4 Tasting Notes
Thank you Yezi for this sample! Rarely do I ever steep a tea too long for my tastes, but this time I really should have listened to the suggestions. Don’t get me wrong it was delicious, but there were a lot of subtleties here that were masked by the strong toasted maltiness that I let overtake it. This would have been one that I would have really enjoyed using repeated small steep times for.
The first flavors I got reminded me of evergreen and citrus. There is a bright note to this tea that starts right away and stayed throughout the cup. As I mentioned before, there is a toasted malty flavor, as well as a hint of lilac that is the central characteristic of this tea, almost reminiscent of the smell of a furnace when it is turned on for the first time at the beginning of the cold season. I hope that doesn’t sound off-putting, for me it was very positive. It invoked a strong sense of nostalgia, memories of hunkering down for the winter, of my grandparent’s house as a child. I could easily see this becoming a morning routine.
I did go ahead and steep this a second time for six minutes, which is rare for me, but I had a feeling it would be good. It was good. Most of the great flavors were all still there. This is a tea I will remember.
This was one of the five free samples I just received from Verdant and I feel like I owe them a great thank you for allowing me to try such an impressive tea. I went against their suggestion and made a pot of this Western style, simply because I have been drinking tea long enough to know that what I enjoy most is a strong, full-bodied, tea right of the bat. I have tried so many other brewing methods with nice teas only to wish that I had went ahead and steeped it longer at the beginning, bringing out all of the complexity at once. It paid off with this one.
Despite the long steep time the tea remained a clear golden-orange. I have read since trying this that cocoa is supposed to be a predominant flavor in this tea, but mostly what I got was a strong floral/sweet flavor that reminded me of a combination of pineapple and rose; or perhaps toasted apricots, if there were such a thing. This earthy sweetness was so pronounced for me that I almost find myself having a hard time seeing myself drink this on a regular basis. It had almost no astringency to it, and to be honest I like a little kick in my cup.
All this, however, doesn’t take away from this great selection. Just looking at the tightly would leaves themselves show this. It has been awhile since I have had anything this complex and the very fact that I went and read all the information on it I could find after trying it is a testament to the effect it had on me.
I have been more than pleasantly surprised by this tea. My wife and I are in the process of paying off all of our debt, and part of that means that I have had to cut back my monthly tea budget. Two months ago I was looking for the best quality tea I could get for the lowest price and stumbled across this in the “Seasons Pick” section at Upton. I am huge fan of Yunnan teas and so I went out on a limb and bought an entire kilo of this stuff without having ever tried it. I was a little terrified.
This has turned out to be one of the most enjoyable teas for daily drinking that I have had in a long time. It doesn’t have the same complexity as some of the nicer Yunnans that I have tried, but then I knew ahead of time that it wouldn’t. It did, however, surprise me with a depth and richness that I have fallen in love with. It is not at all bitter, but has the boldness I need out of a morning cup of tea. As I said, I have had one or more pots of this for two months now and have yet to tire of it. I am going to miss it here in a week or so when I run out.