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Recent Tasting Notes
Kind of a roasted fruit jam flavour, and very close to tasting like the morning burnt toast. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be but I still don’t Love this type of tea. At least it isn’t burnt flower offerings this time!
Flavors: Blackberry, Butter, Char, Floral, Jam, Raisins, Toast, Wood
I’m tasting the spring 2017 harvest of this tea. This is going to be a short note, because this tea just didn’t work for me, which is disappointing because the smell got my hopes up.
I brewed six rounds from 10 seconds to 90 seconds
The aroma of the wet leaves is rich with smoke, peat, rum, and fresh gingerbread. The flavors in the first infusions are fruity like dragonfruit and raspberry with a somewhat unpleasant burned bread hint.
On the third infusion the burned taste is gone and I’m left with a somehow underwhelming chocolate, raspberry, and mint flavor. These are flavors I’ve loved in teas before, but something about them is just off and uninspiring in this. The upshot is there’s a pleasant tingling on my tongue at the end of the cups.
The last three steepings are all the same — sweet cream, vanilla, and burnt sugar. Again, flavors I’ve enjoyed before but they’re really flat and uninspiring in this tea.
In the future I’ll play around with leafing heavier than recommended, but right now I’m thoroughly unenthused by this tea.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Burnt, Burnt Sugar, Cream, Fruity, Mint, Peat, Raspberry, Rum, Smoke, Spices, Vanilla
To be honest, I’ve always put off writing tasting notes about laoshan black because it’s such an understandably beloved tea, but also (in my experience) so singularly chocolately there’s not much to say about it. However, I decided to embark on and record a mindful tasting the other day, and approaching the tea much more mindfully yielded something entirely more complex than what I think of loashan black being.
The session lasted a solid 9 infusions. Following a flash rinse I started with 10 seconds and additions of 4 seconds, but gradually increased in bigger increments to a final brew of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
The aroma throughout the session was the typically strong chocolate smell of a laoshan black. However, the flavor profile started out like a mildly sweet bread mixed with chocolate. It reminded me of a chocolate chip croissant.
As the session continued I got an abundance of sweetness from honey and sugarcane notes, mixed with cinnamon and allspice. On the fourth steep I was caught off guard by a strong mint flavor at the start of the cup which faded back into the chocolate chip croissant flavor of the first infusion.
On the fifth steeping I decided to push the tea a bit more to see if I could get a round of strong chocolate flavor. I was rewarded with exactly that, but with a complimentary citrus note and a beautiful floral hit in the aromatics.
As the session ended the bitterness of the chocolate faded and I had a final cup that was sweet, creamy, and vanilla flavored. It was quite reminiscent of a ‘flat white’ from Starbucks.
This was a really great session of a tea that’s always nice to have on hand if you enjoy a luxurious chocolate flavored cup. Clearly, as this session awakened me to, there’s more than meets the eye with this tea if you’re willing to invest yourself in the brew.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Citrus, Cream, Floral, Honey, Mint, Spicy, Sugarcane, Sweet, Vanilla
I’ve never been much of a green tea person, but I’ve been trying to sipdown some of the older teas in my cabinet and decided to give this another try. Much to my surprise I really enjoyed it!
Since I didn’t expect to enjoy it much it wasn’t a particularly mindful brew. I steeped it western style 5 different times for 30s, 30s, 45s, 60s, 90s and enjoyed some cups at home, some on the go in a travel mug.
Flavors were not nearly as vegetal as I expected based on the description of this tea. There was some snap pea flavor, but mostly I was getting a creaminess, sugar cane sweetness and a surprisingly spicy flavor on a couple of the brews. There’s a really thick mouthfeel to go along with the creamy flavor. It felt like a more mellow, grounded, and interesting version of a Milk Oolong. It made a refreshing brew for a trip to the gym and a relaxing brew for being cozy at home with a book.
I don’t drink enough green to feel qualified to rate this tea, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and will probably pick up more of this or try some other green teas down the road.
