381 Tasting Notes
i love figs, i love rose in tea… when i was at teavana today i was given a coupon for an iced tea… just one dollar. sure! it had been a long, errand filled day. i could do with a tea. and this was the one i chose.
something was wrong. and i said so. ‘i taste a cake type base (but not the yummy kind)’. the sales people were surprised and scurried to read the tin. ‘well, the figs are coated in rice flour so they hold their shape, but it’s only a little.’ well some things may be small in amount but large in effect!
the balance was off and i kept feeling as though i were eating a tart fruit stir fry over rice. i am heartbroken on behalf of the figs!
this is a first real failure on teavana’s behalf for me.
okay, it’s not verdant or butiki, but this tea surprised me! first, i never would have guessed it was an oolong. very sweet all on it’s own so my standard bit of sugar tipped it rather over the edge, lol.
the champagne part comes from champagne grapes, the rose is just the right strength and the strawberry is very light but still noticeable! although i didn’t i’m sure it would be fine with cream. it’s almost juice-like. very perfumed, but with a taste backing it.
very western in its style, but that not a bad thing. there’s even a bit of bubble that comes with it…. not bad!
UPDATE: and apparently it’s a good thing i have my receipt… i always figured it was the bubbles that made me feel like i was part blowfish… apparently not! apparently it’s the grapes. glad i didn’t eat too much at dinner or i wouldn’t fit my trousers!
a green oolong? and a roasted oolong in my verdant tea of the month package? it seems that lily and david like to start new loose leafers out with challenge and intrigue! i was just getting used to oolongs nevermind these lovely roasty things… or this very elegant green. (what a lovely week with verdant i’ve had!)
dry it smells very marine. almost to a point where i was uneasy… i was getting a strong seaweed vibe which is grand for sushi, but i am reluctant with tea. my concerns, however, were overblown. as soon as hot water was added to the complicated knots the scent became ‘other’.
i frequently find myself trying to define verdant phenomenon, lol. under the influence of heat and water there were still marine tones but it had become a more familiar aqueous reflection: i tasted bamboo! light, sweet, with an oolong curl which drew my attention more than any conventional green could.
no cream. a bit of simple syrup (which i find much less acid than stirring in straight granulated) and my tea was excellent! an excellent week indeed!
Golden fleece is an apt name… once I snipped my way into the bag I felt like Jason staring down surprised that I had fulfilled my quest by using such a simple tool. Long wavy leaves, some gold, some bronze. The leaves smell like a spice I don’t know, but feel like I should, light and sweet—not cinnamon, not clove, it’s not so offensive as those… though up until the opening of this bag I had liked both of them . How odd.
I scooped a spoonful into my tea basket… it left gold speckles behind against the stainless gleam. Proof of my golden victory or so I thought until I sipped. A crew of eighth century Argonauts heaved a cheer off a page of parchment. The normally quippy music theme in my head became infiltrated by high stringed arpeggios playing counterpoint to bass drums and brass chords. I was drinking a dramatis personae, a choir in perfoming an unblemished harmony in my mouth. Just as suddenly the ensemble vanished without a trace and I was left bereft. Had it all been imagined? I sipped again out of distress. FORTISSIMO! It came back. I swallowed. Pianissimo… it ebbed and left with a whisper as though it had never been there.
Indeed… it takes quite a tea to stow my humour, to play the part of a serious reviewer. And all it took was the prize from an ancient Greek myth.
Words: superlative, exceptional, unparalleled.
Personal Note: Lily and David, if I could give you 142/100 (because 42 is the meaning of life the universe and everything… just like this tea) then I would in a heartbeat. What a lovely experience on such an exciting day for me.
I come from what is fondly referred to as a half and half family—when my mother married for the second time she married a relatively agnostic jew! Life was amusing as my step-father grilled ‘jewish pork chops’ on the barbeque. Holidays were even more entertaining as he grumbled over the origin of Christmas lights and half the Hanukkah table stumbled over the musical prayers while drooling over the platters of brisket and piles of latkes… why am I tormenting you with excellent images of a multi cultural holiday table? Because latkes were the first thing that flooded (and I mean flooded…. I haven’t been able to get the taste out of my head) my latke starved brain when I opened the bag of this puerh.
Long pressed tendrils of puerh overlap in a manner very like latkes. A deep gold, smelling like a light tobacco…
Now, I go to verdant not for an alternate reality, but an expository one. Verdant constantly amazes me with the effects that technical proficiency can have on a farmed resource. How do you attain layers without adding things? Can planting crops between rows, oxidation time and harvesting early really have that much effect? Apparently so.
