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Recent Tasting Notes
Since I have been on a roll with oolongs lately, let’s keep this train chugging along. This oolong is one of the more recent offerings from Verdant Tea. Part of Master Zhang’s collection, this Mao Xie is crafted in the traditional style in Daping, Anxi County, Fujian Province.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. Once again, I followed the procedure outlined by the folks at Verdant Tea. Following a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water. The initial infusion lasted 10 seconds. I followed this up with 9 additional infusions with an increase of 2 seconds per infusion. Steep times were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 18 seconds, 20 seconds, 22 seconds, 24 seconds, 26 seconds, and 28 seconds.
Following the rinse, the wet leaves displayed mild creamy, toasty, vegetal, and fruity aromas. In my experience, Mao Xie has a very unique aroma, but this was very smooth. Obviously, the roast was very light compared to a traditional Tieguanyin or something along those lines. The first infusion yielded a mild aroma with a somewhat toasty and fruity character. In the mouth, I picked up integrated notes of sesame, cream, butter, almond, green apple, pear, lychee, white grape, sage, and lettuce. The following 4 infusions heavily emphasized savory and fruity aromas and flavors. They were particularly heavy on the sage, cream, butter, sesame, apple, pear, and grape notes. The final series of infusions saw an increase in minerality. The fruity notes faded and cream, butter, lettuce, almond, and sesame remained.
This is the third Mao Xie I have had from Verdant this year. Each has been very different. I really enjoyed the vigor and quirkiness of the regular green Mao Xie, while I thought the Reserve Mao Xie lacked punch. This one falls somewhere between those two. All in all, I don’t find it to be a bad oolong, just maybe a little too soft and smooth for my tastes.
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Cream, Green Apple, Lettuce, Lychee, Mineral, Pear, Sage, White Grapes
This is another of the oolongs the folks at Verdant Tea were gracious enough to allow me to sample at no charge. I have to say that regardless of whether or not one believes some of their (admittedly rather ridiculous) claims, I do have to say that they really stand behind their products and care about their customers. So, I would like to thank the people at Verdant for helping me out with some issues with a previous order and giving me the opportunity to try some of their newer oolongs.
Ruan Zhi is a tea varietal about which I know very little. I do know that it is more popular in Thailand and Taiwan than in China. According to the people at Verdant, it is used in Taiwan to produce both Baozhong and Dong Ding oolongs, and in Thailand to produce Doi Mai Salong. Since I am a fan of both Taiwanese and Thai oolongs, I couldn’t wait to try a more traditional Chinese take on this varietal.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. As usual, I followed the suggestions of the people at Verdant Tea. Following a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this initial infusion with 10 additional infusions, with an increase of 2 seconds per infusion. Steep times were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 18 seconds, 20 seconds, 22 seconds, 24 seconds, 26 seconds, 28 seconds, and 30 seconds.
Following the rinse, I noticed that this oolong smelled like no other oolong I have tried to this point. The aroma of the wet leaves was simultaneously bready, creamy, fruity, and floral. After infusion, I detected complex aromas of fresh baked bread, cream, custard, lilac, violets, wood, and minerals. In the mouth, notes of cream, custard, fresh baked bread, lilac, violet, wood, and minerals were very much evident. I did not pick up on the honey described in Verdant’s tasting note, though there was a very fruity sweetness there and a hint of floral character I found virtually impossible to identify. The only thing that came to mind was gardenia, but I don’t really feel that description fits what I was experiencing. The second and third infusions brought out lovely aromas and flavors of orange that meshed perfectly with the somewhat intensified aromas and flavors found in the first infusion. From the fourth infusion on, I noticed that the floral aromas and flavors started to fade as the mineral, cream, custard, bread, wood, and orange aromas and flavors began to slowly take center stage. I also noticed a subtle hint of white pepper began to emerge at this point. By the final two infusions, the tea had very little in the way of an aroma, but I continued to note flavors of cream, custard, wood, minerals, pepper, and orange underscored by fleeting sensations of flowers.
Now that I have had a day to process my experience with this tea, I can say that I found it to be lovely, though not perfect. I really enjoyed the mix of aromas and flavors on display in this tea. They work very well together, and I found that Verdant’s tasting note was amazingly accurate. I also appreciate that this is a very unique tea. It has a character all its own. Still, some of the most appealing aromas and flavors faded just a tad sooner than I would have preferred. If those floral aromas and flavors had lasted through maybe one or two more infusions, I would be giving this tea an incredible rating. Since that is not the case, a score of 90 feels about right to me because this is still very, very good.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cream, Custard, Floral, Gardenias, Mineral, Orange, Pepper, Violet, Wood
Decided to steep this western style today. While this isn’t that bad it is not as good as the crassicolumna sheng. It’s got a main note that is sort of a sour fruit note and I am not too fond of it. At least it is caffeine free.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 4 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 3 minutes.
