nose. Impressions of baked bread and candied orange peel belatedly emerged in the mouth alongside notes of caramel, sorghum molasses, brown toast, pine, cream, butter, fig, cocoa, and minerals. The final infusions offered lingering mineral, lemon zest, pine, and roasted chestnut notes underscored by fleeting impressions of brown toast, fig, and honey.

An interesting black tea with tremendous complexity and depth both on the nose and in the mouth, I am a little surprised that this tea did not received more attention here on Steepster and in other places. In my opinion, these Shan Tuyet teas have really flown under the radar of most tea lovers. They are very much worth investigating. Check this one and/or any of the other Shan Tuyet teas on the market out if you get the opportunity.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Butter, Caramel, Chestnut, Cocoa, Cream, Dried Fruit, Fig, Honey, Lemon Zest, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Orange, Peanut, Pine, Raisins

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Okay, I’m back. These last few days have wiped me out. I have had to put in a ton of work hours and getting everything ready to start school in the summer is driving me up the wall. In order to maintain both a level of energy conducive to being productive and my seemingly eroding sanity, I have been mowing down black tea samples like crazy. This was the first of the bunch that I finished and it definitely did a lot to push me into my current black tea kick. I found this to be a mellow, yet exceptionally rewarding, black tea.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a brief rinse (I more or less flash rinse most black teas), I steeped 4 grams of loose tea leaves in a 4 ounce gaiwan filled with 203 F water for 3 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 5 seconds, 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of honey, caramel, and molasses. After the rinse, I noted emerging aromas of malt, sweet potato, and roasted walnut. The first infusion then brought out hints of cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered dominant malty notes backed by milder impressions of molasses, cream, and sweet potato and some hints of spice on the swallow. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas of brown toast, cocoa, and herbs on the nose. Molasses, sweet potato, and cream notes were stronger in the mouth, and the spice impressions quickly became more prominent as the previously missing notes of roasted walnut, honey, and caramel belatedly emerged. New impressions of candied orange peel, leather, brown toast, camphor, cocoa, pine, eucalyptus, spruce, tobacco, plum, raisin, black pepper, and minerals also revealed themselves in the mouth. The final infusions presented subtler notes of minerals, brown toast, pine, malt, camphor, and eucalyptus balanced by delicate roasted walnut, black pepper, honey, and cocoa impressions.

Compared to most of the Yunnan black teas I have tried to this point, this one was noticeably lighter, smoother, and more delicate. I’m guessing that the age of my sample had something to do with that. It was one that I had bought either at the end of 2016 or the start of 2017 and forgot about entirely before organizing the sample hoard. Overall, I greatly enjoyed this tea. It had aged incredibly gracefully while in my keep, and should What-Cha ever restock it, I would very likely purchase it again.

Flavors: Black Pepper, Brown Toast, Camphor, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Eucalyptus, Honey, Leather, Malt, Mineral, Molasses, Nutmeg, Orange, Pine, Plums, Raisins, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Walnut, Wood

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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80

Guys, I have been so lazy with regard to posting reviews lately. I’ve been working on finishing a bunch of samples and once again have so many backlogged reviews that getting a start on posting them has been problematic. As a general life update, work is crazy for me right now and I’m getting ready to go back to school in the summer (finally gave up on my dissatisfying career path and decided to fulfill the admissions prerequisites for graduate programs in occupational therapy), so it’s not like I’ve been doing nothing. I just haven’t been regularly posting here. I finished a sample of this tea a couple days ago. I’m a big fan of Huoshan Huang Ya (despite not getting to have it all that frequently), and I had high hopes for this one, but it ended up being a minor disappointment. It was a very nice tea in a lot of ways, but it turned more than a bit astringent in each preparation I tried. I brewed it both gongfu and Western and it turned distractingly astringent each time I started to get near the end of the drinking session.

The best preparation for this one was probably gongfu. I started off with a quick rinse before steeping 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 176 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 15 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, I detected aromas of hay, roasted chestnut, and bamboo coming from the dry tea leaves. After the rinse, I found an emerging hint of honey alongside stronger impressions of roasted chestnut. The first infusion saw a stronger bamboo aroma poke through all the nuttiness on the nose. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered notes of bamboo, hay, and roasted chestnut chased by impressions of butter, grass, lettuce, and honey. Subsequent infusions saw a strong umami impression make itself known both on the nose and in the mouth. Cream, spinach, mineral, green bean, and malt notes emerged in the mouth alongside hints of fresh flowers (squash blossom and amaryllis), seaweed, peas, and smoke. From about the 40 second mark on, astringency steadily asserted itself, building with each infusion. The last infusions displayed a dominant astringency and persistent mineral, umami, grass, and seaweed notes underscored by touches of bamboo, roasted chestnut, green beans, butter, and malt.

