04 July, 2014


Such was the e-mail that I received from twodog2, a modern-day "Dashan" and proprietor of legendary tea outfitters, white2tea. This pertained to a particular tea, named "2002 White Whale", a sample of which he had recently sent me.  Call me Ishmael.

I resisted the temptation to READ HIS WEB-SITE, and instead sat down to the tea-table with the sample. After one infusion, I had sent him a simple e-mail containing only the following.

I think we might perhaps end the article at this point, for there is no need to go on - everything that needs to be said, has been said.

Let us suppose, however, that you, Gentle Reader, wished for a little more of the informations. Were you to find yourself in such a position, I would describe this little (100g?) brick in some detail.

First, the wrapper. The "first bite is taken with the eye", after all, and here we have a wrapper that reminds of Mr. Scruff during his classical period. This is a very positive association - I recall that my dear wife and I had our engagement party at a Mr. Scruff gig. There was even, in the corner of the nightclub, a "tea corner" serving actual tea.

Denuding the brick of its wrapper leaves us with the image shown above, in which we have some amorphous collection of weeny leaves in reasonable condition. They are quite dark, but they are not your usual zhuancha mulchy devilsputum. They have a scent, which is clean and sweet, if a little distant. First impressions remain favourable for a brick.

It is, however, when the tea is poured out of the pot in the first infusion that the provervial sh** gets proverbially real.

It releases our inner Samuel L. Jackson. Before long, I am stood proudly astride my chair, shouting lines from Pulp Fiction, and banging out a missive to Mr. twodog2.

Were I to indulge your eye for detail, Gentle Reader, I might point out that this tea has a heavy, sweet, and long-lasting initial scent that lasts in excess of 1.0 Terran minutes. The soup is clear, and, as you may surmise, heavy orange. I would then go on to point out that this little badboy is sharp, woody, clean, and sweet. Its duration in both mouth and throat is first-class, while it leaves behind the welcoming characteristic of rancid pine - in a nice way.

Were you to press me for further details, I would observe its smooth body and hint of wildflowers; I would describe it as "full" and "accomplished", and that its quality stands out from the herd like a tall American male in the middle of downtown Beijing. I might even stoop to the use of phrases such as "superfly" and "TNT every time my fingers touch brain".

Then, Gentle Reader, we would consider the price. We would, now feeling permitted to READ HIS WEB-SITE, log onto white2tea.com and note that this shockingly potent little warhead costs just 15 (fifteen) American dollars. We would, consequently, immediately order 25 of them, thereby purchasing the 2.5kg tong equivalent in which my soul seems to trade these days.  My laboratory is currently filled with the little charmers.

Gentle Reader, in closing I would state that, if you have a soul, and if are not an empty husk of a man subsisting on hatred and bitterness alone, then you, too, might enjoy this little tea.

Actually, even if you are an empty husk of man, subsisting on hatred and bitterness alone, then I would hazard to estimate that you will probably find this tea enjoyable.

In the words of Jules Winnfield, "...that's all you had to say".

Edit: this seems to jump in and out of "in stock" and "on backorder" at white2tea suggesting that stock numbers are draining and being replenished.


shah8 said...


The only reason I'm slow to turn up the dial is that I think it's probably similar to Fengqing Tea factory productions, and the price is similar to what their tuos and bings offer. I've only had the one 1997 cake try.

Does need to be said that this tea offers what it's supposed to offer, and keeping some for much later should be very personally profitable. It's a little on the crude side (some bitter, extra sharp fresh camphor)now, but that's fine. Made with stems and highly chopped fine leaves, no coarse stuff.

Anonymous said...

I was fortunate enough to receive a sample of this pretty early, and as soon as it turned up for sale on the webpage I greedily made sure that a sufficient amount of bricks were on their way in the mail before I reccomended it to other people. (My order falls way short of yours, though.)

Considering the price it's a real steal. As soon as my GF is back I'll have her try it without any price information and see what she thinks... White whale indeed!

Nicole Wilson said...

A brick of this just got delivered the other day. I was excited to dive into but now I can't wait! Most of your tea review posts are practical (and I enjoy those a lot) but I love when one like this pops up.

SFN said...

I've been meaning to buy some more tea and this pushed me into action. Bought a couple of bricks and some other odds and ends that sounded good.

Charles T. Draper said...

Dear Hobbes,

I wish you wrote this before I ordered 2 of the last 3 Giant Steps from White2Tea. This sounds like a winner.

All the Best,

Ian Nelson said...

Seconded. I actually think I danced a little bit.

Hobbes said...

Thanks, everyone - it is definitely worth a go. :)

To quote Pulp Fiction one more time: "I'm going - that's all there is to it, I'm ****ing going."

Cwyn said...

Got 3 of these on order myself. Am currently tea drunk on the 2014 Manzhuan, however. So good, for a youngster, had to send twodog an email too, in my drunk state, "your tea is the sht.."

Hobbes said...

That's some fine purchasin'.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely going to buy this. I liked the look of it when i first read this post and have since been recommended it by two other people (one of whom bought it after reading this post!)

Hobbes said...

I would sample first!



speakfreely said...

Bought one to sample, and, owing to the facts that 1) I love the forward camphor and campfire smoke, with the ku kept in the background (about what I'd expect from a '90's Xiaguan tuo but not a ku-heavy) and 2)it's really, really, a bargain with already 12 years of age on it, and 3)the graphic is a hoot, and 4) White2Tea will be raising the price at the end of this month, I bought 10 more of them. Thanks for the tip!

Hobbes said...

Worth every penny. :)

Ivan said...

As for me, the tea is fragrant, long, has full body - very good, but it sharply tart after swallow... :( I think, if the same will be without that tart, the price is worth *5 up.

So the tea is worth trying to know how the very-very good tea should be, if you focus at its advantages.

Hobbes said...

Sometimes a tart is just what a man needs, Ivan. Always let the tart into your life.