244 Tasting Notes


I just got this as a smaple in the mail yesterday, and I was excited to try it out. I prepared the first cup with near-boiling water, and let the tea steep for 15 seconds. The resutl is a very nice Tie guan yin, with a very smooth floral taste, and a very interesting aftertaste. I’m not an expert on spices, so I can’t say if the after taste really is saffron like David wrote on the website. REgardless of what it really taste like, it is a very delightful flavor which lingers for several minutes on the roof of my mouth. There is also a hint of sweet grass in the tea, but it’s mostly getting overwhelmed right now. It will probably develope more later on.

The second cup was steeped for 10 seconds. The flavor was much smoother, and it was also much gentler, with the falvor taking a few seconds to build before reaching it’s full strength. The aftertaste is mostly unaffected, which is rather nice, and the tea is now a pleasant balance between floral and fruity, with hints of grass to round out the flavor. It is certainly developing well, and I have high hopes for it’s continued development.

Third cup, 15 seconds. This is a greally balanced cup of tea, where the grass is beginning to dominate the falvor, and the floral notes have become the new undertones. Like many Oolongs, this third cup balances the various flavors very well. Also, the aftertatse is definitely a spice, but again, I’m not an expert, so I can only assoume that it’s safforn.

Fourth cup, 20 seconds. As I expected, this is where the tea starts to weaken and fade away. The flavor of grass still dominates, yet the floral taste is very weak now, and the fruit I could taste earlier has also faded a lot. Regardless, the aftertaste continues to be a major factor, starting out very mild, growing for a good 30-45 seconds, and then lingering for two minutes. While I’m sad that the real fun parts of this tea are gone, it’s still very nice. The fact that the aftertatse lasts so long is really a testament to the quality of this tea.

Also, as a quick aside, I found the second-craziest tea-related thing (after the tea fertilized by panda poo): http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=527

5kg…That’s enough tea for years of drinking…

205 °F / 96 °C

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I got this with my Black Friday shipment, and I finally had time to try it out today.

I opened the smaple bag, and I could already tell that it was going to be good. IT had a very satisfying roasted smell, reminding me a bit of vanilla which, while a bit weird, is actually lovely. The flavor of the tea wsa just perfect: It is an amazing example of a Wuyi yancha. The delightful sweet-yet-roasted vanilla of the aroma is also a major part of the flavor, with a nice smooth mouthfeel that transitions into the characteristic yancha mineal aftertaste. It’s a bit early to be talking about the subtler flavors, since they are fairly indistinct, but this tea has a lot of promise for development. Oh yeah, I steepd this for 15 seconds.

The second cup was steeped for about 10 seconds, but was actually less interesting than I expected. I thoguht that the flavors would develop a bit faster, but this was pretty much the same as the first cup, except it was smoother. Actually, smoother isn;t the right word, it’s more like it’s a more refined taste, but the point is that it hasn’t developed as much as I expected. The tea still is very complex, so I’m not too disappointed, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Third cup, 15 seconds. This is it, the legendary third cup, the one that is usually the best. It lives up to the hype. The flavor has made a small yet importnat transition from smooth to creamy, yet still makes the transition into mineral-smooth for the aftertaste. The vanilla is tempered by the beginings of spice, and something sweet as well. Right now, this tea has acheived perfect balance. Of course, I’m not realy sure where the flavor will go next, since this is just so much different than my other Shui Xian, which leaves me very excited to see what comes next.

Music of the DayCello Sonata in A minor by Edvard Grieg, performed by Martha Argerich and Mischa Maisky.

Link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z72yOcLmOOE

Whenever Argerich and Maisky play together, you can always expect an expressive and riveting performance, and thisvideo doesn’t disappoint.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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My Black Friday order just came in, nad I’m very excited to finally taste this tea. When I opened the bag, I was greeted by a pleasant aroma of a well-roated blak tea. It’s actually not as strong as I thought it would be, but I’m no expert on roasting. The leaves themselves are a lot like the Zhu Rong balck tea, small and curly. I was a bit generous with the ammount of leaves that I used, and I used near-boiling water to steep them for 15 seconds. The resulting tea smells like chocolate, yet is actually surprisingly light colored and clear. The finitial taste is a very smooth and clear chocolate flavor, which fades rather quickly into a lingering sweet aftertaste. Teh aftertaste lasts for at least two minutes, but I’m not good at restraining myself for much more than that, so who knows how long it actually lasts.

