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Recent Tasting Notes
This tea is a dark oolong that is deep amber in color and has a chocolaty aroma. It is sweet and savory with a strong flavor of chocolate and a little bit of wheat flavor on the back end. The reserve has a more pronounced chocolate flavor and is tastier than the Laoshan Roasted Oolong.
Flavors: Chocolate, Wheat
Very nice Tieguanyin. Quality so closer to a Taiwan High level jade oolong.
First steep pale in color and weak in flavor. But fron second to sixth steep shows a strong character, floral, orchid, sweet, fruity and spicy.
From seventh ton tenth steep is begining to fade, but it has a sweet flavor and a good aftertaste.
If you like oolong tea you must prove this one
This tea is absolutely delicious.
The jasmine scent is quite strong, especially in the early steepings. I was worried that this would mean the tea flavor was overpowered or the soup would make me queasy. (Too much jasmine scent does that to me sometimes.)
Luckily, the cup was nicely balanced with a sweet, smooth tea taste and gentle jasmine overtones.
I enjoyed this with my son (12) who has been quite keen to try all my teas recently. He also loved it. I’ll make him a tea-head, yet. He had his with honey, which blended nicely with the overall flavor as well, if you like it sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
A pleasant, fruity black tea. Very little bitterness or astringency, and very easy to drink.
Despite the elaborate description, I did not find it to be at all unique. It just tastes like a run of the mill, quality Chinese black to me.
Perhaps gongfu style brewing will bring out more of its character when I try it at home.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Malt
I keep forgetting I have this one. Brewed it Western style this morning.
Dark, curled dry leaves. Heady smoke aroma, in the mid-treble “range” of scents, is the most noticeable scent, but there’s some forest pine and something slightly sweet.
The smoke seems a little punchier in the wet leaf aroma. Each time I smell the liquor, I get something slightly different: sometimes it’s a little brash, sometimes it’s sweet and deep, like some dark-colored fruit I can’t place.
The smoke rounds out in the taste, although it’s still at the forefront. Still fairly heady, but it has a depth that settles into the mouth. Getting a bit of pine and wood around the edges. Hint of earthiness. Slightly malty? Just a little little bit spicy, which lingers in the aftertaste.
Quite good, and a little more complex than the other smoky teas I’ve had.
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Fruity, Pine, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Wood
This is a review I have been sitting on for over a week now. I held off posting this as long as I did because I really wasn’t sure what numerical rating I felt like giving this tea. I received a sample of it as part of a recent order, thus I did not have the opportunity to try this tea more than once over the span of a few days in order to solidify my opinion of it. Ultimately, I guess I kind of feel like this is a couple steps above the 2016 Spring Tieguanyin, a tea for which I really did not care.
I prepared this tea according to the gongfu guide on Verdant Tea’s website. I had to adjust the amount of tea I used since I only had a 5 g sample of this tea and tend to use a smaller gaiwan for my review sessions. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 g of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This was followed by 8 additional infusions, with an increase of 2 seconds per infusion. Steep times were as follows: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 seconds. Again, I know that Verdant suggests attempting to get at least 10-12 infusions out of green Tieguanyins, but I rarely push them that far or that hard, preferring instead to cut off my sessions when it feels right for me to do so.
The aroma of the rinsed leaves was simply incredible. The gaiwan was bursting with hyacinth, gardenia, saffron, vanilla, lilac, jasmine, violet, orchid, honeysuckle, osmanthus, butter, and cream aromas. The first infusion had a similarly powerful nose and presented slightly grassy and lightly vegetal notes underscoring more powerful flavors of lilac, cream, butter, hyacinth, vanilla, violet, orchid, honeysuckle, jasmine, saffron, and osmanthus. Infusions 2-5 continued to emphasize similarly strong savory and floral aromas and flavors, though notes of minerals, sweetgrass, and leaf lettuce began to emerge more fully. The later infusions were more delicate, with pronounced mineral and vegetal aromas and flavors underpinned by subtle cream, butter, and floral aromas and flavors.
