2074 Tasting Notes
It’s exam day, yay! I get to say yay because I give the exam, I don’t take it. Also, that means that my day is not made up by solid teaching, and I had enough time for a cup of tea this afternoon before we start grading (yaayyyy… not.)
My tin of this tea is getting distressingly low. As in, there is only enough for one more cup here at the office. I did take some home with me, so I will have to see how much is there, but it has to be less than 10g all together. Justification for a DF order in the near future? I can’t be without my hazelnutty, vanilla-y, creamy goodness.
Overall thoughts: Wow! I did not expect a white tea, and a Bai Mu Dan at that, would bowl me over quite like this. This is very much like homemade marshmallows, or perhaps more accurately like nutty, delicious nougat (montpelier or torrone, your choice!).
I got a free sample of this tea with my last Verdant order, and I decided to have a gongfu session with it this afternoon. My teaching schedule for the next month is totally bonkers; non-stop anatomy lab all day, 4 days a week. It is truly exhausting. It also means that I have no time for tea (which I typically drink at my desk), which adds to the exhaustion. It’s hard to want to do anything on the weekend, and I realized that sitting down and having a gongfu session would be a nice, relaxing activity.
I chose this one because the lightness would be good for a muggy summer day (never mind that I have central AC now, I know that it is muggy outside and that is enough). Also it is a one-off sample, so I would get a sipdown, too!
Bai Mu Dans are never really my favorite white tea (I tend to prefer Fudings), but one of the reasons I love Fudings is the lovely, light marshmallow flavor that they can have. Bai Mu Dans I usually find kind of hay-like, a bit sweet, but lacking that thick creaminess. But not this Bai Mu Dan! Yes, I get the hay notes, but I also get lovely marshmallowy-ness that goes toward a French nougat (montpelier) with almonds and pistachios. Delish! There are a lot of nuances in each steep that are hard to really pull apart, but I must admit it’s been a while since I’ve had a tea that shattered my expectations and made me step back and just say “Wow.” What a lovely harvest.
Flavors: Almond, Hay, Marshmallow, Sugarcane, Vanilla
Last bit of this in a cold brew. This was never my favorite blend (too much fennel, I think), but as a cold brew it worked pretty well, especially since hot root beer isn’t totally appealing to me. At the same time, the tieguanyin in this kept it from really reminding me of a sarsaparilla soda or root beer… just a bit too vegetal, even with the traditional TGY.
I actually added a pinch of rose black tea to this cold brew, and I like the rosey flavor added to the blend. It’s an herby blend already, and the rose makes it a bit sweeter for me. Of course, I think almost everything could use a bit of rose. Yum!
This has been popping up on people’s dashboards a lot lately since it’s one of the ones currently at TJ Maxx group stores. Seeing it inspired me to pull my tin out, which I bought about a year ago in Paris when this first was released.
I am definitely still a fan of this one, and I probably like it more now than I did when I got it because my fondness for traditionally roasted tieguanyins has increased. The toasty, freshly-baked bread flavors that come out in that really complement the almond here, and the orange provides a nice bright counterpart. Kind of like almond orange sweet bread, which sounds like a bread I would like to make. I especially like this one as it cools down.
I finally polished off the rest of the sample that OMGsrsly sent me of this one. Remembering that I had wished for more Zhu Rong in the flavor, I threw in a few Black Dragon Pearls from Teavivre… both chocolatey yunnans, so I think it wasn’t too crazy. I do think it added a bit of body, but the apple spice mixture was still the majorly dominant note. Glad I got to try this one (thanks again!) but I don’t think I will restock at this time. There is a lot of spices going on here, and perhaps too many for me. Maybe a case of too many ingredients?
This is one of the two Fauchon teas that I picked up at HomeGoods on my trip. Now I’m home, and it’s a pleasant temperature at which I do not feel weird having hot tea, so I made myself a cup of this one. I was interested in this primarily because it is apple + rose petals, which I’m hoping translates into apple + rose. Also I haven’t found too many apple teas where I actually like the base (usually they are too bitter and astringent for me), but I like the Fauchon black base so I’m looking forward to this.
I am not disappointed, although perhaps I would prefer more rose. But then again I almost always prefer more rose. It’s a nice, very appley tea with a very light floral note. The black base has some bakey type flavors, so this comes out as almost like an apple pastry. I bet it would be super tasty cold brewed (I do love a cold brewed apple tea). Happy that I picked this one up, although I will say that there isn’t anything necessarily about this tea where I would have to get it from Fauchon again. I’m sure there are many other more easily accessible apple black teas that I would enjoy if I really tried to find them. But now I’m set with this one for a while.
Flavors: Apple, Baked Bread, Floral
I’m on vacation/working vacation in the northeast and have been drinking my sachets of this tea while I’m traveling. I don’t have too many left (maybe 3?) and I always assumed that although this is somewhat difficult to get ahold of I would be able to restock it eventually.
