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Recent Tasting Notes
I have been wanting to try this tea for a while and thanks to Janelle, I finally get to! I have been so busy lately with school, work/business and home life that I have only had time to drink tea on the go and no time to log. Today the marching band festival is in town, so I’ll be darting off to go see that shortly.
The first few sips, I taste mostly malt. I just ate sourdough french toast and wonder if that is influencing flavors. I get a little more depth to the malt flavor… maybe a little toastiness, but no chocolate. Maybe on the aftertaste if I think about it. It is really nice tho! I’m trying to remember what my experience was with the Laoshan black and how it compares, but it has been so long that I’m not sure which I prefer. Super glad to have gotten to try this tasty tea!
Ohhhhh this is good!
Smells like toasted basmati rice. Tastes like toasted basmati rice.
Om nom nom (I think I’m going to go put on a pot of rice to cook!).
(Flash steeping 3g in my teensy gaiwan that I haven’t measured yet.)
Edit: It started with a garnet hue, like
pineapple pomegranate juice or wine, almost. It’s steeping out and is more of an amber colour now. So pretty. So tasty. I must be on steep 8 or 9.
Brewed this quite a few times with a friend as my first sheng tea done correctly- meaning I didn’t steep this for almost three minutes.
I find this to be what I would classify as a wonderful aged tea with its interesting roasted vegetable taste. While this may be a fantastic tea with its presentation and smell, the taste is a little dry and the aged portion of it makes it not taste as clean as I would like. Though this is my first sheng I can tell by the quality of the leaf a I examine it that it was a fine specimen .
This sample is one I’ve had for a while. I wasn’t particularly fond of it, so I hadn’t taken the time to review it until my newest tea-convert frisfries wanted to start trying tea.
First infusion: 30 sec. A bit salty and smokey, with just an undertone of coffee breath. Maybe a hint of chocolate. I just can’t get over how much it smells like my SO’s coffee breath!
Second infusion: 45 sec. Stronger coffee breath. Still salty. Not a fan, but maybe I could see how others could be? It may be because I don’t like coffee OR chocolate.
Flavors: Cocoa, Coffee, Malt, Salt, Smoke
Initially, this tea smells a little like the ocean, kinda salty, but with underlying roasting tones. I also smell a little bit of maple syrup. I know more about beer than tea, and if this tea was a beer it would be something akin to a honey nut brown ale.
As I prepare for all 7 of the deadly sins to attack my holy temple of taste buds, I remind myself that I have committed to re-steeping this tea six times to experience the difference between steeps with pu-erh tea.
I am not a fan of pu-erh at all, but this tea has milder version of stomped on hay from some random barn. I’m really hoping that the next few batches will lose that taste and smell and give me something I can describe as tea. As of now I understand the shameful feeling that comes with cheating… sorry my dear oolong, I’m just ‘experimenting’ right now.
Here’s to hopes that steep two may turn out better!
That was the first steep at 4minutes and no wash because I had no clue what I was doing…
The steeps after that were 20 seconds each. This brews very smooth and I can actually identify an earthy taste mixed with honey and I really enjoy it. I look forward to my new adventures with pu-erh. This tea is quality from the way the leaf is pressed and unravels over steeps to the beautiful honey taste that accents the earthyness quite well. This will forever be the tea that I ruined at first but made me realize I have have been brewing pu-erh wrong for quite some time.
Sipping down this tea with a friend as we samples some more black teas since it’s the type of tea I generally stay away from. This black tea is quite mild compared to many others that I have tasted and it’s almost like a weakened warm honey in a way as well. We actually finished the pot off which means I didn’t pour it out, but once I was done with my fourth cup I came to the conclusion that this tea doesn’t really offer a taste that I would consider chasing after- though as a black tea it isn’t bitter and rough toward my taste buds, I just don’t see myself desiring to brew the rest of my Laoshan Black anytime soon.
Another from *Anlina that i tried yesterday and will likely pick up again today just to finish it off. This was an interesting one – different than a lot of the puerhs i’ve had from verdant and interesting in it’s tastes. woody a little..with a taste that is almost spice like… I’ll see how other steeps go today.