Got this as a sample from the $5 sample deal a while back, haven’t had the urge to try it with the prompt ensuing hong storm until now. Approximately 6 grams of leaf in here, I’d say, the leaf looking suitably “wild” and flyaway in appearance, being almost completely intact and only slightly twisted leaves. Kind of reminds me of wuyi in appearance, except not roasted, and attractively speckled with lighter colors in the leaves. I dumped it all in my 100 ml gaiwan and poured boiling-ish water over the sucker.
It is more aromatic and floral than I expect from black, which is reflected in the taste as well as on the inhale. Mild flavored malt, some astringency in the background to match the higher notes and flavors, there isn’t much bitterness to this one, but there is more of a green-ish bite than I would have expected from a black. Overall lighter than I expected, but it was interesting and pretty good. Not really my favorite flavor profile, though.
Flavors: Drying, Flowers, Malt, Mineral
Superb Longjing. Subtle, very subtle without traces of bitter, a subtle sweetness and a very pleasant aftertaste.
We must consider that is a first pick. This mean that it has a very subtle odor and flavor.
Leaves are very small green brownish color. The leaves smells vegetal and sweet.
I brewed in grandpa style. First steep color yellow pale and flavor a little weak. Second steep shows it’s sweetnes, corn flavor, nutty flavor, a little fruity and a long lasting aftertaste. In the thirth steep rthe sweetnes is increasing, it remains a subtle nutty flavor. Fourth and fifth steep shows a subtle sweetness but never lose it´s flavor.
Consider, if you want a more strong flavor to try another longjing, but if you like sweetness and friutness you will like this excellent tea.
The difference with other type of longjing is it´s persistent flavor and longer aftertaste.
I recommend it for a special tea session. It´s not an every day tea.
Congratulations to Mrs. Li from Mexico
Flavors: Fruity, Nutty
This is my second oolong from Verdant. It comes in cute little red plastic bags, each containing 5 ounces. They say Tieguanyintea, along with Chinese characters that I can’t read. I assume Master Zhang used a Tieguanyin bag because that’s what he grows the most of. I know it is actually Rougui because of the aroma.
I bought 25 ounces, five measures. I’m on my last measure now.
I’ve typically been drinking it in a 10-ounce teacup, making two steepings at a time in a gaiwan, pouring them into the cup, and then drinking them. Ten seconds, then about five seconds more each time.
The leaves are rolled tightly in the Anxi style. The flavor is very dark and deep. The aroma is spicy. I guess it must be the aroma of Chinese cinnamon, but I haven’t smelled that before, as far as I know. It’s slightly reminiscent of coffee with its bracing aroma, but not as bitter. A big contrast with the light roast qilan that I’ve been drinking on alternate days.
Occasionally I notice a slight floral aroma reminiscent of paperwhite narcissus. I like that scent myself, though I know other people don’t.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Narcissus
Every Laoshan Black that I have tasted has been excellent. I simply love the chocolate notes and burnt caramel undertones. This one is no different. I would say that this one leans more towards the honey/caramel side than previous Laoshan Blacks that I have tried (I believe I tasted last year’s autumn version). The chocolate flavor, although very present, is not as dominant as the caramel and burnt sugar flavors and aromas.
Flavors: Burnt, Caramel, Chocolate
Wu Dong Shan Huang Zhi Shiang
This is much more astringent than the others I’ve tried. I also tried brewing it stronger on some steeps, but even so – more bitterness, higher caffeine. I can’t recall the description given here, but one of the 6 teas in the August box was described as reminiscent of a sheng pu-erh, and I’m betting this is it. It has the intense, dry, grassy, heady impression I get from those. Not my favorite, but certainly interesting
Flavors: Astringent, Dry Grass, Menthol
I created this aggregate tea page to track reviews of Verdant’s Tea of the Month Club, rather than cluttering Steepster’s database with limited availability teas with very similar names :)
Da Wu Ye Dancong
I think I love Dancongs. The first one I remember trying had a flavor strongly reminiscent of pineapple; both I’ve tried so far from this box have silky mouthfeel, floral notes, honey sweetness, and some of that same sharp fruitines. I’m still playing with the preparation, mostly trying to figure it out by color + tiny tastes of the brewing tea. Apparently the “classic” style to brew this is very very strong and fast, so there is a punch of bitter flavor contrasted by lots of lingering aromatics, but that’s a bit much for me
This is a hard tea to review. I greatly enjoyed drinking it, but was not overwhelmed with uniqueness of any kind. Rather, it was simply enjoyable. The flavor has hints of caramel, honey, and sweetness with a slight astringency. The cup is very smooth. I would recommend as a black tea, but it is nothing unique, albeit very enjoyable.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey
Could not download an image for this tea. Verdant must be paranoid about keeping their images to themselves. The structure them in such a way that you can’t save the image for a Steepster page. In any case this is good tea. I was short on time today so I western steeped this. I am not sure which spring harvest this tea was from, does not say on the package. In any case the main note is malt followed by a lesser note of chocolate. Those are the only two notes I detect, no real bitterness to this.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 30 seconds. My instinct told me to steep it for 3 minutes but the package said 30 seconds.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
The aroma of the dry leaves is stronger than the regular, sweet and chocolatey with a bit of a bread scent. I brewed about 4g in 50ml at 205ºF, ranging from 10 seconds to 3 minutes, and the color brewed into a nice dark, golden honey color that smelled of earth, yams, and chocolate. It’s a dark, seductive kind of flavor that comes up the palate and out the nose. There’s also a very slight bitterness and peppery flavor on the finish.
