Verdant Tea (Special)
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Recent Tasting Notes
I am certainly behind on tasting notes. Well, here is me catching up. They will all be fairly brief!
I just sipped this one down, after drinking it regularly as a cold brew. I actually really liked it as a cold brew! Apparently I never logged it as a hot brew, even though I did have it that way once or twice. In the hot brew, it was over lavender-y, without enough bergamot. I tried another incarnation of this ages ago (in the “Alchemy Blends” days), and it was really similar.
Cold brewed, the lavender tamed itself a bit and it was a better balanced green earl grey. Still not my favorite blend but I had no problem drinking it up.
Last night I tried this blend with my husband as our ‘Saturday night tea time treat’. I already had my Gongfu teapot out from an earlier session so I used that, it’s 200ml and I used roughly 6g of tea. Honestly I felt I would try my method first before the standard instructions, partly because it was late and I felt like being a rebel and partly because I like my tea strong.
Well the first steep of roughly 45 seconds came out rather strong. Difficult to taste any orange (at all) but it was certainly spicy, smoky, earthen and toasted. Not unpleasant, much like a mature Tie Guan Yin, nice but just not what I was looking for.
The second steep of roughly 45 seconds came out lighter than the previous steep and there was a hint of waxy orange amidst it’s heavy and mature flavours. Nicer but still not quite right.
Then I went for a third steep, losing my faith in this tea due to the lack of orange I decided to give it a minute to steep and give it a final try. It mimicked the second steep rather well, it was waxy orange like rind and it’s strength was a little toned down from what it was.
I left it for roughly an hour or two before deciding I would give it one last go. So with the same leaves I prepared some more. Roughly 1 minute each additional steep. The wait made all the difference, my fourth steep ie first re steep revealed more orange flavour, less thick Tie Guan Yin and a spicy lingering after taste. Much more what I was expecting. It was still full of flavour too, medium strength overall so it carried on well. After that I did another two steeps and each was a wonderful greeting of orange, spice and lightly baked Oolong with wood tones. A fresh, autumnal style flavour that left me feeling warm inside.
I liked this tea very much (in the end) but it’s still not perfect to my tastes. I would prefer more orange and spice still, something sweeter perhaps to help lift the ingredients together. Though I know with certainty that I could happily finish this sample.
Flavors: Smoke, Toast, Wood
I should probably drink more teas if I want my stash to ever decrease! I’m just not as excited about teas anymore; probably because I have spent a lot of time lately focusing on sipdowns and thus drinking teas I don’t really love. Good thing I have some new DF teas coming in; those should be a pick me up!
This is of course one of the blends club blends from last month. When I had my little rant about the redundancy of Verdant’s blends the other week I didn’t realize that this has sarsaparilla in it as well. WHY MUST ALL OOLONGS CONTAIN SARSAPARILLA? I say this as someone who loves root beer/sarsaparilla/birch beer. But it’s too much. They all taste the same.
I am nevertheless rating this one slightly higher than the others because I think the orange adds a needed brightness and the vanilla a needed smoothness that really help this blend. That said, I feel like the flavors are a bit weak in this one. I added a bit more to my steeping basket because the first scoop seemed to be mostly “stuff” and little actual tea, and I was wondering if it would be too much for my 12oz cup at 3 minutes, but not so. Definitely not oversteeped, and definitely wishing for more vanilla and orange. And less sarsaparilla/birch. Ah well, into the cold brew basket it goes.
This tea is absolutely divine. To look at it’s beautiful with the marigold petals. But to sip (really slurp and gulp), oh my my. And even though I seriously over steeped this, it was still ridiculously delicious. No bitterness even though I forgot about it for about 5 + minutes.
So smooth and creamy. I got loads of butter with mild vegetal in the background. It is deliciously toasty, just like a traditional genmaicha, but this has a little extra something that makes it so much more tastier and special than a traditional genmaicha. I didn’t notice the juniper, but I pretty much slurped my first cup back in about 5 minutes, it’s just that good!
I’m trying for a second steep, even though I’m not sure if there’s any flavour left in the leaf, but this is far too delicious to not at least try.
Why Verdant? Why does this have to be limited blend? If this became part of the permanent collection I’d be all over it.
