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75
drank Georgia MANNA Green Tea by What-Cha
634 tasting notes

I recently received a sample of this tea, along with other ones, in a package from Martin – thank you very much!

It is very smooth and mineral tea with high salinity and a strong grass seed note. As such, my impression is pretty much identical to what derk mentions in her review. If I were to compare this tea to any of my previous experiences (I haven’t had any Georgian greens before I think), the closest would be Lu An Gua Pian – a green tea from Anhui that’s made without buds, just like this one.

Flavors: Grass Seed, Mineral, Olives, Salty, Smooth

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec 4 g 7 OZ / 220 ML
Martin Bednář

Glad that you liked it! My rating of 85 is truly too high, but somehow I don’t want to change it :)

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81

Spring 2020 harvest

Dry — dark chocolate, peanut butter, malt, slight rye. Warm — dark chocolate, oak, osmanthus, vegetable oil.

Western has a very forward, sweet chocolate-honey-apricot taste for me with a delightful and drawn out powdery white floral and osmanthus finish. Overall, the tea is rich and deep upfront but a little thin-textured for my likes.

Gongfu, this tea has a good, viscous structure with balanced astringency and tannins. More tangy than western, less sweet. There’s also a nice swallow that I get from a lot of Old Ways Tea’s Fujian blacks – it’s squeaky, full and satisfying and I can feel it cool my throat. The tea is a bit drying but I think that allows the aftertaste to continue developing in the minutes after finishing a cup. Floral, rich and fruity notes of osmanthus and honeyed apricot-orange-peach with touches of caramel, chocolate and sweet potato linger in the mouth and sinuses. These aromatics are more apparent than the actual taste of the tea. Bottom of the cup retains a very sweet and deep osmanthus note supported by chocolate and red cherry. Comfortable energy. This tea is currently on sale.

Nice tea. Happy Easter :)

Flavors: Apricot, Caramel, Cherry, Chocolate, Drying, Floral, Flowers, Honey, Malt, Menthol, Oak, Orange, Osmanthus, Peach, Peanut, Rye, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Tangy

Leafhopper

Happy Easter! I’m glad this tea is a good one!

Martin Bednář

Happy Easter!

Martin Bednář

And looking forward to try this one as well!

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80

Super smooth green tea I had yesterday. It was thick, green, savory, sweet, and loaded with Umami that’s balanced by sweeter corn notes. It rivaled some higher end Japanese I had in its flavor in mouthfeel. I’m personally picky with Green teas, but this one was very enjoyable in short steeps. I timed each steep at 25 sec, and did not exceed 35 until steep 4. I started getting a little tea drunk with how much tea I’ve been drinking. There was some evolution in the later steeps, with some bare fruit hints, slightly melon like, but it was predominantly grassy and savory. I could meditate with this one since it strikes me more as a health nut tea.

While this is not the kind of tea I personally prefer, I really enjoyed the change of pace and can at least recommend as something that rivals some more expensive Green Tea from Korea and Japan for its mouthfeel and umami alone. It was also had a lot of longevity that withstood me. I had to stop at steep seven personally, but I could see it going on. Definitely a tea snob tea who know thing or two about greens that want something affordable and flavorful. I’m curious what the oolong was like in comparison. I’ve had Korean oolong, and they are usually roasty and nutty, but if the green was this rich in flavor, I can only guess what the oolong would be like.

Flavors: Corn Husk, Green, Melon, Savory, Smooth, Sweet, Thick, Umami

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90

Here’s yet another tea from What-Cha, whose catalogue I seem to be slowly and methodically going through. Thanks, Derk, for sending these dragon balls for my further white tea education! I steeped one 6 g ball in a 120 ml teapot at 195F for 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 75, 90, 105, 120, 180, 240, and then 5, 7, and 10 minutes.

The dry aroma is of jammy raspberries and other red fruits, apricots, honey, and autumn leaves. The first couple steeps have strong apricot and red fruit notes, plus honey, hay, autumn leaves, oats, malt, pine, and wood. The next couple steeps put the apricot at the forefront, with more honey, oats, and sweetness. I can see where Derk is getting marshmallows! By steep five, the oats, autumn leaves, and malt are starting to become more pronounced. By the one-minute mark, this tea has lost most of its fruity sweetness and has notes of malt, honey, oats, wood, autumn leaves, and tannins. The session ends with metal, wood, and tannins, though with some berry fruitiness returning in the long final steeps.

