918 Tasting Notes


Wow, this makes for an excellent grandpa style tea. The tea was like drinking dew on top of fresh linens near a lemon tree. As in, it was a typical white tea with a fresh, pure, sweet, and floral profile. I continue to recommend this one for white tea lovers, and it is something that I will continue to try to bring to work-because it is relaxing.

On the same note, What-Cha has MANY new offerings that I am highly willing to try; it’s just difficult because I need to minimize my finances to essentials, and hopefully investments and new skills…and following through on those efforts. I gotta admit that this week was not great, but pretty average for a teacher. Let’s see if I can get through a year.


Teachers are way underpaid!

Daylon R Thomas

It’s actually a really mixed bag as to weather or not teachers are underpaid, often depending on the district and the costs of living for the area. I’ve met teachers who make around $70,000 with certifications in Social Studies and special ed., but for entry level teachers, their pay is 36,000 entering the field. The average pay of 56,000 is not bad with decent benefits and the option to have a job for the summer-but there’s the question of whether you actually have a pensions, 501 k, or some kind of investment for retirement; or better yet, how many student loans you have to pay off. I’m in student teaching right now for a full year, and I am basically paying $30,000 to work for free this year. I have full financial aid this year, but I still have my own amount of loans leftover to pay off from my actual degree. So from that perspective, teachers are definitely underpaid.

From there on, the question gets complicated. Some consider teachers to be a low skilled profession limited to education or the academic subject that person is teaching-nevermind there are several teachers with master’s degrees or at least have some skill on the side. It’s also otherwise hard to compare to other professions in terms of it being “underpaid” on paper because it has unique needs and considerations. There have been some assertions that we are paid well compared to other professionals working the same amount of hours and a few tax deductions, but again, the time “off” is typically spent on another job, lesson planning, professional develop, and continued education for the sake of what we are teaching. There are the expenses that the teacher invests in their classroom just to make sure its a good environment based on what is available to them. Otherwise, there are very few incentives to innovate depending on the school and district, and way too many opportunities for the profession to be undermined as glorified babysitting teaching students irrelevant material for the real world.

I can go on and on since the topic of education is so complicated on its own in the U.S., but I won’t go further so that we all don’t burn rubber for the sake of burning rubber.

Daylon R Thomas

Wow, my head is spinning.


Right, my mom is a retired teacher, so I know the intricacies and factors involved. Simply put, after seeing the time and effort she put into her job (granted, not all teachers are nearly as devoted), and money for supplies and so on and so forth, it’s something I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.


My mother is also a retired teacher, and I second what Fjellrev says. :)


“ The tea was like drinking dew on top of fresh linens near a lemon tree.” Love it! Wonderful description. I must have this tea!

Daylon R Thomas

It’s insane how many people on this site is related to teaching in one way or the other.


I’m yet another person whose parent is a retired teacher. I echo everything people have mentioned above. The right school district with enough resources to support its teachers is often the deciding factor between whether teaching becomes a rewarding career or just another aggravating job. Best of luck to you as you embark on your new career Daylon!


Current teacher here; 12 years under my belt. I wish you the best of luck with your career. Student teaching can suck – paying someone so you can work is a bit disheartening, especially when you hear of college sophomores in business or engineering getting their first paid internship! Anyway, hang in there. If things don’t feel right, keep your options open.
In the meantime – keep enjoying quality tea!

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Sip down. I needed something thick like a black tea, and nuanced like a white, so this was the best option I had to finish. Cocoa and bready goodness is present dry, and enhanced brewed. First few steeps had light amber, malt, and honey in the profile. Caramel came up in steep two, and the grain notes typical of a Shang Tea popped up. I got the lychee in the third steep, but the rose quality was not really there, but there was an aftertaste that reminded of rose water texture. The tea was always viscous, and as everyone else has said, this hong cha is a refined lighter one.

Again, I think that this tea is something that everyone on here should try especially if you are looking to see what Black can offer. My only hesitation is the price, but then again, you would not want to drink this tea all the time. I personally can only drink it if I am in the mood for it.

This is one of the better hong cha’s I’ve had, but it’s not the best in my opinion. I agree with the consensus on this one and will rate it an 88.

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I swear I added a note to this one. Whatever.

Sipdown, and a huge thank you to Nicole! The other notes pretty much describe what’s going on with this tea: it is a combo between a white tea’s grainy-melon dryness and an Oriental Beauty’s starchy-honey sweetness. Dry oats, flowers, honey, and malt are what I get in every cup but in slight varieties. The first two steeps were the thickest, and the last few were the faintest and the most floral. Butter best describes the general texture.

