2895 Tasting Notes

Road Trip!
After I claimed a sipdown on this tea, I realized I had a secret stash at Tony’s. so this was the first tea of the morning, which I drank on the way to the airport. My mistake was forgetting there is green tea in here, which makes me sick to my stomach if I haven’t eaten. That queasiness started, but luckily I brought my own food: a frittata & paleo banana muffins, so I am saved.

Cavocorax

Secret stash FTW! :)

Terri HarpLady

LOL! I often take small amounts of some of my favorites & leave them at his house, just in case I want one of them, or if (god forbid) I forget to bring tea for the weekend.

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For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to ‘guru’ types. So, having said that, when I hear people referred to as ‘Master’ this, or whatever, I’m always a little suspicious. Also, when companies give all these amazing descriptions & make things sound so unbelievably good, I secretly roll my eyes with doubt. Even Verdant. Sometimes it just seems a little over the top.

Having said that, where Verdant is concerned, I am almost always impressed, & today is no exception. I don’t know why I should still be skeptical, except that it is just my nature, I guess.

So…I’ve been enjoying this Shu all afternoon, steeped in a Gaiwan, steep after steep. Everything about this tea speaks of quality & craftmanship. From the awesome banana-leaf wrapper, (or whatever it’s made of, your damn right I’ll be buying a brick!), & the dark beauty of the leaf itself, to the bright clean flavor that is fruity, creamy, & slightly tart, this is a lovely Shu! I’m not done with it yet, & next time I’ll use the Xingyang workshop parameters.

Master Han is the Jedi Master of Tea. Thank you David & Lily, for all that you do for us crazy tea drinkers! I love you guys!

TastyBrew

Ha ha. I’m a total secret eye roller. Sometimes not so secret. This tea has one of my most favorite tea descriptions ever, especially this part “The musty and aged quality of this tea is so refined that it moves away from earthy and more towards the satisfying smell of old libraries.” Someday when I finally develop a taste for puerh, maybe that will sound appetizing. Not so much yet :-). But I am sipping on special dark right now. Finally found one I don’t want to just dump down the drain. Ha ha.

JustJames

ah, subtlety is lost on me… i don’t do it in secret, i’ve been known to say ‘prove it’. not rudely, just candidly.

this puerh i would love to try….. august, august, august.

Terri HarpLady

My favorite “old library” shu is xingyang golden leaf ’98. I love that tea, & it just happens to be one of the reserve teas this month too!

Autumn Hearth

Oh lucky! (for both this and the Xiangyang). I need to hold off for financial reasons. I hear you on the skeptical. My mom is often mentioning workshops to me by “one of the great spiritual teachers/leaders of our time” or something similar. And though I may be inclined to what they are giving a workshop about: ancestors, journey work etc, my mom’s phrasing turns me off.

Terri HarpLady

Autumn, I figured out a long time ago that the answers always come from within. Nobody in the world can intercede for me, or do anything to help me connect to the Universe (God, or whatever). If I sit down & ask for guidance, I will receive it. There are a lot of things that nobody can know…the Pope, the Dalai Lama, etc. I’m not saying they may not have some answers, but those same answers are available to me (or you) when we take the time to be quiet & alone, maybe journal a little, & breathe! Nobody can guide my spiritual experience except me!

Rich

You said exactly something that has been on my mind about Verdant. They go so far out there with their over the top selling hype, I find it a real turn off. It makes me want to boycott them because it seems so manipulative. That being said, their teas are generally wonderful. But I can’t help feeling cynical when I try their teas which almost takes some of the joy out of the experience. I hope they read these comments, though I might send them a note as well.

JustJames

mine arrived along with a sheng and a hand picked laoshan in my tea of the month shipment…

on a separate note and playing the part of devil’s advocate: culturally there are chinese tea masters, and in the north america there are tea mastery courses… verdant (in my opinion) creates brilliant products. who does it hurt really if they refer to their tea engineer as master han? why assume it’s a manipulation and not a sign of respect.

i can’t say either way which would be true, and in my experience the middle road is often the most accurate. i suppose i like to err on the side the cup of tea half full.

