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Recent Tasting Notes
This is from a teabox a WHILE ago. I really need to try these teas sooner. I’ve ruined these poor blooming teas before. It doesn’t help that Verdant’s instructions say to cool boiling water for a minute to get 185 degree water? I don’t think that works! So I waited about 15 minutes and poured the water in my clear mug for about two minutes before scooping the bloom out… I wish I could leave it in the mug but I’ve had these blooming flowers result in the bitterest brews before, so I wanted to avoid that! At first, the steeped tea smells horrible – like funky seaweed when I was expecting lovely jasmine. But luckily the flavor is delicious – there is something mysterious about it – it tastes like an odd fruit I can’t place, or maybe a citrus based fruit punch. Not that much jasmine in my opinion, which is odd since there is entire loop of jasmine flowers. Also nutty and not astringent at all, even though there are quite a few big leaves left brewing in the bottom of the mug. It’s actually a great flavor if I ignore the scent at first. The second cup gets a tiny bit bitter, and the flavor is a lot more vegetal, so this steep wasn’t as special.
This is kind of like a savory chocolate mint tea. Kind of.
It’s a hard experience to describe. It’s herbaceous with an almost soft quality from the chamomile, and the mint adds a vibrancy that is pretty standard of mint. Fennel seems to round out the flavors, while adding a bit of mouth tingle that I get from eating fennel bulbs. The LB adds a pretty substantial amount of cocoa and malt notes, while the oolong insures that it feels cool to the pallate. Like I said. Hard to describe.
In any case, it’s grown on me a lot over the last while and has become my de facto nighttime cup (though I’m drinking it mid afternoon right now while I finish up some projects that are driving me mad).
This tea totally embodies the hug in a cup sentiment that I give tea.
The dry aroma is very pleasant: hickory smoke, leather, chili pepper, seeet pipe tobacco, a touch of spring soil. It actually reminds me of barbecue sauce. The effect is light, young, and sweet rather than heavy and dank.
(Note: I was using relatively long steepings close to a minute)
First steeping has that sweetness in the flavor. The color is woody, medium brown and a bit yellowish. As promised by the name, the tea unfolds in the pot to reveal large pieces of greenish-brown leaves. The liquor is thin and softly textured. That light pipe tobacco flavor comes through, barbecue sweetness, a touch of barnyard/horse aroma. There’s a bright sweetness at the top that could just maybe be orange peel. After a few minutes the energizing effect begins, invigorating and warming with a gentle “high,” becoming a bit jittery the more I drink.
Further steepings bring out more of a menthol cooling effect in the mouth, which increasingly dominates the experience with additional steepings.
Overall, wonderfully balanced and refined but still exciting and surprising. Some pu-erhs scream, this one sings like Ella Fitzgerald.
And as a bonus, it’s pretty reasonably priced.
Flavors: Barnyard, Earth, Leather, Menthol, Sweet, Tobacco, Wood
This is a solid oolong. I received a sample in my last VT order. While I’ve learned that I generally dislike Wuyi mountain oolong, I went ahead and gave it a try.
First steep: 1min
Second steep: 1min 15sec
Third steep: 1min 30sec
Fourth steep: 3min
It opens with a sweet, nutty, kettle corn flavor that I identify with roasted TGY or Alishan. It’s a bit like toasted rice. There is a light mineral taste and a clean freshness that makes me think of river stones. The reason most Wuyi oolongs turn me off is the overbearing mineral/metallic taste I’ve found in every one that I’ve tried. Rather than being a dominant flavor, here it acts as a subtle middle note. It supports the equally mellow flavor of wood—it reminds me of tree bark. The finish is creamy vanilla and soybean, and it leaves the lingering taste of honeysuckle flowers on my tongue. The second steep has stronger notes of roasted nuts and light woodsmoke. By the third steep the heavier, roasted flavors, minerals, and nuts have receded. It leaves a floral and refreshing liquid that bears faint memories of rice and pine. The finish is clean, though traces of vanilla bean and honey remain. In the last steep there are notes of stone fruit and a playful, tangy, citrus-like tone. Again the finish is clean and it leaves a cooling sensation in the back of the throat. Powdered sugar and crushed flowers follow, but the cooling sensation lingers. Overall this was a very pleasant surprise. Not at all what I expected, and the first time that I’ve sincerely enjoyed a straight oolong in a very long time.
Flavors: Citrus, Creamy, Floral, Honey, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nutty, Pine, Powdered sugar, Roasted, Smoke, Soybean, Stonefruits, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Vanilla, Wood
I went lazy western brewing with this and used a brew basket. Somewhat sacrilegious, I know, but I was more surprised how good it still was. Plus one to forgiving teas!
Like the Laoshan Black, this is so rich and cocoa-y, with lots of layers of honey. I think this is lighter and even slightly sweeter than the black, though. It definitely has some of the yeasty bread notes I associate wih roasted oolongs again.