I am glad to have tried this very unique tea, but I would not buy it again. Though the quality is bona fide, the dry profile is not something I would want to pay money for again and again. I would not say no if I were offered it again, however. This is a tea belongs to a crowd intentionally expanding its palette for sure, and while I think it is easy to drink for someone newly getting in to tea, the starchy floral dryness might detract them unless they have a very dry palette. This tea would be more comparable to say a sweeter Chardonnay or a medium White Zin….if that remotely makes sense. Please correct me if I am wrong. In the end, I recommend a sample of this tea before you decide to add this to your collection, or if you are a white tea lover, this oolong might suit your tastes just fine for novelty.

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drank Alishan Oolong by Unytea
918 tasting notes

Thank you for the sample Jeff!

I’ve been wanting to try some Unytea again, and their oolong selection was especially good this year. There was another pre-sale of the Qi Lai Shan that I had to participate in since I’ve always wanted to try that tea-a gaoshan off the bucket list in other words. The Qi Lai was actually cheaper compared to other vendors, and though it was expensive, I decided to get a decent amount to enjoy in case I want more later…like I always do with the tea I am writing about now.

Again, I was very tempted to get a few ounces of this one because it is one of the better Alishans I’ve had so far, especially in how it gets sweeter and fruitier in the later steeps. I’ve seen a lot of writers talk about that for this kind of oolong, but I’ve experienced it seldomly. This particular batch has the development in folds. The first steep was typical floral creaminess undertoned by thick grassiness at 20 seconds, then the second 35 sec. brew yielded something that almost resembled the texture of bubblegum. Think fruit tree flower flavored bubblegum. The next few steeps get sweeter and more honeydew melon like, and sometimes, there were sweater notes that reminded me of a sweet kiwi. Does anyone else get that?

Anyway, this is a fabulous tea that I wish I could afford more of. I think everyone should try it at least once, and though experienced drinkers will definitely like it, there are a few that might be pickier when it comes to this tea.

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Why do oolongs always open up a month after you open the bag? Seriously, every gaoshan oolong becomes 10% better after I first try it.

Anyway, I grandpa styled this at my placement school last week and the fruit and floral notes were heavy amidst crisp lettuce ones. Basically, the rating would go from a 75-80 based on how it lushly improved. It also gave me a little bit of a caffiene rush, especially considering the earlier Fog Cutter cuppa joe pumpin’ through my veins…I’m a student teacher, don’t judge me.

Evol Ving Ness

I’m a student teacher, don’t judge me.

:) :)


I used to be a student teacher. Feel free to judge me. :)

Daylon R Thomas

Lol Mr. English. Mr. Proust was also a teacher. There are so many of us on this site. We put the “tea” in “teacher”.


Daylon, the funny thing is I actually mostly taught social studies. I went into education via the alternative certification route (M.A.T. instead of M. Ed.) and I was eligible to teach social studies because I had 30+ hours of general social science coursework as an undergraduate. I was bored with English at the time and wanted a change, so I decided to do my primary certification in middle and secondary grades social studies instead.


I also graduated from MSU, just not your MSU. For clarity’s sake, it was Morehead State University. Go Eagles, I guess…

Daylon R Thomas

That is not surprising, actually lol. A lot of us are social studies on here. So do you have the full MAT as your master’s, and how many years did you teach? My MSU only gives me 9 credits for a graduate degree…I have many critiques though there are aspects that I like about the program.

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I figured out that very quick flash steeps with later escalations Gong Fu in drier fall weather is the best way to drink this tea. I swear that the humidity of the past few months intensified the apricot and grassy notes making it harder to drink, but it was incredibly easy to drink this morning.

I broke the brick into rough thirds, and began with a rinse not longer than 15 seconds and not shorter than 10 using 185 F water. Creamy sweet florals lead on, starting off with a lilac-vanilla rise and going down a butter-scotch honeysuckle end of its wispy body. The second 30 second steep was more intense, painting more florals that I could not identify well amidst its creamy body. The later steeps beginning from brew three at a 35 seconds developed the apricot-citrus note from there on to the rest of the session while maintaining its dry creaminess. I partially see the nut thing that Alistair describes because it goes dry, wet, dry in the body. I also got more mineral throughout, becoming stronger in later steeps.

It finally had the Taiwaneese Gaoshan similarities and uniquely green Shui Xian Character that I love, but I am glad that I did not bulk on the cakes. It is a more nuanced version of the Floral, yet I personally found it more delicate to brew. That might change in the future.

I think that this tea is more approachable for oolong lovers and intermediate or advanced drinkers that are used to brewing Gong Fu. I’ve yet had a successful western session and only one mediocre Grandpa One. New drinkers might have a harder time brewing it, and it might be too close to delicate for some though it compares to heavier Lishans. I also got a charge of qi one night with it, so some may be able to find some qi from this tea especially if their tolerance is lower.

I rate this a 90 though I do not think I’d buy this tea too often despite my usual enjoyment of the variety and this seasons popularity for it. I admit that there are other teas that I prefer to this one, it is one that I think is better to savor and meditate with rather than a daily tea injection. Hence, this tea is ultimately for someone looking to try it in smaller quantities and to expand their horizons.

