Amazing. And if that one word isn’t enough, I’ve outlined my entire tasting experience with this tea below. Seriously though – Amazing.
The leaves smell incredible. They are so fresh smelling, with some creamy overtones and some sweet hay notes.
For the first steeping I did around 4 seconds (after the initial rinse). The flavors are very smooth. OMG this is lingering on my tongue. This has serious body that comes out in the finish. There is a light jasmine flavor that gives way to a carmel aftertaste. It is the caramel flavor that lingers buttery afterwards. There is a hint of some kind of vegetal sweetness at the back of my throat. And this is the first steeping? Woohoo!
Finally! A really nice tea :) This is so exactly what I have been looking for.
For the second steeping I did another 3-4 seconds.
Wow! The liquor smells absolutely incredible. It is just sweet, buttery, toasty… it literally smells like buttered toast in my cup. But there is that fresh greenish scent on top of that that keeps it from being cloying or overbearing. I’ve been chasing down a tea that is like an oolong I had years ago. This tea is the kind of tea I’ve been looking for. This infusion is even thicker and toastier than the first.
Flavorwise, this is even more buttery with some seriously vegetal notes coming out. They blend together like fiddleheads in butter. Seriously good pairing. There is a slight salt note too under here, I think related to the buttery flavor.
Third infusion: scent – even greener and more buttery. flavor – a little more flowery. the butter flavor toned down and the overall taste got smoother and subtler. This infusion is more like the first than the second. There is an interesting spicy flavor here, an almost earthy pepperiness.
Fourth infusion: I brewed this one for 7 seconds. Scent – more creamy, less buttery. Flavor – more floral, nice creamy aftertaste (literally – I’m tasting cream here!)
Fifth infusion: I increased steeping to around 13 seconds. Scent – a drier toasty scent, slight caramel notes. Flavor – a little fruity, like frozen peaches. Slightly warm woodiness.
Sixth infusion: 20 seconds. Scent – buttery and woody. Flavor – Caramel, woodiness, and cedar notes. Darker, woodier, like a wet forest, toasty and creamy. Salty/sweet aftertaste.
Seventh infusion: 25 seconds. Scent – very lightly floral and sweet. Flavor – It’s funny, I’m really just getting straight up cream this time. No real other notes. Just a nutty creamy taste.
Eighth infusion: 35 seconds (I went by color here). Scent – Yay, the smooth buttery scent is back. Green and buttery, with that brussels sprout with butter kind of note. Taste – the fruit flavors are starting to come out – it’s kind of like popping an entire rambutan in my mouth. There is the sweetness of the fruit flavor mixed with some astringency of the outer shell/rind. Interesting…
Ninth infusion: 52 seconds. Scent – Buttery, vegetal, slightly woodsy. Flavor – I’m getting much woodier flavors at this point. There is a hint of sweetness that comes out at the end – almost salty and sweet at the same time. This is a completely different tea than the first five or so steepings but it is good in its own right. I like the finish of nuts and cream.
Tenth infusion: 1:05 Scent – Buttery and floral this time, like candied violets. Sugary almost. Flavor – Floral, nearly minty, and of course, buttery. The floral taste is really purple and zingy. Violets, I think.
Eleventh infusion: 1:25 Scent – Buttery with walnuts. Taste – Walnuts again. There’s some astringency feeling here that contributes to that. Walnut infused unsalted butter on toast. That’s this steeping. Oddly specific? Yes. Totally accurate? Yes.
Twelfth infusion: 1:50 Scent – Buttery creamy walnuts. Slight slight hint of blossoms.
I’m thinking of the Ezra Pound poem, In a Station of the Metro – “The apparition of these faces in the crowd / Petals on a wet, black bough.”
That would be the scent profile – wet blossoms on dark rain infused wood of a walnut tree with a hint at the creamy nutty flavor of the walnuts themselves. Flavor – Nutty. Walnuts. Bark. It tastes just like it smells. Perfect. Modernist tea. I am totally in “The Burial of the Dead” mode now, picturing the rain pouring down (lit geek note: I am one of the few who will argue that the rain actually comes in The Wasteland. Therefore, for me, my rain association is valid). Back to tea.
Thirteenth infusion: 2:15 Scent – very faint. Again, rather nutty/buttery. Taste – this last steeping just has a nice subtly warmth to it – a nuttiness. This one is less astringent than the last, so it’s still reminding me of rain and trees, but now it’s a much more “garden” like experience. Not so much bark flavor/feel as a smooth sweet taste.
Wow. Really, that’s all I have to say. This tea was incredible. It was the most amazing way to relax after a frankly awful day. My broken finger still isn’t anywhere near healed and I got my pupils fantastically dilated (the doctor said he had never seen anyone’s pupils go like mine did) and got nauseous taking my pain medication on an empty stomach. Woohoo! Awesome day! Anyway, taking the time to sit an experience this tea was just wonderful. I learned that tea can still be fantastic and I’m just extremely picky about the tea I like. It was really disheartening drinking teas that were fine, I couldn’t complain about them, but they weren’t the tea I was looking for. I’m so happy to have found this tea and excited about the other teas that just arrived from Verdant Tea, waiting in the cupboard.