676 Tasting Notes
Thank you TeaFairy for this sample tea!
I was running around a bit today at the Mall and the Post Office, mailing off a sample tea packet to of all places Denver! Yo Jason the tea is on the way! Got home a bit late but fortunately, last night I made dinner ahead. It was cheese tortellini and I put a tea basket with some …wait for it…Lapsang Souchong in the water (I’m hooked on that smoky flavor) and it was fantastic tasting. All I had left to do is heat and dress the pasta with a bit of olive oil. Then, a salad and done. After dinner I wanted a nice fruity tea. This Zing Me Tea was going to be the compliment I was looking for. The ginger, peach and apricot sounded just right.
When I looked up the steep time it said “steep 4-6 minutes” so I set the timer at 5 minutes and stopped right there. The aroma was very apricoty and delightful. Oh yes, I was anxious for a taste.
At first, the flavor was nice and fruity for a few seconds…and then…and then…something awful happened.
There was the worst, bitter ginger taste that completely ruined the tea. I mean the whole cup went gross. We know you can cook with ginger, do all kinds of things with it, make jam, candy it and stir fry it. How can you ruin ginger?! It was so bitter and tasted dirty. Maybe this batch had gotten mold on it. It certainly was not the fault of TeaFairy! How would she have known. The other reviews look good. But my batch, well, it went down the drain. Adios, bye bye.
My next step was to get my nightly square of dark chocolate and knock that evil taste right in the butt. Outta here…
Love ya TeaFairy!
Thank you Teavivre for this wonderful Pu-erh sample!
It is a gloriously beautiful day on the Frontrange! After yesterday’s rain, everything sparkles today in the sunshine at this mile high altitude. The green trees seem greener and the birds are hunting for worms in the still damp grass.
I remembered that I had one last Pu-erh sample from Teavivre to try out. A special older one. Good choice for my early morning lazy bones enjoyment.
I prepared my Yixing pot and a 1.5 tsp of the dry pu-erh. My rinse time was 10 seconds and I did 2 rinses. In all I was able to do 5 steepings before I was full, but I continued later in the day and will this evening. I made iced, bottled pu-erh for on the road (delicious) from these same leaves. I have to note that this was some of the darkest, dry pu-erh I’d ever seen, and tightly compacted! There’s not much scent to the dry leaf.
Steep time on the package said 2 min. (I like pu-erh strong but, you could shorten a bit).
1. The color of the liquor was chestnut brown and there was no musty, earthy scent. When I smelled the wet leaves they smelled like sweet grass and bread. The first sip was sweet, salty hazelnut-pecan without any tannin. The flavor was full and rich.
2. I messed up and let this round steep 5 minutes…eek…it looked like espresso. Not to worry! The DARK chestnut liquor still tasted good. I drank it (are you kidding me?!)
I made a Cappucino because, eh….in Rome you can add some milk in the morning ONLY! I had saved my cuppa!
3. I noticed that the leaves had still NOT opened all the way inside my Yixing. This was really tightly packed pu-erh! The leaves were smelling a little more like leather in a good way. The pour was chestnut brown so I had not killed the strength (whew!). The flavor had changed. It was lighter and juicy. There was cinnamon that filled my whole mouth mid sip and was sweet but not biting. All the flavors together had body. This was a good pour.
4. Now the leaves had become as black as midnight and smelled of sweet leather. The flavor on the pour had become juicy with some tannin and less cinnamon or nuttiness. The color was still good but the tea seemed to be going flat on flavor.
5. Here is where I added a little sugar…the spice returned and the tannin toned down, but now an apricot floral flavor swept in at the finish. I mean, which would you prefer? Flat and tannin, rich and apricot floral? I pick #2. On and on this tea delivers and does not quit. It does not give up. Amazing!
Here is my take. This is a bargain! You can steep this tea forever! I have just scratched the surface on the steeping possibilities of just a little bit of this pu-erh and the delicious flavor is worth purchasing! This is a quality pu-erh!
And note about what to do with used leaves. I have a garden pot where I mix mulch with good used organic tea leaves (especially pu-erh). I also have a jar for pu-erh rinse water that I let cool and pour on my herb garden plants. They thank me by growing strong and healthy.
Thank you TeaFairy for this sample!
