1006 Tasting Notes

96
drank Alice by Whispering Pines Tea Company
1006 tasting notes

My glob, today it tastes like finding a slice of banana nut bread inside the mess of jasmine next to the front door. Wouldn’t it be nice to find breakfast ready and waiting for you as you poke through the garden every morning?

Martin Bednář

I was just thinking about brewing this one today! But the last session…
I will miss it so much.

tea-sipper

Well, your description sounds right out of Alice in Wonderland anyway! (or more like the lunch pail tree in Return to Oz).

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76
drank Bao Tang 2017 Spring by Tea Urchin
1006 tasting notes

This sheng is mild and pleasant. The flavors are not strong but the body of the tea is thick with a satisfying swallow. It starts off low-pitched, somewhat mung beany and savory, clean and mineral with a gentle sweetness. Floral-brown sugar aftertaste appears with the first steep and soon a mild minty quality in the throat and chest. Later some bitterness develops as the grassy-vegetal youth of the tea with a hint of astringency expresses itself and a returning sweetness presents. As that fades, it becomes more floral and manages to maintain its thick, softly sweet character until the end.

The energy is noticeable within the first few infusions — calming and I can feel all the muscles in my body relax, not only specific muscle groups. The spent leaf looks great, like most of Tea Urchin’s teas. At this point, I can tell it’s aging albeit slowly with my storage. The liquor is close to a light orange-brown and the wet leaf is generally dark olive with a brown tint.

It’s a gentle tea, one I’d recommend to beginners since it’s easy sipping and doesn’t necessarily need much attention paid to have a satisfying session.

Flavors: Beany, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Mint, Nectar, Nutmeg, Powdered Sugar, Rice, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal, Winter Honey

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drank Nepal Pearl Oolong Tea by What-Cha
1006 tasting notes

Wow, what a beautiful, intense tea.

I started drinking this in the early morning and then got to work pulling weeds, root and all. When I needed a break, I’d come in for another short steep. From the get go, this tea’s aroma and taste were both thick with deep honey balanced by dancing pink rose florality on top of a demure violet, pure vanilla, sweet cinnamon, toast-pastries-baguette, meadow-dandelion flowers-hay. What else… cream, creamed honey, straw, green wood type of astringency, cleansing minerals. I lost count of steeps (15?+). A few of the pearls still hadn’t completely unfurled so I chose to cold-brew from there.

This beautiful tea fueled 12 hours of hand weeding in silence followed by mowing. It exposed my insanity, that tunnel vision developed from 5 years’ work of removing invasive species. I don’t know what happened. But it was good. Cathartic, even. Thanks, Leafhopper :)

Praise aside, the effects of the tea were much too overwhelming to likely consider ordering if ever available again. Still very much recommended, especially since it has aged so well.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Cinnamon, Cream, Dandelion, Floral, Flowers, Green Wood, Hay, Honey, Mineral, Pastries, Rose, Straw, Sweet, Thick, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
gmathis

Oh, my aching back!

Martin Bednář

Sounds so tasty, especially after that hard work!

White Antlers

That kind of yard work becomes almost like a religious experience. I remember 10 hour days similar to it in my big backyard in Oakland. By 7 p.m., totally wiped out and dehydrated, I’d be having visions. Good fun!

Leafhopper

Wow! I’m glad this old tea is still holding up.

gmathis

We just do a container garden on the back patio, and I am far from a competent gardener, but there is definitely something soothing about uprooting last year’s dead heads and playing in fresh potting soil with your bare hands.

mrmopar

Long day for sure.

TeaEarleGreyHot

I need to explore some of these Nepalese teas! Has anyone ordered from What-cha recently? Or NepaliTeaTraders? Just want to be sure they’re still reputable before sending payment (not something I can say about Amazon though… but I digress).

Mastress Alita

I enjoy Nepal Tea LC. Have met the owner a few times at tea festivals and he’s a great guy. I even named my cat “Chiya” (Nepali for tea) after listening to a presentation he gave once.

