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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve really been enjoying straight teas over the past couple weeks, and just placed sample orders at Verdant and Mountain Stream. So, as I await for this new orders [that I definitely didn’t need to place], I’m trying some old samples I still have. This one is from Autumn 2018. It’s really nice and mild, very much roasted corn. I’m finding it particularly pleasing today.
Flavors: Corn Husk, Vegetal
Thank you Kittenna for the sample! I was a bit unimpressed by this tisane, though I didn’t find it unpleasant. Mulberry leaf has a very rich, nutty flavour typically – and I just thought this one came off as a little bit too delicate/flat to really capture the taste I’m accustomed to and know I love. It was still nutty though, still just a little bit vegetal. I’m happy I tried it; but I didn’t finish the mug feeling like it was anything exceptional.
Thanks Kittenna for the share! I’m not a green tea fan generally, but I couldn’t resist the chance to try out this Verdant pick without committing to a larger amount…
I admit that I did a double take when I tried it because the flavour was so deeply smooth and nutty that for a split second I was sure I had brewed up the mulberry leaf from Verdant that you also sent and confused the two. Mulberry leaf does have a VERY nutty flavour; quite similar to this actually. In fact it was more than a second, because I did go check my steeped leaves to be sure this was the Laoshan. It was.
All that to say… This sweet, nutty and smooth flavour profile!? Yeah, I was into it!
I’m not usually the biggest fan of roasted oolongs, but this one is nice! A good balance of the nutty roasted notes with the honeyed floral flavor of the tea itself. The finish is super smooth and not at all drying. This one may be staying with me!
Flavors: Butter, Fruity, Honey, Nutty, Roasted, Smooth
2019 Autumn Laoshan Black – Please do not mind me as I sit here and gaze at this pulchritudinous tea. It is somewhat difficult for me to describe the color of these brilliantly twisted leaves. It is dark brown with hints of grays and greens. The aroma is fresh, toasty, and warm. The wet leaf aroma is vegetal. Slightly musty. What a unique flavor. Toasty notes are the forerunners. Followed closely by a chocolate and cream sensation. If steeped too long it takes almost like burnt chocolate. The after taste is a bit mineral and this really shows when it comes to the feeling it leaves on the tongue.
Happy new year everyone. Wishing you all lots of success in the decade to come and many happy tea adventures. Haven’t been on the site as much lately due to traveling and helping my brother with his wedding preparations. I’ve got quite a few tasting notes to clear in the backlog so here goes.
It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve had a yancha. I used to enjoy them but they could be a little too ashy sometimes. This Qilan is a light roast Wuyi oolong and I picked it up hoping for a greener flavor profile. The dry leaves have a gentle aroma of flowers, cocoa, and baked bread. The wet leaf smells like sandalwood, wet rocks, and buckwheat. The brewed tea is primarily woodsy with notes of autumn leaves and oak. There’s a soft mineral quality to it and a faint hint of spice.
Wasn’t terribly impressed by this Qilan. While it’s not overly roasty, it had a generic flavor profile and I wasn’t a fan of the wood flavor. The greenness just didn’t come through as I had hoped. I’ve had better luck with YS yanchas so I will try theirs or maybe What-Cha in the future.
Flavors: Cocoa, Mineral, Oak wood
From TTB 2019/2020.
I spent a chunk of the day today cleaning up our tea cabinet. We have a stand-alone cabinet and the top had become a catch-all for teas and strainers and vitamins and mail, etc. etc. I got it organized and now it’s super clean and so inviting. In the rubble was my gaiwan and gongfu tea set that I bought a few years ago. Truthfully, this was one of the main reasons I wanted to clean the cabinet because I had been itching to pull the set out again and give it a try with this pu’er before I send the box away.
I’ve only had a gongfu session a handful of times. I don’t really feel confident enough in what I’m doing so I am always hesitant to try. I also like my teas with honey and I’m just not sure my palate is sophisticated enough to truly appreciate all the flavors that come through in an unsweetened cup. That being said, I was so excited to do this that I watched quite a few videos to give me the basics and then jumped right in.
I won’t give a rating because I’m not sure I even did this right. The tea had color but not much flavor to me. The little nuggets stayed intact for all of the infusions, even though I did try to break them up a bit. In all, I think I did five or six infusions before the caffeine went to my head and I decided to stop. I did really enjoy the ritual but I didn’t experience much flavor so I’ll be passing this along. I’m sure someone else will love it.
I do appreciate that Verdant sells many of their teas in sample sizes, because then I can take chances on interesting-sounding things like this! I picked this up earlier this year along with their other two Laoshan(?) herbal teas, which I thoroughly enjoyed and have now purchased more of.
This one was not remotely what I expected – I anticipated a flower tea to be at least somewhat floral, though I was hoping it wouldn’t be perfumey (did I read the info about this before I purchased it? No, otherwise I might have been more prepared.) Instead, it was very umami and bready, more along the lines of barley teas and the like. I finished it off a couple days ago and can’t specifically remember what I tasted, but no florals, and quite a craveable flavour – and the bonus of no caffeine (if that’s a concern). For those who enjoy things like mulberry leaf, I’d recommend giving this a shot if it’s still available/if it comes available again.
