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Recent Tasting Notes
I got my kettle today!!!!!! http://bonavitaworld.com/products/10l-digital-variable-temperature-gooseneck-kettle — This one! IM SO EXCITED TO PLAY WITH IT! It’s so beautiful, I love it.
Anyways, this tea!
Very roasty woody aroma, with a jumble of spices and a hint of cocoa or baking chocolate on steep one, with the second steep aroma bringing in deep floral that I want to say is violet? But I dont know my flowers, that’s just what I immediately thought of, so maybe that’s what it is. It brews up a pale mustard yellow, and a taste that makes me reminiscent for a moment of vanilla ice cream. Of course, there’s mostly roasty chocolate notes, with the wood and earth from the aroma, but I also get notes of rice, orange zest, florals, vanilla, cranberry, lime zest, coconut, cream, and grapefruit. This is some pretty complex tea. Also I’m on like steep 5, and I feel extremely tea drunk already. It’s very thick and creamy with a bit of astringency and some bitterness (which may or may not be my inexperience brewing dancong showing its face), further notes of asian pear. It has an amazing bittersweetness thing going on, I’m also getting a hint of sour candy, like sour keys.
I didn’t really notice any other flavours past steep 6 or 7. The creaminess steeps out shortly after, then slowly the roasty chocolate, earth and wood which dominated the taste begin to fade, though never are completely gone, leaving a nice, mostly fruity (apple/pear), lightly astringent, still very nice and drinkable tea. I absolutely love this one.
No rating because this is my third ever dancong.
I did a 7-8 second rinse (woulda been shorter but I’m not used to the new kettle, it pours slow) and then I used 100C water for the first steep, 99 for the second and 98 from there on out. I’d estimate I did about 5g of leaf in my 120ml gaiwan, but I don’t have a scale so I don’t know. It was filled about 2/3 of the way to the top
Flavors: Apple, Candy, Chocolate, Cocoa, Coconut, Cranberry, Cream, Floral, Grapefruit, Lime, Orange Zest, Pear, Rice, Roasted, Toast, Vanilla, Violet, Wood
Okay so I have very little experience with Dancong, and this was the first one I drank from the august 2016 club box, which I tried to do at like 90 degrees, which.. really went pretty bad, but then I did a whole bunch of reading about brewing dancongs and now I’m trying again and this went much better.
At first, I get a lot of apple and pear, mixed with woody earthy cocoa, honey, lychee, there’s a hint of a sort of rainforesty-wet earthy taste .. I think the Chinese have a word for that taste but I don’t know what it is.
It’s interesting because the tea’s aroma is very different from its taste, like it smells like a da hong pao with the toasty dark roasty rock oolong flavour, but the taste is sweet and fruity with honey. I can’t really detect much other than honey and lychee now, with the toasty roasty aroma, maybe a bit of milky chocolate, hints of some other fruit I can’t quite place.. kinda like pear plus orange.. plus uh.. cranberry or raspberry or .. blackberry.. uh well anyways,
It has a really satisfying body, full but not too thick, with a slight bitterness and slight astringency, even a slight acidity. I think I could get really into dancongs. This is great.
It’s not reasonable for me to rate this, cause I have no expectations or baselines. Really tasty though :)
Flavors: Apple, Chocolate, Cocoa, Fruity, Honey, Lychee, Pear, Roasted, Toast, Wet Earth
As those of you who read my reviews know, I am a huge fan of Verdant Tea’s He Family Collection of teas. These teas originate from Laoshan in Shandong Province, and at least in my opinion, comprise an astoundingly consistent and tasty collection of green, black, and oolong teas. While the oolongs tend to be my favorites, the black teas are not far behind. This particular black tea is is actually the first picking of the He family’s regular Laoshan Black from 2015. I picked up a 5 g sample of this tea as part of a recent Verdant order. I wanted to see how it compared to the 2015 Autumn Laoshan Black I enjoyed so much.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. For this session, I followed Verdant’s suggested brewing method to the letter. I initially steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this infusion up with 10 additional infusions, with an increase of 8 seconds per infusion. The steep times were as follows: 10 seconds, 18 seconds, 26 seconds, 34 seconds, 42 seconds, 50 seconds, 58 seconds, 66 seconds, 74 seconds, 82 seconds, and 90 seconds.
After the initial infusion, the liquor showed a clear, dark amber in the cup. I easily detected a rich aroma of cocoa underscored by cream, toasted almond, and black cherry. In the mouth, delicate notes of cocoa, cream, malt, caramel, toasted almond, and black cherry washed across the palate. Subsequent infusions saw the malt, cream, and almond notes increase in strength, as well as hints of minerality begin to emerge. The last 3 infusions heavily emphasized mineral, caramel, and cream flavors, though the tea never fully lost its nutty, chocolaty character.
