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Recent Tasting Notes
First note! I can’t believe no one has written about this tea before. Does that mean I’m the only one to have purchased it so far? I highly recommend you trot on over to Verdant’s new website and check out this tea’s story. There’s a very interesting video about how they cultivate the wild tea trees and how they prefer to process the tea by hand and lay it out to dry in the sun because it creates a better flavor.
I used my gaiwan to brew this gongfu style. I started with a 6 second steep and added 3 seconds to each subsequent infusion. Towards the end I lost count and ended up steeping this for a couple minutes. The early infusions have a light yellow liquor that deepens with each subsequent steep into a dark golden amber.
This may be a Yunnan Black, but it tastes like Puer to me. The primary note is aged leather, which is definitely a puer flavor note in my experience. There’s a minor underlying note of spice in the later infusions, which I’m really enjoying. It’s a dark woodsy tea. The description says it’s farmed in the oldest tea forest in the world and I feel like you can taste that in the tea. It has a strong presence and evokes the kind of reverence owed to a wise elder.
I can’t say I understand or agree with Verdant’s other flavor notes on this one though. It’s described as “very vegetal” akin to “tulsi” and “floral” like “orange blossom honey.” I’ve never had tulsi so I don’t know what that tastes like. But I have had plenty of vegetal teas and I wouldn’t use that word to describe this. Similarly, I have had lots of floral teas and I wouldn’t necessarily use that word to describe this either. There is something honey-esque in the cup but nothing overtly flowery. I’m interested to find out what others detect in this tea. Get some and see for yourself! For me, I will enjoy this sample but won’t be buying more. It’s not a flavor profile that I particularly desire.
Flavors: Dark Wood, Leather, Spices
Best breakfast tea ever, and now I’ve finished it for the last time. :( Even though it was very nice of Verdant to share their recipe to make this, I just don’t realistically see myself blending this tea myself. Sigh…maybe one day when I get desperate enough.
Scent of dry leaf is very sweet and brown sugary. After steeping, taking the lid off the gaiwan and inhaling I get an overlay of smoke on top of an underlying sweet rock smell. Tasting at 30 seconds and this has a mild bit of smoke but not unpleasant, somewhat woody and sweet but at the same time highly mineral/rocky and a little dry and dusty. At 60 seconds, while inhaling the aroma from the gaiwan is sweeter and more malty, the flavor is more dusty and the campfire smoke is more pronounced along with a barnyard note.
A pleasant and good quality jin jun mei but not one I personally need to keep on hand. Luckily I still have a good stash of my ultimate jin jun mei so I have time to find a replacement. :)
I’m a sucker for jasmine tea, and for white tea, so put them together and I had to buy this right after I tried the sample. Absolutely delicious! The jasmine was strong but not totally overpowering. The white tea is smooth and flavorful enough not to be lost in the background. My collection of jasmine teas is now complete!
This is a really good oolong (and I’m not a huge fan of oolong). By third steep, I was in love! It went from strong and even a bit bitter, to very floral and happiness and sunshine by the third and final steep (one minute, three minutes, five minutes). Next time I’ll try even shorter steeps to see just what the flavor does.
1.5 tsp for 300mL water @95C, Western style, steeped four minutes, drunk bare.
Dry leaves are tiny, curled, and very smooth, alms silly, to the touch. I know about the smoothness because I had way too much on my spoon and pinched some tea back into the bag.
Dry leaves give a strong cocoa scent, with some sweet malt.
Wet leaves are long, and some are still twisted, mostly brown with some dark green. Wet leaves smell of cocoa, malt, and, i the distance, vanilla. (This is not, of course, a flavoured dessert tea.)
Liquor is dark copper. Liquor smells of — you guessed it — cocoa and malt, also soybeans and deciduous trees.
Taste: cocoa and malt, of course, and a bit of soybean, with sweetness and some vanilla notes in the finish. I haven’t tried this year’s batch labelled just ‘Laoshan Black,’ so I can’t comment on any differences between that and this, the Spring Harvest Laoshan Black. I can say this tea gives everything I remember falling for in Laoshan Black.
The finish is very soft.
This was disappointing. I’ve been waiting to try this for awhile, so I finally picked it out. I opened the package and took in the sweet tang and heavy wood aroma. So far so good right? I poured out the tea and then I became saddened. It was just short of a full gongfu session (so I reduced water) and the “leaves” were mostly dusting. I washed the bits once and watched as most of them poured away. I was mostly turned off at this point. A big thing for me is presentation and quality. I wasn’t really feeling the gongfu session to much, but I preceded thinking “don’t judge a book by its cover” sort of thing. The leaves gave off a roasted oak and burnt sugar scent. The liquor was dirty. There were tons of little bits everywhere, hahah. It was quite a mess. The flavor was good. This wasn’t a phenomenal Wuyi, but it was still fairly decent. The initial sip started with a sharp tang and smoothed with dark fruit tones. The session proceeded into a deep caramel and rum flavor. I was able to get about five steeps out this small package, which inst that bad. Altogether, I’m glad I was able to try it, but I wont be jumping to get anymore of this.
