Verdant Tea

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Recent Tasting Notes

90
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
42 tasting notes

Always one of my favorite teas for the morning! The tasting notes for it are perfect—it’s got a very cocoa and malt taste, the sweeter side of savory.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 16 OZ / 473 ML

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98

I had an opportunity to compare this Big Red Robe back to back with Amazon vendor GOARTEA. Everyone has their own personal preferences, but for me, there is no contest. This Big Red Robe is much smoother and more delicious. Even brewing it gong fu style with 30+ seconds steeps doesn’t introduce any bitterness. I could make this a daily drinker. It’s very good oolong.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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drank Silver Buds Yabao by Verdant Tea
42 tasting notes

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95
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
11 tasting notes

Laoshan Black (Autumn 2016 – He Family Collection). This one is going on my keeper list. This tea is excellent. When I opened the package and smelled the dry leaves, the chocolate note was already present. After a rinse, the leaves smelled like a dessert. So many have reviewed this tea, I won’t go into much detail other than to say the Autumn 2016 release of this tea is very chocolaty and very, very smooth and sweet. I’ve had this same tea in its green form, and it is nothing short of miraculous the transformation this tea makes. I evidently still can’t post pictures, because I keep trying to upload a photo and it never shows, but I think the Laoshan green tea I received had an unusually high number of very new tender stems VS leaves, and I took a photo to show the tea. Perhaps the supply was running low and that caused the quality to drop. In contrast, this sample of Laoshan black had beautiful leaves.

Flavors: Chocolate, Cream, Sweet

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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70

I received this as part of Verdant Tea’s 5 for $5 promotion. I did an initial wash, then 8 sec steep, +4 secs for each additional infusions. I initially used 200 degree water, but dropped that down to 175. This loose leaf sheng is very much a green-leaning tea.

This is not at all what I was expecting. VT describes the tea’s dominant note as very fruity-plantain. Perhaps they were thinking of green plantains, because I love fried ripe plantains, and you should definitely not expect to find those notes in this tea, at least with the sample I was provided.

As others have said, I did get the hay aroma coming through initially, but that faded after the first couple of infusions. There was also a dark chocolate note in the aroma, but it was short lived and disappeared by the third infusion. What I get mostly is vegetal—leafy greens like turnip green pot liquor, a bit sweet, but finishes bitter and leaves the tongue dry.

Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Dark Chocolate, Hay, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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75

This is my first review on Steepster, and I am new to the world of high end loose tea and puerh teas. Like many of you, I began my journey by ordering many samples from various companies, several shipping direct from China. The first sample to arrive was from Verdant Tea.

I think Verdant Tea’s description matches closely to my experience. The tea is extremely vegetal and savory and has a resemblance to a green vegetable stock. Unlike some green teas that have a hay or grass scent, this was definitely more green bean in smell and taste. It also possessed savory notes of grains. VT also lists light citrus, but I did not detect that, but others certainly may. The liquor produced was a pale yellow-green. There was no astringency in the mouth feel.

I brewed this gongfu style with a very small 70 ml glass, so that I could get two mornings out of the small sample provided. I did a short 5 second rinse with 175 degree water, then began infusions at 8 seconds and increasing 4-5 seconds per infusion. I tried slightly cooler water for slightly longer, but found the liquor to go bitter with the longer infusion.

While my experience is limited, I can say I prefer green teas with more of the grass/hay/meadow notes. This is just my personal preference. I think the tea lived up to the description on VT’s website.

I’m hoping I can attach some photos, because while the tea produced a nice tasting and aromatic liquor, I was somewhat surprised by what I found in the cup after several infusions. It looked like 50%+ of the tea was pure stems. They were very small and tender, but it was almost as if the new growth leaves and buds has been picked for another tea, and then the stems were snipped with a small amount of leaf remaining. While the leaves were still moist, I laid them out on a paper towel and blotted them, then transferred them to a piece of paper. Is this normal for Laoshan Green? (picture coming I hope)

I look forward to sharing more tea tasting notes and getting to know everyone in the community.