This is tea that generated the amazing swap with Cameron B., who was generous enough to share this with me. Thank you so much!
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #29
Sometimes jasmine tastes almost like bubblegum to me, and this one does. It’s surprising because it seems like there are more of the other ingredients than there are of the jasmine white tea, unless everything is infused with jasmine. But I mostly get a jasmine flavor. There is also something that reminds me of allergies, something floral/pollen I don’t like very much but the jasmine is so nice I can live with it. The second steep was lovely as well, just less jasmine. I think the Yunnan on its own would be better than this blend.
Steep #1 // 30 min after boiling // 2 min
Steep #2 // 25 min after boiling // 3 min
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #23
Another really odd blend from Verdant. I’m not even sure what these ingredients are… looks like some things I’ve never seen before. I wish Steepsterers who had the info for these blends (or Verdant) would update the Steepster page at least with the ingredients… it could become a potential allergy issue. Anyway, the dry leaf scent is not at all appealing. I decided to try it anyway… like the pear tea I had the other day I figured the dry scent could be entirely different from the flavor. Not here. The flavor seems kind of woody and kind of like BBQ. It definitely seems like something that would say ‘cask’ to me. And of course the natural woodiness of the rooibos helps. Sipped it while catching up on Supernatural… I’m going to be so sad when I’m done with season five but the new season will be epic, I hope. I can’t wait for the meta music episode!
Steep #1 // few min after boiling // 3 min
Here we go, the last tea from this month’s Blends Club. I don’t have any experience with raspberry leaf, so I have no concept of what this might taste like. I will say that this is the most annoying tea ever to measure… It’s big fluffy raspberry leaf mixed with tiny pieces of citrus peel and rooibos, so you have to stir it ten times to give it anywhere near combined, and even then the rooibos immediately plummets to the bottom, taking most of the citrus peel with it. Ugh. I had to empty my pouch into a tin to be able to leaf this properly and make sure I got some of everything. Not off to a good start! The dry leaf smells vaguely sweet and musty, I guess from the raspberry leaf? I steeped about two teaspoons for 5 minutes in boiling water.
Once the tea is steeped, I can definitely smell the rooibos along with that odd musty somewhat raw herbal/grassy scent. The taste is pretty meh, I guess I’m not a fan of raspberry leaf. It’s very musty and dry in the mouth, but the aftertaste is nice enough. I guess I could draw some connections to chamomile…? But in a weird raw herb way. Not for me!
Flavors: Drying, Grass, Herbs, Musty, Rooibos
So… this tea. This is definitely the one I’m least excited about. It’s a shame because I’ve tried the base tea plain and really enjoyed it, but when I open the pouch I can see (and smell) a ton of lavender… :( Now, lavender’s not as bad as a lot of other florals in my opinion (*cough*rose*cough*), in fact there’s something about it that reminds me of citrus. But lavender is all I can smell here, and that’s never good… Visually, this tea is a mix of wiry green tea leaves, lavender buds, coriander, juniper berries, and some other small chunks of herbal-y things. I brewed mine for 3 minutes at 175.
Hmm, yeah, I pretty much just smell lavender in the brewed tea as well, with a little bit of coriander mixed in. Ooh, and it tastes like almost pure lavender as well. I can’t even tell that there’s green tea in this blend, which is rather sad to me. Lavender tea! :(
Not rating as I feel somewhat biased… Although clearly this is a very heavy-handed blend, and that speaks to me of poor blending.
Flavors: Coriander, Lavender
This tea is the start of what I have decided to be a day of trying several yet untried teas. I mostly want to do this because I’d like to get my list of rehoming teas up soon so they won’t be sitting on my counter, and I don’t have that many teas that I haven’t tried yet. But I have yet to break into any of the Blends Club teas, so away we go! This tea is the one that smells the best to me, so it’s going first. The oolong pellets here are very loosely rolled, and it gives the appearance that they’re not rolled at all, but are a bunch of very tiny leaves. I was very confused when I first opened the packet and saw them, lol… There are lots of little (and some big) chunks of random “herbal-y” things mixed in with the tea leaves (ingredients include tulsi, sarsaparilla, schisandra berry, and blue lotus). Dry scent is an interesting combination of savory herbal and licorice-like sarsaparilla. I let mine steep for 4 minutes at 190 degrees.
