Xingyang Silk Road Spice

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From Verdant Tea

Xingyang Workshop produces some of the cleanest and most sparkling  shu pu’er we have tried.  The 2008 shu nuggets are just calling to be made into a juicy and cooling blend.  The spearmint and peppermint provide a crisp edge and refreshing flavor that brings out the sparkling texture of the tea.  The cinnamon and fennel extend the sweetness and bring it out into the long aftertaste.

This blend makes a great introduction to what shu pu’er can be, and brews up equally well hot and iced.

Ingredients: Xingyang 2008 Shu Nuggets, Organic Spearmint, Organic Peppermint, Organic Fennel, Organic Cinnamon

ICED: Smooth, crisp, minty and clean. Spice gently develops in the aftertaste. Very refreshing.

About Verdant Tea View company

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22 Tasting Notes

96
673 tasting notes

Cool Summer Mountain Morning

This weekend was the Boulder Tea Festival which I’ll write about in more detail as I review the tea’s that I tasted, the brilliant sights, sounds and people I met.

Boulder sits at the foot of a granite rock mountain (which explains the name of the town). In Summer during late afternoon, dark clouds form over the mountains, then thunder and lightning echo’s through the canyons bouncing off the rocky hills. Crackles and crashing followed by short downpours of rain or sprinkles. Noone bothers about it in this picturesque town.

Yesterday we had a good bit of rain…enough to make the sky dark blue grey and the Rocky Mountains look shrouded in mist.

This morning the air has been cooled enough to open all the windows and freshen up what is usually too warm by 10am. I have missed writing on Steepster and reviewing tea while I was sick last week. The rain has rinsed the dust away (maybe I’m like a piece of aged Puer.. and needed a rinse!).

This Xingyang Silk Road Spice is my third packet in the Alchemy Blend Starter Kit. The ingredients are 2008 Xingyang Shu Nuggets (good for my stomach), Organic Spearmint and Peppermint, Fennel and Cinnamon…all favorites of mine!

Not having any fear of a good dark brew, I decided to steep the leaves 3 minutes…and then…I forgot what I was doing…and remembered at about 6 minutes….eek!
Was this a disaster?!
Nooooo!
The wet leaves smelled so minty…the cup of almost black/brown tea was mint/cinnamon scented and tasted rich, warm and mellow with a natural sweetness from the Puer and cinnamon.

My mouth felt cool from the mint and warm from the fennel and cinnamon at the same time. I could breathe in and out smiling at the duel effect.
I sat for a moment, enjoying the air coming through the open window so clean and fresh from the rain the previous evening. Being still and letting myself think about the taste led me to remembering some of the Greek food I like to eat and the YiaYia’s (also spelled Ya-Ya for Greek Grandma) at Church who lovingly prepare dishes passed down from one generation to the other. Dishes often made with mint and cinnamon (and other things…hum).

I got bold.

I went to the frig and picked up a lemon and cut off a piece of zest (peel), then went into the cupboard for some honey.
I wanted to create a cup of Greek Tea!

I steeped my tea 3 minutes again (not 6), sweetening a little bit with honey and dropped a piece of zest in the cup. Yes, this was good! Opa!
I went and made some up for a cold brew.

The silky smoothness and warm, cool feel of this tea is so fine and soothing for the stomach. Impressive!

My love of these Alchemy Blends keeps growing and growing!

Invader Zim

This is one of my favorite blends! I love how you describe everything, from the tea to the town and mountain. I can visualize it all so easily and almost feel the sensations. Glad you’re feeling better.

Bonnie

Thank you! Glad to be better too!

Relmaster

I agree with you Invader Zim Bonnie has a way of “Interweaving” everything together with a spell-like effect that you literally feel like you are in her story-book of “Neverending stories” (Awesome Movie) !! As usual Bonnie Amazing review!! I’m "Spellbound as always ;)

Bonnie

I think you guys should all be my grandchildren. You should have seen me yesterday. I went back to the festival with my 18 year old granddaughter and she got tea drunk at the Oolong tasting vendor booth. So funny! We drank about 18 sippings and then went to Ku Cha Tea House and she made a custome blend of tea. Then we went out to eat Asian food! We have fun! (I don’t know any people my age!)