Overall, this is not a bad Tieguanyin by any means. I know that I have said it before, but I am always a little bit irritated by labels like “reserve” being applied to teas, but I can kind of see why a label like that would be placed on a tea like this. Compared to the regular 2016 Spring Tieguanyin, which I found to be bland and two-dimensional, this tea is much more complex and displays greater depth. Still, it is not the best Tieguanyin I have ever had. For what it is though, it is pretty decent. I could see people who are fans of heavily floral contemporary oolongs liking this one.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Saffron, Vanilla, Violet
I used 5g/120ml with 95C water and added 3-5 seconds per each additional brewing.
I could taste orchid and honeysuckle with a hint of raspberry and melon.
The first sip of the first brewing had a light, sweet taste like snap peas or sweet grass.. Melon, raspberries, raspberry, lilac, honeysuckle, orchid, jasmine, and cream being the tastes lingered all over my tongue in the after taste. The liquor was buttery smooth and had a very long finish.
In the aroma of the second cup I could pick up on marzipan and cream mingled in with the floral notes. The flavor of the liquor was now explosive. Strawberries, sweet grass, and jasmine glided over my tongue. In the aftertaste, the jasmine was the strongest by far, lingering on the back of my pallet.
I found that raspberries had the strongest aroma for the third cup. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor aside from the sweetgrass, but the liquor was even lighter and had become more buttery than the first cup. Jasmine remained the main flavor in the aftertaste, but it mingled with raspberry.
In the fifth cup the liquor began to become astringent but it wasn’t unpleasant. I could taste jasmine and melon at the back of my tongue mingled in with the sweetgrass. In the aftertaste it was a mixture of jasmine and raspberries once again. There was cream as well. I almost didn’t notice it.
In the 6th I primarily smelt sweetgrass with a tiny hint of raspberry. The astringency from the 5th brewing was gone. The mouthfeel was very silky now, still very full but no longer buttery. I mostly tasted sweetgrass and watercress (without the raddish-y part of watercress) in the liquor and aftertaste. At the sides of the back of my tongue and two spots on the center of my pallet I could taste melon and blueberry. I hadn’t tasted blueberry yet so that came as a surprise. Raspberry and cream was still present, but it was very hard to detect.
The tea more or less flatlined from here on out.
Flavors: Blueberry, Grass, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Peas, Raspberry
I used 5g/60ml, 100C water, washed twice, five seconds for the first brew and an additional 3-5 seconds for each additional brewing.
The aroma is very floral, like that of jasmine and saffron. The liquor is very buttery and smooth. The first cup tasted like jasmine, vanilla, and cream. It’s greenness reminded me of Wakayanagi. In the aftertaste there was elderberry, raspberry, melon, and vanilla.
The second cup the aroma of orchid and saffron was very strong, but not overpowering. The liquor still reminded me of a bancha like wakayanagi, with hay and watercress, minus the radish-y part of watercress’s flavor profile and not astringency.
The third was more or less the same but with an even more buttery mouthfeel. In the aftertaste the sides of my tongue tasted like saffron while the back of my throat taste of elderberry and strawberry.
From here the flavor flat lines and begins to die while as light astringency appears. I did a total of 15 brewings with this. All of them past the third were basically weaker versions of each other. The liquor never became bitter and the astringency was never abrasive.
Nothing special, but very nice for the price.
Flavors: Cream, Grass, Hay, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Raspberry, Saffron, Strawberry, Vanilla
I used 5g/120ml, 95C water, washed once, first brew was five seconds, +3-5 per each additional brewing. I managed to get eight brewings. This was a very light roasted DHP.
The aroma is very chocolatey with a hint of melon and wood. The liquor is incredibly buttery and smooth. In the first cup there wasn’t much taste but there was tiny hints of melon, honeysuckle, vanilla, and that classical WuYi minerality.
The aroma of the second cup reminded me of Kamut. The liquor tasted very much like, but not overpoweringly, like vanilla and honeysuckle. Melon and raspberry resided in the aftertaste. The third was the same except the liquor was less potent and the aftertaste was stronger. I then sipped on some water as you should after the third brewing of a WuYi and the aftertaste strengthened even more.
