I received this tea as a free sample with my order, since the team over at Verdant Tea is so awesome.
If I had to describe this tea in one word: complex. When I first sipped the tea, I tasted a chilly, autumn evening from the view of my parents’ porch in the mountains of North Carolina. Was I actually there? No! But that was the experience this tea gave me as I sipped it up in my small apartment in Gainesville, FL. Quite remarkable.
On to the specific flavors, the first thing I noticed was the mineral taste. It had a good bit of astringency, but given its complexity the astringency was well-balanced. I also tasted a dark sweetness, like maybe a dark chocolate-covered orange or something. There was definitely a subtle woodsy-fruitiness as well, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I think I’ll need to order some more of this stuff to figure it out ;)
I brewed this Big Red Robe Western-style in my IngenuiTEA, so I used 2 tsp. / 8 oz. water. The tea yielded three strong cups, then it pretty much lost all flavor. This is about what I expected, so it’s definitely worth the price. Although I’m sure one could get another cup or two with more leaf or less water.
One thing did surprise me – it had absolutely no vegetal aftertaste that I find in so many oolongs (especially in the other Wuyi I’ve had before). You know how it’s often normal for oolongs to coat the inside of your mouth? I barely noticed that with this tea. It’s not a bad thing at all, I was just surprised by it.
Given the price of Da Hong Pao on most other websites, it seems like the quality and price from Verdant is a great deal. I’ve never had Big Red Robe before, but Verdant’s blend makes me want to come back for more!