I picked out the whole leaves for the photo…
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Fruity, Oak wood, Rum, Smoke
This is the 3rd dragonwell I’ve had this week, the other two being Teavivre and Yunnan Sourcing. All 3 had very different flavor profiles:
Verdant – sweet with a hint of fruitiness
Teavivre – fresh and grassy
Yunnan: – vegetal with more astringency
This was definitely the sweetest dragonwell of the bunch and had an interesting fruitiness that tasted weirdly enough like banana. After the 2nd infusion, the fruity notes begin to fade as the tea takes on a smooth, more vegetal flavor.
Of the three dragonwell I sampled, I preferred Teavivre as it brewed the cleanest and most balanced cup.
Thank you to Equusfell for sending me a bit of this to try!
Flavors: banana, Vegetal
This is a great EG! Sad I waited until the last minute to try it, because it really is pretty good in terms of the EGs I have tried so far. It is a much more chocolatey version due to the LB base (yum) and there is a definite vanilla note after pouring it from my travel mug. Nice and caffeinated on this cold morning in the office again haha. This is a different take on earl grey, be forewarned – not overly strong bergamot if that is your thing. For me, it is more of a dessert like EG, Andrew & Dunhams EG is still my long reigning favorite. But I am happy to have picked up a sample of this to try while it was available, and I will also try to write a more detailed note later when I’m not at work lol.
Tasty and warming this morning!
Why do the Star Trek writers call the 19th century ancient? Anyway, having coffee for a week only made me want more tea. The dry leaves have a scent of cocoa and sweet potatoes, but I get some smoke in the brew. There is a bit of a raisin and caramel flavour, with grain and nut notes. Overall, it tastes like I kinda want pie.
Flavors: Cocoa, Grain, Nuts, Sweet Potatoes
I got this as a 5 for 5 sample, and it was definitely what I wanted. I actually had this one before the Roasted Laoshan Oolong. They are approximately the same tea in terms of taste, especially to someone who is a little bit new to tea, but to me, this tea is considerably rosier while the oolong is like a sweeter chocolate version.
Another thing about this sample, really the verdant teas I’ve had in general is that the tea tastes slightly different from when I first opened the bag to when I’ve had it for a few days. I brewed the near 3-4 grams of this tea both times within the same gongfu parameters. This going to be full of compare and contrast, as you may or may not notice in the beginning.
Test steep-15 seconds with water just under boiling. First time with the newly opened bag reminded me distinctly of rose water which I deeply enjoyed, but for whatever reason, reminded my mother of soap. The other time I drank this, the rose was still there but had more of the cocoa notes that typically describe it.
Steep two at 45 seconds in the original sampling, it was a very light fusion between rose and cocoa. I could see why it tasted like soap-it reminded me of a feminine luxury bath salt with chocolates on the side. The other time the cocoa was more prominent and the rose not as present, a little bit more malty, but with a weird wine, grape, or currant quality. I couldn’t quite place it, but there was a berry note hidden in there.
Steep 3 I tried at 35, but too light, upped to a minute and half. Rose and cocoa there yet lighter both times that I had it, though the later sampling had more of the weird grape or berry-ness. Steep 4 at 3 minutes, it tasted like rose water both times.
I liked this one, but I’m preferential with it. I personally preferred the oolong because it was sweeter. I should note that my expectations were pretty high with this one with the reviews on steepster, and my experience with the Ailaoshan Black from Whispering Pines. I might have to try this one again. Still something that I would recommend to almost anyone. This appeals more to black tea drinkers for sure, or ones who like sweeter and more robust flavor without astringency. A newer drinker might be opened up to a new world or underwhelmed.
Flavors: Cocoa, Malt, Rose, Sweet, White Grapes
I had been curious about this offering from Verdant for a while now and thanks to a swap with Equusfell, I finally got my hands on some and it sure didn’t disappoint! This tea reminds me of why I love green tea. It has a crisp, clean taste to it with notes of vibrant spring vegetables and no hint of bitterness or astringency at all.
Having tried this side by side with Verdant’s other signature green tea Dragon Well – an excellent tea in its own right – I enjoyed the Laoshan more. Although both are similar, this had a mellow sweetness and refreshing finish that I really liked. Just a all-around lovely green tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Sweet, Vegetal
White Comparison 8/17/15 Tea #5
Why is banana listed as the first flavor of this tea on here?
This tea is fun for this reason: Upon each time that the liquid I brewed out of this goes down, there is a line of silky sweetness that I not only feel but taste.
