Verdant Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes


Looking at the number of tasting notes for this tea, it is doubtful that I need to add another one, but I’m going to go ahead and do so. This is one of those teas that you just have to talk about, one of those teas on which you absolutely have to share your thoughts. Readers will perhaps examine the above sentences and conclude that I really love this tea. If they were to come to that conclusion, they would be 100% correct.

I prepared this tea using the gongfu method outlined on the Verdant Tea website. I only made two small modifications. Rather than using a 5 ounce gaiwan, I resorted to my trusty 4 ounce gaiwan that I have been favoring for many of my review sessions lately. I wanted to both really focus the flavor and brew this tea strong. The first infusion was 10 seconds in 205 F water. This infusion was followed by eight additional infusions at 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 seconds. This was the only other modification that I made, as Verdant suggests an initial steep of 2-3 seconds followed by 3 seconds on each additional infusion. In truth, I prepared this more like an oolong because I wanted a strong first impression followed by a series of subtle contrasts.

The initial infusions were amazingly aromatic with cocoa, toasted grain, vanilla, raisin, and fig aromas jumping out of the glass. In the mouth, there was an incredible mixture of malt, vanilla bean, raisin, fig, prune, cocoa, dried black cherry, sweet potato, and toasted grain flavors with a long, smooth chocolaty fade that highlighted a hint of creaminess. Later infusions, saw the chocolate recede somewhat and grain and fruit flavors come forward. On these infusions, I noted a nice mix of dried fruit underscored by hints of toasted grain and vanilla on the finish.

As I said, I really love this tea. It is far from the most complex black tea I have had, but the aromas and flavors this tea presents are strong and work very well together. I would like to see a little more depth in the layering of flavors, but as is, this tea is very, very good. There is a reason so many people like this tea. Go out and try it if you have yet to do so.

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Creamy, Fig, Fruity, Grain, Malt, Raisins, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Vanilla

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Last night I decided to do something a bit different. Rather than continue my recent oolong binge, I mixed things up a bit and broke out a pu-erh for the first time in months. Though I like pu-erh, I do not drink or review it that often because: a.) there are so many people here on Steepster that have so much more experience with pu-erh than I do, and from what I have seen, these individuals have much more of an ability to properly describe the experience of drinking pu-erh than I do, and b.) the recent surge of interest in pu-erh has left me with the perhaps false impression that other quality teas are being neglected. With this in mind, I tend to focus primarily on green, black, and oolong teas, and will throw the occasional white tea in for good measure. I tend to drink these types of teas more frequently anyway, so it makes sense for me to review them more often as I have more experience preparing and drinking them. To condense all of this rambling, pu-erh is like a once in a blue moon thing for me and I lack the confidence to review it with regularity. Anyway, all of that being said, I do really like this shu.

I prepared this tea using a slightly modified version of the gongfu method outlined on Verdant Tea’s website. The suggested temperature of 205 F seemed slightly low to me. On the rare occasions I prepare and drink pu-erh I tend to keep the temperature around 207-208 F. That seems to work best for me. For this session, I set the temperature at 208 F. I also increased the suggested amount of loose tea from 3 grams to 5 grams because I only had a 5 gram sample of this from a recent order and what am I really going to do with 2 grams of tea anyway? Honestly, I like my pu-erh really strong, so I decided to make it really strong. Otherwise, I pretty much followed Verdant’s suggested brewing method. I performed a total of 8 infusions. I probably could have carried on, but it was late and I was already tea drunk, so I went to bed.

The initial infusions left the impression of a very earthy, savory tea with aromas of forest floor, sauteed mushrooms, old books, wood, molasses, must, and moist earth. I picked up the same flavors in the mouth, though I also detected slightly herbal, spicy notes reminiscent of a mixture of anise, licorice, pine, and perhaps juniper berry. Later infusions saw the earthiness fade and spiciness and sweetness come to the fore. I noted that flavors somewhat resembling dark chocolate and caramel began to emerge. I also began to note what I can only describe as a lemon peel flavor on the finish that really outlined the lingering notes of herbs, wood, and spices.

