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Recent Tasting Notes
Merry Christmas Eve and Happy Holidays!!
I just got my Verdant BF and Cyber Monday orders as a before Christmas treat to me lol. Unfortunately the stockings I ordered on Etsy are a no show for Christmas lol, next year! This is the first of my new puerhs I am trying out on this blustery Christmas Eve.
I will do a more detailed note later, but the first steep of this western style did not do much for me. Luckily the next steep is a more savory corn tea, much smoothed out and not as much of a drying sensation as the first. Next time I will do 2 longer rinses and shorter steeps :) but I’m happily enjoying this now! It’s so relaxing on my stomach wow I haven’t found this stomach calming of a puerh yet I don’t think! Yum, will keep steeping until i switch to rum amd eggnog :p
If I don’t write a note tomorrow, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone on Steepster! Enjoy the holidays to the fullest :)
Whenever I spot the package of this tea sitting on my shelf, I find myself humming “Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe do-dah do-dah. Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe ho-de-do-dah-day.” With apologize to those of you who will not be able to get that tune out of your head for the rest of the day, I have to say that this is a tea worth singing about. I did three 30s steeps at 205°. The leaves smelled like roasted chestnuts and the reddish liquor was likewise nutty with a light vanilla or gentle caramel thing going on. The second steep smelled even nuttier. All around goodness. Tra-la.
Flavors: Caramel, Chestnut, Vanilla
Full disclosure: I love TGYs. A lot. So the ability to have this Early Spring release was like opening a Christmas present to me.
Upon opening and inspecting my order, The floral notes, ever present in TGY, hit home straight away and I instinctively reach for my porcelain gaiwan and get to work on trying this out.
On first sip, you instantly get hit with the buttery light notes of the TGY and the floral aroma inhaled, mixes with the liquid and brings you that much closer to relaxation.
I honestly really, really, really, liked this tea.
Creamy, rich, dark chocolate caramel! It has a nice earthy feel without the roasted flavour. It’s pretty darn good..
On a side note, I love the way David brings the farmers into the picture. Whilst sipping this tea, I was thinking of the He family, the work that went into producing this marvellous tea, and the general life of a tea farmer. I’m very grateful.
So, having ascertained last night that I’m capable of operating the gaiwan without spilling hot tea all over myself, I decided to try one of Verdant’s black teas in it this morning. 3g of tea, 4oz of water. Verdant’s standard instructions suggest to steep for 2-5 seconds, and add a few seconds with each infusion. I think I started with 20 seconds, and immediately started going for longer and longer infusions trying to get the richness of flavour I was craving, until finally I had to just admit to myself that what I really wanted was to be steeping this western style. :) Oh well, live and learn. It was a perfectly pleasant tea to drink, I just found it… light… gong fu style. After the first infusion the wet leaves smelled way more interesting than the tea did. I only got the cocoa notes for the first 2-3 infusions, and then after that it was all roasty flavours, like a roasted oolong. Not bad, but I think just not what I was looking for first thing in the morning.
Flavors: Chocolate, Grain, Roasted
Based on everyone else’s reactions, I went into this tea with high hopes and they were not disappointed. Remarkable bursts of flavor for such incredibly short steeps (3/3/3/6/9/12/15). It comes on soft and caramel, with maybe some cinnamon. By the third steep, it’s all honey deliciousness and stays that way for several more steeps. Oddly, it started to fade by steep five, though still quite tasty. Somehow, I thought it would have more longevity, especially with those short steep times. Next time, I’ll let it go for a little longer and see what emerges. I like the slow build of this tea that the gaiwan allows; I think a full-on Western steep would be overwhelming. I’ll happily do multiple cups of this while wrapped up in a fleece and a good book.
Flavors: Caramel, Cinnamon, Honey
As Verdant suggested, I started with a rinse, then did several steeps, starting with 15’ and increasing by 15’ each time. The pale liquor was green and vegetal, the leaves just short of neon green. It didn’t really hit its stride until the third or fourth steep, with a soft, though not buttery, mouth feel. I’m no oolong maven, but this seems like a good exemplar of its type. If I wanted to introduce someone to tieguanyin, this is what I’d give them. It doesn’t knock my socks off, but it’s really solid.
