Popular Teas from White2TeaSee All 575 Teas
Recent Tasting Notes
Gongfu, filtered Brita water off the boil. Several shu puers later, I’ve figured out that I probably just don’t like Shu Pu ers, and it’s not an issue with the teas themselves. I don’t like earthy flavors, which draw medicinal associations for me, so I can never relate to the pretty descriptions. Not really sweet for me. Will try a grandpa brew tomorrow with the other half of the biscuit I ordered and update.
Flavors: Mushrooms, Wood
Got this as a free sample with my White2Tea order. This is my first time drinking a white tea coin, so I don’t have anything to compare it to in particular. As others have noted, it was indeed packed tightly. 4 steeps in, the coin was still not coming apart properly, so I took a paring knife and pried it apart, which didn’t change the flavor much for me, so I guess it’s fine. Overall, a good mellow daily I would think, though it was not interesting enough for me to consider buying more. I used Brita filtered water, with temps right off the boil, and discarded the first steep. It never got bitter, but left a little bit of a dry mouthfeel afterwards each time. The infusions turned out a little darker than I expected, with times from 10s to several min towards the end.
Not sure if this affected my brew, but I dropped my gaiwan lid and it shattered, so I was left with no lid during my session.
It’s thick. It’s sweet. It’s floral. All qualities I should like on paper.
It’s soapy. It’s alkaline. It’s drying.
I tried. I really did. I made it 3 steeps before having to stop. I looked at the leaves drying in my gaiwan for 2 days after and couldn’t bring myself to try again. I can see why others enjoyed it, namely for its intensely forward sweetness and fragrance, but it’s simply not for me. I came into the session expecting a mineral Wuyi oolong but it’s instead like some kind of bastardized Dancong oolong, which I don’t much care for to begin with. Thanks anyway for the try, White Antlers :) Glad the majority of the bag went to people who can appreciate it.
Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Dry Grass, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Fruity, Graham Cracker, Grass, Heavy, Honey, Honeysuckle, Lychee, Marshmallow, Oak wood, Orange, Perfume, Red Fruits, Smooth, Soap, Sweet, Thick, Tropical
Hot Brandy is interesting. I’m still relatively new to gongfu-ing teas and in my head white teas are delicate and light like silver needle steeped western style and blacks are all sort of English Breakfast-y. Combining those two things sounded weird and not especially pleasant to me but I added one Hot Brandy mini to my order because it was cheap and other teas that didn’t sound great to me have been surprisingly delicious. Hot Brandy is more like aged pressed whites that start tasting a bit like black tea. There are sweet and fruity flavors like I’ve come to expect from shou mei or moonlight whites and then there’s that thick and creamy, feels-like-you-could-chew-it mouthfeel I’ve noticed in fancier black teas like gold needle. It seemed like earlier steeps tasted more like white tea and as it went on the black tea flavor got stronger. At one point I thought I could taste cherry…that reminded me I need to re-order more of that aged dahongpao I thought tasted like dark chocolate covered cherries. Toward the end I wasn’t getting that thick tongue-coating feeling anymore and the flavor weakened into lighter somewhat fruity black tea. It was nice. I don’t know that it’s amazing enough to order in bulk but I’d drink it again without any complaints and might even sneak another ball or two into a future order.
I was all excited about finishing my tube of toothpaste last night because my new one is Vanilla Chai flavored (I hate minty dental care products)…and then I realized how sad my life must be if tea flavored toothpaste is this exciting for me. So I did what any reasonable tea-addict would do and fired up the kettle for a cup of chenpi tea to make me feel better about my non-existent life.
Using my Bodum The de Chine glass mug with glass filter (so proud of myself for remembering to not use a gongfu bottle and having to spend the next week or two trying to get the orange smell out of the rubber seals and plastic connector thing!) but only filling it a tiny bit above the bottom of the handle. That level seems to be enough to cover most minis but not be too watery for gongfu. Someday I’ll measure to find out exactly how much water that is.
