172 Tasting Notes

97

I’m feeling good right now because it’s a monday night and I have the day off from school tomorrow, so I can sit back and relax and know that I can drink as much tea as I want without having to worry about getting to sleep on time (it’s a daily struggle choosing between that last cup of tea and a good night’s sleep). It’s a nice, cool day here in eastern Pennsylvania. It’s been raining quite a bit and the air is nice and crisp as a result, I just love the smell and feel of the air after rain, and it’s setting the perfect tone for drinking this tea.

First of all, I just LOVE the way the downy buds of a silver needle look. I love the look of any bud-only tea. I also love the texture of silver needles when you drink them, that funny drying feeling on your tongue as the little hairs of the tea buds mingle with your taste buds.

Rishi’s silver needle is one of only two silver needles I’ve had previously to this one, and it’s definitely my favorite and is far sweeter compared to the other one that I had which was from Teavivre. As I imagined, that sweetness works really well with the flavor of jasmine. The sweetness of the buds blends perfectly with the intoxicating aroma and sweet taste of the jasmine, but the tea base still has enough oomph to it to balance it out (in the odd way that white teas can have oomph).

Right now, with this cup of tea in my hands, with the scent of sweet, floral jasmine wafting up at me through billows of hot steam, I am happy.

gmathis

I love your way with words. You write the most relaxing reviews ever!

Scatterbrain

Why thank you. :)

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26

I was craving bergamot and I had this lying around (untouched for ages) and out of desperation I brewed some up. Now I remember why I left it sitting. This stuff tastes how I imagine lavender scented perfume would taste, with a slight aftertaste of soap. On the bright side, I’m re-watching a fantastic documentary called “Wild China”. It shows different regions in China and explores each regions nature, wildlife and culture and let me tell you, it’s a BEAUTIFUL country with amazing people. On my list of top 5 places to visit in the world, China would be number one (with Japan and Canada following). But now I’m rambling a bit. But if you’re bored or looking for something with substance to watch and you have Netflix, you should definitely stream it or rent the discs. It’s a great documentary about a beautiful and culturally rich place (and, of course, the motherland of our precious tea).

TeaBrat

I saw that documentary a few months ago, it was wonderful!

ashmanra

I think Netflix still has “All in this Leaf” if you haven’t seen it yet, too!

Scatterbrain

Saw that, that was cool as well. I understand that the man in that documentary owned Silk Road Tea but I think he handed over ownership to somebody else, I wonder if the business is still run in the same way.

SimpliciTEA

Wild China sounds like a great documentary!

CHAroma

Adding it to the queue now!

Angrboda

Is it the BBC series? We’ve got that on DVD as well. It’s very good because it covers so many subjects. :)

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89

Man, a little jasmine tea is good for the soul. Nice and smooth with that fragrant and relaxing sweetness that only jasmine possesses. Not quite as sweet as other jasmines I’ve had, but it’s very good. The leaves are beautiful (albeit not quite as beautiful as pearls) and have little pieces of jasmine petals scattered throughout.

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98

Divine silky broth sliding through my lips gracefully and dancing on my tongue, fading away with a nutty tingle until the next compulsive sip to bring me to a state of zen.

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89

Alright, I’ve been playing around with it and the best flavor came on the second one minute steep at around 170 degrees. Nice and vegetal with a silky mouthfeel, a mineral flavor, and a trace of sweetness. There’s also a bit of a mouth-coating effect. Not mind blowing to me (that usually only happens to me with Japanese greens), but it’s very good. I just placed an order for the Yanxin’s Reserve ’04 Shu Nuggets, Yunnan Golden Buds, and Zhu Rong Black so I look forward to trying those.

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92

Having my last few steeps of this one and I’m sad to see it go. Definitely my favorite pu-erh now. I’m looking to buy more of their pu-erhs and blacks, what do you guys think are their best ones?

Kittenna

Have you tried any of their blacks?? I recall you ordered the Golden Fleece (am I right?) I just tried the four I had the other night, and would definitely recommend either Laoshan Black or Zhu Rong Yunnan Black. Both are pretty deliciously chocolatey. IIRC you’re on a limited budget, so I would not buy both as they are too similar. I preferred the Laoshan as it was more chocolatey, but really, they were both excellent. Personally, I am not a fan of Yunnan Golden Buds. Were you in Canada, I’d send you my package of it as I’m really not fond of it and unlikely to drink it (it’s too expensive to mail something that small to the US). I haven’t tried their other available black nor do I know much about it.

Unfortunately, although I have a bunch of pu’erhs in my cupboard, I have yet to try them, really. Perhaps go for the tasting kit?

Kittenna

Whoops, wrote a novel. Sorry! Can’t ever tell how long my messages are in this puny screen.

Scatterbrain

Haha, that’s alright. I appreciate long messages. I was considering buying the zhu rong, and every one of the pu-erhs sounds great…it’s so hard to choose! It’s not like I can try everything, it’s spendy stuff.

Bonnie

You get lots of value out of those tea’s though. No one steeping tea’s so they go a long way. And, I love that the farmers are paid a fair price. I’m on a fixed income…but as much as I can…I try to buy fair trade and organic.

Scatterbrain

Yeah, I definitely agree with you. I understand WHY the teas are expensive, it’s just that I don’t have much money to spend on tea. :)

Scatterbrain

What are your favorite pu-erhs of theirs Bonnie?