Flavors: Green, Nutty, Vegetal
Thank you for the mystery tea Verdant. I didn’t look on here to see what it was before I opened it and when I did I figured it was a straight black tea. Oolongs and greens teas are the only ones I seem to like plain so I’m glad this is an oolong. It’s smooth and has a nice almost ginseng after taste to it. Somewhat vegetal but honestly I don’t know the correct words to describe oolongs. They truly have their own flavor.
I am obviously falling in love with malty, chocolatey black teas. I can definitely see why this one is so popular! The dried leaves are small and curly, and smell like chocolate and bread. The chocolate aroma intensifies once the water hits it. Usually I set a timer and walk away to do something else while my tea is brewing, but this time I just stood over the cup, inhaling the chocolately steam and willing the timer to go faster. :)
The flavour is heavy with the same dark cocoa, plus cooked grain or bread. It’s smooth, and so easy to drink. Wow, this is delicious! I’m already looking forward to the resteep.
Flavors: Cocoa, Grain
Thank you Kimquat for the sale a while back! I’m confused that this is called Bilochun since if I know anything about Bilochun, it’s that the leaves are very tightly coiled. This green tea is twisty and wirey but not tightly coiled. It’s Laoshan and it’s green though, so again I wanted to steep this one exactly like the Summer Laoshan green I love so much, but I used two teaspoons of this instead of one for the Summer Laoshan. Verdant’s instructions say to use one tablespoon, which is odd since the unopened sample pouch from Verdant didn’t quite have two teaspoons. So I used all of it. The flavor IS very similar to the Laoshan Summer, but if I remember correctly, it isn’t as full of flavor. But it’s so good — very sweet, creamed corn, vegetal… and this one seems to have more of a salty, brothy, savory element. Tasty, but the Summer Laoshan places the bar high…. and I don’t have to use two (or three) teaspoons.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 32 min after boiling // 55 second steep
Steep #2 // 28 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
Marco Lewis TTB
Thanks Lily at Verdant for the sample!
Dry leaf appearance: Tiny, crinkly, dark green
Dry scent: pistachio nut, grassy
175F, 120 ml, 4g
3 steepings: 8s, 15s, 15s
I wanted to try Verdant’s steeping perameters, I really did, but I can’t ever seem to get any flavor out of a 3 second steeping (plus I can hardly ever figure out how to hold the gaiwan right within that time. lol) Maybe I’ll play it by the book next time.
Silly me, swearing off green tea for like a year because it “tastes like grass in a cup.” And here I find that I actually enjoy the stuff. I’ve been missing out. Next week I’ll try to tackle blacks again since they’re still on my no-no list. I was a bit traumatized by a very strong Golden Monkey last week. Didn’t help much to be honest. Anyway on to the Laoshan Green!
I wish I was sophisticated enough to write pages and pages on how this tea tastes, but it was just good, sweet green tea. Actually yesterday I had to use a whole teaspoon of sugar to make my TGY taste good, not so with this tea. I used only half a teaspoon and with the first sip my eyes actually lit up when I found how sweet it was! I realized when I poured some more that some of the sweetness was actually due to the fact that I didn’t pre-heat my cup, because the next one was hotter and less sweet, but hey, that means it should make a pretty mean iced tea right? :)
in the contuining saga of shitty weekends…let’s talk about how i dislike early grey. but i bought this on anyway just in case, knowing that i could donate the other .99ounces to a friend of i didn’t like the cup i tried.
well guess what? the universe didn’t want me to have more than a cup because the rest of the entire bag dumped itself all over the floor, counters, dirty sink etc…. sooo yeah. love spending money on things that get wasted sigh
also the tea? meh.
I took a sample of this one from the Lewis & Clark teabox! Still gradually trying them. The leaves here are supposed to look golden but they look dark to me. Not like the picture at all. There is plenty of lemongrass and citrus bits… much more than there is black tea leaves. The flavor is VERY lemony – it doesn’t really seem like bergamot so much as lemon myrtle (not sure if there actually is lemon myrtle in the blend – there are never ingredient lists, Verdant!) and really just all around citrus. It seems like the most citrusy tea I’ve tasted! The color of the cup is a deeper brown, so I’m not exactly sure what sort of black tea is actually used here. It’s tasty but I’d say this is more of a citrus tea than a bergamot or Earl. I’d love to see a golden black tea with just bergamot, rather than with all of these citrus additions. I’m surprised Verdant included this one in the teabox because it didn’t seem like it was available for very long anyway.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // just boiled // 2-3 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 3-4min
I thought I would like this one a lot more than I did. It smelled and tasted heavily roasted. But there was also a very strong floral oolong flavour, very greenish tasting. I much prefer a darker oolong vs a green one.