I was a little nervous about Saturday Mass because of the description talking about it being all dark and medicinal but it smells a lot like my beloved Golden Horse stuffed tangerines to me. It smells quite orangey but the orange flavor isn’t as strong as some chenpi teas I’ve had. Not sure if there’s less peel in this one or if it’s just hiding in the leaves. The peel in this does seem darker than some others, the age maybe? I don’t know. It smells great. Kind of nice to have more of the tea flavor coming through, though I do enjoy stronger orange flavor too. It didn’t seem to last many steeps but I wasn’t exactly being careful with water amounts and steep times. Maybe I’ll try it grandpa next time.
Gongfu Sipdown (1286)!
Drank this over lunch today – I had originally planned to have a smoked Lapsang, but I opted at the last moment to go unsmoked so I could sneak in a sipdown instead. over lunch!! I was surprised by how sweet and bread-y the early infusions of this Lapsang were; like fresh baked caraway bread with honey and raisins! Super malty and thick as well. I always get notes of cumin, star anise, baker’s chocolate, red fruit, and just a hint of pine sap. Definitely not as “spiced” tasting of a profile as anticipated, but I did love this full bodied and syrupy black tea and it was a lovely afternoon pick-me-up!!
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OLqYuM16B8
This is the final tea of my White2Tea Halloween ripe minis pack. So far I’ve been pretty pleased with all of them. I haven’t thought any were gross (which is good because I still have several of each left!), even if some might not have been exactly what I was in the mood for at the time. Planetary Shark Feed is still the favorite of the bunch.
I sort of had a little accident while getting ready to drink this one. I spilled my “salty water” (water with Nuun fruit punch flavor electrolyte tablets) and some got on the Lumber ball wrapper. The tea ball itself doesn’t smell fruit punchy so hopefully it wasn’t enough to affect the flavor. Going with the smaller gongfu bottle, filling the water side slightly past half full, guessing about 120-130ml.
I don’t usually do two rinses but I did this time, hoping to remove any fruit punch flavors that might have gotten on the outside of the ball. It smells like…soggy bark and pine needles. Like when the snow starts to melt in the woods. Things aren’t frozen anymore but they haven’t started to dry out yet. Or maybe wet campfire. Not really smoky but like the day after you put out your campfire with water. I don’t know but it smells woodsy. I smell a little bit of something sweet too…I hope it isn’t from the fruit punch. The first steep was lighter than I expected. I thought I’d get a lot of really earthy flavors but it was more drinking tea in the woods than drinking the woods for tea. Second steep was a little stronger but not much different. I’m liking the Lumber ball more than I thought I would. I was afraid it’d be just dirt and wet leaves and wasn’t looking forward to it but thought I should give it a try anyway before figuring out my next tea orders. Each steep gets a bit more earthy but I like how it eases into it instead of punching you in the face right away. Funny how teas you don’t really think you’ll like can surprise you.
I’ve been putting off trying this one, maybe because of the name? I don’t know. I’ve drunk other teas grandpa style without any problems but this one makes me think of how my grandfather drinks “tea” (big scoop of Lipton lemon flavored instant powder with cool tap water, keep reusing the same glass over and over until someone realizes you’ve been using that glass all week without washing it and swaps it out so they can soak off all the chewing tobacco slobbers glued on the sides).
Trying to give this tea a fair chance and not be grossed out before I even try it. Grandpa style, as recommended by the wrapper, 14oz Tryeh double walled glass bottle because I’m trying to remember if there was a reason I don’t use this bottle very often. Dry tea just kinda smells like tea, the wrapper had an odd sour scent but maybe it picked up smells from something in the ripe tea box or was a different kind of paper than the others. Brewed tea smells sweet (but mercifully not like grandfather’s sugary instant tea!). Maybe sort of breakfasty? Like waffles and coffee and other breakfast foods all mashed together. Maybe almost some black licorice in there somewhere? Cinnamon? I spent quite a bit of time just breathing in the steam as I waited for the tea to cool enough to drink. Maybe that’s why I don’t use this bottle often, it takes too long to cool to drinkable temperature but doesn’t hold heat well enough to keep drinks hot all day. And the outside of the bottle gets pretty warm for being double-walled. Flavor is strong but smooth. There’s a kind of brown sugar or caramel sweetness. I don’t know what I was expecting from this tea but it wasn’t this. Something about it makes me think of a little diner full of older couples at breakfast time, one of those places where the customers have been going there for breakfast every weekend for the last 60 years. It’s not wild and exciting but I like it. I have several balls left so I might experiment with other brewing methods but grandpa style works pretty well.