Second cup, 10 second steep. The tea is already beginning to trasition, and a malty flavor has begun to assert itself, contrasting nicely with the chocolate flavor that was then main flavor. The aftertaste also greatly changed, having become less sweet and also fading after about 45 seconds. These developments were interesting, and I can’t wait to see how they continue for the next cup.

Third cup, 15 seconds. The tea continues to change, but it went in a bit of an unexpected direction. First of all, the chocolate is mostly gone from the flavor profile, and the tea actually sweetened a bit since the previous cup. Also, there is bit of somthing akin to really really weak citrus begining to make itself known, which is a bit confusing. Also, the malt flavor is getting very muddled, and I’m not sure where that is going either. So far, this tea has been very different than I expected, which is actually really nice. It’s fun to have a tea that keeps you guessing.

Music of the DayCarmina Burana by Carl Orff, performed by the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra, the University Chorus and Alumni Chorus, and the Pacific Boychoir.
Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEllLECo4OM

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

UM, can’t wait for tea to arrive!

Joshua Smith

I know! I also have an order of stuff from the Cyber Monday puerh sale that are one their way, but they probably won’t arrive until Monday or Tuesday.


yay fir tea!


Also awaiting Black Friday orders!! Loving your music pic on this one, powerful stuff :-)

Joshua Smith

I hope they arrive soon! I got one- of two packages from cyber monday today, and the other one is sitting in a post office…

Invader Zim

I love Carmina Burana by Carl Orff!

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First of all, yes, I’m alive. I’ve been amazingly busy recently, with professors really ;piling on the work as the semester draws to a close. But today I have a bit of time, so I’m doing a review as quickly as possible. I’m still multitasking, doing my Abstract Algebra homework while writing the beginning of this review.

I was really generous with the ammount of leaf I used today becasue I caved and bought a lot of stuff from the Verdant Tea Cyber Monday sale and I need to do some stash busting. Anyway, I let the first cup steep for a bit more than 20 seconds, which resultedin tea that was a nice amber color, and which had a pleasant earthy aroma. Unlike some shu, where the aroma can be overpowering, this tea is just the right ammount to enhance the experience. The teaste is earthy, yet still surprisingly sweet. Also, lets not forget the thirst-quenching and the cooling sensations that this tea has to offer, which give it that extra uniqueness to make this tea really stand out.

Second cup, steeped for 15 seconds. I usually only let the second cup steep for 10 seconds, but I felt a bit adventurous today. The result is much earthier than the first cup, but still delightfully clear and juicy. The mineral sensation that David mentions in the tea’s description is also more obvious during this steep, rounding off the expereince with a pleasant smooth aftertaste that migrates to the hard palate. Once again, this tea delivers an amazing experience.

Third cup, also 15 seconds. This was a very complex cup of tea, as I seem to have caught it during the middle of the big transition from the bolder flavors of the early steepings to the smooth, cool, sparkling sensations that coem atthe end. The spakling feeling is starting to assert itself, and the mineralish aftertaste has faded significantly. Also, the flavor is clearer, like the musty old flavors have been washed away. It’s very interesting, and I’m savoring it as much as I can.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Earth to Joshua Smith….Hello….Hope you’re studies are doing well!!!

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It’s the weekend! I don’t have classes tomorrow, and my last class today went well, since the professor forgot that she was supposed to make a quiz for today, os we got out early! And better yet, I turn 21 this Saturday! Life is good…

Anyway, the first infusion was steeped for 15 seconds, and I was generous with the ammount of leaves that I used, so the result was sweet, yet deep and complex. The hibiscus wasn’t that strong today, but the sweetness of the hibiscus helped to balance out the dark choclate, making it much more pleasant. All in all, a very nice cup of tea.

SEcond cup, 10 second steep. This was interesting. The first thing that I noticed was that a nice lingering smooth aftertaste had developed. IT’s somewhere between creamy and mineralish smooth, and that about as precise as I can get. The hibiscus flavor is a bit more prominent now, which adds some nice floral falvor to the tea, but the chocolate still dominates the foretaste. Other than that, not all that much has changed.