It did brew up very light and clear. There was a slight natural sweetness to the tea. I just wish there was more roast to the flavour profile. I will have to try further steeps.
This is my first time ever trying the exalted Golden Fleece I’ve heard so much about. First of all, the dry leaf! It might be the most beautiful that I’ve ever seen. With hues of bronze, orange, and gold, there pekoe all over each long, twisty, unbroken piece. The smell from the bag is heavenly- spicy sweet malty goodness.
I must say the liquor is totally different from most teas also- it looks almost earthy olive-brown in my white cup. There is the slightest film at the top in the teapot because I didn’t rinse the leaves, but the tea itself is clear. It smells of honey and spice. Maybe cinnamon and pepper- but as odd as it sounds, it works.
And now for the taste. I’ve never had a tea before that is both so sweet and savory. It is a contradiction across the palate. At first I get a burst of sweet honey maltiness that is notably smooth on the tongue. There is a hint of sweet potato, but not that brown sugar cooked version- more like the raw potato that is starchy and vaguely sweet when you cut it. This is followed by (and I kid you not) a strong and savory taste of mushrooms that may have been cooked on a cedar plank or something similar and woody. The mouthfeel is very thick and almost like it coats my teeth when I swirl it in my mouth. I’ve never had a tea like this before and has truly been a one-of-a-kind experience this morning! It tastes like the winter woods. I don’t think a wild mushroom wood honey tea would normally be my thing, but it is so different that I find myself surprised with every sip. As far as I know, this is the Autumn harvest- sound right? Now I want to try the Spring harvest next- or whichever one was totally different from this harvest as compared to previous reviews. TGIF!
Flavors: Honey, Malt, Mushrooms, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Wood
This is my first time trying this tea! I have high expectations, since I love their green and black versions so much.
The brew smells sweet, and distinctly reminds me of the smell of acorn squash with butter and brown sugar on it. It was literally my first thought- this tea smells like squash! And something more, something resembling barley.
You guys, it tastes like it smells. I am a bit blown away here! This tea tastes like I’ve sweetened it with ….hmmm I having a hard time pinpointing it. Not honey, not brown sugar. Something like caramel most likely, to produce that incredible buttery-squash sweetness.
It’s not just squash I taste. That grainy taste is there – so good! Also the familiar chocolate I love so much in Laoshan Black. It’s just so much sweeter in this version, guys. I LOVE this tea. Mr. He hit this one out of the ball park!
Second steep 45s. This steep most of the squash is gone, followed by a roasted grain flavor. This steep is hearty. I feel as if I’m eating a meal! The sweetness is later in the sip, and is more like raw sugar than caramel. As the cup cools the sweetness just bursts into your mouth.
I’m probably going to be steeping this out for awhile!
I can tell you right now that I’m going to be carefully hoarding the 1 oz I have of this. This tea is not cheap! I don’t hold that against it though- this is a truly handcrafted, artisan tea. If you enjoy roasted oolong with satisfying grainy notes, you should absolutely try this tea.
This is the second yabao that I’ve tried, the first being from Whispering Pines. These buds from Verdant are thinner and sharper, looking more like wild bamboo shoots, though the dry aroma of pine, rosemary, and dried grass is much the same and quite inviting. The difference that comes through when brewed is an additional, cinnamon-sugar aroma that is just a little spicy and sweet. It’s very unique, though the overall impression of the brew is still quite subtle, even more so than the WP version. Now I finally understand why Verdant had a blend called Yabao Snickerdoodle, because that’s exactly what this reminds me of!
Will play more with multiple infusions some other time, I feel like there’s more I could be getting out of it. I do find the part in the description about yabao being relatively obscure in China to be true, it’s a tea I have never seen in China or mentioned by anyone I know there, and there is relatively little information about it even online. It is something that I hope people will appreciate more in the coming years.