I love puerh. More specifically I love this puerh. It is by far the best I have ever tried. My conscience is prodding that I should converse with my wife and let her know about the infatuation. ‘Sweetheart, I find myself drawn to a shapely, golden wonder…’ oddly, I can envision her laughing in my face and walking away in amusement. Lucky for me I’ve always been told that funny men make the world go round.
Down to business. It is light, sweet, earthy and nutty. I taste no florals… but on occasion I get a hint of an echo of (and mean the merest decadent hint) a baked banana. You know, the ones that are buttered and have brown sugar and a bit of lemon juice added before you shove them in the oven… the ones that go golden and have a very slightly crisp edge when all is said and done…
Reading over this review I realize it is for the most part food porn: filled with images that everybody wishes they had on their plate. A torment with the shapes of brisket, latkes and baked bananas and their beguiling scents. I am a mean and nasty man… but it’s all verdant teas’ fault! (take it up with them)
One of my favourite teas, but my absolute favourite puerh. Thus: 100.
my first verdant tea of the month club package came! okay, i even kept notes this time! (it’s a new level of organization for me, lol).
Celtic knots spill out of the bag.
Warm smell similar to roasted chestnuts mixed with pipe tobacco
No bitterness, no stick, very smooth
Light marine taste, but less seaweed and more sea wind.
Mellow in its evolution, but not lacking in personality.
Warm, golden, a sweet pipe tobacco tone but without the smoke.
Makes me think of a roasted green… unexpected, but brilliant.
Added cream to my second cup— that was when the citrus tones came out. i hadn’t tasted them until then. almost has an echo that makes me think it should curdle.
brilliant with a simple syrup added!
i find myself in unfamiliar territory. i am trying to sort out guayasa.
i’m not sure if i like it or not, thus i will suspend a numerical rating.
the smell is excellent. the visual with the fluffy saffron coloured bits of calendula curled over the chips of guayasa is very cool. the caffeine absorption is nice and smooth, not a rush and i’m not predicting a crash. BUT… i am detecting a twang. it’s the twang that’s throwing me off. i got it with the killer’s vanilla as well… but there were stronger flavours involved.
this is a great blend BUT this review actually rates the potential it exhibits when mixed with another teavana creation named ‘weight to go’.
today was ridiculously hot. 29 degrees? on vancouver island british columbia? we’re surrounded by ocean, we have ocean currents that are supposed to whisk the heat away! oh, wait, maybe it was the nutty humidity that weighed it down? you’d think we lived in ontario!
rant aside, apparently pervasive miserable heat and a fierce need for tea fuels the machine of invention. it was too hot to drink my conventional mugs today. i did try, i have heard that when the temperature outside soars that a hot cuppa can actually kick your internal homeostatic (today’s big word of the day) mechanisms into high gear. after today i am going to call B.S. on that theory by the way. i quit drinking it hot after two cups going quite red and feeling like i was running a fever.
tea! i wanted tea! wait….. isn’t there a thing called cold steeping? time to try it. so, the kick of and oolong/puerh from ‘weight to go’ (because sweet tea isn’t sweet tea without caffeine) and lots of fruit from ‘dragonfruit devotion’, 8 hours of peeking and sniffing at my experiment…. brewing up my signature simple syrup…. it was an amazing colour! (that had to be a good sign, right?) a brilliant fushia, smelled like strawberries and tropical fruit and flowers… i really hoped my ratio was right. please let me detect the caffeine? please? (alot please).
i am pleased to announce IT WAS AWESOME! and hugely refreshing. i am very refreshed and a tad bit proud… okay, maybe a smidge more than a tad, lol. not bad for a first attempt!
SORRY FRIENDS! this is a repost. i reviewed a tea by the same name but by a different company… see this is what happens when the weather dishes out excessive heat!
i have been musing over this sample… to review or not to review, that is the question!
okay two statements 1) this is a brilliant tea and 2) i don’t like it.
i know that a lot of steepsters don’t do negative reviews. i am not one of them… that said i really butiki teas, just not all of them apparently. i don’t like the idea of criticizing a company or an artist that i have so much respect for especially when it’s not the skills or the artistry i’m commenting on.
so i resolved that my numerical rating would be based on the tea’s execution as opposed to my personal appreciation of it.
there is a distinct floral component of the tea. ‘bouquet’ is exactly the right word for it… i taste all the layers—it’s not a random floral tone… every flower is independent. the rose is light, as is the calendula, to me the violet is strongest which is awesome! this is a tea that has kept its promise.
why don’t i like it? that’s a bit of an unknown, to be honest. i think it’s because it seems more like flowers than tea in my mouth? i feel similarly about the eight treasures yabao by verdant teas with a ‘good, but…’
it was very well done, just not quite me is all! ‘A’ for accomplishment, ‘D’ for personal taste (it’s not you, it’s me).