119 Tasting Notes

drank Caramel Cream Mate by Fusion Teas
119 tasting notes

Backlog! Thank you very much to Fusion Tea Room for sending me this generously sized sample!

Compared to the Coco-Raspberry Mate this one is simply an “eh” tea. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, it’s just somewhat unremarkable. I definitely plan on making this one again with milk so I can play around with the taste a little more, but for now this one gets a medium rating in my book.

180 °F / 82 °C 7 min, 30 sec

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Tieguanyin time!

Truthfully, this tea is the sole reason that I made my order at Verdant. I knew that I had my monthly tea allowance to spend so I decided to just save some money and spend it all at one place. Needless to say, however, I’m super excited for this one. I feel like I ramble on too much during my infusion notes so I’m going to try and make this one as brief as possible.

First Infusion
Rinse with 208F for ~15 seconds, steep with 205F for 1 minute. The second I poured the water on the leaves, a strong aroma of fresh spinach filled my nostrils. That quickly faded a certain fresh aroma that I can’t place has somewhat masked it. This is really good! I can see why David described this as the Essence of Spring-it definitely tastes very fresh and floral and almost like that new smell in the air that you associate with spring. This is super good!

Second Infusion
208F for 1 minute and 15 seconds. Again I got a spinach-like aroma that dissipated really quickly. This infusion is a bit grassier than the first, but there’s a super sweet rock-candy-esque aftertaste. As this one cools, the floral notes come out more. This one is yummy too!

Third Infusion
208F for 1 minute and 30 seconds. This one is a lot more floral! Wow, this tastes like flower juice! I’m 98.6% sure that this is my favorite out of all of the infusions so far. This is magnificently floral and sweet, and it does taste like spring in a cup! I’m getting exhausted and (although this tea is extraordinary), I’m ready to change teas! This one has lasted me practically all day!

So far, all of my teas from Verdant have been AMAZING! I’m so glad I have two more to try but I’m going to try and space out my trying of them so I don’t ware them all out at once!


Yep amazing!

Joshua Smith

I kinda wish I had gotten some of this with my most recent order, but I was already spending $50 in one order…

Anyway, this is definitely going on my shopping list for when some space in my box-o- tea opens up.

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I actually have no idea if that’s how you say the second because I take French not Spanish :P. I was going to try and make the Spring Tieguanyin but I don’t have enough patience or the right environment to do that in right now, so I figured I’d make this one! I’m realllllly hoping that this ends up tasting like the reviews say it does because they make this sound like heaven in a cup.

I’ve never seen a tea like this before. I am familiar with pu-erh bricks and I’ve seen those before, and I’ve seen loose pu-erh, but I’ve never before seen a nugget…. They’re actually kind of cute in a way! I’m brewing this one western style as I still have not gotten my hands on a gaiwan or a yixing teapot, but I do know that Teavana has yixings (alright, well not true ones, more like mass produced ones, but a yixing is a yixing right?!?) and I’ll be near one when I go to Pennsylvania next weekend, so I plan to pick one up while I’m there! Anyways, back to the point at hand, I put two full sized and then one little baby nugget in the infuser basket and did a double rinse with 208 degree water, both for ~15 seconds.

First Infusion-205 degrees for 3 minutes. This is interesting because it didn’t brew up to that dark color that every other shu I’ve had (not that I’m experienced, because I’m not by a long shot!) has done. It looks more like a regular black tea, with a deep amber color, almost like maple syrup. It smells somewhat earthy, maybe a little hay-like. Oh my goodness (on a side note, I can’t handle how many times I’ve said the phrases “OMG,” “oh my god,” and “oh my goodness” in these past few reviews, it’s actually getting kind of ridiculous). This tea is so amazing. There’s nothing added to my cup and yet it tastes so naturally sweet. I can see why this would be compared to angel food cake! There’s a nice graininess that lends itself to the actual cake, and then there’s a nice sugary note that sweetness the entire thing. I am not disappointed at all. This is so incredibly interesting and delicious. I could easily see myself drinking this all day but unfortunately until I have a method of gongfu brewing, I can only really make 4-5 infusions with one set of leaves :(. le sob that’s actually so upsetting because if I used a gaiwan I suspect that I could easily make this tea all day without the leaves ever running out of steam. But, regardless, there’s no use crying over spilled milk (or in this case, there’s no use crying over milk that you don’t have), so I will have to live with my (more than functional) current brewing vessels.

