629 Tasting Notes

84

The baby is napping so it’s time to enjoy some Verdant Tea! This is another sample I’ve had in my cupboard for way too long. Well, today is the day, you lucky tea you! I checked Verdant’s website and I think this may be another discontinued tea. There are a couple with similar names, namely Shui Jin Gui Light Roast and Special Grade Shui Jin Gui. I know this isn’t the Special Grade because I also have that in my cupboard. Maybe it’s the Light Roast or a harvest or two prior to that? It’s okay either way because these dark rock oolongs aren’t always my favorite. Nonetheless, I’m excited to try it!

With my gaiwan and variable temperature kettle at the ready, I opted for 200°F water. The dry leaf aroma is mineral-y and familiar. The brewed tea flavor is rocky and a bit floral. I’m sure the tea would be more flavorful if I had enjoyed it sooner. I’m afraid the nuances have been lost, but I am still enjoying it now. These leaves have a surprising number of infusions left in them. I lost count as I sipped this tea for about an hour. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.

Flavors: Floral, Mineral

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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94

It’s my little girl’s one year birthday today, and it’s snowmageddon! We got about three feet of snow and they’ve declared it a blizzard because of the high winds. Luckily, we haven’t lost power yet because I really need a nice soothing, relaxing cup of tea! For times like these, it calls for Verdant Tea.

I’ve had this sample for I don’t know how long. Two years maybe? Well, you’d never know it from these beautiful leaves! They have a lovely hay aroma, dry and brewed. I decided to go for a gongfu brewing session because I don’t often get to do that with a little one running amok all day and getting into all kinds of trouble. Plus, I miss the tranquility of the gongfu ritual. This is a rare treat!

This tea is so lovely. Bai Mu Dan is one of my all-time favorite kinds of tea, and this is no exception to Verdant’s high quality products. It’s too bad it’s been discontinued because I could definitely use more of this! I had to up the brewing time much quicker than I normally would when brewing gongfu style. It’s probably due to the age of the leaf. That said, these leaves have quite a lot of life still in them! I think it makes a difference that I’m not using a strainer too. Little bits of leaf and down are ending up in each cup, and that helps to bring out a balanced, round flavor from the tea.

I’m impressed, as always, by Verdant. Now that my little baby is asleep, maybe I’ll enjoy another Verdant Tea after this one. It seems I never have a quiet moment to myself anymore, so I need to take advantage of these rare moments whenever I can!

Olivia and me at Christmas: https://www.instagram.com/p/_vBINvl-vR

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Fjellrev

Aww happy birthday to her!

CHAroma

Thank you! :)

tigress_al

I hear ya about those little ones, I never get to finish a full cup while it’s hot! Or brew gongfu. But they sure are cute!

rosebudmelissa

Happy Birthday to her, and congratulations to you! I have two little boys, so I know how it is to be constantly chasing after little ones. I love Bai Mu Dan as well, which is interesting since I haven’t really enjoyed any other white teas. Mine is from Butiki’s going out of business sale, so once I finish it I’ll have to buy it from somewhere else. I hope other versions live up to my high expectations!

CHAroma

@tigress_al, Yes, they definitely are cute. :)

@rosebudmelissa, Teavivre sells excellent quality teas at very competitive prices. I recommend their white teas when you run out of Butiki’s.

Fjellrev

I remember when you announced she was born (and I think you posted pictures too? I’m sure it was you. All I remember is the little one I did see was absolutely gorgeous) and that felt like it was yesterday! Time sure flies.

CHAroma

Aww, thank you Fjellrev! It probably was me. I edited the post to add another picture. :)

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81
drank Toffe Bar Chai by 52teas
629 tasting notes

I LOVE chai teas! The dry leaf aroma is so spicy I can barely inhale it. The brewed tea aroma is interesting. It smells savory and spicy, like fresh spice cake hot out of the oven. The flavor sans additions matches the aroma.

I added Truvia and skim milk and now it is much more like toffee. I’m impressed! Usually toffee flavored teas end up being caramel flavored teas. But this isn’t caramel. It’s distinctly toffee.

