drank Mao Xie by Verdant Tea
855 tasting notes

I’m starting to fall behind on my reviews again. It’s always amazing to me how I can go from being caught up on a project to behind in the space of a couple days. I actually finished the last of this oolong earlier in the week, but had a rough draft of a review written at least 2-3 days before that. Oh well, I still have a review for Verdant’s Huang Jin Gui from two weeks ago that I need to post. Anyway, on to this tea.

I tried steeping this tea a couple different ways, however, the method that worked best for me is the basis of this review. Rather than using my 5.5 and 6 ounce gaiwans, I decided to use my small 4 ounce gaiwan. I was torn on whether to use 5 or 6 grams of leaves, but after trying it both ways, I went with 6 because the 5 tasted slightly weak to me. I followed the gongfu method outlined on Verdant’s website once again, so an initial infusion of 10 seconds in 208 F water followed by a series of 2 second infusions. I carried this one out to nine infusions (10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26 seconds).

Initially, this tea presented a creamy, floral, and slightly fruity nose with a hint of toasted character. Initial infusions emphasized toasted sesame, ginseng, cream, custard, green apple, pear, honeysuckle, lilac, and jasmine notes underpinned by a slightly grassy vegetal character. The tasting notes on Verdant’s website also described nori, apple brandy, rosemary, and alfalfa flavors, but I didn’t get any of those, at least at first. Later infusions saw the floral, sesame, and ginseng notes fade and the cream, custard, orchard fruit, and vegetal notes emerge more fully. I detected alfalfa and hay specifically. I also began to notice a slight citrus note on the finish that reminded me of lime zest. The final couple of infusions were mostly creamy and vegetal. I probably could have gotten at least 1-2 more infusions out of this tea, but decided to cut it off at nine as I didn’t see the flavor radically changing or anything new emerging at that point.

The first time I tried this I was impressed, but my opinion of this tea wavered after a couple more sessions. Over my last couple of sessions, I began to feel like I had gotten it right again and I once again began to really enjoy this tea. Compared to many of the other green oolongs that are available, this has a really unique aroma and flavor profile. I kind of doubt it will be for everyone, but for me, it has all of the savory, creamy, vegetal, fruity, and floral notes I love on one level or another. If you’re a fan of newer style Chinese oolongs, then I think there is a good chance you will greatly enjoy this tea. It is definitely worth checking out regardless.

Flavors: Cream, Custard, Floral, Grass, Green Apple, Hay, Herbs, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Lime, Pear, Vegetal

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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