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Recent Tasting Notes
Puerh Tea TTB. This was a potent and somewhat bitter sheng. Gave it eight steeps. There were some sweet notes towards the end. Even apricots in nature.
I steeped this tea eight times in a 100ml gaiwan with 5.2g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, and 30 sec.
5 for $5 deal.
Despite the controversy surrounding Verdant, I’ve decided to base my purchasing decisions upon how much I enjoy their teas. After all, that is what tea is for. However, I do take all claims about origin and age with a grain of salt.
Unfamiliar with their steeping parameters for Western – always thought it would be a minimum of 2 minutes but Verdant recommends 20 seconds + 10 per extra infusion at 5g per 235ml. My Western teapot strainer is positioned in a way that I have to fill the water to the top, so at 350ml I am aware that there is too much water for too little leaf in this particular brew.
Buttery, grassy, floral, seaweed. Texture is slippery but a bit drying in the mouth.
Website does not specify which style or harvest this sampler is from. I only assumed it is the Traditional Tieguanyin. But as the site states graham cracker, caramelized banana, violet and cinnamon in their tasting notes (of which I can’t detect any of) – I may be wrong.
Why do they not specify this??
Enjoyed although it wasn’t all that exceptional to me. But I’m more of a roasted oolong kind of gal anyway.
2015 Autumn Laoshan Bilochun
Almost done my 25g bag of this, which therefore means I’ve had this tea quite a lot. I use 175F water and do the first steep at 25sec, adding 10sec each subsequent steep. I find the first steep to be the best with a buttery/vegetal taste and no astringency. The subsequent steeps tend to get a bit astringent, but still pretty good. Overall this is a bolder green than some of the other blends I’ve had from verdant. I do like it, but I don’t love it like I do Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell. Overall, really nice to try out Verdant; I’ve yet to have a bad experience :)
Flavors: Astringent, Butter, Vegetal
Woah, this one surprised me. I’ve been getting a bit weary of black tea lately since I’ve ended up with a surprising number of different kinds in samples, but my water was already boiling when it came time to pick out a tea and I’ve been wanting to work on crackling my new ruyao ware, so black tea it was. 3-5 grams to a 100 ml gaiwan, preheated, boiling water, 25 seconds to start.
It’s as if this tea heard my misgivings and gently placated my concerns this grey morning by delivering a much more subdued, but still intensely rich and comforting chocolate flavor with only tones of the black tea maltiness I was starting to grow a bit bored of. Surprisingly sweet for any tea I’ve had, it has a honey sweetness to it that I find hard to believe is a natural byproduct of just tea leaves. This sweet lingers strongly in the back of your throat after each sip, it is definitely the sweetest tea I’ve had to date. The lighter orange amber color seems to reflect the tea’s lighter flavor as well, although the first steep or two does have a predominately intense chocolate flavor I also enjoyed. Overall, I would place this as a much lighter but no less comforting alternative to hot chocolate anytime, I may have to stock up on this tea.
Flavors: Cacao, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Malt, Sweet
Another tea from a previous round of the GCTTB I think. The package was unopened so despite being a little bit older (I’m not sure how old but I know it not this year’s picking) the tea was still relatively fresh. The flavours were strongly vegetable but with almost none of the bitterness you find in lower-quality green teas. There’s also a lightly savory undercurrent, though it wasn’t super-pronounced. As a whole the tea came across and being very fresh and crisp.
From Dark Matter 2016. I used all 5.5g I got in a 100mL gaiwan with 190 degree water. I did a brief rinse followed by steeps of 10s, 10s, 12s, 20s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 90s.
