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Recent Tasting Notes
Wu Dong Shan Huang Zhi Shiang
This is much more astringent than the others I’ve tried. I also tried brewing it stronger on some steeps, but even so – more bitterness, higher caffeine. I can’t recall the description given here, but one of the 6 teas in the August box was described as reminiscent of a sheng pu-erh, and I’m betting this is it. It has the intense, dry, grassy, heady impression I get from those. Not my favorite, but certainly interesting
Flavors: Astringent, Dry Grass, Menthol
I created this aggregate tea page to track reviews of Verdant’s Tea of the Month Club, rather than cluttering Steepster’s database with limited availability teas with very similar names :)
Da Wu Ye Dancong
I think I love Dancongs. The first one I remember trying had a flavor strongly reminiscent of pineapple; both I’ve tried so far from this box have silky mouthfeel, floral notes, honey sweetness, and some of that same sharp fruitines. I’m still playing with the preparation, mostly trying to figure it out by color + tiny tastes of the brewing tea. Apparently the “classic” style to brew this is very very strong and fast, so there is a punch of bitter flavor contrasted by lots of lingering aromatics, but that’s a bit much for me
This is a hard tea to review. I greatly enjoyed drinking it, but was not overwhelmed with uniqueness of any kind. Rather, it was simply enjoyable. The flavor has hints of caramel, honey, and sweetness with a slight astringency. The cup is very smooth. I would recommend as a black tea, but it is nothing unique, albeit very enjoyable.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey
Could not download an image for this tea. Verdant must be paranoid about keeping their images to themselves. The structure them in such a way that you can’t save the image for a Steepster page. In any case this is good tea. I was short on time today so I western steeped this. I am not sure which spring harvest this tea was from, does not say on the package. In any case the main note is malt followed by a lesser note of chocolate. Those are the only two notes I detect, no real bitterness to this.
I brewed this one time in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper with 3 tsp leaf and 200 degree water for 30 seconds. My instinct told me to steep it for 3 minutes but the package said 30 seconds.
Flavors: Chocolate, Malt
The aroma of the dry leaves is stronger than the regular, sweet and chocolatey with a bit of a bread scent. I brewed about 4g in 50ml at 205ºF, ranging from 10 seconds to 3 minutes, and the color brewed into a nice dark, golden honey color that smelled of earth, yams, and chocolate. It’s a dark, seductive kind of flavor that comes up the palate and out the nose. There’s also a very slight bitterness and peppery flavor on the finish.
The cocoa and sweet potato notes are highlighted more on subsequent steeps, but caramel and honey are also introduced after steep 4. After a while, I started to lose counts of the steepings, but I got a little dark honey bread flavor toward the end.
Full post and pics here: http://www.catlaittea.com/2016/08/28/review-verdant-tea-2016-laoshan-and-reserve-laoshan-black/
Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Pepper
Breathing in the dry leaf yields some differences from the Reserve. There’s the predominating aroma of cocoa, of course, but there’s an underlying sourness that reminds me of very dark brown honey wheat bread. There’s something yeasty about the smell.
This aroma is reflected in the brew, as it has a bready chocolate scent.
The first steep definitely yields a less-sweet flavor, more like a gassy, yeasty dark bread with hardly any chocolate. This changes in subsequent steeps to a chocolate honey bread. Perhaps if they made a pain au chocolat out of a dark wheat flour and drizzled a bit of honey on top, that is what this would taste like.
Stephen, my non-tea-drinking husband, took a sip and proclaimed that it tasted like a dark chocolate beer, so we’re pretty close in agreement.
Post and pictures here: http://www.catlaittea.com/2016/08/28/review-verdant-tea-2016-laoshan-and-reserve-laoshan-black/
Flavors: Baked Bread, Cocoa, Honey, Yeast
A nice tea.
This is beloved among Steepsterites but I have to say it tastes a bit thin to me. Used the whole 6g sample in my little teapot and went by the Western brewing guide.
Maybe it’s the harvest (it doesn’t say which) or maybe it’s a bit old or maybe it’s travelled too far and too long to where I am in Australia. Some other Verdant teas have blown me away though.. so it’s probably just an old sample.
Cocoa, chocolate, grains, sweet cracker. It’s still nice.
Was deciding between ordering some more Chinese blacks from either Verdant or Teavivre. I think I’ll go with Teavivre this time since I had the Yunnan Dian Hong Gold Tips around three years ago and still think about that sweet potato note to this very day.
Add this one to your Verdant order if you like chocolatey teas.
This is an interesting tea. It’s not tea but it tastes a lot like tea. It’s made from a close relative of the tea plant. This tea was actually pretty good. It was sweet with little real bitterness. I really didn’t notice any bitterness to this tea. It did have a mediciney like note to it early on that seems to have disappeared by around steep five. This is not as good as sheng. But as I can’t drink sheng quite this late with my insomnia it is a good choice. I steeped this ten times and it would have gone a few more but to be honest I had had enough tea. For anyone thinking of trying this I think this is worth getting a 25g sample of. It’s quite expensive. I would not have bought it except it’s caffeine free.
