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Recent Tasting Notes
I discovered a new brewing technique, and decided to revisit this one, and experiment, today. Instead of the usual 4 grams of solid leaf cake, 205 deg water, and two 4 sec rinses, followed by three 5 sec infusions. I changed it to 8 grams of solid leaf cake, boiling water, and two 2 sec rinses, followed by a 10 second infusion, and two 2 sec infusions. Also, I added a little of the hot water to the saucer to keep the porcelain gaiwan hotter. This was intended to keep the water at a more stable temp, and give the leaves more time to fully open during the first infusion. What I noticed, is a lighter color liquor, and the smokey flavour is all but absent, which may be desirable to some sippers. Also, there is absolutely no bitterness, and the tea flavour is more mellow and subdued, the opposite of what you’d expect. Also, in the second infusion, I’m already beginning to taste the subtle sweet, honey melon notes beginning to make themselves known, a nice surprise. Personally, I enjoy the smokey, storage flavour, and miss it slightly. However, the added sweetness and complexity does make this a more interesting concoction. The total lack of bitterness, and mellow flavour profile easily make this a most approachable pu’erh.
Very mellow, and slightly smoky in the first few infusions. I’m only about 4 infusions into it, and it’s starting to open up into a honey citrus sweetness, simular to a Dancong, or Eastern Beauty. I especially like the cooling sensation I get from inhaling through my mouth after I’ve had a few sips. I also like the fact that Verdant has broken it up into perfectly sized approx. 4 gram chunks, which is exactly what you want. This is a very prize tea, and well worth the cost.
Flavors: Chestnut, Citrus, Creamy, Honey, Smoke
I just ordered a sample of this, so that’s probably why I have so many wee broken bits coming through. So far my experience has been that I don’t have to strain when using my gaiwan, but for this tea I definitely need to.
The flavour has been progressing nicely. At the beginning of the sip, it’s like thick water, but then sweetness hits the tongue with a lingering super mild bitter flavour. Almost like sour apple candy, actually. It could be described as somewhat leathery, but those notes are very harmonious with the sweet, fresh, green, and gently bitter notes.
I’ve steeped 6 or 7 times this evening, and the tea has a lot further to go. I’ll probably do a few more steeps in the morning when I’m prepping lunch and my work teas.
I used half my sample in the teensiest gaiwan. I’m getting about 45ml of tea per steep. :D My steeps are still very short, as I find that’s preventing it from going too bitter.
I don’t think I’d get more of this, but it’s a nice taste test in my journey of learning about puerh!
I’m taking a break from my sip down extravaganza to sample this new black tea from Verdant. I am a big fan of their teas, especially their black teas, & I’m also a fan of Fujian teas & that Wuyi Rock taste, & so naturally I had to sample this one! The sample I received is about 7 grams, so I divided it into a 5 gram serving for my tiny 4oz porcelain tea pot (side story: I hate cats! Squishy, my daughter’s cat that lives at my house, is known for doing insane things, & does everything she can to piss me off. A few days ago she did a crazy series of leaps, rebounding off of a variety of things, & culminating with a leap to the highest shelf of my teaware, knocking my beautiful little blue lotus teapot out of the cupboard. It crashed to the floor, but amazingly, it did not shatter. However a small chip popped out of the inside of the rim, along with a corresponding but smaller chip on the inside rim of the lid, presumably where they hit each other. I won’t describe my response to the situation, but lets just say I fell into a moment of insanity. Today we’ll see if that pot is still usable, but I’m pretty sure it is).
The other 2 gram sample is being used for their Western Steep parameters, using a 4oz cup & steeps of 30 sec/45/60/2min…etc. That the one I’m drinking right now. I’ve been drinking it for awhile. I guess I should start off by saying that it is not like most of Verdants black teas. There is no dark chocolate, no deep roastiness. But that’s ok!
This is a lovely tea, a more feminine tea, at least to my mind. The immediate tastes are a sweet creamy delicate essence of ‘cake’ & vanilla pudding. Behind that, a bright essence of orange flower, & the very clean flavor of bamboo shoots. Interestingly, I’m not a big fan of bamboo shoots, but somehow in this tea, it works! This tea is also sweet, with a lingering sweetness, the classic rocky mineral base that grows with each cup, & I pleasant teabuzz that I’m enjoying this afternoon. :)
EDIT I’ve started on the gongfu session, & I’m sad to report that there is a small crack running down the side of my tiny teapot :( It only leaks a very slow small drop, & hopefully over time tea oils will fill it in, as it is a very fine crack.
