And then today, I was intrigued to try my other Verdant sample. I have a box of DHP from my boss at the clinic, and I know that (like most roasted oolongs) it’s not my usual preference. They’re growing on me, certainly, and I think I’m getting better at identifying the more nuanced flavours, but I’d still always rather have a green oolong.
That said, on my second most recent visit to the clinic, the only oolong I had access to was the same style of DHP that he gave me. I made myself some up and, though it still probably wasn’t my tea of choice, it was good and it made me curious about the one from Verdant.
So, today, I finally conceded to that curiosity and gave it a go. I used my lovely Yixing Gaiwan (the inside is glazed, though) from Butiki and used half of the Verdant sample sachet – that felt about right as this particular DHP (as the photo shows) is quite loose and the Gaiwan was around 1/3 full by that point. I’d guess it had a limit of no more than 120 ml, but 100 ml was probably all I used.
Anyway, after doing all of the prerequisite heating of Gaiwan, pitcher and cups, I gave the tea a rinse and left it to sit for a minute or two whilst my Mum helped me do some interview prep. Then, during the course of the various practice questions we drilled, I started to make and drink this tea.
The first infusion must have been for no more than 10 seconds. And that was certainly enough for me!! The infusion was caramel coloured and certainly very tasty – and, if I’m honest, much nicer than the other DHP I made. I think that was massively aided by brewing method and more exact quantities of everything, though. This tea was smooth, roasty and definitely had those “classic” caramel/dark-toffee notes. And to Verdant’s credit, I actually do get the tingly-metal-and-mineral note that they try to describe. I didn’t read their blurb for this tea, beforehand (just the Brewing guidance), as I feel it usually biases me, but on retrospective reading, I could definitely get that idea!
Later infusions were longer and milder. The caramel flavour did build up over the first few steeps, though, as the roastiness subsided. It was definitely a smoother drink and all of the infusions were quite sweet, which I did enjoy and appreciate.
I’m still not 100% sure dark-roasted oolongs are for me. I know that this is the classic way to prepare most fine oolongs and it’s the most traditional, etc, but I’m just so enamoured by the greener ones that I’m becoming biased against anything else :P For those who like DHPs, this one seemed like a really good quality product. I certainly couldn’t offer any objective fault. The leaves looked really lovely in my Gaiwan – full, beautiful leaves. They had a really charming mix of dark-purple and dark-green, too.
So yeah… Roasty oolong lovers – give it a go!
(PS: I’m also finally confident enough about the number of such oolongs I’ve tried that I’m gonna offer a score for this. It did seem like a really high quality product and I could see no real reason to not offer it a pretty high, within my usual parameters. I may revise it, as I gain more experience, but it certainly seems fair for now!)