371 Tasting Notes


From *Nicole*’s Christmas card! Thank you! Brewed Western-style.

I’m wary of non-“pure” oolongs, but the lavender and oolong surprisingly complement each other. The aroma is clearly in favor of the lavender – very fragrant, a good thing I’m a lavender/aroma lover. However, in the liquor, the notes of this lightly oxidized oolong are able to appear without effort. Floral, creamy, and slightly mineral-y. The floral flavor is what allows the lavender – which isn’t overpowering at all – to be able to steep so well with the oolong.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Brewed on the stove-top. Brought to a boil, simmered for seven minutes, added 2% milk and white sugar, brought to a boil again.

This is one of my all-time favorite teas, one of my most favorite blends, and my all-time favorite masala chai blend. It is atypical. Its base tea is a Chinese black tea – very long and twisty. There are the typical ingredients, such as cinnamon ginger, and peppercorns, And then there ingredients I’ve never seen used before: as tulsi, goji berries, galangal, elderberry, etc. The dry leaf is gorgeously colorful.

The complete preparation gives you a bear hug. Such an inviting aroma as the tea simmers. Such a cozy and roasty feel as I drink. The tulsi, ginger, peppercorns, and goji berries especially stand out. Excellent (amount of) fresh spices – because unlike in some other masala chai blends, they truly offer a bite even when milk and sugar are added (supplementary ingredients that, I think, enhance the overall taste and experience).

My dad – a non-tea drinker – generally loves masala chai and also considers this one his favorite. It’s a treat every Friday – “chai Friday”!! :)

3 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

That’s a really good one!!

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Brewed Western-style. Steeping times: 45, 60, 120, 240.

One of Verdant’s more intriguing blends. It struck me when I first drank it months ago. The dry leaf looks absolutely lovely – the tan coriander and fennel seeds provide contrast against the little dark green curled leaves – and offers a minty, tulsi-filled aroma. Mmmmm.

The first infusion is very minty. Having run out of steam, the mint fades drastically in the later infusions. This results in the other ingredients and the base tea are able to come out from hiding, thus creating a good balance between a spicy, herbal tang and a nutty, buttery flavor.

I’m wary of green tea blends, but I can say with confidence that this one is my favorite.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Brewed Western-style.

Seems like a love-hate kind of thing.

Well, I really like it! Smells mostly of tulsi (which I don’t mind). What strikes me most about this tea is its intriguing ingredients – they create a mix of sweet, spicy, and herbal flavors curled up in one cup. Tastes medicinal in a good way. Most certainly a cozy tea for winter. Goal achieved for Verdant!

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Second to last I tasted in the sheng sampler. Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The dry aroma has notes of dried grasses, tree bark, and a hint of spices. The wet leaf aroma smells sweet and fruity – sugarcane, grapes, plums, brown sugar, cranberries, all in the following order as the leaves cooled. A pleasure to stick my nose the gaiwan throughout the session. Nearly addictive.

The liquor is pale gold, medium-bodied, clear, and smooth. Consistently mild with a lively and bright personality. Due to my palate not being suited for sheng, I mostly discern sweet dried grass, though it is a kind of grass that is not off-putting, and the taste becomes more sweet than grassy as the session goes on. A juicy aftertaste stays with me minutes after I finish each cup. And each next cup I look forward to having. At the eighth infusion, grape and wine emerge notes. I am enlivened and comforted during this gray, cold late autumn afternoon.

I enjoyed this sheng greatly. Definitely my favorite in the sampler.

7 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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From the sheng sampler. Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. 10 second rinse. Steeping times: 10, 10, 15, 15, 30, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, 120, 180.

The dry leaf aroma offers a delicate fragrance of fresh honey, while the wet leaf smells of green peppers, and then of bamboo and a thick conifer forest.

The liquor is golden, clear, thin-textured, and full-bodied. The session begins with a light grassy and prickly cup, and a peach aftertaste. Thereafter, a bitter green pepper note dominates. The fourth infusion, additionally, has walnut and pecans, and the beginning with the fifth infusion, is a sweetness underneath. I also taste a forest floor, the sort of forest that big and crowded with trees, the sort of floor that has layered beds of moss and dried and freshly fallen pine needles. The feel is light yet powerful.

Despite my words, this isn’t for me (well, it is sheng, but I felt the need to broaden my tastes with the sampler anyway). I can’t be appreciative of it unfortunately.

7 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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drank Top Leaf by Mellow Monk
371 tasting notes

I think I received this in a swap from Cameron B. If yes, thanks so much!

Brewed in a shudei kyusu. Japanese green teas are so finicky for me and I was impatient today, so the temperature is rather high (I heat water in a saucepan), but each steep was only a few seconds long. I got good results.

