174 Tasting Notes


So, I did a terrible thing today and I have no idea what possessed me to do it. I went to Five Guys and got a cheeseburger. Granted this doesn’t sound terrible, but I eat fairly healthy. I can’t tell you the last time I’ve eaten fast food, about a year ago I think. Anyways, I ate the burger and now I just feel sick and sluggish and like crap. I decided to help ease my tummy and the lump of crap I had just ingested, and so I went for this. I find puerh with mint and cinnamon helps ease my tummy a lot.

This is definitely helping to ease the rock that refuses to digest and help make me feel slightly less sluggish…I’m just glad the day is done. The taste is not so much chai, it reminds me of a cheap version of Verdant’s Xingyang Silk Road Spice. There’s some nondescript shu puerh, mint, cinnamon, and vanilla. It’s not bad, but there is this odd taste in it. Fake vanilla or some sort of fake flavoring. Ever since I started buying mostly from companies that use real flavors I have found I am able to sense that fakeness more easily. Kind of like going without fast food for so long makes me feel the bad effects even worse when I do eat it!

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Rayn had a really similar thing happen yesterday. He typically eats gluten free with me, but decided to have a pot pie for lunch yesterday, and he said his poor stomach felt awful for hours afterwards.

Terri HarpLady

Last time I made the mistake of eating something with gluten in it was last spring. “What could it hurt?” I thought to myself, as I savored that english muffin soaking up the hollandaise…
I suffered for well over a week, not just in my guts, but my joints, tendons, pretty much all the places that used to hurt in my pre-paleo vegan days. I could barely walk for a couple of day, & it really took about a month to get my body back to ‘normal’. I won’t make that mistake again!

Invader Zim

The only thing I ate for the rest of the night was a 1cup serving of frozen fruit. But I felt like my entire digestive system just stopped and had a wtf moment…not that I blame it. I feel better today, but I still don’t have my full appetite back! Oh well, lesson learned for another year! I don’t know what possesses us to eat something that we usually don’t eat thinking that it will be fine.

Terri HarpLady

I also have to be really careful of eating restaurant meat because it tends to have antibiotics in it, which have a negative effect on me. Glad you’re feeling better. Another lesson learned, eh?

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I got this one as a sample a few months ago and never reserved the time to try it. Well, I had a lot of free time today and decided to give it a go. It’s funny because I just finished 10 steepings when the mail comes in, I got the reserve month package and this happened to be in there! So, now I have more!

To start off, I used my 3.7oz yixing I dedicated to dancongs. It has (depending on how full of water it is) a 4-8 second pour. So, usually I put the water in and immediately start pouring out.

When I opened the package I was immediately greeted by a wonderful scent! It smelled like juicy grapefruit with wildflower honey, a touch of maple syrup, and the slightest hint of some spice…sweet cinnamon perhaps? There was another note that was predominate, but I couldn’t place. After getting the package in and reading the description, I concluded that it’s the honeydew melon.

The wet leaf smelled roasty, dark floral (orchid), maple syrup, wildflower honey, and fruity. By fruity I mean grapefruit and honeydew.

The first infusion was an explosion in my mouth! There were notes of roastiness, honey, maple syrup, a wonderful juiciness of grapefruit and honeydew. There was an interesting orchid note and creaminess that I can only describe as resembling a tieguanyin.

The second steep was more orchid notes and creaminess with a hint of a vegetal note. This was definitely tasting more like a lighter version of a tieguanyin than anything. There was even a thickness of mouthfeel that lasted well into the aftertaste.

Third steep was super thick, mouth coating.

Fourth and fifth steeps went back to being super juicy, the tieguanyin effect was starting to back off. The fifth steep I started to taste that hint of a spice element..clove? Nutmeg perhaps? It was very faint, so it was hard to tell.

The sixth steep went back to tieguanyin. Then the seventh steep was super juicy! I feel like I’m getting whiplash here!

The eighth steep decided to take it easy on me and was a nice balance between super juicy and thick mouthfeel lasting into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was coating my entire mouth, but was focusing on the tip and sides of my tongue.

Ninth steep was a huge explosion of juiciness again! It was so juicy it felt like I had just bit into a ripe plum or melon where the juicy runs down your face! There were notes of orchid (as usual), orange and grapefruit, the honeydew, and a hint of clove.

The tenth and final steep I took with this started to go back to tieguanyin. The mouthfeel so thick and heavy. The aftertaste so long lasting. I also got a hint of almonds in the aftertaste with this one. I’m taking a break from it for now since my head is swimming and the bathroom and I are becoming close friends!