I like the added component of the spices because that makes this multi-faceted and more interesting. This is a good one! If I had more of it, I could see myself blending it with some of the rather lackluster teas in my collection to make them tastier. If you pick up some of this, and I recommend you do, it really benefits from added sweetener. Mmm mmm, so good!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Sounds great!

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84

The dry leaf aroma is weird strawberry. Yes, it’s definitely strawberry. But a weird one. Strawberry flavoring is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s too much like candy. Sometimes it’s too much like medicine. Sometimes it’s just artificial and gross. This is none of the above. Yet it still doesn’t strike me as fully representative of a real strawberry. I can’t explain it. Maybe I just don’t like strawberry-flavored things as much as I used to?

Despite the weird aroma, the flavor is delicious! It tastes the way I would want a strawberry flavored tea to taste: light and delicate. Nothing candy, medicinal, or artificial going on here! The White Peony is the perfect base for these flavorings. I just adore white tea. It’s my favorite.

I’ve accepted the fact that no tea could truly taste exactly like shortcake (partly because of the texture), but this comes pretty darn close. It is a cup of yum! I can really imagine the fluffy, airy cake dissolving in my mouth as I sip this. I drank it sans additions, but I could guess that adding sweetener would make this more dessert-like. I think it’s perfect as is though. Another winner from the new 52teas!

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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86

This is from the new 52teas owned by Anne. I was so happy she chose to re-blend this tea from Frank’s recipe! This was one of my all-time favorite V.I.T.s from back in the day. Looking over my notes, this tea has been with me through some pretty memorable experiences, like getting engaged as well as having the honor of being my first 52teas blend ever. I remember the sad day that I finished the pouch. Sigh.

Well, rejoice! This tea has been reborn! It’s delightfully maple-y with a strong Tie Guan Yin flavor. Wow. I have missed you so much, glorious tea! I don’t get much creaminess and no real cheesecake to speak of. But maple syrup is front and center with its thick sweetness and the base is floral, green, and lovely. This will remain one of my all time favorites, even if it is a bit different from how I remember. It’s still delicious and that’s all that matters! Raising the rating from 84 to 86.

Flavors: Floral, Green, Maple Syrup

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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82

I made this tea again this morning and did a two minute steep. I also used 1.5 tsp instead of 2 tsp. I completely forgot how sugary this already was and added Truvia out of habit. OMG, this is soooooo sweet! Despite the sugar overload accident, I can already tell this tea is better. It takes exactly like icing on a cinnamon bun.

Mmm! This is much more to my liking. In fact, this is really good! It just goes to show you, leaf quantity and infusion time really do contribute to making a good cup of tea. It doesn’t taste like French toast but who doesn’t love cinnamon buns complete with hot, dripping icing? I know I do. Raising the rating from 78 to 82.

Flavors: Cinnamon, Frosting, Pastries

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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98
drank Sun and Cloud Mist by 52teas
629 tasting notes

This is from the new 52teas owned by Anne. This tea is wonderful! I loved the original, and I am loving this too! I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather. I woke up with no voice and a really sore throat. I thought green tea would do me good because of the antioxidants, so I chose this out of the cupboard.

I don’t even know how many infusions I got out of these leaves. I lost count! It soothed my throat and tasted seriously delicious. I added some Truvia and that made this more like a lemony dessert tea. Mmm mm! So good! I’m glad I have a full ounce of this one. I have a feeling it’s not going to last long.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Fjellrev

Oh yeah, this was always a good one. Glad to hear her version is yummy too.

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51
drank Toasted Walnut by DAVIDsTEA
629 tasting notes

The dry leaf aroma is completely unexpected. So unexpected that I had to check not only the title of this tea (to be sure I grabbed the right one out of the cupboard) but also the ingredients list. It smells like pineapple. Pineapple and coconut. Sure enough, those are ingredients in this tea. But it’s called Toasted Walnut! Shouldn’t it taste primarily of walnut? There’s also almond in here, which I feel like is a much stronger and more easily recognizable flavor than walnut. So I don’t have high hopes for this one.