I was delighted by how sweet and fruity this aged white tea is. It also goes forever—perhaps too long. I tend to wring every scrap of flavour I can out of my leaves, so this session lasted from yesterday afternoon into this morning. However, this is hardly a complaint. I can see this being a better-than-average tea that can take oversteeping well.

Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Berries, Hay, Honey, Jam, Malt, Marshmallow, Metallic, Oats, Pine, Raspberry, Red Fruits, Sweet, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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92

I don’t have much experience with Jin Jun Mei, and the few I’ve tried weren’t good enough to justify the price. Thanks, Daylon R Thomas, for sending me this version from What-Cha. I steeped 6 g of leaf in a 120 ml teapot at 190F for 7, 10, 12, 15, 18, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

In the bag, this smells like chocolate, bread, rose, and dill pickle chips. (Yes, I know, I’m a barbarian.) I think this is an association with a certain floral, herbaceous note over the grainy base, but it’s very pronounced. The first steep has notes of chocolate, malt, bread, butter, sweet potato, rose, other flowers, smoke, and, sigh, slightly vegetal, salty pickle. The pickle dissipates in the second steep, where I get tobacco, smoke, chocolate, bread, rose, and more sweet potato. The next few steeps are more bready and malty, with rose, lavender, sweet potato, and faint smoke. Earth and minerals come in on steep five. The session goes on forever, and though the body thins out, the honey, bread, floral, and smoky notes continue. The session ends with malt, earth, minerals, smoke, dill, some vegetal notes, and slight florality.

This is a beautiful bready, chocolaty, rosy tea that goes many rounds. I have to say that the dill was a fun distraction, and I wonder what it is “supposed” to be for people with better palates. This tea has improved my opinion of Jin Jun Mei. I might have to try a small amount of the really pricy stuff to see how it compares.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Chocolate, Dill, Earth, Floral, Grain, Herbaceous, Honey, Lavender, Malt, Mineral, Rose, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Tobacco, Umami, Vegetal

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I liked this one more than previous versions. I was so let down when it went out of season. The $1 per gram ones tend to be too vegetal for me, but this one is so good and complex. I am glad you liked it!

Leafhopper

This JJM and the Lapsang must have been very popular, since to my knowledge, they were only on the site for a couple months. I do wonder what those pickle notes were supposed to be.

Daylon R Thomas

The roast????

Leafhopper

Maybe, though I haven’t made that association with other roasted teas.

derk

Can’t remember which ones but I’ve gotten pickle in some black teas. The only jin jum mei I can remember having is Old Ways Tea 2017. It was deep and low, complex with great fruity/citrusy and orchid accents, not at all chocolatey for me. Their 2017 Premium is a scary $4USD/g.

Leafhopper

Yikes! That tea sounds amazing, though. It makes the 2021 fruity JJM from Wuyi Origin seem downright affordable at $19 for 25 g.

tea-sipper

Sounds like the jin jun mei I should try! Except for the…sigh…dill pickle. :D

Leafhopper

LOL, maybe you wouldn’t get that note, tea-sipper! I really liked What-Cha’s Jin Jun Mei.

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87

Had some this morning semi gong fu in my Gong Fu 2 Go tumbler. I only used half the vessel, so less than 8or 7 oz in size, but 4 oz in rinse and use for the 3.5 grams.

As a first steep after 35 sec, it was very fruity and sweet hitting its high mark early. Honey fructose, honeysuckle, citrus mouth coat, and then a lingering floral and apricot aftertaste bordering on juicy. I finished it quick. 45, 65, 75, 105, 135, and not much different in aroma or flavor. Later steeps were more honeysuckle and floral, hinting at gardenia, but still citrusy. I could see orange blossom being applied, but it was a hair more tart yet just as sweet.

I feel kinda boring since I did not get as much as I wanted this time around, possibly due to the lower leaf or other parts of the brewing method. I was highly satisfied with the flavor all the while missing something. It still stands out as one of the better Oriental Beauty’s I have in my stash.