The fourth brewing was the best. It was all the flavors in the aftertaste and the actual taste, in the actual taste. A slight astringency had appeared, it was not abrasive.
That was the teas last legs as each cup after that was a less potent version of the third.
Not bad for the price. I’ve had much better DHP for a similar price.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Honeysuckle, Melon, Mineral, Raspberry, Vanilla, Wood
Overall not a bad tea. For the price? Horrible. I too do not understand why this has been rated so highly by others. I brewed it by using 5g/120ml, 95C water, rinsed twice, first steeping was five seconds, +3-5 for each additional brewing.
I did a total of eight and these leaves never opened up all the way. How willing/able a leaf is to unroll is a extremely important part to consider in leaf quality.
It smelt of nutmeg, roasted chestnuts, and a hint of oak. Something sweet as well, perhaps melon and blueberries. The liquor has an incredibly smooth and soft mouthfeel. The first cup was almost flavorless with a tiny hint of chocolate and jasmine. The aftertaste reminded me of melon, honey, blueberries, and raspberries. I had to really sit to notice most of these, they were very subtle. The same applies to the rest of the brewings.
The second cup tasted like pine, chocolate, and evergreen mingled with orchids.
The third was very chocolatey and the liquor became a little astringent. The aftertaste was still somewhat floral and fruity.
The following brewings tasted mostly like pine mingled with vanilla and jasmine or orchid.
A very average Wuyi. Nothing to celebrate about and most certainly not worth just over $1/g.
Flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate, Honey, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Pine, Raspberry
I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Puerh at the moment so perhaps take this with a grain of salt. This is also my first time trying Shu. Even so, I know a good Puerh (Sheng or Shu) is more complex than this. I’ve had some very nice Sheng.
Anyway, I used 5g/120ml, 100C water, rinsed twice, 20sec first brewing +10sec for each additional brewing.
The way this tea smelt was very similar to Lapsang mingled with vanilla, jasmine, and elderberry. The taste was very similar as well but with earthy notes. They reminded me of oak and nutmeg. The liquor was astringent but not abrasive and very light.
The tea had the same profile (above) for all six cups. If it had developed I’d give it a better score. It wasn’t by any means bad. It was enjoyable, but average. I can’t complain for the price.
Flavors: Jasmine, Nutmeg, Oak wood, Smoke, Vanilla
I had both the 2015 and 2016 version of this tea.
I brewed the 2015 as the given parameters. 5g/235ml, 80C water, 30 seconds +10 seconds for each additional brewing. It was very delicate, light, and vegetale. No nuttiness like most high end Longjing that I have had. It had notes of jasmine, elderberry, melon, sencha, and lilacs. I think this tea was better than the 2016. The leaves had more fuzzies, the picking standard was higher, and the liquor more complex. It never got bitter.
I brewed the 2016 grandpa style. I used 2.5g/350ml. I used 80C water and topped up when my glass was 2/3rds full. It was sweet, lightly vegetale, and had a light nuttiness. The tea initially was very green, almost like a sencha. It then became sweet and floral like jasmine or lilacs. Fruits like melon and elderberry danced across my tongue as well. The nuttiness was like that of chesnuts. It lasted around four hours brewing this way and never got bitter.
Flavors: Chestnut, Honey, Melon
This tea has a very robust and rasping mouth feel. It was very two dimensional and reminded me very of your typical CTC Assam. If not for the honeysuckle and orchid in the aftertaste I would’ve thought it was a full leaf second flush Assam.
I brewed this gong fu style. My first brewing was 10 seconds +5 seconds for each additional brewing. I did a total of 10 but it flat lined after the second brewing.
Flavors: Honeysuckle, Malt, Orchid
I made this tea in more than one way: I did western (given) as well as gong fu style. For gong fu I used 5g/120ml starting with 6 seconds +3 for each additional brewing. I added on 10 seconds for each additional western brewing.