The dry leaves smelled like dark chocolate to me, with a bit of an added malty note once rinsed. The first two steeps were chocolatey with a bit of a toasted bread note probably from the roast. I think that might be where some people tasted sweet potato. On the third and fourth steeps, the texture thickened up nicely and it tasted like I was drinking creamy hot cocoa with a bit of a malty note in there as well. The flavor stayed in my mouth well after each sip starting from those steeps. As the flavors muted in the final steeps, it took on a bit of an earthy feel to it, with some sweetness but not the overt chocolate notes I had earlier. This was a good tea, and probably not one I would have tried without Dark Matter, as some of Verdant’s prices are a bit steep for me.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Creamy, Dark Chocolate, Earth, Malt
I’ve now had a chance to sample this tea a few times, multiple steepings each time. In my opinion, the first steep is the best one since it has the most vegetal & nutty taste. It loses most of those flavours with subsequent steeps, but it still lovely. Overall a nice tea, but not quite as good as Spring Reserve Laoshan Green or Mrs. Li’s Shi Feng Dragonwell (my ultimate fave, sooo buttery and nutty).
Flavors: Nutty, Vegetal
Got this as a part of their sampler deal, not entirely sure if it’s this specific Laoshan Green (the labeling on the bag wasn’t terribly specific), but the flavor notes look close enough.
Steeped about 2-3 of the tightly twisted long leaves in a ~100 ml gaiwan at 180 F to start, added some hotter water in later then back to cooler (I think the hotter water actually brought out some really nice flavors in this). The aroma was nice, crisp, grassy and the color was a light gold green. The taste was a wonderfully refreshing nutty, creamy and quite sweet for most of the steeps with some grassiness in the beginning and more sweetness and vanilla towards the end with a really long lasting sweet aftertaste. Overall, I really enjoyed this, it was hardly astringent at all and held up for a surprising number of steeps (I think 8+).
Flavors: Creamy, Grass, Nutty, Sweet, Vanilla
Brewing up the last of my sample of this, I am reminded that I need to start purchasing more green teas from Verdant Tea. I have yet to have a bad experience with any of the green teas I have purchased from Verdant. This one was certainly no exception.
I ultimately decided to do a simple Western two step infusion for this tea. I generally do not steep green tea more than twice, simply because I think that the first two steepings of most green teas are the best. The water temperature was 175 F. The steep times were 2 and 4 minutes respectively.
The first infusion yield a pale greenish yellow liquor. Mild aromas of grass, bamboo, asparagus, and cream were present on the nose. In the mouth, I detected strong notes of cream, oats, soybean, grass, and bamboo underscored by fleeting impressions of asparagus, honeydew, and cantaloupe. The second infusion yielded a slightly darker liquor with strong aromas of grass, bamboo, and cream with a subtle background fruitiness. In the mouth, strong notes of cream, oats, grass, bamboo, asparagus, and soybean were framed against a backdrop of honey, honeydew, and cantaloupe before a long and creamy fade.
This is a really nice Chinese green tea. It is not particularly complex, but it gets bonus points from me for its approachability and unique flavor profile. Make no mistake about it, this is a very appealing tea that is easy to drink. I really like that little bit of fruity sweetness displayed by this tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Cantaloupe, Cream, Grass, Honey, Honeydew, Oats, Soybean
Prior to this morning I had a little packet of this just sitting in my tea cabinet. I received it as a free sample with an order from Verdant Tea around a couple months ago. With my recent consumption skewing heavily in the direction of black and green teas, I have not had much of a chance to review many oolongs. After working six days straight and dealing with unseasonable cold, however, I decided that I needed something a little heavier to wake me up this morning. It was finally time to break this one out and spend some serious time pondering it.
To brew this tea, I decided on a multi-step Western infusion. Normally, I follow the brewing guidelines suggested by the vendor, but today, I decided to lower the water temperature just a tad. I still kept it within a range acceptable for most oolongs, but the last time I brewed a tea from Verdant, I found that their suggested temperatures are slightly on the high side for my taste. The initial steep times were 2 minutes, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, and 6 minutes. I allowed for an optional final steep of around 8 minutes just in case. I settled on this method because I have had a lot of success with 4-6 step infusions with aged oolongs in the past. I figured one could work here.