Yet again, more to come in the future as I get to know this tea. I’m curious to see what easteaguy and others thought of this one. I liked it a lot more than the Vietnam one and the regular one in the lineup because I think this one is less drying and malty. I feel bad I keep on leaning towards the more expensive teas from What-Cha lately because there are some really great ones that are a lot more affordable. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue to recommend these, though I honestly recommend this one because I want to see what people will think. It’s too pricey for a tea newbie and suited more for intermediate drinkers. I’m not sure what an actual sommelier think of this one.

I’m still not sure what to rate this one. It’s in between eighties and 90s for me right now. I’ll probably change the rating in the future. Looking for commentary in the comments!

Leafhopper

Derk let me keep 5-6 g of this tea as a sample when we made our huge What-Cha order on Black Friday. Do you recommend longer steeps? I usually steep my Bai Hao at 195F for 30/20/30/30/45/60, etc.

Daylon R Thomas

I’m not sure yet on this one.I’ve had this tea three times in total, and found that the 30 sec increments worked for me, but I did using less grams. Either way, I wouldn’t rush this one. Alistair/What-Cha recommended 3-4 minutes, so I’m assuming yes. I’d be curious to see what Derk thought.

derk

I tried it for the first time tonight after reading your notes. Used 3g in my 60mL gaiwan but didn’t time steeps (many and long). Oh, water off the boil! It’s GOOD. Really strong savory osmanthus note for me, along with honey of course (crystallized maybe), malt, apricot-orange. I think it has a low-toned profile but has balanced citrusy-fruity high tones. Lots of other stuff. Complex but not very long-lived aftertaste. Last steeps were very lemongrassy – high in citral I’m guessing – and somewhat tannic.

derk

It feels like a quality tea in the mouth, too. Smooth and swallows very nicely.

Daylon R Thomas

Thank you derk!

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87

Might as well do this backlog while the computer is still open.

I still have some of this I need to finish. I liked this one more than the regular one on What-Chas site. The apricot, citrus notes, florals, and everything else mingle nicely under an aged profile. This is quality tea, and I need to do another meditative session with it. I don’t recommend it western or grandpa At least not yet. Based on how it shifted, though, and the expense, I’m staying gong fu for now.

Again, more in the future.

Flavors: Apricot, Gardenias, Honey, Orange, Thick

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58
drank Taiwan Jade Oolong Tea by What-Cha
938 tasting notes

March 2020 harvest. A mystery oolong pick that Leafhopper shared with me when we went a little crazy in November.

The dry leaf has notes of spinach, walnut, cream, gingerbread and honeysuckle. This transforms into a very floral perfume with the rinse – notes of lilac and gardenia, plus cream and gingerbread.

The tea is one of the most fragrant unscented teas I’ve ever had, so strong that it’s dizzying — in a good way if I were to find myself in a mood that warrants such an effect — but I couldn’t handle it either time. The tea is creamy, sweet, soft and silky and produces a wonderful mouth-watering effect. The floral perfume lingers long in the aftertaste.

The characteristics of the tea soup point to good quality, but the floral aroma is much too intense for me. I can see why this tea garners such positive reviews here, but it’s simply not for me. This is truly a Jade oolong and for those sippers with a major floral tilt, I would recommend it.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Citrus, Cream, Creamy, Floral, Flowers, Gardenias, Ginger, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Mint, Orange Blossom, Perfume, Smooth, Spinach, Sweet, Sweet, Warm Grass, Walnut

Leafhopper

After reading your review, I’m glad I kept most of this tea!

derk

Yes, better to be in a home where it’s appreciated!

Leafhopper

LOL, I chugged the 40 g or so I had left in less than two months and am considering getting the 2021 version. I guess I like really floral teas!

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70

Dry leaf aroma: cannabis, chocolate, roasted
Brewing tea aroma notes: salted butter
Brewed tea aroma notes: slight muscatel, roasted, sour grape
Tea tasting notes: Vegetal, buttery, muscatel, roasted

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec

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78
drank Georgia MANNA Green Tea by What-Cha
938 tasting notes

I’m excited to try a green tea from Georgia thanks to Martin!

