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Recent Tasting Notes
another tea from way earlier today…..i’ve been trying to drink this one so that i don’t finish off my LB as quickly. same with me vanilla citrus spice…though it’s not working all that well as everything is just going away! I do love this a bunch, though i’m thinking i might be able to get away with just doing LB + cacao and being ok with missing the toasty rice part of the brew…mostly because the addition of the oolong in this just annoys me lol
What a stressful day. Find out our old house that we sold, the deal fell through so now we are paying two mortgages. My anxiety is through the roof. How is this possible? Argh we can’t afford this. Why now? So I have a feeling over the next few days I will be drinking this like crazy. My mind needs to relax so I can process this and deal with it accordingly. Thank goodness it is a long weekend. I am almost out of this tea but thankfully I have some that I have ordered coming. I should have ordered more of it haha. Hope everyone else’s day is going better then mine!!!
Additional notes: Well, that’s the end for this tea! Surprisingly, this didn’t taste too old, even though it has been stored terribly. It’s such a menagerie of odd flavors… it’s hard to pick them apart, but it’s tasty – it’s like a very light bubblegum fruit punch. What I thought was old yabao before is probably just oversteeped yabao – it has that cedar flavor I don’t really love (kind of like a raw pu-erh). The second cup was steeped for four minutes (too long) so it was mostly cedar. I love Verdant’s blends but I don’t think yabao is my favorite. Lowering the rating a few points.
I just realized that I never got around to mentioning that I drank this Shu earlier today. I have really enjoyed the Xingyang workshop teas that I got from Verdant awhile back, & this is one of them. I went with the xingyang workshop steeping suggestions:
5G + 4oz (rinse) X 2min
This makes for a potent cup!
The first steep is bold with an almost coffee-like bitterness, but it is also sweet, & reminds me of boston brown bread. I can’t really think of anything else to say about it right now, but I’ve reviewed it several times before.
Another excuse to use the gaiwan!
So, I’m still fairly new to aged/pu’er teas, and haven’t had a lot of success with white teas in the past. The fact that this is a white tea aged like a pu’er seemed like an interesting challenge.
And oh man, this tea was weird. A good weird, but it was unlike anything I’ve tried before.
Steeping parameters: about 2 tablespoons of leaf (which was composed of big fluffy buds, almost like wheat kernels). A 4-5-oz gaiwan. 24 oz of water brought freshly off the boil and kept in a hot teapot. 6 steeps total, starting at 30s and ranging to 1 minute.
The dry leaf smelled sweet, and I could definitely get a piny, resinous smell. After I rinsed out the leaves, that fresh forest smell was even more apparent.
The first steep (30s) tasted of pine and earth, and even kind of fishy or mushroom-like. It was a nice pale yellow.
The second and subsequent steeps all took on a pale green colour, like pastel or young shoots. The last steep even took on a blue tinge, so it was almost mint or celadon in colour!
All throughout, I tasted pine and the forest – it made me think I was back in my uncle’s cottage up on the Bay of Quinte, with the leaves falling and the damp air (even though there are mostly deciduous trees, rather than coniferous). The liquor made my tongue feel fuzzy over time – it wasn’t quite astringent, but I could sense a sort of velvet fuzziness. The fourth and fifth steeps also brought in an oolong note.
Near the end of the sip, and in the drained leaves left in the gaiwan, there was a floral sweetness that I have a hard time describing. Lily, perhaps? Chrysanthemum? Not sure.
All in all, this was definitely a distinctive blend. I’m not sure if this will be a restock, but I’m happy to send samples to others who are interested. Thanks to De for giving me a generous bag of this, still sealed from Verdant.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms, Pine
Tieguanyin’s remind me more of spring than green teas do. With their golden liquor & light florals, they are like springtime in a cup. This one is no exception, but it also has a sweet buttery quality & a rich corn-like aroma.
5G + 4oz Gaiwan X 3rounds of 3 sec, 3 rounds of 6 sec, 3 rounds of 12 sec
I love how each of us can have our own tea esthetics, & my current setup for tieguantin includes 3 of these cups & the matching Gaiwan.
I steep the tea in rounds of 3 sets, pouring a little of each steep into one of the 3 cups, & the remainder into a pitcher. Then I drink from each cup (they are tiny, like 1 nice sip each), so that I can taste how the tea changes without having to drink an entire cup. Once I’ve enjoyed all three, I go sit somewhere with the pitcher & sip their combined remainders. Then I come back for the next round. I didn’t used to do it this way, but I really enjoy this process.
So this tea is recommended for 18 steeps. I have to admit, I got bored after 6, lol
i had this a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against…wait a minute sorry… um.. as i was saying..
i had this a while ago today. I remember enjoying this a lot more the first time i had it, so i suspect that the blend that i had this time around is a variation on a theme with slightly different puerh or something. On the whole this version was a lot less yummy and tasty. But it IS darn pretty. :)
So autumn rose is nice, fruity moist smelling, and after the steepage in a Gravity Pot, the taste is not bitter, maybe a bit of sweetness from the flower petals. It’s not entirely vegetal and has almost no actual tea taste unless it’s residualar from my dern tea-steeping thing.
On a lighter note, I put it in a togo cup and sat at my favorite UCI campus hangout and heard a joke from some underclassers, it goes, So you’re at the hospital waiting room, and against the wall there’s two doors: the door to pleasure, and the door leading to like unbelieveable torture. In front of each door is a guard and all you know is one has to tell the truth and the other is always lying, but you don’t know who’s who, and you only have one question you ask either one. So, what do you ask them if you only have one question.?
