Another Verdant white tea night. The aroma of dry leaf when it falls to the bottom of my warmed mug is incredible, so green and creamy, it takes me away, leaving all my cares behind. Lovely dark curly leaves turn vibrant green when steeped for mere seconds and produce the palest gold liquor. Now in this tasting I can’t help to compare this to the Aged Yunnan White I drank last night whereas the description contrasts it more with the green. In this respect I find the first steep to be quite creamy in addition to being silky, its just a very different silky than the silver needle, it’s thicker and greener and milkier, yes milky. And yes, I am very much reminded of the Laoshan greens, but this white suits my taste buds better than the intense but still delicious greens. I have a hard time pinning down the second infusion but the third brings new sweetness which has coated my tongue and seems intent to stay and I am very content with that. This is so very good and I am so grateful to be drinking this, thank you to the folks at Verdant Tea and the farmers of Laoshan for their continued innovation, hard work and artistry.
298 Tasting Notes
Now this is my comfort tea of the evening. So pure, so silky, so hydrating. The leaves are stunning silver and silky to the touch, they glisten and darken when brewed. The liquor is silky on the tongue and so just enlivening. The word nectar keeps coming back to me, flower nectar not fruit, yet some how I think that would be too sweet, or sticky or even astringent, this is just divine but I’d so honeysuckle is fairly accurate. Ooo and there is peach in the bottom of this cooled cup. Brewed three short steeps in a row in my 10oz glass infuser mug only a third of the way full, all of them heavenly and I’m going back for more.
Fourth steep is more familiar white tea territory, herbaceous, rosemary, bit of pine and hay. Fifth has some creamy green tea qualities and the sixth I’m sipping on? Smells like honey, tastes like honeydew and several of these infusions have left the sensation of cocoa powder on the tongue. I know I’ve tasted several of these things before, but not all from one tea and not all so pure. Oh how I wish I could buy I cake of this to age.
I wasn’t planning on trying this one today but had need for it. As I was taking my used tea leaves and watermelon rinds out to the compost I heard rumbling in our garbage can. Now I had spotted a groundhog in this morning in our backyard and poking around the garage. It seemed unlikely that such a large bodied small legged creature could find its way into a garbage can still upright, but I knew it was also unlikely it could find its way out.
But what I found when I peered into the bin was a small raccoon. I backed up and told him it was okay to come out, he didn’t. I walked around to the driveway and tilted the can over away from me, still he didn’t come out, I walked round the fence and saw he was stuck in the top corner of the bin so I again walked around carefully and reoriented the can. He was slow getting out and once he emerged I thought he was injured he dragged his body with his front legs and layed down under the front of my car and there he stayed while I called animal control and got voicemail.
We watched each other and I talked to him. He refused a dish of water and watermelon rind (I was careful not to get close). Luckily my sister and brother-in-law were five minutes away when I called them. Brian accessed the situation cautiously, moved around things in the garage, giving the raccoon a chance to bolt, he nudged him with a mop, he was breathing but didn’t move. He had me moved my car, told me to take everyone inside, my sister started crying. The raccoon took its last breaths and Brian scooped him up in a snow shovel and took him behind the garage. He suspects a local raccoon disease as there were no obvious wounds, but who knows.
My sister was still shaken up and I offered everyone tea. I was out of Chocolate Chamomile Curiosity Brew and knew lavender wouldn’t go over well, this seemed to fit the bill. We all found it very soothing and tasty. I think I prefer the Temple Green a bit, but the coriander and cardamon are very well behaved and the creamy green base comes through wonderfully well. Will have to try this iced. Sorry if that was depressing, but I needed to vent.
