drank Bai Hao by Smacha
106 tasting notes

This was from one of their tasting pouches/sampler sets, 7g, it says, which I dumped all into my gaiwan and poured just off boiling water onto because I am an inebriated savage. Plus, I wasn’t all that impressed with the autobrewed version of this tea, so I’m hoping this gives me more of a punch to be impressed with.

Such dappled colored leaves. A malty scent, whoo, is this really oolong?! Add the hot water and even more surprise, this smells a lot like a Chinese black to me, folks, malty and cocoa-y and yeasty, chewy, bready. Bit of a sugar cane sweet hint to the back of the smell, but man, that aroma and the darker orange liquid makes me distrust myself. Maybe I accidentally opened the wrong pouch.

Well, drink up, who cares. Yep, that tastes like a lighter black to me, wtf. Wonderfully chocolate-y and malty with a background of a sour wood taste, confusing. Sweet really only comes in the aftertaste after you stop drinking for a bit, wouldn’t call it an actual main flavor. There’s a fair amount of astringency and bitterness to the malt if you push it around kinda rough like, too, though, very squeaky clean mouthfeel.

Overall, luscious chocolate and bread and a lovely depth to it, but no idea why this tea is known for being sweet, I’ve definitely had sweeter all around. Maybe it’s just Smacha’s offering? Or maybe I’m butchering it with the really hot water, and long steeps, it does get much sweeter and more delicate as it cools in the cup for awhile and as I lighten up my intoxicated brewing times. There’s something about it that kind of reminds me more of English black tea in the overall character, though, so I could see why Queen Victoria supposedly liked it so much, especially as heavy steeped it has a bite and bitterness like black and I suspect she dumped milk and sugar in the thing. The brewed leaf is kinda ugly, very small pieces that look pretty chopped up, but just goes to show, can’t judge a book by the cover. Not something I think I’ll be coming back to, but it was interesting to try.

Flavors: Bread, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Sour, Sugarcane, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Favorite Tea Type: Darker oolong and sheng puerh

Rating Scale:

90-100: Amazing. Will buy and keep on hand all the time if finances and circumstances allow.

80-89: Strong argument for keeping it around all the time, even more than the prospect of trying more new tea. It’s that good.

70-79: Pretty solid. Glad I tried it, several factors that were unique or that I highly enjoyed.

60-69: Nothing that stands out for the most part, but with a quality or two that speaks to me.

50-59: Fairly run of the mill, pleasant but not much more to be said.

40-49: Something here is off putting in an otherwise decent tea.

30-39: There are a few things wrong with this tea. I did not enjoy.

20-29: Disliked this, could maybe see something, some redeeming quality in it others might find worth drinking without spitting back out.

10-19: Begin to question whether any tea is actually, in fact, better than no tea.

0-9: This causes actual food poisoning.



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