317 Tasting Notes
Every Friday night I go over to my friends’ room to watch British drama (currently we’re 4/5 of the way through Parade’s End – SO GOOD). After this finishes I think I’m starting them on Doctor Who and they’re starting me on Game of Thrones. Although if I can convince them not to start that until I’ve read the books, well…
Caitlin offered me a “hot beverage” and so I went with this. It’s okay, more of a warm cup than anything, but it’s not something I particularly care for. It’s not bad, it’s better than some bagged teas, but meh.
Verdant tea – spring 2012 Laoshan Dragonwell style green
I received this in a very generous swap from Autumn Hearth. As much as I love Dragonwells, I know that this one is special, and so I decidedly didn’t drink it until I had a chance to sit down and really savor it (especially since it’s no longer available).
Upon opening the little envelope, I’m struck by how thin the leaves are, and how pure the olive-green color is. The scent is similar to that of snow peas or sugar snap peas. It’s somehow very rich.
I might be a bit stingy with my leaf, but I don’t have a scale and I want this to last as long as possible. I tip a little bit into the tasting cup, just enough to mostly cover the bottom. I figure that’s enough.
I ruined the first steep, at least according to David’s suggested guidelines. I forgot that I left my tasting bowl at home, and only brought the brewing vessel. In my search for an appropriate substitute, I pulled out one of my Amsterdam teacups. This is about the same size as the bowl, and has about the same rim thickness (important to me). But then as I began pouring, I realized it was pink. Oh no. Scrambled around and found my English teacup – white ceramic inside, but a very thin rim. What I’m going to do is decant into the English and then pour into the Amsterdam to drink. Messy, but I think this is better. But in all my scrambling around for cups, I let it steep about ~7-10s, instead of his recommended 3.
First steep: ~7s. The liquor is almost white. There’s a barely-noticeable ecru (how’s that for color vocabulary?) tinge to it. It tastes sort of like the way grass smells after there’s been a rainstorm, or very early in the morning when you’re crossing a field covered in dew. Although the tea is hot, the taste is a “cold” taste.
Second steep: 3s. The liquor is lighter than the previous steep, and I feel this is as it ought to be. Very, very pale; hardly distinguishable color. The scent is definitely green, almost a sort of baby spinach note. The taste is perfectly replicated in the aroma. It’s definitely a very light tea, but the flavor is fully developed. Although it’s delicate, I don’t feel as though I’m missing anything.
Third steep: 3s. The liquor is the same color as the previous steep. I’m getting the taste of the peas I smelled in the leaves.
I looked inside at the leaves lying limp in the tasting cup. They are a bright green olive color. It’s really cool how I can see the plant itself: many of the leaves consist of two leaves and a stem.
Fourth steep: 7s. As I poured this from the brewing vessel into the teacup, one tiny leaf attached to a stem slipped into the cup and swam around like a little fish. It’s currently floating, stem at the surface of the water and the tip of the leaf just barely standing on the bottom. On a couple sips, I get a very strong sweetness, kind of like a floral honey. But it’s elusive, and I don’t taste it often. One touch and it’s gone.
As I finish the cup I take the leaf that is floating in the bottom out. It is perfectly formed, with the leaf spreading out from where it is almost folded into the stem. It’s oval-shaped with a pointed end, and maybe half an inch long. I’ve never seen a tea leaf like this. It feels smooth and rubbery and delicately veined. It is fully expanded from its time spent stewing in the cup, unlike its still-folded brethren in the brewing vessel
Fifth steep: 10s. The liquor is still white. I love this. It’s beautiful. I’m getting more and more of that elusive honeysuckle. Good
Sixth steep: 13s. There’s something really sweet surrounding this, like a nut that’s been dipped in chocolate. Only it’s sort of a grass that’s been dipped in honey
I’m going to end this review here, as I’m already at six hundred plus words.. but know that this is one phenomenal tea. I don’t have much from Verdant because really I always want to give them the respect they deserve, and I’m often running around like a madman, but I want to do an order soon (when I start working again.. heh) and get a variety of teas, maybe in one ounce sizes so that I do have teas that will stand up well to this sort of extended session.
Needed a bit of a kick in the pants this morning. I was “supposed” to be in bed by 9:30. I ended up going to bed at 12:30 after spending three hours working on poetry critiques. The downside to being in an intro to creative writing class is that, even though it’s a prereq for the higher levels, there are a lot of beginning writers. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, but I spent SO much time in high school as editor in chief of our literary mag reading bad poetry that I’m a bit sick of it. I’m sure there are people in the class that are very good, we just haven’t gotten to them yet.
And then of course I had to be up at 6 for my 7:15 education seminar. The plus side is that I’m done with classes by 10:10… the downside is that I am NOT a morning person. Or I am, I just need my sleep. And I start student teaching today, so I went shopping and bought “professional” clothes… I feel like a kid playing dressup. But I LOOK LIKE AN ADULT. I don’t understand. I put on makeup and painted my nails and thought about jewelry and oh my goodness how is this me?!
Just a bit stressed. I’m sure it’ll be fine. T-minutes two hours until I meet my teacher.
I like this one. Hazelnut is one of the few nuts I’m not especially allergic to – I don’t even know if I am allergic, but after walnuts I get a terrible headache.
it’s bold and nutty and really good in the morning. Not a very good tasting note but I just had to rant.
Song of the day: Safe to Shore by Of Monsters and Men.
