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Recent Tasting Notes
Ahh I’m having a delicious Sunday session with this tea. I decided I was craving a fruiter sheng after my vegetal matcha this morning and this one is great! I did a quick rinse and have been doing short about 6 second steepings with 200 degree water. Ahh the wet leaves smell heavenly, lots of honey and some floral notes.
The flavor is smooth, mellow, a bit woody, a fresh green wood at that. A bit of a green smoky smell from the liquor. And then some sweetness in the flavor, and yes, in the aftertaste, a definite apricot flavor!!! I was so excited to find it :D it’s exactly what I want today!
Overall, this is a sweeter, mellower sheng than I usually drink. But I am really enjoying it!! I’ll continue drinking this on this warm winter day while watching football with the bf.
Yeah, another tea that just tastes roasty to me. But this one is not as bad as all the other roasty teas I’ve had. I think that if I ever get off the floral kick I’m currently on and go back to roasty oolongs, I’d end up really liking this one. It’s not too overwhelming or anything. It’s a roastiness that I can live with. xD And that I’d end up really liking.
I’m happy to have gotten to try it!
Thank you so much for the sample, The Cookie Lady!
This tea came to me via the GCTTB as I’d really wanted to try this tea after hearing all the rave reviews it was getting. The steeping instructions on the sample suggested 5g of tea in 6 oz water for 2-5 minutes. I’m going to assume that those parameters are for gongfu-style brewing which I don’t really have the equipment for unfortunately. Instead I emptied the entire sample (it was about 2.5 grams) into my mug (no dainty-sized tea cups for me I’m afraid, though I should look into buying some) and filled it about half full with water for 3 minutes.
It’s certainly an attractive-looking tea as such things go. The leaves are entirely golden and quite large and whole. They open nicely as the tea steeps. Looking at everyone’s reviews I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tea described so many different ways – sweet potatoes, wood, vanilla, mushrooms, etc. it seems like it’s a bit different for everyone. As for me, I’m getting a strong cocoa note, faintly bitter and earthy. But it isn’t harsh or astringent and I notice that there’s a sweet note at the start of each sip.
Second steep (@ 3:45 min) and I notice that the wet leaves do, in fact, smell a fair bit like sweet potato. The second steep is again bitter cocoa, but milder, with an interesting hint of spice (pepper maybe?)
A wonderful, unique tea that’s totally going on my to-buy list.
Love this tea – my favourite way to brew so far is heavy on the leaf: a short brew sipped straight, followed by a lengthy brew time with a bit of brown sugar and milk. I won’t say it kills my craving for hot chocolate, but oh my it is a decadent cup.
An earthy, toasty taste is dominant with a matching mouth-feel – which turns creamy and chocolatey as it reaches the back of the tongue. One to experience over and over – I have feeling it will be a different experience every time! A nice change from the usual (albeit amazing) Laoshan Black!
Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Rice
wOOt wOOt 100 reviews!! And it only took me 18 months LOL!! I really need to make sure that I log and write tasting notes for all the teas I drink!! So 100 reviews requires a special tea and I cannot believe that I haven’t logged Laoshan Black Chocolate Genmaicha yet!!! Oh the chocolatey amazingness, oh the toasty rice deliciousness, oh the caramelly goodness, and of course the nutty tastiness!! This is one of my favorite teas and for some reason it tastes even better at the end of a long day of meeting after meeting after… well you get my point! It’s like a fantastic reward at the end of a day of never-ending drudgery!! I don’t ever want to run out of this tea and will do all manner or crazy insaneness to ensure that I NEVER do!!! :)
1st infusion, 5s: The liquor was a delicate, yellow-clear shade. The scent, so much more vibrant than any jasmine I have had—it wafted out even as I had just begun cutting the packaging open. Bubble gum? Yes, indeed! But none of the artificiality of bubble gum flavoring, just pure florals and vanilla. Depth, perfume, fragrant oils, clean.
2nd infusion, 5s: Gathering richness, slightly less light, some middle notes rounding it out. Honey-caramelized banana? Again, yes, but lighter, more fragrant, floral, honeydew melon.