Summer 2020 harvest, certified organic. The tea is soft and thick on the sip and transitions to a clean, mineral swallow before leaving a lingering salty and lightly drying finish. Notes of grass seed, green olive and the barest hint of spiced apricot are greeted by a mild astringency. Combined with the mineral-salty character, it creates an excellent palate cleanser and is treating me with a gentle hand upon waking.

While it’s a simple, mild tea, it excels at what it does. I’d say it easily plays a supporting role to the excellent black teas that What-Cha offers from Georgia.

Flavors: Apricot, Grass Seed, Mineral, Olives, Salty, Spices

Martin Bednář

Considering that Georgia produces mostly black teas… I think this is a nice surprise!

derk

Yeah, I’m interested in seeing how their green tea processing techniques might change over the years.

TeaEarleGreyHot

Is this tea from the Eastern European country of Georgia? Or is it one of the several State of Georgia, USA -grown teas?

Martin Bednář

It’s European country Georgia TeaEarleGreyHot and they do a great black tea. Check out Guria Likhauri from Dobra Cajovna I found out last year!

derk

The Guria Likhauri Martin shared with me is one of the best black teas I’ve had.

ashmanra

Oh yes, Martin’s suggestion of Guria Likhauri is quite a good one!

TeaEarleGreyHot

Thanks, everyone! Although I’m also interested in trying the US-grown teas from Alabama, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia, and elsewhere! I was impressed to read that some have imported varieties from Taiwan!

gmathis

I’ve tried a couple of varieties from the Charleston Tea Plantation. Their American Classic is pretty basic but an improvement over grocery store brand “just tea.”

TeaEarleGreyHot

Gmathis, that’s rather what I’d expect from a garden started by Lipton and today owned by Bigelow. They specialize in “just tea” from the grocery store (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But smaller operations may be more likely to incorporate other local ingredients as well to create truly unique tea. I’m thinking Georgia peaches, Texas citrus, southern nuts and berries. Herbs and spices and flavorings. And of course, reflecting the unique terroir and climate. They can also act as an accessible gateway other than mass merchants for others to begin exploring international and orthodox teas

gmathis

It’s been too long ago for me to remember clearly, but I think Charleston variety #2 was a classier upscale loose leaf … not seeing any offerings like that on their website now. But you’re right—a Yankee spin on domestic varieties would be great!

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68

The dry leaf smells like roast and apricot jam. The warmed leaf is sweet, fruity and floral with notes of honey, burnt brown sugar, apricot, powdered sugar and daffodil.

Following a long rinse, the tea is strange in the first steep, light in flavor but it leaves a very strong buttered lima bean aftertaste. The second steep better shows the Oriental Beauty character. I can taste a gently sweet honey, orange blossom, minerals (silica?), grass seed, osmanthus and a light nuttiness. This steep still displays the buttered lima bean aftertaste but in the subsequent steeps it turns into honey, orange zest and vanilla with light cream.

For being a tea 6 years old, this is a serviceable oolong. I don’t have much experience with Oriental Beauty but I found this version from Thailand, while much less oxidized than a regular OB, to be more true to that style of oolong than to a GABA oolong, which is what Leafhopper thought it resembled.

Thanks for the share, Leafhopper :)

Flavors: Apricot, Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Butter, Char, Cream, Drying, Floral, Grass Seed, Honey, Jam, Lima Beans, Mineral, Narcissus, Nutty, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Osmanthus, Powdered Sugar, Vanilla

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91
drank Persia Lahijan Black Tea by What-Cha
938 tasting notes

This is the first Persian tea I’ve been able to try thanks to Martin. The United States has imposed sanctions on Iran, so we are unable to receive any Iranian goods besides food products, which thankfully includes tea. I was unaware that Iran even produces tea. The arid climate of Iran gives way to a belt of land in the north of the country along the Caspian Sea which is suitable for growing tea. Lahijan is a city located in this region.

Spring 2019 harvest. The dry leaf has a comforting aroma of cinnamon raisin toast, malt and red fruits. The leaf is cut pretty small but I went ahead and prepared according to What-Cha’s recommendation. I used 3g for 300mL, steeped at 95C for 4 minutes. The resulting brew has an aroma of roasted nuts, cinnamon raisin toast, black currants, red fruits, malt and cocoa. The tea is medium- to full-bodied and meaty with balanced tannins and astringency. The flavor is full and smooth with tea rose, rosewood, mineral, roasted nuts, roasted meat and a red fruit tone. It is spicy, body-warming and relaxing and cooling in the chest. Gentle cinnamon raisin toast aftertaste.