Terri HarpLady

All in all, in spite of my skepticism, I’ve loved almost every tea I got from them, LOL. I guess that really says it all, right?

JustJames

terri, you are a lovely person.

Terri HarpLady

Why thank you, James!

Ag

Just noticed this thread, bit of a late response here, but I’ll throw in my two cents…

I’m also a bit skeptical of anything/anyone with the title of “master”, but it recently occurred to me that it’s a traditional form of respect in the Chinese culture to call an experienced elder “lao shi”, which basically means “teacher” and I suppose could also be translated to “master”. Considering that Verdant’s relationship with their tea sourcers is one of friendship and respect, I can understand why they would refer to them as “Master so and so”.

I also have some slight issues with Verdant’s fancy descriptions, but after listening to some of the conversations David has with the tea farmers, I’m certain of Verdant’s genuineness. Up until then, I had a slight concern in the back of my mind that some of Verdant’s claims of friendships with tea farmers and sourcers were exaggerated, but his fluency in Mandarin is impressive— I almost couldn’t tell he had an accent (my family is from China so I hear Mandarin and a few other regional dialects being spoken fairly frequently).

Terri HarpLady

Cool, Ag! Thanks for chiming in!
The truth is, I love almost every tea I get from Verdant, & I do feel that they are very genuine in all they share. I also really enjoy the info they share, & the personal way that they deal with the growers, & those of us who purchase the tea.

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Tomorrow morning I’m flying to Orlando, FL to visit my folks, who live in Apopka. It will be a week of no real responsibilities. At least once a day Dad will ask me to show him something on the piano, as I’ve been teaching him theory & improvisation for a few years now. Mom will find reasons to go to the health food store, the book store, or other locations to get some time alone with me. We’ll hang out relaxing. I’m smuggling some Egyptian Walking Onions for their garden. (Last time I smuggled 2 of their amazing aloe plants home, they are very different from the ones I have here). I don’t care much for FL, but I like to go visit my folks each year for their anniversary. Last year we had a family reunion in Springfield, MO to celebrate 60 years. It was the first time all 5 siblings had been in the same place in about 30 years! This year it is back to a nice quiet week of goofing off, watching movies, gardening, & eating. And drinking tea. The hardest decision I have to make today is which teas to bring:
A) My favorites…but there are so many!
B) A sipdown sampler collection
I still haven’t decided, LOL.
Meanwhile, the TOMC bundle came on Saturday, & today I’m working my way through some of the selections.

Don’t think I’m any kind of authority on Sheng, because I’m not, but for a year old Sheng, this seems amazingly smooth, sweet, & even kind of creamy. Most of the other young Shengs I’ve tried have been kind of harsh, especially if I use more than 3G. The chaqi hit me after the first cup, & I’ve been sipping cup after cup, in between doing various things that need to be done before I leave town: a few loads of laundry, water all houseplants, etc. The flavor is rich with a full maltiness, a bright citrus sensation, steam sauteed cabbage, & a lingering herbaceousness & thick tongue. I like it!

Tamm

I hope the trip goes well! It sounds super relaxing.

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I’ve officially designated Monday as “White Tea” day. This started at the beginning of July. I don’t have a huge selection of white teas, as I’m not crazy about them, & tend to find them a little lame, to be honest, but I do enjoy trying them out & am gradually developing an appreciation for them. So every Monday I will drink a white tea, either plain or flavored (I currently have a total of 5 in my collection).

Today, it is this one. Steeped according to Verdant’s suggested gongfu parameters, more or less:
4G + my glass test tube steeper X 5 sec (adding 5 per steep)

This is a pleasant cup that starts out creamy & sweet, with the flavor & texture building with each steep. Gradually an blanched almond flavor emerged, & that was really nice. I am also thinking of a really creamy oatmeal, the kind you make from steel cut oats. The later steepings are more savory, with a bit more vegetal taste, & an almost citrus like sensation. As far as white teas go, this one is really nice!

