Verdant TeaEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
Do you ever wonder what makes you tick? Or, another way of putting it, what makes you, YOU? Is it just a random collection of atoms, cells, etc arranged in just the right way to make you have a certain preference or is it because of years of exposure that has helped you refine your preferences?
As I sit here and drink this tea, I have to wonder: Why am I so drawn to not only the roasted flavors of tea but also just to stronger flavors in general (hot sauce, ginger, horseradish, pungent cheese, etc)?
Either way, whether nurture, nature or some combination of both, I am a big fan of this tea. It has a slight vegetal note but that is underhanded and mostly covered by a smooth and not too bold roasted profile. I am getting flavors of toasted grains with a creamy texture. Maybe a certain woodsy quality here. I can certainly imagine enjoying this among the trees. And while I wouldn’t have zeroed in on it myself, Verdant’s website mentions dandelion and I can totally see that as the vegetal flavor. Something green and just slightly bitter (but not, if that makes sense).
This is a nice daily, or maybe weekly, drinker.
Flavors: Creamy, Dandelion, Grain, Roasted, Vegetal, Wood
For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.
Yabao is technically not a true tea, as it comes from the Camellia crassicolumna species (rather than the tea plant, Camellia sinensis), and the flavor profile is quite distinct as a result. This is an incredibly sweet and fruity tea, with intense peach notes (almost like peach candy) and salty, marine base notes. On the palate, the tea begins very salty, with malt notes and the nutty, horsehair flavor common of teas from Yunnan. However, this initial (subjectively rather unpleasant) flavor quickly fades to a beautiful finish of fruit, again mostly juicy peaches but also notes of raisins and dried apricots. The flavor does not evolve much with multiple infusions, except for a distinct mangosteen flavor coming in by the third infusion accompanied by the softness of lotus root and rice.
Flavors: Apricot, Bamboo, Dried Fruit, Fur, Malt, Nutty, Peach, Raisins, Rice, Salt, Seaweed, Vanilla
I usually dislike jasmine teas, as the jasmine flavor always over-powers any other flavor. This tea, on the other hand, has just a hint of jasmine. It is incredibly smooth, which is a quality I really enjoy in white teas. The liquor of the first steep is quite pretty – almost a rose gold color. The first and second steeps taste very similar, then the third and fourth bring out more jasmine flavor and a lighter liquor.
I got this tea as part of Verdant’s 5 teas for $5 an embarrassingly long time ago, and I’m just now drinking it. Wishing it were still available, but if I know Verdant, there’s another one I’ll love just as much or more.
Still trying to get the hang of brewing black tea. I’m finding my usual lazy method of 1 tsp of tea for 3 minutes doesn’t work for every tea. I western steeped this tea my first couple of sessions and it was a total fail. The smell alone was enough to trigger my gag reflex. Some teas are designed for gongfu and this is one of them.
I eventually decided to follow Verdant’s method and steeped 3.6g of leaf in a 160ml pot using water just off the boil. First steep was for 15s and I added 10s to each subsequent steep. On the nose, there’s a faint aroma of vanilla and smoke. The wet leaf is smokey cacao nibs. Like most of Verdant’s blacks, this tea has a wonderful rich chocolate flavor that early on coats your entire mouth with its sweet lusciousness. I detected notes of bread and unusual fruity overtones that I could’t quite place. I would describe them as overripe fruit. Verdant’s tasting notes for this are all over the place…berries, rose, angel food cake, buttercream, turkish delight, etc.. Mayyybe. I find their tasting profile can be a stretch sometimes. The only one of their descriptors I could pick out was a hint of buttercream frosting in the finish.
This was an interesting black tea. It started with an intense chocolate explosion and went on to develop a distinct, complex flavor that evolved with each steeping. That said, some of the flavors in this tea weren’t quite up my alley. Glad I got to try it, but I still prefer the Classic Laoshan black tea.
Flavors: Butter, Dark Chocolate, Fruity, Smoke, Vanilla
Today I am sipping 2005 aged mao xie by Verdant tea, I started this off by giving it a quick rinse in my Yixing. The rinse produced a very pale honey color liqour and an intense aroma of floral, smoke, honey and caramel.
First infusion the liqour darkened to a medium honey color and took on a bit more floral notes at this point, there is a bit of minerality and a little sensation of tingling on the tongue that you really only get with good oolongs. I knew right away this was going to be a winner. Sweet and smokey, that aged oolongs seem to really engender.
Second infusion was slightly darker, but not by a lot. I got a little more honey in this one, as the infusion got a little sweeter. But the flavors and aromas were pretty similiar, though the leaves opened up nicely at this point. I think for the third infusion Im going to bring the water up to boiling.
