244 Tasting Notes

In a moment of weakness I purchased the A&D triple pack, which I’m finally getting around to trying this weekend. I threw a teaspoon in my gaiwan and used near boiling water to steep the tea for 15-20 seconds. The foretaste is a bit strange and is dominated by the smoky flavor of the tea, but then the taste transforms into a smooth and mildly sweet flavor before trailing off into a lightly mineral aftertaste. The problem with this tea is that I find myself comparing it against Zheng Shan Xaio Zhong, which is hardly fair because this tea is above average. That, and nothing smoked is really in the same galaxy as Zheng Shan Xaio Zhong. Oh well, it will still be interesting to see how the tea develops.

Second cup was made with the same parameters as the first, but the taste is much different. The tea isn’t quite as sweet, allowing the smokey flavor to assert itself a bit more.Another change is that the texture of the tea has gone from a bit creamy to a nice solid mineral-ish sensation. Both of these changes actually improve the flavor of the tea, and I can’t wait to see what the next development will be.

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

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drank Uji Gyokuro by Unknown
244 tasting notes

It’s been a while since I last drank this tea, and I re-discovered it while digging through my stash to find something different. Anyways, I decided to brew it with my gaiwan, just as an experiment, so I threw some leaves in it, and used some approximately 140 degree water to steep the leaves for about 15 seconds. I know, that really short of a Japanese green, but bear with me, it was an experiment. The tea is a very pale green, but the flavor profile is much bolder. The tea is initially very sweet, and it’s hard to taste much else, but as time goes on a pleasant grass flavor emerges. While fairly standard for a Japanese green, it is still very pleasant and adds a lot to the experience. Finally, the tea has a smooth mineral aftertaste. It’s not like a Wuyi Oolong, but that’s the best way to describe it. As the tea cools, the sweetness becomes more pronounced and the grass flavor diminishes a bit, but it’s hard to actually let the tea sit that long. All in all, it’s very pleasant, and I’d say that the tea actually benefited a bit from this brewing method.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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I’m a bit tired today, since I went to the Paul McCartney concert in Washington D. C. last night, but this tea did a lot to helping me get through the day. For those of you who like the Beetles, I highly recommend going to the concert if the tour comes to your city, it was a great experience.

I used my gaiwan and a fairly generous amount of leaf to brew the tea for 15 seconds. The fore-taste of this tea is a rather muted chocolate/malt flavor, which is very well-balanced between savory and sweet. The flavor transitions into a muted caramel in the middle, before lingering on the roof of the mouth with an interesting flavor that is a bit like a Wuyi, but also very Malty. David at Verdant says that this is the flavor of a good scotch, but I’m not familiar with the beverage, so I’ll just have to take his word for it. Another interesting aspect of this tea is that it’s not quite like any other Oolong I’ve had. The unique flavor of the leaves creates something new, and it can certainly be considered a successful experiment.

The second cup was very different from the first. For one, the tea steeped very quickly, and I decided to only let it sit for 5 second. Another difference s that the tea actually tasted sweeter now. It has this fantastic sweet flavor that is very similar to the flavor profile of the Laoshan green tea when properly brewed, but it is tempered by the chocolate and caramel notes introduced by the roasting process. The aftertaste remains mostly the same, but the phenomenal development of this tea is still my main comment for this cup. This is honestly turning out even better than I expected.

Third cup, near-boiling water for 5 seconds. This cut is almost the same is the previous cup, but the flavor is a bit sweeter and the aftertaste is changing from the malty/scotch flavor I described in the first tasting session to something more like a Wuyi mineral/metallic smoothness. There is a bit of sensation associated with this new aftertaste that is a bit like when you put some sort of metal in your mouth and you get that interesting tingling feeling, but it’s not that prominent especially compared to the smoothness of the tea. Also, there is a bit of cinnamon sneaking into the flavor profile. Another series of interesting developments from an already interesting tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Wow, it’s been a really long time since I posted a tea review. My internship this summer has been a lot more hectic than usual, and I really just haven’t had time to sit down and write a substantive review, but hopefully that will be changing the next two weeks or so. Anyways, I actually rather excited about today since I finally have both my new Gaiwan and small teacup from Verdant! Big shout out to the guys at Verdant for working with me to get the cup to me after my local post office returned it without sending me a notice!

First steep, ~20 seconds with hot water. I got distracted by some computer issues, and steeped this a bit differently than normal, but the result is amazingly creamy. The tea actually had some very lovely floral note, not I’m a bit rusty so I couldn’t really speculate as to what they really tasted like. One thing that I really found amazing was just how different it was from another tea I have that is similar in age, albeit it was roasted every 6 months for the duration of its aging period. That tieguanyin had a very pronounced caramel flavor which would overshadow the more delicate flavors of the tea, but this tea from Verdant is much more balanced. I really can’t wait to see how it develops.

Well, it was bound to happen. Apparently there was still some water left in from the previous infusion, so this second batch came out a bit bitter. Don’t get me wrong it still tastes better than some tea I’ve had (COUGHGolden PeakCOUGH), but there is a lot of bitterness in this cup. IT is interesting to note that I can still get a bit of a floral flavor from the tea, but not anything that special. Oh well, hopefully the next try will work out better.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Good you mentioned the need to really get all the liquid drained off before steeping again to avoid the next cup tasting bitter. Too many people rush making tea and regret it…oops…! (We’ve all done it) Mentioning it here helps teach newer tea drinkers that might be having trouble. The other most common flavor killers are bad water (unfiltered) and wrong temp./steep time.