3rd infusion, 5s: There is so much here that I don’t have the vocabulary to describe. The floral strength is fading—delicate now, instead of intense. The tingling sensation of the description has begun to appear.
4th infusion, 8s: The jasmine is much subdued and part of the chorus now. Light tasting, though the aroma is still rich, if not overpowering.
5th infusion, 15s: Incense now, in the aroma—frankincense. The liquor is mild but enjoyable, a slight astringency giving body.
6th infusion, 30s: Gentle, soft flavor, with body and a bit of pine when aerated. Warm and comforting, a sense of sweetness, with flavors now married—nothing standing out over anything else. Warm vanilla-sugar.
7th infusion, 60s: Aroma of fragrant spices, an Eastern market. Flavor delicate, but spicy. Seven infusions in and it begins to remind me of the first jasmine teas I ever tried.
8th infusion, 2m: It is done now. Not much flavor left, but still a pleasant tingling spice.
I left the cup unfinished while I cleaned up, then drank what remained in one swallow. Still lovely, the flavor more noticeable for having taken a short break from it. An incredible jasmine tea. As I have become increasingly enamoured with straight teas, I thought I would no longer enjoy a scented tea—just a covering for poor quality. This is clearly untrue. This is a jasmine tea to love.
3.2g • 90ml Gaiwan • 175°F • 8 Steepings
Flavors: banana, Honeydew, Jasmine, Spices, Spicy, Sugar, Vanilla
Throughout numerous steepings, this tea’s flavors shifted in a harmony of dark, earthy sweetness, and baked notes, cereal, and sweet potato. On the first steeping (10s), it had a robust richness: dark chocolate, cooked ripe fruits, malt syrup. The liquor had the kind of silky mouth-feel I have only experienced with certain green and oolong teas. The infusion smelled of unsweetened cocoa, cereal, and had a tart note that was not represented in the liquor.
On the second infusion (15s) the sweetness was more subdued, and the baked, cereal notes became stronger. This trend continued through additional steepings. The sweetness never left the liquor, but the richer, dark notes of sweetness became brighter. The tartness I had noted in the infusion never really asserted itself in the liquor, though aeration did bring it out—a sort of sharp caramel, citric quality vaguely similar to the aroma of demerara sugar.
The liquor from the first two or three infusions was complex, with too many nuances for me to describe. Later steepings were simpler, less dark and rich, though always playing on a balance of grain and earthy sweetness. I was able to enjoy 6 steepings before the liquor became insipid and unpleasant, which is significantly fewer than recommended by Verdant Tea, but I also started with longer steeping times. On my next attempt, I will follow their recommendations more closely.
This is a wonderful tea. The first infusion was incredibly rich and easily stands out from other Chinese black teas, such as the Golden Monkey and Bailin Gongfu, that I have been enjoying lately. I definitely look forward to trying this again.
4.2g tea (half the sample) • 90ml Gaiwan • 212°F • 6 steepings (10s, +5)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Graham Cracker, Grain, Malt, Stewed Fruits, Sweet Potatoes
Yeah…this one just tastes roasty to me. I don’t understand…it’s like whenever I try aged oolongs, they just end up roasted. And everyone’s tasting notes are seem to have all the flavors in them. How do I not get any of those teas? XD
I have no idea…Oh well…Maybe they are just not for me.
Thanks for the sample, Darby!
My first adventure with cocoa flavored tea, odd a first but had me thinking about it all day and craving more half way through the week. Robust flavor with the perfect balance of toasted rice and cocoa flavors, like drinking a cocoa coated rice ball. A blend that really sticks on the roof of your mouth and is perfect for that late night snack.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Toasted, Toasted Rice
I gave the first cup of this to a friend at work and am now enjoying the second steep myself. It’s light in body but that is probably to be expected as it’s the second cup. Since I’m so unfamiliar with cistus oil, I did a little reading to find out just what it is. I won’t go into all the details here, but it seems to have quite a few beneficial properties. For anyone who is interested, here is one website that seemed to have some good information about it.
I have to admit, I became a little afraid of this one when I first opened the pouch. The aroma is so strong and pungent and absolutely unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m not even sure I know how to describe it. Verdant’s description compares this to an Earl Grey, but I’m not getting that at all. My only guess is that this scent belongs to the Cistus oil, a product that I am entirely unfamiliar with. So I’ve held this one back to try as my last sample from Verdant’s January blends box.
