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Recent Tasting Notes
The small is similar, but very different from the Traditional Mao Xie. It is not toasted smelling at all, and is much more “green” both visually and aromatically. Smells strongly of kale and spinach.
First steep was for 2:00 min at 195F, with 5g for 8 oz. Tastes like artichoke, spinach, and a little bit like kale. Very good depth of flavor. Doesn’t taste anything like the Traditional Mao Xie. It almost tastes more like a green tea than oolong. However, I’m still improving my palette, so I can’t be 100% sure.
Held up well to 4 steeps. I enjoyed this tea, but not enough to buy more of it.
Flavors: Artichoke, Kale, Spinach
This was a part of Verdant’s 5 for 5.
30, 60, 90, ect.
The dry leaf has this really nice chocolaty smell.
The first steep reminded me of chocolate covered fruit, pomegranate or cherry. The texture was really silky. Steep two really brought out a rich cocoa flavor like hot chocolate. Steep three was incredibly sweet. Less hot chocolaty and more like a chocolate bar now. No astringency at all.
Overall, a pretty delicious tea. It wasn’t very malty or citrusy which was nice. However, after reading over the Verdant controversy, I don’t know if I can bring myself to make a real order.
Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Vanilla
The first tea I’m trying from Verdant’s June Tea Box.
This is an oolong unlike any I’ve tasted before; I’m of mixed feelings about it. In the aroma, it appears like a roasted oolong, minerally and toasty. Nothing overly unique there. The flavour begins like a roasted oolong (medium), and has a certain creaminess to it, but the finish is very different. I can’t pinpoint what it is – ‘chlorine’ is the closest I can come to a descriptor, but it’s really not that at all… my vocabulary is really escaping me. It’s this odd finish that throws me – it’s not bad, but I’m not sure I like it.
I’ll try a second infusion today and see what comes of it.
I used an entire 5g sample in a 10oz mug, brewed Western-style with just below boiling water. Didn’t time it but brewed for probably 2, maybe 3 minutes (it was strong, for sure).
Received as tea of the month club, labeled “Traditional Mao Xie”. Smells really good, a bit like caramel and very toasted smelling, with a hint of sesame. Very very good smelling.
First steep was 2:00 min at 200F with 5g of tea for 8 ounces. Smells like autumn leaves that have been caramelized with sugar. It tastes good, but is very underwhelming. I feel like it needs to be 4 times as strong. Next brew I’m going to do half the water and see how it changes. I do like it though.
Second brew increased flavor a bit, but it still seems to be a one note tea. It is still good though. Four brews in and still very good.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Burnt Sugar, Caramel
Quick review before work!
I’ve now tried this tea twice. I measure out about 5g of leaf, and then do subsequent steepings in 8oz of 175F water for 30sec, 45sec, and 1min (I can’t drink more than 3 cups in 1 day). Verdant tea’s website says this is “very vegetal”, but also fruity and floral. To me, when I opened up the bag I could have sworn this was white tea because of the longggg leaves and the down on them. The tastes I pick up are very floral and a bit fruity in the 2nd steep, but the vegetal taste is only slightly present and even then putters out after the 1st steep. Floral is definitely the most prominent taste, and it’s without astringency.
If floral greens are for you, or if you like white teas, give this one a try. I do like this tea, but am a bit disappointed with the lack of veggie taste. Still no problem drinking this one up though ;)
Flavors: Floral, Fruity
Got this tea in my “5 for 5” sampler pack.
I have to say it was delicious! The opening in dark chocolate – savory, a touch bitter, a touch sweet. I was also reminded in some ways of beef broth. There was also a toastiness, like roasted grains.
Flavors: Broth, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Roasted Barley, Tea
I need to write another tasting note about this one when i can pay attention. I sort of sipped on this throughout the day – gonfu style but never really had a chance to just sit and focus on it. I do remember being pleasantly surprised at the initial cup of this one, as it wasn’t quite what i was expecting. looking forward to trying this again with more intent and focus.
Not a fan of this. It smells a bit like formaldehyde, so it was taking me back to my high school days and science class. Surprise! You get to hack into a fetal pig! So I was already traumatized before I took a sip.
It’s extremely vegetal, but whatever kind of vegetable it is, it’s one I don’t care for. It’s a little bitter and sour.
Just…no thank you.
Flavors: Bitter, Sour, Vegetal
Got a sample of this from someone’s stash, so no idea if this is the 2016 or 2015 or 2014. I’m guessing 2016 by the notes, though.
Leaves are standard gold green balls, very floral smelling which gives me some trepidation as someone not a fan of uber floral oolong. Put in a generous bottom layer to my 100 ml ruyao gaiwan anyway though, just off boiling water, prewarmed teaware.