Still working my way through the big White2Tea ripe minis Halloween pack. I think I only have Grandpa’s and Lumber Balls after this.
The wrapper smells like fruit (is it weird to sniff the wrapper?). Dry tea also smells fruity but not as much as the wrapper. After a quick rinse the wet leaf smells sweet like caramel and dried fruit (black raisins, maybe?). I started with the little baby gaiwan because it was clean and within reach but but it was too much tea for such a small brewing vessel. And I wasn’t really tasting any of the caramel-y fruity stuff I was smelling. So after three or so steeps I scooped all the leaves into a mug and went grandpa style until it lost its flavor. Not fussing with short steeps gave me time to leisurely sip and browse teaware. I realized I don’t have a larger “real” gaiwan and should probably do something about that. I have plenty of pots and easy gaiwan/quick-pot type things but no big regular gaiwans. The tea is smoother and more pleasant grandpa style than brewed with a too-small gaiwan but I still couldn’t taste the interesting things I could smell. It’s not a bad tea but disappointing that it smells better than it tastes. Maybe stuffing it down to the bottom of the tea box and forgetting about it for a while will improve it. It’s still drinkable as is and White2Tea’s description of it being an uncomplicated daily drinker seems pretty accurate. Maybe it was those first few concentrated steeps and drinking them on an empty stomach but the “tea derp” is pretty strong with this one. I feel like I need a nap.
I’m going to feel unoriginal with this one. I think Andrew or Evolvingness might have sent some a long time ago of this one because I swear that I’ve had it. Granted, I’m behind on my backlog, but there a few notes I know I wrote that were not saved during the transition like the Amber Oolong Whispering Pines one. Oh well, I’ll add more.
Back to this tea. Berry malt was one that I almost decided to get myself, but the shipping costs detract me from a lot of the White2teas options.I almost got myself some Fruit Bomb and their Daily Jin Jun Mei and Qi Lan Oolong, but then my wallet said no. I know, Canadians have it worse, but I’ve got other options. Thanks to Whiteantlers, I get to try this one. It is one of the smoother malty teas I’ve had, and while the fruit notes are stronger in the smell than in tastes, I still get a fruit leather taste from it.
It reminds me a little bit of Ancient Spirit since it’s got some balmy dryness to it along with some oak and older wood with the usual cocoa you’d expect from a Chinese tea. Malt and berries are obvious, but the tea overall tastes like malted raspberry leather. More specifically, like those fruit based natural fruit rollups.
I tried Gong Fu, but got distracted by 5 things like settinig my new insulin pump up, College PD applications, and so on, so it turned mega western-and emphasis on malt, raspberry, very slight and easy to miss cranberry, and leather. It was a little bitter and drying, but it actually was not bad at all. This one reminds me of a decent Cabernet in how it combines its notes on a dryer level. Even the notes I use for this tea are identical to what you would find on a Cab’s bottle for marketing.
I like this one, but I don’t love it so far. My preferences are contradictory when it comes to malt. I usually avoid buying black and oolong teas if it says malt, nevermind some of my favorites are some of the maltier teas described on steepster. If the tea just tastes like malt, it doesn’t really taste too different than some bagged teas in my preference. If it has malt combined with something else going on the tea, like caramel, chocolate, berries, honey, bread, then I get more interested.
The fruit leather with the malt keep me interested enough to experiment more with this one, but I don’t think I’m going to finish it quick. If anyone wants this tea or any of my other teas, I’d be happy to share. Then again, most of you are in the exact same boat where you’ve gotten a lot of teas just to try them, but have gotten more than you wanted because the industry needs us to get more than 10 gram samples to eliminate inventory. I have some Renegade Tea, Dan Cong, and Shui Xian bricks I have smelled and touched, but haven’t finished. I also have some really expensive teas I’ve refused to touch to save for a special occasion, which is also code for “I haven’t cleaned my good tea ware yet, but I will when my body is not hibernating 2020 off to speed track the year.”
Apologies for going to off topic. Again. Now the tea, I like it and think it’s a step up from most blacks. If this one is rushed, I can see the tea snobs brushing it off as one dimensional nevermind this tea is NOT one note. I think Gong Fu is the way to go for it so you don’t miss out on what it can do. I think it may be decent tumbler fuel if you don’t over leaf it, and it’s actually good when I’ve poured it over ice. Just sugar with it western might be better if you do it that way, but I also think it could stand up to cream and sugar. You’d need the sugar to highlight the berry notes and enough leaves to preserve the flavor in my opinion.