Final Count: 121
As this tea (a 2013) is an aged tea, truly, I should have passed it by in my cupboard, but as I’ve only had one other tea from Verdant (their celebrated Laoshan Black), I decided to give it a whirl this morning. The dry leaves are still lovely twisty seal brown with tips of gold. There are some Yunnan’s, especially those that come from older trees, that I find to have flavor profiles that are more “manly” that typical Yunnan teas. Along with the apricot and chocolate notes, there is a wood note….sometimes an old wood note. This Wild Picked Yunnan tea has that wood note, but it is one that is more refined. It is not the bottom of a boat that a former sailor takes out each weekend to fish the local lake….it is closer to an old wine cask of oak that was never used for it’s purpose. The wood note is clear but not smoky or earthy. It is purely “of the tree”. I kinda like the organicness of that.
Being that this tea is old, it’s a very nice, well-balanced Yunnan Black. I’d like to try one of their more recent pickings to see how the wood note has morphed….if it has at all….. but in general, this is a nice Yunnan Black.
(I acquired this tea in a swap and for the life of me I cannot remember who sent it as an extra added bonus….so whoever you are, THANK YOU for your generosity.)
Flavors: Apricot, Chocolate, Oak wood
I’m really torn by this tea. It’s actually a very nice tea. It re-steeps well. It has a nice rich flavor. But for the life of me I can’t taste the chocolate or the genmaicha! I didn’t really notice anything nutty about it. It’s just a nice dark tea. So while I do recommend it, it’s not because of anything advertised in its name.
I actually thought they were kidding when they said to steep it for 2-5 seconds. But it’s true and it works.
I discovered a new brewing technique, and decided to revisit this one, and experiment, today. Instead of the usual 4 grams of solid leaf cake, 205 deg water, and two 4 sec rinses, followed by three 5 sec infusions. I changed it to 8 grams of solid leaf cake, boiling water, and two 2 sec rinses, followed by a 10 second infusion, and two 2 sec infusions. Also, I added a little of the hot water to the saucer to keep the porcelain gaiwan hotter. This was intended to keep the water at a more stable temp, and give the leaves more time to fully open during the first infusion. What I noticed, is a lighter color liquor, and the smokey flavour is all but absent, which may be desirable to some sippers. Also, there is absolutely no bitterness, and the tea flavour is more mellow and subdued, the opposite of what you’d expect. Also, in the second infusion, I’m already beginning to taste the subtle sweet, honey melon notes beginning to make themselves known, a nice surprise. Personally, I enjoy the smokey, storage flavour, and miss it slightly. However, the added sweetness and complexity does make this a more interesting concoction. The total lack of bitterness, and mellow flavour profile easily make this a most approachable pu’erh.
Very mellow, and slightly smoky in the first few infusions. I’m only about 4 infusions into it, and it’s starting to open up into a honey citrus sweetness, simular to a Dancong, or Eastern Beauty. I especially like the cooling sensation I get from inhaling through my mouth after I’ve had a few sips. I also like the fact that Verdant has broken it up into perfectly sized approx. 4 gram chunks, which is exactly what you want. This is a very prize tea, and well worth the cost.
Flavors: Chestnut, Citrus, Creamy, Honey, Smoke
I just ordered a sample of this, so that’s probably why I have so many wee broken bits coming through. So far my experience has been that I don’t have to strain when using my gaiwan, but for this tea I definitely need to.
The flavour has been progressing nicely. At the beginning of the sip, it’s like thick water, but then sweetness hits the tongue with a lingering super mild bitter flavour. Almost like sour apple candy, actually. It could be described as somewhat leathery, but those notes are very harmonious with the sweet, fresh, green, and gently bitter notes.
I’ve steeped 6 or 7 times this evening, and the tea has a lot further to go. I’ll probably do a few more steeps in the morning when I’m prepping lunch and my work teas.
I used half my sample in the teensiest gaiwan. I’m getting about 45ml of tea per steep. :D My steeps are still very short, as I find that’s preventing it from going too bitter.
I don’t think I’d get more of this, but it’s a nice taste test in my journey of learning about puerh!
