31 Tasting Notes


Starting off with around 4-5g of leaves, 100ml at 200F, no wash.

Larger leaves, so no need for a wash in my opinion :D

For the first steep, spent about 3s. Unlike the smoked version of this, this one’s actually is fruity. It does have apricot notes. Like the smoked, this one does have a creamy flavour (but not as pronounced). It also has that traditional chinese black tea taste in the background (unfortuantely, I don’t know exactly how to label that particular taste).

Second steep adds a relatively strong wood flavour, on par with the apricot. Currently this tea tastes very much like a more mellow, creamy version of the Big Red Robe by Li Xiangxi, the same group that provides this tea.

On the fourth steep now, and no change in flavour from the first steep. It’s consistent.

6th steep and the same, only the flavour’s just barely starting to lessen.

I guess this tea can be steeped around 10 times before it fully loses flavour, so it has some nice endurance.

As for the final verdict? This tastes like a lesser version of Big Red Robe by the same group. It might need higher temperatures and/or longer steeping time with more leaves, so I’ll have to check later. But for now, it’s an alright tea. I would recommend the ‘smoked’ version of this one however.

Flavors: Apricot, Cream, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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~3.5g, 100ml at 200F, no wash

No wash this time because leaves already seem rather opened and it smelled really good.

Dry aroma smells like a very musky campfire

Wet aroma smells like a much more subdued campfire and it isn’t as overempowering. Description on verdant says ‘smells like a distant campfire’ and I agree.

Verdant said it’s a gongfu black tea, and therefore my first steep was 3s. I added about 2-3s for each steep, with adding around 30s+ for 6th steep onwards

I’ve had other ‘campfire/smoked’ teas in the past, but this one is the best I’ve had so far, judging from the first steep. The flavour is a combination of smokeyness and vanilla. It isn’t bitter at all but instead extremely creamy. Very savory taste and a slight hint of that spicyness ‘nutmeg’ hiding in the background. No taste of the advertised fruityness, but this is just the first steep after all.

Second steep is just as the first but more creamy. Very nice.

Third steep is just like the second. However the last ‘sip’ of the steep had a really nice smokey flavour to it. Really liking this tea so far.

fourth and fifth steep all taste like the previous. Smoky flavour that isn’t overpowering, with a very creamy texture and hints of vanilla (vanilla decreasing per steep though).

for 6th steep, went longer than usual. Not detecting any more vanilla, but the creamyness smokyness remains.

7th steep is the same as 6th.

8th steep in. Seems we’re about to hit the end of this leaf’s potential. Very long steep for this one (about 3 minutes?). Smokeyness still persists, but creamyness is down low and instead you start getting that ‘exhausted tea leaf’ flavour. So I will stop my steep session here.

So as a summarization:

Probably the most pleasant smoked tea I’ve ever tasted. The smokyness is here, but it’s not astringent or overpowering, but instead extremely creamy in texture with vanilla notes accompanying it. About halfway through a step session (4-5th steep), does the vanilla start to die out, but you get the smokyness and creamyness still remaining strong.

I am going to recommend this tea, and I rarely recommend teas. If you’re a person that likes smoky teas but wish the smoke isn’t so strong, but instead creamy, with the added bonus of vanilla, then I definitely suggest to give this tea a try.

Flavors: Campfire, Cream, Creamy, Smoked, Smooth, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Got this one as a sample.

5g, ~100ml, at 200F, starting with a 5s wash.

First thing I want to say is that it isn’t as woody + astringent as other sheng pu’erhs. This is a nice thing for me, as I personally dislike that a bunch.

First steep wasn’t too strong of a taste, but everything was soft. So it was just a poor steep or I didn’t let the leaves open up enough yet.

Second steep brings the flavours out. Leave the mouth dry, but it’s a strong combination of that woody sheng flavour with a minor plum backdrop.