Flavors: Berry, Cocoa, Cranberry, Leather, Malt, Oak wood, Raisins, Raspberry
Gongfu Sipdown (1287)!
I probably should have waited and had this on Saturday, for the joke, but I was craving Chenpi and it was an easy sipdown…
The coin was a tea order freebie, but I also blind caked this one in a previous order because I do love me some chenpi shou – and I’ve had really good experiences with White2Tea’s. I’m very glad I blind caked this; it’s reeeaalllyyy thick & full bodied, but very clean and well rounded tasting at the same time. Really robust & bordering on medicinal tasting chenpi with a brothy tasting shou as thick as mud. Just bitter enough.
You know it’s a good tea session when your gaiwan looks like it’s seem some shit afterwards!
This morning I realized that this tea (at least the cake I own) is representative of my Puerh journey and perhaps my tea journey in general. Brief history. I got big into tea in high school in the early 90s after my parents brought back some loose tea and a Brown Betty teapot from a vacation in England that I still regret declining. Soon after my mom found an ad in a gourmet magazine for a company selling single estate teas. Hence begun my tea journey in 1991. I was particularly fond of black teas and the only puerh I’d tasted was in 2003 was a mini tuo of shou that the vendor instructed to brew western style. Of course it tasted like rotten mushrooms and I gave it to someone who’d drink anything and I never thought of puerh again until 2017 when my mom pulled out a Saveur magazine and told me about an article about people getting high on puerh teas and how horrible it sounded, to which I replied gimme that, snagged the magazine which contained the interview with Paul from W2T and quickly made an order. So this is 1 of the first cakes I’ve bought almost 4 years ago and it’s seen the evolution of my tea drinking tastes, storage methods and the ever evolving question of whether one can effectively age tea in the west. The answer is YES!!! When I bought this tea it was full of youthful citric, stone fruit, herbal, floral and minty notes with an uncommon thickness. I made the same mistake as many noobs and allowed it to dry out and lose character. It was then that I learned about crock storage and brought some life back to it…for a while. By 2019 this tea was in in awkward phase and while it still had good qi the flavor was meh. At this point I’d begun dealing with multiple vendors and my tasted leaned more toward the more robust teas of eastern Yiwu, Yibang and Gedeng so this tea got little attention. About this time I learned about experiments in heated storage and decided to use this tea (and my other 3-7 year old awkward teas) in the experiment. Briefly, for the uninitiated this involves heating a picnic cooler with a seeding mat to 85-90 deg f and placing cakes humidified to 60-70% into sealed Mylar bags and storing them in the cooler. Now I’ve had this method bring back top notes to say 3 year old teas and speed up the transformation of say 6-7 year old teas in which bottom notes were beginning to emerge but this is the only tea I’ve bought super fresh and was able to observe its transformation. I tasted this tea the first time this morning in the year that it’s been in heated storage and expected it to still be in its awkward stage as it’s still a little less than 5 years old. To my surprise I didn’t recognize it. I’ve been sampling a lot of drier Taiwan stored 7-14 year old boutique Yiwu teas from the likes of Yang Qing Hao, Chenyuan Hao, Biyun Hao etc and in its present state this tea fits right in with the more robust selections of the above. Woody notes have emerged and foresty camphorous notes dominate followed by sweet floral notes in the finish. Still super thick and stimulating mouthfeel. Still no plum notes but I expect these to arrive in perhaps another year. The qi, well I’m couchlocked and rambling about the evolution of a tea cake I’ve had 4 years and still managed to have 100g left when my reviews are typically short and sweet. It’d be interesting to taste this side by side with tea that’s been in Paul’s storage all this time. The point of this review, this tea is really good. You can effectively age tea in cool dry climates and heated storage can be very effective (at least in the relatively short term). No one has hotbox stored tea for a decade so who knows if adverse effects will arise.
Gongfu Sipdown (1289)!