Ohhh this is lovely! I missed out on the original Imperial Breakfast, but I love Laoshan Black, Wild Picked Yunnan Jin Jun Mei and Big Red Robe and will be trying the Aged Silver Needle and Willow Grove later today. I’m greeted first by light silvery chocolate sweetness, yes definitely the Laoshan (also can’t wait to try the new harvest of it by itself) and maybe some sweet sparkling notes from the shu. Then it turns all warm and sunny, liquid gold, a bit buttery with a dash of cinnamon and black pepper, ah the taste of Yunnan. Then back comes the chocolate with a stoutness this time (Big Red Robe) and then all those flavors meld and round each other out and I find my cup is empty with all the flavors lingering on my palate and that was just one five second steep.
Edit: Have yet to brew this western style for the husband, but drinking this morning the first infusion is like eating cocoa butter, not that I’ve ever ate cocoa butter mind you, but this is what it reminds me of. Second infusion is like dipping bits of dark rye bread into this cocoa butter and the third is more like the bread itself. While I prefer the first and second, it is a lovely gradual way to greet the day. There shall be much rejoicing with the Autumn Blend is made ;)
Astringent horses, astringent horses, I miss riding, astringent horses… Oh hey! Looks like I should be using 195 F water, sigh, that’s better. See previous note.
Spent the day with this (as much as I could with a very clingy toddler) and may have to come back to it again tomorrow, as I didn’t reinfuse as much as I could have. This one is tricky, its a subtle shape-shifter, a bit elusive, yet rewarding when you sit and listen.
It starts off silky, with a hint of wood, spice and nut. I had a hard time pinning down the walnut, but once I pictured my tongue running over those tannic silky membranes I was there. I get a hint of cedar, but not nearly as much as other shengs, its more just woodsy, but not any particular variety of forest. There is juniper and apple when you look for it (or read about it). However it is mostly dirt and spice. Not hot spice, but a rough, dry, anonymous Yunnan dirt and spice (but not just peppery). Right now I feel like sheng evokes dirt and shu moist soil (don’t get me wrong I lovvve tasting the earth) but I am overly tired and need to come back to this in the morning.
Edit: It has been revived and this time round I’m doing longer steeps, first thirty then a min and I’m on 2 and a half mins right now. The tea, or maybe I or perhaps both of us are responding better to this. Yes it is still musty and vaporous but there are some solid notes also, mint and clove, not strong clove, but like the taste and feeling of old fashioned clove gum after you’ve been chewing it for awhile and the flavor is starting to fade. That. Let’s push it to three and then I think I will have to revisit the Farmer’s Co-op 03 and Star of Bulang 06 before my other pu’erhs arrive tomorrow. I still find it a heck of a lot easier to enjoy shu, but I’m learning. Edit edit: this is gooood, went for another and another, might not stop ;). Will definitely be starting at 30sec after the rinse next time!
It’s official I am in love with shu. It has to be the most rewarding tea for my taste buds and this one is no exception. At first this reminds me of the Yanxin’s Reserve ‘04 Nuggets with their creamy angel food sweetness and notes of cinnamon, but in these last two infusions (steeps 4 and 5 after the rinse) it takes on this juicy dark berry note and very well be a good stand in for the Peacock Village ’04 Shu, if I am unable to stock up before it sells out (okay so they are both low stock but this one is certainly more affordable, I may have to do a side by side tasting). But seriously this is delicious and can stand up to the ’04’s, just imagine once it ages… I love what it’s doing to my mouth, oh no my cup is empty, must brew more!
I thought it was only fair to come back to this, now that I have tried three other Bai Hao’s. It was a sip down and my fifth session with this tea. It has been a bit hit or miss and I really wish I could recreate the first time. This really did best with a 3 min steep, which is what I should have started off with today, but apparently I never learn. There was a fair bit of dust at the bottom of the tin and the leaves were on the choppier side. This yielded a more smokey, fiery experience, but there is also floral and sour notes. I’m lowering the rating, not that it makes a difference. No one else has tried it as its only available in a gift set with what I’ve come to realize are not so great teas. So, farewell my first Formosa, thank you for encouraging me to seek out the greater world of tea, beyond the tea wall.