I don’t think I’ve ever had a cherry tea. Never, ever. The cherries in this tea are the small acerola type that you wouldn’t pick and eat like regular cherries you buy in the grocery store. Way too tart! But the health benefits are better than the kind we’re familiar with. Lots of vitamin C and antioxidents! But tart. The complaints about the hibiscus in this tea may be due to the cherry and not only the hibiscus. I think that if the tartness was taken out, the Bai Mu Dan would turn into cotton in my mouth. Cat fur! What is pleasing as a creaminess can get out of hand when it isn’t tamed with a tart fruit or flower. More about that later.
My steep time was 5 minutes and the tartness was fine with me. The body was creamy and floral. The cherry medium and good tasting. Adding sweetening was something I went to right away but did not overdo. The flavor was fine. Fine, just nice and fine.
Here I go again. I am not a big fan of this combination…to tell the truth I find Bai Mu Dan kind of wierd. I almost get the creepy mouth feeling that I had with Carrot Cake tea from DavidsTea… Ick!
But this tea delivered on what it promised, an acerola cherry, Bai Mu Dan. I would not drink it again myself but glad I tried it.
First Tasting Note
Yesterday I seasoned the Yixing Purple Clay Pot seen in the picture with tea (I took the photo and listed the tea). It was interesting to heat a lot of Pu’er, put the Yixing pot in the Pu’er and soak for many hours, rinse and repeat. There are several methods of seasoning pots but I liked this one. The Pu’er I used was a little 1 inch square that I picked up at a tea shop in Boulder for $1.29. When I began to brew it in my Gaiwan I almost went into shock! It was one of the finest Pu’er’s I’ve ever tasted! Vanilla cake…oh my…sweet and juicy…wah…I had to continue (but I did cheat and poured me a cup). This had better be a great cured Yixing pot!
Between the beautiful wood tray (shown) and Yixing I bought from Happy Lucky’s I spent about $50 for my 64th birthday coming up this month, and I think that I got a great deal!
This morning the rain was coming down steadily. What a glorious time to use my Yixing Pu’er-only-pot for the first time. I listened to Jim Marks comment on rinsing my leaves for less time so I only rinsed a few seconds. I let the leaves rest… (I think mine are not resting, they are bored with me). My Yixing looks like a little bird with a beak don’t you think?
I heated the pot, a little cup, and had boiling water in another glass pot under a cozy for multiple pourings. All set! (In the photo you can see how bark-like the tea looks.)
I used 1/2 tsp Pu’er for my steepings. The Yixing holds 4oz. water. I did 6 steepings before sloshing away with a smile on my face.
I’m used to Western Style brewing with longer steep times so, I could tell this new method would take some getting used to.
1. I like my Pu’er on the strong side. Beginning with 3 minutes…Huh?!…(a bit longer than the instructions say to do)…the wet leaves smelled sweet and fresh, like new fresh- picked tea and coffee beans. When I took my first sip of the dark liquor, I tasted almonds and salted pecans, then a dry peppery tannin at the front my mouth. This Pu’er was altogether sweet, rich and robust with a vanilla bean finish. A chewy first cup.
2. I cut back the steep time to 2 minutes and still had a juicy, sweet, oat bread cup. There was a hint of leather flavor which sent me to the leaves for a whiff. Yes, the wet leaves smelled like a new Coach handbag. Finishing my small cup, I thought there was a sneeky bit of cinnamon hidden in the tannin at the end. Could be?
3. Shortening the steep time to 1 minute the flavor was weakening but still good. The wet leaves were leathery scented, and the tea was getting juicier and spicy. Here was where I added a tiny, tiny bit of sugar. Not enough to really tell it was a sweet tea. This boost brought out a molasses, pecan nutty flavor that was like drinking a Southern Pecan Pie Pu’er with brown sugar molasses and pecans.
4.-6. As steepings progressed, more cinnamon and vanilla came to play which was enhanced more if a bit of sugar was added. I ended up with combinations ranging from steep times of 30 seconds to 3 minutes which all produced fine tastings. I do love my big, strong and burly Pu’er at the longer steep times the best. (That’s as far as I’m goin with that thought!)
