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Recent Tasting Notes
Oh, wow, how frustrating. After the weirdly salty cuppa I just had, I decided to break out a reliable tea to make up for it. And this is a big deal because I’m running out of this tea and on a spending ban, sigh. I was almost positive that the saltiness in my previous cuppa was from the mug or teapot, so this time I used totally different equipment, but the tea still came out slightly salty. So I guess that means it’s the water? Or the electric kettle? Not only is my new water chlorine-y, but I guess it has now decided to become salty as well. I hope this is only temporary and that it will go back to just being chlorine-y (never thought I’d say that). Anyway, the Zhu Rong has powerful enough flavors for me to ignore the salt, so I’m just powering through. It’s the flavor of spices in this one that really keep the salt at bay. My old reliable tea pulling through for me once again. Thank you, Verdant, for this amazing tea :)
so a minor pet peeve of mine here to start and that is around companies and social media. If you’re going to be present on social media you need to actually BE present. that means, if a customer uses it to contact you, you’re prepared to answer. If someone tweets at you…you answer…someone pins you or whatever the hell that crap is… you respond. there are a number of companies out there that haven’t quite grasped that social media is where you need to be social. it’s not just a place for you to advertise.
sorry rant off…have just had a number of poos experiences all around with various companies – tea related and not, and it’s frustrating.
this tea + maple syrup = where it’s at. too bad it’s all sold out heh
From the Unflavored TTB.
Prepared with a test tube steeper.
Dry leaf aroma is vegetal and salty. Wet leaf aroma has notes of fresh beans, spinach and Brussels sprouts. The liquor is pale green and medium-bodied, and tastes of beans and snow peas, simultaneously bitter and sweet. At first the texture is clear but slowly becomes creamy.
The tea didn’t survive past the third infusion, after which it tasted stale. The Laoshan greens I’ve had before were able to go up to six, but I suppose this one doesn’t travel very well for long. Regardless, I chose to rate, keeping the tea’s potentiality in mind.
I found the most enjoyable part of drinking this tea, actually, was watching the leaves in the test tube steeper while they were being steeped. They looked alive as if they were never dried. Also, after the first infusion the color changed from minty green to fresh garden green, the color of asparagus.
Super strong nutty scent almost immediately after rinse and first infusion of 4s, once calmed down, a slightly sweet almost floral scent. Not getting much taste on the first sip, however. (lol, this is the first time Nono kitty is interested in tea sniffing, however.) Second infusion for about a minute (can’t do these tiny 2-4 second sips, blllaaah) with the hazelnut calmed down and a little sweet (kinda chocolate-y) and toasted caramel (without the sugar). Still not getting notes I can really pick out. It’s very smooth, mellow and unassuming and there’s a very slight burnt bitterness and dry aftertaste. I feel like I can drink a big pot of this somewhat absentmindedly without having to pause and think about the taste or complexity, which is not a complaint. 3rd steep, another 2 minutes. Aroma is very light and blended with a slight malt added to the nut, hint of sweetness but super light. Taste is still a smooth oolong without any other no notes jumping out at me but definately a dry mouth aftertaste with a slight tingling on the tip and sides of my tongue. Overall, kinda blah! I’ll try another batch (maybe this one was old, it was sent as a sample with an order) and increase the temp. Perhaps I’ll need to keep water on the boil for this, usually I’m ok with boiling and placing the water in a vacuum double wall pot to keep it warm for several steeps.
this was another one from this afternoon – my other half and i went out to enjoy the day and pick up new tires for his bike – the old ones just weren’t working well with his new rims. I opted to splurge as well today and we went for dinner and i got to have my soup dumplings again! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaolongbao). I’ve missed them ever since i got back from china…just sooo good with the vinegar and the fresh ginger… mmm and this tea! smokey with a hint of maple!
4g, stoneware gaiwan
Exactly as advertised! Heavy malt and light chocolate in both scent and taste and slightly toasted taste in the beginning. Wet leaves have a dried longan fruit scent (so used to have steal these for treats as a child, they’re sticky/syrupy and smokey more than sweet) but without any of the actual associated sweetness.