Bonnie

Wow, now that’s a quandry. I just ordered 1998 Xingyang…it’s an interesting experience that those who drink it say that they prefer to drink with friends because while it’s not a drug, people get a little ethereal. I tried it and liked it.
Then, I tried shu’s and sheng’s. I think a sampler would be best and David will make one up special if you only like dark musty ones or lighter puerhs. He did that for Ian. The smaller sample kit is $24.95 and has 4 Pu-erhs. I have some of the Puerh blends also. Spiced Elderberry, Imperial Breakfast all have Pu-erh in them.

LiberTEAS

Their Yanxin’s Reserve may just be my favorite Puerh of all time.

Scatterbrain

Just placed an order for the Yanxin’s Reserve ’04, Golden Buds, and Zhu Rong Black. :)

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90

This sample was generously provided to me by Bonnie (still haven’t figured out how to make words bold). I was very curious about trying a smoked tea, and just a bit apprehensive. The aroma of the dry leaf is INTENSE pine smoke.

My dad makes his own venison jerky in a backyard smoker using a combination of pinewood and hickory, and that’s what the smell of this tea reminded me of.

The flavor proved to be more mellow, and I have to say I liked it a lot. I didn’t expect to like it this much. It was smooth and surprisingly light, and there is something very refined about it. It reminded me of grilled vegetables and a good cigar. Thanks again, Bonnie!

Side note: I take my SAT’s tomorrow morning, wish me luck!

Bonnie

Put a star at the beginning and end of what you want to make bold! *Good Luck *

Bonnie

Oops…don’t leave spaces! Good Luck

Azzrian

Good luck!! :)

Scatterbrain

Thank you! :)

TeaBrat

good luck!

Michelle

And to do italics, do _ italics _ (but without spaces): italics! strikethrough is – strikethrough -

ashmanra

Cool! I knew bold but not italics and strike through. Woohoo! I can hardly wait to try them all! Oh wait, I just did!

Bonnie

shut-up sorry I SAID SORRY! This is only a test! ; )

Kittenna

Good luck on the SATs!!

Invader Zim

Don’t forget underline by using +

Ninavampi

Good luck!!!

Scatterbrain

Just got home, WOW. That felt like it was never going to end. I had to drive 40 minutes away to take the test and it was 5 hours of testing with 5 minute breaks every 50 minutes. Whew…

Bonnie

Hooray!

Scatterbrain

I was really nervous, but I know I did well. :)

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66

Another tea from my second round of samples provided by Teavivre. This is my first time trying a bi luo chun and the reason I chose it was honestly just that I thought the leaves looked cool, hehe. It’s definitely a beautiful looking tea. I wasn’t a HUGE fan of the taste, but that’s not to say that it’s not a good tea, I’m more casual with my reviews and usually rate based on whether or not I personally liked it. This tea was just a little flat tasting for me.

I definitely agree with what Ian said about the “saltiness”. There’s a definite alkaline taste to it, and other than that all I’m getting is your typical vegetal green flavor. All in all, I’ll happily drink it every now and then…it just didn’t captivate me in any way. Still a big fan of Teavivre, many thanks to them for the samples.

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97
drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
172 tasting notes

I’ve been drinking this a lot, the aroma of the dry leaf is out of this world and the taste is smooth and complex. I wish that Verdant would print individual tea steeping instructions for the specific kind, because on the label it says three minutes but on the website it says one minute and it’s MUCH better following the website’s instructions. Anyways, great stuff.

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89

I’ve enjoyed the other teas from Verdant so far very much, but I’m gonna refrain from rating this one as I feel like I HAVE to be brewing it wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I like this tea and I think it’s quite a good one, but I’ve been trying hard to see why everyone seems to be blown away by it and why I paid so much for it, but I can’t. To me it tastes very similar to the dragonwell that I have in my cupboard. I’m really not trying to be critical, I just want to figure out if it’s my fault before I waste the rest brewing it incorrectly. Any suggestions?

Invader Zim

I haven’t tried this one myself yet (just got it in the mail today), but according to Verdants’ site the preferred method of brewing this tea is with a gaiwan. If you’re brewing it western style the site says to use 1 teaspoon of tea per cup of water with 175F water and to let it steep for no more than 1 minute.

Kittenna

I’m not sure I was totally blown away by this one either, although it was good. I seem to favour the Jingshan Green and Dragonwell from Verdant. Do try it with short infusions though (even if not with a gaiwan), because by far the best flavours come out then :)

SimpliciTEA

I haven’t had this year’s, but last years First Picking was (and still is) pretty tasty. I will say that to get Verdant Tea’s Early Summer Laoshan Green to have reasonable flavor I had to fiddle with the brewing parameters some (with some suggestions from David and a fellow blogger); I still have some of it, and although I normally start my Chinese greens at 170F for 1 minute, I found that going up to 180F for 2 minutes helped considerably with the flavor. As others have mentioned, I bet a smaller brewing vessel helps, but I don’t imagine it’s necessary to yield reasonably good flavor from the leaves. You can always shoot David an e-mail (as I have) and tell him what you’re doing, and what you’re looking for, and he should at least be able to offer some pointers.

Sometimes the flavors in green teas are delicate enough that their better characteristics may be hard to ferret out (at least they are for me, sometimes).

Good luck!

Scatterbrain

Thanks everyone.

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Bio

My name is Kyle. I love good tea, a good book, the great outdoors, and I am passionate about music. I also find enjoyment in writing and mountain biking here in beautiful Central Oregon.

Tea is a hugely misunderstood and under-appreciated gift in the western world, and my hope is to spread the gift of quality tea. It is communion between the passion of man and the raw beauty of nature. It is art, and it is therapy. I hope you enjoy my writings.

Location

Bend, Oregon

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