136 Tasting Notes
So its been a few months since I bought this, my first pu’erh purchase, done on a whim with no research. When I bought it, it smelled, and tasted like, a moldy sack of mulch with just a tiny bit of mellow sweetness. I resisted the urge to throw it out, and let it air out for a while to see if there’s any improvement.
The bag still has a bit of mold smell, but now it also has a nice pu’erh sweetness. I decided to brew it in my gaiwan, because honestly I don’t trust it enough to let it near my yixing.
I did two quick rinses, brewed it up, and hey, not half bad! Not especially good, but much better than it was a few months ago (its actually drinkable) It brews a nice red color with flavors of raisin and cedar, but still has a bit of young shu flavor, as well as a touch of penicillin, but its enjoyable, and it was cheap at half price. It made seven steeps, which I guess isn’t too bad.
Honestly, its not a very good value when you can get an awesome Menghai Red Rhyme or Yunnan Sourcing mini-cake for a similar price. If you do buy this, prepare to let it air out in your closet for a few months.
It IS an acceptable, drinkable tea now, which is much better than it was when I first tried it :P I would give it a better rating if it had come tasting like this, but a much lower one had I reviewed it when I bought it, so I feel like 60 is a reasonable midpoint.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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 :(
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 :)
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.
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 :)