Kenya Silver Needle White Tea from What-Cha. . . .

Time and time again I have shared my preference against white teas, specifically bai mu dan and shou mei teas. I don’t like the floral notes nor the soapy quality they can often have. If I am going to have a white tea, I tend to reach for either a White Rhino because it tends to be more robust like a black tea, or a Silver Needle.

I also have now tried a few What-Cha teas and been pleased with all of them.That is why when I came across this What-Cha Kenya Silver Needle White Tea, I had to give it a try.

Following the recommended steeping parameters, I brewed this for 2 minutes at 175 degrees. I was left with a pale and translucent liquid, typical of a white tea.

This tea boasts sweet notes of corn and it delivers, despite the packaging suggesting that this is best before June 2017. It’s so simple and yet so good. Flavorful without being in your face which means it is a tea that can be reached for again and again without becoming tired or boring.

I don’t reach for white teas often, especially straight white teas but when I come across Silver Needles like this, I am reminded that they can make a pleasant alternative to all the dessert and fruity teas I usually drink.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  White Tea
Where to Buy:  What-Cha
Description

A very sweet and smooth silver needle with notes of melon and sweetcorn without any traces of bitterness or astringency.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Thailand Sticky Rice ‘Khao Hom’ Oolong Tea from What-Cha. . . . .

I can’t recall a time that I personally have had sticky rice. I believe I have but can’t be sure and certainly don’t remember to say whether this accurately depicts that flavor.

What I do know is this smells like popcorn. Buttery popcorn. And it tastes like buttery coconut rice and floral oolong. It reminds me of the coconut rice I get when I go to a Japanese/Thai restaurant called Spoon & Fork. Sweet and ricey and delicious, plus floral.

It’s thick and has the mouthfeel of a rice pudding. Well, as much as a liquid tea could resemble a rice pudding. Nonetheless, the thickness helps to sell the whole notion of sticky rice.

I will say I think there is a disconnect between the buttery and almost toasty rice notes and the floral oolong base. This could be due to my own bias against oolong teas, which I am only starting to enjoy, but the two just seem disjointed. I hoped the coconut flavor might bridge that gap but no-go it seems.

Nonetheless, I am enjoying this tea. It is one of two teas by this company I have tried and both have been quite lovely. There may be a What-Cha order in my future yet.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong Tea
Where to Buy:  What-Cha
Description

Has a creamy texture and sticky rice aroma, imparted unto the tea during processing by heating the sticky rice plant’s leaves along with the tea leaves.

Sticky rice scented tea is a specialty of northern Thailand, although traditionally green tea is used, Jin Xuan Oolong produces just as good if not better results.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Georgia Mr Ramirez’s Hand-Made Black Tea from What-Cha. . . . .

There was a time when I was young, and I was afraid of straight teas. So, it just tasted like, um, tea? Without anything in it? What was the appeal?

I’ve since realized that tea by itself can taste like anything, depending on what type of tea it is, and where it was grown. Like grapes and wine, tea leaves can be altered by circumstance.

So Georgia  is a black tea. But it’s also more than a black tea, without anyone having to do anything. Which is kind of crazy.

This tea has heavy-hitting notes of fruit. I’m getting a very sweet raisin.

It reminds me a lot of Sun-Maid raisin boxes my mom used to throw in my lunch when fruit wasn’t on sale.

(Did you know that honeycrisp apples are around $3.99/pound right now? Even crappy apples like Red Delicious can get costly for a family of four. Raisins are a steal, friends.)

I loved those boxes of raisins. I loved how the beautiful Sun Maid lady was in a circle-halo like the Virgin Mary. I enjoyed pulling the stems out of the raisins. I liked their squishy pop. I was super-into digging into the bottom of the box to get the last raisins that were stuck down there. Raisin-scraping was just as satisfying as picking my nose, but socially acceptable. Every box was a project unto itself. No raisin was left behind.

I’d like to thank this tea for bringing back a very cherished childhood memory I’d completely forgotten.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Black Tea
Where to Buy: What-Cha
Description

A smooth fruity black tea with a sweet gentle taste of apricots and prunes and completely free of astringent tones.

