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Recent Tasting Notes
Made a pot (5 cups) of this at work to spread around. Both it and the second steep of it were drunk by quite a few people around. At least 5, not including me.
Everyone thought this was quite nice. One person told me it tasted like spinach from a can (and that she liked spinach from a can, so that was okay). It tasted a bit like that to me and also soybeans.
I did enjoy this tea, but it’s been a very very long day and I am ready to be done with the world. Done done done. So very done.
Flavors: Soybean, Spinach
I went into Verdant during my visit to Minneapolis and picked out a couple of things, and then asked for a couple of recommendations from the staff, for something unique and/or exceptionally good. This was one of theirs, and the person I talked to said it was a favourite of all the staff. I don’t have a lot of experience with pu’erhs so I’m excited to be trying this.
The dry leaf has a faint earthy and medicinal smell to it.
I put a few good chunks into my gaiwan and gave it two quick rinses with boiling water. After the second rinse the leaves were just starting to separate ever so slightly. Wet, the leaf smells earthy with a slightly burnt wood note.
My first steep, 5 seconds with just below boiling water. The liquor is bright and clear, a pale amber colour. On the nose, its the same as the wet leaf only fainter. The first cup is very mild tasting, not too much too it. Faint notes of earth, wood and camphor. A slightly pasty mouthfeel.
After a slight break to gobble down a mooncake, to make sure the rest of this sits well in my stomach, on to steep two, five seconds. The leaves are still partially caked together, but this time the liquor is much darker.
Stronger flavour, lots of wood and earth. The camphor has faded out a bit, though I’m getting a slight numbing mouth feel already, and a slight tickle in the back of my throat. Not a lot of nuances yet. I think I will steep a bit longer for my third steep.
Third steep, 10 seconds. The leaf is starting to come apart a bit more, and there’s a new fragrance that’s spicy in my nostrils, maybe more camphor and a touch of juniper. Lots of earth still there.
The liquor is a deep, reddish brown now. On the tongue, still mostly wood and earth, a touch of camphor and numbing, hints of wood smoke (nothing pungent like pine or cedar, maybe maple or poplar). and an interesting, almost sticky mouth feel under the tongue, but fairly silky everywhere else. Long after the sip is done, there’s a pepper and sandalwood note that comes out, and a warming sensation on the back of the tongue. There’s also some berry impressions that I can’t quite pinpoint. This is definitely developing nicely as the leaves open up more.
Fourth steep, 15 seconds. Even now the leaves are still clumped together a fair bit. The liquor is progressively darker, though this steep doesn’t have much fragrance.
Again, that sticky under the tongue mouth feel. Earth, a hint of bitterness, and a nice licorice flavour that quickly fades out to a sweetness on the back of the tongue. More camphor and numbing, and then a surprise burst of citrus on the finish, for just a moment.
Fifth steep, 15 seconds. Woody, earthy, slightly sweet, slightly medicinal. A little bit of smoke and nuttiness on the finish, and an almost slippery, coating mouth feel. A bit of licorice develops at the tail end of the finish.
Sixth steep, 20 seconds. Camphor, earth, a hint of bitterness. Numbing, a bit astringent on the finish. The sweetness and licorice is gone.
Seventh steep, 20 seconds. A bit bitter, smokey, earthy. A touch of sweetness is back, just fleeting mid tongue. The mouth feel is getting pasty again. There’s a sweet, floral note on a very long finish, and the licorice is back a bit.
This is interesting and I like it, but I don’t love it. I think there’s lots of steep left in these leaves. Only by steep seven had the leaves unclumped, so I’m going to set them aside for now and do some more steeps another time, but for now, I’m done.
Flavors: Berry, Bitter, Burnt, Camphor, Citrus, Earth, Floral, Licorice, Medicinal, Nutty, Pepper, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Wood
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Tea of the morning! I’ve been wanting to try this particular tea for a long time, mostly because of the hype it gets around here. The leaves look exactly like Laoshan Green but black. :P They’re thin and brittle and curled into little loops in some cases. Dry scent is pure cocoa, yum! I did a 3 minute steep as per usual for black teas.
Brewed, this tea smells very similar to Fujian black teas that I’ve tried – it has that same savory dill note. This tea also tastes similar to my idea of a Fujian tea. It’s strong and has robust flavors with that dill note along with dark grain and some lovely cocoa. This tea, however, has a nice burnt brown sugar or caramel flavor to it that really adds depth. And it’s a teensy bit sweeter, especially in the end and aftertaste, and there’s a touch of cinnamon.
