Yancha has to be my favorite type of tea and I’m slowly acclimating my palate to appreciate its nuances. This is a 2017 tea that I’m drinking mid-2018.

Sniff sniff. Dry leaf smells like dark chocolate, char and fennel. Eight grams of leaf placed into the warmed 100 mL jianshui gaiwan. Now I’m smelling the roast and fleeting interplay between floral and camphor in the damp leaves. Lid smells of the same with an added honey milk chocolate.

Rinse once for 10 seconds and drink the rinse. Why not.

First and second steeps at 20 seconds and a third at 30 produce a very strong mineral cup. Mouth feels tingly and like my cheeks are being sucked inward. A slight nondescript but pleasant sourness persists at the back of my tongue. I can feel a calmness wash over me as I type this. Light florals emerge. The camphor is fleeting. Here comes the qi but I ain’t moving. Chest and arms heavy, shoulders relaxing. Feeeel the heat. Pushing you to decide. If you’re going to go for a fourth steep. Nah, best to sit. Oh what’s that? A fourth steep? Floral aroma coming out more, there’s that honey milk chocolate scent again. A dark roasted bitter coffee presents on the sides of the tongue. I don’t understand. I thought sour was on the sides and bitter in the back. The minerality is consistent and strong. Iron. What a trip. Good thing the lights are low. I’m having thoughts of riding an electric mountain bike up a mountain (I mean, what else would I do with an electric mountain bike) until I reach some cliffs that I’ll have to climb. From there I’ll hike to the best vantage point the Bay Area has to offer and have a Freedom Barbecue in the fog. Thoughts are thoughts. I’m glued to the couch. hehe.

Time to take a break. Rating comes later.

Later (following evening):

I take note if a yancha abruptly drops off. Otherwise, I have the habit of not counting steeps. This one kept going. Finished off last night’s brew tonight. I can say that the pronounced mineral taste and mouthfeel and cha qi were the highlight of this tea with my heavy-handed leaf and water temperature. I have maybe 5 grams left, so I’m curious to see if other flavors and aromas become present with a final, kinder brew.

Boiling 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, GABA oolong. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog, matcha latte and golden milk.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings, just nothing cloying. And no added sugars, sweeteners, candy or chocolate.

I abandoned both my preference reference and the recording of detailed steeping parameters in January 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative descriptions. At this point, I am still comfortable toggling the “Not/Recommended” button.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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