I’ve held this off, and was time to finish the 2021 sample. Thank you Alistair for this one, and now, I can properly appreciate it. Whole and golden kissed black needles fell into my tea vessel, having decent length and much larger than usual ceylon size.

So I started indecisive between gong fuing my sample or having it western. Everyone recommended 3 minutes, so I started it out that way in my Manual Tea Brewer (westernized gaiwan) with a slight sip. Light, citrus, caramel, smooth. Not expecting that. A little bit too light, so I let it sit more…then one or two minutes extra as I did some chores. I’m not going to say anything new other than its a smooth and easily drinkable ceylon. I get notes of malt, caramel, oats, citrus rising in the mouth, and a caramel, almost cocoa finish ending in tannin. There was some extra bitterness, but a chocolate kind if tea bitterness.

There was mild astringency, and I was impressed with how smooth the body is. What-cha aims for smooth qualities in all of their teas-hence why I buy from the company so often. It’s got the trademarks of Ceylon teas, but it’s so much easier on the palette than the majority I’ve had.

I decided to go so much shorter, brewing 10 seconds, and it was smooth dark chocolate malt, tea tasting, with some healthy citrus and tannin.

Another 10-15 seconds, less water-3-4 oz, and citrus/orange leads the way. Malty finish still there with a little bit of tannin, yet precisely balanced and mildly drying.

I am going to be able to get more cups, but before I do, I’m pretty much set on what I think. And I have to workout. Time is of the essence.

I’m thankful that Alistair included it because I’m usually one to snub Ceylons and some Assams. I know they are essential for most breakfast teas and the blends I drink regularly, but they’re usually too drying, astringent, or tannic for me. This one was a lot more balanced and resembled some good Yunnan blacks, though the chocolate toffee tannin aftertaste is distinctly Ceylon. Keep in mind I’m using “chocolate” as an approximate adjective and not a accurate one, but it’s got the same bittersweetness chocolate does, and that’s what a lot of people like in their tea. It’s not super robust, and it stands on its own legs easily while being soft and nuanced enough to drink it straight.

Although I won’t have this in my consistent rotation (because I pay too much for other tea), it stands out as one of the easiest to drinks Ceylons I’ve had yet. I think it’s a good stepping stone noob tea, and I’m glad Alistair used it as a way to expand some palettes here on Steepster.

Flavors: Caramel, Citrus, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Drying, Malt, Oats, Orange Zest, Smooth, Tannic, Tea, Toffee, Wood

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First Off, Current Targets:

Whispering Pines Alice
Good Luxurious Work Teas
Wang Family’s Jasmine Shanlinxi
Spring, Winter Taiwan High Mountain Oolongs

Dislikes: Heavy Tannin, Astringency, Bitterness, or Fake Flavor, Overly herby herbal or aged teas

Picky with: Higher Oxidation Oolongs, Red Oolongs (Some I love, others give me headaches or are almost too sweet), Mint Teas

Currently, my stash is overflowing. Among my favorites are What-Cha’s Lishan Black, Amber Gaba Oolong, Lishan Oolong, Qilan Oolong, White Rhino, Kenya Silver Needle, Tong Mu Lapsang Black (Unsmoked); Whispering Pines Alice, Taiwanese Assam, Wang’s Shanlinxi, Cuifeng, Dayuling, Jasmine Shan Lin Xi; Beautiful Taiwan Tea Co.“Old Style” Dong Ding, Mandala Milk Oolong; Paru’s Milk Oolong


I am an MSU graduate, and current alternative ed. high school social studies and history teacher. I formerly minored in anthropology, and I love Egyptian and classical history. I love to read, write, draw, paint, sculpt, fence(with a sword), practice calisthenics on rings, lift weights, workout, relax, and drink a cuppa tea…or twenty.

I’ve been drinking green and black teas ever since I was little living in Hawaii. Eastern Asian influence was prominent with my friends and where I grew up, so I’ve been exposed to some tea culture at a young age. I’ve come a long way since I began on steepster and now drink most teas gong fu, especially oolong. Any tea that is naturally creamy, fruity, or sweet without a lot of added flavoring ranks as a must have for me. I also love black teas and dark oolongs with the elusive “cocoa” note. My favorites are lighter Earl Greys, some white teas like What-Cha’s Kenyan offerings, most Hong-Cha’s, darker Darjeelings, almost anything from Nepal, Green Shan Lin Xi’s, and Greener Dong Dings. I’m in the process of trying Alishan’s. I also tend to really enjoy Yunnan Black or Red teas and white teas. I’m pickier with other teas like chamomile, green teas, and Masalas among several.

I used to give ratings, but now I only rate teas that have a strong impression on me. If I really like it, I’ll write it down.

I’ll enjoy a tea almost no matter what, even if the purpose is more medicinal, for it is my truest vice and addiction.


Michigan, USA

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