114 Tasting Notes
So, I finally made some time to sit down and really enjoy this tea and I’d like to think it was worth it!
I followed the instructions on Verdant’s site, once again (boiling water; very short, frequent infusions; a LOT of tea (6 g for 140 ml water), including a very quick rinse). I can’t stress enough how wonderful the dry leaves smelled – so floral and fragrant.
The wet leaves were suddenly a LOT more vegetal. The same was true of the first two infusions (6" and 8" respectively). The tea had a lovely jasmine-like aroma, still, and was a pale-gold colour.
Infusions 3-12(and, tbh, it probably could have gone for a good few more, but I really think I’ve had enough for one day…!) were much more to my liking – these were 8-10" until the 8th steep, 9 was 16" (too weak), 10 and 11 were 30" (good) and 12 was 60" (excellent). These infusions were all deliciously floral, light and refreshing. No bitterness at all and had low astringency. In colour, they ranged from pale-gold to, for the later steeps, pale-green.
The latter steeps were particularly sweet and floral, excluding the slightly rubbish 8th and 9th ones (though I only have myself to blame for that – the leaves had been resting for 3 hours between the 6th and 7th steeps – the 7th was great because of all of the flavour retained on the leaves, but I should have ramped up the times a fair bit afterwards. Still, I live and learn). The 7th steep also had a very gentle buttery flavour, which was most welcome. Really delicious.
Definitely glad I gave this one a try :D Now that I have this delightful green oolong to use as a benchmark, in the Gaiwan, I think I can finally set about doing some Gong Fu brews of some of my Butiki oolongs – they all smell so wonderful (though very different) that I’m sure I’ll love them all too.
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Orchid, Vegetal
Well now. What a treat.
I took this along to the Hospice with me this week, as they have an ace filtered water-heater, so I knew I’d be able to enjoy it properly. The other volunteers were really impressed by how the leaves looked and smelled – lovely long, slightly curly leaves with an amazing dark chocolate and baked bread smell. Heavenly.
The brews didn’t disappoint me either. An amazingly chocolatey, bready cup. It has an exceptional, dark, almost savour aroma that so deliciously compliments the golden-brown/mahogany liquor. I got through 3 or 4 steeps before I had to leave (and, unfortunately, had to throw out the leaves, which probably could have gone again once or twice more).
As with the Yunnan White Jasmine, I oversteeped the second and third cups a little (making them a little more bitter than they probably ought to have been). It was still delicious, though, and (if anything) made the tea a little more yeast/bread like, with wonderful honey notes – definitely not a problem! It just reinforced the lovely chocolate-in-the-bakery atmosphere this tea had already conjured up.
I just can’t fault this tea. Marvellous.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dark Chocolate, Honey, Yeast
I’m not gonna lie – I was super excited about this tea. The updated description of it, on Verdant’s site, just added to everything. When it arrived, it was the first I opened to smell and my goodness – what a delightful smell! So sweet and almost pungent with Jasmine. But it really did (and does!) smell like real blossoms; not artificial, at all.
So, I went and made myself a good mug-full of this yesterday, after receiving some extremely distressing news about an elderly lady I’d grown to love. I needed a good distraction, and something sweet and comforting, and this tea really seemed like it would fit the bill.
After the 30" steep (6g in 300ml, as per instructions on Verdant’s site), I was hit by just the most wonderfully sweet, honey-like Jasmine aroma. And the taste… Well, I was sceptical when I saw a description of bubblegum-like. But it almost is like a perfect, fruit-flavoured bubblegum. Honey, jasmine, vanilla, cinnamon, banana… Just amazing! Though this is obviously a jasmine tea, it’s so complex and wonderful. There’s a mild, fruity astringency, but no bitterness in this cup at all.
I drank another three steeps yesterday (all amazing, though I overbrewed the second and third so they were a little bitter) – they were slightly less complex, but still flavoursome and full of jasmine.
I did another two steeps so far today (2" and 3" respectively) – the silver needle base is more prominent now, with its delicious peach-and-apricot notes. The jasmine is still very much present – I can’t believe how long the flavour has lasted for! I still have the leaves and will probably have a cup or two more with them (and, perhaps, a few more if they’re still going).
My only caveat with this tea is how damn expensive it is hahaha. $8 for 1oz, which only makes 4 lots of brews in this manner, is quite a lot to ask for. I can appreciate that, given how thorough and no-doubt labour-intensive it is, the production requires a fairly steep asking price. But it is nonetheless, for me, a small downside.
Still, it doesn’t take much away from this incredible tea; I’ll just have to make it a treat and really make sure I savour every drop. I can’t recommend it enough.
Flavors: Apricot, Banana, Cinnamon, Honey, Jasmine, Vanilla
Treated myself to another round of this tea today. Just what I needed this morning – I missed breakfast and then had to wait 40 minutes for the bus (which should be every 10 minutes…), meaning I was late to my volunteering shift :(
Thankfully, a few cups of this and a couple of rounds of buttered toast later, all was well. This tea was a really perfect accompaniment for the toast, actually.
I’m also about half-way through my bag of the stuff… It’s still on sale, so maybe I’ll get some more before it goes/gets dear again…!
So, Puerh #2 on my list… After a pretty good start with the lovely Canton Loose Puerh, I thought I’d give this a go! It’s pretty chilly here today, so there was a definite appeal to an entire teapot of rich, dark-ish tea.