The wet leaf smells delightfully of ripe persimmons. The liquor is dark neon green, thick, and full-bodied. A sweet and buttery feel with notes of squash, pumpkin, and a hint of clementine.

This is a sencha to drink after dinner – no bitterness or vegetables in this one!

190 °F / 87 °C 1 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

She gave me some too and I loved it as well!


Wow, you make this sound amazing! On the wishlist it goes!


It’s so different from what I’m used to!

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Thank you, Angel, for the samples and including me in the oolong flight!

Brewed with the gongfu method in a gaiwan. Followed the website’s instructions. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 30, 30, 50, 70, 90, 120, 150, 180.

The session begins with a seaweed-y and sweet dry aroma, followed by a buttery wet aroma with a note of sugar snap peas. Wonderfully flagrant – one of the pleasures this tea offers. And the leaf itself is another. It has such a beautiful shade of green, and the leaves appear so lively as they float in the gaiwan.

The liquor is light greenish gold in color, clear and clean, and full-bodied yet light, like water from a small pristine pond. Though the flavors are not fully developed, the first infusion offers a creamy texture and a buttery sweetness reminiscent of kukicha.

The creaminess disappears in the infusions thereafter, though the smoothness doesn’t. The second infusion is very sweet with a creamed spinach aftertaste. Three, four, and five have a stronger floral note. Five in particular tastes of spring flowers that entice bees excited for fresh nectar after a long winter. Additionally, the texture is thicker, and the buttery note returns. I am reminded of shincha.

The sixth and seventh infusions have fewer flowers and more sweet candies. Ending the session, the eighth is the fruitiest and juiciest, with an aftertaste of strawberries, blueberries, and bananas.

This is only my second Da Yu Ling. A good one to end this oolong flight!

195 °F / 90 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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Thank you for the sample, Angel!

Brewed gongfu-style with a gaiwan. Followed the website steeping instructions. 5 second rinse. Steeping times: 15, 25, 35, 45, 55, 75, 85 (I added 105).

Beautiful dry leaf, a fresh kind of green as if the leaves weren’t at all plucked and processed. The aromas are floral and sweet with a hint of butter and mineral. The liquor is light yellow, medium-bodied, clear, bright, and crisp. A pleasant light floral note consistently appears throughout the session. In the beginning there is an aftertaste of a “tropical” smoothie – mango, papaya, pineapple – though this disappears after the third infusion, leaving the floral aspect completely to dominate the scene.

This Tie Guan Yin didn’t say anything special to me or make me feel a certain way after each cup, though it is a lovely Tie Guan Yin of good quality.

Boiling 7 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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Brewed with the Western method. (First steeping meant to be 4 minutes, but ran up to 6 due to a distraction at work.)

The dry leaf aroma smells of maple syrup and plums. The dark amber liquor is full-bodied, clear, thin-textured, and brisk with flavor. All at once I taste smoke, malt, honey, and fruit.

This is my first Keemun, and even though it is only my first, I think it served as a good introduction to this type of tea. A brand new and very interesting gustatory experience.

Boiling 6 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I began drinking tea because its complexity fascinated me. I love learning about its history, its manufacturing processes, and its place in various cultures.

Japanese greens were my first love and gateway into the world.

My favorite teas are leafhopper oolongs, pu’erh (shou and sheng), and masala chai. My favorite herbal tisanes are spear/peppermint, lavender and chrysanthemum.

I’m currently exploring pu’erh, and any Chinese and Taiwanese teas in general. I’m not much into flavored teas, unlike when I first started. The only teas I truly dislike are fruity tisanes and the ones that have too much fruit. I do like hisbiscus, especially iced.

I like to write nature essays. I’m a birdwatcher as well as a tea enthusiast. The kiwi is one of my favorite birds. I also like Tolkien, Ancient Egypt, and exercising.

IMPORTANT NOTE, PLEASE READ: After two and a half years of having an account here, I will no longer will provide numerical ratings as an addition to the review because the American school system has skewed my thoughts on numbers out of a hundred and the colors throw me off. Curses! My words are more than sufficient. If I really like what I have, I will “recommend”, and if I don’t, “not recommended”.

Key for past ratings:

96-100 I adore absolutely everything about it. A permanent addition to my stash.

90-95 Superb quality and extremely enjoyable, but not something I’d necessarily like to have in my stash (might have to do with personal tastes, depending on what I say in the tasting note).

80-89 Delicious! Pleased with the overall quality.

70-79 Simply, I like it. There are qualities that I find good, but there also are things that aren’t, hence a lower rating that I would have otherwise like to put.

60-69 Overall “meh”. Not necessarily bad, but not necessarily good.

0-59 No.

If there is no rating: I don’t feel experienced enough to rate the tea, or said tea just goes beyond rating (in a positive way).


Westchester, NY

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