Finally. There was no detection of fishy, musty, earthy Pu’er flavors. I only tell this because some people hate the musty or earthy Pu’er’s that I think are grand. This one is nuttier and would appeal to new drinkers I would imagine, but it is very hardy and rich none the less. Not expensive which is always a plus!
Thank you IndigoBloom for this tasty sample tea!
Outside the evening drizzles have finally arrived and I can hear the spash of car tires on the road going past my home every now and then. I like the sound of rain and splashs. The air has cooled down and I have a sweet tooth tonight.
I was sitting on the couch with my Kindle reading the review that Krystaleyn wrote about Candied Almond Tea and it sounded like the kind of desert tea I was in the mood for. Besides, Indigo-B had sent me a sample. Perfect timing! Off to brew!
Even dry, this tea (herbal) smells amazing! From dry, to steeping to pour, you could blindfold anyone and they’d think there was a Cinnabon store at hand.
The steep time was 6 minutes. The first sip was sweet and full of quality cinnamon, apple pieces and sweet almond. I am serious about the fine quality of the cinnamon. There are different types. Some are bitter, some not very spicy, some average, a little like cinnamon cardboard. The best for baking has spice but is sweet and is what draws you to Cinnabon when you smell one. The cinnamon does not hide the apple or almond taste. This allows the herbal blend to become a pastry which I wanted and enjoyed.
Next to my cup was a piece of blue, foil wrapped Godiva dark chocolate. My one piece for the evening. I ate the chocolate and sipped the cinnamon, apple Candied Almond Tea. Oh my…it was so good. I have a good life.
The Spring slosh of the rain continued outside.
Thank you TeaFairy for this lovely sample
I do love Pu’erh’s no matter how it’s spelled! TeaFairy put a note on this tea package (cause you are such a pu’erh Diva!) which I think is far from the truth and it got a chuckle out of me. I would love to climb in that direction I’ll admit to it, and learn more about pu’erh’s.
I’ve never known anyone other than myself who liked really good and tangy marmalade either. The U.S. bland and sugary types are aweful but the imports with rind and all are Um so good! I would get the crock of Dundee in the market years ago, and then I learned how to make marmalade myself. The three fruit sort with orange, lemon and grapefruit. There is something so grand about stirring a pot of jam or making your own cranberry sauce or pickles. Anyway, this packet held the two favorites of mine, the tangy orange and the pu’erh which was going to be fun to experience.
The dry aroma was heavy with bitter orange. When the steeping was done after 6 minutes, the steam from my brew basket smelled like a combination of the jam making pot and the scent of a friend sitting at a kitchen table with a cup of coffee. The coffee and the marmalade scent were mixing together.
My first sip was not sharp or rough but smooth, round and juicy, tasting of citrus orange without astringent assertiveness. The flavor was naturally sweet and mellow. I was quite surprised that I wasn’t running to the sugar bowl right off…and would drink this straight up on any occasion. Adding a tad of sweetening was very nice (I tried this on a later cup).
There are a couple of things I tried with this Pu’erh (me being me).
1. If it’s breakfast time, you could put a little (1TB. or so) marmalade in the cup and a teaspoon and snack on it while sipping on the tea, or as Scott Tea Man does sip through a Twixx candy bar.
2. I have been filling water bottles with Pu’erh’s to chill them for when I’m out and about and find this one especially tasty. These Pu’erhs are the healthiest tea’s and I’ve never seen any iced ones commercially so I make-um! I make the Verdant ginger pu’erh iced also.
A bonus to this pu’erh is how refreshing it is. It is not a straight pu’erh. There is hibiscus (which you can’t taste) and black tea (orange pekoe). The orange lingers in a lovely way for a long time and is not artificial tasting. A great hot day choice.
One of my favorite Italian Groups Il Volo…(My granddaughters love them!) O Sole Mio
I am thankful to be able to review this new tea for the first time. Thank you Verdant Tea!
When I opened the packet of Oolong tea…I chuckled, it was beautiful but so long and stringy that I had to pinch my best guess at what I thought 4 grams would be (or for many of us about a teaspoon). This was by far the most cheese straw looking tea I’ve ever seen. Amazingly, there were no unbroken pieces.
I decided to use my PIAO glass pot again because I want to watch the free flowing leaves steep, and the short steeping time (35 seconds each round) were easier to control with this pot.