Flavors: Creamy, Peas, Spicy, Sugarcane, Thick
So, years ago I received a sample of Master Bi’s Jin Guan Yin from Verdant’s reserve club and it was the most singularly luxurious and cozy tea I have ever experienced. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that specific tea is not something I’ll ever taste again, but I’ve been on the hunt for something at least similar. When I saw this tea from the same varietal with a similar looking roast I just had to see if it could come close to that experience from years ago.
There’s a nice floral smell to the leaves as I open the container. The leaves are impressively intact and there’s no dust or broken leaves that get caught in my strainer.
1st, 6 sec: After a flash rinse the steam that rises is smokey and woody. The bright orange liquor adds notes of chocolate and dried fruits to the smokey aroma. There’s also something else I can’t identify — like a tropical leaf. The aroma alone is absolutely intoxicating. The flavor hits many of the same notes as the aroma, but adds in a minerality. The chocolate flavor is not harsh and bitter like some teas, it has a creaminess like milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is a bit thick and very smooth.
2nd, 10 sec: With the roast washing off slightly the minerality is coming more to the forefront, but the chocolate flavor still lingers on the tongue after the sip. This cup is no more bitter than the first, but there’s definitely a noticeable astringency to it.
3rd, 14 sec: There’s a wonderful rum cherry scent the the liquor that I keep searching for in the flavor, but I can’t find it in there.
4th, 18 sec: The leaves and the liquor are gaining a pleasant medicinal herb smell. This steeping I can taste the cherry I’d been smelling, creating a delightful cherry chocolate flavor. As the tea cools there’s a refreshing soft minerality that makes me think that maybe this tea could be just as refreshing an iced tea for the summer as it is warming and cozy when brewed hot in the winter.
5th, 22 sec: This is the first steeping where I feel like I can taste a bit of the tropical leaf smell I caught early on. It’s unexpected but not unpleasant.
6th, 26 sec: I ended up letting this one get quite cool and got more of the very refreshing minerality and medicinal herb flavor that becomes more apparent at the lower temperatures.
7th, 30 sec: The tea is starting to fade now. It’s not an unpleasant cup by any means, but definitely becoming more shallow. The soft minerality remains and there’s a bit of a stir fried vegetable flavor showing up.
I could give this a couple more long steeps and get a couple pleasant, average cups of tea but the uniqueness is definitely gone by this point of the session. This tea hits all the right buttons for me. The whole experience, from dry leaf to taste is wonderful throughout and it has something for every mood. If you want something simple, warming and cozy you can focus on the luxuriously smooth chocolate and fruit flavors. If you want refreshing there’s the minerality and cooling medicinal herbs. And if you want a tea that lets you explore a myriad of flavors and complexity throughout a gongfu session there’s a lot on offer from this well balanced roast.
Usually when I kick off a gongfu session in the morning of my work from home day I’ll slowly work through it over the course of 3 or 4 hours, but I couldn’t wait to taste more of this tea and raced through this session of the course of an hour and a half. Does this tea live up to my memory of Master Bi’s version? Not quite, but it’s a damn good cup.
Flavors: Cherry, Chocolate, Creamy, Fruity, Medicinal, Mineral, Rum, Smoke, Tropical, Vegetables, Wood
When I opened the bag it smelled like the forest with hints of something that reminded me of Anisette waffle cookies. Brewed this gongfu style.
I want to assert this is an interesting tea with a lot of depth. However, the flavors overall weren’t to my own liking. You may love this.
1st Steep: I’m getting a slight floral scent, maybe marigolds. Along with a slight sweetness. The wet leaves smell a bit mossy (I mean that in a good way).
2nd Steep: The leaves wake up a bit more and the flowers get more powerful.
3rd Steep: The floral taste remains the same as the brew gets sweeter. It becomes more clear to be a honey flavor. I sense hints of citrus to.
4th Steep: A sense of astringency comes out now that the leaves are fully open. All other flavors remain. The mouth turns a bit dry after the swallow.
I went on longer. The flavors above all remained for many steeps. 10+ easily. Overall the flavors weren’t really to my liking. However it is an interesting tea with a lot of complexity. I do recommend it despite the score I gave it.