First Infusion: The liquor produced was an attractive pale yellow. Mild aromas of freshly cut grass, roasted nuts, minerals, and wood were evident. In the mouth, I found a pleasant mixture of grass, butter, mineral, moss, toast, wood, and herbal notes that were somewhat reminiscent of ginseng.
Second Infusion: The liquor produced was slightly darker than the first infusion. Stronger, brisker aromas of grass, wood, nuts, minerals, and herbs were present on the nose. Complex notes of leather, tobacco, nuts, brown toast, char, butter, wood, roasted barley, wet stones, moss, minerals, herbs, and steamed buns rolled across the palate.
Third Infusion: The liquor produced was about the same color as that produced by the second infusion. Mild toast, roasted barley, butter and mineral aromas were evident. In the mouth, toast, char, butter, nut, moss, stone, herb, steamed bun, and mineral notes began to give way to creaminess.
Fourth Infusion: The liquor produced was slightly paler. Very subtle aromas of grass, roasted barley, and toast were just barely detectable on the nose. In the mouth, very mild notes of grass, barley, toast, nuts, and minerals were chased by creaminess.
I did try a fifth infusion, but there wasn’t much flavor, so I won’t detail its results here.
Overall, I am pleased with this experiment. I think this is really nice as far as aged oolongs go, and fortunately, the roast characteristics aren’t overwhelming. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this tea to those looking for an oolong with a good deal of complexity.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Butter, Char, Cream, Freshly Cut Grass, Herbs, Leather, Mineral, Moss, Roasted Barley, Roasted nuts, Tobacco, Wet Rocks, Wood
I bought this tea in February 2016. I hope this is the right place on Steepster to record this note. My package says “Shi Feng Longjing Green Tea 1st Picking.” I usually brew dragonwell gongfu style with my gaiwan. But I decided to try the open pitcher method that Verdant made a video about. This is the first time I’m using my new glass pitcher and this lovely flower cup (see pictures below).
The pitcher brew method makes for a much stronger cup of tea. I’m not really sure how long I steeped it since the leaves were always in the water. I found this method was very difficult to keep the leaves out of the cup when I poured from the pitcher. I tried using a strainer but it was hard to pick the leaves out of it afterwards. Then I tried pouring really slowly but that only kind of worked. Finally, I used a wooden spatula to strain the tea as I poured. This seemed to work best but the leaves would stick to the sides of the pitcher and then I’d have to poke them back down. All in all, I think I probably prefer using a gaiwan.
The tea itself is good. I’m sure it would have been better back in February, as it’s now May. It’s Mother’s Day, in fact! I’ve been absent from Steepster for a long time because I am now myself a mother since January 2015. Babies are a handful. I don’t have much time to myself these days and certainly no time whatsoever to enjoy tea. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this tea in particular. It’s buttery and a tad bitter. My mind is on other things.
On April 26th, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was a total shock. She had no symptoms for years. She ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. She had two different surgeries and her kidney function is slowly improving. I have no idea how many Mother’s Days I’ll have left with her. It’s a nightmare. You’re never prepared for this kind of news. I suppose no matter what the circumstances, we would have been caught off guard.
It’s such a hard thing…there are no words.
I hope and pray that she has many years left. There’s really no way to know.
Me and my baby:
Me, my mom, and my daughter (This was taken exactly one year – to the day – before she was diagnosed.):
Note: I had started drinking this after my 8-9 cups of 2005 CNNP Aged Ripe. Therefore, I was a little tea drunk from the morning session.
Anyway, I had about 5 steeps from the sample via Dark Matter 2016. I must say that overall these teas have been pleasing. This one was especially great. Then again, I’ve liked a majority of the teas that I’ve tried from Verdant thus far.