The cocoa and sweet potato notes are highlighted more on subsequent steeps, but caramel and honey are also introduced after steep 4. After a while, I started to lose counts of the steepings, but I got a little dark honey bread flavor toward the end.
Full post and pics here: http://www.catlaittea.com/2016/08/28/review-verdant-tea-2016-laoshan-and-reserve-laoshan-black/
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Pepper
Breathing in the dry leaf yields some differences from the Reserve. There’s the predominating aroma of cocoa, of course, but there’s an underlying sourness that reminds me of very dark brown honey wheat bread. There’s something yeasty about the smell.
This aroma is reflected in the brew, as it has a bready chocolate scent.
The first steep definitely yields a less-sweet flavor, more like a gassy, yeasty dark bread with hardly any chocolate. This changes in subsequent steeps to a chocolate honey bread. Perhaps if they made a pain au chocolat out of a dark wheat flour and drizzled a bit of honey on top, that is what this would taste like.
Stephen, my non-tea-drinking husband, took a sip and proclaimed that it tasted like a dark chocolate beer, so we’re pretty close in agreement.
Post and pictures here: http://www.catlaittea.com/2016/08/28/review-verdant-tea-2016-laoshan-and-reserve-laoshan-black/
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Honey, Yeast
A nice tea.
This is beloved among Steepsterites but I have to say it tastes a bit thin to me. Used the whole 6g sample in my little teapot and went by the Western brewing guide.
Maybe it’s the harvest (it doesn’t say which) or maybe it’s a bit old or maybe it’s travelled too far and too long to where I am in Australia. Some other Verdant teas have blown me away though.. so it’s probably just an old sample.
Cocoa, chocolate, grains, sweet cracker. It’s still nice.
Was deciding between ordering some more Chinese blacks from either Verdant or Teavivre. I think I’ll go with Teavivre this time since I had the Yunnan Dian Hong Gold Tips around three years ago and still think about that sweet potato note to this very day.
Add this one to your Verdant order if you like chocolatey teas.
This is an interesting tea. It’s not tea but it tastes a lot like tea. It’s made from a close relative of the tea plant. This tea was actually pretty good. It was sweet with little real bitterness. I really didn’t notice any bitterness to this tea. It did have a mediciney like note to it early on that seems to have disappeared by around steep five. This is not as good as sheng. But as I can’t drink sheng quite this late with my insomnia it is a good choice. I steeped this ten times and it would have gone a few more but to be honest I had had enough tea. For anyone thinking of trying this I think this is worth getting a 25g sample of. It’s quite expensive. I would not have bought it except it’s caffeine free.
I steeped this ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 5.1g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Flavors: Medicinal, Sweet
This tea is a dark oolong that is deep amber in color and has a chocolaty aroma. It is sweet and savory with a strong flavor of chocolate and a little bit of wheat flavor on the back end. The reserve has a more pronounced chocolate flavor and is tastier than the Laoshan Roasted Oolong.
Flavors: Chocolate, Wheat
Very nice Tieguanyin. Quality so closer to a Taiwan High level jade oolong.
First steep pale in color and weak in flavor. But fron second to sixth steep shows a strong character, floral, orchid, sweet, fruity and spicy.
From seventh ton tenth steep is begining to fade, but it has a sweet flavor and a good aftertaste.
If you like oolong tea you must prove this one
This tea is absolutely delicious.
The jasmine scent is quite strong, especially in the early steepings. I was worried that this would mean the tea flavor was overpowered or the soup would make me queasy. (Too much jasmine scent does that to me sometimes.)
Luckily, the cup was nicely balanced with a sweet, smooth tea taste and gentle jasmine overtones.
I enjoyed this with my son (12) who has been quite keen to try all my teas recently. He also loved it. I’ll make him a tea-head, yet. He had his with honey, which blended nicely with the overall flavor as well, if you like it sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
A pleasant, fruity black tea. Very little bitterness or astringency, and very easy to drink.
Despite the elaborate description, I did not find it to be at all unique. It just tastes like a run of the mill, quality Chinese black to me.
Perhaps gongfu style brewing will bring out more of its character when I try it at home.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Malt