2031 Tasting Notes

93

Yay getting to all of my Verdant blends in a timely fashion. I was excited about this one since I do love tieguanyin, and am really getting more into the traditional varieties lately. I’ve never been too big on genmaicha, but I can be persuaded.

MMmmm. Ok, to me, THIS tea is the one that really smells like a cookie. A snickerdoodle even! The cinnamon, the doughiness, the toastiness of a fresh baked cookie. Wow I really love this one. To me this is sweet, not savory. This blend speaks to me, haha. I want more!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Stephanie

I liked this one a lot too but I got savory from it! :)

Almost like Indian food tea, hehe

Lily Duckler

I love hearing the different ways people interprate these blends! :) A local blend-club member came into the tea house a few days after this one went out and purchased 8 OZ (!) of it – wow! I think this one or a variant is likely to debut for sale sometime soon, too.

I think we should definitely send out a survey soon to get blend club member’s feedback on all of their favorites and which one’s they’d like to see become part of the seasonal / permanent collection. Watch out for something soon…

Dinosara

Awesome, thanks for the info Lily!

MissLena

I liked this one too! I think the survey is a very good idea :)

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82

I was intrigued by this one. I have enjoyed the yabao blends that I’ve tried before, and I am in love with a reserve yabao. The dry leaf of this, to me, smells powerfully like root beer. I mean, I guess it makes sense with birch root and sarsparilla in it.

Brewed up I definitely get more cookie-ish scents from this. I am surprised that there isn’t cinnamon added to this since I really associate cinnamon with snickerdoodles. The tea is smooth and creamy, and I get a kick of ginger. Otherwise all the flavors do some nice melding together. I did my first cup at Verdant’s parameters (1 minute) but left the infuser in the pot for two more minutes (for a total of 3 minutes) for the second cup. Mostly it made the ginger spicier, haha. I like the yabao, I like the spices, but I’m not in love with this blend. But I will happily drink up the rest of it.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Sil

does it taste like silver buds yabao or more like the reserve yabao?

Dinosara

It’s been a while since I’ve had silver buds but it’s definitely different from the reserve yabao. I believe the base is the new harvest of silver buds yabao.

Sil

hmmm okey doke. probably won;t like it lol but hey..it’s an adventure!

Bonnie

This is not screaming Yahoo. It’s soft. Nutmeg-like.

Sil

ok :)

Fjellrev

Now you make me want birch beer, Dinosara.

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84
drank Dune d'Épices by Dammann Freres
2031 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 10. Another one I haven’t tried! I honestly thought I might run into a lot of them that I had tried before given the fact that I recently acquired a lot of Dammann teas, but this is great because it’s a lot of teas I wasn’t sure about enough to order 50-100g of, but now I get to try them anyway.

I didn’t really know what was in this one but I think I thought it was some kind of green chai. Then I looked it up on Dammann’s site and saw that it is supposed to be gingerbread and orange?? Yum. The scent of the dry sachet was super orangey and sweet, and made my mouth water! It smelled really good. I think the gingerbread came out more in the scent of the steeped tea, although its not exactly gingerbread right off. Maybe it’s just the interaction with the orange. I quite enjoy the flavor, although this is another tea that I would be happier to have on a black base. I guess I’m just not that into flavored greens unless they are pure fruit or floral. I just think the gingerbread flavor would be more prominent with a black base. It is sweet, very orangey, and lightly spiced. There is also a nice creaminess to this one that grows as I sip it.

Haha this is one of those teas that I start out ambivalent about but then really grow to really enjoy it by the end.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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78

It seems like everyone has a peppermint bark tea this season, right? Although peppermint bark isn’t my favorite confection, I am happy to try Verdant’s offer. The dry leaf smells minty and very cinnamony… So much so that it made me sneeze!