This was a wise choice, it brought out more fruit flavors, maybe raisins and a bit more of the minerality, that you kind of feel on your tongue. Also it’s hard to describe how clear this liquor is.
Im sure based on this it will steep out many more times.
I highly recommend this tea if you like aged oolongs, smokey, floral or minerality.
Flavors: Caramel, Floral, Honey, Mineral, Smoke
Hands-down one of the best straight black teas I’ve ever tried! Mad props to mtchyg for sending this along!
It tastes, to me, like a really crusty dark multi-grain bread. The kind you tear apart with your hands and just eat straight. It’s smooth and it’s malty and it’s just bangin’. I’m currently poking around Verdant tea right now, looking at other stuff to try. (I have no impulse control.)
Flavors: Baked Bread, Grain, Malt
It’s been a long time coming but I finally feel like I’m in a place where I have enough experience that I can genuinely talk about shou in a meaningful way. I got this sample over a month ago, and tried it about a week after I got it and it was not great, it was plainly boring and empty, so I let it sit for quite a while, and today I’m drinking this and I am shocked, this is probably the most distinctive shou I’ve ever had:
the first thing I noticed was the heavy compression, which is something I tend to try and avoid with puerh in general, because I love making my shou as dark and oily as possible, and the compression makes that .. difficult? Anyway, after my rinses, the first steep was a lighter colour, but when I tasted it I was overtaken with this beautiful blueberry/blackberry note, which I have not come across in shu before and is one of my favourite flavours in tea. As the session continues, the tea is creamy and milky, strawberry, chocolate, caramel, mint, an active mouthfeel with a bit of a tingle yet fat and oily even though the soup is lighter in colour. it feels like a fruity, delicate black tea met a fat, dark shou and those are my two favourite things.
Oh this is good. I still taste that roasty char flavor that I love so much in my high roasted oolongs but it is just a little bit lighter handed so as to be not so intense. This would be especially good for new comers who are interested in the roasted flavor.
Aside from the roast, I am also getting a very light background floral bouquet as well as some sort of light spice note. Perhaps cinnamon?
This is something I will considering buying more of in the future.
Flavors: Char, Cinnamon, Floral, Roasted
First up today is hand fired black by verdant tea. This is an interesting tea that I wasnt sure at first if I liked or not. Its a bit on the mild side for a black tea, so lets start with the brewing. Getting out my Yixing because I really wanted to hit it with alot of heat this time. So picking out 5 grams of leaves, and they are nice big whole leaves too. I heated the yixing and put the leaves in and got a wonderful caramel aroma from the pot. That classic black tea sweetness. I decided to skip the wash on this as the leaves look fairly open and and clean, so no need to remove dust.
First infusion 30 seconds I got a clear very pale redish liquor, I have to admit, the tea looks and smells awesome, but the taste doesnt quite match up to the promise the aroma and color give. Its nice, with caramel and Vanilla, and its sweet and no bitterness at all, but its a bit on the mild side.
Second infusion got slightly darker, and the tea tasted better, perhaps I should have given it a quick wash. Sweeter, caramel and here is where it got good, it has that nice black tea aftertaste, that makes water taste sweeter for a while.
Third infusion I hit it a little harder, pouring boiling water over the yixing and letting it steep a little longer. I got a bit more of that savory notes that blacks are known for.
Fourth infusion was about the same, with just a hint of astringency popping in at this point.
I recommend this tea for anyone who likes mild black tea, I usually like a bit more intensity in my black tea.
Flavors: Caramel, Vanilla, Vegetal
Alright, I am in the process of getting rid of some of these aged oolongs. I only had a sample of this one and I ended up drinking it yesterday evening. For me, these aged oolongs from Verdant have been so hit or miss. I thought the aged Mao Xie was pretty much excellent, but the two aged Tieguanyins I had prior to this one I found to be more or less awful. This one turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After an approximately 10 second rinse, I steeped the full 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves gave off pronounced aromas of vanilla and flowers. Verdant describes the floral characteristic as being similar to lilikoi blossoms, and I have to say that I found that description to be eerily accurate. There were also traces of cedar, citrus, and aloeswood incense on the nose. After the rinse, the floral aromas grew stronger, as did the aromas of cedar, citrus, and aloeswood. Aromas of sticky rice and wood began to emerge as well. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet that once again saw the vanilla assert itself. In the mouth, robust notes of vanilla, lilikoi, and sticky rice dominated the entry before giving way to an interesting combination of aloeswood, cedar, wood bark, butter, and citrus notes. The finish was long and smooth, emphasizing vanilla and sticky rice notes underscored by aloeswood, cedar, and lilikoi. Subsequent infusions grew fruitier and somewhat more floral. The indistinct citrus notes morphed into more clearly defined notes of kumquat, while sweeter notes of blueberry and marionberry emerged. I also began to catch a ghostly hint of orchid, while mineral notes began to emerge toward the finish. The later infusions were increasingly dominated by minerals and lingering notes of butter, vanilla, and wood bark, though fleeting impressions of flowers, aloeswood, marionberry, and citrus were still just barely detectable in the background.
