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300 Tasting Notes

95

Hmm I think I over leafed this :/ Dry it smelled chocolatey, but that was lost once I added water, it was extremely savory to the point of being salty. I’m just going to have to default to my previous tasting note.

Was out and about today and really need to get to bed. Looking forward to Jin Jun Mei tomorrow amidst crazy packing of things to be sent down to Florida with my dad so we don’t have to take much on the plane Saturday.

Mrnixonpants

I hope you have a wonderful trip :)

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99

My tasting notes say it has been 12 months since I first tried this tea, the first Autumn 2011 harvest after which I ordered the second which I still have a bit of. I also still have some of the 2011 Spring (logged 6 months ago) and Summer (logged 4 months ago) but I don’t know which is which is which as the pouches are not labeled. Today I’m drinking the Autumn 2012 harvest, which I have tried a few times already but apparently have not logged. Perhaps I should sit down with all four of them one of these days, however right now…

I’m on a Verdant Black Tea tasting spree, one a day. I started with Anxi Fo Shou on Tuesday, Yu Lu Lan Cha on Wednesday and Mi Lan Dancong Black Thursday all of which have been compared to Laoshan Black by David himself for their lovely chocolate notes but of course are each very unique and I wanted to experience that uniqueness each day instead of spaced weeks or months apart. I will continue with Zhu Rong Black, Jin Jun Mei, Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black (the only one I haven’t opened yet) and end with Golden Fleece, of course these last three don’t have the intense chocolate notes that the darker blacks do, but some of these teas also have strong honey notes and plus its fun!

I don’t pretend I am making any unique observations here, this tea alone has 115 ratings and many like me have more than one tasting note, not much more can be said about it. I’m just trying to come to a personal understand and appreciating the differences and complexities. This is the most intensely chocolate and desert like of the four so far, it is supported and enhanced by honey, caramel, vanilla and hint of cinnamon. The caramel and vanilla are the most intense in this fall harvest than I have experienced before. It is the most creamy and nutty of the teas, due to the soil of Laoshan Village.

Many dessert analogies have been made by others: caramel brownies, cinnamon brownies, honey soaked brownies, brownies brownies brownies, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, whipped cream, creme brulee, hot cocoa, Nutella, Black Forest cake, milk shakes, chocolate beer. It’s all of these but today especially it is &caramel brownie vanilla bean cheesecake served with a caramel brownie and vanilla bean ice cream, drizzled with caramel syrup, chocolate syrup and honey, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with chocolate shavings and cinnamon*. Beat that! And all that dessert flavor from three 10 second steeps! On a more serious note (not that that wasn’t a serous observation of course) it also seems a lot less grainy than I remember it being in the past and a lot more vanilla.

CrowKettle

This tea is the epitome of brownies of every facet. Also, you just created one intense dessert! ;)

Autumn Hearth

I’m glad I can drink it and take in all those extra calories, not that I’m an overly calorie conscious person. Now of course I have a craving, better brew another cup!

Terri HarpLady

I’ve also been in Verdant tasting party mode, so it was especially fun to read your review! Thanks!

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Thanks to momo for this one! As others have noted this is very heavily dominated by the anise and fennel and the cider/apple is really just in the background. It might as well be called “Apples & Licorice” But knowing that and accepting it going in, I really like it. I wanted something sweet tonight and this requires absolutely no sugar to achieve that. I steeped the Mi Lan Black to death today and had an apple ale (not cider) after dinner so this is a good choice.

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91

Third day of the Verdant black tea comparisons and I’ve decided I’ll make a week of it as I have them all. There’s a hint of cocoa as the dry leaves hit the warm mug but its mingled with other fragrances, floral and earthy true to its teroir this smells more like a dancong than a black tea when brewed up.

There’s a hint of smoke coming off the leaves and a scent of roasted veggies. Yet the first infusion is very malty, powdery cocoa dusted over fragrant oolong. There’s a mix of veg and herbaceous, I keep come back to avocado, asparagus, banana and some mustiness.

Disclaimer: I’m not the biggest appreciator of dancongs, there are a couple I’ve liked and a few more than have lacerated my tongue, but I know I like this one, I’ve had it before and even on this second infusion I know I need to lower the temp next time because those roasted veggie notes now smell charred.