I say “no” to recommending this tea because the first time I bought it, this tea was of absolutely fantastic quality. The second it was “meh”. The 75 is an average of the two bags. The mouthfeel was fairly smooth and full. The first order had a long finish to it and not a hint of astringency. My second order had a hint of astringency but it wasn’t abrasive. The finish was full but short.
Flavors: Cream, Green Beans, Jasmine, Melon, Strawberry, Vanilla
I picked this up up on a whim while ordering from Verdant because it sounded intriguing and I’m glad I did. This is one freaking delicious tea. As a fan of their Laoshan green teas, I consider this an upgrade. It has the characteristic Laoshan flavor but it’s richer and more complex.
The dry leaf has a deep vegetal and nutty aroma. In a heated gaiwan, that changes to a stronger umami like fragrance. The wet leaf smells like fresh steamed green vegetables – spinach, asparagus, and chard. Tea brews up like regular Laoshan green tea, but thicker and fuller bodied. Flavor is creamy, sweet, and lightly floral with a pleasant nuttiness hanging in the background. There’s a grassiness to it reminiscent of Japanese green tea that I love and balanced with an element of fresh green vegetables. It’s also really good cold steeped and amps up floral flavor.
This is easily the best bi luo chun I’ve ever had. I continue to be impressed by Verdant’s green teas. Every single one I’ve tried so far has been nothing short of phenomenal and this was no exception. Their tasting notes for this one were totally on point.
Flavors: Asparagus, Floral, Grass, Lettuce, Spinach
Oh my goshhhh.
This is my first tasting of this tea and I am blown away. At the same time, I am also listening to alpha brainwave music that has been influenced by traditional Buddhist meditation music and the combination of these two.. really transport..me..somewhere…
Ooh zoned out nicely for a sec there.
I have no idea what aloeswood is, but my favourite thing about this oolong is definitely the aromas of incense. Warm and solemn, it brings back the memory of my time in the temples of China and Japan.
For all of the oolongs I have tried from Verdant, every one of them has been absolutely on point with their tasting notes. This one lists vanilla, jasmine, whipped cream, brioche, aloeswood incense and a hint of tamarind.
I am also unsure what tamarind is, but this oolong is every bit as beautiful as written.
Brewing this Western style as per website instructions. The other thing I love about Verdant oolongs is just how quickly the leaf seems to give flavour into the water. As in, the moment I pour the water into my glass teapot, the colour of the tea is already so pretty. And yet, the leaf keeps giving through multiple infusions.
Only really on a second steep of this one, but if it’s anything like my cherished Laoshan Roasted Oolong, these leaves will last me all day long.
This might just be my highest rated tea on Steepster…
I received a 5 gram sample packet of this oolong following a mix-up with a recent order. Prior to the introduction of US forwarding, Verdant, as I’m sure pretty much all of you are well aware, shipped their orders from China. Well, an order of mine from May simply disappeared. When I say that it disappeared, I mean the order had been filled and was shipped, but it could not be located in the China Post system period. There was no record of it anywhere. So, the folks at Verdant Tea were gracious enough to work with me, refunded my order, and as compensation for the lost order, tacked a ton of free samples onto my next order. This was one of them.
I prepared this tea gongfu style using the suggested brewing method on the Verdant Tea website. Since the other two reviewers on Steepster seemed to have concerns about the strength of this tea’s flavor, I opted to use the full 5 gram sample in my 4 ounce gaiwan. I like my oolongs strong, as those of you who read my reviews are well aware (5-6 grams in a 4 ounce gaiwan is normal for me). Following the rinse, I steeped the full 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this infusion with 7 additional infusions at 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 seconds respectively.