But Dustin has just found out that they are discontinuing this one! :( This is so tasty, the passion fruit is a great unusual addition to the EG. Oh well, another cupboard staple gone forever.
Once again, I am posting my review of the reblend of this tea in the original listing because other people have been doing that as well, and splitting off a new one now would be difficult. But I have to distinctly say that this is the reblend because I still have some of the original blend in my cupboard!
So first off, holy crap fresh Gardens of Anxi is bowling me over. Just the smell of the dry leaf is astounding. SO much orange and jasmine and loveliness. It is potent, especially compared to my old stuff. I will say that the old blend has more leaf and less “stuff” than the new blend (since I can compare them directly). But the new one just smells amazing.
Because of all the “stuff” I ended up using 3 tsp for my mug instead of my usual 2, just to make sure I got enough TGY in the cup. This is lovely, and still deserving of my super high rating. 99 is as high as I go (I’ve never rated a tea 100), and this was always one of my loves. This totally has the lovely candy-like quality I remember about the original blend. Buttery jasmine caramels. MMmmmm. With a good dose of bright, citrusy orange. Such a beautiful blend with a beautiful spring TGY. Thanks again to Verdant for letting me buy some of this tea so I can have a fresh version in my stash!
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Jasmine, Orange
This is a note for the reblend of this tea, which I almost feel should get a different listing (especially since I’m not sure what the base tea is in the reblend? Zhu Rong?), but people have been logging the reblend here so I’ll put my note here too. I was so excited to hear that this tea got reblended. It was one of the first blends Verdant offered, back when they called their blends line “Alchemy” (I was one of the first people to try it!) and I loved it. Then it got retired, and I was sad. I was doubly sad when I cancelled my blends club just before they reblended two of my faves. But because Verdant is the best, Lily offered to sell me some of what was left of the blends. Score! I almost went crazy and bought a lot, but I remembered how long it takes me to drink up my teas and just bought 2oz of each.
This smells amazing in the dry leaf. Lots of bright bergamot and citrus, with a rich, bakery-esque base. That smell also carries over to the brewed tea as well. It is SO citrusy, almost like a lemon drop. And the base smells a bit chocolatey and a bit like toasted grains. The original blend wasn’t really chocolately at all, so that is a new addition to this blend, but one I definitely like. The Yunnan Golden Buds in the original blend gave it honey-caramel notes (according to my original tasting notes!), which are not as present here. Nevertheless, this is a blend that lives up to my fond memories of the first one. The flavor is very citrusy, with a rich dark-chocolatey base, a bit of toasted grains, and a smooth creaminess. Very nice. The inital sip is very lemony and generally citrusy, and then the bergamot kind of peeks out from the back and says “hi.” I think I could probably drop to 2tsp/12oz of water and be happy with this one (Zhu Rong is a bit more robust, and there isn’t as much “stuff” in this blend as some others).
MMmm this is SUCH a great Earl Grey. Please add it to your permanent blends, Verdant! I know it’s a bit simpler than some of your blends, but every tea company should have a straight Earl Grey, no? :D At least I have 2oz of this one, which should last me for a while.
I’ve been absent for a while but that’s because I was moving! Almost settled in now, though I need some tea storage for my new place. I’m back at work this week (for just this week, though! Then I’m off traveling again), and thus back to the majority of my tea stash. I now have central AC at home, though, so I can drink hot tea in the summer! Woah!
Flavors: Bergamot, Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Grain, Lemon
It’s Harney Tribute Day (as proposed by mj1851 in the forums), to honor the passing of John Harney Sr. a couple of days ago. I cannot think of a better tribute to Mr. Harney than this tea, which is the catalyst of my tea obsession.
I’ve told this story before in a tasting note, but I will tell it again: I bought this blend first at the actual Tower of London in 2009. I had gotten out of drinking tea regularly, but I decided the little tagalong tin would make a good souvenir (along with a little mug featuring the Tower ravens in beefeater uniforms!). Turns out that I loved the tea: a bit of bergamot, rich stone fruits, sweet honey. I was really sad because I was sure it would be nearly impossible to get in the States.
Then I looked up the tea company that produced it for Historic Royal Palaces and was shocked to find out that it was an American tea company. Located in NY, where I lived at the time! What a thing! I started exploring their website and their samples, and I fell in love. With Harney & Sons, and with tea in general.
I was going to say that Tower of London is my most logged tea, but that honor (by one note!) actually belongs to another Harney tea, Paris. It helps that I rely heavily on their sachets while traveling. It’s always great to have a tea you love when you are far from home. Thank you, Mr. Harney.
Flavors: Bergamot, Honey, Stonefruits