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Recent Tasting Notes
Gongfu session time! For the first time in a while, I’ve finally sat down to have a proper tea session whilst still doing homework, dreary and boring I know…
This pu-erh was pretty nice, not my favorite from White2Tea but it was nice to wind down with as I did my homework in our covered porch listening to the early fall rain. Something about drinking a nice Pu-erh, studying Greek Mythology, and listening to The 1975 is so peaceful to me. Even though it brings me a ton of stress, I love school haha!
Flavors: Earth, Paper, Tea, Wet Wood, Wood
After yesterday’s delicious ripe pu’erh, I felt compelled to pull another one out to enjoy while working. I basically tossed a large chunk of the cake into a mug to brew grandpa style. The tea soup is thick as oil with a pungently earthy and heavy woody flavour that’s rounded out by a medicinal camphorous finish. Low key, sloppy, and all around pretty much the best way to brew this tea up. I guess you could say I was feeling a little slutty…
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CxGk1hlO-ty/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58s3Rn7aVc0
This tea is slick and oily in all the ways you want a good ripe pu’erh to be. Densely woody and earthy with, of course, its namesake notes of camphor and just a hint of sweet smoke and molasses in the undertones – a shift, as this tea has settled in the last two years, from a previously more grizzly and bitter finish.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92eK7ur6woQ
Received this as a mini/sample from White2Tea in a package from Teawarehouse. I’m not well-versed in white teas, so I was interested in trying it.
Flavour: tree bark on the nose, something nutty at the back. Medium astringency.
All in all not my style and nothing to write home about.
Flavors: Astringent, Bark, Black Walnut, Earthy, Nutty, Tannin
I had a mood for gongfu, but today is another too hot day and white tea dragonball sounds like a delight. 10 seconds rinse.
1st steep, 20 seconds
Very bright brew, smells after freshly cut yellow melons, with hints of camphor, a bit citrusy. The brew tastes still quite weak, however first notes have started to appear, bunch of fruit flavours, stonefruits with hint of lemon maybe? Interesting mouthfeel, very mouthcoating with some kind of film coating all the mouth. Also there are some nice sweet notes in the background.
2nd steep, 20 seconds
Much stronger previous notes, yellow melon being very prominent, citrus notes in background. The ball has fell apart.
3rd steep, 25 seconds
Just a little increment because broken ball. Now it is indeed very citrusy, but with combination of white tea notes – read: hay, meadow, smooth and creamy notes, followed with stonefruits in aftertaste.
4th steep, 30 seconds
Stonefruit notes, a little unripe peach, honeydew, with meadow, hay-like aftertaste, with long mouthfeel, again “the film coating” feeling.
5th steep, 45 seconds
Is it almost gone? This steep was weirdly weak, with hay notes only and meadow flowers in aroma. Nice, but it is certainly noticeable it’s running out of flavours.
6th steep, 55 seconds
Indeed gone. I am surprised to see it lasts only 6 steeps. But on the other hand, I ran out of water in my thermos too. So, maybe it’s just a good timing.
It’s been a busy day, so topping off my mug and having this tea as a constant presence in the background has been really grounding for me. It’s smooth, sweet in a dark, dense sort of way and just deliciously decadent with notes of raw, earthy cacao and dates to compliment undertones of forest undergrowth. Very cozy!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CwQg45lOnyC/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUuBrQ1CYBo
Free sample with my last W2T order that I’m just now getting around to. Has a strange front end high note that is difficult to pin down. The overall gist I’m getting from the flavor is cinnamon peach cobbler.
Medium sweetness, no astringency or bitterness. Finish is quite long. Mouthfeel is, when tied to the flavor, like spiced gelatin (think of that gelatinous pie/cobbler filling). No metallic taste, but the front-end note gives a sharp, metallic character.
Overall, a respectable tea from W2T. One of their better ones from what I’ve tried. Not rushing to order more, but might pop a couple of minis in to my next order from there, if any are left.
Dry leaf: Nothing
Wet leaf: Fruity
Flavors: Red licorice, black licorice, walnut, peach, brown sugar, cinnamon, cobbler/pie, gelatin, cherry.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry, Cinnamon, Licorice, Pastries, Peach, Sweet, Walnut
Fun little dragonball. Quite green and planty, with a smoke profile approaching burning cigarette levels. More enjoyable than that sounds — it was a hoot observing the pings and bitters and ash darting around. Good body throughout, but especially in the last stages when steeps started taking 3-5 minutes — the body got very luscious, with a balanced flavor profile once the green and smoke had toned down.
Flavors: Ash, Grass, Green, Smoke, Tobacco
Smoked… meat? Nope, actually, that was full on hot dog in the first rinse. Good lard!
Six to eight steeps in, the hot dog settled down and this started feeling like an average-to-mediocre smoked lapsang. I like lapsang, I just… meh. Kinda bitey, kinda jangly.
This must be the same or a very similar white tea used for Charring Cross; to me, it reads like a black. Medium bodied, but snappy with smoke depth. I bet this would pair perfectly with a decadent chocolatey-something.
Flavors: Campfire, Malt, Meat, Smoke, Tannin, Tobacco
Heavy charcoal. A tease of dark chocolate that up and scurries away on the swallow. Malt, some tannins, very little sweetness; perhaps the most tobacco-heavy white I’ve ever tasted. I’d like to think this will mellow and sweeten and coalesce with age, but I’m not confident enough in my fortune-telling to roll the dice on it myself.
Medium-sized, dark brown leaves really poofed and filled my 100ml gaiwan. Liquor deepened to a medium brown. I’m a sucker for charcoal, so I enjoyed this well enough, despite it being rather brash and maybe too straightforward.