Third steep, i forgot about it and kinda oversteeped it by a minute instead of 15s. Surprisingly, not much of an astringency detected, but more of an increased plum flavour that balanced out the wood.

With the leaves open, the woody astringent taste starts to take hold and overwhelm what very little plum flavour there is.

In short, this is a soft sheng pu’erh compared to the other sheng pu’erhs I’ve tasted. But do take this review with a grain of salt. I dislike sheng pu’erh in general and this one is no different. But if you do like sheng pu’erh, just keep in mind that this is a more mild taste than others.

Flavors: Astringent, Plums, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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I got this as a sample, so 5g, ~100ml, 205F, w/ 5s wash.

The initial taste I would say is /kinda/ like seaweed and umami, but very little seaweed and a ton of umami. It is quite reminiscent with the other Shou Pu-erh cakes from whispering pines. What’s REALLY interesting is the after taste, it has a very strong cocoa flavour to it. This aftertaste is strong enough to overpower the actual initial flavour, a really surprising find on my end.

There is no astringent taste to it, that I would associate with other strong-flavoured shou pu-erhs. It has some great mineral notes, but nothing ‘rocky’ tasteing like wuyi oolongs.

Comparing this to two other pu-erh’s I had from WhisperingPines, I would classify this as not being as tasty as the 2012 Huron Gold Needle, but generally better than the 2015 Lord of the Lakes.

One thing to note, due to the constant cocoa you get per sip, the bitterness adds up over time, which can be one negative for this cake. Otherwise, it’s pretty decent.

Flavors: Bitter, Chocolate, Cocoa, Mineral, Umami

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Got this from a sample, so decided to try it.

5g, 100ml, at around 185F, with 5s wash

Very vegetable and hay-ish taste. Really reminds me of hay combined with… dried tree branches? Have to be rather gentle with temperature and steep time, otherwise it gets that very bitter, burned vegetable taste that is honestly awful.

I personally dislike this taste of ‘branches’, however it leaves a very satisfying and calming sensation after drinking. Kinda like a digestif in a way. It does leave your mouth very dry and parch though

I’m unable to obtain any sort of sweet or berry flavour out of this. It is constantly a mixture between grass, hay, and branches. Making it too hot and/or too long of a steep makes it incredibly bitter, and everything else is a variance of hay and branches and astringent taste.

Not my kind of tea. Only thing that I enjoy is the very calming effect of it, that is all.

Flavors: Astringent, Dry Grass, Grass, Hay

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g

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Using around 5g, ~190F, at 100ml. No wash

Gongfu style, starting off at 5s + (3s + 2n s) per steep

Very neat first taste. It has a very strong and complex blend of berry taste to it. Blackberries, blueberries, cherries, honey, raisins, grapes, raspberries, goodness there’s a hint of all of that and more in this taste. The faint traditional ‘oolong’ like taste seems to be warped in a sort of caramel like flavour that ties all the other flavours together. Really delicious.

If steeped a little longer, it adopts this slightly bitter and astringent taste to it, but it has an incredibly strong berry taste that lingers for a long time. The berry flavour is so thick, it almost feels like I just drank some sort of berry slushy. Just wow.

On the fourth steep now, no flavour loss yet. One thing to note is that the tea tastes quite ‘dense’ compared to other chinese teas done gongfu style. This lends itself to feel a bit thick, but not an unpleasant experience due to the explosion of berry flavours.

7th steep in and sadly the fruity flavours are leaving =(. Instead, a faint ‘milky’ caramel taste is taking its place, and surprisingly something like cotton candy too. Probably has 1-2 more steeps in it before running out.

Good tea. It’s sensitive on the early steeping, so don’t go too hot nor for too long (otherwise you’ll get a strong astringent flavour on it).

Flavors: Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Berry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Caramel, Cherry, Cotton Candy, Grapes, Honey, Raisins, Raspberry

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Fei Zi Xiao by Verdant Tea
31 tasting notes

Dry aroma smells like a really fruity black tea.