I don’t know if I’d have them both in my cupboard together again, but if I ever wanted a change from the LB, I’d grab this is a heartbeat.
This was an Asian style steeping (I used a gaiwan).
The first infusion of the tea was amazing! Gave me hope, that one day I would like to drink Pu’ers. It was full bodied, incredibly smooth, with a rosey floral taste with a hint of wet leaves. The finish lingered for quite some time too. The color was a almost brick red, but with an orange hue to it. Kind of like a sunset.
The second taste was as dark as it can get at dusk, without it being entirely black. The taste was a strong wet leaves taste, with the floral taste on the side.
Flavors: Musty, Rose, Wet Earth
Backlog. My Verdant order came in! Yay for restocking on favorites like LB! I ordered a sample of this oolong because based on the reviews here on Steepster, it seemed like a tea that would be right up my alley. I neglected to look up any steeping parameters, so I left the tea steeping for about 3 minutes, oops. The resulting tea reminded me a lot of Laoshan Black, but it had a bit of a musty raisin-like taste. That was unexpected and confusing, so I looked up steeping parameters, which turned out to be 30 seconds.
So after my first mug, I resteeped a few times at around 40 seconds or so each. I think that my first long steep kind of drained a lot of the flavors out because the resteeps tasted a bit more like nutty hot water than anything else. Anyway, I’ll probably bring the rest of the sample back home where I can pay more attention to it and steep it right.
this was a sample in my last verdant order that i thought i’d get around to today since if i effed this one up, i know cavo has a ton coming her way haha. I’m not sure if i’m getting vanilla off this one…but it IS a smooth tasting shou and a nice reminder of why i DID like some of verdant’s offerings (but please don’t get my started on intelligent nutrients…) After a few steepings, this has become a thicker tea…deepending in taste and leaving me with much more of a woody sort of taste with something else that i can’t quite place.
Final Count yesterday: 152
This is the first pu’erh I have ever tried — I just received Verdant’s pu’erh sampler in the mail. On the first infusion (10 seconds) after 2 rinses, it tastes just like mushroom broth made from cremini mushrooms plus a a very small amount of shiitakes. I’m not sure how I feel about this or if I’m really interested in drinking mushroom broth, will see how it develops. It’s so mushroomy, I feel like maybe I should add salt. Is this what people mean when they say pu’erh is “earthy”? I don’t think this is at all earthy — it doesn’t taste like the bottom of a forest, just mushrooms. It’s very gentle and mellow — even smooth — not at all what I was expecting from raw pu’erh. I like tea with natural sweetness, so this is a totally new tea experience. I don’t dislike it… It’s just that at this point, it seems like it should provide the base for a soup. As it cools, I do taste a slight sweetness.
Infusions 2 and 3: Mushrooms plus a new woody, slightly nutty flavor. Ah, and there are the bitter notes. So far, I can’t really say whether or not I like or dislike this tea. I’m on the fence, so clearly I don’t love it. It also leaves my mouth very dry, more so than black teas — and I don’t like that. Maybe I should’ve eased into this with shu or a more aged sheng pu’erh.
Many more infusions: Well, I’m still kinda on the fence, but It might be growing on me a little. It’s become quite sour, and again, not quite sure how I feel about it. I find it drinkable in kinda the same way that I started eating extremely pungent plan yogurt imported from Lebanon.. And now that’s the only yogurt I think has any flavor or is worth buying. I love that yogurt now — I am not at that point with this tea. I’m just saying I’m comfortable with the sourness and pungency mainly because of that.
Flavors: Astringent, Broth, Mushrooms, Oak wood, Sour
Versatile and Dynamic
Without repeating myself too much, I really enjoy this tea for its balanced dian hong profile(spice, sweet, malt) and awesome body with silky mouthfeel as you swallow.
This time around I used hotter water (boiling today versus 190 usually) and left the gaiwan lid on between steeps. The dry leaf had a pleasant smoky quality to it like a nice Qimun that proceeded the normal spicy malty assam leaf scents and tastes. Adding further to my surprise was that the sweetness actually came through as well and paired with the smoky spice reminded me of korean bbq which is super atypical for this tea’s flavor profile. I literally stopped and laughed to myself due to the oddity of the situation before continued on. Which put me into an internal dialogue that resulted in me forgetting I had water in the gaiwan so ended up with steepings that looked like 5s, 7s, 7s, then 3 mins … whoops but still was not bitter or astringent.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Malt, Smoke, Spicy
Not too bad
I was not expecting much with this tea but I was quite surprised. It definitely made the spicy yunnan profile with later steepings becoming sweeter raisin like so nothing too new and exciting but the body was pleasing. The leaves were full majority of them were unbroken also each steeping had little to no tea scum bubbles which was a nice for hongcha. I was surprised by the mouth filling body and silky smooth feeling going down. If the price dropped significantly I would buy a bunch of this and make it my go to yunnan for sure but I have trouble shelling out $5/oz when yunnan sourcing will give me the same for 3.5 oz. While it is not 3.5x better than any yunnan sourcing teas I do like this tea and will gladly enjoy the rest of the sample I have.