It’s kind of like Turbo just shot down my throat… wait, no it’s not because that would be slimy…
Anyways, this tea is great because it has the taste, the aroma, and the ‘feels’.
Au jasmin. Sweet, creamy, and pure jasmine. There is a banana sweetness, and a hidden white peppercorn spiciness. Even dry leaf, it has a lovely perfume that is so natural.
I used the full seven gram sample in eight ounces. First was purely jasmine perfume, again, au jasmin. Second thirty seconds was sweeter, more of the banana. Third, simple jasmine again.
I love this one. It was a nice reminder of simplicity after all the oolongs that I’ve been trying. Heartwarming, and grounding. My mom would have loved it. Wish I kept some for her. Lovely. Just lovely.
Flavors: banana, Jasmine, Perfume, Smooth, Sweet
This is a young sheng at this point (8/2015), and has fairly typical flavors, and although light, it is complex at the same time. It has a touch of bitterness which coexists with a hint of sweetness, and has an astringent mouthfeel that I think will mellow with time. I like this tea and will be interested in tracking it over time.
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Olive Oil, Tobacco
This is one of the two Master Han teas I ordered from Verdant before the move. This one is just ok. It’s really, really light. Less sweet/fruity, more spicy/smoke/tobacco. Not bitter, but just not super flavorful. I definitely prefer the Qianjiazhai, and I will be getting some of the 2015 sheng brick when I place another Verdant order at some point (but probably not the entire 500 gram brick!)
Here’s Hoping TTB (round 5)
I will call this tea: Ran Over Snails, A Green Oolong
So, I’ve had the Laoshan green tea but saw this in the box and had to try it. This was nice, but I have drank much black/puerh that this tea was quite light; thus, this became an outdoor drink :)
MMMMM how pleasant a green tea or oolong tea makes being outdoors :)
Backlog, and the next few I do for a while are going to be backlogs.
So, I liked this one, and it made me realize that I’m kind picky when it comes to Wu Yi dark oolongs. I maybe should have rinsed this one to get more flavors, but what I got is a slightly fruitier rock oolong.
Water at 195 degrees F.
#1. 30 second first infusion.
What I get- woodsy, smooth, a little nutty, roasted, and bits of cocoa. It’s so close to being a black tea to me. It’s also like a less astringent version of the Irie Wu Yi Oolong.
#2. 20 seconds. Cherry, but still woodsy. Not bad. Not Great.
#3. 45 seconds. Still cherry, some wood-which is skewed because I had chocolate. Way better.
#4. 1 minute. Much better. More cherry, with a hint of cocoa-very smooth and better lighter. It’s like cooked cherry really. The wood is not as strong and it’s sweeter. Really, this is more like cherry wood vs. Irie’s bamboo like oolong overall.
#5. Stored some in the same Teavana container (glass one) overnight in the fridge, and it was a refreshing iced version of steep four that was surprisingly sweeter.
Consensus-I really have to be in the mood for a dark oolong to really like it. The woodsy notes are welcomed, but get overwhelming at times. I have to be especially choosy when I get them from now on.
Flavors: Cherry, Cherry Wood, Cocoa, Dried Fruit, Nuts, Smooth
I was very intrigued by this tea because I had never seen it before. According to Verdant Tea’s website it states that this tea is unlike others in the sense that it does not come from the plant camellia sinensis which all tea comes from and then goes through an oxidation process but rather are buds picked from ancient tree’s in the winter in China. Sounds dreamy and romantic, right? So of course I bought some from their moving away sale. Opened the bag and instantly got the smell of fresh cucumbers. So far, I’m still tring to figure out the right ratio. I’ve only brewed it in a gaiwan. The first time I did 5 grams of tea with boiling water. I don’t have a tea kettle that controls water temp just yet so I’m not sure if that matters for this brewing. The flavor was incredibly light. Once the tea cooled their was a faint taste honeydew. I then changed the ration to 10 grams of tea and got a lot more flavor out of it once it cooled down! The honeydew was there with a nice hint of honey that sticked to the tongue a little. I can see in other reviews people said to cold brew it-I will try that soon because the flavor enhanced the more it cooled. Would also be curious to age this myself and see where that goes. Besides being tasty and unique it also is a gorgeous looking tea!
Flavors: Cucumber, Honey, Honeydew
I’m taking a tea break while packing up the eldest and getting ready to send her off to college. So I’m not up for an in depth review and anyway, Haveteawilltravel has already provided an excellent review that is spot on. So, in short: this tea is wonderful. It’s smooth, sweet, smoky, light, with hardly any bitterness. I fell in love with Master Han’s Bamboo-wrapped sheng, and when I couldn’t get any more of that I ordered whatever of M. Han’s sheng was still available from Verdant. This was one of them. I’m officially a Master Han Fan!