Compared to the other two aged Tieguanyins I have tried, this was a totally different experience. Unlike the other two, this one was quite enjoyable. I greatly appreciated its smooth body and its unique aroma and flavor profiles. What ultimately made all the difference for me was that this tea still resembled an oolong, and a quality oolong at that. I could not say that about the other two.
Flavors: Bark, Blueberry, Butter, Cedar, Citrus, Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Orchid, Rice, Vanilla
Thick and robust, this shu pu’er delivered full experience in each cup. I made 4 steepings out of it and each one was rich and complete.
The initial smell in the bag and when brewing was interesting, hard to pinpoint it but reminded me of a mix of seaweed and mint.
First steep: 200’F 1 min – Deep red color, thick mouthfeel, faint hits of seaweed, strong vanilla, clove, very smooth.
Second steep: 200’F 1:30 – Deep red color, flavor and viscosity still as heavy as the first steep, vanilla, clove, seaweed, and some strange lingering mint all come through.
Third steeping: 200’F 2 mins – A little lighter color, vanilla still present and remains a thick and satisfying tea.
Forth: 212F 5 mins – A little more lighter but still dark red, smooth, and balanced.
Overall, an interesting tea that really delivered for a pu’er. I loved the mouthfeel and smoothness of this tea.
Flavors: Clove, Mint, Smooth, Thick, Tobacco, Vanilla
It’s a slow day at work and I am presently bored out of my mind. I will, therefore, go ahead and clean out the rest of my personal backlog. I am trying to finish off a lot of the samples I have purchased over the course of the past year, so I have been trying to drink 2-3 larger packets and 3-4 samples each week. That’s a lot of tea, but working three jobs, one of which requires 24/7 on-call time, means I need to be on the go and alert at strange hours and for long stretches of time. So, with my schedule, it’s doable. I had a 5 gram sample of this tea that I had put off trying for some time because the last aged Tieguanyin I had from Verdant was just not good in my opinion. I ended up drinking this slightly less aged version yesterday evening simply because I was running on fumes and sick of knowing it was there. Oddly, it smelled and tasted older than the 1985 Qing Xiang Aged Tieguanyin that I reviewed fairly recently. I didn’t like that one and I liked this one even less.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 212 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 13 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, and 7 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of musty old books and forest floor after a rain shower. After the rinse, the forest floor aromas swelled. I could now detect distinct impressions of mushroom, moist earth, wet wood, moss, fallen leaves, and wood bark. Buttery and vegetal aromas also began to emerge. The first infusion produced a similar bouquet, albeit one with more pronounced impressions of butter and vegetables (celery and leaf lettuce), as well as a very subtle hint of sandalwood. In the mouth, the tea displayed a smooth texture with notes of wet wood, wet earth, moss, fallen leaves, must, mushroom, wood bark and dried, aged paper. I could detect hints of cooked leaf lettuce, butter, celery, and sandalwood in the background. Subsequent infusions maintained the dominance of the forest qualities to one extent or another, though the impressions of butter, cooked leaf lettuce, celery, and sandalwood did slightly strengthen. I began to catch fleeting impressions of vanilla bean, caramel, and blackberry as well as a subtle mineral presence on the finish. The later infusions surprisingly maintained a good deal of character. The forest and old book characteristics were still there, though they were matched by minerals, sandalwood, butter, and celery, while faint wisps of caramel, lettuce, vanilla bean, and blackberry were present in the background.
This was such a strange tea. It was very similar to some of the aged ripe pu-erhs I have tried. As a matter of fact, I probably would have appreciated this more had it been a pu-erh. As an oolong, I just found this to be awkward in a thoroughly unappealing sort of way. I know I mentioned this earlier, but this tea somehow strangely ended up smelling and tasting older than the variant that was supposedly five years older. At this point, I just wish I were done with these aged oolongs. Unfortunately, I have four more (two from Verdant and two from Puerhshop) to go.