The brewed tea aroma is…banana bread? Pineapple banana bread? The flavor is coconut, pineapple, almond, and green tea, in that order. This is bizarre. If I adjust my expectations, I suppose it’s not dreadful. It’s sweet from the included added sugar. But it has that artificial aftertaste common in DAVIDsTEA blends. Yuck. Eventually once all the flavorings fade from the aftertaste, I am left with a nice green tea flavor. But it takes a good minute for that to appear and it’s pretty light in comparison to the added flavorings.

Hmm, I’m kind of on the fence with this one. Do I like it? Or do I hate it? LOL! If you’re that torn trying to answer this question, it can’t be a very good tea. I’ll settle on it being ok. Not something I’d drink again or recommend to others. But it’s definitely not the worst tasting tea I’ve tried before either. At least it was a free sample! That’s probably the most positive thing I have to say about this; it was free.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kristal

Ugh, the aftertaste kills this tea for me.

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91

Oh man, this smells so good! The dry leaf aroma is mouthwatering mint chocolate. The brewed tea aroma is something special. I can smell chocolate and peppermint, but there’s something else. I can’t put my finger on it. Whole grain bread? Sunflower seeds?

Mmm mmmm!!! The flavor has that something extra special too. You can tell this is a high quality Verdant Tea base. The base outshines the flavorings. The first flavor is tea, followed by chocolate, followed finally by peppermint. That’s surprising in a pleasant way. Most times, teas with mint taste first and foremost like mint, with everything else coming in last place. But this is the opposite!

The base does have lovely chocolate and bread notes. Laoshan Black! Is it Laoshan Black? I think there’s a bit of that in here. This is delicious! It’s not as much like peppermint hot chocolate as I expected. Yet I think I like this more than the alternative I had imagined, which was thick and creamy. This is light and airy like a puff pastry but flavorful and satisfying like a meal.

I daresay I want more of this. Dare because my pocketbook can’t handle another purchase at the moment and my cupboard really can’t possibly handle any more tea. But this is special! This is Verdant! A Verdant 52teas collaboration is the stuff of dreams. My two favorite tea companies!!! Joining forces to make one delicious cup of yum! Alas, I’m afraid I’ll have to hold off on any additional purchases for now. But you should definitely pick up some of this while you still can!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Peppermint

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Emilie

Oh my goodness this tea just sounds so amazing

Fjellrev

OMG, I had no idea about this collaboration. I can only imagine what a Laotian base + the ingredients in this tea would taste like. It must be awesome.

Fjellrev

Laoshan*

Thanks, autocorrect.

tigress_al

My heart says “yes!” But my head (and bank account) says "no"…

Sil

and THAT is the entire reason i backed the kickstarer if i have to be honest with myself lol

CHAroma

Me too, Sil!

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26

This was sent to me in error. Luckily after a quick e-mail to Anne, the tea I ordered is on its way. She said I could keep this for the inconvenience. As nice as that is, I didn’t order this tea for a reason. I hate Lapsang Souchong. So please take my note with a grain of salt if that is a tea you do enjoy.

The dry leaf aroma is beef jerky. Yuck. I used 1.5 tsp steeped for 2 minutes and waited for the cup to cool for 10 minutes. The brewed tea aroma is sweet beef jerky. I’m probably smelling jerky because it’s a smoked meat, and the smokiness of the tea is reminding me of that. Y’all more experienced Lapsang Souchong drinkers will probably think this smells just fine.

The flavor? It’s not as bad as I was expecting. There’s a nice black tea flavor before that hideous Lapsang Souchong kicks in. There’s a spicy bite and some sweetness. Overall though, no, this is not for me. I’ll be re-homing the rest of this one to a friend of mine who can appreciate smoky teas. Thanks anyway, Anne!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
52Teas

I’m really sorry about the mix up – but glad that you’ve got the correct tea now. I was kind of going a little crazy there for those last two weeks getting the orders out.

It was a great learning experience and the biggest lesson learned is that we’re starting our Holiday promotion much earlier next year. :)

CHAroma

No worries. Your customer service is top notch. Not only did you let me keep this tea and quickly send out the replacement, but you also gave me another tea for free! It was very sweet and definitely made up for any inconvenience. Thank you!

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Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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