1. The leaves were dark green when wet, long and strongly rock sugar scented. The liquor was a medium light, champagne yellow green. My first sip was milder than the scent and juicy. There was a spice that acted like a door stop at the tip of my tongue! I pushed past that and discovered sweet bees in the honeysuckle bushes. Nectar! Hot Summer evenings with cream vanilla pie scented Jasmine breezes. That little door stop of spice was tickling my mind. What was that spice? I knew it wasn’t clove. I went to the spice cupboard and rummaged a few things down to sniff at. I settled on Coriander. It was the only soft gloved spice in the bunch that had both the scent of incense and flowers that I was picking up from this steeping. I noted a buttery finish lingering on the tongue. A good round.
2. The leaves had become a little lighter green, still straight and unfurled. You could see what care was taken to pick these leaves. The scent was still rock sugar delight and the liquor golden.
My cup was spicier! Wow! Much tingling! I have to grant that clove had arrived and was the spice winner! Clove was hand in hand with dry parchment for a split second and then POOF! Gone. Quickly, honey followed still juicy and floral. There was unchilled honeydew melon, left out on the kitchen table, buttery melon ready for a spoon and dripping with juice. No acid, no tannin to be found.
I walked away and came back. I put my nose to the cup. If I could just float on my back, on a current of this silky, honey scented liquor…well…it would be heavenly. Goosebumps!
The third steeping is where I usually lose it. I may do or say anything that comes to mind.
3. The leaves were medium green with a bit of yellow and had become more unfurled and vegital scented but sweet. The liquor was lighter yellow green.
This infusion was sweet, floral and had sugar but was much milder and not dry or spiced. It was clean, juicy and the melon more apparent. I did taste coriander again gentle and lovely and warming.
I’d like to say here, that when Verdant noted that there is Lotus flavor…well, I don’t have Lotus around and have no idea what that tastes like and I didn’t taste any grapefruit either. I am me. It will be so interesting to find out what other people find in this Oolong!
Here’s my crazy:
I added 1/2 tsp sugar to the final 4oz of tea. What happened was this: The tea woke up!
The butteriness increased, the floral quality increased. It was like a booster rocket or rewind button on my tasting….all the nectar from tasting round 1. and the honey returned. If you are a doubter, try this. But, use just a little bit!
Beautiful tea! Thank you for such a lovely memory and I hope you will share my gratitude with the people who provide such special tea.
Here’s some beautiful music to drink it with…http://youtu.be/geDoGI-ve3s
What a treat and privilege to review this Shu Pu’er just released by Verdant Tea.
“I don’t want to mess this up, so what method of brewing should I do?”, I thought. The directions on the Verdant website were easy to adapt to my PIAO glass infuser pot which would allow me to watch the Pu’er brew loosely with a small amount of water. Perfect for the task at hand.
I used Spring water and rinsed the first infusion before steeping. Each steep was 3 minutes long.
Here’s a little tip from Grandma Bonnie: Rinse your hands in some of that tea water. Somehow, get the SMELL of the tea on your hands so that no other scent will cloud your tasting.
1. Watching the Pu’er bark float in the hot water, little particles began to hang in the water like planetary debris. Little by little the color changed to cherrywood and the leaves smelled like furniture lacquer and molasses honey. There was no huge earthy smell, no musty caves of China or dusty boots in either the scent or first taste. This was genteel. Here was a country kitchen with warm, baked bread steaming on the window sill and a crock of mineral water from a mountain stream to wash it down with. Juicy, burnt edges on the crust so faint that you wondered if there were nuts in the bread…but decided that the thought was a phantom. You could smell some wild mint far away…ah now gone. Sweet wheat bread.
2. This was a sweet smelling cup, golden orange-brown like root beer. The wheat bread flavor was almost gone but a tingle of coolness had arrived. I could feel some tannin on my tongue and a woody, amber honey that was very ripe. This steeping was a mystery as if it was in the middle of making up it’s mind on where it was going next. Waiting in the wings, ready to go on stage. I couldn’t wait to see what was next!
3. The leaves were laying on the bottom of the steeping reservoir, giving all they had left…a squeeze of robust color now a lighter deep golden brown.