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I need to keep this one short. Been busy with student teacher stuff and trying to figure out how to balance my energy levels, be more efficient with grading and paperwork, and maintain some semblance of a healthy personal life-i.e.-working out and seeing friends when I can without losing sleep. #Lifegoals.

Anyway, this tea was pretty unusual. The Jin Xuan similarities that Alistair described were present. Gong Fu brings out more dimension in my opinion because of how it fluxes from a first flush Himalayan tea, Dajeeling or from this general Terroir, in its light sweet florals and nutty roasted body. Western was pretty consistent, though the resteep values were decent and complex.

In general, the body was creamy and floral in some form for every brew, and subtle sweet notes occasionally popped in the background like plaintain. The first three and the last two steeps were the most floral, the middle body no matter the brew had the more light-
medium roasted nutty qualities. Though the oolong is still green, the more leafed sessions nutty notes bordered on the similarities of a first flush black tea, and even a hong cha or hwang cha without cocoa, but instead focused on the nuts, florals, and almost potato-y starchiness. You can still tell that it was an oolong, which is why I should say it is more akin to a light roast Jin Xuan or Dan Cong, but again, it is closer to a Dan Cong and the florals are more like the first and second flush black teas of the same Himalayan terroir.

Though I this tea is not my favorite, it was distinct and very likable. It is a worth while try for any sommeliar who wants to examine something experimental, and as with any Nepalese tea, I think its worth a try because this terroir is not always as appreciated as others. It has enough sophistication to think about and it has the special quality of balancing its floral and roasted character, which is a trait that I’ve seen in half the oolongs I have tried. Other people might be unimpressed and just categorize it as an oolong, or tea while at least noticing some of the florals. Though I do not need more of this tea in my life, it’s one that I am glad that I tried anyway as I get more hope from what Nepal has to offer.

Evol Ving Ness

Yay for student teacher challenges! You’ll figure it all out. Eventually. Yeah, those days can be hard.

Daylon R Thomas

It’s got the same re-occuring problems we talked about before. Everything has been predictable, as well as every mistake on my part. Time to put in a better prophecy to fulfill. What’s the process like in Cananda?

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I need to review this one soon…

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This originally struck me as my second favorite of Teaful’s Chapter 4 box for it’s dinstinctly sweet honey flavor before I figured out how I like the Shan Lin Xi Black. It pretty much tastes like a black version of most Jin Xuans you might have had with a Gui Fei’s honeybun floral character. For those of you who have read some of my previous notes, this tea is very dang similar to the Vietnam Red Buffalo with a black tea’s malt and a slight herb quality in the very later steeps. Those new to Taiwaneese would see this as a standard tasting black tea with a sweet edge, and may get a fruity impression. Snobs would appreciate it as an enduring one that flexes a little bit of lemon and violet in the notes as Teaful Describes.

The tea does not differ too much Western or Gong fu so far because it’s honeyed flavor remains the same. Western 3 minutes is thickens it a little more at once, but Gong fu spreads out the flavor in viscous coats. Again, Honeybuns is how I would prefer to describe it albeit with a malty black tea background. I got the violets more in steeps 2, 3, and 5 gong fu while I get the herby sage in the very last three steeps out of seven after four minutes. I do not know if it is doable grandpa with less leaves yet, and although I do not think it will hold up well, the tea has very little bitterness and astringency making it more versatile than your usual black.

I do want to see more opinions on this one, and as much as I like it, there are a few other teas that are comparable to this one at occasionally cheaper prices. The $5.99 per 25 grams is a little steep, but closer to average for what I have seen for this type of tea. I probably won’t order it again but I definitely cannot say “No” if I am offered it again, and I think that everyone exploring Taiwaneese tea should try this kind of black at least once in their lifetime.

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First Off, Current Targets:
Taiwan Sourcing Luxurious Jade Sampler (FRICKIN’ PRICEY)
Taiwan Sourcing Longhan Nectar Red Oolong
Berylleb Dayuling and Dong Ding Jin Xuan
The best coconut/pineapple oolong I can find
The best Alishan and or Lishan for the best price
The best Jade Oolong Period.
Drunken Green Dragon J-Tea
My wish list is fairly accurate though it is broad.

Current Favorites:

Vietnam Red Buffalo Oolong
China Yunnan Pure Bud Golden Snail Black Tea
Taiwan Lishan Oolong
Kenya ‘Rhino’ Premium White Tea

Hugo Tea: Vanilla Black Chai

Liquid Proust Teas:
French Toast Dianhong

Floating Leaves Tea:

Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.:
“Old Style” Dong Ding


I am an MSU student studying to become a high school social studies and history teacher with a minor in anthropology. I unfortunately dropped the anthropology minor, but I am and will continue to be an anthropologist as well as a historian. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii with a dominant Eastern Asian influence. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now have a better idea of the teas I absolutely prefer. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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