Made a cup of this to take to work and just sipping it now :D such a great oolong :D
“Made a cup of this to take to work and just sipping it now :D such a great oolong :D” Read full tasting note
“After reading Geoffreys response to Amy about the amount of tea one should use in a Gaiwan I figured I would take his advice. So I used more leaf than I normally do and the result was...” Read full tasting note
“As you can see I got my package from Verdant so you can expect some more reviews from me in the next few days as I am babbling away due to caffeine overload. :) I fear this tea may have spoiled...” Read full tasting note
“I enjoyed this quite a lot! I actually just did my first side-by-side(-by-side) tasting of the same tea from different vendors with some Red Robes I have in my cupboard. So I'm going to try and...” Read full tasting note
It took Verdant Tea 4 months of sampling to find a Big Red Robe unique and delicious enough to really justify importing. This incredible tea from the rocky cliffs of Wuyi mountain offers a side of Big Red Robe that most people have never seen. Usually all you get is caramel, chocolate and floral notes. This goes far beyond. In early steepings, there is an intriguing sensation on the tongue, almost like the metallic vibrations of a bronze cast bell, or the idea of fast moving water flowing over slate. As the tea opens up, there is a perfectly synthesized note of orange and elderberry that dominates, and lingers in the back of the throat. In middle steepings, the elderberry orange flavor splits into fruity wine grape notes, hibiscus-infused dark chocolate, and molasses cookies with crystalized Thai ginger. In late steepings, the thick beany and malty flavor of Laoshan green comes through, combined with the lilac sweetness of Tieguanyin. One of our favorite aspects of this tea is that it was expertly roasted in a way that lets so much complexity come through the caramel notes of any darker oolong. If you are interested in oolongs, or seek a very comforting yet engaging tea, give this a try for a new perspective.
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After reading Geoffreys response to Amy about the amount of tea one should use in a Gaiwan I figured I would take his advice. So I used more leaf than I normally do and the result was intoxicating. So intoxicating that I only got through 2 steepings. I fell asleep quickly. The flavor was so much more pronounced. So rich and full. I always appreciate when someone gives me advice or someone else so we can all further our experiences with our beloved tea….
As you can see I got my package from Verdant so you can expect some more reviews from me in the next few days as I am babbling away due to caffeine overload. :)
I fear this tea may have spoiled me for life. It is lovely, lovely, LOVELY! I do not have a gaiwan and have been admonished many times for this whenever I go tea tasting. I did brew the leaves in a mug for about 60 seconds and then transferred to another mug. I believe it is practically the same experience but I could be wrong.
In any case, this is an exceptionally fine oolong tea (at least to my novice palate), amber color, smells of cherrywood and has caramel and stone fruit smooth richness which is practically melting in my mouth. Vaguely reminds me of bourbon but I think this is actually an insult to the tea. :) It is hard to find words to describe this!
I enjoyed this quite a lot! I actually just did my first side-by-side(-by-side) tasting of the same tea from different vendors with some Red Robes I have in my cupboard. So I’m going to try and keep this review to this tea alone, as I’ll be writing a post this weekend comparing them more directly.
In any case, I really love a Red Robe oolong. It’s a fun tea that packs a wallop and has some seriously awesome flavor every time.
Of all the Red Robes I’ve had, this one from Verdant Tea is probably the most mild. This is not a negative thing, however. It’s just a thing. The wet leaves after the first infusion were mild and nutty in scent.
The liquor had a smooth aroma and there was something familiar about the flavor that I still can’t quite manage to place. As if it tasted of something I’ve eaten before and really enjoyed, but I’ve only actually eaten it once or twice. But it has a lovely flavor that I enjoyed very much.
The second infusion was mellower and added a touch of sweetness. Interesting enough, even though the water was still quite hot, it left a coolness in my mouth. Like a mild version of the feeling you get when drinking a mint infusion. But it didn’t taste minty, just mimicked that sensation.
I’m glad I got this tea and will be happy to finish off what I have in time!
Every once in a while I come back to this Oolong just to see if I get new hints of flavor, smell or just to plain enjoy it. It is a heavier yet soothing Oolong, I love it has malty and smoky taste to it without opaquing the chocolate, fruity and sweet notes of it.
It is a VERY forgiving tea that will allow you to enjoy multiple back to back steeps or multiples through out the day and even the next one. I never do this but I happened, after being interrupted several times I went to bed and the next day I remembered the tea still in the gaiwan… upon lifting the lid the amazing smell made me crave the brew.. and it was great.
Backlogging and based almost entirely on my notes
Small update (6/14/2012): Today I did a complete second steeping session with this tea (five steepings), which finishes the sample, and I got the same results.
Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota
Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping/Frequency Drank: David graciously included this sample with my last order at the end of 2011; brewed up March, 2012; presently, have done only one steeping session so far.
Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: aroma reminded me of roasted, salted-in-the-shell peanuts! It was fresher than what I remember the Cha Dao Wuyi oolongs to smell like; these leaves had the appearance of what I believe most Wuyi oolongs look like: large leaves, twisted—some bent—with a uniform dark-brown color.
Brewing guidelines: what I am guessing was three very generous TBSP dry tea (I used my hand to measure it, as its hard to get the leaves on a spoon) for three cups H2O; < my notes don’t state it but I believe I used my six-cup glass Bodum, leaf free to roam >; stevia added;
……….1st: 200F; 45"……………….mild, roasted
……….2nd: near boiling; 1.5’………a little fruitier, less roasted
……….3rd: Nearer boiling; 2.25’…what I judged to be the best steeping (less roast, more fruit)
……….4th: boiling; 3’………………..mellow, smooth, mildly-toasted, good!
