25 Tasting Notes

89
drank Autumn Laoshan Green by Verdant Tea
25 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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97

Wow! Now, this being my first pu-erh, I was a little nervous, because so many times people say that it’s an acquired taste. What are they smoking? This is awesome! I liked it right away. It has a brisk, oolong-like, taste. It has very appealing color, too. It’s sort of blush, like apple cider. In earlier steepings, I noticed a faint earthy, sort of mushroom-like, background. It wasn’t musty, though. It was still sweet, and floral. I can sort of taste the sweet tobacco flavor, too, but it doesn’t have that sharp bite. It’s very smoothe. In mid-later steepings, just when I thought it was done, judging by the lighter color, it was not giving up! In fact, it took on a honey, raisin-like flavor that is soooo good. It’s now taking on an even more floral, plum, tangy, somewhat citrus, flavor. It just keeps getting better! I can probably push it even further, still. I guess, we shall see. ::sip sip:: mmmm

::Edit::
So, I got to around 20 or so steepings (lost count), and the flavor is still there. I have to steep so long the water cools, now. That’s my fault, however, because I’m not very skilled at gongfu cha, yet. Some of my steepings were too long, and tasted slightly bitter. I was over-focused on the color. Now, that I know that it’s OK for it to lighten, and it’ll still pack a flavorful punch, I think I probably could’ve managed 30+ steepings out of this. I’ll have to chalk that up to live and learn, I spoze. Definitely worth the experimentation! Plus, there’s still plenty left. This is a very delicious, and flavorful tea. I totally enjoy it better than oolong.

The only thing missing in the experience, is that intense cleansing, centering feeling I get from drinking sencha. It’s more fun, though. Due to the fact that it requires so many steepings, and some skill, I can’t call it the perfect tea. The perfect sheng pu-erh, however? Definitely maybe. Even though, I haven’t experienced anything else to compare it to, I can’t imagine it being any better.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
David Duckler

Hi Chad! I am really happy that you like the Artisan Revival. This is one that I am tempted to get a tong (stack of seven bricks) to age just for myself. Having played around with steeping a lot on the sheng pu’ers, I have some suggestions to get the most out of them. I have definitely done 30+ steeping on this tea. First, I use what seems like a lot of leaf. Usually enough to fill the gaiwan 1/4 of the way up. This is a light fluffy tea, so 4 grams, which is normal, looks like a lot. I do this so that I can do really short 1-4 second steepings and experience the way the flavor changes (which you describe really well!). By steeping 20, you have to do maybe 10 seconds. Steeping 30 up to 25 or 20 seconds. I also use boiling water on this sheng pretty often because it is so resistant to bitter or drying tastes. To keep the water hot for those long steepings, I pour boiling water into the gaiwan saucer to act as insulation. It actually works pretty well, and gives you more temperature control.

As an aside- if you love the cleanness of sencha, you might enjoy any of the green teas I just imported from the spring picking in Laoshan. They are so far North in China that they have a lot of similarities to Japanese tea. Clean, yet full bodied, rich and sweet. I have a mini-article on the region on the Verdant Tea website.

Nathaniel Gruber

You’re right, most people will tell you that it is an acquired taste, but this is perhaps one of the finest Sheng Pu’ers that have been brought in to the country. You’re spoiled, my friend. :)

Chad

That may be true, Nathaniel. Although, I believe that’s part of the point, for me, when it comes to tea, anyways. To spoil myself, a little. It’s a healthy and affordable luxury, and a fun hobby. I just started, not long ago, and so I’m exploring what’s out there. I chose this tea, partly, so I’ll know what I should look for and expect from a great pu-erh. Besides, I was too nervous to try anything else, that might be unpalatable to me.

I have to admit, I thought your reviews seemed a little biased, at first, but now, I see why. Both of the teas I’ve tried from Verdant are in a whole different class to themselves.

