635 Tasting Notes
I’ve been away for a while, but I have a great excuse…
I am now the proud mama of two! I gave birth to my son on April 8th. We are so blessed to have two healthy, happy children!
I haven’t been doing my regular things because I’ve been so busy with a bunch of irregular things. First of all, being pregnant this second time around was no fun. Second, we bought a house! We also put a lot of work into it: all new floors throughout, new paint everywhere (and I mean everywhere, even the ceilings!), all new faux wood blinds, fixed the deck, and took down a knee wall in the living room. We still have more we want to do, but at least the house is livable and in much better condition now than when we moved in. We also had to take two trips down to my mother’s storage units in another state to sort through everything. We brought most of the furniture, dishes, and memorabilia back to our house. The rest was donated or thrown out.
My husband and I also both have new jobs. He still works for the same company but in a different area. I work for a new agency and have a team working for me. Life is very different and I’m really happy. It’s been stressful but overall, life has really improved over the last year.
My mom is still battling stage 4 breast cancer. She’s doing as well as could be expected, I think. At least she’s no longer on chemotherapy. They changed her treatment plan to oral drugs called targeted and hormone therapy. She’s responded well and it gives her a better quality of life.
Anyway, this is a tea review, not my personal journal. ON TO THE TEA!
I made this with 4 tablespoons in 8 cups of boiling water. I would recommend a higher concentration of tea. Next time, I think I’ll go for 5 tablespoons in 7 cups. The instructions say to brew for 4-7 minutes, but since this is an herbal, I steeped it for 10 minutes. I don’t usually add sugar to my teas, but again, this is an herbal! It doesn’t have any tea in it. The dry “leaf” is a lovely bouquet of fruits and flowers. So I tried a sip and decided it would be much improved with some sweetener. I added ¾ tablespoon of Truvia and then stuck the whole pitcher in the fridge to cool.
This one absolutely needs to be enjoyed iced! It is delicious! Fruity and sweet and everything you’d want from a juice or punch without the calories. This is pretty darn fantastic. It reminds me of 52teas’ Southern Boy Teas spin-off brand that closed a while back. I really miss Frank’s mastery of iced teas. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to stock up before he closed shop. I will really miss a lot of his blends. But this tea helps ease the pain of that loss.
I feel like I can taste everything in the blend: apple, mango, pineapple, papaya, hibiscus (but just the right amount), with a hint of rose and blue cornflowers. Yum yum! I even get a little passion fruit. It’s soooo good! I love this just the way it is. The marketing says you can add wine to make it a real sangria. But my favorite part of this is sans alcohol. I tried a sample of Rosé All Day in the store and thought it was pretty tasty too. It’s strongly rose, which I love, but the hint of artificial wine flavoring was what made me get Sparkling Sangria instead. I think I’m going to need more of this because 3 oz will not go far. And I usually take years to finish off 2 oz of tea.
I have to add that the dry leaf really is beautiful. It smells heavenly and is probably the most visually appealing tea I’ve ever seen. Well, now I’m off to take care of the baby!
This is an old sample I found in my cupboard. I’m not 100% sure who I got it from…*tea-sipper*, I think. Anyway since it’s of unknown but definitely old age, I opted for a longer brew time than I would normally do for a first steep with a white tea.
The aroma of the brewed tea is nice. Typical for a white tea, hay mainly. I haven’t had tea in so long. We moved recently and most of my stash is still in boxes. So when I say I found this in my cupboard, what I really mean is, I found this in a box. :) All my tea is probably going to go bad before I can enjoy it. It’s my fault for buying so much at once.
The flavor is nice too. It’s much sweeter than expected. Sweet hay. This is very enjoyable, especially because it’s been too long since I last had a nice cuppa. Thanks to whoever passed it my way!
Long time no tea! Short update: We’ve bought our first house and I’m pregnant with our second child! Now ON TO THE TEA!
The aroma is cinnamon and red rooibos. I’m not a fan of rooibos, but this was a free sample so…
The flavor is fairly inoffensive. It’s naturally sweet and slightly spicy. Not a winner for my palate but probably is very enjoyable to others. It’s not very strong. No pumpkin to speak of. I’ll drink this cup but I wouldn’t try it again.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Rooibos
Oh, how I love the beautiful floral bergamot flavor of this one! I caved and bought a tin of sachets to enjoy at work. Now you all know I’m normally a strong proponent of loose leaf tea. But we also know that teabags are just so much more convenient for work. Harney & Sons does a good job making a triangular-shaped mesh bag that allows the leaves to expand. The leaves aren’t finely ground like grocery store quality teabags either. This is a teabag done right.
