Taiwan Li Shan Oolong Tea

Tea type
Oolong Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Pineapple, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal, Coconut, Celery, Flowers, Green, Nectar, Berry, Honey, Nuts, Stonefruit, Peas, Smooth, Cherry, Creamy, Drying, Jasmine, Narcissus, Nutmeg, Osmanthus, Plants, Spring Water, Almond, Custard, Lime, Pear, Vanilla, Freshly Cut Grass, Lilac, Milk
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Loose Leaf
Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by hawkband1
Average preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 oz / 116 ml

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22 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I bought 50 g of this tea in my Black Friday 2020 blowout with Derk, and have finished a little more than half of it. I steeped around 7 g in my 150 ml clay oolong pot using 195F water for 25, 20,...” Read full tasting note
    94
  • “This seems to be the only Li Shan that What-cha carries so it must be this one that Kawaii433 sent me.  It was a while ago, but thank you very much again for that excellent package!  I will be...” Read full tasting note
    82
  • “This might be the the most floral tea I’ve ever had, which means it’s not as balanced as I would have liked though. However, I think objectively speaking this tea is higher quality than my current...” Read full tasting note
    85
  • “This is a fine oolong and I wanted to have a proper reflective sitting with it, but life often doesn’t go as planned, eh? I tried drinking it at the office (nasty water and not worth bringing nice...” Read full tasting note
    86

From What-Cha

A wonderful and complex oolong which evolves with each subsequent steep. It possesses a lovely floral quality while tones of citrus, fruit and nut gradually reveal themselves.

Sourced direct from Mountain Tea.

Tasting Notes:

- Very smooth texture

- Complex taste which evolves

- Floral quality with notes of citrus, fruit and nut which develop with subsequent steeps

Origin: Li Shan mountain range, Nantou, Taiwan

Cultivar: Qing Xin

Oxidation: 20%

Roast: 0%

Altitude: 2000m+

Brewing Advice:

- Heat water to roughly 85C/185°F

- Use 1 teaspoon per cup/small teapot

- Brew for 1-2 minute

- Always remove the leaves from the water once the tea has brewed

- Re-use the leaves multiple times and increase steeping time with each subsequent infusion

- Best without milk

We always recommend experimenting with any new tea, to find the parameters which suit you best

About What-Cha View company

Company description not available.

22 Tasting Notes

94
314 tasting notes

I bought 50 g of this tea in my Black Friday 2020 blowout with Derk, and have finished a little more than half of it. I steeped around 7 g in my 150 ml clay oolong pot using 195F water for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds. However, this pot pours much more slowly than my porcelain pot, so steep times are actually a bit longer.

The dry aroma is of citrus, stonefruit, orchids, other florals, cookies, and sugarcane. The first steep is very floral, with notes of orchid, honeysuckle, orange blossom, sweet pea, and other flowers, plus cookies, butter, citrus, peach, spinach, and grass. The second steep brings out cooked pineapple, citrus, cream, pine, herbs, minerals, and peach, plus sugarcane and even more florals. I see where Derk is getting green apple, though sadly, the cherry eludes me. It has a long peachy/herbaceous/vegetal aftertaste. The tea becomes a little more vegetal in the next steep, though with lots of fruit and florals to balance it out. By steep four, some nuttiness is apparent and the cooked pineapple is a bit stronger. The next few steeps continue in this vein, becoming more savoury and vegetal as the session goes on. However, the citrus, peach, orchid, and honeysuckle continue until almost the last steep, along with the grass, veggies, and minerals.

This oolong didn’t deserve to sit in my cupboard for over a year. It’s a lovely, uplifting Li Shan at a good price, and I will be buying more when I next order from What-Cha.

Flavors: Butter, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Herbaceous, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Peach, Pine, Pineapple, Spinach, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
Evol Ving Ness

The thing is that we cannot drink all the teas all at once, so some will have to sit.

Leafhopper

Agreed. However, some teas sit better than others, and it’s sad to see those with shorter shelf lives deteriorating. I need to drink my green oolongs faster or buy fewer of them. Having said that, I don’t think this one has lost much flavour.

Evol Ving Ness

Agreed. Always nice when one expects the worst and finds that it is not so bad after all.

CrowKettle

The conundrum of exceptional green oolong: how do you drink it at its best while maintaining a steady supply of green oolong in the cupboard.

I try to save those little fresh packets that come with a lot of the Taiwanese teas, but not sure they’re good or super effective.