The flavor was smooth and a bit salty (I liked that). Here was a bigger mineral taste, without any bitterness, right up front. It gathered up juiciness and sprinkled spice in my mouth. I could feel the heat. I pulled back a moment…where were the flavors? A trickster ambushed me on a side street with a cool attitude. Yes, Cool Operator! Mint had arrived. Warmth, Spice, Mint. Are you serious?! I slapped my face and came to my senses. This was so pleasing.
I decided to become a rebel…to become, Grandma Bonnie! (you may want to stop reading here because this is not what tea purists are supposed to do!) I added a little sugar to what was at the end of my cup. And it turned into BREAD PUDDING! I am serious! (I will never get any more sample tea’s from Verdant I just know it!)
This is a Pu’er that is not like the others I’ve had, you know, the deep earthy ones, and light bakery vanilla ones. When have you or I ever had the bread, spice, mineral and mint (mint?!) in one Puer?! It is very different and worth tasting!
Thank you to the special people who seek out the best tea from small farms for us to enjoy!
http://youtu.be/sOI8ae3Lub8 (Smooth Operator, Sade)
Shut the door!
I mean really, I would never have guessed that the yammy Laoshan Black Tea that I LOVE could taste any better…and with mint?!
How in earth is it possible that these two flavors, and all the other abracadabra alchemic additions here-to-with inside-eth this tea are workin “a spell on me”! Oh yeh!
All I was doing was mindin my own business. I received a package from Verdant today (choir sings) with two (2) of the new tea’s. I can’t review them yet because they are NOT listed on Steepster. I shot a quick note to Mr. David at Verdant “HELLOOOO, I would like to write about your tea.” And, in the meantime, I was snakin on some dry goat cheese and steamin some cauliflower in Lapsang Souchong (you know that I do). Why not, smells good.
There was this OTHER packet of alchemy blend to try in my box today. Verdant got me! Got me again! “Uncle!” I cried on this alchemy blend!
I steeped this little gem 4 minutes. I wanted to take a spoon and eat it like cake it smelled so good. I imagine the gremlins at Verdant were rolling on their backs laughing!
“Got another one in Colorado!” they giggled along with the cats. The bakery spice cakeness of the Laoshan Black with the gentle mint cooling everything down…and then cocoa so natural and warm…teases me…laughs at me…and throws me a shot of fennel like a point of light at the end. The Chamomile is a hug. It surrounds all the flavors and keeps everything together in lightness. What a cuppa!
I have to get more of this. More and more. And more!
Thanks again Indigobloom for this big sample!
This is a young Pu-erh and a prize winner. Hum. That was interesting to find out after tasting the tea. I usually read reviews after I’m finished tasting because I’m easily influenced by the words of others and don’t like that to happen. It’s fun to find out that I’ve discovered the same qualities (either good or bad) on my own, that other more qualified and trained tasters write about.
Before steeping I did a 30 second wash. The steep time was 3 minutes in my glass traditional teapot with stainless basket.
The leaves were the darkest chocolate brown and I picked at them. They looked like long threads of petrified leaves, tea turned into dry wood that was now soaking wet and shiny.
The aroma was promising! Salty, a little musty and scented with crimini mushrooms.
I could taste the tea in the steam. No disappointment in the first sip. Wow! Nom (as so many Steepsters say) this was super tasty! Very good! Better than I was expecting!
I was salivating from the first mineral juiciness when the tea changed. It turned a corner and became a soft, buttery, salty roasted pecan flavored richness. Really it did. Fantastic taste!
I’m about to preach now! Watch out!
If you never have added sugar or splenda to a Pu-erh…try it! This is something to try because salt and sweet play off each other. Sweet will bring out the flavors in the salty tea. Also, there are people who will never, ever drink straight pu-erh. We all know this. We are not in China and North Americans like sweet stuff. The health benefits of Pu-erh are worth trying a little milk or cream or some sugar (what I use is splenda because I’d be as big as a truck if I used sugar all day) and introduce skeptical friends to a latte.
This is how I am introducing my grandchildren to pu-erh’s. The sweetness creates such a compliment to the aforementioned flavors elevating them in a special way that makes them linger on the palate.
The mildness of this particular pu-erh is just right for those who are queezy when confronted with too much earthiness or mustiness. No old shoes and socks here. No old fellows or grannies (other than myself). A very tasty mild Pu-erh!