TeaEarleGreyHot

Is that a cute pun on “TLC” in the company name? Or did you mean “NepalTeaLLC”? Because I’m only finding the latter…

Mastress Alita

Just a typo. Didn’t want to look shilly by posting a direct link.

Martin Bednář

While it has been some time since I have ordered from What-cha, I still can recommend it! So yeah, they are certainly reputable :)

TeaEarleGreyHot

Thank you M.A. and M.B.! Your suggestions are appreciated!

White Antlers

What Cha is above reproach. Alistair, the owner, is a delight and he is happy to make up a custome order or offer advice. Don’t hesitate for a second.

ashmanra

My daughter bought me some What Cha teas for my birthday and was really surprised at how quickly it arrived. The tea has been stellar.

Leafhopper

What-Cha is an absolutely reputable company that has great customer service. When making my last order, I forgot to include a tea I wanted and asked Alistair if he could add it to my total. He sent me an additional PayPal invoice and shipped everything within a couple days. I’ve enjoyed all the Nepalese teas I’ve had from this company, especially those from Jun Chiyabari.

Having said that, I haven’t received a response to my last two emails, possibly because he’s very busy. Alistair, if you’re reading this, could you please PM me so I can snag some of your Li Shan Tie Guan Yin?

TeaEarleGreyHot

Such a heartwarming string of testimonials! Thanks all!

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drank Anxi Tie Guan Yin by Camellia Sinensis
1006 tasting notes

Dry leaf aroma is strong but at the same time also muted with a range including floral sweet pea, lily and lilac, baked goods, lemon curd, creamy peas, artichoke. The sip is upfront very floral with mostly lily. This leads into a sharp mouthfeel with tang. I taste crisp lettuce, high-pitched citrus, dry grass, a dark lemon curd, earth and wood. The aftertaste explodes with apricot-peach which gives way to a green sugarcane returning sweetness.

The astringency and bitterness come out after several steeps, leaving my tongue rough and numb. As each steep becomes more astringent, it also grows metallic. If you don’t mind astringency, this tea does have good longevity. Overall, this tea has a good range of flavors and mouthfeels but it was tough for me to appreciate after 4 or so short infusions. This one is flavorwise steps above the very tame Tie Guan Yin that can be had at Chinese restaurants. I’m guessing it’s merely past its prime.

Thank you for the sample, Leafhopper :) It’s been a few years since I’ve had a green Tie Guan Yin. It’s always nice to go back to one of the first loose-leaf style teas I bought – I think it was once of those large canisters offered by Tao of Tea.

Flavors: Apricot, Artichoke, Astringent, Baked Bread, Bitter, Citrusy, Cream, Dry Grass, Drying, Earth, Floral, Flowers, Garden Peas, Lemon, Lettuce, Metallic, Peach, Sugarcane, Tangy, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Leafhopper

Hmm. I haven’t tried the TGY yet, but it’s from spring 2020. Too bad it seems to be astringent in later steeps.

derk

Maybe I needed to brew it differently.

tea-sipper

Years since a green Tie Guan Yin! whoa.

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75

Second flush, May 2020

This makes a nice morning cup. It oversteeps well in the morning fog. The liquor is smooth, fairly light for an Assam. Malty and leathery but not overpowering, with a gentle cocoa base note that is more apparent in the fruity aroma. Enough astringency and balanced bitterness to brace my senses. The taste is also quite fruity with notes of pear and yellow cherry, perhaps some other fruits. I’ll try soon to pick this one apart a little more.