As stated earlier, I really like this shu pu-erh. On the rare occasions I drink pu-erh, I tend to prefer sheng over shu, but lately I have been leaning a little more toward shu. I kind of like the earthy, musty funk and it’s fun for me to try to identify contrasting flavor elements as they emerge. I’m thinking of buying more of this so I can tinker around with my brewing methods a little more.

Flavors: Anise, Caramel, Dark Chocolate, Forest Floor, Lemon, Licorice, Molasses, Mushrooms, Musty, Pine, Spicy, Wet Earth, Wood

Boiling 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

Good shou is a wonderful thing when you find it. I was almost turned off shou by some bad ebay stuff.

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oh. I never reviewed this one. Oops.
I just heard about all the 2016 spring laoshan teas verdant just got in, and since I told myself no more buying tea until I get my cupboard down to 50 teas, I got really motivated to get a move on, so I can get all my laoshan teas. This was almost empty, so. Also, THERES WAY TOO MANY TEAS TO TRY. I want them all. Why must I have such expensive tastes?

God I love laoshan greens, I don’t think this one was quite as good as the 2015 pine needle green, it’s a bit rougher around the edges, but it’s still so delicious! I’m so excited to try all the fresh 2016 spring teas, so I gotta get drinking

Flavors: Astringent, Creamy, Green Beans, Lettuce, Soybean, Spinach

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I’m still working through the oolongs I have acquired in recent months. This is one of my more recent purchases from Verdant and it has not been in my collection all that long, so I know it is still fresh. I’m beginning to notice that Verdant’s teas are very hit or miss for me, although the hits (Reserve Tieguanyin, Autumn Tieguanyin, Huang Jin Gui, Mao Xie, Autumn Laoshan Green, First Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell, Dark Roast 10 Year Aged Tieguanyin, Yunnan White Jasmine, and Laoshan Green Oolong) far outnumber the outright misses (Qianjiazhai Wild Picked Yunnan Black, Zi Mu Dan). Unfortunately, this tea was another miss for me.

I prepared this tea using the gongfu method outlined on the Verdant Tea website. I did, however, make one necessary modification. I used the same small gaiwan I used for the Mao Xie to brew this tea, so I adjusted the amount of tea I used (approximately 5-6 grams for the 4 ounce gaiwan). If I were to guess, I would say I probably used closer to 6 grams of loose leaves rather than 5. The tea was steeped for 10 seconds in 208 F water initially. This infusion was followed by subsequent infusions at 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, and 24 seconds. I know that some people recommend that you try to get a minimum of 10-12 steeps out of Tieguanyin, but I rarely have the time, so I just end my sessions when I feel it is necessary. In the case of this tea, I chose not to press forward because I really wasn’t all that excited about where it was going.

At first, the tea presents a slight, but lovely aroma of flowers (orchid, violet, lilac, rose, jasmine), cream, custard, and vanilla. The initial infusions display a delicate, subtle combination of rose, orchid, violet, lilac, jasmine, cream, custard, and vanilla notes underpinned by a faint minerality. Later infusions see the floral notes fade, as the cream, custard, vanilla, and mineral notes are joined by subtle flavors of butter, hay, and grass. I did not pick up the almond, tangerine, or sweet snap pea notes described by the folks at Verdant. I mostly got flowers, cream, custard, vanilla, and minerals with butter, grass, and hay.

If the autumn harvest of Tieguanyin is the most robust and flavorful, then it stands to reason that the spring harvests are probably much less so. If that is the case, then my experience with this particular tea is not an anomaly. I generally love Tieguanyin, but this one did not move me in the least. It is so light and delicate that it is hard for me to muster much of a reaction to it. I know that quite a few people really liked this tea, but I just don’t see the appeal. I feel like its lightness and simplicity forced me to work so hard to figure out what is going on flavorwise that I didn’t really get the opportunity to enjoy it. That feeling coupled with my opinion that the tea doesn’t really offer any surprises over the course of a session (I did not notice any significant changes in aroma or flavor with each subsequent infusion, just a steady and prolonged fade) leaves me unimpressed. At one point I even noted that drinking this was like drinking spring air. That may seem like something, but I don’t mean it as a compliment. I mean that this tea was so light that it seemed to lack substance. In essence, I went looking for some depth and character with this tea, and quite frankly, did not find enough to suit me. Maybe I expected too much or maybe I missed the point entirely. I’ll leave that for anyone who reads this review to decide.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Hay, Jasmine, Mineral, Orchid, Rose, Vanilla, Violet

6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

I was not a huge fan of Verdant’s Tie Guan Yin’s either since it just tasted like hollow florals to me.


