Gongfu Gone Wrong: 2018 Mini Redhead from White2Tea

Oct 02, 2020

My White2Tea order came in, and it's been resting for about a week or so. I'm not really willing to break into the cake I bought just yet, mostly because I'm lazy and taking apart the cake (no, I don't age them, they get fully taken apart and put straight to tins for immediate drinking) is too much work right now.

However, I did get a complimentary sample thrown in - a 2018 Mini Redhead. A Yunnan black tea, but it's an adorable little mini-cake (the image has a quarter for scale) and seemed like a quick, easy session.

The 7 gram mini-cake itself seems a bit scentless. I put it into my - how big is this stupid gaiwan again? 150ml? I think it's a 150ml - 150ml gaiwan and used my usual "boil the water then wait a second" method of temperature. Five seconds for an initial rinse. My gaiwan's lid then vaccuum-sealed somehow, and I burned myself trying to dislodge it to get a reasonable pour speed. Boiling water everywhere, including on my precious precious fingers.

Adorable little micro-cakes.

Folks, I'm a professional.

After the rinse, the cake opened up a little bit. Mini Redhead reminds me of dark berries or fruit, sweet, and like dates or plums. There is a bit of a dried grass or hay to it.

I then had to step away for urgent business and completely oversteeped my second steep, which kind of blasted me in the face with something resembling tobacco. What a session.

Okay, okay, so the rest of this is trying to save a tea I'm pretty sure I just killed, so let's see what I can squeeze out of these leaves.

With my phone's flash, it looks a bit brighter than it was in practice, but I appreciated its pretty looking amber-color that got almost caramel-like in my room's lighting.

I reboiled water and gave a few seconds for the third steep, which ended up mostly tasteless and reminded me of slightly-smokey wet stones. Steep four I gave more time and just went off intuition. Here I got more tobacco, some kind of wood, with a sweet amber hay-like taste in there too. It feels thick in my mouth. Taking a whiff of the gaiwan's inside, I get a sort of dark prairie smell that reminds me of some aged white teas I've had.

I gave steep five about 5 minutes. I mostly wringed out some clean-feeling astringency out of it, but yeah, it's gone.

From what I tasted, though, I really really wish I had more of this. There is definitely some complexity going on, and if literally walking away and forgetting to pour still got me some taste afterwards, I can only assume this is a long-lived tea that... uh...

Yeah, I screwed this one up. My fingers hurt, my stomach kinda hurts too since this was pretty tannic, and I didn't get a full, decent session either.

I only had the one single-session sample, too. The one try.

...Aw, man...