17 Tasting Notes

83
drank Emerald Lily by Rishi Tea
17 tasting notes

The first time I had this tea it was iced, and I was shocked by how buttery it is. It manages to be incredibly creamy, even though it’s also super light.

Hot it is very ‘typical green’-tasting, but angelic. It manages to be well-rounded without being heavy or full-bodied. Later steepings bring out more back-of-tongue richness, almost wheat-like. It is well balanced but not bland or equivocating…as someone else said, it is similar to Jade Cloud, but with more personality. It’s an “every day” tea without being…everyday.

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91

Just tried this much-anticipated tea for the first time with Verdant Tea founder and importer David Duckler. I am a HUGE fan of the Spring picking, so I could not have been more excited.

When I smelled it dry, there was something I couldn’t identify…something sweet but not floral. The wet leaves smell like, no kidding, spinach and asparugus sauteed in an INCH of butter. It is SO rich and sweet and dark green. The Spring is light-footed and fancy; the Autumn is a down-to-earth older brother.

It’s far more vegetal than floral, a change that floored me (considering the extreme orchid and lilac of the Spring). The butter is rich and sweet but never overpowering. There is a slight metallic taste; David and I debated about the best way to characterize it, because it’s absolutely not a negative quality. It’s more like the metallic taste in the mouth when one drools, or the mouth is watering. That really threw its weight behind the asparugus and spinach experience.

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83
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
17 tasting notes

Malty, yes, but not harshly so. It’s very light, and keeps the smooth bean notes of its green counterpart. An excellent “straight up” black tea…I can’t imagine diluting this with milk. This may be disappointing for those that like a robust, astringent kick in the teeth, but as a relaxing, silken black tea this performs perfectly.

EDIT: Just opened up my container of this lovely tea and got smacked in the face with chocolate scent. Yummmmm!

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62

Pleasantly sweet without being grassy, this tea was just the thing for a gloomy late-summer Wednesday. The bean notes manifest almost more as a texture rather than a flavor; it lends a very silken, waxy (not in a bad way), protein-y/nutty feeling to the undercurrent, while the top layers of tea are very calm and settled. It seems like a very content tea, very satisfied with its lot in life.

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70

The first time I ever had this tea, on the fourth (or so) steeping I said “It tastes like a campfire!” and David added “Yes, but one with silken pillows to sit on, and an elaborate cloth-of-gold pavilion in the background.” (paraphrased, of course) And since then, I’ve used “posh campfire” to describe this.

Don’t get the wrong idea: this is no Lapsang. Its campfire notes come from a sweet woodiness and a silken roasted flavor, not an overpoweringly thick smoke. (Can you hear my biases? Sorry.) The first steeping or two are relatively light but hit at the back of the throat; the flavor begins to settle and softly wrap your tongue after several steepings. By the fifth steeping the liquor is stunning, rich mahogany, and the flavor is in a comparable “full swing”. It gets drier, nuttier, and mustier as it goes, like embers burning down to cakes of sweet ash.

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70

Silky. This tea is like running your hands through a foot-high pile of satin and silk fabric scraps, letting them slide off your hands in waterfall cascades.

Oh, and it also tastes like corn. Did anyone mention that yet? SO MUCH CORN.

The smell of the corn in the dry leaf covers up any possible impression you could form about the tea itself, so you really have to drink it to get a good sense of the flavor. The corn stays light, up at the top of the palate, almost airy, while the pu-erh settles comfortably around your tongue. It’s never heavy, but the second and third steepings are the best once the corn is less dominant and the pu-erh can really unfurl. The corn is sweet but not sugary; it keeps everything very smooth and mellow. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth the whole experience is; there’s no empty space between the two flavors. It’s a perfect union.

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63

This tea is like the perfect party guest. It saunters into your mouth casually and says “Hey…I’m Chinese green tea…what’s up?” It’s not demanding; it mingles with the other guests without any legwork on your part, cleans up after itself all night, and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

In sum: not too grassy, not too nutty, not too creamy…not TOO anything. Perfectly balanced, very light and laid-back. A thoroughly inoffensive, if not quite charismatic, green tea.

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62

I don’t usually like Jasmine, but whenever I’ve smelled this one I noticed how sweet the jasmine seems, not cloying. And that impression was correct! I blend this with everything for a little sweet lift. It’s especially good with peppermint. Plain it’s nice and soothing, not too harsh floral and not too earty white. It’s an excellent balance. There’s no pungency or soapiness that I’ve experienced with other jasmines. I may have just been converted to jasmine, if they all taste like this from now on!

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50

I really wanted to like this, because: I like Honest Tea, I like peach, and I looooooove Oolong.

I don’t know why, though, this just didn’t impress me. It was very “meh”. Honest Tea’s “Organic White Peach” blend is much better if you’re looking for a slightly sweet peach iced tea. This one isn’t a BAD tea, specifically; I just don’t think it’s as balanced. Just enough tea taste to make it taste funny with the peach, but not enough to just be plain tea. Eh.

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61

I love bottled iced tea. I don’t know why, exactly, but I LOVE cold, sweetened tea…when it’s out of a bottle.

And this…this is the best. So many RTD iced teas are absurdly sweet; they taste good, but not like tea. I like that Honest Tea doesn’t overload, and even has teas that are entirely unsweetened. This blend in particular is well-balanced. It tastes like white tea, and peach, and just a hint of sweet, as it should be. All the flavors come together and none overpower.

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Bio

22-year-old tea enthusiast (of course), attemping to try new things and expand my horizons. I use lots of slightly unusual, sometimes synesthetic words to describe tea, and normally it involves hand motions…online I will have to make do with scare quotes and odd punctuation. I am actually literate, I promise.

A note on my reviews: I try to be as descriptive as possible in the word portion of the reviews. I don’t think it counts as being entirely objective, but I try. The numbers, however, are a little more subjective. There are perfectly good teas that I may rate low in number because compared to what I normally like, it’s not deserving of a higher score. So perhaps more weight should be given to my words than my numbers.

“Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. [It] is more than an idealization of the form of drinking; it is a religion of the art of life.”
-Okakura Kakuzo, ‘The Book of Tea’

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Minneapolis, MN

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