Relmaster

AWWWWWW I would be honored to be your Grandchild ;) A COOL Grandma that enjoys exquisite Pu-erh’s and other fine teas!! As well as having a zest for life..you are a blessing ;) That is a funny story about your Granddaughter ..Lol !! I would probably get just as “Tea Drunk” (18 yrs old = 18 Sippings ;) ..but I would relish the time we spent together and enjoy the experience!! Very Cool indeed ;)

Invader Zim

I would love to have you as a Grandmother! As Relmaster said, a cool Grandma that enjoys fine teas!

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96
82 tasting notes

Thanks to Invader Zim for this wonderful sample…and many others ;)

Let me begin by saying that this tea is absolutely Amazing!! When I saw this tea on Verdant’s website..I was thinking, “this must be a very weird tea”..Oh BOY was I WRONG!!! This tea is fantastic with subtle hints, of peppermint, fennel, cinnamon and the Pu-erh blending together in perfect symphony ;) ( you can re-steep this tea for many hours..I steeped for 8 infusions so far ;) It has become my daily dinner drinking tea and have ordered a large amount for daily drinking!! What are you doing still reading this review……Go buy some from Verdant…RIGHT NOW ;)

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Told ya! These blends are really good!

Relmaster

You were 100% “on the money” Bonnie!! Verdant has some excellent teas!! Some of there teas are sooo complex, that I need Multiple “steeping sessions” to really investigate or meditate with the tea!! Their “Spring Tieguanyin” (need more steepings with this one ;) had me awestruck..and was absolutely outstanding ;-D

Bonnie

Well you have been on a quest of sorts for some tea’s to help with creating peace and calm in your life. May as well exhale and take your time and enjoy the ones you’ve finally found. It’s pretty wonderful when you find the few that are special.

Invader Zim

I’m glad you like this one! It’s one of my favorites. You should try cold brewing it too, it’s fantastic!

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2855 tasting notes

I’m trying to drink things I haven’t drank in awhile, so I still have of this. Last fall I bought an oz of all of the fall verdant tea blends, this being one of them. Usually if I’m going to get a sample of something, I want to sample it more than once, so rather than get the 7G, I just go ahead & get an oz.
1Tbl + 8oz X 3min (resteep 5)
Although I love xingyang puers, this blend is just ok for me. I like the resteep better than the first steep, more of the puer comes out, along with the cinnamon. It’s a pleasantly sweet & refreshing cup for sure, but although I love fresh mint in a salad, & sometimes a few sprigs in a cool glass of water is nice, I’m not a big fan of mints in my teas usually.
Still, it’s not bad & I think I have enough for 1 more cup.

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94
4315 tasting notes

I was a little unsure about steeping this in my gaiwan, due to the smaller bits of peppermint, spearmint and fennel. And while these do kind of “make a mess” in my gaiwan (it’s usually just a pile of wet leaves after I’ve infused, but now I’ve got little wet leaves strewn all over my gaiwan), it is worth it because it tastes really good.

I’m on my fifth infusion of this tea now, and it is really quite a remarkable tea. The first infusion was probably my least favorite of the five. It was lighter and the flavors were more of an individual flavor rather than harmonizing into a cup of tea with notes of cinnamon, mint, and fennel … which is what has happened with the subsequent infusions.

I also noticed with the third and fourth infusions, an cocoa-ish note began to emerge. It tastes absolutely incredible in the midst of the spiced licorice sweetness and the cool, crisp flavor of the mint and the earthiness. It all comes together in such a magnificent way.

This one should be on everyone’s Must Try list. It is really good.

Azzrian

Sounds really yummy!

Charles Thomas Draper

I’m not a flavored tea guy but maybe I should try it….

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59 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this one all day (just leaves in my cup.. adding water as I run out). So it’s official ladies and gents: cannot be oversteeped.