Chad

Thank you for the tips, David. I appreciate the advice. I also loved the sample of Spring Tieguanyin you sent along, and will most likely order some. The handwritten note was also nice to see. I appreciate the little things, and enjoy the personal touch. It’s one of the things I enjoy most about tea. There is such a vibrant community of really nice people. I’m glad I tried Verdant Tea, and I’m certain that I’ll be a return customer. I watched all of your videos on Youtube, and I think that is a big part of what encouraged me to try gongfu with a gaiwan. Your videos were very informative, detailed, and easy to follow. I watched them over and over, and really enjoyed them. Many thanks for your effort and care.

Nathaniel Gruber

Good to hear. I 100% agree…I tend to spoil myself with tea as well, and why not?
For the record, I am very biased towards Verdant Tea, but that comes after trying literally hundreds of other teas out there and knowing the quality that Verdant has brought about in contrast. I’m lucky and spoiled ;) to be able to work with them.

David Duckler

Thanks for the feedback Chad,
I am glad you enjoyed the videos. I have a whole new Youtube series planned to start on as soon as spring (and the tea scouting season) have wound down a bit. You are right about the tea community. The people is one of the main reasons I got into the business. Tea people, especially in China, are just so kind and gracious. The interest in America is encouraging as well. I only hope that tea can overcome the stereotype of being too complex or fancy for most people, so that it can be enjoyed for what it is.

cultureflip

It’s true. You will be hard pressed to find much better sheng than this without spending a fortune and a lot of time. Nice pick!

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65
drank Earl Grey (loose leaf) by Twinings
25 tasting notes

This was my first loose leaf tea. I enjoyed it for a good while, but before long, the flavor was too mild. It’s great, if you want a light Earl with a very refined flavor.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Shaded Leaf by Mellow Monk
25 tasting notes

As always, I love Mellow Monk. This tea is delicious! It has a stronger, more refined flavor than the Top Leaf. It’s more vegetal, and has mild berry notes, which I love. It’s buttery, and has a creamy texture. The color is a beautiful, and deep shade of green. I would definately order more of it, and keep it for those special times.

::Edit:: I just decided to try this in my gaiwan, instead of my kyusu, and wow! If I’d known that tea could taste this good, I would’ve been living off the stuff! I had to bump the rating up, and edit the preparation details. This is a truely special cup of tea.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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92
drank Blissful Buds by Mellow Monk
25 tasting notes

I love Mellow Monk. All of their teas are great, and this one is no exception. It packs a potent bitter quality, which makes it a nice after-meal drink. I enjoy it enough to order it again, but not enough to keep it in stock considering that the Top Leaf steals the show, and gives me everything I need. It was quite special.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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100
drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
25 tasting notes

This is my favorite! I love this like no other. I also love the company. Their customer service is awesome! I love how they use the personal touch. Their shipping is fast, and inexpensive. I especially love how they listen and respond to, not only their own customers, but also the tea drinking community, in general. They are very in-touch. They are also a green certified company, and all of their teas are organic.

Top Leaf is my top choice. It is sweet and berry-like, and has that slightly citrus tangy lip smacking quality. There’s also a hint of sweet butteriness, like corn on the cob. I love the smell of the dry leaf, too. It smells of sweet mellon and honey suckle. The color is quite beautiful. I always order a lot, because I drink it down, fast. It leaves me feeling centered, clean, and relaxed. I crave it all day long.

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Wow, I must say you got me interested in this tea company. I’m a big fan of flavored tea, but I have turned to good quality natural plain tea lately. However, I don’t have much luck with the greens so far, I have yet to find one I really do enjoy. I’m adding this one to my next purchase list, cause I never heard of a «sweet and berry-like» green tea before :-)

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55
drank Monkey-Picked Oolong by Teavana
25 tasting notes

I thought that this tea was enjoyable. It wasn’t as yummy as Rishi’s tieguanyin, though. It may have just been a little old, too. There was a slight dinginess to it. It was only slightly perfumed, and had a creaminess to it. It wasn’t sweet, or roasty, as you’d expect. I was also put off by the price. Way overpriced! I tried it both gonfu style, and mesh basket style. Neither seemed better.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 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.

Location

Tulsa, OK

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