I’m steadily making my way through the incredible number of samples Verdant sent me a month or so ago. This tea is the reserve version of the Traditional Tieguanyin Verdant made available earlier in the year. I loved the regular version, and while I thought this version was milder, I really like this one too.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. Again, I followed the suggestions on Verdant Tea’s website. Following a 10 second rinse, I steeped 5 grams of loose tea leaves in 4 ounces of 208 F water for 10 seconds. I followed this initial infusion up with 11 subsequent infusions, increasing the steep time by 2 seconds per infusion. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 14 seconds, 16 seconds, 18 seconds, 20 seconds, 22 seconds, 24 seconds, 26 seconds, 28 seconds, 30 seconds, 32 seconds, and 34 seconds.
Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves displayed a mild aroma reminiscent of a mixture of ripe plantain, graham cracker, cinnamon, wood, and dried flowers. Following the rinse, the wet leaves displayed aromas of caramelized plantains, white grapes, violets, graham cracker, coffee, wood, cream, and butter. The first infusion produced a similar aroma, as well as strong savory notes of cream, butter, and vanilla bean balanced by floral touches of violet, saffron, chrysanthemum, and marigold, as well as hints of leaf vegetables, coffee, caramelized plantains, cinnamon, graham cracker, white grape, and wood. The next 3 infusions saw the floral aromas increase in strength, as well as hints of spiciness more fully emerge. I detected notes of cream, butter, vanilla bean, caramelized plantains, coffee, graham cracker, wood, chrysanthemum, saffron, marigold, and violet joined by a much clearer touch of white grape, as well as subtle flavors of cracked pepper, minerals, cinnamon, and cardamom. On the next several infusions, the spiciness emerged more fully on the nose, while the fruity notes of white grape began to increase in strength. The savory aromas and flavors remained, though the floral aromas and flavors began to fade a bit. The vegetal undercurrent that I had briefly noted on the first infusion also began to make itself more known. The flavor somewhat reminded me of cooked lettuce. On the final 2-3 infusions, I noticed that the cream, butter, and white grape notes remained, balanced by notes of lettuce, minerals, cinnamon, wood, cardamom, and perhaps a touch of vanilla bean and coffee.
I really like this oolong. Compared to Verdant’s regular Traditional Tieguanyin, this is smoother. I could see fans of traditional roasted oolongs being into this one.
Flavors: Butter, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Coffee, Cream, Floral, Fruity, Graham, Lettuce, Mineral, Pepper, Saffron, Vanilla, Violet, White Grapes, Wood