Wow, the brewed aroma is very different! It’s a lovely melange of creamy, nutty, slightly spicy, sweet, and a slight vegetal note. Taste-wise, there’s definitely a slight sharp spiciness from the sarsaparilla that presents itself mostly at the beginning of the sip. I do get flashes of licorice-like flavor throughout, but the tea itself is quite creamy and nutty in flavor, which is rather lovely. I have no concept of what schisandra berry and blue lotus taste like, so I can’t comment on what they contribute here, but I do get a light hint of something similar to pine. Overall, this is rather tasty and I can see it being an excellent latte. It’s almost chai-like in a sense. :)
Flavors: Creamy, Licorice, Nutty, Pine, Spices, Sweet
I am a gin drinker. I love the intense, outdoorsy, almost medicinal flavour and scent of a good gin.
This tea, while nice on its own, just isn’t that reminiscent of gin for me. Both the nose and flavour are dominated by fennel, and I’m only getting much in the way of juniper and coriander on the finish, when I really want the juniper in particular at the forefront. The fennel also gives this a warming sensation, when I really associate gin with cooling, so that aspect is not what I was wanting or expecting either. This leaves a slight tingling numbness on the tongue and roof of the mouth.
The tea base is pretty subtle. I can tell there’s a white tea in this blend, but I couldn’t tell you much more about it than that.
At 3 minutes there wasn’t much of anything to this, so I gave it an additional 2 minutes of steeping.
Flavors: Cedar, Coriander, Fennel
The Blends club package came while I was away over the weekend, but I don’t think I will count them just yet to my cupboard since I am at 101! And that will hit 100 later today. Plus I didn’t count my swap from Cameron B., so if I just don’t count any new teas I can be make believe that I hit 100, LOL.
Anyway, the blends club. It’s getting pretty repetative. The teas this month feel like things I have seen before. Jingshan green with lavender? Check. Let’s add some coriander, yes? And this one, an oolong with sarsaparilla… where have I had that before? Oh yes, Sarsaparilla Tieguanyin and Wuyi Whiskey Trail. And why not throw in some tulsi? All of the flavor profiles are really similar. I got sucked back into the blends club when they reblended some of my favorite lost blends, but I am reconsidering again. It wouldn’t be too bad if I wanted floral, herbal, tonic-ish blends all the time, but I don’t. I’m going to give it to the end of the year because I want to see what they do with the holiday blends, but probably not much more beyond that.
So this one specifically. Well, it’s kind of herbal, and tonic-y. It’s also a little bitter and I’m not totally sure why. Overall it’s not bad, but it’s kind of boring. To me, anyway; I just don’t crave those types of flavors in my tea. Oh well, if anyone is interested it will be posted in the sales thread and for trade (as soon as I can get to that thread, since the boards are hardcore broken).
Sad Sipdown (123)!
First off, this is tasting note 1900! Woot! That means the next really big number is going to be 2000 – I think I need to start planning now for what tea I’ll celebrate that landmark with…
Thank you Cameron B. for sharing a cup worth of this awesome limited edition blend. I had no idea I wanted to try it until you wrote about it, and then after I did some looking in to it I felt like I had to try it even though I was hoping so much that I’d hate it. Why was I hoping I’d hate it? ‘Cause the only thing worse than hating a tea blend is falling in love with a limited edition blend. And of course, that’s what happened.
Aesthetically, the tea blend is beautiful! The deep green leaves make the yellow marigold really pop, and the juniper berries are super fun to look at. Smell wise, I don’t get a lot from the dry leaf, but steeping it smells like a high quality traditional Genmaicha; a little greener than roasty.
Taste wise; this is really smooth and silky. It weighs only slightly more on the green side than the roasty, but both are present and really well executed. I’m gonna have to agree with Cameron B. and say that the primary flavour I’m getting from the green base is butternut squash. Yummy! The roasty brown rice has a nice nutty quality to it as well that I’m also noticing. But most importantly, this has the most divine vanilla flavour. It’s gentle, but man is it present and very, very raw/natural. The vanilla really makes the tea, and honestly I haven’t tasted a vanilla flavour as amazing as this since Butiki’s Creamy Eggnog; which is pretty close to the perfect green vanilla tea. The green base here even shares the same buttery aspect alongside the very gentle vegetal taste.