I hate to say it but this one left me disappointed. It is not well suited to gongfu brewing and I should have jumped right to 3 mins after that instead of (1, 2 then 3). Because what I am experiencing at 2 mins the morning after is very drying, prickly, a tad minty turning into perfumey (I hope this isnt what they meant by sandalwood) and definitely acidic at the back of my mouth like bile. I couldn’t finish the cup, which is really rare for me. Before that it was really just boring. :/
So if you have this tea go with the longer steeps. While I liked what the Taifu did to my mouth better, neither of them had that savory, leathery, butteriness that I fell in love with in Teavana’s Oriental Beauty (exclusive to gift set). I still have one more serving of that left. Likewise Fong Mong’s High Grade was pretty good but I need to try the Top Grade.
I kind of regret buying this one. Don’t get me wrong its a decent oolong, but I should have stuck to my list and not tried to rebrowse on Steepster on my phone while at the tea counter and confuse myself. Yup I’m a tea geek. Unfortunately most of the teas I asked to see were not very strong scent-wise, except for the Sumatra Oolong Barisan which was at the top of my list, but for some reason I just wasn’t feeling the greener oolongs that day, but I think that one is really unique, oh well may be going back in the fall.
It was a nice store, a bit stark on the outside, but a very inviting layout within. When we walked through the door there was a crowd gathered in one corner listening to a bit of history on tea and watching a demonstration of their gravity pot (Perfect Tea Maker, IngenuiTea thing), they said it was magic, I chuckled. The wall the right was lined with pre-packaged tea with smelling jars, however these were mostly flavored, fruit and herbals with a few straight blacks and greens thrown in. The teas I wanted, all oolongs, were located behind the counter, in safety deposit style box/tins, it looked like an old bank or post office. While I’m sure these were ordered new, I wonder about their air tightness. There were also three samples available to taste in the center (wow that jasmine was intense).
After smelling a Darjeeling Oolong, Milk Oolong and the Indonesian and debating between four Formosas, I settle on this and was offered a complementary sample of the Formosa Fancy Superior Choice Oolong which I of course accepted. I wish I could have bought several teas in that size, but it wasn’t an option. The sample I did get is actually rated a bit higher on here and is described in their Book of Tea as having notes of sandalwood, if only I had picked the booklet up on my way in instead of on the way out. But hopefully I’ll be brewing that one up tonight and I can really compare.
So back to this tea. The dry leaf is very beautiful and variated, but like I said not very powerful. I brewed it up in my lidded mug, gongfu style with boiling to 200 degree water, starting a just three seconds, then 5, 9 and 13 secs.
The first infusion was both sweet and salty, floral and a bit muscatel. It does remind me a lot of Darjeeling as well as the Formosa oolong I tried at Adagio. The second was a tad darker and deeper, with that hint of wood coming through. The third infusion is where I came to understand something that was there from the beginning but hard to describe, it is a cocoa powder-esqueness. The toddler gulped half this cup down and said it was peachy.
The fourth is my favorite so far, it has a wonderful cooling quality that tickles the tip of the tongue and the back of the mouth. The fifth is also on the cooler side, very smooth and mild. The sixth is warmer, a bit salty and more herbaceous but seems a bit watered down. These two most recent infusions had an almost caramel like scent that I’m not getting in the taste. I’m going to try to kick it up a notch somehow.
So this tea was at the top of my Adagio wishlist and happened to be the first tea on sample when I walked into their store in Chicago. This store was everything I wish Teavana could be, in fact the layout is much what I pictured when I first applied to work at Teavana.
The teas line the outside walls, the are pre-packaged with two different sizes for loose leaf as well as bagged and each tea has its own smelling jar that you can sniff at your leisure. What’s more is you can taste any of the teas you want. As such they didn’t really have sample sizes like online, except for in the masters collection, because you can already try before you buy. So I had to limit myself to two teas to take home rather than six, I will probably order more online though as I’m signed up for their rewards program.