The punchline is implicit, heh they’re both telling the truth because what you believe going into the door, is what it’ll feel like, so if you think it’ll be bad and good it’ll still be bad, and vis versa. Kind of like this tea, that I went into it thinking it would be good, and it was good.
Flavors: Gardenias, Melon
As soon as I got my gaiwan from Butiki today, I knew I was going to brew this up. I was a disciplined woman, though. Instead of doing it right away, I used this tea as a reward for sending out applications to 5 different jobs. Fingers crossed!
I’ve never brewed with a gaiwan before so I’m not sure if I did this right. I heated the gaiwan and my teapot with boiling water. Then I added enough leaf to make a little mound at the bottom of the gaiwan. Then I did a rinse, but didn’t time it much. After that, 5 steeps total, at approx 15/20/25/30/35 seconds. This is an estimate, though – I don’t have this down to a science.
Anyways, the tea!
Dry, the leaf smelled smoky and sweet, almost like tobacco or leather. Wet, the smell is just intensified. Holy moly, what a bouquet!
The steeps were all fairly similar in flavour – hints of hay, leather, tobacco, and a sweetness near the end that kind of reminded me of jasmine. All 5 times the liquor was a lovely clear amber. It was a tad drying throughout, and the final steep was slightly astringent. The final steep was also the sweetest.
EDIT: I saw TerriHarpLady’s post about this and she was bang-on about the chrysanthemum flavour. The sweetness at the end is very reminiscent of chrysanthemums.
I think I like pu’er teas? Not sure yet. I’ll have to try more. But I loved being able to use my gaiwan. So contemplative. I think it would be best to save this for the weekends though. Sunday morning sounds perfect.
Thanks very much to De and aisling of tea for giving me a package of this to try.
Flavors: Earth, Grass, Leather, Tobacco
I will work all night tonight so I wanted something with little caffeine this morning so I could try to sleep for a few more hours at some point. Anyhow, this blend makes my teapot and that part of my kitchen smell list like lovely citrus spice. I know this is a wintery tea, but it still seems to work here considering it will be 30F overnight.
The tea itself is delicious and tastes just like its name including the nuanced warming vanilla. I was thinking low caffeine because it does not have a lot of tea leaves per tablespoon in the blend. If I could change anything, I’d ask for more Zhu Rong because it is a wonderful black. That would defeat the whole purpose of this morning because it should add to the caffeine level but I still want it. :) It is still gorgeous and and full of generous other ingredients, though. In the infuser I can see various large bits such as orange peel and tons of coriander. I want to try some of Verdant’s other blends with my next order.
Today I ignored the steeping instructions on their website (blasphemy!) and stepped it for a solid 2.5 minutes at 205. It was even better! I am sure I won’t get as many resteeps, but the initial cup is amazing.
Flavors: Orange Zest, Vanilla
I feel like I’m on a mission to try all of the teas with the purpose of establishing a permanent collection of my favourites, and that I won’t always have 120+ teas in my cupboard, that eventually I will narrow it down to about half that. But sometimes I am honest with myself and realize I will never be done trying all the teas.
I almost didn’t include this in my Verdant order. I am not at all a fan of citrus spice teas, but seeing all the glowing reviews (mainly from Sil) made me want to at least give it a try, plus I had to spend the $50 to get the free shipping. But man am I glad I purchased this, especially because they are out of stock now!
This is the most perfect citrus spice tea I’ve ever tasted! The flavours are so wonderfully balanced. I think the inclusion of the vanilla really made this tea, it just gives it that creamy sweetness that balances out the bitterness of the citrus and the spice. I am genuinely in awe that I love this tea this much. This tea would most definitely be a part of my hypothetical permanent collection. I will try to keep it around as much as possible, but I only ordered an ounce and that won’t last me long. I hope that Verdant restocks this soon!!!
Received my Verdant order in the mail today. I called in sick so I was home when it came, which is good because my boyfriend gets off work before I do and always sees my parcels before I can hide them, so he has no idea I had another tea delivery :)
I tried this one first because it smelled quite malty and chocolatey. I ended up ruining two batches of this by forgetting about it, and man was it awful oversteeped. I finally got it right and this tea wasn’t what I thought it would be. I wasn’t getting any chocolate or caramel notes, only a roasted barley flavour. It was still quite good, especially with agave and cream, but I’m hoping I’ll notice some of the other flavours the more I drink this.
I have some of this tea left from last year’s harvest. I remember setting it aside because I wanted it to last. I’m trying to drink down a lot of my collection now because I have so much to drink before I buy anything more.
This one brings back the same flavors of soy milk, snap peas and grass. Mmm.. such a unique green tea with different notes. There really isn’t anything like this in my collection which is why I drink it little by little and have some on hand if at all possible. I admit that I have to be in the mood to drink it, but it really hits the spot.
Thank you MissB for the sample :)
Dude. This tea is GREEN.
It’s like super vegetal/spinachy from the dry leaf scent, to the actual taste of the tea itself.
I don’t know if I like these super vegetal greens though. Like I totally understand that people love them, and this is how legit straight greens taste, but dude, it’s a bit much for me.
I like my straight blacks so much, but straight greens? Gimme my flavoured ones :)
I can really tell that this is a freakin amazing tea though. Nice quality, nice taste. But it’s just not for me. A WONDERFUL sample, but at least I know that my palette prefers flavoured greens, rather than straight.