I love how springy-boingy and fresh this feels in my mouth. Not a trace of heaviness, dirtiness, fishiness- nothin but sweet flaky yumminess topped with a bit of mint and cinnamon sparkle. Do you know any other shu blend that could sit in a cup like so and still be delicious, 8 hrs later?

Best comparison is with Rishi’s Vanilla Mint Pu’er, which I got from time to time at the now-closed Teashop nearby. I enjoyed that one’s taste, but inevitably after awhile, it started to build up with sourness and stingy dirt (unpleasant), usually before i finished one mug. This certainly turned me off of curling up with the mug all day. No such thing here.

I therefore believe this blend is the Perfect Expression of This Concept (pu’er+sweet+bit o’ mint).

All is balanced. All is yummy. Time to refill my mug….

Bonnie

This must be Alchemy Blend Day! I love this one too! I mentioned in another note that these are like my tea-catnips…they make me crazy I love them! (Yeh no comment about I was already crazy!)

DaisyChubb

I definitely want to try your mug method after all the success you’ve had with high quality teas! It’s definitely worth the try.. for some reason though it’s making me think of winter! I don’t need winter yet, but you don’t need snow to curl up with a nice cup of tea, right? ;)

gmathis

Here’s to can’t-mess-’em-up cuppas!

Spoonvonstup

Has anyone else tried a cold version of this? I left mine brewing in the fridge over-night, and it was delicious: reminded me of some kind of awesome gum-candy

Invader Zim

This is one of my favorite blends, awesome cold, amazing hot, infinite amount of steeps, isn’t finicky, and not too expensive…damn good tea!

Spoonvonstup

@DaisyChubb The mug method is great for those teas that can do it! I just throw leaves in the bottom of a mug, then add water. When I’ve almost finished, I refill. It’s very convenient for doing tea at work: we’ve got a “hot water” dispenser so I don’t have to worry about boiling and reboiling, but I also don’t have to worry about remembering to take out a brew basket and figuring out where to put it.

@Bonnie : D No such comments ever form me. We’re lucky to have you. Hurray for alchemy day!

But mug-method definitely has it’s place. There are many teas that can do mug-method, but they should also be done in pots and brew baskets and gong-fu style. just because it would be a shame to miss out on how good they can be! Just like the person who’s wonderful hanging out in the house in jeans and a t-shirt, but gussy them up for the ball? and your jaw will be on the floor! You love them both ways (but you also make a mental note to self: find more opportunities to get gussied up together- it’s fun!)

inguna

Thanks for the mug method description.
I considered ordering this blend but I have a dislike for spices in tea. Weird I know …
But inspired by your review I might give it a try.

Angrboda

‘springy-boingy’ My new favourite adjective!

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98
174 tasting notes

I can’t believe I didn’t put any notes on this one yet. This tea is one of my favorites. It’s great hot, it’s fantastic cold, it cannot be oversteeped and it tastes soooo good. If you like mint I hope you had a chance to try this. I can only hope that it will come back next summer. I think (I hope) I have enough stocked up to last me that long!!

Throughout summer I was cold brewing this, and I would cold brew it several days in a row. And then when I felt I couldn’t get much more flavor out of it cold, I would brew it hot for a few steeps before discarding it! You can brew it for long steeps or short steeps or at boiling or at a lower temperature and you know what? It still tastes delicious!

This is one of those very few teas that I can drink close to bedtime and still sleep well. I loved this for after dinner. Even my husband who is not a fan of tea enjoyed this for after dinner. He was afraid it would affect his sleeping though, but I’m more caffeine sensitive than he is and I don’t really feel any side effects…except on an empty stomach.

Even with that I typically feel hungry in between breakfast and lunch during school and I pack a banana and an apple and it will hold me over until I can go home for some real lunch. This tea helped me not feel so starving during that time. I wouldn’t get “hangry” (feelings of anger due to being hungry).

Mint, I love mint of any kind. Cinnamon…real cinnamon, not that hot candy cinnamon flavor. Fennel, which I’m typically not a big fan of, was well done. Puerh, it wasn’t very strong and for this I would say it’s a good introduction into puerhs. Oh and it’s naturally sweet and delicious and I’m going to go drink some more now!