I’m taking a break from my sip down extravaganza to sample this new black tea from Verdant. I am a big fan of their teas, especially their black teas, & I’m also a fan of Fujian teas & that Wuyi Rock taste, & so naturally I had to sample this one! The sample I received is about 7 grams, so I divided it into a 5 gram serving for my tiny 4oz porcelain tea pot (side story: I hate cats! Squishy, my daughter’s cat that lives at my house, is known for doing insane things, & does everything she can to piss me off. A few days ago she did a crazy series of leaps, rebounding off of a variety of things, & culminating with a leap to the highest shelf of my teaware, knocking my beautiful little blue lotus teapot out of the cupboard. It crashed to the floor, but amazingly, it did not shatter. However a small chip popped out of the inside of the rim, along with a corresponding but smaller chip on the inside rim of the lid, presumably where they hit each other. I won’t describe my response to the situation, but lets just say I fell into a moment of insanity. Today we’ll see if that pot is still usable, but I’m pretty sure it is).
The other 2 gram sample is being used for their Western Steep parameters, using a 4oz cup & steeps of 30 sec/45/60/2min…etc. That the one I’m drinking right now. I’ve been drinking it for awhile. I guess I should start off by saying that it is not like most of Verdants black teas. There is no dark chocolate, no deep roastiness. But that’s ok!
This is a lovely tea, a more feminine tea, at least to my mind. The immediate tastes are a sweet creamy delicate essence of ‘cake’ & vanilla pudding. Behind that, a bright essence of orange flower, & the very clean flavor of bamboo shoots. Interestingly, I’m not a big fan of bamboo shoots, but somehow in this tea, it works! This tea is also sweet, with a lingering sweetness, the classic rocky mineral base that grows with each cup, & I pleasant teabuzz that I’m enjoying this afternoon. :)
EDIT I’ve started on the gongfu session, & I’m sad to report that there is a small crack running down the side of my tiny teapot :( It only leaks a very slow small drop, & hopefully over time tea oils will fill it in, as it is a very fine crack.
What can I add by way of review? First off, warming the dry leaf up in the hot teapot is always a treat. I love the aroma of warmed leaves, & this tea is no exception. A rich sweetness rises to greet me, & I compared it to the aroma of elderberries (which I always have on hand & drink often for their antiviral properties), & it’s a fairly close match, underscored by sweet cake, & a sweet but not necessarily floral incense. The flavor is basically the same as the other steeping, but richer, & a reminder to me that I need to find time for gongfu sessions again, because so many of the teas in my collection require it. I’ve been so busy over the last several months, & this week on spring break is reminding me of the lifestyle I prefer. Only 10 more weeks of school, & I doubt that I will return to teach in the fall.
A few more comments regarding this tea: The sweetness lingers on & on, & although the flavor profile doesn’t really change much, it is pleasant & soothing & as it becomes rockier it feels more like drinking a sheng. The energy is very bright, with a wonderful tongue tingle, a lovely clarifying sensation, & an ensemble of higher pitched instruments, all playing with a sweet mellow vibe: soft flutes, a little oboe, plucked strings, maybe a little lightly bowed cello for bass, & lots of tinkly & rustle-ey random percussion (bells, glock, wind chimes, sound of water & bamboo).
Today I learned that the HPA axis is the main powerhouse for the stress response in the human brain. By activating it, there is an increase in stress hormone – cortisol – release. What I didn’t know was that the latest and newest research surrounding nerve cells is showing that there may be plasticity within them. This means that over-activating these cells can lead to increased adaptability so that the cells can go back to their most comfortable state. I thought this was interesting because most of the research has said that the cells become less sensitive instead of adapting. This is completely unrelated to this tasting note, I just thought it was interesting. You learn something new everyday, folks!
Anyhow, I am sitting here sipping this delightful cup of Campfire Blend. The strong musky scent of cinnamon hits me before I even take a sip. I can taste hints of vanilla, ginger and rice that quickly fade and I am left with the lingering cinnamon. It’s a nice tea but I can only handle one cup of this and I’ll be ready to move on. It reminds me of watching the gentle snow fall outside while bundled up in a blanket listening to Ben Howard.
Happy tea drinking! I hope everyone is having a nice evening.