This is an excellent tea! It feels very luxurious to me. Despite having roasted nut and meat notes, the tea does not at all have any lingering char taste. I was concerned that the chopped leaf and long steep time would produce a heavy, astringent and bitter tea but it is smooth as could be and light in my stomach. It’s definitely not a black tea that requires milk and/or sugar. One thing to note, though, is with a 4-minute infusion time, the tea is truly good for only 1 cup. I did let today’s brew go for about 6 minutes and it was just as good as the 4-minute brew.

Flavors: Astringent, Black Currant, Brown Toast, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Malt, Meat, Mineral, Mint, Raisins, Red Fruits, Roasted Nuts, Rose, Round , Smooth, Spicy, Tangy, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Martin Bednář

I really loved it! And my grandma loves it as well. “It is light, but still a flavourful cup.” as she described it to me once. I hope I will be able to get more of Iranian teas one day.

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74

I received this tea as a sample in my last What-Cha order. It was harvested and roasted in 2020. I steeped the entire 6 g in a 120 ml teapot at 200F for 25, 20, 25, 30, 30, 30, 45, 60, 90, 120, and 240 seconds.

Dry, this tea has the typically lovely aroma of a Gui Fei: honey, baked bread, stewed fruit, citrus, and grass. The first steep gives me honey, grapefruit, grains, roast, wood, and minerals, with a strange nutty and chicory-type aftertaste at the back of the throat. The grapefruit gets stronger in the next steep, but so does the astringency. I also get citrus, honey, sap, roasted almonds, and roast. I let the third steep cool and the nutty flavour intensifies, along with the grapefruit and piny notes. It kind of tastes like an IPA. There are beautiful peach and nectarine notes in steep five to compensate for the growing astringency. In the next few steeps, the grapefruit, roasted nuts, honey, and grains don’t go away, but the growing astringency makes the tea less enjoyable. The session ends with malt, nuts, earth, wood, minerals, honey, and faint grapefruit.

Although I enjoyed some aspects of this Gui Fei, particularly the grapefruit, the roast and astringency were more pronounced than I usually like. What-Cha says this tea improves with age, and maybe I should have stored this sample in my tea museum for a couple years before trying it. I’d say it’s decent for the price if you like this type of tea, which I certainly do.

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Baked Bread, Citrus, Earth, Grain, Grass, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Nuts, Peach, Pine, Roasted, Sap, Stewed Fruits, Wood

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML
tea-sipper

“tea museum” har har

Leafhopper

Yep. If it was better organized, I could charge admission! :P

Mastress Alita

Complete with fossilized pu’erh cakes, excavated from ancient Chinese ruins?!

Leafhopper

Sadly, no, though I do have an unnamed pu’erh sample that’s been “aging” in a plastic wrapper since 2015 or so. I also have a Bai Hao cake and halves of two black cakes from Liquid Proust, lots of old Darjeeling and green tea, teabags from ten years ago that I’ll never drink, old flavoured teas I’m rarely in the mood for, plus tons of black, white, and oolong teas that I really want to get around to. Oh, and samples from Derk, which I’m trying not to archive.

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All of my What-Cha teas have come as gifts from Superanna, my eldest daughter. She surfs my wishlist, picks a tea, and then chooses a surprise tea or two to go with it! I had White Rhino on my list, and she chose this one!

She told me she had ordered my gift and shipped it straight here, but I was expecting several packages and didn’t realize this wasn’t one of my own orders (box didn’t seem to say What-Cha and I had some other tea coming) so I opened it. Happy early Birthday to me!
I got a nice sample I haven’t tried yet, and a note on White Rhino is coming soon.

I am not sure that I have had a Nepali black tea before, but this is really wonderful. There are only a few black teas that the Ashman enjoys plain, and he liked this one very much. We had it for breakfast today but I had already had it once on my own.

Though the area is known for producing darjeeling, this could more easily be mistaken for a Keemun. I am totally out of Keemun and at present I don’t mind at all because this will stand in very nicely indeed.