The little tuo, on unwrapping, didn’t smell terribly strong – it was certainly milder than the loose leaves of the other one I’ve tried. Still, there was no fishiness, a complaint I often read levelled against mini tuo cha, so that was a good sign.
After a quick rinse in my little cup (total volume ~100ml or so), I drained the cup and transferred the still largely intact tuo into my 600ml tea pot (I did, of course, give them a good smell beforehand – a lovely, quite sweet aroma. Kinda wet-forest-y, like some others have said, and also somewhat vanilla like. Lovely!) I filled to near the top and left it to steep, as suggested.
I gave it a try after 7 mins; it was lovely and smooth, with a pleasant sweetness, but still a little mild – I finished the cup that I’d poured and then just left it for a little longer. After ~10 mins, the liquor was nice and dark and delightful to drink – sweet, smooth and pretty full-bodied. I got plenty of sweet notes, along with (amazingly) the Black Pepper note that someone else mentioned – it’s true! That’s also what the aroma of the leaves kinda reminds me of. It was also somewhat creamy. There was no bitterness or astringency.
As I was only taking small cup fulls, the tea in the pot continued to brew – it just became really tasty and nice and strong, but the end. It left a lingering after-taste that was kind of sweet – almost like a roasted marshmallow sweetness!
Anyway, that’s two puerhs tried, now, and both have been delicious. I still won’t score this (not yet, anyway) as it is still a tea I’m not very familiar with. But I’d definitely recommend it. This tea, I imagine, would also be great to drink grandpa style – I resteeped my leaves, and they were totally fine (though obviously, with the nest fully opened, it got stronger faster) and still produced lovely tea. And the leaves, though quite short (presumably these mini-tuo were made up of the smaller bits of leaf, as I think is common), sat nicely at the bottom of the cup when they escaped, so there was no risk of me drinking them.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Forest Floor, Marshmallow, Vanilla
Very pleasingly, this tea also works delightfully well if you brew it ‘Grandpa style’ – I took the leaves from my earlier infusions and left them in the bottom of a travel-mug/tumbler and filled it with just-off-the-boil water. I then topped it up, throughout my shift at the hospice, and it held up really well – it brewed some really delicious, refreshing tea and never became bitter.
It helped keep me warm, too, on the bus there and back. It’s amazing how much colder it was tonight – it really did feel like November…!
I had a sneaking suspicion, when I received my fairly large order with Butiki, that this would come to be amongst my favourites of all. Aside from an existing predisposition toward white teas, I was convinced by the leaves; they smelled absolutely wonderful and I really just couldn’t wait to try.
I gave it a go this morning, as per Stacy’s brewing instructions, only on a slightly larger scale (as our house is full of 12 oz mugs, so…!).
I was not disappointed. The liqour was a lovely pale-golden colour and smelled so sweet and creamy. The drink was surprisingly full-bodied, creamy and sweet with exceptional smoothness on the palette. The second steep, for only a slightly longer time (4’) was equally delicious. It also has a delicious grape-like note, accompanied by a gentle, fruity astringency. The wet leaves, too, had a wonderful aroma.
For fans of white tea, I couldn’t recommend this strongly enough. For those who haven’t really tried it, this is certainly one I’d recommend (though I’d definitely recommend brewing as per Stacy’s instructions, to make sure that it’s a ‘strong enough’ cup, for those unused to the general mildness of these teas).
Flavors: Cream, Grapes, Honey, Sweet
I have a box of this, loose-leaf, and it really was the tea that turned me on to drinking leaf-tea.
I just love it. I’ve only had two other jasmine teas in my time, but this one is such an easy-brewing (and extremely forgiving), deliciously floral tea. It’s exactly what I want from a Jasmine Green.
It works well as a ‘mug’ tea with a basket (I tend to use a generous 1 – 1.5 tsp in ~300ml and brew it for two mins or so) or as a more refined, lots-of-short-steeps tea (again, I’ve used ~1 tsp in ~150ml and brewed for 30-45 s at a time). It does get very bitter if you oversteep, I should add, but this isn’t a problem I tend to encounter.
I love this as an everyday Jasmine tea. The jasmine is delicious and strong, without becoming cloying or excessive. And the green base that they use adds a really nice floral, fruity undertone that just rounds off this great, bargain tea.
Flavors: Flowers, Fruity, Jasmine
Treated myself to another Gong Fu session with this tea the other day – it really is just so good. I can imagine this is a tea that I’ll order again, before their stocks run out. It’s delicious, treacle-toffee sweetness, coupled with its creaminess and smoothness on the palette, just make this tea a real treat.
This was another of the teas that came in my first Canton delivery. I was super excited about it but, unfortunately, it’s not a tea for me.
It’s just so vegetal. Amazingly so. All I got, after 4 or 5 Gong Fu steeps in my Gaiwan, was asparagus and broccoli. It was almost unbelievable. There was quite a refreshing, and quite cooling, after-taste of cucumber, but it did little to bring me around.
I then tried it Western style, to see if I’d like it more this way, but I encountered much the same – it’s just so exceptionally savoury :O I’ve really never drank a tea that was this savoury.
I think I could probably get used to a tea like this. And, with certain meals (or just after them) I imagine it would be great.
On the bright side, the quality of the tea was readily apparent – the leaves were lovely and full and became a wonderfully deep, bright-green colour after the first steep (and the colour lasted through many more). The flavour, too, barely changed in its intensity through multiple steepings – this is a tea that just lasts and lasts and lasts.
Flavors: Asparagus, Broccoli