My first cup is at Verdant’s steeping parameters, but I left the basket in the tea pot for the second cup to steep for however long. The first cup is mostly minty, and I don’t get a lot of the other flavors, especially at first. More of the chocolate comes out as it cools, but the one minute steep seems undeveloped. The longer steep, unsurprisingly, has more of everything… More mint, more chocolate, more cinnamon, although I would hesitate to call it truly chocolatey. I added some sugar to make it even more dessert-like, which was pretty tasty.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

My thoughts exactly on all three were “hey Verdant, what’s with the 1 minute steep time?”
For all three longer was better. Hello!
And sweetening…definitely. I tested sugar and honey. Honey (clover honey) doesn’t ruin any of the tea’s. (You can’t always say that)
OK, to get the chocolate flavor add a pinch of Laoshan Black or Zhu Rong. (I keep cocoa hulls on hand too). It resteeps well like you expect from these blends.

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88

I got this tea as a free sample in my Black Friday order from Verdant. I am doubly pleased with this because I believe that my appreciation for traditional tieguanyins is currently on an upswing, and also because it is the base to Master Zhang’s Genmaicha, which I still haven’t tried, but it would be nice to try the base first. And now I get the opportunity! I am also using this tea to christen my new wide bird gaiwan, also acquired on Black Friday. At 5oz, this gaiwan is slightly smaller than my ru kiln teapot (6oz), but larger than my other two gaiwans (3oz), so it sits nicely in my collection. At first I thought I would have difficulty pouring the new gaiwan because it is much wider than my others, but I figured it out pretty quickly and it’s almost easier because I think the lips have a larger flare, keeping my fingers a bit cooler. The only problem is that my strainer that goes over my cha hai (pitcher) is not quite big enough to hold all the liquid when straining (the teapot pours slower), so I get a bit of overflow.

Yup, my love of traditional tieguanyins is definitely growing. I am quite enjoying this tea. I don’t think I am at the point of restocking one but I could see it happening in the future. This one has the light sweetness and breadiness that I have come to really enjoy. I usually say challa, but I could see cinnamon buns (perhaps without the icing? haha). I prefer the first 4-5 steeps… instead of getting more bready, for me this gets more vegetal as the steeps progress, which is less interesting to me. Still this was a fun one to have today, and I look forward to trying its blend as well.

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89

Yayyy! This came in the mail today and I had to immediately try it. Holiday Earl Grey! With Laoshan Black (and Zhu Rong) base! I always love Verdant’s Earl variants, and I’m glad they finally had one for the blends club. The dry leaf smells really good, like a super Christmas-y Earl. Lots of bergamot, lots of cinnamon and clove.

The steeped tea smells amazing too, this time helped by the awesome chocolate of Laoshan Black. Mmmmm. The bergamot is less prominent but the spices scream Christmas in a cup. Yup, this one is a winner in my book. The chocolatey Laoshan Black, the sweet festive spices, the bright citrusy bergamot and orange. As with Verdant’s Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black the bergamot is not strong here, and as with that one that doesn’t bother me here. I’m not looking for a straight Earl, but there is enough bergamot flirting through the flavor to remind me that I am drinking a nontraditional Earl.

I’d love to use the tea cash I earned on Black Friday to buy more of this one (nudgenudge)!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
ifjuly

sounds lovely!

Stephanie

Sounds very nice :)

Bonnie

I thought it would be more ‘Earl’ also.

caile

It does sound nice!

Lily Duckler

Haha! Duly noted, Dinosara.. we’ll see if I can’t pass that along to David ;) We’ll probably never due a huge-ly bergamot-y Earl, so it was fun this month to play with something a little more traditional.

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87

Dreaming of an evening in France on this snowy morning in Ohio. Sigh.

This is very nice, although I think perhaps I didn’t have enough leaf because it’s a little weaker than I have come to expect from Fauchon. I could smell the rose and fruit in this but I hadn’t looked up what else was in it before drinking it. I definitely got a lot of orangey citrus from this, so that’s good. Nicely rosy, and the bae as a really yummy cookie-ish note. Really it’s just something that I often find in rose and/or bergamot teas that comes across as sugar cookie to me, and I think it’s really the way the flavoring is interacting with the base. Very pleased with this one as well.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

That actually sounds kind of nice!