This has the chocolate-y notes and a delightful nutty roastiness without smoke that endures throughout the steeps. It is mildly brisk, but the type of briskness that is totally without sourness and needs no softening with milk or smoothing with sugar. It dries the mouth, but doesn’t pucker it. This is so gulpable, and makes you reach for more again and again.

I made two steeps together this time and combined them -I think it was a 36 ounce pot. After breakfast I wanted something to wet my whistle after helping a neighbor with her yard work a bit and I made a third steep, wondering if it would still have enough flavor to be worth it. It certainly did have enough flavor, as much as some teas have on their first steep.

This one is probably not going to last long here…

Thank you, Superanna! It is excellent tea!

Courtney

What a wonderful daughter! And this tea also sounds tasty!

Martin Bednář

I wanted to add it to the wishlist, but apperntly it is there already since note from Crowkettle. Sounds delish!

DrowningMySorrows

Yay for early birthday presents! Sounds like a very tasty tea :)

Daylon R Thomas

Yeah, that one is very, very good.

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94

Backlog and Return:

The past two weeks have been tough. First of them was the slow physical recovery from the 2nd Moderna vaccine. Had all the temporary side effects letting me know my body was working and developing immunity with a dollop of misery. It took me a week before I was ready for any physical effort or strain.

Then the following week was a tough one at school. We discovered that 30% of our students have filed as homeless at one point, and we had more to deal with to help ensure our kids were safe and continually adjusting to being in school. As an alt. ed, we’ve already had every day instruction for more than half of our students, but since we have the go ahead to include more students, we’ve had a few new ones. So essentially, it’s the first week of school at the end of a trimester….so fun.

Fortunately, my avaricious consumerism and the frequent gifts of What-Cha and the goddess Guan Yin have visited me in those two weeks. I was stoked that Alistair had this in his line up this year-I’ve tried one other before, but unroasted Taiwanese TieGuanYin Gaoshans are so hard to find and so expensive. I’ve itched to get more from Taiwan Sourcing, but their pricing and shipping is beyond what I look for, so What-Cha came in to the rescue with a deal. I decided to budget by getting only 25 instead of the 50 I planned-I partially regret it because this is a very refreshing tea.

In terms of notes, this one was kinda hard to pin down in description. I’d be concerned I’d over describe. There are few specific flavors that came to mind with it that you could see other people tasting, even if they are novice, but the tea is on the ethereal spectrum of high mountain greener oolong, more along the lines of a Dayuling Yu Shan, or a Jade Oolong. Alistair also avoided over description by calling it clean, slightly sour, smooth as all of the company’s teas are, and floral. The tea is certainly green and clean, but not quite green enough for me to call it entirely vegetal. Maybe grassy and herbaceaous, but overwhelmingly floral, sweet, and light.

Earlier steeps gong fu or even western have some of the usual lilac and green notes you get from high mountain tea with a swath of the TGY varietal orchid notes, but it’s a little sweeter like sugarcane. The flavors amp up in steep 2 and 3, reminding me of a mix of cilantro and freshly canned pineapple, still plump with juice and water. I get more of the apricot sourness I’d associate from TGY in the third steep, and then it’s more prominent in steep four, then it fades. Last remaining steeps are generally green floral and vaguely fruity-effervescent as it has been.

I will say this one is better to do Gong Fu with either longer steeps or a decent amount of grammage, but it works well western and adequately grandpa for tumbler fuel. This is not a beginners tea, but it’s palette is very easy to drink and not at all drying. Depending on my budget, I’m going to have to include some of this again in my next order. It’s not as flavor forward as usual Qing Xin Li Shans or other Gaoshans, but it’s got a lot to offer in terms of aroma, and dare I say it, Qi.

The clarity of energy in this one is probably one of its biggest highlights. I also say that since I drank it during the clearing of Michigan’s cruel monochromatic grey weather that turned into a sunny blue and green day. Spring is sneaking through the snow as the sun wakes the grass from its slumber, as my wallet opens to spend more tea and share it with another.

Yes I rhymed. I was bored.

PS. The sourness reminds me of a green apple. Note added.