Sipped this free Stone Milk sample, from my last order, yesterday afternoon with a new cup from Teaware House and the cutest colour changing lychee tea pet that was a Christmas gift from Marika (my Geek Steep partner). This yancha steeps quite thick, with a pronounced roast and mineral notes. Initial steeps reminded me of charred dill weed, though gradually that char note relaxed and the flavour got creamier with toasted buckwheat and slight herbaceous flavours coming more into focus! I was relieved that it was more herbaceous/charred/mineral because when I opened the sample bag it smelled a bit skunky/like cannabis. It tasted great though, and was a really relaxing session.
You best bet that, after almost a month of very little Gongfu during advents, that I’m making up for lost time during my vacation.
Last year I picked up some minis and a cake of the Tiltshift pressing and I was pretty impressed – this year I just went with minis, because I still have the majority of last year’s cake to drink through still. While I enjoyed the Tilshift pressing last year, it’s not my favourite white tea from W2T – but it is, in my humble opinion, the most gorgeous.
It was actually a surprisingly long session until those beautiful leaves steeped out. Smooth and creamy, with notes of honeysuckle, cucumber pulp, and white peach – when really pushed a bit more of a nectarine and very slight hawthorn. Near the end of the session, some steeps even tasted a touch like mellow honeydew! The honeydew really freaked me out (in a good way) because that’s not really a taste I typically experience from Moonlight White and I don’t remember if from last year’s pressing either. I’m going to have to dive back in at some point and see if I can recreate that flavour experience.
Since I drank this on Christmas Day, I was listening to carols – this is my favourite. Highly underrated IMO…
I started this one last night but dozed off after only a couple of steeps so I’m finishing it today. An advantage to keeping the house so cold and dry, I guess…it’s almost like storing my tea bottle in the fridge overnight, no gross funky spoiled tea flavors/smells if it sits for a while. I might be constantly bundled up in multiple layers of clothing or blankets and have daily nosebleeds from the dryness but at least the tea is still drinkable the next day. Priorities! (Don’t worry, my tea boxes get Boveda packets so they don’t have to endure the 20% humidity with me)
I haven’t met a chenpi tea I didn’t like. Big O v2 smells more orangey than it tastes to me but it’s tasty. It smells really good. I would buy a candle or potpourri or something that smells like this tea. Or maybe a bath product. (You listening, Lush? Enough with the chocolate-orange and citrus with more citrus blends, give me a chenpi pu-erh bath melt). It’s pleasantly tongue-tingly. Compared to Channel Orange, this one falls apart quickly and seems more “normal”. There isn’t anything really mind-blowing or complicated about it, it’s just good. Good, happy, sleepy tea that doesn’t make my brain hurt trying to figure out what I’m tasting.
It’s interesting to see how your tea habits change over time. Last winter I was really into ripe pu-erh with rose petals and raw cha gao. Over the summer/autumn it was more green teas and trying to find a raw pu-erh I really like. This winter I’ve been drinking lots of chenpi ripes and moonlight white.
(From the December W2T club)
Every year I regret not getting this club, so I finally went for it this year. Gorgeous looking leaves; how anyone can view Huangpian as ugly is beyond me!! Haven’t had a proper sheng session since this start of advents, so this is DEEPLY hitting the spot; thick liquor but soft flavours of wildflower honey, linden, and red fruits. Easy going session, and a great reward for finishing advents quickly today. Looking forward to seeing how this ages!
I don’t have a ton of experience with good black/red teas yet. I used to only drink black tea with cream and, if I was feeling extravagant, a bit of maple sugar, so I only bought “grocery store fancy” black teas. The good stuff is so much different and I can’t imagine adding cream or sugar to it.
I got one mini Redhead, mostly because the minis are cute and the wrapper artwork was interesting. I decided to try it out because I wanted tea but I also really wanted to stuff my face with the ridiculous giant donut I’d picked up earlier in the day (bright blue glaze, rainbow sprinkles and cubes of confetti cake stuck on top! I ❤️ my local vegan donut shop, even if I do feel like a bit of a fraud going in because I’m only lacto-veg). I wanted something with stronger flavor that wouldn’t be overshadowed by the mountain of sugar I was about to eat. I ended up eating the donut while the water was heating so it wasn’t really that big of an issue. I’m glad it worked out that way because Redhead was more interesting than I was anticipating.