Then there it is that greyish purple clay taste I get from dancongs, not as offensive here with the cocoa, avocado and now honey and yup peach. Getting stronger and stronger juicy peach oh swoon now I know what those dancong lovers search for and this peach is with chocolate, seriously just wow. Perhaps I won’t lower the temp ;)

Less peach in the third infusion there’s a woodsy quality with the clay and yes incense and just like my first tasting note I’m getting a dry sheng like quality. Interesting. Can I have that peach back please? Will come back to this note later in the day with observations.

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This post is for science (and Kittenna) comparing some of Verdant’s black teas I felt were similar but knew would be different, this isn’t side by side but one after the other. I had this tea over a month ago but it seems I did not log it. I don’t think I knew what to say then.

As leaves hit the hot mug, the unmistakable smell of chocolate permeates the air. Yet when hot water hit leaves the smell turned savory. There is something much more grainy than yesterday’s Anxi Fo Shou Black or Laoshan Black a prickly bit of linen, no, denser like a wool cloak.

This second steep is so savory and buttery with sweetness only in the finish. It’s sparkle is different than the wuyi sparkle, but still it tingles in a more earthy manner. There is veg here, avocado which is of course a tree fruit but it has a very veg quality.

Thick heavy savory honey in the third steep, almost raw. I keep using all these rough adjectives and yet it is really a very smooth black tea but there is no doubt it is thick, thick and malty.

This tea conjures up hearty starchy things like legumes and potatoes and makes me want chili or stew but with a bit of molé. Wow so different than yesterday’s rum raisin chocolate cake and it sets itself apart from Laoshan Black as well. I stand very corrected.

Edit to add: I continued steeping this on late last night and by around the 9th infusion or so (I lost count) it turned very chocolaty, very very sweet and even fruity, at that point I had lowered my temp to 205-208F and dragged the infusions out to a minute plus. Only by one in the morning was this feeling at all watered down.

Also watched Mirror Mirror on Netflix and preferred it overall to Snow White and the Huntsman (though Charlize was an awesome queen and had gorgeous raven inspired wardrobe and I liked the Irish tree named dwarves, Lily Collins made a much better Snow White and the prince was funny), completely different tone, very amusing if over the top.

Sil

awesome!

Kittenna

Nice! I will have to read all your notes again before I sample my teas a second time as well.

Also, I liked Mirror Mirror (though Snow White’s eyebrows really threw both the bf and myself!). I particularly cracked up at the “no kissy” face the prince made… my boyfriend has done something akin to that to me once or twice in fun, and it reminded me so much of him :P

Autumn Hearth

;) I know what you mean about the eyebrows, I just had to tell myself that there will probably never be a perfect Snow White in my eyes (though I really liked Kristen Kreuk in the 2001 Hallmark version and enjoy Once Upon A Time), but at the same time she shouldn’t have to measure up to conventional beauty standards, she is the fairest not the most gorgeous, sex or unearthly beautiful and I think her radiant innocence plays into that at least her skin and hair were more contrasted than Kristen Stewart and she freaking smiled. Sorry to ramble and rant.

I still have Laoshan black, Zu Rhong and Jin Hun Mei to redrink and then Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black to open, will prob end with Golden Fleece, though I’m not really comparing it to the other blacks, maybe a bit to the two Yunnan/Wild Picked teas but the light buddy teas are a whole different beast than the dark chocolatey ones, though David mentioned Jin Jun Mei when talking about the honey notes of Yu Lu Cha so yeah and I need an excuse to make progress on my tea samples.

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I tried this for the first time last week but words were escaping me, the only things I could think of were chocolate, raisin, rum and a bad pun: I like this tea “fo sho”, yeah…

I love these little one-two serving packets, so convenient and unintimidating. Oh well if I mess this up I still have a dozen more! I feel like this tea, Verdant’s Yu Lu Cha and Mi Lan Dancong Black all need a side by side brewing. They all have this oolongy Laoshan Black thing going on, though I’m sure each is quite unique, its hard to find them just based on memory.

