76
drank Chrysanthemum Pu'er by Verdant Tea
1914 tasting notes

This is my other free sample of Verdant Teas’ new Alchemy Label Blended teas. Pu-ers have always kind of intimidated me based on others’ descriptions, but I’ve only had one so far and that was a flavored one that I very much enjoyed. I chose this one as a sample because the floral pu-er sounded interesting. The leaf is dark with lots of whole chrysanthemum buds and pieces of orange and lemon rind. The aroma of the dry leaf kind of surprised me; I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the blend really reminds me of the scent of tea tree oil. Which I like, but was unexpected. I’m not sure I really can think of what a chrysanthemum flower smells like, so perhaps that’s adding to the scent.

I brewed the tea based on the western style brewing instructions for the base pu-er on Verdant Teas’ website, which included two rinses. The resulting cup is very dark, the color of dark chocolate. The aroma of the steeped cup is very different from the dry leaf, which is interesting because during the rinses I was still smelling the tea tree oil aroma from the leaf, but now it seems to have disappeared. But I can still smell it on the wet leaf, which really makes me think its the chrysanthemum flowers that are now sitting, wet, in the steeping basket. Anyway, the aroma of the liquor is woody and earthy and a little piney. It very much reminds me of hiking in the pine barrens (a type of forest environment made up pine trees with little undergrowth) out here on Long Island. When I inhale deeply I am realizing that the tea tree (chrysanthemum?) aroma isn’t gone, it is what’s giving it that piney aroma. It comes out more as the tea cools.

The flavor is light and very reminiscent of the aroma. The first note is really the pine-tree-wood flavor, which mellows into an earthy, slightly minerally flavor in the main body of the sip. Every once in a while I get the faintest hint of sweetness in the aftertaste. It’s a really interesting tea… not one I would drink all the time, but definitely a cup I enjoy. I’m kind of at a loss as to how to rate this one; on one hand, I think it’s probably a very good example of it’s kind and someone really into pu-ers would probably rate it very highly; on the other hand, I think I am not really that kind of person. Then again I haven’t had hardly any pu-ers, so who knows. Anyway, I think I’ll take the average and stick it in the high 80s. I have been very impressed with the new Alchemy line, and will likely try some other blends on my next order!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec
David Duckler

This review makes me smile- That woody, earthy and piney scent that you are describing (extremely well, by the way) is actually a flavor note that the pu’er naturally possesses. The chinese call it “zhang.” It is most common in pu’er that grows wild or semi-wild in the mountains of Yunnan, and absorb the aroma of nearby evergreen trees. It is one of my favorite profiles in pu’er, and I was hoping that the cooler lemony notes of chrysanthemum would bring it out. It makes me happy to hear someone who describes not having had much in the way of pu’er pinpoint so precisely this flavor that intrigues me to no end. I am still trying to understand the phenomenon fully.

Many thanks for the insights!

Charles Thomas Draper

I like the sound of this one….

Dinosara

That’s really cool! Like I said, I don’t have experiences with pu-er, so it’s really cool to learn these things and get to try out these cool teas.

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David Duckler

This review makes me smile- That woody, earthy and piney scent that you are describing (extremely well, by the way) is actually a flavor note that the pu’er naturally possesses. The chinese call it “zhang.” It is most common in pu’er that grows wild or semi-wild in the mountains of Yunnan, and absorb the aroma of nearby evergreen trees. It is one of my favorite profiles in pu’er, and I was hoping that the cooler lemony notes of chrysanthemum would bring it out. It makes me happy to hear someone who describes not having had much in the way of pu’er pinpoint so precisely this flavor that intrigues me to no end. I am still trying to understand the phenomenon fully.

Many thanks for the insights!

Charles Thomas Draper

I like the sound of this one….

Dinosara

That’s really cool! Like I said, I don’t have experiences with pu-er, so it’s really cool to learn these things and get to try out these cool teas.

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Bio

I am tea obsessed, with the stash to match. I tend to really enjoy green oolongs, Chinese blacks, and flavored teas with high quality bases, especially florals, bergamot-based teas, and chocolate teas.

In my free time I am a birder, baker, and music/movie/tv addict.

Here are my rating categories, FYI:
100-90: Mind-blowingly good, just right for my palate, and teas that just take me to a happy place.
89-85: I really really like these teas and will keep most of them in the permanent collection, but they’re not quite as spectacular as the top category
84-80: Pretty tasty teas that I enjoy well enough, but definitely won’t rebuy when I run out.
79-70: Teas that I would probably drink again, but only if there were no preferrable options.
69-50: Teas that I don’t really enjoy all that much and wouldn’t drink another cup of.
49 and below: Mega yuck. This tea is just disgusting to me.
Unrated: Usually I feel unqualified to rate these teas because they are types of teas that I tend to not like in general. Sometimes user error or tea brewed under poor conditions.

Location

Ohio, US

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