Flavors: Grain, Green Beans, Sweet

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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83

I couldn’t find any definite info on this tea from Verdant’s website; I want to say it’s the same as their “Mi Lan Black” offering but I’m going to stick with the exact labels used on my packet for the sake of filing. My tea doesn’t quite look like those long big twirled leaves either, although the dry leaf was a kind of twine strip.

The flavour profile is practically on par with their Mi Lan page description; dark, rich honey, spicy sandalwood, charred sweet potato, etc. This first steeping has a comfortable note of bitter leather too. Citrus notes come out in subsequent steeps.

Anyways, this was a nice break after mostly drinking teas on the greener side of the spectrum. Like a nice scotch or whisky after a rainstorm of vodka. Or a blackberry after so many strawberries. I love silly comparisons.

Steep Count: 3

Sample provided by Verdant Tea. Thanks!

Flavors: Citrus, Earth, Honey, Leather, Spices, Sweet Potatoes

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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75

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

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

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93

mmm this is just perfect in the evening. It tastes similar to an aged white (think aged moonlight white or aged shou mei). Minerals, vegetal (but not grassy), light aged flavour. It resembles tea closely due to the fact that this plant is a close relative of the tea plant. Dried autumn leaf pile (dried elm and oak leaves), something in the aftertaste is spicy…like black licorice and pepper. Kind of like tulsi I guess? Bamboo, raisins, this tea is super complex and it changes with every sip! Some “spicy” notes, some umami, some nutty/aged flavour. It is well rounded.

Very moist mouthfeel. Resteeps well. Gongfu or western style works. Grandpa style produces equally tasty results.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Bamboo, Mineral, Nutty, Raisins, Spicy, Tulsi, Umami, Vegetal

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72

No notes yet. Add one?

Preparation
5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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73

Ben Shan is kind of a big deal in the world of Anxi oolongs. Along with Huang Jin Gui, Mao Xie, and the ubiquitous Tieguanyin, it is one of the four classic oolong cultivars produced in the area. At one point, it was supposedly even top dog on the Anxi oolong food chain. These days, however, Ben Shan mostly seems to be known as a substitute for Tieguanyin in oolong blends and as a filler. Rumor has it that unscrupulous sellers will sometimes cut lower end Tieguanyin with Ben Shan since the two cultivars are processed in a similar fashion and display similar aroma and flavor profiles. This tea, however, is pure Ben Shan.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was followed by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves produced mild, inviting aromas of honeysuckle, jasmine, tea flower, violet, butter, and cream. After the rinse, I noted the emergence of grass, marigold, and fresh custard on the nose. The first infusion began to bring out additional vegetal qualities as well as a touch of orchard fruit character. I could not place much of it at the time, but I definitely got a hint of green apple. In the mouth, I immediately noted butter, cream, custard, fresh flowers, grass, and green apple. Subsequent infusions brought out aromas and flavors of radish, watercress, minerals, lime zest, and pear. The pear and green apple notes, in particular, lingered after the swallow on each sip and consistently drew me back in again and again. The later infusions mostly offered vague butter, cream, custard, radish, grass, and watercress notes under a layer of minerals. At times, I could still pick out hints of green apple and pear.

This tea was very pleasant, but was also all too quick to fade. Ben Shan, in my limited experience, generally seems to be milder, gentler, and shorter-lived than Tieguanyin, so perhaps the tea’s relative lack of longevity should not have surprised me all that much. I am still not at a point where I feel confident rating oolongs of this type since I don’t naturally gravitate to Ben Shan (Tieguanyin, Jinguanyin, and Mao Xie are much more up my alley), but I thought this one was alright.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lime, Mineral, Pear, Vegetal, Violet

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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88

~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

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

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50

Hmm, another day in and I have plowed through yet another oolong sample. This was another tea I meant to get to sooner. That seems to be the story of my life these days, intend to do something, get distracted, and then come back to it later. I haven’t felt particularly creative or inspired today, so let me just sum up everything I’m about to say by admitting that I found this tea to be merely okay overall.

