105 Tasting Notes

88

Tiguanyinathon Pt. III

Early steeps: The first steep is very creamy has a nice balance of sweet and savory qualities with notes of cinnamon, collard, and Brazil nut.

Middle steeps: Savory, salty flavors are dominant here. There is a strong but pleasant parsley flavor and a very slight floral note.

Later steeps: Around the sixth steep, this tea starts to shine. It has a nice, creamy texture with a more prominent floral flavor that reminds me of thick leaved, bulb growing flowers. The saltiness is still there, but it is smooth and sweet with a soothing almond milk flavor.

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

Loved the lovely description…love love..bulb growing flowers and collards.

tperez

Haha, thanks Bonnie :)

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82

Tiguanyinathon Pt. II

I actually wrote this earlier today, but the weather outside was too gorgeous to pass up! A cold front came through the other day and it really feels great. I Spent a few hours skating and few just sitting on a bench reading a book. :)

Early steeps: The early steepings have a tropical notes of pineapple and coconut, and a floral wisteria flavor that is very light for a Tiguanyin. Blindfolded I would have a hard time guessing if this is a tiguanyin, a Taiwanese oolong, or some combination of the two. It has a velvety smoothness that I’ve only ever tasted in sliver needle.

Later steeps: The changes in this oolong were less defined than some. A clean grassiness, and hints of honey and paprika appeared. The silver needle mouthfeel was replaced by a more milk-like creaminess. While I LOVED the early steeps on this tea, the later ones were good, but not particularly special.

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

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90

Tieguanyinathon Pt.I
Sort of in the spirit of the “Saturday Sipdown” I’m going to be tasting the Verdant spring, summer, and autumn Ti Guan Yins sent to me by Autumn Hearth and maybe even some other TGY’s I have sitting around. :)

Early steeps: The early steeps are sweet and smooth with a nice, milky texture. The flavor is slightly floral and reminiscent of honeysuckle, and I also get notes of pumpkin and hazelnut. The leaves opened up really fast! By the 3rd steep they were almost completely unfolded.

Middle steeps: In the middle steeps, the floral sweetness was largely repaced by savory chestnut flavors, and something that reminded me slightly of turmeric (though that might have just been my cooking) :)

Later steeps: Around the sixth steep, the floral notes return to balance out the savory. These later steepings are well balanced, and have the flavors of the earlier steeps, but I also begin to notice new flavors like parsley and vanilla, a slight cooling effect like mint, and a cake-like fluffiness.

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

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85

Wow, this is delicious! Tastes like a mix between an oriental beauty oolong and an Indian black tea, which I suppose is exactly what it is! Sweet, peachy, creamy, and a pastry feel with touch of cinnamon and vanilla.

If peach cobbler were a tea, it would be this one :)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Autumn Hearth

Ooo, sounds delicious, sadly I haven’t gotten to this one yet. Must make time for it tomorrow or Monday.

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89

A nice, slightly different Yunnan black! It has a deeper, charcoal/cocoa flavor than other Dian Hongs that reminds me a bit of Fuijan blacks and the Sumatra Black Pearl from Mountain Tea Co. Instead of the sugarcane/rum type taste of some Yunnan’s I’ve had, this reminds me more of Israeli date honey or a malty Belgian ale. Its also very infusable, first black I’ve had to last an entire kettle of water.

More in depth review to come, I’ve got a headache and feeling a bit woozy today for some reason :(

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Sounds good…in the mood for some black tea after oolong in the morning.

JC

That sounds nice. I bough a ‘Golden Needle’ (it was black except one golden needle per every 16 black) for similar reasons. I rarely drink it, I feel it pairs well while eating sweets because it feels heavy.

Terri HarpLady

Sorry to hear you’re feeling bad, I hope you feel better soon!

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94

Thanks for the sample, Garret!

My first thought when taking a sip of this tea was “Wait, is this the right tea?” I had a few shu pu’erh samples airing out in small cups, but this one looked distinctly different, being the only loose leaf. Yep, this is the right one, but how can a 2011 pu’erh taste so clean?!? Despite its young age, there is little fermentation flavor left in this tea. :)

Early steeps: Being this was a young shu, I was fully prepared to set aside the first steep or so for pouring over my yixing, but I decided to take a sip, and it was remarkably clean and smooth. The main flavors that I picked up on were milk chocolate, cream, and white peppercorn. Sure there was a bit of off flavor, but for a tea less than two years old? This is amazing!

Middle and later steeps: The warm, creamy flavor continues, and I start to notice some bready flavors as well as a sugarcane note that reminds me of a Yunnan black. It is malty and delicious. I didn’t find the flavor to be especially complex, just sweet, smooth, and enjoyable. Perhaps more will come with age.