I honestly don’t taste much of the Juniper berries (you’re right Cam, Junipers do have a sorta pine like quality to them) but I think I ever so faintly get a peek at the very, very end of the sip. If there’s one thing I’d want more of in this blend, it’s the Junipers…
But even so, I’m in love. I want more of this, like now. At least 2 oz. of it would make me a very, very happy tea drinker – ‘cause guys, I’m like 99% sure this is my Japon. It’s so smooth and silky and creamy, and rich in the most calming and pacifying way. And very subtly flavoured.
And dammit, ‘cause it’s limited edition! GAH!
Here’s Hoping Traveling Teabox Round #3 – Tea #7
Oh, happy to try this blend! It looks to be yabao which I don’t particularly love mixed with a black tea… I have no idea what else, but it seems like some spices. I used around two teaspoons, a few minutes after boiling for 3-4 minutes. The color of the cup is a very light brown. Really, I thought there would be more flavor than what there is. First, there is an odd flavor, I can’t tell from what… maybe the yabao. The black tea itself doesn’t give much flavor at all, certainly no smokiness. Otherwise, the flavor tastes faintly like a spice cake. I don’t hate the blend, but I wouldn’t care to keep it around. Maybe Verdant’s blends would get better reception if anyone actually knew what was in them. The blends are never on their website, the ingredients aren’t labeled on the bag, and really, the only hints are what Steepster accumulates on the tea pages for these Verdant blends.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // few min after boiling // 3-4 min
Steep #2 // just boiled // 5 min
I’m not sure why they claim this is the “best black tea” Mr. He has produced because in every measurable way the regular version is better. The aroma is far too vegetal/raw for a Chinese black tea, the mouthfeel is thin even when I brewed it with extra leaf, even close to boiling hot water doesn’t extract much taste (observes the color difference… this one never gets the rich copper color of the other), and if you steep it longer the “citrus of amarena cherries” just gets overbearingly sour. The only thing that is on par to the later picked tea is the aroma of the dry leaf which still smells like dark chocolate.
Queued post, written June 25th 2014
Turns out we’ve actually got a reasonably good local clothes shop with women’s fashion. And it’s the sort of shop that carries clothes that matches my age group and taste fairly well. As in normal clothes without too many wild details, mysterious patterns or eye-bleeding colours on it and at a reasonable price. I needed to replenish my closet in the t-shirt department after I had a good thorough clean out earlier this month. Took a whole big sack of clothes to the charity shop, most of which were things that I never really wore anyway. So I didn’t actually lose very much that I was sometimes using. It just illustrated to me quite plainly how little I actually had to use. Most of what I threw out that I was actually using sometimes were things that I had worn holes in here and there.
So it was time for new things. This particular shop is right next to our grocery shop, so I’ve walked past it loads of times, but never been inside. Rather than bother with a train trip to the city and back, I thought I’d look there first. My luck was in, they were having a sale. Came home with five short sleeved t-shirts, one long sleeved top and one nice cardigan, and they even had a sale so I paid half price or less on half of them. Ha! This is definitely worth knowing!
On my way home in even started raining. Really great big drops of rain. This + succesful shopping = celebratory me, because the lawn is a bit yellow and the rainwater barrel is empty.
I remembered I had a genmaicha that MissB shared with me in the yet to try box and I thought something toasty and green sounded just like a good celebration beverage. So I took it and made a cup. By the time I discovered what it actually was, it was too late to change my mind.
This is not what I understand by genmaicha at all. It’s not a green tea, but an oolong. It has no puffed rice, but toasted rice. It has chai spices in it.
This is an oolong chai with toasted rice. The inclusion of some sort of rice doesn’t automatically make something a genmaicha in my book.
Oh well. I will try to keep an open mind.
I can easily detect the carob and cinnamon in the aroma, and there is a toasted note as well, which I believe must be the rice. Underneath all that, and perhaps enhanced by it as well, I can smell the oolong base. Floral and a bit woody. Thankfully I can’t smell the coriander. I find coriander is far too sharp and strong a flavour for me in raw form. Husband grows it in the window sill for cooking use, and it stinks whenever he’s trimmed flower stalks and withered leaves off it.