The guy who was helping me, who also used to work at a Teavana, brewed four for me in competition tasting cups with spoons. I sampled a Darjeeling Oolong, Oriental Beauty and the two Wuyi’s to compare, though I kinda wish I had tried the Twilight Ti Kuan Yin too. All were lovely, though the Formosa didn’t have all the notes I was looking for.
I chose the higher grade Wuyi and this to take home because they both showed promise for gongfu brewing, but in very different ways. With this one the sample was brewed for three minutes and was quite strong and complex and I just wanted to deconstruct it. I was rewarded for this decision today.
The first infusion was sparkling and stone sweet, well the second was a bit salty, and the third started picking up honey and roasted notes and the last two have just started to give hints of fruit.
I did 5 infusions before lunch and plan on resuming in a bit. I will update with any further observations today. For now I doubt it will become a staple in my cupboard, I’d rather have a Big Red Robe, but I am enjoying it for what it is.
Edit: I didn’t realize this was a Shui Xian (because I’m silly and didn’t read) no wonder I kept thinking of this yesterday when trying to pinpoint flavors I had experienced before in Verdant’s Shui Xian Wuyi Oolong. While this is an enjoyable tea, Verdant’s blows my mind and surprise! is actually slightly less money ($1.25 less for the 2oz). That being said I think Adagio is a great company, I had a wonderful experience in their store and their custom blends pull on my geeky heartstrings though I am more of a straight tea fan.
So I have been at the in-laws in Indiana for four days and thus far I have brewed no tea, Thursday I had a migraine and blamed it on withdrawal. Now the mother-in-law does have a cast iron tea pot, I bought it for her, but there was no visible kettle and I just didn’t ask. This morning though I grabbed a pan and a couple pouches of tea I knew would be good iced, that I knew the m-i-l would like and that I wanted to use up (actually I only brought teas I wanted to use up, with the goal of bringing none of them back, I’m a little behind so I have some catching up to do.
Now the in-laws are having a garage sale, with a lemonade stand (country time powder bleh) so I thought a nice pitcher of Strawberry-Lemonade would be great to have as an alterative out there. I emptied the entire 2oz into a giant glass measuring pitcher, added a few teaspoons of German rock sugar and boiled my water. It was a tiny pan, the only clean one and came out to only 18-20oz, I let it steep for 15mins, poured it over a pitcher of ice and it only filled the thing half way. I tasted it in a shot glass, not bad… but I had a pot of Youthberry that had just finished brewing a couple mins ago that I was going to cool in the fridge and bring out later. I poured a bit into the shot glass with the strawberry, much better!
I don’t care whether it sells or if my in-laws end up drinking it all. They think it’s delicious and their not wrong, it a much better combo than the Youth/Wild Orange or the Straw/Blueberry, but still I say good riddance to you free online sample pack and gift set packet! Also I’m glad they got brewed seperate at their recommended times and temperatures, plus more tea liquor! I will be so glad to get back to my tea stash and wares when I get home though.
Soooo delicious, what wonderful thick, creamy, dark sweetness. At first I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the smell and taste of this reminded me of, besides my two other favorite shu. I wanted to describe it as caramel but no, I had a caramel cake at Fridays tonight (my gods, delicious) but definitely not it. Then my mother-in-law asked me to bring her down a bottle of old fashioned cream soda, bingo! I’m much more pleased with this non sickeningly sweet, non teeth rotting version :)
Just before bed, in the fifth infusion (I think) the tart elderberry note became very present and has thankfully stuck around till morning for five more infusions. I’m going to keep reinfusing for as long as I can, amid the toddler’s birthday party preparations, because I’m having a love affair with this tea. I definitely like the original better than the Elderberry creation it inspired, yet that totally helped educate my palate to find the notes inherent in this most amazing shu.