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Sounds great. I’m just wondering if I translated the name right… “Big Hemp Leaf”. LOL

Whispering Pines Tea Company

HAHAHA :D Awesome, JC, that’s what I got too! It sounds delicious!

Invader Zim

Well, I thought I was drinking a dancong tea…perhaps not!! I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t know the translation before hand…I may have had some preconceived misconceptions!

Paul, I love it when teas give me whiplash, I think that’s why I’m so fascinated by dancongs, I get it the most from them. I have the Red Leaf Dancong and another one from the rewards points that I have a very hard time trying to make out what it says other than dancong! Also, I have not tried out the Master Bi’s Lapsang, I’m too scared to try it yet, it may end up being the last one I try. Although, I’m not so terrified after reading your lovely review on it. And I hope you enjoy that jasmine, it really is fantastic!

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This is a tea I received from using the rewards points to get David’s Choice of five samples on the Verdant website. I received the package yesterday, but I didn’t have the chance to try any right away. So, today, this is the first one I picked to try. It’s jasmine, how was I not supposed to pick this one first?!

For this brewing, I used a five ounce cup with a brew basket, and 175*F water. These samples are only 7g, so I get about two separate steeping occasions for these, this one I may be able to stretch out to three. I opened the bag and was surprised! I was expecting to see jasmine pearls, when in fact it looked like lightly rolled silver needle buds, they resembled snails that were softly scented with jasmine. I hope the picture is able to depict it well enough. But they were actually kind of cute! I hadn’t seen a tea quite like this before.

The wet leaves didn’t fully unfurl the first steeping, which was about 30 seconds. But the aroma was wonderful! I could smell the wonderfully soft and sweet jasmine underlaid with honeysuckle, and a fleeting note of something citrus…orange maybe?

The infusion was pale and smelled of soft jasmine and honeysuckle. I was getting something else too. I couldn’t pinpoint it, the best I can describe it is when you go up to smell and flower and the aroma you get is that of the flower, but in the background you can smell the stem and leaves on it too. This is similar to what I was getting, not just the flower, but the rest of the plant too.

so the first steep, at about 30 seconds, was amazing! There was the soft jasmine and honeysuckle with the note of the rest of the plant and a hint of something citrus again. Then there was this amazing fizziness to the entire thing! Some of you may have gotten some from Verdant’s Yunnan White Jasmine…well that’s got nothing on this! The fizziness was throught my entire mouth, centered on the tip of my tongue and lasted well into the aftertaste! Wowza!

The second infusion was abut 45 seconds. I watched in amazement at the little snails slowly wiggled their way out of their shells; their dance was wonderful to watch. This steep was silky jasmine, honeysuckle; that strong fizziness throughout, and the rest of the plant note. The citrus seemed more like orange yet still fleeting and added a sparkling texture to go along with the fizzing. There was a linen-like aftertaste that coated the tongue, not unpleasant. A nice cooling sensation appeared in the aftertaste. When you eat a mint and every time you breath in you can still feel it; that was there in this tea. There was a darker note this time too. Maybe there was last time but the fizzing took too much of my attention away! But the darker note seemed like it was a part of the jasmine, almost melancholy-like. When you feel bright and happy but there is something darker hiding in the recess of you mind; that is the feeling this conjured.

Third and fourth steeps were about 20-25 seconds. I don’t think I steeped these long enough. Everything was still there from the second steep, just softer and less pronounced.

That second steep absolutely blew my mind away. I have been playing with jasmines for a while and this is the best one I have ever had. I’ll have to see if there is some way I can get more from Verdant. That makes me feel greedy though, I should be thankful for being able to try this, but I can’t help wanting more, to be able to experience this tea again. Thank you David and everyone at Verdant for allowing me to experience this tea. It really is amazing. This is the first tea I have ever rated 100, because I thought it was impossible to find that perfect tea, I have been proved wrong. Thank you.


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Those are adorable! Thanks for the pictures! I so hope I get this one too!


Beautiful tea!

Daisy Chubb



Love the pics! thanks for sharing this awesome review :)


That tea looks beautiful and it sounds so delicious! I want some jasmine tea now :)

Invader Zim

Thank you all!


I really enjoyed this review, very insightful! And they DO look like little snails :-)

Invader Zim

Paul, I received two samples of dancong from the private reserves as well a couple of months ago. I haven’t sampled them yet. I’m waiting for a better day when I have no distractions so that I can enjoy them in their entirety like I did with this tea. I also feel a little like hoarding them, because I know once they’re gone…that’s it!