Daylon, the Verdant Tieguanyins have been extremely hit or miss for me. I thought the Reserve Tieguanyin was quite good and have really liked most of the others I have tried (I have a soft spot for the Autumn and Traditional TGYs in particular). For some reason though, this one did absolutely nothing for me. I kept wondering what I was missing. It’s good to see that I’m not the only one.

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Very fresh, beachy grass smell. Smells like my great grandmother’s garden at the beach. Very fresh and clean smell. Slightly aromatic while steeping, a bit like fresh seaweed and hints of freshly cut wood. Definitely smells like a reserve tea and is very floral.

First steep was for 1:30 minutes @ 195F, with 5 grams for 8 ounces. The best first impression I have is that it tastes very uniform. Is very fresh tasting and clean. Has a perfect mouth feel and does not leave any odd textures in your mouth, perfectly wetting. 1:30 minutes is definitely the way to go. It tastes very green, yet is still distinctly an oolong tea. Amazing high end tea, where every sip is better than the last.

Second steep was for 1:45 minutes. The tea noticeably smells more like a classic oolong tea. The taste is just a more mild version of the first steep, with the same mouth feel. However, the first steep is definitely the best by far. Still very good. Third steep is doable, but would not recommend a fourth.

Flavors: Floral, Green Wood, Seaweed, Wet Wood

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
67 tasting notes

I’m starting to fall behind on my reviews again. It’s always amazing to me how I can go from being caught up on a project to behind in the space of a couple days. I actually finished the last of this oolong earlier in the week, but had a rough draft of a review written at least 2-3 days before that. Oh well, I still have a review for Verdant’s Huang Jin Gui from two weeks ago that I need to post. Anyway, on to this tea.

I tried steeping this tea a couple different ways, however, the method that worked best for me is the basis of this review. Rather than using my 5.5 and 6 ounce gaiwans, I decided to use my small 4 ounce gaiwan. I was torn on whether to use 5 or 6 grams of leaves, but after trying it both ways, I went with 6 because the 5 tasted slightly weak to me. I followed the gongfu method outlined on Verdant’s website once again, so an initial infusion of 10 seconds in 208 F water followed by a series of 2 second infusions. I carried this one out to nine infusions (10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 seconds).

Initially, this tea presented a creamy, floral, and slightly fruity nose with a hint of toasted character. Initial infusions emphasized toasted sesame, ginseng, cream, custard, green apple, pear, honeysuckle, lilac, and jasmine notes underpinned by a slightly grassy, vegetal character. The tasting notes on Verdant’s website also described tastes of apple brandy, rosemary, and alfalfa flavors, but I didn’t get any of those, at least at first. Later infusions saw the floral, sesame, and ginseng notes fade and cream, custard, orchard fruit, and vegetal notes emerge more fully. I detected alfalfa and hay specifically. I also began to notice a slight citrus note on the finish that reminded me of lime zest. The final couple of infusions were mostly creamy and vegetal. I probably could have gotten at least 1-2 more infusions out of this tea, but decided to cut it off at nine as I didn’t see the flavor radically changing or anything new emerging at that point.

The first time I tried this I was impressed, but my opinion of this tea wavered after a couple more sessions. Over my last couple of sessions, I began to feel like I had gotten it right again and I once again began to really enjoy this tea. Compared to many of the other green oolongs that are available, this has a really unique aroma and flavor profile. I kind of doubt it will be for everyone, but for me, it has all of the savory, creamy, vegetal, fruity, and floral notes I love on one level or another. If you’re a fan of newer style Chinese oolongs, then I think there is a good chance you will greatly enjoy this tea. It is definitely worth checking out regardless.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lime, Pear, Vegetal

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Yu Lu Yan Cha Black by Verdant Tea
33 tasting notes

Dry leaf looks dusty and gives off cocoa and potato aromas.

