21 Tasting Notes

95

I discovered a new brewing technique, and decided to revisit this one, and experiment, today. Instead of the usual 4 grams of solid leaf cake, 205 deg water, and two 4 sec rinses, followed by three 5 sec infusions. I changed it to 8 grams of solid leaf cake, boiling water, and two 2 sec rinses, followed by a 10 second infusion, and two 2 sec infusions. Also, I added a little of the hot water to the saucer to keep the porcelain gaiwan hotter. This was intended to keep the water at a more stable temp, and give the leaves more time to fully open during the first infusion. What I noticed, is a lighter color liquor, and the smokey flavour is all but absent, which may be desirable to some sippers. Also, there is absolutely no bitterness, and the tea flavour is more mellow and subdued, the opposite of what you’d expect. Also, in the second infusion, I’m already beginning to taste the subtle sweet, honey melon notes beginning to make themselves known, a nice surprise. Personally, I enjoy the smokey, storage flavour, and miss it slightly. However, the added sweetness and complexity does make this a more interesting concoction. The total lack of bitterness, and mellow flavour profile easily make this a most approachable pu’erh.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Chad

I steeped for an additional 3 seconds on the fouth infusion, and got a slightly bitter flavour. Perhaps, it was too soon?

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95

Very mellow, and slightly smoky in the first few infusions. I’m only about 4 infusions into it, and it’s starting to open up into a honey citrus sweetness, simular to a Dancong, or Eastern Beauty. I especially like the cooling sensation I get from inhaling through my mouth after I’ve had a few sips. I also like the fact that Verdant has broken it up into perfectly sized approx. 4 gram chunks, which is exactly what you want. This is a very prize tea, and well worth the cost.

Flavors: Chestnut, Citrus, Creamy, Honey, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Chad

I should’ve mentioned that I’m brewing gongfu-style, in a 4 oz gaiwan. I used a 4.23 gram chunk of solid cake, and two 4 sec washes, not to clear dust, as that isn’t an issue with modern tea, but to loosen the cake, which is the appropriate reason for washing. I infused for 5-6 secs on the first 4 infusions.

Chad

Well, for the 8th infusion, I was noticing the flavour starting to fade, and so I creased the water temperature about 10 degrees to 205, and infused a full 15 secs. All I can say is, it really opened things back up. The smokiness is all but gone, and the tangy honey citrus notes now dominate. This is one which really shines in later infusions.

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90

Many thanks to David, Weiwei, and the rest of Verdant Tea for such a delicious sample. I was initially greeted by jasmine. A nice surprise! But, then there was apricot, which combines well with the jasmine to add just a slight hint of vanilla. Touches of hard wood and honeysuckle ballances things out nicely, and crafts a very smooth and lingering aftertaste.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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93
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
21 tasting notes

This is a truely remarkable tea. There is absolutely no bitterness to speak of. It tastes more like a oolong than a black, but with a stronger flavor and aroma. It reminds me of Big Red Robe, and other Wuyi mountain oolongs. There is also a slight bean flavor. It’s like roasted soy nuts, only without the bitterness. Could it be from the fertilizer? One of my biggest complaints with oolong is that it’s flavor is a little too light, for my tastes. This tea is a perfect alternative for anybody seeking a stronger flavor and aroma, but without the typical bitterness found in other black teas. It combines the best of both worlds, and would be an excellent way to begin any day.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
potatowedges

Love this tea. It’s truly a gift.

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83

I was actually pretty excited to try this one. I must admit, it’s lighter than I expected. Still, quite complex. There’s a little honey suckle. Some definate floral, fruity, tangyness. Sandlewood. The finish is actually a little bitter. I recommend a second wash. Maybe a slightly cooler water temp, as well. 2nd & 3rd steeps: Less wood, more floral, finish is still a bit bitter. I’m not sure about this one. The woodsy and floral notes are pronounced, and that’s great. But, it could stand to be a bit sweeter, by my standards. Also, it’s a little drying. Perhaps, I’m just not in a oolong mood, today?

