I purchased White2Tea’s 2015 Channel Orange during the Black Friday sale. The brick was a cart sneaker of “that sounds fun” rather than a serious purchase. Reading more into this tea, it is a puer blend of 3-8 year old Xinhui Chenpi orange materials, mixed with orange skins.
I have to say that Black Friday and holiday tea buying was hectic. I only had 1 order not screwed up – but I say this as positive as I can, as I am very happy my fav sellers are busy and I trust my tea dealers as they are all awesome. That said, my poor Channel Orange arrived snapped in pieces during shipping, so no photos of the brick in pristine condition.
Channel Orange is a waffle or chocolate bar style brick, 100 grams total weight. It came pressed tight and flat into 12 little bricks that you can break apart. I am not surprised this brick broke – it’s thin and a bit more delicate than an equivalent fatty shou brick. Each brick piece seems to break off into 7-9 gram pieces with little issue.
Not surprising, Channel Orange smells like orange. I had my brick rest a few weeks, which tamed the orange scent a bit.
I ratio’d about 1 gram to 12ml vessel size, using boiling water for my infusions. I did 2 rinses with a couple minute rest after the final rinse to have the tight compression loosen, which usually works if you are patient or have someone to chat with. I was not so I still had a big hard lump.
Tasting of White2Tea’s 2015 Channel Orange Shou Puer Brick
The scent of the hot leaf smells like sweet orange and is slightly alarming on how orange-like it smells for a tea.
First and Second Infusion: These early steeping are light due to the compression. The flavor is soft, nicely crisp sweet orange with a background of clean earth. The texture is thick and creamy. Channel Orange is very pleasurable to drink – many tea drinkers would love this, including the ones that drink sugared trail mix. The orange is natural and the same vibe as pu stuffed oranges, but not bitter, pithy, or muddy.
Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Infusion: As the brick opens up, I’m getting some cloudy appearance. The flavor has exploded into more orange. It sips in orange flavor, with a bright clean puer earth and wood flavor. The puer isn’t very thick and had a great brightness to it, likely brought out with the orange flavor. The aftertaste is more orange. Overall, mostly orange in flavor. No bitterness, funk, or dryness – very super easy to chug. At around the fifth infusion, the brick finally fell apart.
Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Infusion: The colour darkened quite a bit to a light coffee watery coffee. Channel Orange’s flavor is still consistently orange, earth, wood. There is a hint of cooling sensation here, I breath in and it tastes refreshing.
Eleventh and Twelfth Infusion: Long steeps here, 10-15 minutes. The flavor is lighter, with even more pronounced sweet orange. It got a little like chewing rind, but overall pleasant as the tea flavor slips.
In my opinion White2Tea’s 2015 Channel Orange is an unexpected offering in the White2Tea line up as this tea is more of an universally enjoyed tea vibe than puer-addict appeal. I believe 2015 Channel Orange could be enjoyed by all the tea drinkers – it is super easy to drink and enjoy. I can serve Channel Orange to the most snoot and cranky of old ladies at afternoon tea and they’d think it’s a nice orange black tea. I can feed this tea to any flavored tea drinker and they would flip out on how good it is! It would be a good backup tea to have to convert your non-tea drinking friends
I would put Channel Orange as a must buy for a brand new tea drinker. If you love orange puer, you will likely tong this brick and have it stashed at your desk at work or in your purse for emergencies. I find Channel Orange easier to deal with than actual orange as it is not a weird shape to store, and you don’t run into inconsistent too orange/not enough orange flavor. Pricing is actually not bad, Channel Orange is cheaper than Black Star and Orange Drop, and it is worth a price jump over the cheap-o puer stuffed oranges out there.
Going back to why I think this tea is a weird offering is puer drinkers who are not flavored tea drinkers, which I feel many puer drinkers tend to get completely sucked into unflavored teas or just puer, would think Channel Orange is too strongly orange for their tastes. The con of the brick is the orange can’t be picked out as easy as the stuffed orange teas.