Steeped leaf more reminiscent of laoshan black by verdant tea…really dark cocoa, red berries, broken decomposing autumn leaves.

The liquor has a very distinct barley/beer mash aroma….maybe simply by association, but I also smell yeast. Malt, more cocoa.

Palate is lush and smooth with more malt and high-toned raw cocoa bitterness. A distinct vegetal taste gives this a great tension. earthy as well.

2nd steep was sweeter, the potato aroma changing to bbq sweet potato and more honey aromas coming through.

great stuff

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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This is the last of the oolong reviews I will be posting this weekend. I’m just about caught up on my backlog of reviews for the time being, though I still have one more oolong to review. I’ll probably get to it tomorrow before I start a new round of teas. This particular Tieguanyin differs from Verdant’s others in that it is picked from older bushes.

For the purposes of this review, I brewed this tea using the gongfu method outlined on Verdant’s website. I placed approximately 7 g of loose tea leaves in my small utility gaiwan and steeped them in 208 F water. The initial infusion following the rinse was 10 seconds. Subsequent infusions were 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, and 30 seconds for a total of 11 infusions.

The initial infusion was interesting. I was expecting something super creamy and floral, but this infusion was savory. I detected aromas of minerals, butter, cream, honey, hay, grass, and herbs. In the mouth, I picked up a rush of mineral, butter, cream, custard, honey, grass, hay, ginseng, and sesame notes underscored by a trace of floral flavor. Subsequent infusions saw the floral notes (orchid, lilac, violet, saffron) emerge a little more fully and the mineral, grass, hay, and herbal notes subside. Later infusions saw the emergence of stronger cream, butter, custard, grass, hay, herbal, and vegetal aromas and flavors. On the final 3 infusions, the vegetal and grassy notes dominated and were underscored by butter, cream, and mineral aromas and flavors.

At first, I was worried that I had waited too long on this one and that it had started to turn, but my fears quickly subsided. This is an extremely deep, refined Tieguanyin with an interesting and challenging combination of aromas and flavors. I rather like it, though I do tend to prefer the more robustly flavored regular Tieguanyins offered by Verdant. I would recommend this tea to oolong fans, though I would recommend it with the caveat that it will likely not be for everyone. In other words, this is good, but just don’t expect something super accessible.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Hay, Herbs, Honey, Mineral, Orchid, Saffron, Vegetal, Violet

Boiling 7 g
Daylon R Thomas

I had mixed feelings towards Verdant’s Spring Tie Guan Yin anyway. It was at one point one of the highest rated oolongs on Steepster especially with excitement towards vanilla notes, but I personally didn’t get the hype. To me it was an incredibly light and floral Tie Guan Yin that is not too different from others I’ve had. This could also just be due to my bias towards sweet Taiwan mountain oolongs though.

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drank Zi Mu Dan by Verdant Tea
67 tasting notes

This oolong is crafted from a fairly new tea varietal. Noted for its floral aromatics and hints of grass and cream in the mouth, Zi Mu Dan (Purple Peony) has only been around about 20 years and is currently used solely for crafting oolongs. Some have compared it favorably to classic oolong varietals like Tieguanyin. Let’s see how it compared in my eyes.

For the purposes of this review, I brewed this tea gongfu style in a small gaiwan. I used approximately 7-8 grams of loose leaves and set the water temperature at 208 F. I once again followed the gongfu brewing guidelines suggested on Verdant’s website. The initial steeping was 10 seconds, followed by steepings of 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 seconds for 9 total infusions.

Initially, I was impressed by the aroma of the wet tea leaves. The scent reminded me of a combination of chrysanthemum, peony, jasmine, and rose. In the mouth, the initial infusions presented delicate notes of rose, jasmine, peony, and chrysanthemum balanced by subtle flavors of cream, custard, and grass. Later infusions saw traces of the floral aroma remain, though vegetal, cream, and mineral scents began to emerge. The delicate, subtle floral flavors also faded, though I could detect hints of rose and chrysanthemum lingering in the background. They were replaced by somewhat more robust flavors of sweet cream, custard, minerals, grass, and leaf vegetables (lettuce and watercress).