Flavors: Astringent, Citrusy, Flowers, Forest Floor, Honey, Moss, Sweet, Thick
Tasting this along with other white teas from Verdant and the same family. I found this one to stand out with having a bit of an astringent grip that adds a welcomed dimension and core to the body. In terms of flavors, I am not an expert with white tea, so they all present a similar flavor profile: primarily floral with some minerality and initial sour notes. I also get perfume notes in this one. Gorgeous honey color. I should revisit white tea in general when I become more expert in tasting, but for now am happier with pu-erh, both raw and ripe. I will add that after drinking about six small cups of the three white teas back to back I was feeling a pretty funny/humorous buzz, and I’m not sure if that is attributable to just one of the teas or the combination.
While I’m still not a fan of the 100g cakes… Verdant always get a BF-CM order from me. Great people : )
So I purchased a shou… I know right?
I drank this before bed last night around midnight to 2am… so I really don’t recall much other than I liked it enough that I set some aside to brew tonight because it wasn’t a typical cocoa shou that I like. I think the barley note Verdant put up might be rather accurate. I remember this being semi dry on the finish and also a faded fermentation. The age on this is probably right just now because I notice that when looses its punch I would much much much much rather have an aged sheng. So I think this 100g will be drank rather quickly which is nice because its got strength but I don’t that strength being there for the next 3 years; but this is my preference on shou of course…
As for 100g shou, Whispering Pines still has the most comforting taste still by itself but I realllllllly think this shou will pair well with woody aromas in the air so you better believe I’m doing sandalwood and shou tonight!!!!!!
These mini tuochas were the perfect portable shu for me to bring to work, to avoid needing to break a cake at my desk. The wrapper indicates that this tea is from Haiwan tea factory. As is fairly typical with tuochas the leaves are very tightly compressed, so I started this tea off with a 20 second rinse and 5 minutes to rest and loosen.
1st, 15 sec: The mini tu is still tightly compressed and the liquor is a golden yellow. Aroma of the wet leaves is earthy but the mouthfeel is cooling and numbing to match the strongly spearmint flavor of the liquor. Maybe there’s a hint of rose, but that could just because I expect there to be. The second steeping is much the same, but with slightly more body as the leaves begin to break apart.
3rd, 10 sec: Tuo is starting to break apart. Liquor has a wonderful sweetbread smell and tastes like pear with some mint still on the back on the sip
4th, 10 sec: Tea is waking up now. Nice full bodied mouthfeel that coats the tongue and leaves your mouth watering. A little astringent, but not bad. Aroma is fruity, but the flavor is all clove and mint with only a hint of fruit this time. As it cools it gets earthy and peppery.
5th, 20 sec: This tea doesn’t have much staying power. I basically got one strong steep once it opening and now it’s already fading. This steeping is fruity and minty once again.
6th, 1 min: The fruit flavor has been succeeded by a brown sugar taste this round. Still an echo of mint as the sip fades.
I’ll be honest — minty isn’t really what I’m looking for when I drink a shu. It was a pleasant and cooling tea, but a bit shallow and not quite my style. That combined with how short a session of this tea lasts for makes this a very middle of the road shu for me.
Flavors: Brown Sugar, Clove, Earth, Fruity, Mint, Pear, Peppercorn
I open the bag and am greeted with an absolutely gorgeous smell. Like apples and honey. Brewed this gongfu style
1st & 2nd Steep: At this first steep I am already loving this. Its like apples and toast. But so smooth, no bite back. The slightest hint of flowers lingers in the aftertaste. The smell of the wet leaves is like a mixture of wood and fruit.
3rd Steep: The flavor profile changes a bit to a more buttery flavor. Still with toasty and floral afternotes.
4th Steep: The taste of wood starts to come out. Something like oak and it mixes with the floral scents in a way that makes me think of the forest. The sweetness gets very toned down.
5th Steep and beyond: The wood taste remained as the bitterness started to come in more with each steep.
Over all I adored this tea as you can tell. Highly recommended!
Flavors: Butter, Floral, Oak wood, Red Fruits, Smooth, Toast