Flavors: Apricot, Creamy, Floral, Green, Green Apple, Herbs, Orchids, Pineapple, Pleasantly Sour, Sugarcane, Tart, Tropical

ashmanra

I can’t even imagine how you handle that at school! You are doing sich important work.

I hope your vaccine woes are behind you and you have clear sailing from here forward.

derk

You’re doing good work, Daylon.

Daylon R Thomas

Thank you! That means a lot to me.

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70
drank Nepal Pearl Oolong Tea by What-Cha
938 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, thus my lowish rating. 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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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

Big-leaved sencha and cute little uniform nuggets of toasted rice that havenn’t popped. The aroma smells strongly of toasted rice, so much that it reminds me of sobacha or peanut butter or sesame oil. This is a lighter-tasting sencha than what I’m used to compared to that had with sushi. The taste is a good balance of toasted rice and straw-grass seed-seaweed and salty tang. It’s a little drying but not too bad. The aftertaste is subtle but tastes like buttery caramel kettlecorn with a thin nectar sweetness. Second steep is thicker, sweeter and in general leans much more kettlecorn. Solid overall, but I think I prefer a bolder green tea presence.

Edit: Cameron B. says below it’s bancha, not sencha :)

Flavors: Butter, Caramel, Drying, Grass Seed, Kettle Corn, Nectar, Salt, Seaweed, Straw, Sweet, Tangy, Toasted Rice, Toasty

Cameron B.

Their genmaicha is made with a bancha base, and yes it’s definitely mellow.

derk

I could google but I’d rather pick your brain- what’s bancha?

Cameron B.

It’s just a lower grade Japanese green tea than sencha, picked from bigger and more mature leaves, later in the season. It tends to have a more mellow flavor and be a bit more grassy versus vegetal.

derk

Thank you!

Martin Bednář

I wonder how much different is this to the tea bags I have sent?

derk

The green tea taste isn’t as pronounced and it’s overall rather sweet.

Martin Bednář

Thanks; certainly this one sounds better :)

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85

I had aimed for 3g:300mL. For some reason today there’s a sense of haste within. I mean, I know why: the woes of womanhood and an ear infection on the mend have left me lazy and unaccomplished on my days off. I finally emerged from my cave and made breakfast and tea before the clock struck Finite Noon, that demarcation in the day where if I had not yet shuffled, the entire day might have been lost to frump. I looked at the kettle and deemed the water level ‘enough’ but once poured, it ended up being only 200mL. No fear! Thick and glassy, juicy with beautiful layered astringency that leaves my mouth watering. Just beautiful and clean! Malty-tangy straw-salt and autumn leaf-tamarind, toasted almond, spicy earth, tea rose-geranium-lemongrass floral, delicate red grape aftertaste. Cool, relaxed. Relaxed? Ah yes. Now off to get bloodwork.

Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Earth, Geranium, Grapes, Lemongrass, Malt, Rose, Salt, Spicy, Straw, Tangy, Thick

ashmanra

Hope you start perking up soon!

Kawaii433

Owwie (ear infection). Feel better soon, Derk!

derk

My ear had an intimate encounter with a q-tip. Lesson learned. I’m fine, thanks for your well wishes.

mrmopar

Hope you feel better soon!

White Antlers

Glad all is well. A few years ago, I had to take myself to Urgent Care because the cotton end of a q-tip got ‘lost’ in my ear. : (

J-P

Good luck with getting that cleared up. Filling up with Ruby Gold sounds like a nice start whatever time of the day.

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drank Vietnam 'Ta' Oolong Tea by What-Cha
938 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

Leafhopper

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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84

Backlog sample sipdown!

Thank Alistair for this sample!

Thought I wrote a note on it. Derk nailed most of it anyway. Very herbaceous, fresh, and crisp first flush with some funky fruit and floral vibes, but the olive note was the strongest for me personally. It was bordering on nearly oolong like for a black tea, but maintained the herby, buttery, savory flavor of most First Flush’s I’ve drank. I liked the black version more than the oolong. The heavier oxidation gave it a smoother body and some fruit to counterbalance the florals and grassiness that I got from the oolong version.