Lillian Hom

Nice review. Loved how you described the experience. You’ve convinced me to try it!

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I like genmaichas, but I don’t drink them a lot because I never really have a craving for them. The only time I really want some is when I go out to an Asian restaurant (usually because it still tastes decent after they boil it). But I figured I would give this one a try. I got a mere ounce knowing that it would last me a while, and it is, although I’m starting to go through it a little quicker now!

It’s been a cold, rainy, dreary day. I woke up at 6am this morning to go stand out in the (literally) freezing rain for three hours to learn how to do tree plots. I needed something soothing and warm pronto! I grabbed this. The first cup I downed just to get some warmth back into my body. Sometime during my second cup I started to get feeling back in my fingers and toes. Then I slowed down and actually tasted the tea!

This tea is incredibly smooth, creamy, and buttery. It’s reminiscent of buttered popcorn…heavy on the butter. The toasted rice isn’t the normal toasted rice you find in genmaichas. This one is sweeter and nutty. This tea is thick and savory, I feel like it should almost be viscous (not a bad thing, I promise).

I love the movie 16 Candles, and I have this scene stuck in my head:
Because today, it’s my birthday! Oh and guess who just got a monthly reserve tea package in today!

ETA: I lied, the package I got was actually the free David’s Choice reserve samples I got from accumulating so many points on the Verdant site!

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Happy birthday and enjoy the monthly reserve package!


A big warm HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! (I sung that! Honestly!)


Happy Birthday!!!


Happy Birthday! Don’t get too tea drunk! :P

Invader Zim

Thank you everyone! And tea drunk was yesterday!…maybe again tomorrow…I still have time today yet :)


Happy birthday! And what’s a tree plot?


Happy birthday!


Happy birthday!

Invader Zim

Thank you all!

CupofTree: What we did for a tree plot was go out in the middle of the woods, put a steak through loggers tape and measure out so many meters in a radius (we started out at 4.7m, and went up to 17.8m). Then, you measure all the trees within that radius. We then calculated the height, their canopy cover, canopy density, ground cover, etc. It’s tedious work that was made less fun by the weather.


Sounds like a memorable birthday, if not a warm and cozy one!


Happy birthday!


Happy birthday!


Oooooh, I’m so curious about the contents of the David’s Choice package! Mine is in the mail to me right now! Also, happy birthday! :D

Terri HarpLady

I’m playing Happy Birthday for you on my Harp!!

Invader Zim

Thank you everyone! And Terri, I’d love to hear you play one day!

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I redid this one using my new yixing I dedicated it to (not the bad one I just got and found out was a fake). I know it’s still absorbing a lot of the flavor but I wanted to see how much different it tastes this way. I used boiling water, did a quick rinse followed by ten steeps, most of them at 3-5 seconds. At steep 9 I went up to 9 seconds, at steeps 10 I went up to 10 seconds.

Steep one was mostly roasty, sandalwood, juicy, fruity flavor.

Second steep was the same but with a hint of jasmine and a citrus texture to it.

Third steep got a little interesting. It was sandalwood, a dark floral note, a citrus texture and juicy mouthfeel. It seemed there was a hint of melon at the tail end, but it was so fleeting. By the time I even formed the thought of melon, the taste was there and gone.

Fourth was the same as three but with the dark floral note turning into orchid and something silky creamy starting to peak in. Possibly the orchid?

Fifth steeping was more woody than sandalwood, with orchid, jasmine, juicy, a note of clove, a silkyness to it and a citrus texture, with that ever fleeting hint of melon.

Sixth reverted back to sandalwood, orchid, clove, juicy, and silky.

Seventh was the same as the sixth, but the mouthfeel was beginning to become thicker, mouth-coating. Also, the jasmine made a fleeting peak at me at the tail end of the sip.

Eighth steeping started to become a softer sandalwood, the orchid becoming more prominent, the mouthfeel thicker.

Ninth, I should stop soon, I’m starting to feel buzzy from too much tea and no food. This was the same as number eight but with the addition of the sparkling citrus coming back in for a minute. One more, then I need to stop and get some food!

Tenth was soft sandalwood, orchid, silky, with a thick heavy mouthfeel that coats the entire mouth and lasts forever like a greener oolong does.

I’ve been drinking this tea for about four hours straight, no food in longer. I’m hungry and shaky and jittery. I love this tea and the yixing seems promising, but I need to stop and eat, like now. I’m one of those people that bounces off of walls when they have too much caffeine…it’s worse on an empty stomach!
This is me right about now! ZOOM! ZOOM!
Or for those who want to skip straight to the ZOOM! ZOOM! ZOOM! part!:

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Zoom Zoom…pretty funny! Next time, eat at least a piece of dry bread or something bland before drinking tea! My morning go to is Kashi 13g protein cereal so that I can drink all the tea I want. Sounds like you had an intensely good time though!