I must say that the tea itself is beautiful – there are long, dark, twisted pieces filling up the bag and pops of pink from the rose petals mixed in. The fragrance tones itself down upon steeping and the tea becomes a very pleasant and warming cup of flavorful black tea. I can’t say that I taste the rose or rooibos here, but I can still smell what I believe to be the Cistus oil. It is faint and serves to add another dimension to the already remarkable black tea base. This might be my favorite out of the whole box, which surprises me since it’s the one I was must uncertain about.
And then today, I was intrigued to try my other Verdant sample. I have a box of DHP from my boss at the clinic, and I know that (like most roasted oolongs) it’s not my usual preference. They’re growing on me, certainly, and I think I’m getting better at identifying the more nuanced flavours, but I’d still always rather have a green oolong.
That said, on my second most recent visit to the clinic, the only oolong I had access to was the same style of DHP that he gave me. I made myself some up and, though it still probably wasn’t my tea of choice, it was good and it made me curious about the one from Verdant.
So, today, I finally conceded to that curiosity and gave it a go. I used my lovely Yixing Gaiwan (the inside is glazed, though) from Butiki and used half of the Verdant sample sachet – that felt about right as this particular DHP (as the photo shows) is quite loose and the Gaiwan was around 1/3 full by that point. I’d guess it had a limit of no more than 120 ml, but 100 ml was probably all I used.
Anyway, after doing all of the prerequisite heating of Gaiwan, pitcher and cups, I gave the tea a rinse and left it to sit for a minute or two whilst my Mum helped me do some interview prep. Then, during the course of the various practice questions we drilled, I started to make and drink this tea.
The first infusion must have been for no more than 10 seconds. And that was certainly enough for me!! The infusion was caramel coloured and certainly very tasty – and, if I’m honest, much nicer than the other DHP I made. I think that was massively aided by brewing method and more exact quantities of everything, though. This tea was smooth, roasty and definitely had those “classic” caramel/dark-toffee notes. And to Verdant’s credit, I actually do get the tingly-metal-and-mineral note that they try to describe. I didn’t read their blurb for this tea, beforehand (just the Brewing guidance), as I feel it usually biases me, but on retrospective reading, I could definitely get that idea!
Later infusions were longer and milder. The caramel flavour did build up over the first few steeps, though, as the roastiness subsided. It was definitely a smoother drink and all of the infusions were quite sweet, which I did enjoy and appreciate.
I’m still not 100% sure dark-roasted oolongs are for me. I know that this is the classic way to prepare most fine oolongs and it’s the most traditional, etc, but I’m just so enamoured by the greener ones that I’m becoming biased against anything else :P For those who like DHPs, this one seemed like a really good quality product. I certainly couldn’t offer any objective fault. The leaves looked really lovely in my Gaiwan – full, beautiful leaves. They had a really charming mix of dark-purple and dark-green, too.
So yeah… Roasty oolong lovers – give it a go!
(PS: I’m also finally confident enough about the number of such oolongs I’ve tried that I’m gonna offer a score for this. It did seem like a really high quality product and I could see no real reason to not offer it a pretty high, within my usual parameters. I may revise it, as I gain more experience, but it certainly seems fair for now!)
Flavors: Caramel, Metallic, Mineral
So after trying a really strong green from the Canton Tea Co. that just wasn’t for me (I mean – it was so vegetal. It was like pure asparagus. Sooooo strong), I’ve kept away from straight, Chinese greens for quite a while. I haven’t fancied them and I haven’t really wanted to try them.
But I had a sachet of this sitting in my room, from when I made my first Verdant order in… October or November. After my recent run of wonderful experiences with green oolongs (particularly Verdant’s exceptional Tieguanyin), I had a bit of a craving for something else green and thought I’d give this one a whirl. The reviews on here seemed to fall either into the category that tried it the “Dragonwell style” (or the variant of Grandpa style – or, as my boss at the clinic says, the “usual style” for green tea) or who tried lots of short steeps.