MsWhatsit

I know what you mean about white teas.

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drank Black Beauty by Mandala Tea
2895 tasting notes

First tea of the morning, enjoyed while fixing breakfast.
First steep = 4min
2nd steep = 5min
Both were delicious, smooth, with a nice thick sensation, flavors of Malt, a little chocolate, & that hint of coriander. And NO astringency! Upon finishing the 2nd cup, I have a tingle on the tip of my tongue & thickness along the sides. A wonderful way to start the day!

Chelle

sounds really nice!

Cavocorax

Mmmm. Some day I’ll try Mandala Tea! I keep associating them with Pu-erh cakes which I’m only just exploring so I don’t want to order until I know that I can explore the best they have. :D

Garret

Cavocorax… I can help you anytime you wish insofar as pu’er teas :) While Mandala Tea really does have a lot of love for pu’er, for sure, we like all kinds of tea and source with love the teas that we and our customers drink. I’d love to assist you in any way that I might to help you find your cup of tea. Or shall I say “cups” of tea! Wishing you joy today and always… Garret P.s. Thanks again, Terri, for your reviews! Always a treat to read and helpful to many customers! I frequently refer to your reviews here in the shop.

Terri HarpLady

Thanks Garret!
Cavo, I’ll add some of these to you next box, so you can try them out! I’m getting a pretty collection going :)

Cavocorax

Garret – thanks for the offer. Once I’m ready to make an order maybe I’ll get your advice on what puerh to try, besides snagging a few “safe” black teas. I’m in Canada, but I’m sure I saw somewhere that I can just email you for a shipping quote so I’m not worried about that.

And Terri – box? :O :O :O
Would you like me to send you anything else as I pack up your Phoenix Pearls? I’m feeling a bit spoiled!

Terri HarpLady

LOL…no.
It won’t really be a huge box like I always burden Sil with, I won’t go TOO crazy :)

TeaBrat

this stuff is gooooood!

Cavocorax

:) That’s good to know. And thanks!

Terri HarpLady

I’ll have to send it next week, after I get home from FL though. There’s just too much to do to get ready to go, & I know I won’t make it to the PO today (leaving before they open).

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Another tea from Sil, Thanks! You’re slacking on your reviews, sister, get with it! ;)
THIS is more like it!
I’m enjoying these teas from Taiwan Tea Crafts. I’ve decided I like the Assams from Sun Moon Lake. They all share a rich fruity flavor that is very different from the Assams I’m used to, but in a really nice way. This one is really lively in the mouth, with a full sensation, & a nice high note that reminds me of Apricot.

Sil

WOMAN! don’t start with me..SOMEONE sent me a bunch of tea that basically ends up being what i drink for nearly the entire day…

Sil

also… you need more sipdowns. pretty sure i’m still under you :P

JustJames

LMAO… nothing like watching virtual bickering. =0P

Terri HarpLady

Touché
LOL :D
Which reminds me, I’m leaving for FL tues! I gotta figure out what teas I’m taking.

Sil

Haha justjames – no bickering, just good plain fun!

Terri….same boat for me next week…so few teas that ill be able to drink…basically away from them for nearly 10 days. Grrrr… Looks like ill need a work from home day on thurs heh

MsWhatsit

Not sure why you’re bothering to bring tea with you, sis. You will probably immediately find local sources to feed your tea buying compulsion.

Terri HarpLady

Actually, according to Perez, there is nothing of any worthiness in Orlando, lol. Last time I visited mom & dad, she had a collection of bagged teas. No further comment. :)

Terri HarpLady

Also, I’m broke. The only reason I can afford the flight is the reward point on my southwest card.

Sil

terri – we need to coordinate trips to orlando next time.

Terri HarpLady

That would be awesome!