If I win the Tea Cat’s contest I’m ordering more of this and it’s getting its own tin along with the Eight Treasures Yabao. So if you haven’t voted already go check out the gorgeous felines and consider voting for Pan http://verdanttea.com/tea-cats/crouching-kitty-copper-dragon/ I should not that it didn’t stay “thick” for long, it has a much lighter body than I first described, but still very, very flavorful and yes very “clean”. I only rinsed once, but did actually like that second infusion, ::shrug::
I’m grateful to have found a white tea sample I hadn’t tried yet, last night and to have the proper taste buds to appreciate it (unlike say, my husband). This hit all the right spots after just a 30 sec steep, but I am having a hard time finding the words to describe it. It’s herbaceous sure, there is a nice cool tingling on the side of my tongue that gives way to a bit of sweetness. It also tastes/feels like parchment paper which I am really digging. The second steep is similar but heavier, less sparkling and has a honeydew note to it. There is a savoriness to both cups that I can’t quite pinpoint, but it’s there alongside the sweet. Lovely tea, glad I can still thoroughly enjoy straight whites after all these blacks, dark oolongs and pu’erhs I’ve been getting into lately.
Wow, no love for this tea on Steepster. Not terribly surprising, it’s very hit or miss, luckily today it produced a nice cup. 3 tsps in a glass infuser mug with 175F water for a little over a minute uncovered. Brewed up a beautiful pink and yes a tad cloudy. No bitterness to speak of, no soapy peach, berries are a bit tart which is fine, mint is mild but present. Overall a very lightly flavored white and since Teavana doesn’t seem to believe that white tea leaves themselves should be anything other than light, I can see why others think this is bland, I just don’t mind at the moment as I know what to expect and wasn’t really looking for fruity. This might be more interesting with a bai mu dan or shou mei base. May try this cold brewed as I believe I bought it with the summer in mind when it was 75% off. Would never buy this at full price though. Just the handful of Verdant blends I have been drinking lately have spoiled me, I don’t know if I want to venture trying David’s or 52Teas blends, though that reminds me I need to place an order some honeybush for my mother-in-law.
This is like falling in love with Verdant’s Tieguanyin all over again. It is the only blend in the alchemy line that I would believe is straight tea if someone handed me a cup and then I would swear up and down that it was the best tieguanyin I’d ever had. It is the perfect balance of floral, buttery, sweet, vegetal and umami. I got so far in my steeping with this that I even got a mint note with a second sweetness. Well done Verdant Tea!
Enjoying this cold brewed in wine glasses with the husband’s best friend. It’s gorgeous and looks like a beautiful blush wine, stunning, stunning pink. It retains quite a bit of its fragrance and is simply delicious, still reminds me of lilies, Pierre says its the perfect ice tea. I wonder if thesr leaves can be rebrewed hot. If I win the Tea Cats contest, I’m ordering 4oz of this sooner rather than later. My entry is the Crouching Kitty, Copper Dragon ;)
I got a small free sample of this when I ordered the Golden Fleece and finally got around to brewing it yesterday with my husband’s best friend who has been in town since Wednesday. It is a solid, dark, chocolaty tea at one moment refined and the next robust. It is so different from the other Yunnan’s I’ve had while it is a chocolaty tea like the Laoshan and Bailin Gongfu, it feels so solid after just 10 secs of steeping (where as the others have a thinner, mineral sweetness, that I love mind you, this is just new and enjoyable). The first two steeps were wonderful,Pierre used the word “meaty” the third was a tad astringent and then in took an interesting turn for the fourth and fifth, so much so that Pierre thought it was a different tea (we took a break after three and he went downstairs). He said it tasted more “herbal” though I would say savory, it had a lighter buttery quality. This and the Wild Picked Jin Jun Mei are actually two of my favorites and ones I would like to order. Though I haven’t tried the Golden Fleece yet, tomorrow perhaps, I would highly recommend folks order Verdant’s Black Tea Sampler, they are amazing teas!