I gongfued this one. No surprise there. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was followed by 14 additional infusions. Steep times for those were: 9 seconds, 12 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, and 5 minutes.

Before I begin breaking this tea down, allow me to state for the record that my perception of this tea greatly differed from that of the vendor and at least one previous reviewer. Prior to the rinse, I picked up aromas of coffee, dark wood, honey wheat, roasted grain, plantain, dark fruit, and something vaguely vegetal. Just about everything I had read told me I should have picked up honey, but I didn’t. After the rinse, I noted slight vanilla bean, honey, elderberry, and dried blueberry scents as well as emerging aromas of parsley, coriander, and celery. There was some vague spiciness too. The first infusion brought out cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of raisin. The honey was a little stronger, but not much. In the mouth, the tea liquor was very savory. I immediately picked up dark wood, roasted grain, honey wheat toast, mild cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, and plantain underscored by slight notes of vanilla, celery, elderberry, dried blueberry, parsley, honey, and coriander. Subsequent infusions brought out minerals, cream, butter, stewed apricot, and cooked leaf lettuce on the nose and in the mouth. Raisin and stronger vegetal notes also popped out in the mouth. Why was I not getting the strong honey impressions I was supposed to be getting? Later infusions seemed to emphasize minerals, dark wood, roasted grain, honey wheat toast, and vegetal aromas and flavors underscored by traces of cream, butter, indistinct fruit, and honey.

What happened here? Compared to some others, I almost felt like I was drinking an entirely different tea. What I expected to be very sweet, smooth, and honeyed actually ended up being toasty, grainy, woody, vegetal, and savory. For me, the honey was usually strongest right around the swallow, but even then it struck me as playing second fiddle to just about everything else going on in this tea. There were a couple infusions where it poked through for me, but it just wasn’t even close to being a dominant impression. Maybe it was just me. Maybe something was up with my sample. I don’t know. In the end, I could only really compare this to some of the other roasted Tieguanyins I have tried, and it did not compare all that favorably in my eyes. All I can say at this point is this tea didn’t quite do it for me, but I am also an outlier here.

Flavors: Apricot, Blueberry, Butter, Celery, Cinnamon, Coffee, Coriander, Cream, Dark Wood, Fruity, Grain, Honey, Lettuce, Mineral, Nutmeg, Parsley, Raisins, Toast, Vegetal, Wheat

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
CrowKettle

It’s nice to see a detailed review for this one from someone who didn’t just go “bah” with impatience (that was me). I didn’t get honey either.

Daylon R Thomas

That’s a shame with a Mi Xiang name.

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80

Here is one I meant to get around to a lot sooner than I did. I had hoped to drink this last weekend, but obviously didn’t manage to find the time. Unfortunately, I still have numerous samples from Verdant Tea. It is my intention to start going through them a little more quickly and get reviews up in a more timely fashion. We’ll see how that goes.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a quick rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 12 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of lilac, chrysanthemum, marigold, violet, green apple, and butter. After the rinse, the floral aromas intensified and were joined by emerging scents of cream, vanilla, kale, parsley, and grass. The first infusion saw the tea’s savory and vegetal qualities express themselves more fully on the nose to balance the strong floral aromas. In the mouth, I noted butter, cream, violet, lilac, grass, and green apple underscored by subtle traces of vanilla, parsley, kale, chrysanthemum, and marigold. Subsequent infusions brought out the vanilla, parsley, kale, chrysanthemum, and marigold in the mouth while impressions of celery, cucumber, crabapple, mild cinnamon, and minerals began to express themselves on the nose and on the palate. Later infusions maintained a largely savory and vegetal character, with minerals, grass, kale, parsley, butter, and cream notes underscored by faint wisps of green apple, vanilla, and marigold.

This was an interesting and rewarding oolong. I adored Master Zhang’s Autumn 2015 Mao Xie for its spicy, herbal, floral, and fruity qualities, and this tea was relatively similar. I did find it, however, to be a bit lighter and slicker in the mouth and more floral, savory, and vegetal in terms of aroma and flavor than last year’s offering. Of the two, I preferred the earlier tea, but this one was still well worth trying.