Bonnie

I did the opposite, hot brewed and then cold steeped what was left of the leaves. Pu-erh is a good appetite suppressor. Good stuff.

Invader Zim

I may have to try it the other way like you do and see how it fares.

Zeks

Yeah, the blend is fantastic :) I ordered another 200g just before it went out of stock and I am so happy I did… :)

Invader Zim

That’s almost as much as I got!

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89
300 tasting notes

So the Xingyang 08 nuggets are one of my favorite shu’s and this blend uses some of the signature ingredients found in other Verdant blends I enjoy. However before opening the packet (not remembering the ingredient list) I was expecting more spice. This is cool and fresh and minty, a great digestive tea and a potentially nice intro to pu’er for a mint lover. I’m not getting much cinnamon from this, but if I listen/taste very carefully I can find it, but its very mellow. That’s probably best for this summer blend, it just plays on the natural cinnamon notes of the shu. I started with short steeps and have worked up gradually to a minute, but I feel I need to draw this out even longer reading the results of others below, so will continue exploring today.

Edit: This is amazing iced! I mean seriously freaking delicious! I can smell and taste the cinnamon and there is more natural sweetness that comes out. I made a single glass last night and a big pitcher this morning (from steeping a mug at a time hot at 3 mins, 5 mins and 8 mins). I was using the same leaf the whole time and feel I got a ton of tea out of it, being such a generous pu’er. I totally recommend ordering this, doing a quick rinse, trying a cup hot then switching over to iced. You could probably make two or three big pitchers out of 1/2 an ounce (three full nuggets, some smaller pieces and the spices for me).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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91
6770 tasting notes

Liberteas Thanks!

At first I could primarily smell the fennel when it was dry and when it was ‘wet’ I could smell the shu and fennel with a little cinnamon.

When I sipped it I could taste all of those along with the mint!

This is brothy and herbally yet refreshing and filling. YUM!

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90
254 tasting notes

Wow my sinuses must be completely plugged. I can’t smell the dry or wet leaves, and the only thing I can really taste is the barest hint of mint and a tingly sensation on my tongue that must be from the mint and cinnamon. Bummer- I was hoping this would help clear my sinuses. I will try this again when I can actually smell and taste!
#stupidheadcold

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Spoonvonstup

Poor thing! Even if you can’t taste much, the steam in your face and warm liquids should help. Hope you feel better soon.

Rellybob

Thanks!! I am planning on resteeping it a couple times and drinking it even though I can’t taste it. Hopefully it will help!

Invader Zim

Goodness, you must be sick if you can’t smell or taste this tea! Go lay down and get some rest and NyQuil :)

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2229 tasting notes

Bought a sample of this on a whim because it was being, at least temporarily, discontinued. Not flavours I care for, just insatiable curiousity! Therefore unless it’s fabulous, no numerical rating from me, because mint and I usually do not agree.

Brewed, the aroma is, to be honest, revoltingly of mint. Yep. I’m less enthused to try this one now that I’ve smelled it, but past experience tells me that sometimes aromas to not dictate flavour. So I’ve crossed my fingers… eh, nope. In this case, it’s pretty accurate. Lots, and lots, and lots of mint. A nice refreshingly minty aftertaste (which I don’t seem to find with many mint teas), but I’m not getting any other flavours aside from the pu’erh base. I neglected to rinse this tea, but I doubt that that would have had a great deal of impact on the flavour unless it perhaps brought out the pu’erh a bit more. The second infusion smells like pu’erh (I would almost be inclined to call it “fishy”, but not quite) and again, mint, although the flavour is more pu’erh than mint this time. Still not getting any of the other flavours.

Ah well. This one is not a blend for me, and that’s ok! I had no expectation that it would be, so at least I only have a cup’s worth left to finish off! I do have to say, though, that I’m disappointed to not be able to discern any of the flavourings aside from mint (although I can tell there are both spearmint and peppermint here).

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

that actually sounds… oddly tasty!

Kittenna

I imagine it is for those who enjoy pu’erh and mint!

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