I steeped this ten times in a 150ml gaiwan with 5.1g leaf and 200 degree water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, and 1 min.
Flavors: Medicinal, Sweet
This tea is a dark oolong that is deep amber in color and has a chocolaty aroma. It is sweet and savory with a strong flavor of chocolate and a little bit of wheat flavor on the back end. The reserve has a more pronounced chocolate flavor and is tastier than the Laoshan Roasted Oolong.
Flavors: Chocolate, Wheat
Very nice Tieguanyin. Quality so closer to a Taiwan High level jade oolong.
First steep pale in color and weak in flavor. But fron second to sixth steep shows a strong character, floral, orchid, sweet, fruity and spicy.
From seventh ton tenth steep is begining to fade, but it has a sweet flavor and a good aftertaste.
If you like oolong tea you must prove this one
This tea is absolutely delicious.
The jasmine scent is quite strong, especially in the early steepings. I was worried that this would mean the tea flavor was overpowered or the soup would make me queasy. (Too much jasmine scent does that to me sometimes.)
Luckily, the cup was nicely balanced with a sweet, smooth tea taste and gentle jasmine overtones.
I enjoyed this with my son (12) who has been quite keen to try all my teas recently. He also loved it. I’ll make him a tea-head, yet. He had his with honey, which blended nicely with the overall flavor as well, if you like it sweet.
Flavors: Fruity, Jasmine, Sweet, Vegetal
A pleasant, fruity black tea. Very little bitterness or astringency, and very easy to drink.
Despite the elaborate description, I did not find it to be at all unique. It just tastes like a run of the mill, quality Chinese black to me.
Perhaps gongfu style brewing will bring out more of its character when I try it at home.
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Malt
I keep forgetting I have this one. Brewed it Western style this morning.
Dark, curled dry leaves. Heady smoke aroma, in the mid-treble “range” of scents, is the most noticeable scent, but there’s some forest pine and something slightly sweet.
The smoke seems a little punchier in the wet leaf aroma. Each time I smell the liquor, I get something slightly different: sometimes it’s a little brash, sometimes it’s sweet and deep, like some dark-colored fruit I can’t place.
The smoke rounds out in the taste, although it’s still at the forefront. Still fairly heady, but it has a depth that settles into the mouth. Getting a bit of pine and wood around the edges. Hint of earthiness. Slightly malty? Just a little little bit spicy, which lingers in the aftertaste.
Quite good, and a little more complex than the other smoky teas I’ve had.
Flavors: Earth, Forest Floor, Fruity, Pine, Smoke, Spicy, Sweet, Wood
This is a review I have been sitting on for over a week now. I held off posting this as long as I did because I really wasn’t sure what numerical rating I felt like giving this tea. I received a sample of it as part of a recent order, thus I did not have the opportunity to try this tea more than once over the span of a few days in order to solidify my opinion of it. Ultimately, I guess I kind of feel like this is a couple steps above the 2016 Spring Tieguanyin, a tea for which I really did not care.
I prepared this tea according to the gongfu guide on Verdant Tea’s website. I had to adjust the amount of tea I used since I only had a 5 g sample of this tea and tend to use a smaller gaiwan for my review sessions. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 g of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This was followed by 8 additional infusions, with an increase of 2 seconds per infusion. Steep times were as follows: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, and 26 seconds. Again, I know that Verdant suggests attempting to get at least 10-12 infusions out of green Tieguanyins, but I rarely push them that far or that hard, preferring instead to cut off my sessions when it feels right for me to do so.
The aroma of the rinsed leaves was simply incredible. The gaiwan was bursting with hyacinth, gardenia, saffron, vanilla, lilac, jasmine, violet, orchid, honeysuckle, osmanthus, butter, and cream aromas. The first infusion had a similarly powerful nose and presented slightly grassy and lightly vegetal notes underscoring more powerful flavors of lilac, cream, butter, hyacinth, vanilla, violet, orchid, honeysuckle, jasmine, saffron, and osmanthus. Infusions 2-5 continued to emphasize similarly strong savory and floral aromas and flavors, though notes of minerals, sweetgrass, and leaf lettuce began to emerge more fully. The later infusions were more delicate, with pronounced mineral and vegetal aromas and flavors underpinned by subtle cream, butter, and floral aromas and flavors.
Overall, this is not a bad Tieguanyin by any means. I know that I have said it before, but I am always a little bit irritated by labels like “reserve” being applied to teas, but I can kind of see why a label like that would be placed on a tea like this. Compared to the regular 2016 Spring Tieguanyin, which I found to be bland and two-dimensional, this tea is much more complex and displays greater depth. Still, it is not the best Tieguanyin I have ever had. For what it is though, it is pretty decent. I could see people who are fans of heavily floral contemporary oolongs liking this one.
Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Gardenias, Grass, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lettuce, Mineral, Orchid, Osmanthus, Saffron, Vanilla, Violet
I used 5g/120ml with 95C water and added 3-5 seconds per each additional brewing.
I could taste orchid and honeysuckle with a hint of raspberry and melon.