This is another newer style oolong that sort of perplexes me. I kind of think I either may have gotten to this one a little too late or built this one up a little too much in my head. I was expecting an incredibly sweet, creamy, floral tea, but this is more subtle and airy with delicately integrated flavors. I also found the grassy, vegetal notes to be a little more prominent than they were described as being. Perhaps the flavors were starting to fade (which could be possible as this was from a November 2015 harvest and has been sitting in my tea cabinet for just over two months) or they just don’t stand out as much as I was lead to believe-it’s certainly possible, as the Mao Xie, Huang Jin Gui, and Autumn Tieguanyin I received from Verdant were from the same harvest and consumed alongside this tea, and all of them were still fresh and vibrant in the mouth. Whatever the case, this tea doesn’t do much for me, but I will give it a second chance once the next harvest is in stock.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Rose

Boiling 7 g

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Hope I’m reviewing this in the correct spot. 2015 picking.

I managed to get this tea for $4.50 /25g. It was either pay $5 in shipping or get another tea. the choice was obvious.

This reminds me a lot of Yunnan Strand Green Tea from Verdant. Savory and Vegetal, with 2nd steepings and beyond prone to astringency. I’ve had this tea twice so far and here’s what I found (essentially Verdant’s recommendations with modifications) Always 8oz:

1st steep: 20sec, 175F water: savoury/vegetal/buttery; very tasty!

2nd steep: 30sec, 160F: savoury but a bit astringent. Still managed to drink the cup down, but a reduction in temp would be better.

3rd steep: 50sec; left my cup of 160F water cooling down for 2min before steeping (unsure of exact temp): smooth, a bit vegetal, only a slight bit of astringency left from previous steep.

Overall I do enjoy this tea but I think I’m going to start really playing around with teas that are prone to astringency (like gyokuro, yunnan, this tea…anything “tippy” really). I’ve read that, really, gyokuro and similar teas should be brewed at like 140 F- much cooler than the lowest temp on my kettle (160F). I also just bought “The tea enthusiast handbook” (which I’ve read previously from the library last year) and plan on refreshing my knowledge of different types of tea. I don’t buy a lot of books (why buy when you can get them for free?) but this is one where it would be very beneficial to have laying around for reference.

Flavors: Butter, Vegetal

8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Ben Shan by Verdant Tea
67 tasting notes

So, here we go with another oolong review. I have been dedicating my time to drinking more oolong teas lately, and today we come to Verdant Tea’s Ben Shan. Part of Master Zhang’s collection, Ben Shan is a type of oolong that many tea drinkers may be familiar with only in passing. It is well known in China, but in the West it doesn’t seem to get a ton of attention. I have heard that some vendors mix it with Tieguanyin in order to emphasize floral aromas and flavors.

I brewed this tea using the gongfu method suggested on Verdant Tea’s website. I steeped approximately 7 grams of loose tea leaves in 208 F water. The initial infusion was 10 seconds, with an increase of 2 seconds for each subsequent infusion. I conducted 9 total steepings for this review (steep times of 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 18 seconds, 20 seconds, 22 seconds, 24 seconds, 26 seconds).

Rather than detail the results of each individual steeping, I will simply provide any potential readers with my overall impressions of how this tea changed over the course of a single session. Initially, the aroma was quite delicate, offering mild aromas of lilac, jasmine, chrysanthemum, cream, and custard. The aroma became more subdued over the course of the session, as traces of mineral and vegetal (lettuce, watercress) scents began to emerge. In the mouth, initial steepings offered a balance of delicate chrysanthemum, lilac, jasmine, cream, and custard notes with faint impressions of pear, lime zest, and puff pastry, though mineral, lettuce, and watercress notes began to emerge in subsequent steepings.