Started my day off with this because hey, it’s my birthday, I do what I want. Adagio kindly included it as a sample with my last order, so that was exciting.
The dry leaves smell like vanilla cake, but I can smell the flavoring. Steeped 1tsp/8oz/212/2minutes; added a bit of milk and sugar.
The flavor is surprisingly light, but it’s still a decent tea. Not my favorite though… I think I’ll be celebrating for reals with a fancy oolong later on!
Thanks again to Autumn for a sample of this! I feel as though I’m going to be thanking her in every tasting note for a long while now :)
I very nearly bought a tin of this last December, and when she said she had some, I asked if she would send a bloom or two. She graciously sent a mini tin full of these beautiful little discs.
The tea is flat and sewn together, like a pressed flower. When it’s put into water, however, it becomes a spiky ball like a sea urchin or a dandelion. It’s beautiful.
The liquor is a deep reddish brown. It’s certainly in the mahogany/walnut color family.
Oh, the taste! At first, when it was too hot to really taste, I thought it was just another malty, chocolaty black tea. Good, but not remarkable.
Was I wrong!
There’s that, sure, but there’s something new here! I’m struggling to describe it. It’s very creamy. I first went to some sort of ice cream – mint chocolate? No… vanilla? Not quite… now I’m thinking of creme brulee. I’ve never actually had creme brulee. So I’m not entirely sure if it’s accurate. But the flavor profile here seems to match what I’ve heard of that dessert.
There’s something creamy and heavy and sweet here, as though I’m not just drinking what is effectively flavored water. It’s almost a little bit banana, or dulce de leche. It’s not quite caramel, though. It has that sort of feeling on the tip of your tongue when you’ve just eaten a spoonful of melted ice cream.
Ohh, I do look forward to puzzling this one out.
This came as a free sample from The Tea Merchant – thanks!
The more I drink this, the more I seem to like it. It’s rich and creamy and develops over several steepings. I don’t really have the energy to write a ton about it at the moment (in between talking to The Boy and doing Education homework, my mind is a bit fragmented) but it’s nice and soothing.
I won this in one of Della Terra’s Facebook giveaways – they are the best!
This is the second time I’ve tried this, but I held off logging it the first time around.
The aroma in the pouch is astounding. It smells like pure maple syrup. There are little blocks of what look like wood. Curious, I picked one out and ate it – it’s maple candy! Yum.
Maple’s not my favorite flavor, so the first time I steeped it, I did 5 minutes. The liquor was a slightly murky brown-gold. The smell was still maple, but much less strong. The taste was much the same as the smell. It didn’t taste like much of anything, unfortunately.
This time, I steeped for 10 minutes. It smells stronger and tastes more like maple. Still, though, I’m finding that the tea itself is lacking in the taste department. It smells really authentic, but I don’t really want to put maple syrup into the tea to sweeten it. I also used ~2tsp/8-10oz, so I don’t think I’m under-steeping it.
Thank you to Autumn Hearth for this!
On opening the tin, there’s a sort of tart scent that I don’t immediately associate with raspberries, but there’s a big dried raspberry sitting on the top. Cool.
I put the filter in my cup (I’m doing little cups because I have SO MUCH TEA to try!) and pour water over; it immediately turns bright red as it passes through the tea.
Unfortunately, hibiscus is listed as the first ingredient, and it shows. It’s okay, I mean. But it’s not really raspberry, just sort of a generic hibiscus fruity blend. This could be a tisane for all the tea I taste in here. I’ll definitely drink the tin, but it’s not something I want to spend my money on.
I got this as a free sample in the last Adagio order I placed.
Opening it – wow. That’s sour. It almost reminds me of smelling a bag of Sour Patch Kids or Warheads. I love sour things, but I’m not good at a lot all at once. Still, I’m really intrigued.
1tsp/8oz, 5 minutes, boiling water.
It’s immediately starting to turn a bright red, probably from the hibiscus. Cool. It’s a really pretty tea.
The tea doesn’t smell as strongly sour when brewed as it does steeped, although I still smell it.
It doesn’t taste that sour either. I think I’m going to make another cup but steep for ~10 minutes, and see how that changes it. Leaving off the rating for the moment.
Many thanks to Autumn Hearth for her incredibly generous samples of this and so many other teas! I cannot wait to sink my fangs into the box :)
I started my day with this tea. I figured, as it’s not your typical breakfast blend, and it’s a Chinese instead of an Indian black, I’d be okay with it in the morning and drinking it without milk or sugar. I was more or less right. It got a bit heavy towards the end of the mug as it cooled, but I didn’t really have time to focus on steeping it perfectly.
Parameters: ~2tsp/12oz, 180 F, ~3min.
These are the notes I took in class:
Smell: Wheaty, with whiffs of dark chocolate, like the chocolate bread at the bakery I used to go to after ballet class. I never really liked that chocolate bread (I much preferred sticky buns!) but my sister got it fairly often.
Leaves: Long, dark and twisty, with streaks of gold running through the space.
Liquor: golden-brown, kind of a chestnut color.
Taste: There is a definite taste of salt here, something I’ve never really experienced in a tea before. It’s predominant at the beginning of the sip, but I didn’t always get it. It’s wheaty, as expected. Kind of dark and heavy. A little bit of astringency, especially as it cooled, but not a whole lot. There’s some sort of dark berry here too, maybe currant or raisin? It’s not a juicy, fruity tea, but there’s something there.