368 Tasting Notes
Using up the last of this leaf today.
Picking it apart never got any easier.
I’m glad Verdant has added some new options which include some excellent, venerable shou teas which are not this tightly packed.
I feel very nostalgic saying “sip down!”.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This tea tastes like baby sheng. Proto-sheng.
The more leaf to water ratio, the more true it gets. I’ve packed my yixing quite tight today to use up the leaf and my cup is redolent with the kinds of camphor, pine and earth notes one would expect to find in an aged raw tea.
Delightful as it lacks the harsh edges which develop on those notes in a young sheng and at a much lower price point than a mature, venerable sheng.
I’m starting to worry I’m the only one still drinking Verdant tea I’ve had to add so many of their teas to the database.
Oh God the difference a decade makes. Anything older than 2006 is always so fundamentally different from anything younger.
The leaf is like nothing I’ve seen. It is big, soft, largely intact.
The dry leaf has almost no aroma at all except a deep, base note earthiness.
The wet leaf is ancient forest soil after a steady autumn rain. But there’s no “storage humidity” here, amazingly enough.
The cup is sweet, dusty, thick, lingering and soft.
This is tea.
I find that sad. The teas they’ve offered for years are wonderful and the new teas they’re bringing online are even better — including some newly sourced pu-erh which will be much more solid in terms of provenance compared to what a lot of people are drinking and without resorting to Westerners stepping in to produce the tea themselves (which bothers me as a business model).
This is a fascinating tea.
It makes me think of a bai mu dan or peony white tea. It has that kind of fruity, floral aspect to it that you get from fuzzy buds.
The December TotM samples have arrived and they are all teas Verdant has never offered before, so there isn’t even info on their website yet about these teas. This is distinct from the “Wuyi Gongfu Black” on their website which they have been offering for some time, just to be clear.
This is not a smoked tea. But it is almost as “smoky” in characteristics as the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong which the same family produces EXCEPT that this one isn’t actually smoked. You really can pick up the fact that the leaves (from different trees) are growing in the same soil, sunlight, rainfall &c. The taste of the place is really present. Something I’m enjoying more and more about having so many teas from just a handful of farms is discovering how the leaf itself shines through all that various processing and manipulating.
I have described Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong as “petting zoo” and there’s a teensy bit of that here, but not nearly as powerfully. A bright, amber tang cuts through almost as if this were a blend with assam.
The biggest notes however come right out of the write-up in the TotM box “mossy” and perhaps even a bit musty, like a humid shou pu-erh.
This is a great addition to Verdant’s rapidly growing selection of exceptional and unusual teas.
Flavors: Marzipan, Moss, Smoke, Wet Wood
Having just had a very excellent (Texas sourced) orange blossom honey mead over Christmas, I can actually get my head to Verdant’s note on this tea having orange blossom honey characteristics. It isn’t the sugar sweetness, obviously, but more that almost musky, floral tang that lighter, sweeter honey’s have.
Tulsi is “holy basil” and I think if you’re going to call this tea “vegetal” you probably can’t go any greener than that. It isn’t at all “vegetal” in the sense that a dragon well or Japanese green tea is. There’s no big bass notes of chard or kombu here. No, this tea is like a giggling child on a Summer’s picnic. Sandals forgotten, sun dress smudged and too often askew, but having far too much fun to care about such details. Light and bouncing.
I still get the “someday I’ll grow up and be an old sheng” thing, which really is a ton of fun. Tasting what tea will become someday feels like a super power or something.
Verdant says cedar, I’d have gone with sandalwood, myself.
Having had Laoshan black (the chocolate tea) yesterday I’m not getting their chocolate note here, but perhaps next time.
Flavors: Floral, Tulsi, Wood
I’ve had this tea many, many, many, many times.
We call it “chocolate tea”.
Today I’m getting overwhelming notes of heavily buttered, fresh, hot, honey whole wheat toast. Real talk.
Flavors: Butter, Honey, Toast, Wheat
More hybrid steeping of TotM wuyi oolongs.
But I’m back in Houston now, so this is the last of these, and in fact, I actually drank this tea over the weekend.
The write-up is right-on. Big roast, big floral.
I’m looking forward to deciding which of these new wuyi to work into my standard rotation of daily drinkers.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted
This tea brews up with an amazingly pale cup for how powerful the aroma of both the wet leaf and liqueur are. I am enjoying my mug immensely even though it looks almost like it is just full of hot water.
This tea has a strong, grassy base, but there’s no bitterness at all. There’s a kind of soy milk smooth, nutty sweetness as well.
(again, I’m brewing this hybrid style in a large pot, lots of leaf and very short steep times – I’m looking forward to my more typical [and recommended] grandpa style when I get back home from the holidays)
Flavors: Grass, Milk, Peas, Soybean
Yet another November TotM sample from the new wuyi offerings from Verdant.
This pot is very floral and yet is still clearly a wuyi with strong roast notes.
Very unusual, I’m brewing this in a hybrid between gongfu and western, with a large English style tea pot but using a lot of leaf and pulling the basket very quickly after pouring the water. I hope to get back to this leaf with a more orthodox set up sometime soon.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Roasted Barley