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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86

I like this shu better than the nuggets. It’s less sedimenty, and more smooth. This tastes more like a beverage, and less like dirt. I don’t know if other folks would enjoy it, if they like the sediment flavor, but I prefer it. It’s very smooth, and light, but flavorful. The color is a very nice redish-brown. 1st & 2nd steeps: The flavor is like old wood. It makes me wonder if it was keep around rotten wood, or something. Not at all bitter. Just rotten old wood. 3rd steep: Old wood, and now leather. No more sediment, at all. Just lots of leather. Like chewing on an old belt. 4th steep (slightly cooler temp): Strangely, sediment is makin a come-back. Leather is fading. Less everything. I’ll have to use higher temp, next. 5th: Lighter flavor, but the leather taste is back. This one feels flatter, and less tangy. I think the water might be getting stale. It’s time to replenish the kettle, anyhow. 6th: Wood and leather are stronger, again. Sorta tangy, too. The aroma is getting a bit smokey. It’s not quite like sheng, though. 7th: I increased the temp a little, and the steep time a lot. The flavor is hanging in there. It’s still wood and leather, though. No new developements, except in the after-taste. It’s like portabello mushrooms, and was rather brief. 8th: Steeped at boiling for 2.5 mins. More of the same, and I’m bored. Over-all, I’m glad I tried this one. There was no fishy odor, and the sediment was minimal. This is a very smooth and approachable shu. Although, it was a little one-dimensional, to me. I enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t get too excited about having it again. However, if my goal were to drink shu on a regular basis, and I wanted to avoid anything gross. This would be an excellent choice. Although, I doubt it would keep me interested for long.

EDIT: Oh! I forgot to mention that I was doing double steepings. So actually, I drank around 16 steepings. By double steepings, I mean that I was steeping once into my cup, and again into my pitcher, and counting that as one steeping, but it’s in fact two. Sorry for the confusion.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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89
drank Autumn Laoshan Green by Verdant Tea
21 tasting notes

This has the most amazing aroma. I only wish it tasted a bit more like it smells. It really is quite good, but I guess I’m used to sencha. One thing I found distinctly remarkable is that I was getting that tangy-sweet flavor in later steepings, simluar to that experienced in later steepings of sheng. It was definately intriguing. The smell, alone, is by far one of the best aromas I’ve ever encountered. I tried it western-style length, in gaiwan, and it was definately too strong. Therefore, I might’ve liked it better had I not over-done it.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 15 sec

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87

Being my first shu, I can’t really rate this by any measure, other than my general impressions. I have to admit, to me, this actually tastes simular to a dark roasted oolong, or black tea, except that it has an earthy, sedimenty… something. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it when I first smelled it. But thankfully, it doesn’t taste like it smells. I can deffinately see why it’s an aquired taste. Although, I do find it enjoyable. I can totally see why people like shu. Again, I can’t vouch for this one in particular, being my first. However, I can say that I like it. I chose it as my first, mainly because it was sent as a sample in a plastic baggy and exposed to the light. So, I worried about its shelf life. Also, I figured it would be the least popular out of all the shu samples I received, and I didn’t want to spoil myself, and give it a prejudiced rating. I never read anyone else’s ratings, or reviews, and so I can’t compare it to what other people’ve said. I thought I’d go the unbiased route with all of my samples from Verdant. As good as this one is, I’m looking forward to trying the others. If they’re any better, then I’m certain I’ll enjoy them, too.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
potatowedges

I’ve been getting into shu, and it’s a pretty marvelous world…have fun!

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96

Once again, a TGY from Verdant has stolen my heart. I really loved the sample from spring, and this was also a delight. I love how green it tastes. I certainly prefer this style.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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99

I loved this tea! I received it as a sample from Verdant Tea. Thanks David! This is a relatively green tieguanyin, and not bitter, at all. It’s robustly floral, creamy and sweet. Not thinking, I used boiling water, and so I didn’t make it to 30 steeps (It was a long day, and I was pretty brain dead). However, it didn’t hurt a thing, and it was still quite excellent, and not bitter, at all. In fact, there was a distinct evergreen, sort of pine, flavor and aroma. It was most delicious, and a big part of why I rated this so high. After a dozen or so steepings, the floral and evergreen flavors started to taper-off, and the sweet, creamy flavor began to take center stage. After 15 or so, this started to take on more of a classical tieguanyin flavor. It’s very clean and smooth, and the beautiful color really held on, well into the later steepings. The sweetness lingers in my mouth, and keeps it watering. I can totally see this becoming a favorite!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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Profile

Bio

I still consider myself to be relatively new to the world of tea; started about 3 years ago. There are just too many things to try to consider oneself truly proficient with such a limited exposure.

My favorites are Japanese Tamaryokucha, Chinese Dancong, and Taiwanese Eastern Beauty. I also enjoy a decent pu-erh, from time to time.

I use gongfu-style preparation, and a gaiwan. But sometimes, I just use a medium Finum basket, and 6oz cup.

I’m always open to suggestions, or advice. So, feel free, and don’t be a stranger. I’ve been receiving some interesting suggestions from other reviewers, and I’m looking forward to trying these other teas.

So far, everyone on Steepster has been very kind, and welcoming, and I enjoy participating in the community.

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Tulsa, OK

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