Invader Zim

I did have breakfast, but I had accidentally skipped lunch, so I didn’t eat again until dinner. I did have a fun time with this tea, I love how it morphs and all the different flavor profiles you can find in it. And Zoom Zoom was pretty much what I was doing! I was trying to restrain myself, but no with much luck!

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Reusing the leaves from before I decided to try this western style. I find this helps cut the bitterness. I found it to be much more pleasant, but also less complex this time around. It was still complex, but not as much as it had been before. This time I had notes of light sweet tobacco, dirt and earth, a little bit of smoke, a hint of peppercorn, and a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste. The bitterness is cut down a lot. I still never did find the jerky I had smelled in this tea earlier though. I want to like this tea and I do like this tea, but that bitterness I just can’t stand. I think (hope) that if this ages then the bitterness will go away. But I only have a sample of this and I don’t think I will let it last long enough to age!

I’m leaving the rating off for now since I’m not sure how I want to rate it yet.

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Dry aroma is sweet, vanilla, cold crisp winter earth, sweet tobacco, and jerky. The wet leaf aroma is earthy, smokey, sweet tobacco. It reminds me of when my dad and I used to sit on the porch in the spring watching the sunset while listening to classical music and he would smoke. Good memories.

No brewing instructions for this yet. So, I brewed this gaiwan style, boiling water, starting with 5 second infusions. First infusion was lightly earthy, like wheat fields that have already been sowed. There is a touch of vanilla, and a bit of peppercorn on the tip of the tongue that lasts into the aftertaste.

Second steep I get something that tastes like dirty potato skins, this is not a bad thing, sometimes you just don’t get all the dirt off! The vanilla was still there, as was the peppercorn. The bite of the peppercorn was a little subdued this time instead in your face.

Third steep was bitterness, ashy, and somehow juicy.

Four steep I lowered the temp down to 175* and didn’t preheat anything. I find this a good tactic when tea starts to become bitter. This steep was smokey, sweet tobacco, vanilla, juicy, creamy, dirty potatoes, and still some bitterness but not as bad. This was probably my favorite steep, getting all of these flavors, even with the bitterness!

Fifth steep, following same steeping parameters as #4, was juicy, bitter, and dirty. As it cooled I got a woody note, but the bitterness was too much, time to take a break.

I’m still trying to find that one sheng without bitterness or ashy notes when brewed gaiwan style. Unfortunately this isn’t it, not yet yet at least, maybe when it’s a bit more aged though.

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I’m not going into much of a detailed note on this one as I see that there are a few reviews that go into pretty good depth with it. I will say that when I first tried this tea I was not impressed. I didn’t care for it at all and was ready to give it away. I tried Bonnie’s advice and mixed it with a puerh. That helped a little bit, but I still didn’t care for it.

Over the weekend my husband got sick and has passed it onto me. I started drinking this last night. I did it western style. I put a generous amount of farmers market honey at the bottom of my cup and proceeded to brew this. This my fellow Steepsterites, this is the nectar of the gods when you are sick. It tastes so much better, it makes me feel a little bit better even though I know I am not. And the nice amount of honey sitting in the bottom of the cup that hasn’t mixed in is just delicious. I get the feeling I may finish this before I have the chance to pass it off!

I’m leaving the rating off of it because I don’t like it when I’m healthy, but it’s good when I’m sick…so I’m not quite sure how to rate it, so I’m just leaving it off.

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Hope you get better!

Invader Zim

Thank you JC!


I hope you feel better too. Boo for SO’s passing things onto us (but to be fair I’ve been guilty of it, too)


When you read the notes on this, it’s what the Chinese create for just this occasion (If being sick is an occasion!).
I think that the way I brewed mine with additions was to add some Laoshan Black (a pinch) and a small nugget of hard puer (for any of you who like Summer Imperial Breakfast Blend you get the idea of how this works) to the Ginger Sage per your measurement by the pot I’d say. Good for the stomach.


Good to have a tea for every occasion I guess! Hope you feel better soon :-)

Invader Zim

Rachel, I find it oddly amusing that the only time I get sick is when he gives it to me! But a week of sniffling, sneezing, runny nose, achy body, and headache isn’t that bad compared to the rest of the year!