Flavors: Charcoal, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Tannin, Tobacco
This black tea brews up thick and syrupy with a liquor that tastes of darkly sweet raisins, home baked bread, and spiced brandy. Very slick, warming and grounding! I’m sure I’ll do a more detailed tasting note in the future, but for now this’ll have to do with covering my snap impression.
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWMQE-rwpSA
This is a beautifully sweet and medium bodied bud heavy black tea just dripping with sweet, golden honey notes with undertones of sweet and malty Easter buns, raisins, and just a hint of cocoa. The honey is the star tasting note, though. Wow!!
Within my first day back home I tripped and likely sprained my ankle, and it’s been near impossible to walk around for long stretches since so I’ve basically just been hanging out at home and drinking lots and lots of tea. I suppose, in some ways, that’s made for both a very eventful AND uneventful start to the vacation. On the positive side, one of my favourite things when traveling is to pick up teaware pieces from local potters and ceramacists, and we thankfully did that before the sprain happened. It’s left me with plenty of time to enjoy new pieces of teaware, like this GORGEOUS teacup.
I noticed last night during a backyard campfire how perfectly the many, many years old flaking paint of our garage matched this funky little piece so I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the two together!
Tea Photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CvF6lqoulPQ/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPWXJeacl30
Sipdown! (19 | 216)
Definitely a nice smoked lapsang. The smoke is prevalent but not overwhelming. It has a nice savory, meaty barbecue flavor, but then underneath there are woody and mineral notes, and maybe even a hint of cinnamon?
It’s not something I would keep in my cupboard, just because I never crave smoked teas. But I can appreciate that it’s a good quality tea with nice depth of flavor. :)
Flavors: Char, Cinnamon, Meat, Mineral, Savory, Smoked, Woody
I get 25 grams of this, hearing it’s super hard to open and hard to steep.
I took the “dust” in the pouch, it was around 3 grams. I took one piece and I had 3 more grams. Total, roughly 6 grams. I tried to loosen the piece and well, it worked well. It was quite easy to crumble and I had no issue with it.
So, 6 grams used; gong-fu method with 125 ml gaiwan. First bubbles temperature. Two rinses, steeps of various lenghts, just eyeballed them.
I am surprised how viscous this tea is, and it delivers such easydrinking, sweet tea. Very distinctly “white tea” qualities, hay, autumn leaf pile, honey-ish note, oats, a bright and sunny meadows.
The mouthfeel is very long and keeps giving comfort and relax the body. I woke up quite tense and I have finished up the tea relaxed, calm and day-dreaming.
Maybe at some point I’ll do a side by side tasting of two, but the more I drink this pu’erh the stronger I feel I’m enjoying it more than Smokeshou, W2T’s previous smoked ripe from 2021. This one is just ao consistent, and not just in its smokiness. It’s actually almost equal parts sweet molasses type notes and very savory broth. Almost like smoked meats or, perhaps more accurately, a really rich smoked BBQ sauce. Hickory wood, ever so slightly tangy fruit notes, dense brown sugar or molasses, and so much umami. It’s VERY good.
The liquor is also incredibly thick, and I think that oily viscous quality only adds to the barbeque vibes. I feel like I should be in the backyard with a white paper plate in hand watching someone’s dad go on and on about their new grilling technique. They’re probably wearing a “Kiss the Cook” or “The Grillfather” apron, with a twelve back of Bud Light no more than three feet away from them at any given moment.
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CuH5igsOIg3/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25owqhgSCfs
A morning session from yesterday. This is definitely one of those reoccurring sheng productions where I always forget just how much I enjoy it until I’m sitting with a cup in hand, thinking to myself “Wow, why don’t I drink this more often!?” I can think of no better way to describe the texture of the liquor than to simply say it has a distinct and commanding presence to it; somewhere between soft and pleasantly biting and astringent. Usually I focus more on taste over mouthfeel, but I honestly can’t even recall my tasting notes from this morning – it’s just all warm body feels and texture!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/CuDOtrAOJyt/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMOakrucBME
Very hard to beat for the price. Steeps well in a tumbler without getting bitter. The texture is a little thin, but the flavor is nice and malty, strong but not overpowering.
Unfortunately my city’s air is full of smoke right now, but this warm tea helps to soothe my throat.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Maple Syrup
Having been steamed and stored in bamboo on top of being charcoal roasted, this black tea production is a bit funky and experimental; like many recent W2T offerings. It’s really interesting, though! I wasn’t sure how strong either the bamboo or roasting would be, but both are present. I would say the soft and almost creamy notes of the bamboo really come out in each steep and are a little more immediately discernable, while the roast is more gentle and mineral and leaning more into the natural fruity flavour of the tea to create tasting notes that almost read more as grilled stonefruit.
Somewhat of a more medium bodied tea even with extended steep times, though I think I also could have been more liberal with my how many grams I brewed. I was hesitant to over leaf if the roast was really intense, as I’ve not necessarily been super into all of W2T’s more experimental charcoal roasted productions.
Overall, I thought this was approachable and tasty!! It definitely made for a very easy going, laid back session I could enjoy at my leisure while working from home today!! Also, it’s hard to see but this new yixing teacup I picked up from The Chinese Tea Shop while in Vancouver has such beautifully intricate carved horses in it and i’s a perfect addition to my trusted black tea dedicated pot!
Tea Photos: https://www.instagram.com/p/Ctw9uUKu38O/
Song Pairing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNaaWDJ1XzA
A hot cup of yancha is the perfect thing for an unusually cool June day. Pleasantly sticky, with a nice mineral sweetness that lingers on the tongue. More mild and nuanced in flavor than most roasted teas I’ve tried, I’m picking up a few floral notes too.
Flavors: Jasmine, Juicy, Raisins