……….5th: spot-on boiling; 5’…….very mild flavor, but good (“Reminds me of a roasted chili pepper”)
Color and Aroma of tea liquor: light caramel color (with a few bubbles on top); mildly roasted aroma.
Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Quality leaf: mostly large, whole dark-green leaves with roasted edges; aroma was rich and malty.
Value: Currently $32 / 4 OZ; although to me this seems like a lot to pay for this tea, I don’t know the standard price of Wuyi oolongs, so it may be commensurate with the quality.
Overall: I’m not certain what that note of the 5th steeping means exactly (I know, a BIG downside to backlogging : } ), but I roasted some chili peppers years ago—having brought them back fresh from a trip to New Mexico—and they were simply delicious; evidently something about this tea reminded me of them. I’ve decided not to assign a numerical rating to my review because it seems as though, on the whole—having had a number of Wuyi oolongs—I don’t care for the heavily roasted flavor that seems to be indicative of the first two steepings. Although I liked some things about the last three steepings, the taste is not something I am looking for in a tea. I have faith that David carries only the best-of-the-best (or close enough to it), so I am guessing my not liking this tea is more about my personal preferences than the tea not being ‘good’. Who knows? Maybe somewhere down the road I will develop a liking for the more darkly roasted Wuyi Oolongs.
There was just about 3 grams left in the sample packet and I wish I had more to try it gongfu style. I steeped what I had left for 1 minute in 6 ounces of water.
It was yummy and not quite how I remembered it from the last time I had it. It was roasted, with caramel, a hint of fruit and sweet notes of honey. Chocolate didn’t really come to mind this time.
I’m intrigued…. can’t wait to steep it again.
This tea was an amazing experience.
I have to say thank you David of Verdant Tea, as I received this as a sample! Sadly, it was a sample for the art contest (which ended a few months ago), which must have got held up by customs for no reason. But thank you! The tea is fueling my mug decoration for homemade gifts :) I’ll post pictures!
I had numerous steeps with this tea, but didn’t take notes the first time. I will the second time, as the sample was extremely generous!
The flavour notes I remember are that it was a baritone tea, but not a bass. (I’m with you on the music scale, Dinosara). Notes of caramel, super sweetness but in an earthy, grounded way. So complex! My favorite steeps were the ones with a currant/prune note to them, lately I’ve been loving to find hints of raisin in my tea.
Anyways, let the Christmas rush continue around me, I’m driving home in 45 minutes and I still have a heck of a lot to do!
Happy Holidays lovelies, I will have many notes when I return! O:
First attempt with this one. I’m using my new glass “gung-fu” teapot from DavidsTea! The only downside I’ve noticed is that it took about 8 seconds to pour the tea out, so my attempt at a 15-second infusion turned into more like 25 seconds. Hopefully that won’t be a problem. I used 3g of leaf for the pot (however many ounces it is – I will find this out later.)
First infusion (~208F/~25s):
Omg omg. I took a sip of the still super-hot tea and I think it tastes sweet and fabulous! Thrilling! Have to wait until it cools to really talk about it though. I kind of burnt my tongue…
Argh, obligatory Mother’s Day phone conversation means my tea is extra-cool now. Well, I can say that it’s sweet and tasty with a toasty aroma and flavour. A bit like a genmaicha, strangely??
Second infusion (~205F/~25s):
This one’s even sweeter :) But also completely cold. Sigh. I do have a few infusions to get to yet. Thankfully however, I didn’t screw this one up like I did the other oolong from Verdant. There’s a lingering aftertaste of… juiciness? I’m not sure. It’s good.
Third infusion (~208F/45s):
Just a bit of a toasty aroma. Again, sweet and delicious. I’m not catching any flavour nuances to be honest, but I’m definitely enjoying this cup/this tea. Although I’ve gotta admit that after cheese panel, one can get rather tired of analyzing things. (I must say, there’s a lovely aftertaste here though!)
Fourth infusion (~205F/53s):
This is too weak. I thought that as I poured it out and it was considerably lighter in colour. I’m pretty sure a longer infusion for a fifth steep would revive it though. Might try.
Overall, this is good, but I’m just not catching subtleties in the infusions. Also, I’m pretty sure that for the duration of this cheese panel (mid-late June), my palate just isn’t going to be up to figuring out differences due to palate (and mental) fatigue! So I don’t think I’ll properly be reviewing any straight teas for a while, although that doesn’t mean I’ll be drinking them.
Call me a cynic, because I am.
The Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe I’m drinking is not the one described on this page. That one was from 2 years ago. David searched to find that one. I don’t think I ever got to try it by itself, although it was in the first sample of Imperial Breakfast Summer Blend, which Bonnie was generous enough to share with me when I first joined Steepster.
I am also not drinking the current one that is offered on Verdant’s website. That one was grown by the Li Family, who’s daughter went to school with David. I don’t think he had to search very far to find it, but I’m glad he is friends with them, because they grow some wonderful teas!
So THIS one is from last year. I think the Li family also grew this, & I have plenty of it, so I should start drinking it more often. I haven’t had a chance to compare it to any of my other Big Red Robes, and I can’t even write a decent review about it today, because just as I was starting to drink it & breath in it’s rich aroma, my last student showed up, reeking of perfume. She is a new student, & last week she reeked so heavily that the money she gave me still reeks ;p.
But she is a nice older lady, so at the end of her lesson I explained to her that I have allergies & breathing issues, & am especially sensitive to perfumes, so would she please not wear any on the days she is coming to see me. She was very nice about it.
It will take hours to clear the air in my house, & I really can’t taste much of the tea.