100ml, ~200F, w/ a 5 second wash

Gorgeous dark red/orange colour. Looks like liquid cherry

It tastes like one of those complex black tea blends. Lots of fruity colors: peach, citrus, apricot, prune, grapes, cherry, and tangyness. All of this is backed by that general chinese black tea taste that’s common with most chinese black teas. Honestly, not a bad combination at all.

The further steeps have a really nice ‘dynamic’ combination. The fruity bits are strong and the primary flavour is both sweet, astringent, and slightly bitter.

One thing to note is that this tea is sensitive to heat. If temperature drops to 190 or below, you’ll get a significant less flavour per steep.

Overall not a bad tea whatsoever. It’s mainly a combination of lots of fruity flavours along with that ‘traditional’ chinese black tea taste. Quite nice.

About ~7 steeps in and tea’s almost out of flavour. Pretty decent. No drastic change in flavour over time, just flavour slowly dwindles (~6 steeps in and it’s like 20% the original potency).

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Blackberry, Citrus, Fruity, Peach, Tangy

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Brewing this ~100ml, with a wash, 5g (sample), at around 190F

Colour is this very clear yellow/gold, looks fantastic (pic: http://imgur.com/H4tY18b).

I’m doing standard infusion time: 5s + 3s for each infusion.

I normally dislike wuyi oolong teas, due to the heavy mineral/rock taste, but this one is quite smooth and good.

The mineral taste is rather soft, and it isn’t rash but instead complementing. There is a sort of pumpkin taste to it as well as chamomile. It has a flower taste to it too. There is no sense of acidity or acridness from this tea. There is a slight fruit flavour, I would say reminiscent of apricot.

Really refreshing taste, but very weak aftertaste — you lose the taste of the tea after around like 5 seconds, so it’s advised to ‘swirl’ it inside your mouth before swallowing, savouring the flavour. It is a bit ‘one dimensional’ in taste, as it’s not particularly complex nor does it evolve throughout the steeping session (5th steep at the moment), but it’s refreshing and it is a pleasant surprise to one who generally dislikes wuyi oolongs

Flavors: Apricot, Flowers, Mineral, Pumpkin

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Forgot to save my previous note on this, so this will be just a short and quick review.

I prepare this tea mainly gongfu style, but I have also done it western

With gongfu, early steeps contain a very fruity apricot taste (specifically dried apricot). But subsequent infusions adopts a heavier wood-like taste with malt and dried apricot background. I haven’t seen how it tasted following the end-stage infusions, so can’t give much of a comment on that.

I did prepare this western style once quite a while ago, and I do have to say that western style is the recommended way to approach this tea. It had a very complex yet harmonic taste, consisting of fruits (with apricot as main), honey, general sweetness, light wood, chocolate, and a maltyness around it. I believe gongfu style doesn’t allow the blend of leaves to steep sufficiently enough to have the combined flavour from all of them, but instead prefers the faster steeping leaves over the others.

Not a bad tea, but not recommended if you prefer tea gongfu style.

Flavors: Apricot, Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Malt, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 OZ / 110 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Phenomenal tea right here. Drinking this is just a wonderful treat.

85-89: Extremely good tea but it’s just missing that one thing to make it exceptional.

80-84: Very good tea. May not be the best, but it certainly is excellent for the times that you crave them.

70-79: Good tea. The types of teas that have that one characteristic to them that makes it worthwhile despite lacking in all the other areas

60-69: Average tea. Doesn’t excel at anything but isn’t’ horrible in anything either.

40-59: Below average tea. I can see how someone else would like this tea but I definitely don’t like it. Could be an issue with my brewing or just my taste in general. If it’s a brewing issue, rating will be adjusted accordingly.

0-39: How is this tea. Better beverages could be made by grabbing a clump of dead grass from my front lawn.


El Paso, Texas

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