OMGsrsly

I really like this one. :) Next time I have it I’ll have to see if I can detect sugar cookie.

ifjuly

I dug this one a lot too! But I guess I’ve loved nearly every Fauchon tea I’ve tried so far. :b

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87
drank Earl Grey by Dammann Freres
2031 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 9. Ahhh, Earl Grey. I have had their Earl Grey avec fleurs, but not their plain Earl, so I am interested to try it.

This tea just makes me happy. It’s been a long time since I had the “avec fleurs” Earl, so I can’t really remember it enough to be able to distinguish them, but I do think that this reminds me of that tea. I love the base blend, it is rich and comforting. The bergamot is not super strong, but it’s present enough to keep me satisfied. It is citrusy and not too floral, and it has that somewhat biscuity flavor that I sometimes get with bergamot and some base teas. Mmmm, so tasty. Kinda wish Dammann made a “double bergamot” Earl just because I would like it a bit stronger, but it is still lovely.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

I also wish they made a double bergamot earl. My mouth is watering now just thinking of it. Ha ha.

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84
drank Paris Mon Amour by Fauchon
2031 tasting notes

It is so frigidly cold in my office that I am wearing my winter coat and my toes are numb in my boots. I wanna go home. Unfortunately I have to teach this afternoon, so I can’t go home until after that. And university facilities refuses to do anything about the lack of heat in the building. ugh.

I picked up this one at the Vente-Privee sale. Initially I was unsure about it because it has a 100% assam base, but I went for it anyway. It is occuring to me now that it is essentially a rose black tea and I already know I love Fauchon’s La Rose, so why would I need this one on a base I might not enjoy? Well we’ll see how it goes haha. This is also technically rose-lotus flavor, so there’s that.

It smells nicely rosey, and it doesn’t have any of that note that I dislike in assams (hard for me to explain what it is, there is just a note I don’t like). The flavor is mostly rose, but perhaps there is some lotus in here as well. Definitely floral overall. It’s a tad bitter for my liking (it’s got “bite”), but that could possibly be fixed with short steep time. Or I could keep it at home to have a nice milky rose tea on the weekends.

Overall I think I need to accept that I am just not a fan of teas from the Indian mainland (Sri Lanka is ok) and stop buying them, even in the form of bases for flavored teas.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Dustin

You need a space heater under your desk! That or an electric lap blanket. They have some small ones that run off USB outlets so you can stay warm at your computer! At least you have a nice tea to keep you warm!

Dinosara

Haha yeah, although what I really need is for them to turn the heat on! The entire building (not just my office) is totally freezing. I don’t understand how this hasn’t been fixed already.

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81
drank Atomic Lemon by Dammann Freres
2031 tasting notes

Dammann advent calendar, day 7. Dammann needs to work on their definition of tisane. I almost drank this last night, late in the evening when I drink caffeine free things, but thankfully I looked at the ingredients. Although I will grant that maté is technically a tisane, sencha green tea most definitely disqualifies this blend! Also I agree that there does appear to be a hint of hibiscus in this although there is no hibiscus in the ingredients.

Steeped it smells very lemony and gingery. I probably should have let this one steep longer, but I was worried about the green tea at 5 minutes. I guess it’s minimally present. The brew is a little weak but the flavor is pretty good. Lemony, a bit of heat from the ginger, and a light sweetness from some ingredient, but I don’t know what. This probably would be amazing iced!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Lala

I know, I drank this tea last night without looking at the ingredients because it said tisane on the packet. I was so mad last night, I couldn’t sleep and didn’t know why until I looked up this tea on steepster and noticed the opposite of sleep inducing ingredients.

Dinosara

Aw man, that sucks! I guess that’s what makes the lemon “Atomic”

Lala

Ha ha. Agreed!

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Profile

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.
89-86: 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
85-80: 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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