Flavors: Apple, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Candy, Cherry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Leather, Malt, Pear, Pleasantly Sour, Raisins, Smooth, Tea, Wood

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78

The previous try of this tea was from a June 2018 harvest forwarded my way from White Antlers. Alistair from What-Cha included a May 2020 sample with my latest order, thank you :)

The dry leaf smells like cherry fruit leather: high-pitched and tangy with a dried fruit sweetness. Once brewed, the aroma is of dried cherries and fresh apricots, bright with a rich chocolate note that hides beneath a more general ‘stonefruit.’ The liquor has a pleasant medium body with a balanced astringency. The taste is very smooth with cherry, leather and gentle malt. The tea swallows juicy where much more of the flavor comes out and is particularly fruity. I notice cherry wood, cherry, walnut, fig, red plum and fleeting impressions of caramel and butter. A tangy feeling is left in the mouth and a peach aftertaste hangs around for several minutes, followed by a caramel-like returning sweetness.

I seemed to get more from this harvest than the one 2 years prior. I had described that one as ‘zippy’; there is a little more heft to the 2020 but it’s still a bright tea. Its smoothness really helps it go down quickly, a good thirst quencher.

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Butter, Caramel, Cherry, Cherry Wood, Chocolate, Dried Fruit, Fig, Fruity, Leather, Malt, Peach, Plum, Smooth, Tangy, Walnut, Wood

Martin Bednář

I thought I have tried this tea before. Maybe I did before my Steepster times?

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78

Dry leaf is long, thin mostly dark green needles with some of of the typical white hairs. I smell some musty hay, faint smoke, rich undertone of white chocolate or cocoa butter.

Taste is full of white chocolate, hay, melon and minerals with slight herbaceous-vegetal-zucchini tone. Nectar sweetness that I find typical of silver needles. Creamy lychee-oat aftertaste. Rather drying.

I had this a week ago and my notes were rushed, my recollection fuzzy. The flavor profile was unique and I can’t remember enough to say why. Maybe the tea had a deeper, earthier feeling to it… I really enjoyed this one, though, especially the white chocolate note which I was not expecting after reading Leafhopper’s review. It seems like our experiences with this tea differed a bit. Thanks for the share, Leafhopper :)

Note 900

Flavors: Creamy, Drying, Hay, Herbaceous, Lychee, Melon, Mineral, Musty, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal, White Chocolate, Zucchini

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML
Leafhopper

Congratulations on 900 tasting notes! I definitely don’t remember getting white chocolate from this tea. Did you brew it differently?

Courtney

Woot, 900!

White Antlers

Thank you for being so wonderfully prolific,derk.

gmathis

^ my sentiments exactly.

ashmanra

Ditto ^!

derk

Thank you all for bringing some kindness to the internet :)

Leafhopper: gongfu with steeps starting at 10s. Not much different than you. This tea had me spinning in place.

Martin Bednář

900! Woot woot! Let’s go to 1000 (and even more!)

mrmopar

Big number there!

Leafhopper

Derk, yes, I also found this tea to have a lot of caffeine. I remember being pretty buzzed after my long session.

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From Martin, thank you!

I haven’t gotten much of a lemon note from this despite containing lemon peel, more a tone of it, and it’s mixed with a savory-tending-alkaline Chinese? sencha base that’s also toasty in flavor. It does swallow juicy which is satisfying. The ginger presents after the swallow and is very mild.

Because the base is so savory, it almost reminds me of a vegetable broth spiked with lemon juice. Something reminds me of mayonnaise?? Mixed with an almost sweet, toasty flavor and a juicy swallow, I’m left confused. I’ve had it while eating grapefruit both times to amplify the citrus. It’s an overall average green-herbal blend, for me at least. Martin seems to really enjoy it :)

The theme of this tea is ‘Almost.’

Flavors: Dry Grass, Ginger, Lemon, Smooth, Sweet, Toasty, Vegetable Broth

Martin Bednář

You are welcome! Well, last few sessions weren’t that great, maybe it’s age, maybe a bad mix (you got the rest I had)… but well, “mayo” isn’t expected flavour profile! :D

derk

I’m grateful to have some green teas right now (even those with surprise mayo impression) since I’ve been craving them. Come on, fresh harvest!