Completely hand-produced by Mr. Ramiz, who at over sixty years of age, is one of the most experienced and respected tea producers within Georgia. Mr. Ramiz produces small monthly batches of tea from his own private garden, which rarely exceed 20 kilograms in quantity.

Sourced direct from tea nomad Petr Sič who travels to Georgia multiple times each year in search of the very best teas and works very closely with the producers.

Tasting Notes:
– Brilliant smooth taste
– Sweet and light taste taste of apricots and prunes

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Korea Dong Cheon Daejak Semi-Wild Green Tea from What-Cha

I typically don’t reach for green tea as it tends to be a little too mild for my tastebuds. There are times when nothing but green tea will do, however. I like green teas that offer more than that grassy flavor and usually reach for teas that have the more complex, sweet and buttery notes. This green tea isn’t from Japan or China, but from Korea. I’m always curious about the teas that Korea would offer only because I haven’t tried many and they seem harder to find.

What-Cha’s website describes this tea as smelling and tasting like grass and corn. I suspect it’s not as strongly corn-flavored as some of Korea’s pure corn teas. The scent of the dry leaf is strongly grassy with a bit of seaweed. The tea brews into a lovely pale yellow.

Sipping… the tea is a bit more roasty than expected. I definitely taste grass and something sweet that could be interpreted as corn. I wasn’t really expecting the roasted note, but it adds another element to the grass to keep things interesting. There is a great balance of dry, almost hay-like flavor and sweet, tender grass. I think this is a great cup of tea for those who would like to ease into green teas. It’s sweet, smooth and gentle. What a lovely cup!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green Tea
Where to Buy: What-Cha
logo_gold_shipping_reduced_1468057718__93996Description

A Daejak picked Korean green tea featuring a lovely toasted corn aroma and taste combined with a grassy edge, a flavour composition unique to Korean green teas.

Sourced direct from Dong Cheon, a co-operative of small farmers with the goal of maintaining Korea’s rich history of tea.

Tasting Notes:
– Toasted corn aroma
– Toasted taste of grass and corn

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

China Fujian Cinnamon ‘Rou Gui’ Wuyi Rock Oolong from What-Cha

FujianCinnamon1Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  What-Cha

Tea Description:

Rou Gui has a great cinnamon taste combined with a thick texture and sweet taste.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

I love Rou Gui and the reviews I’ve read for What-Chas have all be positive so I thought it was about time I bought some to try for myself. Usually, I like to do Gong Fu sessions with Rou Gui and I’m sure I’ll try this that way eventually, but when I showed this to my mom what she said was that it smelled like it’d be good cold; and since she so rarely weighs in on how I prepare the teas I share with her I decided to honor her suggestion and make my inaugural tasting a cold brew.

I have to say, this was definitely an interesting blend to me. One of the things I most like about drinking Rou Gui Gong Fu is the progression of flavours and drinking a cold brew with an extended six or seven hour steep time really makes that progression of flavour blur together. So, I tasted qualities I think I normally would have in the first few steeps of a Gong Fu session as well as ones I probably only would have noticed in the last few infusions.

FujianCinnamon2The most obvious taste was, of course, the sweet flavour of cinnamon. I find ‘cinnamon’ has such a varied flavour; it can be spicy like you’d find in Chai or very drying (have you ever done the cinnamon challenge?) or it can have this lovely pastry/baking sweetness. Of all the ways cinnamon can express itself, I definitely get the latter example here.

Other dominant flavours are honey, wood, leather, and floral notes. Maybe just a hint of cream as well. It’s a weird contrast between bold flavour notes and delicate ones too; the overall affect is a medium bodied, smooth tea with a very rich, thick mouthfeel and clean taste with a pleasant, lingering finish. One of the nice things about cold brewing this is that I got to skip the more ashy/char notes and biting astringency that usually accompany the first few infusions of a Rou Gui; but I still got leathery, wood notes! No additives are necessary. In fact, they’d probably detract from the taste more than anything else.

If there’s one thing I’d have liked to see which I didn’t it’s more of a fruity note – but maybe that’ll come out more when I inevitably Gong Fu this.