Second Infusion-208 degrees for 3 minutes and 30 seconds. I just noticed how much I rambled on the first infusion notes and I would like to apologize for making you read my incoherent babbling :P. This infusion has a lot more of an earthy feel to it, though there is still a nice sweetness. I don’t know if anyone else has gotten this, but I get a wine-like flavor as an aftertaste…. Maybe it’s the elderberry that David mentions on the website? I’m not familiar with elderberry so I have no idea, but there is definitely a dark, fruity flavor. This is also really nice. It’s pretty late and I’m beat so it looks like this session will only get two infusions, but this was SUPER good, and I’m so glad I asked for this! Thanks again David and the folks at Verdant Tea!


Very good and passionate review! Oh my goodness Ian! I have this yet to taste in my cupboard!


Thanks Bonnie! I’d like to say it came from the heart but it would probably be more accurate to say that it came from my sleep deprivation :P. I was so excited to try this one! And it lived up to my expectations which is even better!


Oh man. Now I want to try this one rightnow . But I’ve already done the multi-infusion thing tonight, and am tired. Sigh. Perhaps tomorrow night…


Actually… not all yixing are created equal. Personally, I think you’d be better off purchasing a cheap gaiwan. There are several online sources, or if you come across an Asian Tea Shop you can probably find one quite inexpensively there. I use my gaiwan daily, but the Yixing that I have I use only when I brew the tea that I have dedicated to that yixing. (I have one for jasmine tea, one for yellow tea and one for Ali Shan Oolong).


My sister-in-law has a Teavana yixing that she got for Christmas. Now, she’s pretty much ignorant about a lot of tea things, so I’m not sure how mint tea would actually go well with a yixing, but that’s what she decided to use it with.
The things I liked about hers, when we used it the first time, was that it did stay very warm and kept the tea hot. The downside was we had yixing cups with it too and I didn’t like the graininess of the texture. I thought that overall that it was pretty, but I’m pretty sure that if purchased they should be more than that.
I don’t know if that’ll help!

Autumn Hearth

Sigh I had to place another Verdant order today for this and the Twin Elephant Shu as it said it was getting low in stock. I had to remove the Corn Shu when I realized I had hit $40 (my last order was $60 and that was less than a month ago, so I told myself the Corn could wait till the summer). But I’m looking forward to this!


Hey Ian! If you are looking for an easy gongfu brewing method, I would get the small perfect cup tea maker from teavanna, or something like it from adagio or davidsteas. I have the teavanna version and it works well. The thing I like the most about these types of brewing vessels is the ease and quickness of the pour. Just put it on your cup(or if the cup is too big, you can manually press the release “valve”) and you get a nice consistent pour. For me, this really helps with steep times. I have 3 “yixing” pots from teavanna(2 of the small mouse pots and 1 12ish oz lizard pot. My problem with the is if you get any leaf stuck in the spout it can take 10+ seconds to drain your pot. Now that is ok if you are doing a western steep, but gets annoying if you are trying to do a 5 or 6 second steep of something like a dancong….

As for the shu nuggets, I received some as a sample when I made a puer order, and so far it is the only shu I like. Nicely sweet, and lacking the moldy/musty smell and taste of some other shu’s I have tried.

Here is why I will always continue to buy tea from verdant… I was at work one day and sent David an email regarding puer teas, and my aversion to the moldy/mustiness. Within a few hours(probably 1 or 2, not 100% sure) David sent me a response to my questions. I ended up getting the yiwu sheng, farmers co-op sheng, and star of bulang sheng. With the order was the sample of the nuggets, and hand written on the bag was “our least musty shu.” David could have sent any kind of sample he wanted to, but took the effort to send something he thought best fit my preferences! Needless to say I was, and am very impressed with Verdant.
Lol my only problem is right now I have soooo much tea that I am going to have to hold off a bit on my orders until I can catch up!

Sorry for the long post, hopefully it may be helpful :)

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drank Yunnan Golden Buds by Verdant Tea
119 tasting notes


Included in the package were the four teas that David generously let me custom pick for a sampler pack, a generously sized sample of the Wuyi Mountain Big Red Robe, and a nice handwritten note from David! Verdant is truly such a wonderful company and I can’t wait to order from them in the future!

I got my package last night on my way home from a Fair Trade event that I hosted at our school with the Environmental Club (it was pretty successful, a good number of people came!) and my mom handed me this package in the car! I freaked and ripped it open (in the car :P) with the cap to a soda bottle (one of the ones that are reminiscent of a beer bottle)! Obviously I couldn’t try them at 9 at night, so I had to wait until now to try them! I picked this one because a black tea always makes sense to me in the morning.