My first impression on this in the early steeps is that cold, metallic, fruity taste that I see in TGY and other similarly oxidized oolongs not infrequently (and that I find myself quite liking), so that was nice. Liquor is a light gold and thick, smells a little more grassy and vegetal now. Opens up to some creaminess and more floral (sigh), although thankfully more honeysuckle than anything else (followed by… orchid. I think. There’s a lot of flower power going on in here), rather than the ever ubiquitous Jasmine I’ve come to detest. Ends on a lighter taste, grassy/hay undertone with emphasis on the florals and some increasing dryness and bitterness. Went for about five steeps.
Overall, pleasant enough, although not really something that stood out to me either.
Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Hay, Honeysuckle
I had to guess which Tieguanyin I was sent in the 5 for $5 deal, and judging by the flavor profile, I guessed it was this one.
Flowers, but not really a specific one that I can identify. A light and dewy kind of flower. There’s a hint of vegetable in there as well, maybe spinach.
Enjoyable, but not my favorite.
Edit: It becomes a sort of creamy jasmine in subsequent steeps. It’s kind of nice. I gave it a couple of extra points for that.
Flavors: Creamy, Jasmine, Vegetal
I don’t know what to say. I want to take a bath in this tea. It’s warm. It’s toasty. It’s chocolatey. It’s like drinking a cup of hot chocolate. I wish I had had THIS last night when I was craving something sweet.
I’m sad I only have a sample size.
Flavors: Brown Toast, Chocolate, Roasted nuts, Sweet
First of all let me just say that I think I put too much tea in. I used the entire 4ish grams for my little tiny gaiwan. As a result, the first four brews of this were extremely strong and bitter. As the water cooled and I did faster steeping times, the tea started to mellow out.
Regardless, I enjoyed this tea best at a lower temperature than the “factory recommendation” of 208. 195 seemed to pull better flavors out. These included a woody sort of toasted barley. Sometimes I would get hints of cinnamon or chocolate, but not often.
This is one of those teas that I can appreciate, but not love.
Flavors: Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mineral, Roasted Barley, Wood
This is one of the teas I used to be fond of back in the day when I first discovered jade oolongs. My palette has since evolved, but I can still appreciate this tea. It’s fragrant with a pleasant orchid flavor, that isn’t too cloying as TGY can sometimes be. There is a touch of lilac and rose and a subtle vegetal background. A sweet aftertaste lingers following the initial steeps. It can take boiling water without becoming bitter.
Verdant’s instructions call for short steeps which result in a fairly light-bodied tea. I recommend combining steeps for best flavor. This compares favorably to last year’s Early Spring TGY. The difference is this year’s harvest isn’t nearly as long lasting. There is a noticeable drop in flavor around the 4th or 5th steep.
Although I’ve mostly moved on from Tie Guan Yin, this is one I can see myself repurchasing in the future. It doesn’t beat you over the head with flowers and has the most balanced flavor profile of all the TGYs I’ve tried.
Flavors: Cream, Flowers, Orchid
I actually like this, I don’t usually enjoy roasted oolongs, for the first couple steeps, it tastes a lot like hay at first, and nice and earthy with subtle cocoa notes, even tastes a bit like pumpkin and some spices, kinda like pumpkin pie
Once it wakes up after 3 or 4 steeps, it gets some woody, darker, and thicker with stronger chocolate notes with moderate astringency, it has quite a nice, comforting body. The roastiness isn’t very.. Uhm isn’t very like .. Central in the flavour? Like you can tell that it’s roasted just like with the laoshan roasted oolong, just this is a bit more noticeably roasty if any of that makes any sense. It finally begins to taste like autumn leaves after maybe 8 or 9 steeps, and around that point the roastiness gets strong into a point where I don’t like the taste as much, and it loses most of its complexity around this time, it’s just sort of roasty, with autumn leaves and dark and earthy, with radish and carrot notes.
I was asked to provide two tea’s on one Sunday afternoon per month after Liturgy for a monastic practice of reading usually done at mealtimes when no one else speaks (but we’re just having tea).
Do you realize how hard it is for a tea nerd to narrow down mega mountains of possibilities to TWO tea’s?
“OK”, I thought, “One hot, one cold, one caffeinated and one herbal.”
That was easy.
I’ve had great success with a hot fruity herbal tea from Happy Luckys TeaHouse here in town (all natural and organic Harvest Moon).
The second choice was Verdant Early Spring Tieguanyin.
(Cold brewed overnight using spring water and beginning at room temperature.)
I chose this tea for its delicate combination of subtle floral and hint of clean savory flavors that dance lightly through your mouth. A perfect hot weather introduction to tieguanyin for those who have never had full leaf tea.
Each month, I’ll introduce two more tea’s. How fun for me! This is what I’ve been doing since Steepster (besides getting older!)…introducing people to tea.
I hope my old tea friends here are well!