P.S. – It’s rather late, so I don;t know if I’ll get too many cups out of this before I have to go to bed. Sorry.

205 °F / 96 °C

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First of all, sorry that I haven’t updated in a while. First, there were two weeks of midterm exams (they went very well, but it was a stressful two weeks), followed by that week where all my professors said “Okay, since exams are done, that means we can give you tons of work!” Finally, this past week was messed up by post-tropical cyclone Sandy, and everything went to hell. Anyway, I needed something warm and comforting, and this tea was perfect for the job.

The first steeping is delightfully complex and creamy, with the buttery mouth-feel working in harmony with the subtle spice and floral flavors and the caramel undertones to create a tea that is pretty much perfect. I was just drinking my other aged tie guan yin the other day, and it truly pales in comparision to the complexity of this tea. The aftertaste is also beyond compare, as it tingles delightfully on the roof of my mouth with a mineralish/metalic feeling. It also lasts for a good three minutes, at which point I could no longer resist this tea, and all took another sip.

The second cup was very similar to the first, but the taste was more…refined, for lack of a better term. The mouth-feel was still creamy, but not as overtly as it was before, the the fruit ans spice flavors were a bit more subdued, but it was still a well-balanced and interesting cup of tea. Luckily, the aftertaste has not weakened at all, and it’s length has not been decreased, so I’m very pleased with how the tea developed. It will be intersting to see what it’s like once the leaves are fully open.

The third cup was steeped for 15 seconds. The mouthfeel is no longer buttery or creamy, yet still retains a smoothness that is a bit hard to place. The tea has also lost the floral flavorstha I saw earlier, and is becoming a much “warmer” tea becasue of it. The caramel flavor is still strong, but there is something that counteracts the sweetness as well. Not sure what it is yet, and I’ll certainly be looking to see what it turns into during my next cup. All in all, the development is still ongoing, and the results actually preserve the complexity of the tea.

Well, as you can see, I didn’t actually get arround to drinking that next cup, as some friends came over and I ended up in a serious card game with them, and before I knew it midnight was upon me. I couldn’t have more tea, or I wouldn’t fall asleep early enough. Sorry about that.

Music of the DayRequiem by Verdi, conducted by Semyon Bychkov

Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1i-p659VMCc

This is a fantastic version, with very operatic soloists. Considereing that the piece is written by the master of Opera, it makes a lot of sense to perform it this way. It’s some really powerful music, and I hope that you guys enjoy it.

205 °F / 96 °C

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It’s been a while since I had this tea, so I figured that I could do a quick not about it. Today is actually a day for work, since I have several midterms this coming week, and I need to manage my remaining time this weekend carefully.

Anyway, the first cup was prepared with boiled water (I read an interesting guide on how to make tea the Russian way recently, and they made a great distinction between water that had at some point been boiled and “raw” water. It was really interesting, see link at the bottom.), and was let to steep for 15 seconds. The result was very pleasant, with that amazing juicy quality that I love so much. I don’t really “taste” sandalwood, but it’s certainly an importnat part of the aroma of the tea and one of its unique characterisics. Also, I just love how naturally sweet the tea is! I didn’t realize how much I missed this tea until I tried it, so I’ll probably try to drink it more often.

Right, I got really busy with the studying (there was a lot of material to review for Abstract Algebra…), so I didn’t actually take nots on the other steeps, other than I messed up a lot and oversteeped every single one of them. I’m actually impressed, that is extremely unusual for me. Regardless, it was very delicious, and remained sweet the entire time, and I actually remember tasting the snadlewood after one of the steeps. Sure, I’ve never licked sandalwood, but that was the best description of the taste that was present. All in all, it was a sucessful session, alveit high;y unusual.

Music of the DayRhapsody in Blue by Gershwin, conducted by Bernstein while playing the piano!

Link – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0DD4766829A4B9A8

This is actually a playlist, since the piece was broken up into two videos. Regardless, Bernstein does a great job, and the piece really comes alive under his expert guidance.