In the end, I am not sure how I feel about this oolong. To me, it kind of falls into a gray area between a greener Tieguanyin and something like Huang Jin Gui. The flavor is pretty evenly split between creamy, savory notes and sweet, floral notes, but there really isn’t enough of anything else to provide some needed depth and balance. After drinking this tea, I can kind of understand why Ben Shan is supposedly often blended with Tieguanyin-it really doesn’t seem to hold up very well on its own. In my opinion the aromas and flavors that are here are really pleasant, but they are too light and superficial to keep me intrigued over the course of a lengthy session.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Jasmine, Lettuce, Lime, Mineral, Pastries, Pear, Sweet, Vegetal

Boiling 7 g

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I was in the mood for something gingery because my stomach has been a bit weird today. Came across this one and thought sure, why not? This is a complex herbal blend, I can definitely taste the ginger, tulsi, and citrus.. maybe a hint of floral too. I steeped it western-style for 4min and added a tsp of manuka honey, which I can definitely recommend. It’s warming and soothing and a bit sweet.

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This was apart of Verdant’s 5 for 5.

10, 10, 20, 30, 40,

Dry leaf: smokey, mild honey
Leaf after a rinse: cabbage? broccoli? very vegetal, not much of a floral aspect to this.

I’m very surprised no one else commented on the smokiness of this. The beginning of the sip is more floral but the flavor that lingers is pretty smoky. Upon inspection of the leaf I found a few leaves that were blacked on the edges. Maybe I just got a particularly smoky sample. The flavor is pretty consistent with young sheng, nothing that really jumps out at me. Not much sweetness, though later steepings became more palatable.

Overall, this tea isn’t awful. I can’t say I was terribly impressed

200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 95 ML

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Pleasant, with mouth awakening minerality and slightly roasted flavor

Flavors: Mineral, Roasted, Tea

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve had this tea twice so far. I found the following brewing method with multiple steeps to be the best (about 3-4grams? of leaf with 8oz of water:

1st steep: 30 sec, 175F
2nd steep: 45sec, 160F
3rd steep: 1min, 160F

I mostly get a yummy savory taste with a hint of vegetal. Yumm. The 2nd and 3rd steeps I find to have a hint of astringency, but bringing the temp down to 160F really helps (the first time I made this tea, I did the 2nd steep at 175F and it was so bitter I had to dump the cup :( ). Overall this tea is good, but It is finicky. worth it? I think so.

Flavors: Vegetal

8 OZ / 236 ML

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
76 tasting notes

I really like this laoshan black! It brews up a nice thick orange soup, it’s quite like an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, nice and malty and woody, with subtle cherry and peach/apricot notes, later steeps bring out more nutty tastes, strong cherry with dark chocolate.

Flavors: Apricot, Cherry, Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Malt, Nuts, Nutty, Oats, Peach

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This is from Verdant’s 5 for 5.

15, 30, 45, 60, 1m30

This is one of the lighter roasted Big Red Robes I’ve had. It honestly reminds me of Tie Guan Yin. I used my usual yancha parameters and just found this to be unexciting. It leaves a metallic taste (not a pleasant mineral note) on the tongue and is astringent. This tea had a unpleasant drying affect to my throat. I usually drink wuyis with heavy leaf and short steeps so I don’t think that’s what’s causing the problem. If I had more than 5 grams of this I would experiment with the brewing parameters.

Overall, not terribly impressed. The flavor was okay but the mouth-feel was disappointing.

Flavors: Astringent, Floral, Raisins

190 °F / 87 °C 5 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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drank Traditional Ruan Zhi by Verdant Tea
12 tasting notes

This tea smells amazing. It reminds me of toasted and grilled corn on the cob. It has a very pleasant sweet, yet toasted, aroma and also smells faintly of nuts, wood, and vanilla. Best toasted aroma I’ve smelled to date. After brewing, the aroma becomes distinctly more vegetal.

First brew was for 2 minutes at 200F, with 5g per 8 ounces. It tastes good, but not nearly as good as it smelled. It is still good, but after the first hit of toasty, the flavor becomes very very subtle and almost disappears completely. I apparently like my tea very strong, since I would enjoy this much strong.

The second steep (2:15 minutes) was actually better than the first steep. The tea becomes much more vegetal, while still maintaining the roasted flavor. It is because of the second steep I bumped my rating up from 62 to 68.

Flavors: Toasted, Toasty, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I don’t know if this is a good thing or not, but I have been using my time off work to drink a ton of oolongs. I have been trying to clean out more space in my tea cabinet and was shocked to discover that the oolong shelf was overflowing. Moreover, I had a number of green oolongs that were still good, but needed to be consumed in order to get the most out of them. This is the one I decided to start with and I’m glad I got to it when I did. So far, it is the best oolong I have had this year.