Dry, this one smells so good! It’s got kind of a peppery scent, with a sweet aroma somewhere in the mix! I followed the directions and used a tablespoon and a half of leaves for my cup. I used a bottle of filtered spring water for this because I’m a firm believer that high quality teas should be made with pure, untainted water. Steeped, the aroma is very similar, but a honey like scent has come out. The color is a really nice golden amber. This is a fine example of a beautiful cup of tea.

The first steep is yummy! A nice honey taste is present and there’s a slight spiciness in the background, crawling around. It’s a bit dry on the swallow, but a nice juiciness arises just before the finish. Alright, I’m breaking down and adding a little bit of honey to this for good measure! I didn’t add too much, but OH MY GOD! This is delicious! I agree with every other review-this tastes like you’re drinking honey candies! I’m not generally a fan of pure honey, but this is so nice! Sweet and then there’s still that spicy note in the background. This is delicious. Truly liquid gold.

Second Steep-Boiling water for 3 and a half minutes. OMNOMNOMNOMNOM! This one is so good! Even better than the first! The honey is more subdued and the other flavors come out more! There’s still as nice lingering sweetness, and the astringency has all but disappeared! This is very good! I can’t wait to try the other teas I got!!!!

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

Sounds amazing, I love honey-like teas!


You’d definitely enjoy this one! It has maybe the strongest natural honey taste that I’ve ever experienced in a tea, and with a little honey added….. OUT OF BOUNDS!


What teas did you get in your order? I’m thinking of putting one in to them too! :)


I got this one, the new Spring Tieguanyin (super excited about that one!), the Yanxin’s Reserve 04 Shu Nuggets, and the Artisan Revival Banzhang 06 Sheng! I’m so excited about all of them, and I’m trying to gobble them all down at once!

Dylan Oxford

Sounds like an excellent tea


Everyone’s reviews make me feel like I have to place an order even though I have 30293920 teas…everything sounds way too good!


Sounds awesome! I’m totally wanting the Yanxin Reserve 04 shu nuggets! The reviews make it sound heavenly! I’m thinking of buying the oolong sampler which includes the spring tieguanyin as well. That one has a dancong oolong and how can I turn that down? :p


@Dylan-This was by far one of the best straight up teas I’ve had in a while, if not ever

@Amanda-Welcome to my life! :P I guess it’s a healthy thing to want more of though!

@Tamm-That’s exactly why I got the Yanxin nuggets. The description on the website made it sound incredible but once I read LiberTEAS review of, I knew that I HAD to have it. Unfortunately, David didn’t release the Oolong sampler until after I placed my order, or I probably would have gone with just that one. But, I still am more than happy with the samples I got!


lolol blasted LiberTEAS and awesome reviews! I’m going to be poor! I have never purchsed from them before so I’m pretty excited.


You are a joy to any mother can I just say that? Your mother has to be super proud of you! Your one intelligent, creative, guy!


So far there isn’t anything I haven’t liked but the Laoshan Black is fantastic too if anyone has never ordered from Verdant before!

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drank Valentines by Adagio Teas
119 tasting notes

Another Backlog! Again, thank you to Amanda!

This was pretty nice! I think that it’s really comparable to Love Tea #7 from Davids, but I think I like that one a little more. This one was good but it was rather unremarkable to me. The chocolate was nice and had a sort of….. nutty? flavor that I can’t really put my finger on, but it was good! The strawberry wasn’t very strong, which was kind of disappointing because I’m still searching for a chocolate-strawberry blend that I really like!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Thanks to Amanda for this tea! This was pretty nice! “Black” (is that the right term for tea with no additions?!?!), the flavors were somewhat subdued but once I added a little bit of sugar, the flavors really came out! It’s not as good as the Coco Raspberry Mate from Fusion, but it is comparable!

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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drank Tarocco Ruby Orange by Teavana
119 tasting notes

Many thanks to Amanda for sending me a huge amount of this!

This is actually pretty good! It does have a TON of hibiscus in it, so I added a little tiny bit of sugar to help ease of the tartness. It is still pretty tart, but it’s enjoyable! The blood orange really compliments the other ingredients and the result ends up being a pretty fruity blend that is purely delicious!

Thanks again Amanda!

Boiling 7 min, 30 sec
Autumn Hearth

This is really good for making an iced green tea. I miss it for that.

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drank Bun Kicker by Compass Teas
119 tasting notes

So, like many other Steepsterites, I’m making an attempt at Spring Cleaning! Part of this (okay, most of this) is clearing out all my samples! So, I have a big pile of stuff that I have set out on my counter that I’m going to try to get through by the end of the weekend!