Typical yunnan flavor profile but a nice body and mouthfeel but too expensive for my wallet.
Flavors: Cocoa, Marshmallow, Raisins, Spicy
This is marvelous. It’s hard to describe the aroma of a Da Hong Pao. There’s just something very right and very tea about it. Taking a whiff of the dry tea instantly takes me back to my childhood, those times when I was curious about my family’s tea collection and would open the canisters to see (and sniff) what was inside. This one also reminds me of a summer trip to Fujian, and taking a raft down the river by Wuyi Mountain. Some of the most incredibly blue skies I’d ever seen that side of the world. (Yes, I actually went there! But I was too young to appreciate the tea culture as much, and was more interested in finding the supposedly 30 different kinds of cicadas on the mountain that all made different noises.)
The flavor profile of this is roasty, with a touch of caramel and a lingering sweetness. There’s a honey citrus zest to it that reminds me a bit of a Mi Lan Xiang Dancong, as well as a more meaty fruit sweetness like longan fruit. I’m sure this one will stand up to further exploration. Thanks to beelicious for the sample! I also have another sample from a Verdant order last year in an unopened pouch. Maybe it’s from a different harvest, and it would be interesting to compare the two.
When I first tasted this tea, I thought the jasmine was too over powering. But it may have been because I had not sipped on jasmine tea recently. As I started to experience the cup of tea, I noticed the jasmine was not overpowering, but the taste of the tea complemented the Jasmine so well it was hard for me to separate the tastes. I imagine the tea was grown near bamboo, because as I sip the tea i notice the smell and taste which arouses a scenic garden with bamboo and flowers in my minds eye. The flavor profile has Jasmine (shockingly), sweet grass, and a sweetness reminiscent of blueberries. It has grown into one of my favorite Jasmine teas.
Flavors: Blueberry, Jasmine
This tea is an explosion of flowers in your mouth… but that’s pretty much all. The ingredients list had me very excited to taste a tea that promised to be a complex collaboration of interesting flavors , but unfortunately all I can taste is floral flowers. Soooo much floweriness. Florals completely coat my mouth. Did I mention the flowers are very floral??
I first brewed this at 3g/6oz/190F for 1min, then at 4g/7oz/205F for 30sec and 1min. The 205F, 30sec brew was somewhat weak, and all of the 1min brews were a mouthful of flowers. I wish I had enough of this tea to experiment with steep times, temps, and water/leaf ratios etc, perhaps a gongfu sesh. I’d love to taste all of the ingredients in this tea, but for now I can only recommend it to people who are in love with jasmine and florals.
Flavors: Flowers, Jasmine
Thanks to OMGsrsly for this sample! It’s cool because I probably wouldn’t have picked this, but now that I’ve tried it I’m SUPER happy I got the chance. What an interesting tea! The aroma is amazing – it has this peppery spiciness that I’m assuming is the frankincense, having basically no experience with frankincense up until now. :) It smells like it might be a bit overbearing, but as I sip the tea the other flavours balance it out. The tieguanyin base is lovely and creamy, the citrus peel is bright, and the frankincense/saffron adds this amazing depth and richness. I’m actually not getting much of the jasmine – a bit of a floral note that might just be the oolong, but… oh actually, maybe the jasmine is more in the aftertaste. What a neat combination of flavours!
This is my first time in quite a while using a gaiwan so we’ll see how this goes!
First steep, 15 seconds: Everyone else seems to get sweet caramel flavors, but I’m getting light vegetal flavors with a bit of a sour note at the end. The steeped leaves smell like rice to me
Second steep, 20 seconds: This one was about the same as the 15 second steep, I didn’t notice a huge difference.
Third steep, 30 seconds: This one is less vegetal and more creamy
Fourth steep, 45 seconds: I didn’t get much flavor out of this one so I’m going to really up the time on the next one, and it will probably be my last of this for today. The steeped leaves smell almost like paper towels, weird.
Fifth steep, 90 seconds: Still not much going on here. Oh well
-Not my bag
These leaves are the tiny curled style similar to bi luo chun. They produced a light green with a tint of yellow liquor or straight yellow depending on steep time/temp. The tastes I got (realizing this is almost a year old and some flavors might have dissipated), was beany I would say cross between lima beans and white great northern beans. A slight sweetness in the first steeping but that was about it. It lasted about average amount of steeping for a green not super longevity but I’ve had one or two teas fade quicker
I personally wouldn’t drink it again not into the beany profile and with so much great tea in my cabinet and only drinking a few a day I cant see myself purchasing or drinking any of the samples I have. Not a terrible tea but not good enough for me personally
Flavors: Beany, Lima Beans
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Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Oak wood