Bonnie, I unfortunately don’t like black tea, nor did I like the Breakfast Blend, so I just stuck to puerh. But I will say that honey really does help for me. I didn’t think of making this by the pot…I don’t typically brew that way, but today that’s what I’m going to be doing!

TeaFairy, yes, this really does stand up to the occasion! Thank you!


OH YES! You’re the alien black tea hater! I forgot! I’m the alien flavored matcha ‘not gonna buy any’ person! OOPS!


Haha, I’m not a huuuuge fan of black tea either. It’s not bad, but it often leaves me underwhelmed. I don’t mind it in flavored blends, but on it’s own it’s rough. I’m still searching for an amazing black tea to knock me off my socks like green tea.

Invader Zim

Yes Bonnie I’m the alien black tea hater! I try some out from time to time to see if my tastes change, but no luck. Although, I think with all the other wonderful teas in the world, I’m not really upset about it!

Rachel, I haven’t even found a blended one I like. I’ve tried a few that are blended with green tea and that doesn’t even help. But I’m happy with all my other teas in the world!


Are you saying that you haven’t even found a flavored black you like? Like a strawberry black or desert tea?

Invader Zim

Nope, I haven’t found anything I like. The only tea that I found that contains black tea that I enjoy is the Chocolate Phoenix Chai from Verdant. I’ve tried the Dancong Black by itself since I liked that blend and I like dancong oolongs, but no go.

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Another sample I received from Zen Tea!

This one is a sencha base with gojiberries, lemongrass, cornflower petals, blueberry and pomegranate flavoring. Dry, it smells fairly potent, it’s sweet and tart, and pretty to look at. I can smell the pomegranate and blueberry quite predominately. Wet, the leaves gain a slight grassy scent to them.

Taste is sweet and tart. Not quite as potent as the dry smell though. This tea is dominated by the blueberry and pomegranate flavors. If I search I can find the lemongrass. I can’t say I taste much of the sencha base, if at all.

I can’t say I’m impressed with this tea. It’s not bad, I just like to taste my tea base. Unfortunately, I cannot in this blend. Maybe I’ll try this cold brewed, I might like it more that way. Even with me not caring for this tea, I have to say that I’m still impressed with Zen Tea. This is only one tea that I don’t care for out of five different teas I’ve tried from them. The rest I thought were all delicious! One out of five isn’t bad, plus I got an awesome yixing from them. I like this company!

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As a whole I really like Zen Tea’s teas too. I’m glad we get to sample them :)

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This was a free sample I received from Zen Tea!

It’s a small sample package, but it seems like I have enough for three cups worth. I’ve found with senchas that less is more. More leaf does not equal a better, stronger cup. It’s supposedly Ichiban Cha or first flush. Now, I like senchas, but I’ve never really been able to tell the difference between different pickings. Then again, I’ve never tried them side-by-side. So, I can’t say for certain that it is, only taking the word of the company, which I believe.

The dry leaf is a dark rich emerald color that smells sweet and grassy. The wet leaf is a gorgeous bright emerald that smells sweet, grassy, and buttery. The infusion is an amazing ghostly yellow-green color. It reminds me of Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf tea when infused.

The taste is amazing. It’s wonderfully sweet and grassy. There’s a smoothness to it with notes of butter and a hint of saltiness with a wonderful umami taste! I like this better than Mellow Monk’s Top Leaf.

My husband is sick and I let him have some and he more or less downed it. He said it was more for the warmth than the taste. But, since he is sick, I’m bound to get it and I can already feel my throat is scratchy after waking up this morning. This seems to help soothe it. I don’t know if it’s the warmth or the tea itself, I don’t care, it’s good either way!

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I’m an avid tea drinker, it’s what I drink all day and why I’m here. I don’t sweeten my teas except for the occasional iced tea or cold-brewed tea. I typically brew my teas with a brew basket in a 12 oz cup. If I brew another way I will always note it.

Dislikes: black teas, milk flavored oolongs, hibiscus, red rooibos, licorice, dessert teas, mate, guayusa.

Loves: straight teas, especially Chinese green teas, sencha, jasmine, dan congs, mint, coconut.

My ratings are based mostly on the smiley faces. If a tea is of good quality but not to my taste preference I try not to rate it because I think that is unfair.

I drink a lot of the same teas and will not record every time I drink them. I log them the first time I try them and then again if I did something different and/or got different results.

I also try to keep my cupboard updated to what I actually have for those that wish to swap, although some of them are merely samples.

100 – http://steepster.com/teas/verdant-tea/32720-hand-rolled-top-grade-jasmine



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