Light to medium honey after scent in cup and lightens up on the malt taste after the 4th steep. Malt dies down around the 5th steep but then a sliiiight tingly minty starts in on the tongue which gets stronger well into the 8th steep. Wet leaf mellows out to being more equally malt and chocolate.
Overall, feels like it should be heavy but is quite mellow and smooth. Feels like it wants to turn astringent and bitter but doesn’t, I like being little sloppy and abusive with my times so that’s a huge plus.
Hmm expected it to be more chocolate-y. But I definitely still enjoyed it. It’s nutty with hints of cocoa. Kinda similar to the Chocolate Genmaicha in my book.
Not too inspired for much today thanks to yet again, family drama.
But it was a nice cup of tea for today. (:
Flavors: Cocoa, Roasted nuts
Overall thoughts: Wow! I did not expect a white tea, and a Bai Mu Dan at that, would bowl me over quite like this. This is very much like homemade marshmallows, or perhaps more accurately like nutty, delicious nougat (montpelier or torrone, your choice!).
I got a free sample of this tea with my last Verdant order, and I decided to have a gongfu session with it this afternoon. My teaching schedule for the next month is totally bonkers; non-stop anatomy lab all day, 4 days a week. It is truly exhausting. It also means that I have no time for tea (which I typically drink at my desk), which adds to the exhaustion. It’s hard to want to do anything on the weekend, and I realized that sitting down and having a gongfu session would be a nice, relaxing activity.
I chose this one because the lightness would be good for a muggy summer day (never mind that I have central AC now, I know that it is muggy outside and that is enough). Also it is a one-off sample, so I would get a sipdown, too!
Bai Mu Dans are never really my favorite white tea (I tend to prefer Fudings), but one of the reasons I love Fudings is the lovely, light marshmallow flavor that they can have. Bai Mu Dans I usually find kind of hay-like, a bit sweet, but lacking that thick creaminess. But not this Bai Mu Dan! Yes, I get the hay notes, but I also get lovely marshmallowy-ness that goes toward a French nougat (montpelier) with almonds and pistachios. Delish! There are a lot of nuances in each steep that are hard to really pull apart, but I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve had a tea that shattered my expectations and made me step back and just say “Wow.” What a lovely harvest.
Flavors: Almond, Hay, Marshmallow, Sugarcane, Vanilla
this is such a delight. i didn’t anticipate on having this tonight, but somehow, nothing else seemed like a better choice.
the smell from the bag was like a medium to dark roasted wheat bread somehow dusted with cocoa or baked with unsweetened chocolate. this tea is even more impressive now that i have become familiar with it (what with multiple cups and resteeps ever since my purchase).
the taste- delicious. an extremely unique black tea (for me, anyway- since all the black teas i’ve had so far have come from India or Sri Lanka..) this China black is light, dry and roasted with warm, cozy bread and grain notes. the chocolate in this does not overpower anything (although you can certainly taste it), but goes beautifully alongside the baked bread.
i can imagine how this would make a smashing genmaicha! that is not in any way to say that LB needs to be dolled up, but with such a beautiful natural flavor, it would be a brilliant idea to amp up the chocolate, roasted, toasted breadiness in this. since i already love genmaicha as a rule, Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha—i’m looking at you!
Flavors: Baked Bread, Brown Toast, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Roasted nuts
My word, this tea is delightful.
In other news, my brother called me tonight, which has not ever happened. He always texts, and rarely at that. I was less than impressed to hear that his girlfriend had given him an ultimatum over the new house he just bought. Thank goodness I’ll be home in a few short weeks.
But yes, I need this in my cupboard permanently methinks.