Honestly, I am a little perplexed by some of the ridiculously high ratings for this tea. I just can’t seem to muster as much enthusiasm for it as a number of previous reviewers. It’s not that this is a bad tea or anything, it just seems a little bland to me. Understand that this is coming from not only a huge fan of Verdant’s Laoshan teas, but also someone who adored the regular 2015 Autumn Laoshan Black. While this tea is smoother than the regular Laoshan Black, it is neither as deep nor as complex. Again, it’s not bad, though I was expecting so much more from it.
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Malt, Mineral
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Vegetal
I decided to brew this western style, as I didn’t feel like running up and down the stairs all day refilling my tiny gaiwan.
The first steeping of this tea tasted predominantly of corn. As a matter of fact, my husband said that it tasted like the water you have at the bottom of a corn on the cob container at a buffet. While it WAS very similar to drinking corn water, for me, it was a pleasant corn water. There were also some hints of beans and hay in there. It kind of reminded me of a very light gyokuro at times.
The second steeping was completely different. So much so that I wondered if I didn’t accidentally brew another tea. The corn was almost completely gone, and it was replaced with a roasted barley sort of flavor. Then as the brew cooled, that toastiness started coming back.
The third steeping was a completely different color from the first two, and I am starting to wonder if this tea has multiple personality disorder. It’s all hay with a little bit of mushroom. As it cools, it tastes oddly like cucumbers.
Flavors: Cucumber, Kettle Corn, Mushrooms, Roasted Barley
Old sample from Tea Sipper. Thank You!
I think this has lost most of it’s flavor, since it pretty much tastes like a smooth woody rooibos to be. Kind of a shame since it sounds like it was one a very interesting tea. Every reviewer seems to have had a different experience with this tea, which is interesting. I’d try it again if I had the chance.
This was from a swap with Zennen. Thank you!
I picked this up before I discovered that I don’t like Tulsi, but figured I should still give it a try. The dry leaf smells strongly of Tulsi and Pepper. It’s a little intimidating smelling. The first sip is savory and spicy with a hint of sour fruitiness. It’s not nearly as intense as the smell of the leaf would lead you to expect, which is actually a relief. I’ve never had Chartreuse so I can’t tell how accurate the flavor is, but it’s interesting. I don’t know that I’ll want more than this cup of it, but it’s definitely interesting to try!
Finally broke into this tea which I’ve had for quite a few months and haven’t even tried. Unfortunately , I was busy when I drank it and can’t leave a detailed review. I know it was really chocolatey and it went down pretty fast. :-) I’ll try to leave a more detailed review for next time but I do know I loved it!
This is a dark, dark black tea, pitch black shiny black small leaves. the broth is nice orange/brown and the flavor actually to me is more of a strong rock big red robe than most blacks. this one is fruity with a bite, caramel and savory fruit notes like plum and blackberry with a brown sugary roasted chestnut flavors as well. but there is a sharpness to it that’s very clean, almost mineral which vanishes quickly leaving the fruit notes on the palate. increased brewing time as usual in later steeps
After trying this gong fu style and not being blown away by it, I tried this again, western style. Much more to my taste. Brewed it 2:30 at 180 degrees. Almost a buttery mouthfeel, light grassy notes with floral overtones. Delicious.
I’m using this tea to try gong fu style for the first time. All steeps at 205 degrees with 3.5 grams of tea and ~4-6 ounces of water.
1st (30 seconds): Light-bodied with floral notes.
2nd (45 seconds): Still light-bodied but with more vegetable overtones. Just barely sweet. Almost silky in my mouth.
3rd (60 seconds): The liquor has a more intense color, which I find more aesthetically pleasing than the pale liquors. The aroma is stronger and more grassy. The flavor is more grassy and full-bodied. Of the three so far, I like this one best. It’s just a more satisfying cup of tea.
4th (75 seconds): The liquor is about the same as the 3rd steeping, and the aroma is similar to the 3rd but a bit weaker. Flavor is a bit weaker than the 3rd.
Conclusion: The third steeping was by far the best. I should either tweak my gong fu style, or stick with western style.
Thanks for this in your sale, TheLastDodo! I thought this sounded decent, as the base gets a high rating, but I’m not sure I like the base or the blend. I usually like smokey teas but this one isn’t for me. It’s not too smokey but the black tea itself is light. The other ingredients weren’t very noticeable but otherwise quite odd and didn’t seem to play well together. Hmm. Maybe I just don’t get these ingredients.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps // few minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Thank you for the tea sale, Ost! Hope your move went well! I’m going for the teas that are almost gone. Happy to sample! :D The leaves here look like little grass clippings from the yard, more than any other tea I’ve seen (except for maybe some of the Japanese greens) BUT instead of green, the color is black with hints of gold. If this is what Jin Jun Mei is like, I’m a fan. It seems like a deeper Laoshan Black, which would probably be my one complaint with Laoshan Black: the flavor isn’t deep enough. But this one is rich and chocolatey, bready… almost like a chocolate bread… with a flavor to it that I can’t place. Maybe something resembling an alcohol I know nothing about. I love that Verdant describes it as creamsicle. Before tasting, I would have thought that was ridiculous, but I can see where it might be described as a creamsicle — it’s as smooth as that anyway! I can definitely see it as creamsicle if I didn’t supersteep this. I’m just glad it wasn’t oversteeped at all.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug // 10 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3-4 minute steep
Quick Review: I had the first two sessions in a teapot. I had the first session without any distractions. This tea is so perplexed (the aroma, flavor, etc.), that I felt that I truly needed to study the tea intently.