Ohhh this is lovely! I wouldn’t trust a Lavender Earl Anything from anyone but Verdant as me and super floral teas do not get along. I once tried to make something like this at work with Lavender Dreams and Earl Grey White and winded up with a headache. But this is perfectly done, so very fresh and soft yet bright, I thought there was something like lemongrass in this! And I still can taste the Jingshan base nice and green and lineny. So much better than an astringent white or filmy citrus base (I’m looking at you Teavana). I did quite a short steep on this and could probably get many infusions but I’ll try not to overdo it because lavender can indeed give me headaches, I was shouting at my sister to take the oil warmer out of the birthing room as soon as the droplets hit the chafing dish almost three years ago. This tea does not evoke those memories (just thinking about my past sensitivities did) no, this is like walking through the fields of Provence this time of year and gathering a bundle lavender and taking it back to a cool white walled, dirt floor kitchen to to weave wreaths, infuse in homemade dish soap and to a brew a fresh cup of tea with. Not that I’ve ever been to Provence or that this is at all soapy, but my favorite Seventh Generation dish liquids are Lavender and Lemongrass ;)
Cold brewed this for the husband today, 6 heaping teaspoons (bit difficult with the long needles) in 6 cups of water for 6 hours. Husband though it was a tad mild, I thought it was lovely. I let the remaining 2 cups of liquid sit in the leaves in the fridge and lo it got stronger and more delicious! Excellent honey notes. So I’d say a touch more leaf and time and we’ll be golden. Now back to my regularly scheduled yabao.
Roses and orchids and jasmine oh my! I can’t stop inhaling the vapors of this liquor. It smells like the purest perfume (I’m actually seeing white flowers when I breathe in) balanced with one of my personal favorite scents: cedar. Somehow the tea found its way to my lips and took me by surprise, I actually gasped. This is sooo heavenly, it tastes just like it smells and more. Reminds me of the lilies of the valley that grow under my parents oak tree. White choral bells upon a slender stalk, I can here my mother singing. I love Yaboa on its own, for its sparkling sweet hay notes, but this, this is nothing short of alchemy!
Reading others reviews makes me even more sad that I apparently cannot appreciate this variety of Dancong. I had a Mi Lan Xiang from Chicago Tea Garden and got the same grey clay taste with a slight astringency, even though I am doing very short steeps. No honey or orchid to speak of, maybe a tad bit of grapefruit (based soley on the fact that I don’t like grapefruit) and I didn’t even get much aroma from it. I’m not sick, my water is nicely filtered and my teaware was properly cleaned and rinsed with boiling water prior to use so no residue or oders. It is a little better after the third steep, but gets weak by the sixth. This and CTG’s both to have a nice sweetness that lingers on the tongue once swallowed but its getting to that point that’s the issue. I have not completely given up hope, I have a pitcher of this cold brewing in the fridge after reading Verdant’s newest newsletter. Here’s hoping I find more to appreciate.
Oh yes this is hitting the spot, a perfect summer after dinner tea! The rich creaminess of the Laoshan Green is coming through clear and is well supported by the mint and fennel, both of which are very refreshing. I think I may even appreciate the Laoshan Green more in this form and its my favorite of the blends so far (okay so the prototype grey and it are tied). I would definitely reorder more if it was available but am looking forward to trying the new Laoshan Apothecary Green and the Bergamot Rose as well as to cold brewing this one, but for now, several steeps lie ahead.
This seems very familiar to me, though I have never had another chrysanthemum pu’erh, I suspect chrysanthemum is an ingredient in one of my Traditional Medicinals. It’s floral in more of a fresh herbaceous way than remotely perfumey, which is a very good thing and works nicely with the earthy pu’erh which starts to come through on the third infusion. Short infusion this time around, will try western in the future.