Flavors: Butter, Celery, Cinnamon, Cream, Cucumber, Floral, Fruity, Grass, Green Apple, Kale, Mineral, Parsley, Vanilla, Violet

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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60

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

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

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90

Hooray for new tea! I finally got a chance to try this one from my order last week, I’ve had a terribly rough 5 days with taking my poor cat to the vet for bladder stones and a UTI..lots of stress and worry, and he’s still not 100% so the worrying will continue this week :( however he does appear to be on the mend, so I will focus on that, and on drinking good, relaxing teas to help us get through this rough time.

Anyways, onto this tea! Wow, I’m the first note on this one, and of course I babble about my cat in it lol..oh well. So when I saw this tea on Verdant’s site, as I was placing my order for my restock of Yunnan White Jasmine (a favorite of mine and the fiance’s), I saw this tea and was like WOAH. MUST TRY. Two of my favorite things, Verdant’s delicious jasmine, and Golden Fleece, which I haven’t had in ages, but the last time I had it, it was amazing! So I was pretty excited for this tea.

I used the recommended Western steeping parameters of just under boiling water (around 205 degrees?), and a short 25s steeping. This tea smells delicious when brewed, and is a nice golden color.

As for the flavor, I like how this is very similar to the Yunnan White, but with a twist! The forefront of the flavor is very jasmine, and it’s Verdant’s signature delicious jasmine that I love. At first it’s like oh okay, this is Yunnan White..but then in the aftertaste…the Golden Fleece emerges, with a delicious honeyed note and a mild maltiness. Mostly the pronounced honey is what hits, with some waffle! It lingers quite some time as well! The second steeping is quite similar, maybe I can get through one more tonight to see if the Golden Fleece comes out more, but I have to watch my caffeine intake. Oh, a note though, this tea has a calming effect for me, which is surprising for a black tea, and with all the stress I’ve been going through as of late! Must be the jasmine in there :)

Overall, I am very pleased that I have a bag of this to keep drinking! It is just different enough from Yunnan White Jasmine that I enjoy it, and similar enough that it’s comforting and delicious. A winner for me, and as close to a blend from Verdant as I can get (man, I miss their blends, Laoshan Village Chai, Ginger Sage Winter Spa Blend… :( bring those back!). Happy that I picked some of this up.

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88

After not enjoying my cup of roasted Tieguanyin yesterday, I switched back to some “plain Jane” Tieguanyin (more or less). Actually, this one is a little fancy and has a succulent honey flower aroma. I’ve never actually sniffed a chrysanthemum (ala Verdant description) before, but it’s a deep sweet flower smell.

The flavour is an interesting contrast; I thought it would be a syrupy sweet to taste but it’s more a “pasty” nut. Verdant’s soybean description works, but husked sunflower seeds also come to mind. The floral note has a syrupy “texture” to it but it isn’t what you’d call sweet, unless you’re thinking of the subtle sugars picked up in grass, tofu, or nuts. It’s altogether a very smooth, fluid cup that is at once mild but also contrarily rich (butter, vanilla).

As per Verdant’s description, this does taste like the (extremely mild) smell of marigolds but it definitely doesn’t taste like the “taste” of marigolds- at least not mine (spicy floral veggies). The steeped oolong leaves do kind of smell like the taste of marigolds though.

A spiced note comes into play in subsequent steeps. I can also see where the matcha note comes from. I’m chuckling that I want to write that this tea tastes like TEA, but when you think of that sweet, grassy, nutty, floral quality that good, fresh matcha can have you’ll get it (hopefully).

Steep Count: 6

Pine, nut and mineral notes are particularly noteworthy on steep 4 and onward, with the return of vegetal spice on steep 5.