The dry leaf aroma: Cacao, nuts (pistachios?), and wheat/grain/bread.
The wet leaf aroma: Italian Bread(?)
Flavor Profile: Imagine, if you will, fresh bread with a touch of chocolate (literally a smidgen). The mouth-feel on this is nice. It “blossoms” throughout the mouth and throat.
It’s Girl Scout Cookies time, and while working on the second session, I chewed on a Tag-A-Long (peanut butter & chocolate, yes please!); which worked nicely with this tea.
However, I ran out of time to sit and contemplate this third cup, eat cookies, and really enjoy this sample. I plan on buying more to enjoy over and over again. Now I have to run…..Maybe my students will notice that whatever magical brew is in my cup, is the key to my sanity today! Ha-ha.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cacao, Grain, Nuts, Wheat
Drinking this now as I thought to myself: I’ll brew a roasted oolong to sooth myself into the night.
Going to be brief. This is an excellent tea. I’m very picky about aged oolong; very. This one does not have the reroasting profile that many do. The notes include an underlining chocolate that one may describe as cocoa. Most roasted tgy go too far, but this one is either in the perfect zone or close to it. I need to try the 30year a bit more, but this one is just a solid choice. Quite thankful that I bought some of this as well as the 30yr and 10yr to compare because normally I go for the oldest trying to be the cool kid on the block.
I wish that Verdant made a Dash button for Laoshan Black. I could care less about reordering Tide from Amazon, but running out of Laoshan black is devastating.
This button would have been super helpful now that Verdant has expanded the selection of Laoshan black teas. First picking, autumn picking, gongfu black. Which is is the plain, old Laoshan Black?
I bet on ‘1st picking’, with the vague sense of 1st pickings being extraordinarily good, relating to first prizes and so forth, but hedged the bet by getting a small quantity of the others as well. Unfortunately, the autumn picking was the right one; the 1st picking merely promises the strong flavors of the autumn laoshan without delivering.
Now, after I make a cup of this, I feel perfectly tempted and prepped for the real thing. Yet, I wouldn’t say that this type of teasing is quite the quality I seek in a tea.
I didn’t really like this when I first got it so it was shoved way back into the cupboard. I’ve recently dug it out in my quest to drink down the old stuff in my cupboard.
This is much better with some age on it. LOL or it much better now that it’s lost some flavor.
It’s not as in your face spice and the spice seem better balance to me. This is good – I now have chai that I can drink….. :)
i love this tea for just sitting writing essays. it’s not bitter, and I don’t think it’s actually capable of being so. it has a very delightful, earthy taste that i love in an oolong. it’s smell is unique and fresh.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Biting, Chocolate, Dirt
A clear cup and infuser is what I chose to brew this in today (western style) so I could watch the leaves expand. A tea as special as this deserves my time and awareness to truly appreciate the brewing experience. The liquor tastes of cocoa and malt. The appearance is a nice Amber/brown.
I am impatient and the first sips are too hot. After allowing the tea to cool slightly, I finally get to taste the tea. The cocoa and malt are prevalent right away followed by a slightly sweet caramel note. The mouthfeel is full and feels thick to some degree. This was wonderful.
I needed more, so I resteeped this tea at boiling for 4 minutes. This steep was pretty similar to the first I found, with only slightly muted flavours.
I did not have time for a second resteep, so the leaves are cold brewing in the fridge for tomorrow.
Edit: the cold brew of the second steeping leaves was basically muted flavours of that second steep. It wasn’t as magical as the first steep of this tea, but still very delicious.
I grabbed a sample of this when it was still available. Brewed in an infuser mug.
The dry leaf smelled like dark chocolate with fruit (hard to pinpoint, but I’d say berries and pomegranate). The aroma of the wet leaf was similar, and had an additional buttery note from the base tea so that it resembled genmaicha. The liquor was light green and full-bodied with a soft texture. The first infusion had sharp notes of juniper and chocolate, and also tasted of fruity chocolate. It sweetened as it cooled (at its best for me). The second infusions was fruitier – mostly the juniper came through.
There was enough in sample for two occasions. I didn’t know what to make of this blend first thing. I didn’t expect anything or knew what to expect, even after reading other tasting notes. It was too new, but I was intrigued. I was more familiar going into the second occasion. I really liked the combination of everything, how the laoshan green, the junipers, and the rice created fruity chocolate flavor. Came to together very nicely, in both the aroma and flavor profile. I was kind of sad there was no more. At least I got a chance to try it. And now I know what junipers taste like without the gin.