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Another tea from Sil. :)
So, when I opened the bag, I was like, “Oh crap…rooibos…meh…”
But I made a cup anyway. The aroma was a turn off for me, & the first couple of sips were a little to bright for me, too intense.
I almost dumped it out.
I’m sitting around watching old episodes of NCIS. I let the tea cool for a few minutes, taking an occasional sip, & it sort of grew on me a little, at least enough to drink the rest of the cup.
It’s wierd…I don’t really know how I feel about it. I have mixed feelings. The flavor has the intensity of cough syrup, that would be the combo of rooibos & hibiscus, then there is the fruity currant, which I like. There is a pleasant creaminess from vanilla & some white chocolate as well.
So I don’t really like it. There’s something over the top & fake about the taste, that lingers in the after-taste & gives me a queasy feeling.

Sil

haha i love this tasting note :)

Terri HarpLady

Oh good! :)

JustJames

this back and forth dynamic has some amusing suggestions of tea sadism, LOL!!!

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Hmmmm….I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. I’m not used to finding Fenugreek in a tea, & admittedly, I’ve never been a real fan of it. I guess it’s interesting enough to finish the cup, with a rich mouth, but it IS a sipdown, so I doubt I’ll ever drink it again.
Thanks for the sample, Sil.
NEXT!

Sil

haha like i said in my note…lots you may not like but they’re at least teas off of the list!

Terri HarpLady

Yup! I have no regrets!

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Look what I found in Tony’s cupboard! I also found some Vanilla Caramel Assam (Butiki) AND a secret stash of Bilbo Brew (Adagio)!

We’re hanging out having a PJ day, being couch potatoes. Right now we’re watching “Ray”, for the third time. Jamie Foxx is so awesome in this movie.

This is tasty, malty, & a little fruity.

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This is another tea from my trade with Sil, & my first tea of the day.
The other sun moon Lake blacks I’ve sampled were rich with fruitiness, both in the flavor & aroma, & very smooth. They are very different, really in a lovely & unique way. If I understand it, this is one of ose same teas, aged 30 years. It is very smooth, & the fruit flavors have transmuted to root veggies: notably beets & carrots. There is also an earthy taste, like a root cellar, hinting at a Shu puer, but just a hint, with a touch of salt. It’s mellow & grounding.

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Profile

Bio

I’m so excited to have found this community! I’m a self-employed Harpist (acoustic & electric – Originals, Classical, Rock, Jazz, etc) & Singer/Songwriter. My days & nights revolve around teaching at home, playing gigs, gardening,& fixing awesome food to eat. My schedule is different everyday, but I just go with the flow, & I sip a lot of tea!

My love of Tea began with Herbals back in the 70’s. One of my favorites was a licorice blend from House of Hezekiah, an old tea shop in Kansas City. There was also a tea with mint, rose petals, chamomile, etc called Nuclear Casual Tea.
In the 80’s I gave up caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, (& a few illicit substances…), and brewed medicinal blends & tinctures to support 4 pregnancies (all children born at home). In the 90’s my love affair with green teas began when I discovered ‘The Republic of Tea’. Their beautiful teas & packaging inspired my original song, “TeaMind”, from my CD “Zen Breakfast”. If you’d like to hear the song for free, drop by my website.

In general, I drink my teas straight, but occasionally I add a pinch of Stevia & maybe some coconut or almond milk (I’m allergic to dairy, gluten, & various other things & avoid most sweets.)

I’ve explored a variety of teas:
Whites tend to be a little bland…sorry
Oolongs – wonderfully sensual
Roobios – I’m not a fan in general
Puehr – a fairly new direction for me
I’m not a huge fan of flavored teas, but I do make exceptions, & I’ll try just about anything once.

And Black Tea, Oh how I love thee!!
I am on a quest for the most wonderful breakfast cup! I will find you, my Love!

Location

St. Louis, MO

Website

http://www.harpsinger.net

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