This is a very soothing pu’erh and would make a great “happy place” tea :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Garret

Yay!! I thought you would appreciate this!!! I am so pumped about my connection with this producer! I just secured this year production of the same leaves from them and will have 440 lbs of this tea for loose leaf and also our cake pressings!! They know what I want and I want to keep it coming!!! Thank you for the review!

tperez

That’s a lot of tea! haha, I’m always happy to review a good product. How soon til the cakes come? I might just have to get one

Garret

Hello, my friend! I have 5 kg’s of the cakes arriving in 3 weeks (or so) and the remaining 300 cakes in around 8 weeks!! I’ll hold one for you :)

Terri HarpLady

I can’t wait for my sample to come!!! This sounds awesome!
You might have to hold one of those cakes for me too…just saying!

tperez

Well, I decided to give in and place order to make sure I get a cake of the Yong De. Maybe sometime I’ll get a Noble Mark cake, but I think I’ve reached my tea buying limit for now :P

Garret

Mr Perez, my friend, your order has been received and will ship out to you tomorrow!! Thank you… can’t wait to see what you think of the new stuff. Wishing you all kinds of joy!

tperez

Thanks so much Garret!

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96
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
105 tasting notes

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90

This is my first tea from Verdant. Thanks Autumn Hearth for all of these wonderful sounding samples! There’s quite a bit more tea here than I expected, I feel like I should have sent more :) My room is currently drowning in teas, teawares, and packaging between my Mandala and YS orders and multiple swaps that all came within the past two days.

This tea is quite vegetal, which usually isn’t my thing, but wow! This tea is nice and refreshing with flavors of green bean, bok choy, fenugreek, and clover. It has a nice, creamy mouthfeel with a subtle honey sweetness. Great stuff!

This reminds me (quite a bit) of Adagio’s Mei Hua, but fresher and considerably better tasting. They look so similar and have pretty similar taste profiles, I wonder if they use the same processing technique? The Mei Hua is from Fuijian, which I looked up and found to be fairly close to Laoshan, but not especially so.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Autumn Hearth

:) no no, you sent the perfect amount. I felt guilty myself when I felt how heavy the honey oolong and black pearls were and the white monkey is fluffy. I’m drowning in tea here as well! Mostly in varieties to try not ounces. Going to have to personally ban myself from swapping for some time because I’ve deceived myself into thinking I’m lessening my stash when really I’m adding to it of course!

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92

Wow, this is a wonderful shu. I wasn’t completely sure about it based on its slightly muddy appearance and not having heard of Yong De, but seeing it described as a favorite by both Garret at Mandala and (different year’s pressing) by Scott at Yunnan Sourcing, I figured a 1oz sample was certainly worth a try. And it was.

Dry leaves: The leaves are slightly larger than the Menghai pu’s I’ve tried, and are a warm, chocolaty brown in color. The smell is deep and rich, but I have trouble identifying any one note.

Early infusions: The first thing that strikes me in tasting is a sort of marshmallow “puffiness” to the liquer. Even in the first steeping there is no noticeable “off” taste. The tea is remarkably smooth and has a deep woodiness with a pleasant zuchini-like flavor.

Middle Infusions: Around the fifth infusion, the tea starts to open up in flavor with notes of saffron, sea breeze, and cantaloupe. The flavor is woodsy like dry fall leaves.

Later infusions: Around the tenth infusion, when the tea begins to be weaker, the flavors become more sweet and subtle. It has a slight vanilla sweetness, and flavors like a dense sourdough bread. The flavor is very clean, almost like a Yunnan black tea.

This is my new favorite pu’erh, very smooth, clean, and deep. A full cake of it has jumped to the top of my shopping list :)

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Garret

I read this review and marched immediately back to our pu’er storage vault and pulled out one of these cakes. I love this tea. It’ll be out for us to prepare here at the tea shop for the next few days, for sure. I’m so happy that you are enjoying this tea, my friend! It’s a winner. I can’t wait for you to try the Noble Mark sample that I sent you. It is a blend I created from Yong De area where I was there in April. While very young, I think you will enjoy it. I don’t just buy 200 + lbs of tea if I don’t think it’s going to age well :) Thanks for the review!

Garret

Went back and counted inventory on this cake. 9 left. One will be snapped up by yours truly, and my partner just said he wants one, too. Our session with it here is going very well :)

tperez

Eek, I guess that means I need to order one soon! I’m very excited to try the Noble Mark, I think I’ll brew some up tomorrow :)

Garret

I’m working on securing some more of them, but so far none of my connections there can find it. I’ll be back in SW China soon enough. I’ll see if I can find some then!

mrmopar

sorry garret, i think you will soon only have 6 left i think!

mrmopar

oh i am going to be shot for this…..

ashmanra

Mrmopar! Did you buy all the rest of the tea? LOL!

Garret

Huh… that’s funny… all of the sudden the stock is down to 6 :) I am glad you are going to try that Noble Mark, too!!!! Along with that loose tea, I’ll send you a sample of the cake I had pressed of it, too. Still waiting for the remaining 320 to get here so I can put them up on the site!

mrmopar

no i just grabbed one and a noble mark sample. garret thanks in advance for the sample of the pressed cake! mr tperez and i have very similar tastes on our pu-erh( he.. he.. i think i got him hooked on it.) thanks and best wishes always!

tperez

I know where you live Mr. M!!! ;D

mrmopar

ha ha stop by any time and i will share tea with you! your choice, oh the discussions we could have about pu-erh…….

tperez

Haha, well I’d be glad to take you up on that offer some day

mrmopar

anytime, you are always welcome here.