My notes during the session:
First steep: 5s—Nutty, chocolaty, sweet roasted oolong flavors. The mouthfeel is nice. The flavors remain in the mouth for a while after the first cup. I think this’d be a great substitute for chocolate, that is, when I desperately need “the fix.” Unfortunately, this is a small amount of tea, but would definitely considering buying more.
Second steep: 15s—Less chocolate, more oolong notes. The roasted oolong flavor really comes out in this cup. Reminds me of a Taiwanese oolong a friend had given me a few months ago. Really has that nutty quality to it. I’m picking up a hint of squash(?) or raw pumpkin(?) in the tea. Still very sweet.
Third steep: My wife, who by all means is solely a coffee drinker, is wanting a cup. Her thoughts are, “A bit astringent . A bit grassy, yes? A bit woody? Somehow sweet. Nothing much here—kind of light.” However, I asked her whether or not she had tasted the nutty/chocolate notes. She had given it thought, and considered that “it did.”
I was pretty tea drunk this morning, though; therefore, my notes are a scattered mess. I did write in caps, “THIS IS TEA, RIGHT? MARIA THINKS THAT I’VE REALLY STARTING DRINKING….” I recommend this tea. The one downfall to it is that is doesn’t last too long. I had a total of 6 steeps before the flavor dispersed.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Nutty, Pumpkin, Thick
This note is for the Spring 2016 tea.
Another tea from Verdant. I was up early (for me anyways) and got to savour two steeps of this tea at home before work. Another lovely, gorgeous tea. Here are my findings:
Steep 1: 8oz 175F water, 30sec: vegetal, slightly floral, and more prominent a nutty taste that kind of tastes salty and buttery. SOOO goooooood.
Steep 2: 8oz 175F water, 45sec: less nutty, still vegetal, a bit buttery and slightly floral. Super good too.
I did do a third steep in my travel mug for work, but I only rinsed it after work last night so the taste is muddled with the tea from yesterday. So I will not comment on that steep other than saying is vegetal, lol.
One of the most delicious teas I’ve ever had. I’ve been trying to follow Verdant tea’s western steeping recommendations and I wonder how big of a difference it’s making as well? Usually I do a 12oz mug with about 1-1.5tsp of tea and steep green tea for 1.5-3min and its the same for subsequent steeps. I’m going to try Verdant’s methods on other greens I have and see how it makes a difference.
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Nuts, Nutty, Salt, Vegetal
At first sniff I knew I had a special tea on my hands. Picked only a month ago, this tea smells incredibly fresh- like nothing I’ve had before. I did multiple steepings of this tea, each one being super vegetal: as if I was eating greens! Tasty, very tasty; it’s truly delicious and something to savour.
Flavors: Vegetables, Vegetal
This is my tea from yesterday.
I really enjoyed this one. Found it very buttery with a bit of fruity taste. Could also pick up faint notes of vanilla. It was very smooth and silky on the tongue. Early steeps didn’t have any bitterness at all but steeps after No3 seemed to have a bit of bitterness creeping in. I wonder if that was because I put too much leaf in the gaiwan? I tend to like my teas on the lighter side and when it comes to sheng I always seem to get a little too much leaf for my liking.
Anyway, if this tea was still available , I would probably order a cake since it was that good.
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Vanilla
First order from Verdant tea came in! This lovely tea was a free sample I got. I’m not a big white tea drinker but I love jasmine tea and after a long day today helping out with grad I wanted green tea but didn’t want the caffeine since it was 4pm. Luckily I got this in the mail and knew I wanted to use it right away!
The website says to use 205F water and a 25 sec steep. I did it for the first infusion but changed it to lower temps afterwards since I was concerned about bitterness. Here are my notes from the infusions:
1st Steep: 205F, 8oz (as always), 25sec : lovely, lovely jasmine flavouring that also smells lilac-y. Natural sweetness as well; a great pick me up.
2nd steep: 185F, 35sec: glad I reduced the temp from here on in, cause there was bitterness in this infusion. Same jasmine taste though, and after it cooled down the bitterness was only slightly present.