I personally would not reach out for this one due to preference, but it is one of the first flushes that I’ve taken my time with Gong Fu. I enjoyed some of the unusual notes, and I will say that it was refreshing compared to other green First Flush black teas.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Freshly Cut Grass, Fruity, Green, Green Apple, Herbs, Olives, Smooth

tea-sipper

Everybody and their olive tasting black teas lately. :P

derk

Can’t untaste once it’s been mentioned :)

Daylon R Thomas

That’s called the power of persuasion and marketing. And bored tea sommeliers who need to come up with something more precise. If I didn’t have that suggestion, I’d think the flavor was green, savory, vegetal, fruity, or even pepper like. First Flushes are that way, though.

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75

Leafhopper said this black tea from Laos was riddled with tannins so I made a breakfast of huevos rancheros to prime my belly before loading up on what sounded like an ass-kicker of a tea. This and the Laos Somneauk green tea from What-Cha are my first known experiences with Lao tea apart from leaf processed in the sheng puerh style.

I more closely followed What-Cha’s suggested parameters than Leafhopper did with their brew. Two flat teaspoons came out to 3g, so I did my usual 1g:100mL for black teas prepared western style. Brewed with water off the boil.

The dry leaf smells rich with a prune-cherry-tobacco midtone, bottomed out by caramel and orange and topped with chocolate and orchid. The aroma is chocolatey both in sense of cacao nibs and cocoa-vanilla along with cedar and a hint of orange blossom. The sip is pretty dang tannic but not overwhelming. It’s a bold, stout tea that tastes like cedar, oak, fruity tobacco, twigs, spent barley malt from brewing, blackberries, light honey and a kind of powdery-floral cranberry. The mild aftertaste presents with crispy, buttery blackberry-filled croissant, citrus and prune. A second steep tastes more like your basic black ‘tea.’

If I hadn’t known this was from Laos, I’d guess it from Vietnam or Africa but it does seem to have characteristics of black teas from China, however varied they are. It’s not smooth enough to call to mind Taiwanese tea. Overall, I think this would be a fine daily drinker for people who like a sturdy, strong black. It offers some decent, refined flavors to pull it out of the basic breakfast category and the aroma has that chocolatey comfort. For me, I like my black teas kinder to my constitution since I often drink them on an empty stomach.

I do have a fair amount since this was a 50g Mystery Tea. If anybody would like to try a black tea from Laos, let me know!

Flavors: Blackberry, Cacao, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Cranberry, Dried Fruit, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Oak, Orange, Orange Blossom, Orange Zest, Orchid, Pastries, Plums, Tangy, Tannin, Tea, Tobacco, Vanilla, Wood

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 300 ML
Leafhopper

I’m glad you were able to get more from this tea than I did. Following the instructions more closely might have helped!

derk

More from it, yeah, but maybe about as much pleasure. It’s way too bold and tannic for me. Still a good tea for people who want that wallop.

Leafhopper

LOL, I can’t say I was sad to see it go. Maybe it would be better with milk or cold brewed.

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65

Derk bought a set of three mystery teas in the order we split from What-Cha on Black Friday, and this was one of them. I’ve never had a tea from Laos before, although the offerings from One River Tea have been tempting me. Thanks, Derk, for letting me take a sample before sending it along. I steeped around 4 g of leaf in a 355 ml mug at 203F for 3, 5, and 7 minutes.

Dry, the tea smells like citrus, hay, chocolate, and malt. Oof! The first steep is strong. I get tannins, tannins, and more tannins, plus malt, wood, faint orange blossom, honey, baked bread, and hay. It’s drying in the mouth and I feel like I’ve swallowed pencil lead. The fancy citrus and chocolate notes are absent in subsequent steeps, but neither does the tea deliver such a kick in the face. I also get a mineral note and maybe a hint of prune.

To me, this is an average breakfast-type tea with nothing special to indicate its terroir. Maybe Derk, who has a more sophisticated palate, will find more to love about this tea.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Citrus, Drying, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Orange Blossom, Tannin, Wood

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec 4 g 12 OZ / 355 ML
derk

You’re welcome. I’ll give it a fair sip this weekend. Sounds like it needs to be paired with a hearty breakfast to mitigate those tannins.

Leafhopper

I think you’re right. I also shouldn’t have used so much tea. I can usually get away with 4 g to my 355 ml mug, but maybe not with this one.

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