Following the rinse, I detected intense aromas of ginseng, nectarine, green apple, toasted sesame, kale, spinach, artichoke, sweetgrass, and marigold, with perhaps a hint of chrysanthemum. The initial infusion produced a similarly strong nose, coupled with intense notes of toasted sesame, alfalfa sprouts, artichoke, kale, fresh spinach, watercress, sweetgrass, and damp hay balanced by much subtler notes of marigold, chrysanthemum, cream, butter, green apple, nectarine, white grape, and ginseng. The second and third infusions presented a much fruitier and somewhat more floral nose. In the mouth, I detected stronger notes of green apple, nectarine, marigold, white grape, cream, and butter, balanced by slightly more reserved notes of toasted sesame, watercress, sweetgrass, kale, spinach, hay, and artichoke. The fourth infusion was, for me, where this tea started to go downhill fast. The tea began to lose its savory, herbal, fruity, and floral characteristics quickly (though they never entirely disappeared) and began to increasingly emphasize grassy, vegetal, and mineral aromas and flavors. I made it through a full eight infusions, though I pretty much lost all interest after six.
I do not really know what to say about this one. Despite some of their flaws (marketing gaffes, unbelievable claims, etc.), I tend to be a big fan of Verdant Tea. I am even a big fan of Master Zhang’s collection, from which this particular oolong comes. I more or less loved the regular Mao Xie Verdant offered this year, and tend to be something of a fan of Mao Xie in general, but this reserve version started off really strong and turned into a total disappointment in my eyes. I think the fact that this is presented as being a step above the regular Mao Xie makes it even worse for me. I tend to not be a big fan of labeling tea based on some opaque measure of quality on the part of a particular farmer and/or vendor, so terms like “reserve” mean very little to me, and to be perfectly frank here, this tea reminds me of why I feel this way. I simply can’t recommend this one. If you have to try a Mao Xie from Verdant and do not want the traditional roasted version, wait for the next release of Master Zhang’s regular Mao Xie or see if you can find someone willing to swap a few grams of this year’s release.
Flavors: Artichoke, Butter, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Kale, Spinach, White Grapes
As of today, I’m still mowing down the oolongs. After a solid week of 24/7 on-call duty with my local crisis response team, I was in desperate need of something to help me wake up this morning. I wasn’t feeling black tea, so I decided to stay the course and keep plowing through my reserve of oolongs. Today, this Laoshan Roasted Oolong got the nod.
This tea is from the May 2015 picking and was first released last Autumn. I purchased this one in either April or May, but only started drinking it in late July. I prepared this tea gongfu style, but kind of went against Verdant Tea’s suggestions. Following a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of this tea in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this up with 12 additional infusions with an increase of 2 seconds per infusion. So, steep times were as follows: 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 seconds.
The aroma of the infused brew was absolutely lovely. I detected rich, robust aromas of chocolate, black cherry, vanilla bean, cream, oatmeal, and rye toast. In the mouth, the first 3 infusions presented a lovely mixture of brown sugar, sweet potato, black cherry, candied orange peel, vanilla bean, cream, oatmeal, chocolate, toasted bran, and rye toast notes. The next 4-5 infusions were milder in aroma, offering somewhat delicate scents of chocolate, cherry, cream, oatmeal, and vanilla with a slight mineral tinge. In the mouth, I noticed that all of the flavors remained intact, but were milder, smoother, and more balanced. A slight mineral flavor had also started to emerge. Through the remainder of infusions, the aromas and flavors continued to grow milder as the tea faded. The mineral aromas and flavors started to become more dominant, though I noticed that traces of candied orange peel, black cherry, sweet potato, vanilla bean, rye toast, and chocolate were still detectable when I really focused my attention on the sensations I was experiencing.
I’m seriously impressed with this roasted oolong. So far, I have yet to be disappointed by Verdant’s Laoshan offerings. Compared to the almost equally excellent Laoshan Green Oolong offered by Verdant, this tea is stronger and more complex, and if monitored rather closely, can really hold its own in a longer session. As far as roasted oolongs go, it is also very approachable, as it lacks the overly strong roasted character that can be so off-putting for some people and it does not shock the nose or palate with turbulent combinations of aromas and flavors. All in all, I think this tea could please the oolong neophyte and the serious, experienced oolong drinker equally. I recommend it very highly and without reservation to anyone looking for a consistent and enjoyable oolong.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Cherry, Chocolate, Cream, Oats, Orange, Rye, Sweet Potatoes, Toast, Vanilla