drank Vietnam 'Ta' Oolong Tea by What-Cha
1255 tasting notes

A Vietnamese green oolong nearly 7 years old, sent my way from Leafhopper. What does this session hold?

The dry leaf smells like… flowers, honey-cooked sweet potato, grass, halva. The warmed and rinsed leaf produce aromas of bitter grass, narcissus edging perfume, butter, halva.

The aroma is mild and floral and smells only of narcissus to me. That leads into the sip, where the tea becomes medium-bodied with a grassy-lettuce-stale herbs note that quickly turns tangy and full of butter. There’s a strong interplay in the aftertaste of narcissus, lemon and butter with the halva-like bitterness that morphs sweeter into the honey-cooked sweet potato of the dry leaf; throw in a dash of cinnamon. Later I notice jackfruit in the aftertaste.

The tea at times has a tendency to be rather drying and unpleasantly catching in the throat. It makes my body feel heavy, rather than the lightness that Taiwanese green oolong can bring.

For being a green oolong of such age, I think it’s held up okay, though to me it’s a stale tea. The tastes and aromas are nice but disjointed. Thank you, Leafhopper, for the opportunity to try!

Flavors: Bitter, Butter, Cinnamon, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Herbs, Honey, Lemon, Lettuce, Narcissus, Nuts, Perfume, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy


I’m glad that you once again got more out of this tea than I did. I need to stop keeping these samples so long!

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I’m glad that you once again got more out of this tea than I did. I need to stop keeping these samples so long!

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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