163 Tasting Notes
Dry: Lovely green furled Huang Shan Mao Feng tea leaves with bits of red safflower. A creamy and thick sweet fragrance with a hint of vanilla and spice can be found in the bag. It reminds me of eggy bakery treats like bread pudding or maybe custard and smells very good to my nose.
Steeped: Lovely clear yellow to very light green clear liquor. The vanilla is more apparent in the hot tea aroma coming from the tea pot and it does remind me of the way eggnog smells right before I take a big sip.
Taste: This is quite a delicious tea! I love eggnog and Huang Shan Mao Feng so I was really looking forward to trying this and I am glad I did. This is smooth, rich, almost buttery with vanilla notes and cream. Even the mouthfeel is on the thicker side for what is normally a very mild and refreshing light green. Although the taste does not remind me overly so of eggnog, it still does remind me of a creamy bakery dessert and is quite enjoyable. I usually prefer green teas straight, but I make an exception for this. :)
Flavors: Cream, Vanilla
I found this one in the back of the cupboard with the Bailin Gongfu black (score!) the other day. I tried it for the first time today and while it was tasty, I screwed up the steeping and the flavor was weaker for it. I think I looked at too many teas and for some reason I thought it needed 2 min @ 212F, but when I tasted it I wasn’t getting much chocolate so I investigated. On the TeaVivre site, it says 5-10 minutes @ 203F. Kind of a big difference. Oops!
So in the meantime, I am going to reserve the score until I steep it correctly. Even now it is smooth and pleasant though. I have enough to make it one more time, wish me luck!
I am finally getting towards the back of one side of my cupboard and I found this gem with a few other blacks I have never tried yet. Excited! This is also perfect because it is a lower caffeine tea and I am planning on going for a run today before work. Double happy because I am not a fan of jittery trotting. :)
Dry: The loose leaf is thin and compact with tightly rolled leaves. There is some black and orange coloration to the individual buds. The dry scent is wonderful! Fragrant, sweet, malty.
Steeped: This makes quite a beautiful rich red-brown clear liquor. The steeped scent is also very enjoyable with an intensified malty-sweetness that is lovely to someone that enjoys teas from this spectrum like I do.
Taste: This tea is flavorful without being overpowering and naturally honey-sweet without being cloying or dessert-like. I brewed it Western style and did not add anything to it and it tastes fresh, medium-bodied, malty, and enjoyable naturally. NO astringency whatsoever. I think this one might be a good tea to introduce someone to Chinese black teas for the first time.
Flavors: Honey, Malt
Sometimes I just want to eat cake! And this is one of those mornings apparently. I am working to whittle down the older teas to make room for placing new orders and this caught my eye. It had been a while and it perfectly matched my craving, so there we go. Vanilla, cakey goodness with a touch of caramel perhaps. This is a straight-up bakery tea without overly complex nuances. I am not sure how much caffeine I am getting with it, but I imagine it is a bit weak for a morning cup and the color itself is very light brown. That said, I can sleep whenever I want today so I don’t mind at all. And the sweet aspect of this tea is anything but weak. Yum!
I tried this again for my breakfast tea and took the advice of a Steepster to brew it less strong to bring out the cheesecake flavor. I actually did like it a little bit better, but I really think this base just doesn’t agree for whatever reason. I only have a little bit left, but I would only reorder it if it was recreated for sure. Now onto the lovely and elegant Caramel Vanilla Assam instead. :)
I feel certain I posted a note of this one before, but I can’t find it now. This is a sipdown for what its worth, but is not my first try of this tea.
Dry: Black tea with a greater part green leaves, though in the picture from their website it looks the other way around. I am not sure if I got the bottom of the bag in my sample, but a lot of the bits are small enough to go through my infuser. So that’s not great. It is pretty otherwise with marigold and cornflower petals (yellow and blue) and the dry leaf smells very tropical. Reminds me of passion fruit!
Steeped: Light to medium brown clear liquor. Smells like hot guava if that makes any sense. Where I grew up in S. Florida we would have guava treats that my Cuban neighbors used to make. These remind me of them before they cooled down.
Taste: I realize this is supposed to taste like guava, coconut, and strawberry, but I am only getting hibiscus and guava. It is actually probably the most tangy tea I’ve ever had and I am not sure tangy + tea go together that well. I actually still like it somewhat because I happen to love guava, but I wouldn’t say it is a leading contender in the cupboard and others might like it considerably less as guava is one of those tastes that some people love and some people passionately hate. It was fun trying you Caribe, but time to move on!
So, this is a good tea. It is one of my oldest in the cupboard and still going strong, though I only have enough for maybe one or two more servings worth from this 50g bag. Chocolate, soft mint, a hint of spice, goes well with or without milk or additions. This will more than likely be a reorder as I find myself craving it at the weirdest times. Mint can sometimes give me bad heartburn, but this one is gentle and tasty. It really does age quite nicely, which (as I’ve recently discovered) is not true of all teas. :)
Sipdown! Although I never really got pumpkin from this, I did grow to enjoy the sweet cinnamon-y blend. I didn’t quite have enough to make a full teapot this morning so I added a touch of H & S Vanilla to it and it came out quite nicely. I am doing well clearing out my autumn-type blends finally. Goodbye for now Pumpkin Creme Brulee!
I will work all night tonight so I wanted something with little caffeine this morning so I could try to sleep for a few more hours at some point. Anyhow, this blend makes my teapot and that part of my kitchen smell list like lovely citrus spice. I know this is a wintery tea, but it still seems to work here considering it will be 30F overnight.
The tea itself is delicious and tastes just like its name including the nuanced warming vanilla. I was thinking low caffeine because it does not have a lot of tea leaves per tablespoon in the blend. If I could change anything, I’d ask for more Zhu Rong because it is a wonderful black. That would defeat the whole purpose of this morning because it should add to the caffeine level but I still want it. :) It is still gorgeous and and full of generous other ingredients, though. In the infuser I can see various large bits such as orange peel and tons of coriander. I want to try some of Verdant’s other blends with my next order.
Today I ignored the steeping instructions on their website (blasphemy!) and stepped it for a solid 2.5 minutes at 205. It was even better! I am sure I won’t get as many resteeps, but the initial cup is amazing.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Vanilla
Sipdown on the Queen. I enjoyed this one, but I really don’t know that it ages well. It has definitely lost some of its oomph and complexity that I loved so much at first. I still enjoyed my last pot this morning with nice malty notes, but there are other straight black teas that hold up better over time. If I had the opportunity to get this on sale or something, I’d give it another go, but otherwise goodbye for now Queen Catherine!