The first time I tried this I could not find any hints of Anxi Tieguanyin, but there are some lovely honey orchid notes present in this first cup steeped a bit longer than my first gongfu session (15 secs instead of 3-5). I also get Big Red Robe, which I love and miss. I really liked Laoshan Black and Big Red Robe together, so this is a winner.

I’m going to steep it out through the day and I hope to find some of those single malt scotch notes. I really love Bonnie’s tasting note on this and completely agree that the raisin notes are golden raisin and the chocolate feels very raw at the beginning. Already this session is yielding a much fuller bodied tea and I’m looking forward to brewing this western style for the husband who will have none this sparkling mineral nonsense (aka how I love my teas). Also, yay 275!

Invader Zim

I’m glad I’m not the only one to think “fo sho” when I see this tea!

Lynxiebrat

Annoyingly enough so do I.

Azzrian

I just got mine today and can’t wait to try it but waiting because I just had hot sauce on pizza and I don’t want my palate to be disrupted by that when I sample this tea!

Terri HarpLady

LOL, I also was trying to think of a ‘fo sho’ comment, so I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s mind is twisted that way! :D

Kittenna

Haha, me… four?

Anyways, I was also thinking that I need to do a comparison of chocolatey blacks, including this one, Yu Lu Cha, Laoshan Black, Zhu Rong…. However, as I think the only one stably available to order will be Laoshan Black, which I find highly satisfying, I suspect I will never get around to this. (Yet I will still be curious about the subtle differences, so I encourage you to do it! Haha)

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Does anyone else pick ever brew up a tea just to prep their taste buds for something you really want? I often do this after eating or brushing my teeth. Sometimes its a flavored tea and I’m like “alright that was okay, now to taste some real tea”. Today it’s this. Stout, roasted, dark and bagged. Easy to brew and no commitment to reinfuse. I think a nice dark oolong or black tea will come after this. Good day to snuggle up with a blanket, book and a never ending cup of tea as snow blankets the ground.

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92

Sipdown shared with my mom’s church friends. I was invited to come brew for a meeting at my mom’s house, part of a search for a new minister. I came armed with over a dozen loose leaf teas. Everyone was impressed with the selection, my mom had no idea how much I had at home until I showed her a picture of my stash “You probably have over a hundred! Well I guess that’s good in this weather” What does the weather have to do with it?

Anywho this proved to be the most popular and got reinfused several times. Butiki’s Cantaloupe & Cream was also enjoyed along with Verdant’s Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green and Mountain Tea’s Heritage Honey Oolong for two purists :)

I’m a bit sensitive to floral tea but this is definitely my favorite lavender tea, very light, bright and refreshing. And I would love to see it’s return in the spring. I was saving it to share and share I did! See previous note. Now I need to go brew some tea.

Hesper June

Ha! I has a similar comment recently from someone.
She said “Oh, you drink tea? well, thats a nice thing to be interested in at this time” and I was thinking “at this time?” what? This time of year? This time in my life?
People are funny.
This Tea sounds tasty, I have only ever had one Lavender Earl Grey.
But, I liked it:)

ashmanra

Hee hee! One fellow sounded completely bewildered when he asked me why I had so much tea. People who sit down and have a few cups with me now and then figure it out best! :) That was nice of you to do that for your mom and her friends.

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90
drank Fujian Rain by Adagio Teas
300 tasting notes

Rediscovered my tin of this, unlabeled, last week while organizing my cupboard. I love Wuyi oolongs, especially Shui Xian. Dark roasted stoney sweet goodness. This time round its all raisins and whiskey. Yum! This is the type of tea I would pick in the end of the world/desert island scenario, but like I said in a previous notes I do prefer Verdant’s. This is a closer second though than I thought, so I’m bumping up the rating.

Tamm

I must have overlooked this one quite a few times! I love oolongs like this one so I’m putting it on my wishlist.

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92

Thanks to tperez I’ve been enjoying this most of the day. I’m appreciating Dian Hongs more and more especially fine soft ones like this. It has notes of honey, cinnamon, mushroom and butter but very little pepper. Unfortunately I’m not really getting the aforementioned whiskey but that’s okay. This leaves a nice cooling, powdery sensation on the tongue, a mild camphor-like zhang experience which I suppose in a way is similar to whiskey, but much less fiery. Re-infused many times.

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Profile

Bio

Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.

Location

Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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