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This was another of my sipdowns from either late 2020 or very early 2021. I also think that this may have been the only pu’erh I tried in the last 12-18 months. I could be wrong, but I do not remember trying any others. Now before I get into the meat of this review, I would like to say that a big part of me kind of doubts that any of this leaf material was actually Banzhang material. I have no way of knowing for certain, and Longyuanhao does seem to be one of the more reliable pu’erh producers, but Banzhang is frequently used with various degrees of duplicitousness as a descriptor for any number of pu’erh teas that may or may not contain any authentic Banzhang material or replicate any of the traits associated with actual Banzhang tea. It should come as no surprise that as Banzhang tea became more valuable, numerous producers started releasing teas they described as Banzhang teas. Most have little if any Banzhang material. I would be shocked if that were not the case with this particular tea. All of the above being said, this was not a bad tea. It did not strike me as being particularly wonderful, but it was a rock solid basic sheng.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 fluid ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was followed by 19 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced aromas of hay, straw, alfalfa, smoke, petrichor, seaweed, and corn husk. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of almond, pickled cabbage, green bell pepper, sesame, sour cherry, and grilled corn. The first infusion added aromas of grass and crabapple. In the mouth, the tea liquor offered up flavors of green wood, smoke, corn husk, grass, hay, grilled corn, pickled lettuce, pickled cabbage, seaweed, green bell pepper, and crabapple that quickly gave way to subtler impressions of sour cherry, cream, almond, and petrichor. The bulk of the subsequent infusions introduced aromas of minerals, cedar, chestnut, pine, lemon, and grape leaves. Stronger and more immediately detectable notes of sour cherry, cream, and almond emerged in the mouth with impressions of cedar, minerals, chestnut, pear, orange zest, grapefruit, green apple, lemon, pine, grape leaf, alfalfa, and radish in tow. There was also a subtle sesame note that came out here and there. As the tea faded, the liquor continued to emphasize notes of minerals, green wood, grilled corn, smoke, pickled lettuce, hay, grass, radish, orange zest, lemon, and grape leaf that were chased by lingering hints of chestnut, almond, green bell pepper, sesame, crabapple, cedar, corn husk, and green apple.
This sheng displayed a unique aroma and flavor profile, but unfortunately, I found the tea liquor to be a bit thin and sharp in the mouth. This was basically a bitter, woody, vegetal, and citric tea, and I would have liked to see a bit more sweetness and nuttiness. I think that would have made this tea come across as more balanced. Overall, this was not a bad tea. I just kind of doubt that it was what it was advertised as being and feel that it was missing a few little touches that would have made it more appealing.
Flavors: Alfalfa, Almond, Bitter, Cedar, Cherry, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Cream, Fruity, Grapefruit, Grass, Green Apple, Green Bell Peppers, Green Wood, Hay, Lemon, Lettuce, Mineral, Orange Zest, Pear, Petrichor, Pine, Sesame, Smoke, Sour, Vegetal
This sample came from Shae, it’s about time I tried it.
The first steep is nutty and salty and smoky. Reminds me a bit of barbecue, or maybe that’s what I had for lunch. It’s quite smooth and the aftertaste a bit malty.
Second steep is roasty, nutty, malty and astringent.
Third steep is smooth, weak and still roasty.
Certainly a candidate for grandpa style brewing, and I might be tempted to add to an order, bu not to seek it out. Thanks for the sample, Shae, glad I got to try it.
Flavors: Malt, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth
It tastes quite thick, with some faint wood and nutty notes just being overshadowed by this thoroughly dry mouth feel. It’s one of the older teas I have ever sampled, and it’s definitely interesting. I once got a hint of menthol on a sip which was unexpected in my second steep. It is an interesting tea, always worth tasting history
Flavors: Thick, Wood
From Shae, thanks for sharing!
Yum, this is chocolate malt in a cup, and very smooth. I started with 4 grams in 6 oz of water and am on steep number three right now. A nice bread, yeasty taste to this too. Way too easy to sip this down, its gone before you know it. I would certainly consider this one for purchase, but its been a long while since I’ve made a Verdant order.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt, Yeasty
2021 Sipdown 77/365!
Apparently haven’t written a note for this before, but I remember it being toasty/nutty and quite tasty. One of the better traditional TGY’s I’ve had; I generally like them but don’t always love them, but this was a favourite.
This was from one of the sub boxes, waaay back.
I did the last little bit of this tea gongfu and it made a difference. First steep was yeasty and wheaty. Second steep was mellowed out a bit with malt and dark chocolate. I’m bumping my rating and I’d be tempted to add this to a purchase. Certainly a candidate for grandpa style brewing.
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Malt, Wheat, Yeasty
This one is from Shae, thanks for sharing!
A cold front is bringing showers, clouds and cooler temperatures, pretty soon it will be fall tea drinking weather. This tea reminds me of a big red robe, with more toasty bread or hay notes. There is a harshness underneath that is smoothed over by the sweetness of the toasty hay, with a slight nutty aftertaste. Overall not bad, but I expect a bit of chocolate from a laoshan black so I’m wondering if it’s the autumn or the way it was processed. It’s an enjoyable cup, though if I had a whole bag I’d be tempted to blend it with something savory or sweeter to get a more interesting flavor profile. Glad I got to try it.
Flavors: Astringent, Hay, Nutty, Toasty
This year’s Laoshan green is once again a stellar tea. It’s sweet and savory with an interesting interplay of soy milk, honey, toasted grain, and fennel. Deliciously creamy and nutty with mild vegetal tones. Enjoyed this a lot more than the pricier Laoshan Reserve Bilochun.
Flavors: Fennel, Grain, Honey, Nutty, Rice, Soybean
First steep; 5 seconds: Little sweet, but mostly savory vegetal. Mild astringency.
Second steep; 7 seconds: I under steeped, but not bad. Mineral spice and more subdued savory green. Maybe faint floral. Some astringency, but pleasant.
Third Steep; 12 seconds: Smooth, savory, and a little grassy. Creamy mouth feel developing.
Fourth Steep; 17 seconds: Less savory, more sweet with some grassy flavors. Maybe vague honey notes.
Forgot to log the rest of my notes for this one. This wasn’t bad, and it’s from 2015, but it basically tasted like a green tea mostly. I think I might brew this one western style as said on Verdant. The other times I brewed it like that I got better flavors.
Flavors: Grass, Green, Savory, Vegetal
This is from an ancient bag from when I had a Verdant subscription that most likely dates pre 2015. Not gonna rate cause it’s so old, but I did enjoy it.
First steep; 6 seconds: floral, mineral, and honey notes.
Second steep: Creamy mouth feel, cinnamon and other sweet wood spice notes. Darker flavor over all. Some vegetale notes.
Third Steep; 8 seconds: Same as the second steep, but less creamy mouth feel and stronger vegetale notes. Some very mild black tea like astringency.
Fourth Steep; 12 seconds: Seems to have lost a lot of flavor. Mostly just bland mineral with faint tasting notes from before. Seems to taste better as it cools. Mostly just spicy wood notes and maybe camphor.
Fifth Steep & Sixth; 14 seconds: Mild sweetness and spicy minerally, with vegital taste. More sweet and spicy cinnamon when cooled.
Seventh and 8th steep; 20 seconds: Reminds me a lot of the first and second steep combined. Maybe vague vanilla sandalwood sweetness? Maybe it’s floral honey? Tastes better when on the cooler side.
Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh; 30 seconds: Finished it off this morning. Very minerally with some sweetness, woody spice, and hints of cardamon. Wasn’t bad, and went well with a stoop waffle.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Honey, Mineral, Spices, Sweet, Wood