Overall, quite good, but not mind-blowing. :)
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Burnt Sugar, Caramel, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Dill, Grain
Lewis & Clarke TTB
I have no idea what holy basil tastes like, but the fact that it’s called “Spa Blend” sounded interesting to me. This tea is a mixture of very small pieces of herbs – looks like mint and fennel seed with chunks of something else. Dry scent is mostly mint to me, though I can smell the fennel a little bit. Again, weird instructions, so I did boiling for 5 minutes since it’s herbal.
Brewed, it smells like mint and honey. The taste is mostly mint to me, but there’s also something in here that tastes similar to honey to me, but without the sweetness. I can taste the fennel, but only just slightly. I don’t know what holy basil tastes like so I can’t comment on that really. :P I can’t say that I taste burdock root, or at least it doesn’t taste like the burdock root tea I had earlier. Pretty good, but I wish the other ingredients stood up to the mint more. :)
Flavors: Fennel, Honey, Mint
I stopped by Verdant today to pick up some Minnesota Blend for Cameron, and then I bought more oolong (not this one, the hand picked spring 2014 TGY). I blame her :-P
But also thanks to Cameron, I had a cup of this tea free in the store. If you spend $25 in loose leaf- presto! – free cup of tea :). I’m a little sad that I didn’t buy this one and I may go back for it. I’ve been all about the green oolongs lately and not really into the roasted ones, but this is pretty damn tasty. To me, the main note is buttery corn, specifically roasted buttered end-of summer sweet white corn which is one of my favorite things ever. There’s also a pleasant nuttiness hanging in the background, I’m thinking almond- also with butter! It’s a very unique and complex oolong! Yes, I’ll probably go back to buy some. Here’s a shot of Verdant’s tasting room, which is very zen:
Also, I didn’t realize this until afterwards, but Lily Duckler was the one who helped me in store. She was ever so nice and accommodating, not to mention extremely knowledgeable of course (which is what made me suspect that it was not just any employee who helped me). Thanks Lily for helping me with all my troublesome requests!
Flavors: Almond, Butter, Kettle Corn, Sweet
Lewis & Clarke TTB
I was unsure what to expect from this one based on the name, other than the bergamot. I was happy to see that the “Golden” part of it is a Yunnan base tea, yums. There’s also lemongrass and orange peel mixed in, which is lovely. The dry scent is overwhelmingly bergamot. :P The instructions are… weird, so I just did 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Yum, the brewed tea smells strongly of lemon and orange, and it’s making my mouth water. I love that I can taste the lemon and orange more than the bergamot in this tea! Yeah, I like bergamot, but I hate it when it overpowers other flavors. The Yunnan base is light and bready and pastrylike, tasty. It’s like eating a lemon pie! :D
Their website says that this blend is archived. :( Now I’m very sad.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Bergamot, Lemon, Orange, Pastries
Lewis & Clarke TTB
Yum, genmaicha. I’m very interested in trying this one so I can see how it compares to my beloved Minnesota Blend, since it’s the same thing but without the vanilla and flower petals. I love that they use two types of toasted rice, it adds a lot of visual interest. The tea itself is one of the Laoshan Greens, and the leaves are dark evergreen, very thin, and curled. It smells toasty and creamy and absolutely lovely. I went for a 2 minute steep just because. :D
Mm, the brewed aroma is luscious… Toasting, comforting rice mixed with sweet and creamy vegetal green tea. Oh yum. The toasted rice is very toasted, so the flavor is deep and rich and amazing. And the green tea is that lovely sweet and creamy Laoshan Green with its gentle vegetal flavor. This is delish, and will absolutely be an acceptable substitute for my Minnesota Blend once it’s gone (aww).
Flavors: Butter, Creamy, Roasted, Smooth, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vegetal
I ordered three teas from them this past week, after being a HUGE fan of their Laoshan Black and Qilan Wuyi, and was pretty disappointed. I’m not getting much of anything from the aroma other than an unpleasant smoky smell. I also got a bag of the Laoshan Black 1st picking which smelled very similar to the later harvest version, but with a noticeable vegetal aroma… the problem is that it was so sour I couldn’t even drink it. I’m not sure if this was from improper storage that allowed bacteria to grow, often attributed to really sour tasting tea, or if this is how it was supposed to taste. Really disappointed with this most recent order from them. I will not be ordering from them again.
Flavors: Smoke, Wood
Just brewed it for 1.5 minutes and I am nervous that it will taste too light. But here goes… The scent of the leaves, pre-brewing, was like chocolate. But now the scent from my steaming cup is an earthy one.
Not being used to oolong, this is an interesting taste for me. It’s mild and earthy, like a green tea with roasted rice.
I let it brew longer (4 mins) and tried again… This time the smell is deeper and even more earthy. The taste is much stronger, but again – so earthy. It reminds me of brown rice tea, which I don’t really like- so maybe I’m not an oolong person.