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Butter, Caramel, Celery, Lettuce, Mineral, Moss, Mushrooms, Musty, Paper, Vanilla, Wet Earth, Wet Wood
Balance seems to be key with this tea. It has a light to moderate level of smokiness that complements the minerality and yeast notes. I enjoyed 3 sessions with this tea
1st) 200F – 25 sec. 2nd) 200F – 1 min. 3rd) 212F – 5 mins
I received this tea as a part of the new customer sample pack. Overall I like this tea but I enjoyed the Laoshan Black more.
Flavors: Mineral, Smoke, Sweet Potatoes, Yeast
Wonderful tea by Verdant.
Produced 4 rich a flavorful steeps (200’f 20 sec, 200f 40s, 212f 1 min, 212f 5 min.
Immediately upon opening the bag my nostrils were filled with the delicate and sweet aroma of toffee. This aroma lingered in my room after I steeped my first pot. The scent did not mislead, delicious sweetness in every cup. One of the finest black teas I have had the pleasure of enjoying up to this date. Following the above steeping regiment did not result in any astringency or dryness. The tea was moist, sweet, full bodied but delicate through and through.
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Honeysuckle, Toffee
This was surprising. I pulled this out thinking it was a green tea. It brews like a green tea. It tastes like a green tea. I didn’t find out it was herbal until after I had looked up the brewing instructions.
It’s warming this morning, buttery with a little peas and rice kind of flavor. There’s an earthiness that kind of reminds me of a white potato? It’s really, really pleasant.
The only disappointment is that there’s no caffeine! Guess I have a new go-to herbal though.
For the last week or so, I’ve been focusing on the Wuyi oolongs in my tea collection, particularly the ones that were close to sipdown, and most of these come from Li Xianxi and her family. I haven’t done any really comprehensive tea reviews in awhile, like talking about each steep as you’re drinking it, but maybe today will be that day.
So, I followed the typical gongfu steeping parameters: 7G + yixing X 5sec/8/11/14/ etc…
1. Light & clean, and a lovely incense aroma and sensation, both floral and vanilla, with a hint of green apple.
2. This tea features that much sought after (at least by me) ‘after aroma’, where the incense sensation rises into the sinuses and lingers long after the sip is complete. I’m sure there is a Chinese word for it, and I think maybe I knew that word a few years ago when I was posting here more often, but anyway, I enjoy it greatly.
3. This steep reminds me of a vanilla marshmallow, except there is an underlying woodiness and the sensation of metal, neither of which are really appealing to me at this time.
4. Creamy vanilla marshmallow, this is creamier than the last one, and more enjoyable, as it cooled it gave off more of a floral taste as well.
5. pretty much more of the same…
6. Pretty much the same creamy feel, but with a more mineral undertone and a little bitter
7. This is a little sweeter, still creamy vanilla, but with a touch of an floral aftertaste, kind of like you were rinsing your hair in the bubble bath and got a little bubble bath water in your mouth…
I think I’m ready to move on to something else. This is a pleasant tea, but of the 3 Li Xianxi teas I’ve drank in the last few days, my favorite was probably the Mei Zhan.
1 packet (4g) to 300mL water @90C, steeped three minutes twenty seconds.
Dry leaf: darkest green and tight-rolled.Complex aroma: barley, florals, grass, apple.
First infusion. Wet leaf is dark green Some leaves are open; others are still tightly rolled. Pale yellow liquor. Notes of barley, pineapple (?), florals, honey, and something cooling … I want to say camphor, but I;m not sure if that’s right. A balanced and, to me, slightly starting tieguanyin. Lots going on here. I love it.
Yesterday I polished of the last of the Mei Zhan that has been gracing my tea cupboard for awhile. Today I’m working on the Huang Mei Gui. I am a big fan of Li Xianxi’s Oolongs, and Fujian teas in general, so it is no surprise that I’m enjoying cup after cup. I tend to prefer the roastier oolongs over the greener ones, just as I prefer Black tea over green, however there are exceptions all around, and of course, when it comes down to it, I love drinking tea, any variety, as long as it’s of good quality and free of BS flavorings.
I’m currently on the 3rd round, and my overall impressions are Rose & Jasmine (more rose than jasmine), orange peel, charcoal, caramelized stone fruit, and a heady floral incense overall. The corn and taro references were present in the first round, which have gratefully faded, as those were the least desirable features for me personally. This tea leaves a lingering bright sensation in the soft palate, a earthier thick chocolate sensation (not taste) on the tongue, and a decent head buzz. It’s also kind of tangy, which brings to mind an ensemble of double reeds: Bassoons, Oboes, English horn, various woodblocks, some tinkly percussion, a gong, and Guzheng, a chinese Zither, a harp related instrument that I’d like to have someday :) Although I guess I can probably do anything on the harp that can be done on a Guzheng, still…
Here’s a link, if you’d like to hear one. :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujzMHLac404