FINALLY got to pick up my Verdant order- and I have all weekend to enjoy it! Actually yesterday was a pretty awesome tea day in general – got this, met up with momo to swap a few teas with (side note: sorry about acting like a squirrel on amphetamines – I’m not always like that, I was just excited about making a tea-friend!), and the ever-lovely post office left the pink note meaning my TeaVivre order is stateside!
I was super excited to try all of the teas I got, and the boyfriend, knowing that these were all pure teas, was totally on board with this. I let him choose which one to start off with and this was what he picked.
Steep notes: western style (need to get a gaiwan at some point…). 4 tsp. leaf, 500 ml. water, breville at the below parameters for the first steep, then 4 minutes, then 8 minutes for the second and third steeps.
The dry leaf is so beautifully distinctive – and fuzzy! The scent was sweet potato – starchy and lightly sugared. It reminded me of Teavivre’s Yunnan dan hong, but I think those leaves were smaller, and I don’t quite remember that downy covering on them.
I am someone who really likes bold black tea. I’m working on appreciating and detecting more of the subtleties in flavors, but as a rule, the louder, the better. Texture is another thing I’m really sensitive to – I like the thick, chewy feel of stronger black teas. If it’s watery/thin it just isn’t as good.
Steep one: Taste-wise, this is verrry delicate and subtle. I’m not getting any of the sweet potato in this. If I think about it – maybe earthy, maybe a bit sweet, but it kind of seems like one minute wasn’t long enough for me. The texture of this is AMAZING, though – very silky and honeyed, it just kind of coats your mouth. And it is VERY smooth – no astringence at all.
Steep two: 4 minutes – since one minute didn’t seem enough for me, I went ahead and jumped to a four minute steep to see what would happen. I do feel like I got more of a black tea taste this way – still light, still smooth, and also still not astringent. This time there is a little more of that earthy black tea taste. Possibly a hint of spice (cinnamon, mostly, though pepper is also there, and that is surprisingly a good combination.)
Steep three: I can’t believe how smooth this still is, especially after an 8 minute steep! It is a pretty mahogany color, has even more of a peppery touch at the finish, and it’s starting to bite back at the end of the steep. But still cinnamon sweetness with some malt/wood in there, and quite strong, too. I could easily get another infusion out of this, but I may have to save it because I am kind of waterlogged right now!
I can’t rate this numerically. It isn’t really in a league with anything else that I have. This probably doesn’t make sense, but it’s not really a beverage so much as an experience, something akin to meditation or yoga in its ability to make you focus inward and relax. It’s also not something you could drink every day, or really in any other scenario but one that will allow you plenty of time to explore it in it’s many forms.
Bottom line, though it’s an amazing tea – and definitely worthy of the novel I just wrote singing its’ praises!