Russian Teahttp://home.fazekas.hu/~nagydani/rth/Russian-tea-HOWTO-v2.html

An interesting guide to tea made in the traditinoal Russian manner. I’m going to have to experiment with this at some point…


I had a sample of this as well and it just so happened that being a tea nerd, I brought my gaiwan and this sample with me on my 119 mile bike ride from Columbus to Cincinnati (on the “Blazeman Express” the last ride on the Iron Horse Challenge, a supportive event for the Central and Southern Ohio Chapter’s Walk to Defeat ALS). I was sitting down to one of my favorite stops on the trail, an old house converted into a English teahouse, ice cream shop, and bike livery..called the Corwin Peddler…anyway…I cupped this out and my first impression was sea salt, apricot, and cedar….It might have been due to the ride but I can see your sandalwood…..

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David included this as an extra sample in my most recent order from Verdant, And I’ve been putting off trying it until I had a large chunk of time to do a proper tasting.

The first cup was prepare with a 15 second steep in near boiling water. The tea has a very unique taste, very smooth and sweet when compared to other puerhs that I’ve had. The flavor starts by tingling across the tongue, then it moves up the mouth to linger on the hard palate for a good two minutes. I’m having a hard time picking out flavors, but I really feel that there is soemthing a bit fruity in this flavor profile. It’s interesting, since I’m reminded of raisins, yet it’s a very “juicy” or thirst-quenching tea, which is a pretty weird contradiction. It’s actually starting to remind me of something a bit more floral, and I’m actually pretty confused, but in a good way. Regardless, it’s a very pleasant and refined tea, and I can’t wait to see how it develops. I will certainly be looking forward to how the flavors start to emerge as the leaves open up a bit more.

Second cup, 10 second steep. The leaves have started to really open up, so this was a good deal stronger than the first cup. There’s a nice spice flavor that helps add a great deal of depth to the taste, and the texture is approaching creamy. The spice are kind of mild, not like cardamon or ginger, and it’s the subtlty that makes it so interesting. It’s a very interesting development, especially given how much the flavor of the first cup has strengthened. The aftertaste is the same, except for the the spiciness also lingers, but not for the full length. All in all, there were some great developments.

cup #2, part 2 – Interestingly enough, the tea gets a lot sweeter as it cools. The spice made the transition well, so It actually tastes really, really interesting. This really is a tea with hidden depths.

Middle Steeps
I decided to break these up a bit more, since I’m drinking a lot of tea while reading Sidereus Numcius for a class. My observations about the middle steeps is that they were sweet with that interesting hint of spice that I mentioned before. The difference between the second steep and these is that they do not actually get sweeter as they cool off, and the other flavors start to come out. This actually makes me think of the Yiwu stone-pressed sheng, but the flavors aren’t as trong, and seem a bit more…refined (for lack of a better term). Very interesting, even though development seemed to slow down.

Music of the dayIsle of the Dead by Rachmaninoff, conducted by Evgeny Svetlanov

Link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVZWoE3_l4I

I like this piece, especially how it builds to the finale, and then trails off to the end.


If this is purple buds (I have some from Butiki) you should be able to get lots of steeps out of it!)

Joshua Smith

Thanks for the tip! I figured that I would get a lot out of these leaves, since they have showed degradation of flavor so far, which is pretty inpressive.


Nice that you noticed the spice, I thought so too as I remember.


Woah, this sounds pretty good! I got a sample of Rou Gui Dancong oolong(cinnamon) with my last order, which was pretty interesting…Didn’t get a real cinnamon flavor(or at least what I am used to as cinnamon) but it was pretty woodsey, and reminded me somewhat of a sheng puer! I’m interested in seeing if anyone else got a sample of the oolong, hopefully ill get a sample of the purple buds with my next order! Thanks for a great review :)

Joshua Smith

Bonnie – I’m glad that I’m npot completely off my rocker on this review. I found out today that I really do depend a lot on David’s tasting notes when looking for flavors, and it’s nice to know that the one thing that I was confident enough about to comment on is not just a figment of my imagination.

HyBr1d – I’m glad that you like the review, and I hope that you get to try this tea as well! :D

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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.


Fairfax, VA

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