The flavour is very cinnamon-y and sweet. I think it’s the carob in combination with the cinnamon that is making it sweet. I can taste the base tea when swallowing, but there is so much of the cinnamon and carob that I can only really tell that it’s there. I couldn’t say much about it. There might be a faint hint of coriander in the aftertaste, but it’s not so much that I’m certain I’m not imagining it there because I know it’s in here. There is an overall faint hint of toasted rice, but again it’s not very much.
It’s quite a pleasant tea, if a bit heavy on the spices. Not a genmaicha, though.
Cameron – while i agree with your comment that this was the best of the three…this is yet another one that i’m underwhelmed with, and finding no vanilla just a baguely sort of orange like tea that’s an oolong. another not really a fan of sort of thing for me…especially this type. Terri….i hope you enjoy! lol
barf. whatup non vanilla, gross jasmine tea. yeah….and that concludes my re-entry to the blends club. Give me back the first couple months please :( So disappointed by the “vanilla” themed month. I pretty much bought a month for my tea sister terri ‘cause she’s getting all of these lol
i don’t get vanilla…i get flowers and jasmine. my least favourite things…i’d rather have blergamot.
First, the aroma. The leaves smell like lovely dark chocolate brownies. They are small, black, curly leaves that looked delightful.
Then, the taste. Like a light (watery) cocoa, with a fuller body of flavor. I definitely can taste the malt flavor people meant, as well as the roasted rice flavor. The tea is bright tasting, and smooth. It reminds me of cocoa puffs, or cocoa rice Krispy treats.
I never tasted any tea like it. I received it in the 5 for 5 from verdant and am so glad I did! I would love to order it and am now curious about original LB and the green tea version.
Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Malt, Toasted Rice
Whiskey in the morning? Sure, why not, as long as it is actually tea and not whiskey at all. Maybe this will help the horrible pain in my chest from coughing; whiskey does usually get that nickname “grandma’s cough syrup” (or some such old relative).
Of course, this tea doesn’t really taste all that much like whiskey, so tangential benefits are likely to be low. Still, it’s soothing and has that distinct herbal flavor that makes you think you might be drinking something good for you. :)
A blends club blend that I haven’t tired, but it’s still on my list to sipdown! I love bourbon, but I’m not huge on wuyi oolong, and I’m not necessarily a fan of hot bourbon either, so I approach this blend with a bit of trepidation.
It smells a fair amount like the Sarsaparilla Tieguanyin blend, which isn’t too surprising since it also has sarsaparilla in it, but with roasty charcoal notes from the Wuyi. Flavor-wise, it is similar. The tea has a good texture, thick and creamy. I don’t know that this really reminds me of whiskey and/or bourbon, but there might be hints. At first I was lukewarm about the flavor combo, but it’s grown on me a bit. I’m still not a big fan of charcoal roasted oolongs like this one, but I don’t mind them too much. I’ll be able to drink this one up; maybe I will cold brew it too. :)
Breaking into my sample of this, this afternoon. It’s gloomy and wet outside, and I’m fighting what is apparently my now-traditional late-summer head cold. Hurrah! To celebrate such a wonderful confirmation, I give myself this tea. I’m not usually one for the vegetal, grassy taste of green teas, but every now and then, something this bright and light finds its way to my cupboard, and I can’t help but like it.
Opening the bag, I’m hit with the memory of rice crackers. Specifically, the seasoned sesame-and-seaweed kinds we get at the Asian grocery stores. I grew up snacking on those, and here, the leaf is like finding those crackers in liquid form. Brewed up, it tastes most like creamy green beans, but the rice cracker taste holds strong at the finish. I imagine this would make an excellent iced tea?
This tea is excellent. It is malty and slightly sweet. I vaguely detect some chocolate notes underneath the malt. There is very little bitterness. The overriding characteristic is the malt flavor, by this I do not mean chocolate malt flavor but that strong tea flavor often referred to as malt.
I brewed this western style with 2 tsp of leaf with 200 degree water in an 18 oz teapot for 3 min.