The cup is beautiful and understated. I added a splash of skim milk and a tiny bit of Truvia. Although my previous notes say I enjoyed it best sans additions, this is really hitting the spot this morning. It brings back memories of my mini-moon at a beautiful, quaint bed and breakfast in Newport, RI, sitting by the fire with my husband and enjoying a wonderful cuppa. I love how tea can transport you back in time to an exact place with one whiff of the aroma or one sip.
I FINALLY figured out why this reminds me of 52teas’ Cotton Candy White Tea. It’s the cornflowers! I don’t see any cornflowers in the leaves, but I’m sure it must be one of the floral flavorings they’ve added here. Bergamot, vanilla, berry, and cornflowers. That must be it! It only took 4 years but mystery solved. :P Upping the rating from 87 to 89.
Flavors: Bergamot, Berry, Floral, Vanilla
I bought this tea in February 2016. I hope this is the right place on Steepster to record this note. My package says “Shi Feng Longjing Green Tea 1st Picking.” I usually brew dragonwell gongfu style with my gaiwan. But I decided to try the open pitcher method that Verdant made a video about. This is the first time I’m using my new glass pitcher and this lovely flower cup (see pictures below).
The pitcher brew method makes for a much stronger cup of tea. I’m not really sure how long I steeped it since the leaves were always in the water. I found this method was very difficult to keep the leaves out of the cup when I poured from the pitcher. I tried using a strainer but it was hard to pick the leaves out of it afterwards. Then I tried pouring really slowly but that only kind of worked. Finally, I used a wooden spatula to strain the tea as I poured. This seemed to work best but the leaves would stick to the sides of the pitcher and then I’d have to poke them back down. All in all, I think I probably prefer using a gaiwan.
The tea itself is good. I’m sure it would have been better back in February, as it’s now May. It’s Mother’s Day, in fact! I’ve been absent from Steepster for a long time because I am now myself a mother since January 2015. Babies are a handful. I don’t have much time to myself these days and certainly no time whatsoever to enjoy tea. I don’t have a whole lot to say about this tea in particular. It’s buttery and a tad bitter. My mind is on other things.
On April 26th, my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer. It was a total shock. She had no symptoms for years. She ended up in the hospital with kidney failure. She had two different surgeries and her kidney function is slowly improving. I have no idea how many Mother’s Days I’ll have left with her. It’s a nightmare. You’re never prepared for this kind of news. I suppose no matter what the circumstances, we would have been caught off guard.
It’s such a hard thing…there are no words.
I hope and pray that she has many years left. There’s really no way to know.
Me and my baby:
Me, my mom, and my daughter (This was taken exactly one year – to the day – before she was diagnosed.):
I’ve had this tea since July 2015, but I’m just trying it now in February 2016. Whoops. According to Verdant’s website, you only use 4g of leaves whether you’re brewing Gongfu or Western. Gongfu brewing is recommended for 6 seconds and Western only 18 seconds. I decided to do Gongfu and am glad I followed the recommendations. I probably went about 10 seconds on the first infusion and the second cup I poured was noticeably darker than the first, in color and flavor, even though they were only a couple seconds apart. This tea steeps quickly!
The flavor is like the aroma: spicy and dark, warm and comforting. I’m not tasting any smoke as others did. But it does have a tendency to go bitter quickly, which is probably why even when brewing Western style, Verdant doesn’t recommend 1-2 minutes to start. While early infusions should be short, I recommend later infusions be long to get the most out of the leaves. I have to say, 4g of leaves doesn’t look like much. But it is plenty to create a very flavorful cup!
I’m making a mess today. I spilled water all over the counter and keep accidentally letting the tea brew a few seconds more than I intend. The tea is very savory and a bit floral, just as the website promises. This is a really lovely tea. It has a slightly honeyesque flavor as well, akin to lychee. It’s quite tasty. The leaves are very small and thin, which makes keeping them in the gaiwan when you pour difficult. But each cup is better than the last!
This is a tea that really develops over time. The lychee gives way to pear, which later transforms into pineapple. I can’t name all the nuances of flavor from each infusion to the next, but I highly recommend getting some and seeing for yourself. I feel that I’m drinking something truly special. 25g of this goes a long way! I think I’ll be enjoying this for months to come. While I can’t say for sure because I didn’t try it as soon as it arrived, age hasn’t seemed to affect it one bit. I may even like this more than Golden Fleece! Gasp! How is that possible??!
