405 Tasting Notes

87

I was dubious about this when I first smelled the dry leaf, but the taste is actually rather amazing. Verdant’s pu’er blends are really bringing me around. The smell is mostly spice (edit: no elderberries, just juniper, coriander, and holy basil); a bit strange on it’s own, but the flavor of the brewed pu’er really brings it together. That earthy sweetness unites everything. It tastes like coming in from the cold – sweet air from outside, with woodsmoke and spice and warmth inside. This will be lovely to have on hand as the weather gets colder.

I’ve steeped 4 times so far and expect several more.

3g leaf, 4oz water

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Interesting! I tried a chrysanthemum tea once and it just tasted like stale, dead flowers.

teabird

Fortunately, the chrysanthemum was not a prominent flavor in this one! At least not to me, and I usually notice it because it tastes like chamomile and I strongly dislike chamomile. I found this much more spicy/earthy than floral, so if the rest of the blend sounds intriguing I’d still recommend it.

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91
drank Earl of Anxi by Verdant Tea
405 tasting notes

I ended up unexpectedly out in the cold today (free outdoor Aerosmith concert less than a mile from my apartment, on a day I took off from work? Ok!) so needed a real warm-up tea by the time I got back. Fortunately my Verdant winter order has been patiently waiting for me to have time for it.

This is delicious. Quite fruity, from the goji and bergamot, but also very creamy in taste and texture, and the Tieguanyin really ties it all together. I wouldn’t present it to anyone as an earl grey; the bergamot is there, but it’s one note among many. I don’t know exactly what frankincense tastes like, but this blend definitely achieves it’s goal:a bright tea with bergamot that it also uplifting, comforting, and warming.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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90

Getting lots of lime citrus and floral notes with this today. I need to use cooler water (or maybe less leaf) if I’m brewing jingshan style though – by the time this was cool enough for me to drink it was quite thick and verging on oversteeped!

I’ve been drinking a lot of Laoshan and Dragonwell green lately, and this has a much fruitier, brighter taste in comparison. I will probably buy more once it’s available again in the spring!

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89

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I’ve been racing through tea today, because the power could go out anytime and it makes me greedy for hot things :P This one has been easy, sweet, and calming to just keep refilling through the day.

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I got a sample of this with my last Verdant order, and had trouble describing it. Very different from an un-aged Tieguanyin! If I were tasting this blind, I probably would have thought it was a roasted oolong, but a very rocky/mineral tasting one. It did give me a little bit of the happy energy that pu’erh often does though. A very interesting experience, certainly :)

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88

Drinking Laoshan-style at the office (green leaves in the bottom of a glass mug draw some attention!) to make way for the new order coming soon :) Drinking the Laoshan Apothecary Green helped me learn to recognize the spicy-sweet notes in the this, as well as the leafy green ones

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 8 min or more

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I just pre-ordered the Autumn Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green that should be coming out in the next week, so it seemed fitting to drink some of my actual Dragonwell today, to prepare :) I was much more relaxed about making it this time (last time I definitely fretted about doing it “right”). A heaping tsp of leaves was enough to cover the bottom of my glass mug, pour sub-boiling water along the sides, then straight down the middle to stir up the leaves – drink as soon as it’s cool. The leaves all sink to the bottom after a few minutes, which makes for easy drinking.

The flavors are sweet, grassy, mineral, rather juicy… none of the dryness, so far, that I was getting last time. My palate isn’t up to cashews or cherries :P but this is very enjoyable.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 8 min or more

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Got a sample of this in my last order – it has a lovely true jasmine scent, and big fluffy silver needles. The taste is surprisingly smoky, and there’s a hearty – almost brothy – texture. I just dumped the whole sample in my mug, started drinking once it was cool enough, and plan to re-steep by adding water through the day. I think my steeping practices peaked in diligence… awhile ago, and are shamefully casual now. I jest – it’s more that I’ve learned enough of tea culture to articulate my own philosophy, which hinges on appreciating and sharing tea rather than fretting about it _ If it tastes good and makes me smile, then I’m doing it right.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C 8 min or more
teabird

This was pleasingly long-lasting, by the way – I drank the same infinite cup of jasmine tea all day! The flavor got less smokey/hearty and more sweet as the day went on.

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Bio

Some notes on ratings:

I’d have separate rating scales for tea types if that were possible (probably Black, Flavored Black, Darjeeling/Dark Oolong, White/Green/Light Oolong, and Herbal) because the flavors and quality markers are just too different. A flavored black rated 100 isn’t better than every oolong I’ve ever drunk, just delicious for a flavored black.

Ratings are a combination of my enjoyment and the perceived quality – I do often demote teas a few points for artificial flavorings, small quantity of steeps supported, or weakness of flavor (requiring extra leaf).

I pay less attention to the number than the order of my ratings; I don’t necessarily keep a stock of everything rated 80+, but if two breakfast blends are rated 82 and 84 I consistently enjoy the 84 more.

And in case it’s not obvious? I am not an expert. I don’t even know what I like until I taste it sometimes, but I’m ok with that :) I like learning to like new teas, as well as enjoying the comfort of familiar ones.

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