Leafhopper

Evol Ving Ness, yes, being pleasantly surprised is a good thing. :)

CrowKettle, as someone who loves fresh green oolongs, I deal with this conundrum all the time! Unfortunately, I tend to overbuy and also hoard my really good/higher-end oolongs, even when it would be better to drink them right away.

I also wonder about the effectiveness of those little freshness packets. I use tea clips to minimize the air in open vacuum-sealed pouches, which I think does some good. I worry about oolongs in Ziploc packages that allow more air to hit the leaves.

CrowKettle

Mine get dumped into tiny washi tins (not sure they’re effective either). I only have three of them, so I limit myself to how many Taiwanese teas I can open (or buy) at once. This means I always have far less beloved oolong than any other type of tea in my collection. I need a better system! D:

vacuumed-sealed pouches probably does a world of good.

Leafhopper

I also tend to have three or four vacuum-sealed packets open at once, plus any other oolongs in Ziploc bags. That doesn’t prevent me from buying many more vacuum-sealed packages and storing them in my tea museum. :P I don’t plan on buying any more green oolong until this summer, so I have some time to finish them off.

Evol Ving Ness

There’s also the shipping fee catch. More orders mean fresher tea and more shipping fees. Bigger orders mean more risk of potentially stale tea. So, the choice is to spend more on tea and hoard or spend more on shipping.

Hoarding seems to come naturally to me :)
So I try to preserve teas as best I can. I know that making regular orders and paying shipping fees plus plus plus would never happen in my case. I open two or two green oolongs at a time, keep them cool and away from light, and hope for the best.

Leafhopper

Evol Ving Ness, those shipping fees are terrible, especially as I seem to be buying from vendors that don’t offer sales or free shipping thresholds. I wish we had more good unflavoured tea vendors in Canada, though I fear the prices they’d have to charge in CAD would make people reluctant to buy from them. Cha Yi and Camellia Sinensis have low thresholds and sell some nice green oolongs, but I guess I’m becoming an oolong snob.

Hoarding also seems to come naturally to me. Maybe I need a spreadsheet or other system for tracking my purchases so I don’t get too far behind.

Evol Ving Ness

Hmm, Cha Yi is new to me.

I’ve been resistant to the spreadsheet idea. My approach is shuffling and reshuffling my tea stash regularly. That just seems to happen.

I was grouping teas according to age/ purchase date. Then, according to how much is left in the packet (to encourage sipdowns of smaller quantities). Then, by brand. Then, by tea type.

And on it goes. I am so fickle with my tea urges. I tend to want either a particular tea or type of tea and I’ll turn everything upside down to find it.

Keeping a spreadsheet is one thing and then there’s the arranging of teas to find that thing when needed…

CrowKettle

I had all my teas listed on a spreadsheet once. Then I rebelled against myself :P

My approach to tea drinking is “whimsical”. Smaller opened packets are stored near the kettle and get finished off first; These are usually flavoured teas. I don’t like flavoured teas more than straight teas, I just hoard my straight teas more, and store them in a separate place.

I haven’t heard of Cha Yi either!

Leafhopper

Cha Yi is a shop in Quebec that sells some nice straight teas. I liked their Alishan and Taitung Hong oolongs and their Mi Xiang black tea. It also helps that they have a reasonable shipping threshold ($60?) and charge in CAD.

I think I’d rebel against a spreadsheet, too, which is why I haven’t made one. (Also, my stash is huge and it would be a lot of work.) I also turn everything upside down to find a particular tea, though I tend to keep everything in the box it came in so I go by vendor. I have a tea cupboard in my kitchen and a tea closet in my bedroom, and things in the cupboard get finished first. I also tend to stick to a certain tea type for a while. For example, I seem to be on a black tea kick in spite of my superabundance of green oolongs.

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82
3708 tasting notes

This seems to be the only Li Shan that What-cha carries so it must be this one that Kawaii433 sent me.  It was a while ago, but thank you very much again for that excellent package!  I will be drinking it alongside the crazy flavored Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster and that may be a mistake, but I will see what I can taste here anyway.  I’m also eating some melon so there are all sorts of flavors happening.  The oolong itself is very tightly bundled and very dark green. It’s very smooth, silky, with a strong minerals, hint of cream and coconut… as it cools, pineapple.  So an odd oolong for flavor notes for me… but I think I had one like this before where it tasted both of coconut and pineapple.  Possibly that is how Li Shan varietals taste to me?  I like it, but there was also a biteyness to the leaves throughout the consistently flavored steeps, which seems out of place considering the cooler water and short steeps I used.  Always glad to try something once though!
Steep #1 // 1 teaspoon for a full mug // 22 minutes after boiling // 1 minute steep
Steep #2 // 20 minutes after boiling  // 2 minute steep   
Steep #3 // 3 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep 
2020 Sipdowns: 10

Flavors: Coconut, Cream, Mineral, Pineapple

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85
798 tasting notes

This might be the the most floral tea I’ve ever had, which means it’s not as balanced as I would have liked though. However, I think objectively speaking this tea is higher quality than my current impression of it.