I brewed this one gongfu. Yes, I am finally reviewing a tea that I brewed gongfu style. I steeped approximately 7-8 grams of tea leaves in 208 F water. I did not exactly follow Verdant’s gongfu brewing guidelines for this tea. Rather than increasing steep times by the recommended 2 seconds, I increased steep times by 5 seconds per infusion. No joke, I still got 12 good steepings out of this tea.

First Infusion: Prominent aromas of butter, cream, and flowers were present on the nose. In the mouth, I picked up robust notes of hay, grass, lettuce, bread, minerals, butter, cream, custard, lilac, jasmine, orchid, and saffron.

Second Infusion: Cream and flower aromas were heavy on the nose. I picked up big floral notes on the entry that were soon chased by mellow flavors of steamed buns, custard, butter, cream, minerals, and lettuce.

Third Infusion: Very creamy and savory on the nose with balanced floral aromatics. The flavor was savory up front, offering relatively robust notes of cream, steamed buns, butter, and custard. A nice balance of floral and vegetal notes rounded out the flavor.

Fourth Infusion: Again, very savory on the nose with lots of butter, cream, and custard. The floral aromas were starting to fade a tad at this point. In the mouth, there was still a nice mix of floral and savory flavors with vegetal and mineral notes on the finish.

Fifth Infusion: Savory aromas on the nose with slight floral aromas in the background. In the mouth, there was a pleasant balance of flowers, cream, and custard. The mineral notes were more pronounced on the back end compared to the fourth infusion, as were the vegetal notes. I also noted the return of grass and hay-like flavors on the finish.

Sixth Infusion: The aroma was very similar to the previous two infusions, as was the taste, though I noted that the grass, hay, and lettuce notes were slightly more pronounced here.

Seventh Infusion: Mild nose with subtle aromas of cream, custard, minerals, and flowers. Smooth, subtle notes of custard, cream, butter, lettuce, hay, grass, minerals, and flowers in the mouth.

Eighth Infusion: The nose was similar to the seventh infusion. In the mouth, I picked up smooth notes of hay, grass, butter, lettuce, and cream balanced by fleeting impressions of lilac, saffron, and jasmine.

Ninth Infusion: The nose was similar to the previous two infusions. The flavor profile emphasized lettuce, grass, hay, and minerals on the entry, while custard, cream, butter, and floral notes lingered in the background.

Tenth Infusion: Fleeting aromas of cream, lettuce, grass, hay, and flowers on the nose, with strong lettuce and mineral notes in the mouth underscored by flowers, cream, and butter.

Eleventh Infusion: Slightly creamy, floral nose with vegetal impressions. Lettuce, grass, and mineral notes dominated the entry, though fleeting impressions of cream and butter provided a semblance of balance.

Twelfth Infusion: The aroma was very similar to the previous infusion, as was the flavor, though everything was very muted except the mineral and lettuce notes. Even though I have a very sensitive palate, I decided to stop here as I expected that another infusion would not leave much of an impression.

Overall, I really like this oolong and was shocked that it has such a low overall score here on Steepster. I’ll concede that it may not be all that complex, but I feel that it presents subtle nuances in its flavor profile very well over the course of a long session. I respect and admire that.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Hay, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Saffron

Boiling 7 g 5 OZ / 162 ML

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drank Reserve Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
12 tasting notes

The small is similar, but very different from the Traditional Mao Xie. It is not toasted smelling at all, and is much more “green” both visually and aromatically. Smells strongly of kale and spinach.

First steep was for 2:00 min at 195F, with 5g for 8 oz. Tastes like artichoke, spinach, and a little bit like kale. Very good depth of flavor. Doesn’t taste anything like the Traditional Mao Xie. It almost tastes more like a green tea than oolong. However, I’m still improving my palette, so I can’t be 100% sure.

Held up well to 4 steeps. I enjoyed this tea, but not enough to buy more of it.

Flavors: Artichoke, Kale, Spinach

195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec 5 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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