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Grass, Honeysuckle, Mineral, Nuts, Pepper, Pine, Soybean, Vanilla, Vegetal

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 5 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I wish I loved the combination of roasted leaves and floral notes, but I don’t. This makes me think of happier roasts, like Intelligentsia Black Cat Classic Espresso; I’m not a coffee person but that stuff is usually a success as long as someone else makes my cup.

Also, my leaves were totally not as fat or green as that image. Bitter Crowkettle.

Steep Count: 3

(2016 harvest)

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Floral, Leather, Malt, Roasted

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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drank Anxi Rou Gui by Verdant Tea
757 tasting notes

Here’s another Verdant oolong success that I only have a sample of; I ordered the wrong ones in bulk!

I used the gongfu method (10s, 15s, 20s) yesterday and drank it all throughout the day… and I may be drinking it still today because I only had enough for one session, you know?

It has a similar profile to my Si Ji Chun from Camellia Sinensis (heavy cream, spice, floral), but this doesn’t have that half-baked, unsweetened dough element that I wasn’t keen on. Jasmine, cinnamon, and cream combine with something sweet, almost fruity or honey-like, to create a satisfying, round profile.

I’m not rating it because of the lack of time with it, but it’s going on the list for fall 2017 purchases. And to think I thought I wouldn’t like it because I’ve only ever seen “Rou Gui” as a roasted stripped Wuyi oolong.

Steep Count: +8

(2016 fall harvest)

Flavors: Cinnamon, Cream, Fruity, Honey, Jasmine, Sweet, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Daylon R Thomas

Okay, I’m mega curious: How does this one compare to the Jin Guanyin, and how do those compare to Taiwaneese oolongs? I’ve only had roasted Rou Gui’s though I may have had one from Mandala, and I’d guess the Jin Guanyin would be a slightly fruity Tie Guan Yin. I’m also debating on what green oolong to try next.

CrowKettle

Whoops, I missed this. I’m going to give you a detailed reply filled with my inexpertise knowledge.

CrowKettle

I only had one serving of this, so I can’t give you any certain comparison, but imo it’s not that similar at all to the Jin Guanyin. Jin has a definite fruity profile with specific fruits (lime) you can pick out. Rou Gui is just kind of sweet, especially the first steep, in a honey or syrup infused way. Verdant claims it has monk fruit notes, but I’ve never had that so can’t vouch for the accuracy; looking up monk fruit now it says it’s often used as a sweetener, like stevia.

Jin was also more floral (strong lilac & violet vs extremely subtle jasmine) and had more dynamic steeps. This Rou Gui had a satisfying profile but it didn’t seem to change much, even with my sloppy gongfu times and temp.

I’m going to be contradictory and say the cinnamon note in this oolong wasn’t THAT definitive; especially when I compare it to the unmistakable, almost overpowering, note of nutmeg in the Si Ji Chun I own.

Besides that Si Ji Chun, the few other Taiwanese oolongs I’ve tried this year have had grassy and vegetal notes! Anxi Rou Gui didn’t have that at all.

CrowKettle

PS- Just to emphasize my lack of oolong cred: I can’t actually compare this to a true roasted Rou Gui either. If I’ve ever tried one I wasn’t paying attention, which is unfortunately usually the case with me and roasted Wuyi oolong types.

Daylon R Thomas

That’s still helpful.

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79

Dragonwell sample #2 from Verdant.

This is a second flush longjing #43 with a stronger vegetal flavor than the first flush. Leaf appearance is similar but not as aromatic. I detected notes of creamed corn and light vegetable soup in the aroma. When brewed, the leaves produce a liquor that is light golden, almost clear. The taste is vegetal, notes of asparagus and cabbage. I also get a little matcha type chalkiness here and there. The mouthfeel is thick, smooth, and clean. It’s got a stronger toasty flavor as compared to the first flush with a touch of astringency.

This one worked better grandpa steeped than gongfu. It’s a decent dragon well but nothing to write home about.

Flavors: Asparagus, Vegetal

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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93

Now this is gold. I’m not quite sure where the florals fall, except for honeysuckle and maybe a bit of violet, but I know that they’re vibrant and full. Butter, cream, and melon fruit notes interplay across my messy gongfu session to create a very sweet, rich, and delicate profile.