What can I add by way of review? First off, warming the dry leaf up in the hot teapot is always a treat. I love the aroma of warmed leaves, & this tea is no exception. A rich sweetness rises to greet me, & I compared it to the aroma of elderberries (which I always have on hand & drink often for their antiviral properties), & it’s a fairly close match, underscored by sweet cake, & a sweet but not necessarily floral incense. The flavor is basically the same as the other steeping, but richer, & a reminder to me that I need to find time for gongfu sessions again, because so many of the teas in my collection require it. I’ve been so busy over the last several months, & this week on spring break is reminding me of the lifestyle I prefer. Only 10 more weeks of school, & I doubt that I will return to teach in the fall.
A few more comments regarding this tea: The sweetness lingers on & on, & although the flavor profile doesn’t really change much, it is pleasant & soothing & as it becomes rockier it feels more like drinking a sheng. The energy is very bright, with a wonderful tongue tingle, a lovely clarifying sensation, & an ensemble of higher pitched instruments, all playing with a sweet mellow vibe: soft flutes, a little oboe, plucked strings, maybe a little lightly bowed cello for bass, & lots of tinkly & rustle-ey random percussion (bells, glock, wind chimes, sound of water & bamboo).
Today I learned that the HPA axis is the main powerhouse for the stress response in the human brain. By activating it, there is an increase in stress hormone – cortisol – release. What I didn’t know was that the latest and newest research surrounding nerve cells is showing that there may be plasticity within them. This means that over-activating these cells can lead to increased adaptability so that the cells can go back to their most comfortable state. I thought this was interesting because most of the research has said that the cells become less sensitive instead of adapting. This is completely unrelated to this tasting note, I just thought it was interesting. You learn something new everyday, folks!
Anyhow, I am sitting here sipping this delightful cup of Campfire Blend. The strong musky scent of cinnamon hits me before I even take a sip. I can taste hints of vanilla, ginger and rice that quickly fade and I am left with the lingering cinnamon. It’s a nice tea but I can only handle one cup of this and I’ll be ready to move on. It reminds me of watching the gentle snow fall outside while bundled up in a blanket listening to Ben Howard.
Happy tea drinking! I hope everyone is having a nice evening.
So good! the first steep anyhow.
Slightly roasty and green all at once, and oh so smooth!
Secon steep was good too but a bit tart and metallic. Third steep was more floral. Jasmine floral (blech).
The last two were back to roasty goodness with a hint of floral. I’d buy some!
Thanks Sil for the sample :)
I received a sample of this one with my recent (and first!) Verdant Tea order, and brewed it last night. It filled the kitchen with the jasmine aroma and reminded me and my family of summer (we have “raat ki rani” plants in the backyard that bloom on summer nights). I could still smell traces of it this morning.I’m giving this a high rating because it is an excellent jasmine tea, both aroma- and taste-wise.
However, to be perfectly honest, this tea wasn’t for me (though I’m glad I tried it). I now know that I prefer green tea with jasmine to white tea with jasmine. The green tea leaves hold their own a bit better against the jasmine. I love the delicate, light flavors of white tea and unfortunately, I couldn’t find any of them in my infusions of this tea. The jasmine was just too overpowering for the white tea to stand out.
I don’t think Verdant Teas has any green tea with jasmine at the moment. But I would be eager to try that if they do end up stocking it in the future. I have been impressed with every tea in my order that I’ve tried thus far.
Finally got around to prying a chunk off this brick. Brewed gongfu style. Got some faint smoke in the first three steeps but then it subsided. Camphor, pine, citrus, pepper, and a nice underlying sweetness dominated the first six steeps, yielding to sweetness, slight pepper and a pleasant tartness in the next six. The liquor was a beautiful, clear amber color. Overall a very nice sheng which I’ll drink it sparingly to see how it ages over the coming years.
Flavors: Camphor, Citrus, Pepper, Pine, Smoke, Sweet
very good tea, well worth $5 an ounce. I definitely taste a chinese black tea with a hint of cocoa. It has a similar body to a chinese keemun but there is no smokeyness just a taste of cocoa. Not real sweet but definitely could drink this everyday. I have respect for this tea.