Flavors: Toasted Rice, Wet Earth
This is a strange and interesting tea. It tastes heavily of mint, I would have guessesed peppermint, but apparently it contains spearmint. What it does not seem to taste of is chocolate, however when you let the tea cool the chocolate flavor comes out. I found this out by accident when I was busy baking for 30 minutes after making this tea.
It is one of those teas you are not sure how to rate. There is the strong flavor of mint and the secondary flavors of chamomile and chocolate. But all in all I liked it enough to probably finish what I bought.
I brewed this western style for 3 min in an 18 oz teapot with 200 degree water and 3 tsp of leaf.
this is delicious. tastes exactly like Laoshan Black! in fact, it steeps up darker than LB and infuses quicker! and it’s an oolong which has to unfurl, so i imagine it would take a longer time to impart color than its black counterpart but apparently it doesn’t? okay!
i added honey to this as i do with LB. tastes yummy yummy yummy is all. would never guess this were an oolong….
the only difference i can really note is in the smell of the dry leaf….u don’t get the wonderful chocolaty note which jumps out at you as it does in Laoshan Black. but drinking it, you would never know otherwise ;)
Flavors: Brown Toast, Dark Bittersweet, Honey, Toasty
Where to start? I’ve been feeling kind of blue for the past couple days, so I thought I’d treat myself to something decadent, just because. Brewed up a pot of this . . . and here we go!
I’m so pleased, as always, to find that this tea brews up and tastes just like the dry leaf promises. A delicious mouthful of honey, raw sweet potato, and mushrooms. I can’t get over how thick and creamy it is, while being so “drinkable”. It feels like a cozy autumn evening, curled up in an armchair. Does that make sense? I would snuggle this tea if I could.
On the later sips, there’s this wonderful new layer of flavour that comes out—like the aftertaste of a bite of a really flaky, buttery croissant. Similar to puff pastry, but richer. There’s an unexpected savoury bite to this tea, for all it’s so sweet on the tongue, and it’s making me grin kind of crazily into my cup. Imagine Violet Beauregarde tasting Wonka gum. So many flavours and meals, all in one ;)
This might not be my favourite from Verdant, but I’m so glad to have it in my cupboard!
I tasted this tea when I was visiting Verdant’s store, but this time around it’s quite different from how I remember it.
A rinse with boiling water, and then very short steeps (pour on and immediately pour off.)
On the nose I’m getting minerals and a whole lot of lilac with some earth and smoke.
The start of the sip is woody, almost getting into nutty, but that quickly shifts to spectacular amount of the characteristic mineral taste, so much that I can feel the minerality on the back of my teeth.
With subsequent steeps there’s a bit of creaminess on the back of the tongue developing, and a very tangy vegetal finish, that includes some grass and spinach (which is reinforced by the mineral teeth feel.)
I really like the experience of this tea, even though the woodiness at the start of the sip isn’t a flavour I’m really into. But holistically, this is lovely.
Flavors: Creamy, Earth, Floral, Grass, Mineral, Nutty, Smoke, Spinach, Tangy, Vegetal, Wood
This tea rounded out a lovely meal at The Harriet Brasserie. They provide a good amount of tea in a single use filter, a cup and a pot of hot water, so you can steep it however you like.
I did three short infusions of roughly 30 seconds each. My first impression on the nose and palette was a lot of sweet corn, followed by a bit of vegetal, grain and hay. There was a small amount of bitterness and astringency but not unpleasant.
The second steep was more mellow, but with the same notes. The third steep was a little long and more of the bitterness and astringency came out.
This is a beautiful green. I’m glad to have tried it and I would love to get my hands on some for my cupboard.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Grain, Hay, Vegetal
I was very excited to get a sample of this from Dexter. I really enjoy sichuan food, and this sounded down right intriguing. And it is.
The dry leaf smells like cinnamon and vanilla – really lovely but not that unique. Steeped for 2min after a quick rinse, the smell of it changes completely. Instead of the sweet smells of the dry leaf, I notice ginger sharpness, sichuan pepper and a mustiness. The same notes come out on the palette. Ginger, sichuan pepper, mustiness, earth and just a hint of sweetness and licorice on the finish. And of course, the characteristic numbing effect. As it cools there’s also a bit of smokiness.
Second steep is much more ginger, earth and sichuan pepper. The mustiness falls away and I don’t detect any more licorice.
The third steeping is mostly ginger and earth.
This is really different from anything I’ve tried before and I think I quite like it. My experience with pu’erhs is pretty limited, but this is in a whole different ballpark than any of the flavoured pu’erhs I’ve tried.
I doubt everyone will like this, but I think it’s worth trying.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Earth, Ginger, Licorice, Musty, Pepper, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Vanilla