My oldest friend, who I’ve known since I was 10, came for a visit yesterday!! The awesome thing is, no matter how long we’re apart & no matter how rare our visits, every time we get together it’s like I just saw her yesterday! We’re always into so many of the same things, & it was a wonderful day. She loves tea, so I served her LB & she loved it, so I gave her some to take home :)
I think she might join steepster…
Finally finished up my january stash of this tea and i can move on to the 4oz of Spring harvest i just picked up. I did brew up a cup of each today just to compare the two harvests. Last years harvest was slightly more malty and had slighty more cocoa notes in it…with a side of what could almost be smoke. The spring harvest is clearly a newer tea, with it’s “freshness” coming through. it IS different from last year’s, but honestly if i wasn’t drinking them side by side, i’m not sure i’d be like OMG this is so different! I do prefer last year’s slightly, but not enough to be sad that i have 4oz to drink lol with that, i only have 6 more teas from January (6 months) to finish up….which won’t happen but at least i’m working on them! :)
backlog from yesterday…my other half made me go to bed at a more reasonable time because i’ve been running myself ragged, so i didn’t get a chance to finish up yesterday OR order tea :(
i had this one yesterday + cacao and it was fantastic. the perfect afternoon tea after getting to go for SOUP DUMPLINGS! haha yes i’m a little obsessed.
Time for my first-ever sheng (and really my first-ever puerh)! Sarsonator sent me a surprise sample along with a note that we should do a tasting together. So hooray! The leaves are large and fluffy and lightly colored. They have a pleasant hay or autumn leaf smell, maybe with some fruitiness included. Time for some gong fu!
Method: 4g tea in 4oz water, 212 degrees, 5s rinse/5/5/10/10s
Rinse (5s): Smells like a pond! I taste dried stonefruit, autumn leaves, very sweet!
Steep 1 (5s): autumn leaves, dried apricot, golden raisin, lightly vegetal
Steep 2 (5s): fruit leather, raisins/prunes, mild autumn leaves, roasty
Steep 3 (10s): very roasty, autumn leaves, sharply vegetal, astringent
Steep 4 (10s): roasty, autumn leaves, dill, parsley, slight floral, buttery
Steep 5 (10s): similar to 4 with some fruit leather
Steep 6 (15s): similar to 2 (dried fruit, autumn leaves)
Steep 7 (20s): light autumn leaves, herbs, citrus
Steep 8 (30s): fruit leather, sweet, leaves
Steep 9 (60s): surprisingly not that strong or different, similar to 8, astringent
Steep 10 (2m): deeper fruit leather, autumn leaves, astringent
Overall, there wasn’t that much flavor variation between steeps, which makes me think that Sars’s method of combining steeps into a mug may be better suited to this, or even a western-style steep. The flavor was largely fruit leather (which is like concentrated dried fruit) and autumn leaves with a roasted edge. Quite yummy! The only issue I found with long steeps was some astringency, but that may have not been the case if I’d done a long steep at the beginning. Thanks to Sarsonator for the sample and for trying it out with me! :D
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Dried Fruit, Herbs, Roasted, Sweet
I did this as a tea tasting with Cameron B. We prepped the tea similarly and then compared notes. Here are mine -
Method: 3 g, 3 oz, 208 degrees, rinse-5-7-10-10 seconds (blended to one cup), ru kiln gaiwan
Aromas: dried apricot, raisins, steamed rice, something roasty
Flavor: This is a winner, fo sho. This has a lovely and very pronounced fruity flavor and a really intense sweetness that lingers. As I said to Cam: I am pretty much chugging this because it’s so good.
The 5-6-7th steeps (10-15-20) are super also. These have less fruit and more of a brothy flavor. They’re very comforting. These steeps are more buttery. Cam said she gets some specific herbs. I can’t pick out the specifics, but this reminds me of a light soup.
It’s kind of like starting with dessert and then having your dinner. Which totally works for me! Thanks to Cameron B for tea tasting with me!
Glad I got a chance to try this because I’m always hearing great things about Laoshan Black blends. I was a little hesitant because of the rose but it was not too rosy. The bergamot was more in the front and very nice. I don’t think it would be one I order because I’m normally not in the mood to drink roses. I kept enough to try a small cup iced and it is lovely and I didn’t notice any rose this time just the crisp and bready. Someday I will place an order, I don’t feel I’ve matured enough on my tea journey to take the time and appreciate Verdant teas enough to merit an order.
The only reason I can write these reviews right now is because I already had them pulled up to review before Steepster started acting up and it is helping me be busy as I wait for the AC guy.