There are aromas of grass, ice cream, magnolias as well as other flowers, but overall the smell is not too strong. The taste, on the other hand is plenty strong. It has notes of citrus, sugarcane and nectar. It is a very ‘green’ taste with a prevalent floral sweetness. I didn’t get any custard flavours as is often the case with these high mountain oolongs. In the aftertaste, apart from an explosion of flowery notes, I also notice some celery stalks. It is very cooling in the throat and body warming tea. The cha qi is also strong – heady and focusing. The liquor itself is not overly thick, but the mouthfeel is interesting. It is soft and sticky as well as quite lubricating at times.

I feel like this tea has the ability to transport me to a totally different place, as it does well to capture my attention and its characteristics are quite focused.

Flavors: Celery, Citrus, Floral, Flowers, Green, Nectar, Sugarcane, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 50 ML

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86
1231 tasting notes

This is a fine oolong and I wanted to have a proper reflective sitting with it, but life often doesn’t go as planned, eh? I tried drinking it at the office (nasty water and not worth bringing nice teas there), at home, and now here. I’ve stretched this last serving over the course of three days, hoping I’d have time to savour it (nope).

First steep: grassy, orange blossoms, citrus, silky, almost creamy. Honey-fruit notes to finish that become more apparent as tea cools. (I got to here).

I guess I’ll just have to order more. Life’s tough.

Steep Count: 4-5, usually

Flavors: Berry, Citrus, Cream, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Nuts, Orange Blossom, Stonefruit, Sugarcane

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Daylon R Thomas

That one is a personal favorite. I’ve had higher end and graded Li Shan’s before, but the silky orange blossom and honey notes make it a winner for me. And I hate having bad water for tea, which is why I bring my own for work.

Kawaii433

Daylon, that must be what it is… The orange blossom. I just finished a sipdown on this and was said for it to go even though I have other Li Shan’s left. I think on my next what-cha order, I’m adding it again.

hawkband1

Oooh, this sounds good! I need to order this.

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2725 tasting notes

Swap Sample Sipdown! (16 | 85)

This was one of many oolong samples that the lovely Kawaii433 saw fit to share with me!

So full disclosure, li shan and ali shan oolong are not my favorites. They have a tendency to be quite floral, which is not an attribute that I love in tea.

This one was quite floral as well. The rinse was creamy and delicious with light peach notes, and it probably should have occurred to me to start with shorter steeps because of that. But it didn’t, so I started my first steep at 25s. Next time, I think I’ll start at 15s (at most) for gaoshan.

So the first several steeps were very strong on the floral notes. There were also some sweet peach, grass, pea, and spinach notes in the background. I didn’t find the overall flavor to change a lot during this time, which surprised me. But this may have been a side effect of my poor brewing parameters.

I did really start to enjoy this tea in the last few steeps though, where the flowers faded a bit and I could appreciate the soft grass, vegetal, and fruit notes more.

I will say, every single steep of this tea had an amazing sweet aftertaste that lingered forever. I’m not sure if that was what is referred to as hui gan, or not? Either way, I could definitely appreciate that this is a very good quality tea, even if it isn’t my personal “cup of tea”. ;)

Flavors: Cream, Floral, Grass, Orchid, Peach, Peas, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Vegetal

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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92
379 tasting notes

There are already some fantastic, detailed reviews on this tea (Reason I tried it and thank you all. :D I so so so enjoy and appreciate all of you who do detailed reviews.) so I’ll just add that I’ve been enjoying this tea throughout the week. A complex taste which evolves: Fruit, floral, nuts, citrusy. What-Cha has my all-time favorite sticky rice oolong, and I love their Vietnamese Oolongs too. This is an exceptional and smooth Li-Shan.

Yixing teapot, 5g, 110ml, 194°F, 9 steeps, 25s, 35s, 45s, 55s, 1m5s, 1m10s, 1m15s, 1m25s, 1m35s

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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91
1218 tasting notes

What a nice tea.