Terri HarpLady

You guys are a bad influence on me…or maybe you’re a good influence on me…le’ts just say I just kind of went crazy & placed my first Mandala order…finally!

mrmopar

Terri, you will not be disappointed with that purchase!

ashmanra

Go, Terri!

Claire

Terri, I can’t wait to hear what you got!

Garret

Hey y’all! Can we possibly get any groovier people on this thread?? :) Terri and John, your orders just got picked up!!! They are on their way to your wonderful selves!

Terri HarpLady

Yay!! More and more tea! Claire, after perusing various people’s comments about various teas, I kind of went overboard & got the following:
Phatty cake 11
Yong De 07
Menghai dayi red rhyme 08
Menghai “Zi Yun” Ripe Pu-erh tea (purple rhyme) 09
& a sample of Noble Mark
Now I have to figure out where to keep it all! Some day when I get old & pass away, my kids will be going through my stuff & it will be like one of those Hoarders reality shows, with cakes & tins of tea everywhere!

Claire

I am so excited to read those reviews! I have to wait until the end of this month to get more tea and I swear, a month has never seemed longer! XD

Terri HarpLady

Need I mention that I have a tendency to contemplate at great length before I buy anything, & then all hell breaks loose…obsessive-compulsive-addictive

mrmopar

oohh Terri the red rhyme is great ,the purple rhyme is too and the phatty cake you will like as well! congrats on you getting a great selection. Garret can’t wait to get it in!

Terri HarpLady

I’m super excited!
Sadly, one can only sample so many teas in a day…

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97

This is a nice shu! This afternoon I was faced with a tough choice; which tea to try first. :D I was in the mood for pu’erh, and decided to try the phatty cake.

The leaves are attractive and fairly large in size. The compression on this cake is really tight around the center, I could hardly pry a piece out!

Early infusions: The first couple of infusions were a bit disappointing for me. It was a bit too mulchy and mushroomy, but I could taste the good, strong flavors underneath.

Middle infusions: All of a sudden, this tea was delicious! A bold, chocolaty flavor with a slight saltiness, and an unexpected hint of fruit; apricot and, blueberry maybe? Blueberry is definitely a new one for me. There is still a bit of “compost pit” hanging around, but its mostly gone. Around this time I also start to get some “qi” feel with some tingly feelings along the top of my head. Definitely the strongest feeling I’ve gotten from a ripe pu’erh.

Later infusions: Tea! Waht r u doing!! Stahp!!! I have some homework to get on, but these leaves just keep making more tea! These little leaves made at least twelve (I wasn’t really counting) nice, bold infusions.

This is a good, potent pu’erh, but my(not so) expert opinion says it could use a year or two to let the fermentation flavors fade.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Terri HarpLady

This is one of the one’s that I’m probably gonna have to get sometime soon. :)

mrmopar

still has a little “camphor” bite in it but like you said very good for multiple infusions. i am anxious to see how this ages as well. i have no doubt of the quality here. i think it will get better and better.

Garret

HI! The material I used to press this cake was 2006 spring leaf that was ripened in 07… this tea, because of its fairly light oxidation still has plenty of room the grow. I’ve got 7 cakes set aside for my personal stash. And while I do not want to wish time away, I do look forward to seeing what the next couple of years will bring to it!

Garret

Pu’er… the one thing that makes me wish for immortality! I honestly get a little sad when I see my newest pressings in the vault and know that I likely will not get to taste them when they are 50 years old. And then I get happy, cause I have them to drink now. Where there’s tea, there is hope, right?!!?

JC

LOL! I like that. That’s how I feel sometimes (look! a great cake… but.. but I wont be able to taste it at 50 years of aging). Tea is amazing, and think about this way. The light oxidation allows for complexity to be formed! You could become a legend!

tperez

Man, all this talk of aging pu’erh is making me drool :P

mrmopar

garret it will be yummy! i don’t think the phatty cake i have is going to last longer than 2013!!!

Bonnie

Doomed! At 65 I’ll never know what aged puerh tastes like but the way I love puerh,not sure I could wait anyway without drinking it all up!

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Profile

Bio

My name is Thomas,

Long-time tea and coffee driker, but I only started getting into the world of good quality teas about three years ago.

My favorites right now are pu’erhs, Yunnan blacks, and Taiwanese oolongs. I’m not much into flavored teas, and jasmine almost always puts me off, but I love a good cup of chai or adding a spice or two to my teas sometimes.

I’m 21 and currently working in Orlando Florida, taking a some time off from school to try and figure out my place in the world.

I’m a music lover and have played guitar and violin for quite a while in classical styles, rock, jazz, etc., and have also learned to love the sounds of the sitar and hindustani music in all its forms. I’ve become a bit of a guitar “grease monkey” and find building, modification, repair, and dissection to be even better than playing sometimes.

I also love hiking/camping and downhill longboarding when I have the time to make it out to somewhere hilly.

My Rating Scale:
95-100 Wowza!
90-94 Pretty darn good
80-89 Nice
70-79 Decent
50-69 Potable
0-50: Blech.

Location

Orlando, FL

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