At long last I return, and not only that, but I bring all of you Steepsterites a review of sketchy Verdant pu-erh. Me and Verdant pu have a turbulent relationship at best. I know it’s bad for me and I know not to believe anything about it, but I just can’t leave it behind. In other words, I know better than to believe the marketing and I know I can get better tea elsewhere, yet I still have to dip my toes into the murk and try some of their offerings every now and then. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the experience and other times I’m bitterly disappointed. Fortunately, this proved to be one of my better Verdant pu experiences.
I gongfued this tea. After a 20 second rinse, I steeped approximately 9 grams of compressed tea leaves in 5 ounces of 205 F water for 10 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 subsequent infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaves emitted very mild aromas of old books, must, moist earth, cedar, and straw. After the rinse, I found new cream, butter, and yeast roll aromas. The first proper infusion then brought out a scent of moss on the nose. In the mouth, I noted flavors of earth, cedar, straw, cream, butter, yeast roll, must, and moss underscored by brown sugar sweetness. Subsequent infusions introduced malty impressions and hints of sticky rice to the nose. In the mouth, I began to find notes of malt, caramel, sticky rice, roasted almond, candied orange peel, lotus, cocoa, custard, minerals, and plum to go with stronger notes of brown sugar. There was something of a spicy, grainy note as well. Verdant described it as tatami, and I can see it, so I’m calling it that. In a few places, I also found some subtle impressions of black cherry. The later infusions offered notes of minerals, malt, moist earth, cream, and moss backed by lingering traces of must, straw, plum, sticky rice, and brown sugar.
As mentioned above, I enjoyed this ripe pu-erh. I tend to be a fan of gongting shu, and I am especially fond of the mini tuocha form, so it should not come as much of a surprise that I was willing to open myself up to this tea. This reminded me a great deal of some of the better shu mini tuos I have tried to this point; specifically, those produced by Haiwan kept coming to mind. Overall, this tea was worth trying, and since it was so smooth and approachable (no real fish pond funkiness), I think it would make a near perfect introduction to shu pu-erh for those who are curious.
Flavors: Almond, Brown Sugar, Butter, Caramel, Cedar, Cherry, Cocoa, Cream, Custard, Earth, Floral, Malt, Mineral, Moss, Musty, Orange, Plums, Rice, Spicy, Straw