4 Tasting Notes


2021 Harvest.

The dry leaves are akin to leaning down to tease your nostrils with that particular, rather picturesque rose you happened to notice out on your walk today. The unnecessary exposition felt justified; these leaves are just that fragrant. I’ve been delaying on my brewing to keep huffing them, admittedly.

Four steeps at 195 F. 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 15 seconds, and 20 seconds.

Rinsing the leaves brushed the scent of roses aside for something herbaceous and fruity with a zing of zest. Normally, I would have been disappointed and yearning for the roses, but this new scent is quite pleasant and hoppy. The soup’s smell is similar, albeit muted and with more of a focus on the fruitiness.

Steep number one does not disappoint. Notes of rose and lychee. Light on flavor but very cleansing on the palate, similar to a ginger leaf. Overall mouthfeel was juicy, faintly coating on the tongue, ending with a touch of mineral water. Not bad at all!

Steeps two, three, and four were almost indistinguishable from each other, and I don’t consider that to be a negative trait. This tea does not lose its steam across multiple steeps. Only the florals faded for me over subsequent brews, but the fruit-forwardness of this soup’s flavor was already quite desperate to be the star of the show. Heavy notes of lychee and zest with a hint of cream.

This is a great tea that I’d recommend to any tea lover, especially one that hasn’t dipped their tongue into fruity teas. I’m not usually a big fan of fruit-forward teas, but this one is fruity without tasting too … organic? It’s hard to assign words here, unfortunately. If you’re not a fan of fruity teas but really want to give one another shot, this is certainly a leaf to consider.

Flavors: Fruity, Ginger, Herbaceous, Lychee, Mineral, Rose

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2022 Harvest. 4 steeps at 205 F. 6 seconds, 8 seconds, 12 seconds, and 20 seconds.

Dry leaves smell light, sweet, and fluffy. I can imagine a visit to a local bistro or coffee shop in the morning when business is just getting started and the treats are still being rolled out.

Once wetted, however, the scent becomes almost unreasonably sharp, and we get a transformation that doesn’t really suit the scene above. Mushrooms and vegetation, heavily earthen. Full disclosure: the aroma of these leaves when wet offends my nose with how pungent it is. The smell of the soup itself, however, lightens up and brings us back to our scene, albeit with reduced sweetness.

One of this tea’s notes was “steamed buns”, and I can definitely see the direction they were trying to steer drinkers in with that. Bready, very bready, with the occasional hint of something savory, maybe the mushroom smell come back round to pay us a visit through taste instead of smell. The shroom’s presence is far less intrusive this time around, so I’m happy to accommodate it, though it really only pops in for a quick exchange of pleasantries.

And really.. that’s about the sum of things. This tea isn’t bad by any means, but it also doesn’t stand out to me, nor does it offer much beyond tasting bready and slightly savory. Consistency is always great for a daily driver, so if you’re looking for something in the “steamed buns” or “bready” category, give this a whirl, but I’d cautiously advise you not to go in expecting more than that. Still a nice tea and one I’d recommend, just not in my own cup.

Flavors: Bread, Bread Dough, Earth, Mushrooms, Vegetal

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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2021 Harvest. 4 steeps at 208 F. 6 seconds, 8 seconds, 15 seconds, and 25 seconds.

Brisk, strong, and somewhat clever, this is a tea that presents itself as a hike amidst evergreens but encourages you to stop and take in the sights.

The scent of the dry leaves was reminiscent of sandalwood, and my initial rinse married this to a nice gladelike earthiness. Steeps one and two offered me powerful cups of pine needles and minerality, but I was left believing that’s all it had to offer; this is where I was wrong and why I referred to this tea as clever.

The expression “stop and smell the roses” applies here quite heavily, or at least it did to me. I wasn’t bothered by how forward this tea seemed to be with its pine flavoring, quite the opposite, really, but after the first two steeps and halfway through my first sip of the third, I realized I’d been enjoying the flavor so much that I’d gotten carried away. I stopped myself from gulping down that first sip and allowed it to linger on my tongue, and as if to say, “Well done,” these leaves greeted my palate with an unmistakable hint of rose.

Subsequent sips had me focusing a lot more on those rosy notes that only really seemed to come alive when I took my time to savor this tea, and what started with an outdoorsy briskness really rounded off into an almost thirst-quenching freshness of spring water with a zing of white grapes. Zesty, even. Holding back a smile would have been difficult at that point, so I didn’t try.

These are leaves that don’t chide you for being overly eager, but they do reward you for exercising patience and care. I would absolutely recommend this tea to someone looking to celebrate the subtleties that can emerge from slowing down and taking the time to really enjoy something.

Flavors: Mineral, Pine, Rose, Sandalwood, Spring Water, White Grapes

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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drank Mi Lan Black Tea by Verdant Tea
4 tasting notes

Dry leaves smelled of plum, cocoa, honey, and the faintest hint of licorice.

For brewing parameters, I copied another Steepster’s gongfu method at 208F with a rinse and subsequent steeps at 6 seconds, 10 seconds, 16 seconds, and 20 seconds, for a total of 4 steeps.

The initial rinse had the smell of fresh pancakes drizzled with maple syrup wafting through my kitchen, and admittedly, I was slightly taken aback. While it was a lovely, if not nostalgic aroma, I worried for my tongue and its sensitivity to sweetness, but I’d end up being pleasantly surprised soon after.

If you are a fan of maple syrup and honey, this tea is a must-try. The first steep met me with a wave of dark honey and plum, along with that same aroma of maple syrup filling my nose with every sip. The aftertaste mimicked the aforementioned scent and left my mouth feeling coated, almost sticky. Suffice to say, this is a very syrupy tea, and those with a fondness for that particular viscosity will not find themselves disappointed. I’d go as far as to say the mouthfeel is the star attraction of this tea. Personally, I’m neutral on syrupy bodies, but I definitely found it enjoyable with the notes associated with this tea.

Further steeps didn’t offer much of a difference in body or taste, save for an expected lightening on the overall boldness of the tea that eventually gave way to a light but appreciated note of something vaguely floral and allowed me to taste some hints of cocoa that had been held back by the honey and maple a bit more clearly. The lack of change and complexity isn’t something I see as a negative, rather, I think it cements these leaves as being a great potential daily driver for those seeking a viscous, syrupy tea.

Overall, I’d recommend this tea and will enjoy finishing my remaining 20 grams, even if it isn’t quite my preferred cup.

Flavors: Cocoa, Honey, Licorice, Maple Syrup, Pancake Syrup, Plum

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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