The first sip of the first brewing had a light, sweet taste like snap peas or sweet grass.. Melon, raspberries, raspberry, lilac, honeysuckle, orchid, jasmine, and cream being the tastes lingered all over my tongue in the after taste. The liquor was buttery smooth and had a very long finish.
In the aroma of the second cup I could pick up on marzipan and cream mingled in with the floral notes. The flavor of the liquor was now explosive. Strawberries, sweet grass, and jasmine glided over my tongue. In the aftertaste, the jasmine was the strongest by far, lingering on the back of my pallet.
I found that raspberries had the strongest aroma for the third cup. There wasn’t a whole lot of flavor aside from the sweetgrass, but the liquor was even lighter and had become more buttery than the first cup. Jasmine remained the main flavor in the aftertaste, but it mingled with raspberry.
In the fifth cup the liquor began to become astringent but it wasn’t unpleasant. I could taste jasmine and melon at the back of my tongue mingled in with the sweetgrass. In the aftertaste it was a mixture of jasmine and raspberries once again. There was cream as well. I almost didn’t notice it.
In the 6th I primarily smelt sweetgrass with a tiny hint of raspberry. The astringency from the 5th brewing was gone. The mouthfeel was very silky now, still very full but no longer buttery. I mostly tasted sweetgrass and watercress (without the raddish-y part of watercress) in the liquor and aftertaste. At the sides of the back of my tongue and two spots on the center of my pallet I could taste melon and blueberry. I hadn’t tasted blueberry yet so that came as a surprise. Raspberry and cream was still present, but it was very hard to detect.
The tea more or less flatlined from here on out.
Flavors: Blueberry, Grass, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Peas, Raspberry
I used 5g/60ml, 100C water, washed twice, five seconds for the first brew and an additional 3-5 seconds for each additional brewing.
The aroma is very floral, like that of jasmine and saffron. The liquor is very buttery and smooth. The first cup tasted like jasmine, vanilla, and cream. It’s greenness reminded me of Wakayanagi. In the aftertaste there was elderberry, raspberry, melon, and vanilla.
The second cup the aroma of orchid and saffron was very strong, but not overpowering. The liquor still reminded me of a bancha like wakayanagi, with hay and watercress, minus the radish-y part of watercress’s flavor profile and not astringency.
The third was more or less the same but with an even more buttery mouthfeel. In the aftertaste the sides of my tongue tasted like saffron while the back of my throat taste of elderberry and strawberry.
From here the flavor flat lines and begins to die while as light astringency appears. I did a total of 15 brewings with this. All of them past the third were basically weaker versions of each other. The liquor never became bitter and the astringency was never abrasive.
Nothing special, but very nice for the price.
Flavors: Cream, Grass, Hay, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Raspberry, Saffron, Strawberry, Vanilla
I used 5g/120ml, 95C water, washed once, first brew was five seconds, +3-5 per each additional brewing. I managed to get eight brewings. This was a very light roasted DHP.
The aroma is very chocolatey with a hint of melon and wood. The liquor is incredibly buttery and smooth. In the first cup there wasn’t much taste but there was tiny hints of melon, honeysuckle, vanilla, and that classical WuYi minerality.
The aroma of the second cup reminded me of Kamut. The liquor tasted very much like, but not overpoweringly, like vanilla and honeysuckle. Melon and raspberry resided in the aftertaste. The third was the same except the liquor was less potent and the aftertaste was stronger. I then sipped on some water as you should after the third brewing of a WuYi and the aftertaste strengthened even more.
The fourth brewing was the best. It was all the flavors in the aftertaste and the actual taste, in the actual taste. A slight astringency had appeared, it was not abrasive.
That was the teas last legs as each cup after that was a less potent version of the third.
Not bad for the price. I’ve had much better DHP for a similar price.
Flavors: Chocolate, Honey, Honeysuckle, Melon, Mineral, Raspberry, Vanilla, Wood
Overall not a bad tea. For the price? Horrible. I too do not understand why this has been rated so highly by others. I brewed it by using 5g/120ml, 95C water, rinsed twice, first steeping was five seconds, +3-5 for each additional brewing.
I did a total of eight and these leaves never opened up all the way. How willing/able a leaf is to unroll is a extremely important part to consider in leaf quality.
It smelt of nutmeg, roasted chestnuts, and a hint of oak. Something sweet as well, perhaps melon and blueberries. The liquor has an incredibly smooth and soft mouthfeel. The first cup was almost flavorless with a tiny hint of chocolate and jasmine. The aftertaste reminded me of melon, honey, blueberries, and raspberries. I had to really sit to notice most of these, they were very subtle. The same applies to the rest of the brewings.
The second cup tasted like pine, chocolate, and evergreen mingled with orchids.
The third was very chocolatey and the liquor became a little astringent. The aftertaste was still somewhat floral and fruity.
The following brewings tasted mostly like pine mingled with vanilla and jasmine or orchid.
A very average Wuyi. Nothing to celebrate about and most certainly not worth just over $1/g.
Flavors: Blueberry, Chocolate, Honey, Jasmine, Melon, Orchid, Pine, Raspberry