And, again, this was a tea I shared with my friend, the first time we had a meet-up for tea and cards. I think he, like me, was really impressed by this tea’s fabulous flavour profile – slightly smoky and sweet, with that lovely black-tea aroma and strength. I don’t think I’ve found a tea that has impressed me so much, on a first try, before. It really is quite fantastic! :D
I got sent this in the Verdant TotM club a while ago and, I confess, I was seriously reluctant to try it. I’ve only ever tried one Lapsang Souchong before – it was a cheap bagged variety and, the way it was brewed, it totally overwhelmed me. It just was not for me. Even though I knew the quality of this would be FAR superior, the memory of that other tea just would not let me try this one…
I read a review from Sil, talking about brewing this Gong Fu, and it sounded awesome… It just kept playing on my mind… And then last night, the cravings defeated me and I set this tea as my Monday-morning treat. When I opened the bag of leaves, the smell almost made me regret my choice – I felt nauseous immediately. Still, all of those reviews couldn’t be wrong, surely?? Well…
My goodness. What a tea.
This has got to be one of the most incredible black teas I’ve ever tried. It’s sweet, it’s rich, and it is sooooo fragrant. But in a totally good way. In the liquor, the smokiness is a rich-yet-mild fragrance that makes a perfect background to the sweet vanilla notes. I enjoyed a good 8 or 9 steeps (3 in the morning and 5-6 tonight).
This is the first tea I’ve up-rated for its ‘fun’ quotient! It’s a brain-tickler… normally I would not expect to enjoy this combo of flavors but they are mysteriously intriguing. I dislike clove but the first steep it was all about clove and licorice… but with a countervailing smoothness and sweetness that removed their edge and left the whole palate stunningly interested. Smooth, sweet and savory.
The last sip, by then cooled, was another stunner: caramel. Just this intense sweetness out of nowhere. What fun.
As Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson noted, it has a fragrance of basil, which is just another twist in the interesting profile. Maybe there’s a little juniper in the flavor, but I didn’t pick up the strong pine that characterized it for so many other fellow Steeps.
This tea is a great conversation piece, so a must-have for any tea tasting having the purpose of sampling a wide range of different tea personalities
The name “yabao” is a perfect psycho-onomatopoeia – what your thought ‘sounds’ like in your head when you taste this… like a flash-impact word in a superheroes comic book : bam! … yabao! ha!
Plus it’s fun how the buds puff up like little seaweed pillow-fingers in the Atlantic, if you know the ones I mean.
Thanks to Christina for the great trade!
Flavors: Caramel, Clove, Licorice, Marshmallow
In the while since I’ve last been online, I’ve drank plenty of this delightful tea. It’s just amazing – I’m really impressed with it and by how much I like it. It’s so smooth, sweet, and delicious – I can find no fault. It leaves me feeling lovely and energised, but with a certain calmness. And it leaves a wonderful, gentle menthol aftertaste that lingers for a little while after you finish your session.
Again, this is one I shared with my friend and he was really impressed. It’s definitely one I’ll be enjoying for months to come :-)
Sorry for my massive absence T_T I got back to work full time a couple of weeks ago and the site isn’t the easiest to use, for posting notes, on my phone…
Aaaaaaaaaaand: I came down with a really heavy cold on Thursday so I haven’t really been able to appreciate much tea over the past couple of days. However, it did make me really crave shu puerh, so I thought I’d give this one a try…
I dunno what it is about Verdant’s teas, but they’re always exceptional. Maybe I just have a similar palette to the Ducklers. Or maybe the teas really are just that good. Who knows.
Either way, like I said above: I have a pretty heavy cold, so I didn’t really want anything that was overly nuanced or delicate. I also didn’t want to use anything that I only have a little of, in case I really didn’t enjoy it and ended up wasting precious tea. Given I have a new 500g brick of this, sitting in my puerh box, I thought I’d give it a go. Plus, my cold is starting to lift somewhat, so my sense of smell is slowly returning.
I didn’t get any pile smell at all from this puerh, which was a very pleasant surprise! It still smelled earthy, granted. But far from unpleasant. I pried off 4g and loaded it into my pre-warmed Yixing Gaiwan (thanks again, Stacy!) and then gave the tea two quick rinses with boiling water. Then came the first infusion…
To my surprise, the infusion smelled like raw honey. I was really impressed. I can also definitely see what they mean by a “raisin” like scent – it’s definitely there. On the palette, it was exceptionally smooth and had a really thick mouthfeel. It was also really sweet, and that honey note actually carried right through. I did also get the elderberry note, along with the herbaceous after-taste, that they mention on the site. I can understand the olive oil suggestion, too – with the thickness of the mouthfeel and that honey-like sweetness, it’s a clearly recognisable note.
I probably won’t get as much out of this tea as I will on a day when I’m not all sniffly, but I really enjoyed it. It was delicious and just seemed to get sweeter and sweeter the more I drank it. Fantastic tea.
Flavors: Honey, Olive Oil