This was one of the teas sent to me by LiberTEAS. This smells absolutely DIVINE! Like an actual cinnamon bun, sweet and slightly spicy! The taste is pretty darn good, too! This tastes a lot like a cinnamon bun, with a little bit of tang that I can’t put my finger on, but I’d blame it on the hibiscus and the orange peel. A nice, sweet, frosting taste comes out at as an aftertaste, and it’s absolutely delicious!

Hooray! That makes two teas today that are really good! Let’s keep this going!

Boiling 7 min, 30 sec

The name of this one makes me giggle :D

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drank Cocoa Raspberry Mate by Fusion Teas
119 tasting notes

Backlog from this morning! Many thanks to Fusion Tea Room for sending me this!


This is actually amazing. I would bathe in this if possible. The mate is nice and robust and the sweetness of the raspberry and chocolate really compliments it nicely. This really does taste legitimately like a chocolate raspberry truffle! This will definitely be a part of a purchase from Fusion! Thanks again guys!

185 °F / 85 °C 7 min, 30 sec

WANT! :)


I would of included some had I known it would be this delicious! Next time!


Oooooh! Can’t wait for my samples to arrive (although don’t think I requested this one, sadly.)

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drank Cherry Cheesecake Genmaicha by 52teas
119 tasting notes

Thank you to Amy oh for sending me a generous amount of this tea! I’ve been eyeing this one for a long time and I’m so excited to finally get to try it.

Dry, this one smells tart. I know that tart isn’t really something that one usually describes a smell as but that’s the only word I can think of. Once I poured the water on the leaves, though, the scent immediately changed! The toastiness of the genmaicha really came out during the steeping and the cherry took the backseat. The tea smells sweet and yummy, like cherries.

So, the verdict-this is good! It doesn’t taste exactly like I thought I would but it is pretty nice. I think I really agree with what LiberTEAS said about this-I can taste the cherry, I can taste the cheesecake aspect, and I can taste the delicious toasty flavor of the genmaicha. But, I don’t see this as cherry cheesecake. It is good, but it doesn’t really taste like what I thought it would.

Thank you again Amy oh for letting me try this!

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

I thought the same thing. I was disappointed.


I was thinking of buying this. Would you say that it is worthwhile?


How much tea did you use per cup? I tried this today and haven’t gotten around to writing a note yet, but I didn’t really get the cherry or the cheesecake


I had problems getting this to come out right too. :(


@Incendiare-It depends on your taste. Now that I’ve tried it, I wouldn’t personally buy it. However, if you like genmaicha and you like cherries, I would recommend it.

@Emilie-I used between 1.5 and 2 teaspoons. I also made sure I got some dried cherries in the basket so I could get the full cherry flavor. As for the cheesecake aspect, I think that came with adding more physical leaf into the tea, so I would try that if I were you! Also, I made sure not to put a TON of rice in the basket because it tends to dull down the other flavors.


My problem is that I love genmaicha and like cherries, but am not sure how they would be together haha. I can’t really imagine it. The tartness of cherry and toasty-ness from the genmaicha sound like they wouldn’t get along.


I thought they wen pretty well together. It is kid of hard to get though. I would describe it as eating a rice cake with cherry preserves on it.

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I’m Ian and I’m a 15 year old student who lives in Vermont. I started (heavily) drinking tea in Late 2010 and have been obsessed ever since!

I tend to drink more black and herbal teas, though I do enjoy oolong, green, and white, and I’m exploring other facets of the tea world (I’m still trying with pu-erh!)

I tend to lean towards sweeter and fruity flavors in my teas, and I’m not a big fan of smoky flavored teas, or anything that’s VERY bold.

I also enjoy a cup of coffee every once and a while, though it does mess with my stomach sometimes so I don’t drink it as often as I drink tea.

In addition to tea drinking, I’m also really interested in:
Classical music (I’ve been playing clarinet for 5 years now and it’s my favorite thing to do), independent arts/music, education on environmental sustainability, reading, Fair Trade and safe-trade practices, Cognitive science, art history, and a lot more.

I’m open to swaps, but I don’t have a very wide collection. Regardless, if I review a tea and you would like a sample, feel free to message me and we can work something out! If you would like to just try something without a swap, feel free to ask too! I know that I personally don’t have a lot of teas to swap and if you’re in the same position as me just feel free to ask for a sample and I’ll send you some, no strings attached!

I run a blog on TeaTrade which you can find here: http://serendipitea.teatra.de/. The goal of my blog is to better connect tea with the arts and go beyond just the taste aspect of tea. Enjoy!





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