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Recent Tasting Notes
From the Pu TTB
This was a nice and very mild sheng. Pretty nice thick mouthfeel in the early steeps. White grape, fresh camphor, grainy, and peppery notes. Starts to thin out pretty early in the later steeps. Despite what I think about Verdant’s marketing I’m yet to have anything that wasn’t good from them.
Flavors: Camphor, Grain, Pepper, Peppercorn, White Grapes
The December TotM samples have arrived and they are all teas Verdant has never offered before, so there isn’t even info on their website yet about these teas. This is distinct from the “Wuyi Gongfu Black” on their website which they have been offering for some time, just to be clear.
This is not a smoked tea. But it is almost as “smoky” in characteristics as the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong which the same family produces EXCEPT that this one isn’t actually smoked. You really can pick up the fact that the leaves (from different trees) are growing in the same soil, sunlight, rainfall &c. The taste of the place is really present. Something I’m enjoying more and more about having so many teas from just a handful of farms is discovering how the leaf itself shines through all that various processing and manipulating.
I have described Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong as “petting zoo” and there’s a teensy bit of that here, but not nearly as powerfully. A bright, amber tang cuts through almost as if this were a blend with assam.
The biggest notes however come right out of the write-up in the TotM box “mossy” and perhaps even a bit musty, like a humid shou pu-erh.
This is a great addition to Verdant’s rapidly growing selection of exceptional and unusual teas.
Flavors: Marzipan, Moss, Smoke, Wet Wood
No notes yet. Add one?
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Cream, Sweet, Vegetal
More hybrid steeping of TotM wuyi oolongs.
But I’m back in Houston now, so this is the last of these, and in fact, I actually drank this tea over the weekend.
The write-up is right-on. Big roast, big floral.
I’m looking forward to deciding which of these new wuyi to work into my standard rotation of daily drinkers.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted
Backlogged; probably the tea I was most excited about for this particular box. Sadly, that doesn’t mean I wrote anything down for it, either. I see that other people wrote about florals in this tea, which I wouldn’t have overly enjoyed, but it’s hard to say – sniffing the dry tea, I’m not really getting anything floral, mostly a plain black tea with a bit of minerally/rock oolong aroma.
This tea brews up with an amazingly pale cup for how powerful the aroma of both the wet leaf and liqueur are. I am enjoying my mug immensely even though it looks almost like it is just full of hot water.
This tea has a strong, grassy base, but there’s no bitterness at all. There’s a kind of soy milk smooth, nutty sweetness as well.
(again, I’m brewing this hybrid style in a large pot, lots of leaf and very short steep times – I’m looking forward to my more typical [and recommended] grandpa style when I get back home from the holidays)
Flavors: Grass, Milk, Peas, Soybean
Although I’ve loved most of the teas I’ve tried from Verdant, this one just wasn’t up my alley. I’m not a fan of floral tea, so finding floral notes in a straight black tea was unsettling! Plus, I found it to be slightly bitter. (Which, admittedly, may be user error…there were no steeping instructions on the sample, so I just did my standard 3 minutes at 205 degrees.) I think I’ll be sticking with my beloved Laoshan black the next time I order from Verdant!
Flavors: Bitter, Floral
Yet another November TotM sample from the new wuyi offerings from Verdant.
This pot is very floral and yet is still clearly a wuyi with strong roast notes.
Very unusual, I’m brewing this in a hybrid between gongfu and western, with a large English style tea pot but using a lot of leaf and pulling the basket very quickly after pouring the water. I hope to get back to this leaf with a more orthodox set up sometime soon.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted Barley
I have had this sample approximately forever. So with wanting to try my new tea cup, but not wanting a puerh, I decided to try this tea. Finally.
Dry, it smells sweet. Honey-sweet-potato, almost. I did a quick pour-through rinse of the leaves. They’re still carby, but there’s a bit of a spice, or pepper note.
Steeped ~ 20 seconds, it smells really floral. But it’s bitter as heck.
Ok, let’s try 5 seconds. (My new cup is the perfect size, BTW. Loving it!) That’s a bit better. Still, it smells quite sweet and floral, with lots of carby notes, but it isn’t really. It’s still bitter, but not undrinkably so. I am using hot water on this, as I’m doing shorter steeps. I would have expected the tea to hold up better for this (my options are 208F or 140F…).
This tea is a miss for me. There is some potential in the carby floral sweet notes, but it doesn’t come through. Oh well.
Still working my way through November’s TotM leaves (they come near the end of the month now, rather than mid-month, so it “feels” behind at the moment until I get used to this schedule).
I remember when this was one of the “reserve” release teas about half a year ago and I’m excited to see this is now part of Verdant’s day to day offerings.
This is a delightfully light and complex wuyi. There’s very little roast here and yet it doesn’t drift all the way into tieguanyin-like floweriness. There’s some bright floral notes, but it is the wet stone which still dominates.
There is a beautiful smooth thickness and a long finish which ends in a kind of almond spiciness rather than the flowers which is very pleasant.
The wet leaf and cup aroma are very powerful for an oolong tea.
Flavors: Almond, Floral, Mineral
Dang… this is some good tea. I thought there would be an odd transition of roast/rock oolong to buttery green oolong. It didn’t work that way, which is fine. I ended up getting a rather smooth steep after steep of a roast/wood taste with small texture and nut notes. This is lighter than a normal Big Red Robe and a bit smoother. While this was nice, I think with the TGY title I would want a buttery texture that is more noticeable or the TGY floral notes behind the BRR. This has a lot of potential if they execute it to have the notes of TGY and not just a slightly lighter taste with a higher smoothness to the tea overall.
I had this tea a day or so ago and something about it, I still can’t put my finger on it, just struck me really wrong. Maybe a spice I couldn’t place? Maybe the base? Maybe the combination of everything? I don’t know but I was really looking forward to this one and I just wasn’t enjoying it. I am glad it is a favorite of quite a few out there, but not my cup of tea.
This tastes more like a green than an oolong but I’m not complaining. It’s still delicious. It’s got a rich green asparagus taste to it and nutty sweetness. Nope, not much like an oolong but still an excellent tea. I brewed it in my mug at 190C , the temperature I always used for oolongs. Maybe I should have gone a lower temperature since it’s so close to green tea but it still came out great. I brewed for one minute and it’s perfect.
Again, had over the weekend as one of the November TotM samples, and so it will have to wait until second tasting for detailed notes.
But the one thing that stood out was how floral this rock oolong was. Not a tieguanyin by any stretch, no. Nothing like that.
But compared to Big Red Robe, or to the Mei Zhan it definitely had a flower thing going on.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted
This came as one of the TotM samples for November, along with four other wuyi style oolongs that I look forward to reviewing.
I tasted this one over the weekend so I don’t have formal notes. I provide those next time.
But I will at least say that this one caused the wife to suddenly say “you know, I’m realizing I really like these rock oolong teas”. She’s a serious tea drinker, but also “likes what she likes” and doesn’t try too many wild and crazy things, so finding a new category she knows can be a go-to is a big deal for her.
We’re looking forward to all these samples.