The description above almost certainly makes this tea seem much worse than it was. To be clear, it was both intriguing and satisfying in a lot of ways, but I could not get over how astringent it became. Everything prior to the 40 second infusion was truly great, but from that point forward, the tea was steadily less enjoyable, and not in the way the later steeps of gongfu sessions almost always are. All in all, this ended up being a B- tea for me. It started off wonderfully, but declined way more than anticipated. Just know that the later infusions were not nearly enough to sink it and I would still encourage curious drinkers to give this tea a shot.

Flavors: Astringent, Bamboo, Butter, Chestnut, Cream, Floral, Grass, Green Beans, Hay, Honey, Lettuce, Malt, Mineral, Peas, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Squash Blossom, Umami

Preparation
6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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90

Thank you Alistair! Man, did these little leaves pack a punch. The chocolaty cocoa and leafy aroma was in the tea before brewing, and then it was accented when brewed. I was going to do this tea Western, but did it semi-gong fu both times after 30 second rinses using 4 grams each times. It had an immense chocolaty taste like a Bai Lin Gong Fu Chinese Black tea, and had sweet notes that made me think of sugar, making the tea almost syrupy. It only lasted for six cups in the first gong fu, and three in the other one that resembled western. The cocoa and caraway was more pronounced in longer steeps making it a little bit more malty, but the notes were more interesting sweet notes in the shorter steeps.

I’d have to try this again to experiment more with less leaves western. Again, the little leaves are deceptively strong, and I highly recommend this tea to black tea lovers and chocolate note loving drinkers.

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80

Here’s a tea I have been looking forward to reviewing for some time. I somehow ended up with two sample pouches of this tea over the course of the past year. I think I bought one and then received another as a free sample with a later What-Cha order. I worked through both of them earlier in the week after reorganizing my sample bin. Though I am a huge fan of Georgian black tea, this was probably my least favorite of the Georgian black teas from What-Cha that I have tried. Despite that, I still found it to be a more or less very good tea and especially appreciated its smoothness and lack of astringency.

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 rinse the leaves and I also did not attempt any subsequent infusions.

Prior to infusion, the dry tea leaves produced mild aromas of honey, raisin, and chocolate. Aromas of malt, caramel, and roasted almond then appeared after infusion. In the mouth, the liquor offered rather delicate, smooth notes of cream, malt, steamed milk, honey, golden raisin, milk chocolate, and roasted almond underscored by leather, date, fig, brown sugar, apricot, and plum impressions. The finish was very smooth and mellow with pronounced cream and malt notes backed by distant apricot, plum, raisin, and fig flavors.

Like most of the Georgian black teas that I have tried, this was a very approachable, mellow, and forgiving tea. Unlike the others, I found this one to be a little flat in the mouth and felt that its finish was a little lacking. Those are comparatively minor quibbles, however, as I would have no issue with giving this tea another shot in the near future. Overall, this tea was definitely worth a try, but I feel that What-Cha has offered some better Georgian black teas in the past.

Flavors: Almond, Apricot, Brown Sugar, Chocolate, Cream, Dates, Fig, Honey, Leather, Malt, Milk, Plums, Raisins

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

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90

Cinnamon raisin, medium toasted. That’s what this tea tastes like to me. So rich and tasty. Sweet, no astringency.

Again, I am sucker for black teas with a raisin description. I have no idea, I hate actual raisins. But I just LOVE it as a flavor profile. I will easily go through my sample, and would buy again.

Preparation
1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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80

I really love the raw dry leaf scent from this. Coming off just having a milk oolong, I smell similarities. Buttered spinach. Veggie goodness!

This reminds me of a Sencha Karigane. There’s just a slight roasted taste to it than a sencha. A very easy to drink drink. I followed the brewing instructions to the T. I have only had another Korean tea. I know I will want to try more!

Flavors: Butter, Spinach

Preparation
155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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gong-fu 205F
10s- hay, sweet, thick, floral aftertaste
10s, 20s- floral, sweet like clover blossoms, thick; ball is still pretty together
30s- lost the sweet spot, more woody, drier
I went back to 20s – floral, but deeper, darker, honey
20,20,20, 6 steeps on and still some dry leaf?! I’ll need to break this up a little more next time.

Flavors: Floral, Hay, Honey, Sweet, Thick

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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85

This tea has already been thoroughly described. I actually got a bit of a rice note when drinking it, and in the dry leaf. I was not quite sure how to rate it. I would drink this tea pretty often if I could turn it into a daily drinker because I like it that much. I actually enjoyed that it was not as roasted tasting as some of the Taiwan Gui Fei I had. I might rate it higher in terms of taste later on, but know that I am very much satisfied with this tea.

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85

I liked this one a lot. I was able to get eight cups and I did not want it to end a lot. It was super sweet and citrusy with a creamy texture and floral background. More will come on this one.

Evol Ving Ness

I found this one to be very enjoyable too.

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