The brewed tea is a really pretty clear reddish color. Teas like this make me understand why Chinese black teas are sometimes called reds. Definitely more red than coffee-colored cheapo black teas I drown in cream. It smells lighter and fruitier than the black teas I’m used to. If I didn’t know better I might think it was a berry flavored tea. Berry is in the flavor too. Almost but not quite like a berry oatmeal. And there’s an odd thick feeling that coats my tongue. The only other tea I’ve had that feels this way in the mouth is the Imperial Gold Needle from Yunnan Sourcing. The flavor is pretty different but the mouthfeel is similar. This isn’t one I’d drink every day but I like it. I was disappointed when I saw the other mini cake in the little baggie with Redhead wasn’t another Redhead. I checked my order list. I guess I only ordered one, for some reason I thought I ordered two. The other mini was a freebie of If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. Exciting that there’s another tea to try that I didn’t know I had but a tiny bit disappointing that I don’t have another Redhead for later. Not sure I’d get a big cake but I’ll probably try to squeeze a couple more minis in my next order.
Oooh, I like this one. A lot. In my opinion, it’s better than Moon Waffles. I’ll have to try them closer together for a better comparison but this might replace Yunnan Sourcing’s Moonlight dragon balls as my favorite Moonlight White. I’m annoyed that I only got a couple of Nightlife balls but my bank account was already whimpering about the size of my order. Definitely going on the re-order list, but should I do more balls or a full cake? I love single-serving balls/mini cakes for their convenience (and they’re just so cute!) and I find big cakes weirdly intimidating for some reason…still, cost per gram…and I still need to try Tiltshift too. I ordered just before this year’s Tiltshift was available or I probably would have gotten a ball or two of that as well.
But anyway…Nightlife is fruity and sweet and smooth. I’m awful at picking out individual flavor notes. Maybe some white grape and a little lemon? Maybe a tiny bit of that creamy vanilla-ness I love so much in the aftertaste? I keep thinking I smell vinegar. I’m not sure if something about the tea itself makes me think vinegar or if the rubber seals of my tea bottle have absorbed some vinegar smell from the last thorough cleaning to remove Tea build-up. Or maybe it’s just my cranky sinuses being weird. Thankfully, I’m not getting any vinegary flavor. I’m using my smaller tea bottle this time. I think the section for Tea leaves is 100ml and the section for water is 200ml but I’m only filling it around 1/2-2/3 full and that seems like a good amount of water. I started the steeps at around 20sec but I didn’t use a timer and I’m horrible about getting distracted while trying to count the seconds. Going a little bit over the intended time didn’t have any negative effects that I could detect. I was distracted by the cat being cute and let one steep get cold before drinking it but it was still tasty. A lot of teas taste a bit harsh and bitter to me when they’re cold but this one was just as delicious cold as it was hot. The flavors and mouthfeel reminded me of drinking fruit juice. After swallowing my tongue feels a little dry but it’s not an extreme “tongue just shriveled up and died” astringency. Which is good! I can’t stand that feeling. I drank half a dozen or so steeps, had a nice little nap and then came back for a couple more steeps. Since caffeine tends to make me sleepy, tea-induced naptime or tea right before bed is pretty common for me.
This one was interesting. I could kind of taste something sort of chocolate in the first steep or two. Not as strong as tea with chocolate flavoring added but maybe like you had a cup of hot cocoa and then decided to make tea in the same cup without rinsing it out very well first. I hoped the chocolatey flavors would last through all the steeps but it became more savory instead. It reminded me of when I’ve added a pinch of salt to my tea…I’m on a high-sodium diet for chronic low blood pressure, there isn’t much I haven’t tried adding salt to. It wasn’t super salty like your average packaged broth/stock but it seemed slightly salty compared to most of the teas in my stash. The really oily mouthfeel was a new experience for me too. It made me think of broth even more, or maybe heavy cream. I was disappointed it didn’t last for many steeps but I think I could probably make it go longer with less water and hotter water. The thermos I had my water in didn’t hold the heat as well as I would have liked and I was using a mug with an infuser thingie, just eyeballing the water level at about 1/3 of a mug. Next time I’ll try a smaller brewing vessel. I think I like Smoove Cocoa enough to finish the cute little mini tong but I’m not sure yet whether it’ll go on my re-order list.