81 Tasting Notes
I am a sucker for that laoshan black flavor profile as much as I complain about the value ($8/oz) and the questionable air quality of the region(https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/4775-Seeing-China-s-pollution-from-space). I think this blend is the best way to go value wise and with the addition of the rice it reminds me of kashi cereal which i have fond memories of growing up so this blend almost always puts a smile on my face. A great no fuss tea that travels well(tumbler western brew) and is always pleasant.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt
I do not think I have had a bad tea from verdant yet but I have yet to have one that is worth their prices. This is another prime example, obviously I understand you are buying small batch productions of quality tea and I am sure his costs are high but to me garden to cup freshness only really matters when you are buying first flush or spring plucking green/green oolongs(I am excited to try their shi feng dragonwell when the time comes). Darker teas may actually improve with age(pu er unquestionably) so if you can afford to pay over a $1 per cup (4g/cup most tea are +$8/oz.) then by all means verdant is the not a bad option but I am still waiting for that tea that blows my mind and is worth almost double what I would pay at any other shop(anxiously waiting to try their 10 yr aged TKY in my cupboard). To clarify Verdant has some great teas but Im broke as hell lol so anything over $7/oz has to be something really special for my budget at the moment.
(Back log)I western brewed first time around and got a pleasant cup definitely different from laoshan black flavor profile wise. I do get the slight sweet potato notes not as much as I had hoped but still pleasant. I can not recall anything amazing about this tea which is never a good sign but I do like it and will gladly drink the rest of the bag, I will not re purchase but glad I tried it.
Flavors: Sweet Potatoes
Nothing too offense after two long rinses but nothing worth $8/oz either. I have brewed it a few different ways and still can not seem to get a “80” rating taste out of it, not a bad ripe to start with before delving into the pantheon of puer but even some big box brands ive had better and for much cheaper (still prefer rishi’s shous over this and they are almost half the price and “organic” not that it matters but it doesnt hurt).
Super temperamental, not sure if its inconsistency with batches or my brewing or a combination (had lots of variances in smell and taste batch to batch with other teas from adagio in the past) . Nothing special, plain and simple, gong fu pretty well surprisingly and 120% in need of a rinse very prone to going bitter super quick. Make sure to let fanning/dustings to pour of with the rinse and I might even do two. Once I treated it like a bai hao (Infusions as quick as possible and water as hot as possible) it actually yielded a much better cup and fairly fruity as well. I feel like im chasing the dragon with this one though, the first time it brewed an amazing sample tasted like a dancong on steroids(super peachy, apricoty, sweet, floral) so then ended up buying a bunch because it was my new favorite(more than I care to admit) and now at best with a lot of time and effort, its a sub par fruit darjeeling profile.
Flavors: Grapes, Stonefruits
Literally my first sheng so no reference point. I remember hearing somewhere shengs under 10 years old are undrinkable so I was bracing myself. I was shocked to see what a difference sheng and shou are in appearance and smell of both dry and wet leaves as well as liqueur, the liqueur was night and day. Onto to the review
The dry leaves smelt of slight smoky/woodsy/dry like the day after a camp fire. The first few steepings were smokey but not overpowering. Then after a few more the infamous sour/bitterness of young sheng ive been hearing about. It wasn’t as unpleasant as I had imagined, in fact it reminded me of good dark extra virgin fruity olive oil with the same spiciness at the end.
Overall my first sheng experience so cant give a numerical rating but it would not be something I craved normally, It might be something Id reach for after a heavy meal and did not feel like a shou or perhaps paired with fruits for some reason I think it would be good with a bowl of juicy melons(random).
If you have tried Laoshan Black this will be nothing new flavor profile wise(not that it is a bad thing) but being $12.5/oz vs Laoshan Black $8.5/oz for the price being 50% higher it is not 50% better or even different for that matter. Once again I like the tea but only difference I could discern was the hint of scotch at the tail end which was the main flavor I was looking for. The tea didnt seems to develop over the different infusions like I would have hoped as with other oolongs (Dancong and TGY particularly). Maybe I had to high of expectations.
All and all not a bad tea but not worth the price IMO.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Scotch