Although Verdant describes Golden Fleece as fruity and not Jin Jun Mei, I really feel like I taste much more fruitiness in the Jin Jun Mei. A funny thing happened around infusion six, the leaves started chirping! I think there were bubbles stuck underneath the saucer or something, but I swear it sounded like the tea was chirping! Once I shifted the saucer, it stopped. I’m glad I chose this tea to have today. I almost reached for my good ol’ Golden Fleece, but this tea caught my eye…and my heart. :) A new favorite! Take advantage of Verdant’s pre-order sale and get this tea at 10% off for a limited time!
Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Lychee, Pear, Pineapple, Spicy
The baby is napping so it’s time to enjoy some Verdant Tea! This is another sample I’ve had in my cupboard for way too long. Well, today is the day, you lucky tea you! I checked Verdant’s website and I think this may be another discontinued tea. There are a couple with similar names, namely Shui Jin Gui Light Roast and Special Grade Shui Jin Gui. I know this isn’t the Special Grade because I also have that in my cupboard. Maybe it’s the Light Roast or a harvest or two prior to that? It’s okay either way because these dark rock oolongs aren’t always my favorite. Nonetheless, I’m excited to try it!
With my gaiwan and variable temperature kettle at the ready, I opted for 200°F water. The dry leaf aroma is mineral-y and familiar. The brewed tea flavor is rocky and a bit floral. I’m sure the tea would be more flavorful if I had enjoyed it sooner. I’m afraid the nuances have been lost, but I am still enjoying it now. These leaves have a surprising number of infusions left in them. I lost count as I sipped this tea for about an hour. A lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral
It’s my little girl’s one year birthday today, and it’s snowmageddon! We got about three feet of snow and they’ve declared it a blizzard because of the high winds. Luckily, we haven’t lost power yet because I really need a nice soothing, relaxing cup of tea! For times like these, it calls for Verdant Tea.
I’ve had this sample for I don’t know how long. Two years maybe? Well, you’d never know it from these beautiful leaves! They have a lovely hay aroma, dry and brewed. I decided to go for a gongfu brewing session because I don’t often get to do that with a little one running amok all day and getting into all kinds of trouble. Plus, I miss the tranquility of the gongfu ritual. This is a rare treat!
This tea is so lovely. Bai Mu Dan is one of my all-time favorite kinds of tea, and this is no exception to Verdant’s high quality products. It’s too bad it’s been discontinued because I could definitely use more of this! I had to up the brewing time much quicker than I normally would when brewing gongfu style. It’s probably due to the age of the leaf. That said, these leaves have quite a lot of life still in them! I think it makes a difference that I’m not using a strainer too. Little bits of leaf and down are ending up in each cup, and that helps to bring out a balanced, round flavor from the tea.
I’m impressed, as always, by Verdant. Now that my little baby is asleep, maybe I’ll enjoy another Verdant Tea after this one. It seems I never have a quiet moment to myself anymore, so I need to take advantage of these rare moments whenever I can!
Olivia and me at Christmas: https://www.instagram.com/p/_vBINvl-vR
I LOVE chai teas! The dry leaf aroma is so spicy I can barely inhale it. The brewed tea aroma is interesting. It smells savory and spicy, like fresh spice cake hot out of the oven. The flavor sans additions matches the aroma.
I added Truvia and skim milk and now it is much more like toffee. I’m impressed! Usually toffee flavored teas end up being caramel flavored teas. But this isn’t caramel. It’s distinctly toffee.
I like the added component of the spices because that makes this multi-faceted and more interesting. This is a good one! If I had more of it, I could see myself blending it with some of the rather lackluster teas in my collection to make them tastier. If you pick up some of this, and I recommend you do, it really benefits from added sweetener. Mmm mmm, so good!
The dry leaf aroma is weird strawberry. Yes, it’s definitely strawberry. But a weird one. Strawberry flavoring is a funny thing. Sometimes it’s too much like candy. Sometimes it’s too much like medicine. Sometimes it’s just artificial and gross. This is none of the above. Yet it still doesn’t strike me as fully representative of a real strawberry. I can’t explain it. Maybe I just don’t like strawberry-flavored things as much as I used to?
Despite the weird aroma, the flavor is delicious! It tastes the way I would want a strawberry flavored tea to taste: light and delicate. Nothing candy, medicinal, or artificial going on here! The White Peony is the perfect base for these flavorings. I just adore white tea. It’s my favorite.
I’ve accepted the fact that no tea could truly taste exactly like shortcake (partly because of the texture), but this comes pretty darn close. It is a cup of yum! I can really imagine the fluffy, airy cake dissolving in my mouth as I sip this. I drank it sans additions, but I could guess that adding sweetener would make this more dessert-like. I think it’s perfect as is though. Another winner from the new 52teas!