Despite being a year old and stored neglectfully in a (thick) plastic sandwich bag, this tea still has a fresh and focused (credit to Togo) character.

It’s very floral. After 4 or so years of picking apart tea aromas and flavors, I still have difficulty identifying floral notes that aren’t the typical tea ‘rose’. The floral note is intense yet gentle and sweet, not so perfumey. I want to ascribe to it daffodil, lily, magnolia, orange blossom, orchid, others… Other aromas in the dry leaf are cooked pineapple, yellow cherry, nutmeg and bitter cooked greens. The florality rises high after the sip.

The taste is consistent throughout the steeps. It is crisp, like fresh spring rain. Sweet, creamy spinach (without being overly vegetal), sturdy young grass, sugarcane, yellow cherry, green apple, citrus, pine, nutmeg.

The texture is of thick, smooth spring water with a mineral, mouth-watering finish.

The only shifting quality of this tea is found in the aftertaste which moves from gentle creaminess and peach and grass to osmanthus then closer to that of the first cup with peach skin and tulip leaf. The tea is a little drying but that lets the creamy impression and rising florals linger.

I looked back at my old note for the June 2018 harvest and this June 2020 harvest fits my impression back then. This tea is a great pick for newer oolong drinkers and seasoned alike. It can’t be oversteeped and in fact, my favorite preparation method thus far is bowl brewing, same as what’s called grandpa style. I happen to like sipping out of a bowl better than a large cup as I find I can more easily get lost in the aroma with my face that much closer to the tea. The leaves of this tea also expand with great fervor; a bowl accommodates this unfurling easily!

As for seasoned drinkers, the tea offers a ton of complexity in flavor and aroma if you’re the type to go searching. If your the type to not focus on such, it offers a smooth, consistent delivery in flavor, strength of character, structural balance.

Oh – this tea handles water off the boil beautifully. It needs the heat to bring out the deep sweetness that balances the florality.

Flavors: Cherry, Citrus, Cookie, Cream, Creamy, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Grass, Green Apple, Jasmine, Mineral, Narcissus, Nutmeg, Orange Blossom, Orchid, Osmanthus, Peach, Pine, Pineapple, Plants, Smooth, Spinach, Spring Water, Sugarcane

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Leafhopper

I did one session with this tea before my flood of spring 2021 oolongs arrived and I felt about the same, though my ability to detect flavours was less refined. Those floral and peachy notes are what I look for in green oolongs! Thanks for reminding me to finish this up, and sorry about the sandwich bags. I should really find aluminum pouches for my swaps.

derk

I haven’t really explored teas from Li Shan since Shan Lin Xi swooped me up early on. Do you have a preference? And, haha, I don’t care about the bag at all! I have plenty of jars that can hold 50g of leaf. My laziness knows no bounds!

derk

I’m no saint with swap packaging myself ;P

Leafhopper

I also fell in love with Shan Lin Xi oolongs early and prefer them to Li Shans because they often provide similar flavours for less of an investment. From my limited experience, Li Shans offer more complex floral aromas and very similar stonefruit notes, while Shan Lin Xis have sappy and herbaceous notes I rarely find higher up the mountain. Li Shans also tend to be a little smoother and more refined, though it depends on the tea. I’ve had fantastic teas from Shan Lin Xi, Li Shan, Da Yu Ling, and even Alishan, as well as mediocre ones from all these regions, so it’s really a gamble whatever you buy. That’s why for me, SLX is the best bet in the oolong lottery.

gmathis

“Can’t be oversteeped.” Automatic win.

LuckyMe

I remember this was really good when I tried it a few years ago. It’s always sold out on What-Cha whenever I check.

And I feel you about identifying flavors in gaoshan. By and large, Taiwanese oolongs have the same basic taste with a few subtle but profound variations that are tricky to pinpoint.

Leafhopper

LuckyMe, I agree that the flavours in gaoshan can be hard to identify and describe. Sometimes I feel like I’m writing the same tasting note for all of them. :)

Daylon R Thomas

Dido. I can use the words green, floral, viscous, orchid, and orange blossom over and over again. What-Cha’s Lishan was always my favorite because it’s one of the most reliable teas I’ve had for the price. I was going to get the 2021 one season when it comes out if it is alright. And I second Leafhopper, derk. Shanlinxi won me early on, but I went through a phase where SLX were too grassy and vegetal for me preferring the more delicate florals of the Lishan. I was personally not to crazy about the 2019 Lishans as I was with earlier seasons. I’ve tried a lot of gaoshan from different companies, but some of the companies wouldn’t last long enough for me to return to them, like Teaful for example. I always go back to what-Cha because one, Alistair is awesome, and two, you know what you’re getting, and if there are any changes to the season, Alistair and co usually write about it or let you know.