Joshua Smith

I hope a lot of people see this, since it was a fairly harsh lesson for me when I learned it a couple of years ago. Jasmine tea and 2-minute steeps using lousy water from my university campus is not exactly a very good combination…

Not to mention all of the perfectly good tea leaves I wasted since sometimes I couldn’t stand the flavor and had to throw it out…

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95
drank Hashiri Shincha by Den's Tea
244 tasting notes

On the eve of my fist exam, I’m lucky enough to be destressing with a wonderful cup of this tea. It actually came in the mail this afternoon, but I was too busy to actually try it until now.

I opened the foil package and was greeted with a strong freshly cut grass aroma. Using my brew basket and barely-steaming water, I let the leaves steep in my mug for 30 seconds, which is my standard for Japanese greens. The flavor of this tea is really amazing, with a very intense yet sweet grass flavor and a smooth texture that is defying description at the moment. Finally, the aftertaste of the tea has a bit of a metallic feeling which builds over the course of 45 seconds and then slowly fades away. This is a really remarkable Japanese green, and it was well worth the wait.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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95

First of all, I’m back! The hell that was the end of a busy semester is over, and now I actually have time to post about my tea instead of just drinking it quickly to keep me functioning through classes. Anyway, I got this tea in my very first purchase from Verdant Tea about 18 months ago, and the only other thing left from that sample is some Farmers Co-op ‘03 sheng. This was actually one of my favorite tea, which I saved since it was that good. Of course, I haven’t tried it in at least 6 months, so who knows how my preferences have developed.

I put the leaves in my Finum brew basket, and used near-boiling water to steep the leaves for 30 seconds. The aroma is a bit less bright, for lack of a better term, but still remarkably floral. The flavor is really remarkable, initially tasting like a normal floral Taiwanese Oolong, but then the sweetness starts to grow, and reaches an amazing level before slowly fading away over the next minute. The mouthfeel of the tea is extremely smooth, yet at the same time it is also a bit creamy. It actually makes me really sad that I only have enough of this left for two sessions if I stretch it, since I don’t know when I’ll have another orchid Oolong this good again.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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drank Rose Chai by Gaia Tea
244 tasting notes

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98

It’s been a really long time since I posted a review, mostly becasue things have been amazingly busy for a semester where I only have 13 credits. Anyways, midterms are over, and I have a few weeksto relax before the next crisis/test/project is due.

I prepared this tea with near-boiling water in a cast-iron teapot, and let it steep for 20 seconds. I’ve actually had this tea before, and I personally feel that it benefits from a slightly longer initial steep, but that’s just a personal opinion. The resulting tea is amazingly sweet, yet it retains the Yunnan linen mouthfeel. I also agre with the Verdant tasting notes that this tea is very remeniscient of grapes, which is a flavor that I normally don’t like yet was absolutely perfect. AFter the sucess of this cup, I’m anxiously await the future developements of this tea.

I prepared the second steep with near boiling water and let the leaves soak for 10 seconds. The result is mostly the same, but with one very improtnat change: The linen mouthfeel is starting to transition into something else, but I’m not quite sure what. the only other thing of note is that the sweetness is a bit more muted than before, but grape flavor is still very distinct. On a sidee note, when I poured the hot water over the leaves this time the entire room was fileld with a delightful aroma of grapes and pines like David wrote on this tea’s page. Considereing that it’s the first thing in quite some time to get past first my headcold and now my mild seasonal allergies, it was truly a wonderful experience.

Music of the DayNabucco by Giusseppe Verdi
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz6GBsJltxE
while the link above isn’t the exact recording I have (Mine is a remastered recording from 1965 with Lamberto Gardelli conducting), it was the best one I could find on Youtube.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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I’ve finally used the very last of this tea. It’s been almost a year, shich is rather remarkable, and this tea still tates just as good as it did when I bought it. The bottom of my canister was cleaned out into my cast-iron teapot, and I let it steep for a bit mroe than 15 seconds. The result is a very malty tea with a bit of a linen sensation that David commented on in one of his blog posts, highlighting the tea’s Yunnan pedigree. Another nice quality of this tea is that it is very warming, which is another reason that I decided to drink it today (It’s 40 and raining here in Virginia). Also, this tea is moderately sweet, adn the aftertaste is a bit hard to explain, but it lingers wonderfully on the roof of my mouth for two minutes.

Second steep, 10 seconds. The big change is the texture, which really dominates the flavor profile now. It’s really ver interesting to feel it this clearly. The tea is also a bit sweeter, but not quite at the same level as Golden Fleece. Regardless, this tea is still a wonderful example of a Yunnan black, and if I remember corectly it will contiunue to be a very interesting tea for several more infuions.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Bio

I am a university student, studying Computer Science, who found that I really enjoy a nice cup of tea. I finally got into loose-leaf tea in August of 2011. I am currently in the process of expanding my horizons, and have found that I have a particular fondness for Oolongs in general, and Wuyi Yanchas in particular. The unique mineral taste is very appealing to me, as well as a nice Sencha. More recently, I’ve developed a taste for Sheng puerh, white tea, and black teas. The only things I’ve tried that I didn’t like was Shu puerh, but that might have been because it was quite young. Regardless, I’ve been slowly expanding my horizons, so if you have any recommendations, please feel free to send me a PM.

Just for the heck of it, my other interests include classical musics (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Verdi, Debussy, Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Liszt, and Wagner, to name a few composers). I also have a fondness for a bit more modern music, like The Beatles, all Jazz (by all, I really do mean all), Gorillaz (I love Demon Days), and a couple of Indie artists you will never run across unless you play a lot of semi obscure Indie games. Also, I love cats.

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Fairfax, VA

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