I’ll have to keep a look out for future Reserve Tieguanyins from Verdant in the future. This one is definitely a winner. Too bad it’s only a sample.

Steep Count: +4

Mother has been stealing cups, so I don’t have an exact number, but it’s her birthday after all.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Honey, Honeysuckle, Melon, Sweet, Violet

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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89

Before I begin this review, allow me to state that I have something of an inexplicable attachment to this tea. I’m not sure why, but I always look forward to its yearly release. I’m finally finishing up the last of the 2016 harvest. I’ve been brewing it in the Western style off and on for the past week or so, but tonight I wanted to try it gongfu. This may sound curious, but this was the first time I ever tried this tea gongfu.

To prepare the tea, I rinsed 5 grams of loose tea leaves and then steeped them in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 8 seconds, 11 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted aromas of dark wood, char, roasted grain, mellow spice, and indistinct fruits. The rinse brought out aromas of rock sugar, vanilla, cream, and some kind of citrus. The first infusion then brought out touches of leather and mild tobacco. In the mouth, the tea led with notes of char, roasted grain, dark wood, dark chocolate, earth, moss, and tobacco underscored by touches of rock sugar, cinnamon, and watermelon candy. Subsequent infusions brought out subtle tea blossom, yuzu, candied lemon peel, candied orange peel, sour plum, roasted nut, cream, vanilla, and pomegranate notes. Sharp Wuyi minerals also began to make themselves known while the notes of rock sugar, cinnamon, and watermelon candy also strengthened. Verdant’s tasting note led me to believe that this tea would be intensely fruity and that there should be notes of nectarine, sage, and honeysuckle in there, but quite frankly, I never even came close to finding anything along those lines. The later infusions presented a more pronounced minerality and retained their earthy, woody character, though I could still find traces of cream, vanilla, and citrus. Naturally, the buttered popcorn flavor I almost always get out of Da Hong Pao popped up at this time as well.

This harvest was not quite what I expected, but I found it enjoyable. I wish the tea had not been so roasty and woody up front because the fruit notes were legitimately fascinating. I especially loved that tart watermelon candy impression I kept finding on the finish.

Flavors: Char, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Earth, Floral, Fruity, Grain, Leather, Lemon, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Plums, Popcorn, Roasted nuts, Sugar, Tobacco, Vanilla

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Sqt

I’m the opposite, never tried Big red robe western style. What parameters do you use when you do so? Could be interesting for those days where isn’t opportunity for gong fu brewing.

eastkyteaguy

Sqt, I use pretty basic brewing parameters for Da Hong Pao. I start off with about 3 grams of leaf per 8 ounces of water and start off with a 2 minute steep followed by 3, 5, and sometimes 7 minute steeps.

Sqt

eastkyteaguy: interesting, thanks. As much as I enjoy gong fu brewing, it just doesn’t work when I want a cup of tea to sip on as I work!

What I’ll currently do is use a 100ml gaiwan, and combine 3 steepings into a 300ml cup. Western style might be easier (what I use for my morning daily drinker dian hong)

Stoo

This tea sounds like a lot of work but it was obviously worth it!

eastkyteaguy

Stoo, it was a lot of work. I rather enjoyed it, but I have a little left (I thought the 5 gram sample pouch was the last of it, but I discovered I had a 25 gram pouch in the back of the cupboard) and want to squeeze in another gongfu session before I commit to a numerical rating.

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90

Mmm this is delicious tea! I love roasted oolong. This one is reaallly roasted so if that’s not what you’re looking for stay away! Besides the toastiness it has a floral aftertaste, and a very rich caramelized honey undertone. (For the second steep anyway.) I don’t know if that would show up unless you steep using quite a bit of tea like I did. Verdant sent this tea in the cutest little 5g packets, so I used the whole packet and am doing incremental 10 second steepings, starting at 20 sec. Later steepings start to get more mineral and woody.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 45 sec

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