Given the Verdant sample sachet containing ~4 or 5 g, I think I’d just do lots of short steeps of this tea, as is my general preference for non-black teas. I emptied the whole 5 g into a glass pot that takes, at the absolute limit, 200 ml water. Using water that was as close to 175 degrees F as you can get from estimation, I got started!
My first steep was literally a matter of seconds. With that much leaf, in such little water, I knew it would pack a punch. So I poured on the water quickly and carefully, transported my pot into the sitting room, and then poured it all off. Tbh, even this may have been a little too long – the resulting brew was certainly flavoursome! It was sooooo vegetal. But, y’know, it fit what I was craving. As I poured from my pitcher into my cups, let it cool, and drank it down, it really hit the spot. Buttery, sweet vegetables with a lovely floral note.
I tried to be a little faster with the second infusion and I probably managed it – the resultant drink was refreshing and light, but still packing those delicious vegetal and floral notes. Really good stuff!
I must have done a further 4 or 5 pot fulls, before I finished, throughout the course of the day. As they progressed, I slowly increased the steeping time (and drastically increased it for the final one). The tea was always tasty, refreshing and light. Each successive infusion grew sweeter and lighter, with the floral notes becoming more dominant.
I’m still not sure I’d want to choose a “normal” green over a green oolong, atm, but I know I enjoyed this more than I probably would have done two or three months ago. And I’m 100% certain that my boss in the clinic will love this tea. As soon as the first 2015 harvest becomes available, I’ll be ordering some as a gift for him and his family!
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Vegetal
My first tea on this overcast January morning. With the weather as it is, I fully expect to have more than one cup today.
This tea came to me as part of Verdant’s January blends box. There is plenty of fennel in the mix as well as a little mint and some rooibos. The scent is mostly mint, but I’m also catching a glimpse of the sarsaparilla.
It amazes me that after only thirty seconds of steeping this tea has such a rich color. I guess I’m used to steeping dark teas for several minutes to achieve that kind of richness and flavor. Perhaps this is due to the high quality of the tea? Whatever it is, I’m impressed. The flavor is mint, though I wouldn’t call this a mint tea. It’s barely there, kind of hanging out on the edge of the cup. I’m also not tasting any of the fennel or the sarsaparilla here. It actually feels a bit one-dimensional. This is a very straightforward and uncomplicated tea, light-bodied but certainly not lacking in flavor.
Flavors: Mint, Sarsaparilla
This one is a really interesting one! It comes courtesy of the SSTTB #2. I have kind of been holding off on trying this one, because of the name…Summer Blend….and it’s winter. But I guess it was calling to me, so I made some today to take with me on my walk to get some acupuncture.
I did add milk and sugar to this because I was not sure whether it would need it or not, and I had to leave then, or be late, and it was too hot at that point to tell whether it was needed. I think it was fine with the milk, but probably would have been fine without it. I did make a second cup once I got home, and attempted to omit the milk, but it was too hot and I was impatient, so I added some to cool it down and I regret it, because this steep is less rich than the first. The first though, was malty and chocolatey, with some nice sweet notes…someone had said vanilla and caramel notes, and I could go with that.
I think that this tea will be a nice summer breakfast tea, and I am curious to see how it will cold steep in warmer weather. I’m not sure if I will drink this much in the colder weather, as much, because I think I will want to try it again once spring nears.
This tea is a treat. Drink this by itself.
I put on some perpetual groove from 2012 and sat down for a session.
The dry leaf smells amazing. Cocoa. Toffee. It seriously smells like brownie mix. So sweet.
Wet leaf changes to a more roasty bark smell. With some coffee type notes.
Dry leaf is rolled and opens up quite a bit. Single leaf. No stems.
The liquor is amazing. I’m picking up all the smells of the dry and wet leaf combined. Slight astringency. Not much at all. I’m flash brewing in a gaiwan btw.
The liquor is a wonderful dark caramel color. Smells sweet and roasty. Wet leaf is dark dark brown. Dark as a shou puerh. I’m tasting earth, bark, toffee, cocoa, and something I can’t place and it’s driving me crazy. Almost like roasted macadamia nut.
I’ll keep going on this and save this tea for special occasions.