3rd steep: 175F, 50sec: perfect smoothness with the jasmine flavouring. I think this is the right temperature for this tea.
4th steep: 175F, 1min: much the same to the last steep, perhaps more sweet notes?
I’m stopping here because in spite of the fact that white tea doesn’t have nearly as much caffeine I don’t wanna be awake all night. I’m gunna save the leaves for tomorrow afternoon. Altogether i really enjoyed this sample, and it was fun to change up how I normally steep tea since with a tea like this I usually just do like 1-2 tsp in 10oz water for 2-4 min. This way I can explore the tastes more thoroughly. Looking forward to trying the other ones in my order the same way!
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Sweet
A sample of this tea was included with one of my more recent orders from Verdant Tea and I have been putting off trying it for awhile. Honestly, I have been holding back on drinking a lot of white tea over the past couple of months. For one thing, I have such a hoard of high quality black teas that I have been fiendishly trying to reduce, and also, I just don’t tend to drink a lot of white tea at once. I recently finished the last of the Yabao from Whispering Pines and still have a lot of the Moondance left, but due to the miniscule amount of this tea I had on hand, I decided to bump it up in the rotation.
When brewing this tea, I settled on my usual Western three step infusion, with infusion times of 2, 4, and 7 minutes for each infusion. Honestly, Verdant Tea’s recommended brewing temperature of 205 F seemed a little high to me, but I decided to roll with it. I may try a lower temperature and a different infusion method the next time I partake of some of this tea.
The first infusion yielded a slightly greenish liquor with pronounced aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, and lilac. In the background, I could detect subtle scents of cream and grass as well. On the palate, the jasmine, honeysuckle, and lilac merged with delicate vanilla, marshmallow, cream, oat, grass, mango, and apricot notes. The second infusion yielded a pale golden liquor with delicate aromas of mango, apricot, grass, cream, and melon underscored by delicate lilac, honeysuckle, and jasmine scents. On the palate, I detected distinct notes of cantaloupe, honeydew, nectarine, mango, apricot, white peach, oats, grass, and cream with lilac, honeysuckle, and jasmine lingering in the background. The third infusion yielded a delicate yellow-green liquor with soft aromas of cream, grass, oats, marshmallow, apricots, and melon. On the palate, notes of cream, grass, oats, and marshmallow were front and center, while faint traces of lilac, jasmine, honeysuckle, apricot, mango, and melon were still detectable in the background.
For such a seemingly simple tea, there is a lot going on here. Like a lot of the white teas that I have tried, the aromas and flavors are subtle, but are just present enough to keep the drinker intrigued. I especially appreciated the harmonious melding of aromas and flavors that was so obvious on each infusion. It is also worth noting that while most jasmine teas go over-the-top with the jasmine aroma and flavor, this one reigns it in, allowing other complexities to emerge. As one who finds floral teas to be very hit or miss overall, I can say that I find this one to be an expertly crafted jasmine tea that is well worth one’s time.
Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honeydew, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Mango, Marshmallow, Oats, Peach, Smooth, Sweet
I will admit that roasted teas and I never quite got along. Then one day while sipping on one I realized that it wasn’t a matter of tea type but of good roast vs bad roast, good tea vs bad tea. Because of that I never rule anything out because there may be something down the road that just might change my mind. I felt the same way about my first Pu and man how times have changed on that front too. Back to the tea at hand…
…This was an example of good roast and good tea resulting in an absolutely pleasurable tea session. Baked bread, rich leafy greens, roasted vegetables, slight hint of cocoa, medium mouthfeel, this is a true soup. Just over 6g of leaf, 120ml gaiwan and 200F with infusions beginning at 5s and moving up for…well honestly I lost count…this tea is that good. So glad I have an extra sample to enjoy later.
Thanks once again to Liquid Proust and the Dark Matter 2016 group buy!