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90
78 tasting notes

A light floral & citrus high mountain oolong…very smooth, light, complex. Delicious. Now on to my 3rd steep.
(Spring 2017 Harvest). I was just on the perusing the What-Cha website- looks like Alistair is running low on this one so if you want to purchase, now is the time.

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95
593 tasting notes

I’ve been wanting to try this Li Shan for while since it has gotten such rave reviews on Steepster. After finally getting my hands on a sample, I have to say this was worth the hype. Love it when that happens :-)

The leaves of this tea are rolled into giant green nuggets that have a fresh orchid scent. Wet leaf aroma is extraordinarily sweet with florals reminiscent of hyacinth and daffodils. The tea started off fairly thin and light with a bit of sugarcane. Figuring the water temperature was too low, I upped it to 200 F from 190 F to help bring out more flavor in the second steep. Out came a thick nectar of wildflowers and honeycomb. The following steep I used just under boiling water and got more pastoral flowers, minerality, and a fairly viscous mouthfeel that was very soothing. I was really beginning to feel the cha qi at this point.

From there on out, I used straight up boiling water for the next 6 steeps. It went through a complex taste evolution going from buttery to brothy and then fruity; all the while maintaining a distinct gao shan flavor. Interestingly enough, this tea was mostly fruity in the later steeps with little to no vegetal tones unlike other Li shan’s I’ve tried. I loved its sumptuous fruitiness and powerful cha qi. Also impressive was the incredible staying power that lasted through 9 steeps without any bitterness whatsoever.

After 2 sessions with this sample, I had slightly less than 2 grams left which I brewed western style. Though lighter, the western steep brought out more of the tea’s floral aspects into play.

Really impressed with this offering from What-Cha. It’s complexity and evolution of taste over infusions was quite nice. Definitely going to get some more of this tea with my next order.

Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Nectar, Sugarcane, Sweet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 45 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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93
1031 tasting notes

I managed to squeeze in another oolong session this evening. This tea was one that I had been meaning to try for some time. What-Cha’s Taiwanese oolongs seem to enjoy a good reputation here and elsewhere, so my hopes were high. Fortunately, this tea lived up to expectations.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted pleasant aromas of cream, butter, grass, and flowers. After the rinse, more distinct impressions of lilac, honeysuckle, and hyacinth emerged, as did traces of vanilla and custard. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet with a very light hint of citrus. In the mouth, I detected mild notes of cream, butter, vanilla, custard, sweetgrass, hyacinth, lilac, and honeysuckle. I did not pick up any citrus. Subsequent infusions revealed hints of lily and magnolia chased by lime zest, green apple, pear, and a faint hint of almond. A lively mineral presence began to emerge toward the back of the throat at this point. Later infusions were dominated by minerals, sweetgrass, cream, butter, and almond, while extremely faint citrus impressions lingered in the background.

This was a very interesting and satisfying high mountain oolong. Though its peak was very brief, the tea remained enjoyable on one level or another throughout the session. I could definitely see this being a rock solid oolong for regular consumption and would recommend it highly to anyone looking for a respectable Li Shan oolong that will not entirely break the bank.

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Lime, Mineral, Pear, Vanilla

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Evol Ving Ness

Nice. Very nice.

Daylon R Thomas

I second that. It’s a flexible brew for me: it does fine western, gong fu, and grandpa.

Daylon R Thomas

You know I second that. It’s actually my favorite because of how approachable it is. I’m not sure if it has for you, but I’m able to brew it gong fu, western, and grandpa style which is why I love it so much.

eastkyteaguy

You know, I have yet to try it Western or grandpa. I have lately found myself getting stuck in patterns with regard to certain types of tea. For some reason, I always want to save oolongs, pu-erh, and Chinese black teas for gongfu sessions. I tend to favor non-Chinese black teas, black tea blends, green teas, tisanes, and white teas Western style. I’m not sure why I do that. I have quite a bit of this left though, so I’m thinking of trying a multi-step Western process with it.

Daylon R Thomas

Sounds awesome. I usually use 3 grams or less in my 16 ounce tumbler for Grandpa, and the same amount western and was surprised how well it worked. I have around 30 grams left myself, so I’ve been slowly switching to western and granpa lately to savor what’s left. I savor my favorite teas too and I’m the same way western with the varieties you just listed with the exception of white teas.

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