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95
drank Peppermint by two leaves and a bud
1006 tasting notes

Every coffee counter at every large medical facility is the same: oversized Costco muffins and pastries and bagels, bags of chips and M&Ms, ‘granola’ bars. You’d think with the way Kaiser promotes healthy eating that such items wouldn’t be available inside their facilities. I opted for a breakfast burrito from this fine establishment. I knew it would be the most basic egg, potato and cheese log ever crafted by a human but I was HONGRAY.

My radar is always pinging for tea and the innocuous ‘two leaves and a bud’ sign pinged back. The Doctor Coffee counter had a selection, even! But only 1 bag left of Peppermint. I hesitated. You know when you’re sharing an appetizer and the lone piece of cripsy calamari remains? The “No, no you take it” back-and-forth bullshit, and that poor squid who gave its life for your sustenance gets cold and soggy because everybody’s too damn polite to pop the last piece in their mouth. Yeah, no. Do not hesitate. Give me that last Peppermint sachet! It’s mine! I have to settle the upcoming gurgles from a subpar burrito and the ensuing intestinal rot from these antibiotics waging war. You know what I’m talking about and I’m not sorry. We’re all human.

There’s a reason why this is my absolute favorite peppermint leaf. It is by far the cleanest, least herbaceous and stewy, most mentholated and sweet peppermint I’ve ever had. Powerful stuff. Not for sissies.

Flavors: Menthol, Peppermint, Sweet

Martin Bednář

I agree, it’s one of the finest peppermint I had. Close behind is Celestial Seasonings I brewed myself (second bag from you) JUST yesterday. Need to finish this one too. Once I will cook something heavy again, as yesterday deep fried celery root (experiment by other family members)… it will come.

gmathis

Well, you just shot my “eh, peppermint is peppermint” assumption to smithereens!

Cameron B.

Mmm cheese log! XD

White Antlers

Agreed. I always have a box of this in the pantry. It kicks ass.
Hope you get sorted out and feel better soon.

Mastress Alita

I’m the asshole that will unabashedly take the last of whatever is sitting in the breakroom. None of that slicing it in half BS either.

Leafhopper

Your review inspired me to finally try this tea! I enjoyed it, though I may need to use two teaspoons instead of one.

Lexie Aleah

I really likw some of the teas from this company.

ashmanra

I need to buy this for Superanna, then. She loves peppermint tea,

Cameron B.

I looked for this at the store today! They had a few teas from this company, but unfortunately this wasn’t one of them… :(

TeaEarleGreyHot

But M&Ms are healthy eating…

derk

Gosh, I’m way behind with these comments. Leafhopper, the loose leaf isn’t as fresh as I would have liked. The past few nights I’ve been brewing 2tsp to 300-350mL and it’s been up to par.

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drank Pretty in Pink by Cuppa Geek
1006 tasting notes

I’m getting around to having a cup of this myself. The last time I tasted this was when I had a few sips from Kiki’s advent grab bag cup. It was very subtle. This is clearly a fresh batch that I ordered.

The dry goods smell so fruity and sweet. It’s all clumpy and sticky fun. I used to laugh at Kiki’s descriptor of strawberry jello for these CuppaGeek teas but I totally get it in the aroma here. The body in this batch is noticeable, almost syrupy but the mineral-acidic quality of the green rooibos with hibiscus keeps the cloy at bay. It does taste like the smell of hot strawberry jello liquid. Appley. Yum.

Flavors: Apple, Grass, Mineral, Pleasantly Sour, Raspberry, Strawberry, Sweet

gmathis

This one tastes best in a teacup with flowers on it. :)

derk

I can imagine. The frilly tea cups are lacking in this house but maybe the Mexican-crafted hibiscus punch mug will finally get a christening with this.

DrowningMySorrows

I thought Pretty in Pink smelled like the strawberry instant oatmeal I loved as a kid.

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Abandoned the rating system again. Too much work.

Great tea is unforgettable. Good tea is sometimes forgettable. Mediocre tea is forgettable unless I’ve drank enough of it to form an impression. Bad tea is unforgettable, unfortunately.

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California, USA

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