No notes yet. Add one?
Flavors: Graham Cracker, Vanilla
Temp 208 Degrees, Gongfu, 10 second + 5 second infusions
The leaves on this smelled like a cross between Duck Shit Oolong and Royal Peach Orchid with some almonds. I enjoyed this tea very much, definitely tasted an almond note in there. The Orchid note on this is outstanding, very strong. Even the empty cup was drenched in orchid notes. Got about 6 good infusions out of this one. I would highly recommend for a light refreshing oolong. Very good.
Season : Spring 2018
Cultivar: Wudong Shan
Origin: Guangdong, China
Elevation: 600 Meters
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Dark Brown and black leaves. Relatively small for an oolong
Nose- Dry Leaf: Peach, Almond, Plum, Sour Candy, Orchid
Nose- Wet Leaf: Duck Shit Oolong, Almonds, Strong Orchid, Very floral, like a Duck Shit mixed with Royal Peach Orchid and some almonds on top. Yummy!
Eyes-Liquor: Milky Yellow with brown tint
Mouth-Taste: Almonds, Peach, Orchid, Extremely floral in a good way
Nose-Empty Cup: Orchid, Sugar
Mouth-Finish: Smooth, lightly astringent
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Olive green, Reddish medium sized leaves
Body Sensation: Feel Good energy, mildly excited
Flavors: Almond, Orchid, Peach
Finally getting around to trying this 5g sample I received what seems a lifetime ago. I found it near the back of my cabinet in a vacuum sealed container.
Upon opening, it had that lovely roasted oolong smell. As it was steeping, I got a very heavy cinnamon aroma which was interesting. Some of that flavor came through in the liquid. There is also a lighter roast flavor than I was expecting based on the scent of the leaves. Though, full disclosure, it is probably affected by my haphazard brewing method. I was putting away groceries and helping my toddler who fractured his toe a few days ago so my brew method was "pour hot water in kettle on top of leaves, smell while brewing, pour out some liquid after 20 seconds to sample, let brew another 15 or so seconds and then pour out liquid from leaves. Not super scientific but the tea tastes good enough, if not a bit weak.
Either way I’m happy to be enjoying a dark roast oolong today.
Flavors: Char, Cinnamon, Roasted, Vegetal
208 Degrees F, Gongfu, 20 sec + 10 infusions
Verdant tea recommends 10 sec + 2 sec infusions, but I found it way too light. I recommend longer steeping times. Once I pushed the tea a little more, I was pleasantly surprised by this tea. Fresh Tieguanyins can come off as a little too punchy for my palette, but the light roasting on this really mellows out the fresh cut grass and adds a deep sweet honey note to the tea. A very full bodied experience. I love heavily roasted oolongs and this was a nice change up, a bit fresher and greener. Fresh cut grass, honey, sweet potatoes, some light stone fruit notes. Tea is still going strong after 7 infusions.
Season: Autumn 2017
Cultivar: Daping Village, Anxi
Origin: Fujian, China
Elevation: 1050 M
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Rolled olive green and black leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Sea Air, Charcoal, Peaches
Nose – Wet Leaf: Butter, Fresh cut grass, Rocky, Stonefruits,
Eyes – Liquor: Pear, very light yellow
Mouth – Texture: Thick and viscous
Mouth – Taste: Butter, yams, Fresh cut grass, honey, spinach
Nose – Empty Cup: Buttery spinach with honey
Mouth – Finish: Smooth, lubricating
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Large crinkly olive green leaves
Body Sensation: Pleasantly relaxed, loving life
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Honey, Spinach, Stonefruits, Sweet Potatoes
1TB for a tiny yixing pot, steep times varying from 10 seconds to five minutes, water at 100C.
Yes, water at 100C. The farmer said his shou mei leaves could withstand it, so I dared. Steeps range from a gentle, sweet and subtle grass white to a more oolong-like body — complete with cooling sensation on the tongue — to echoes of a gentle black tea. Complex and delicious. I can’t begin t pick out all the flavour notes.
Highly recommend. I only wish I’d remembered I had this tea before now. (It goes lost in my tea stash.)
I can;t wait to try it Western style.
210 Degrees F, Gongfu, 5 seconds + 3 seconds per infusion
I believe this to be a good quality tea, it just wasn’t the one for me. It’s a very serious tea. Very low on the sweetness and fruit notes. Its rather spicy, it has this muskiness to it that immediately reminds me of raw pu-erh. Its like being in a forest with a bunch of sweaty lumberjacks wearing cheap aftershave. Not my thing. On the plus note, I probably got 10+ infusions out of it.
Season: Spring 2018
Cultivar: WUYISHAN ECOLOGICAL PRESERVE
Origin: Wuyi, Fujian, China
Elevation: 600 M
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Dark brown, purple large rolled leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Heavy roasted, charcoal, leather, sugar, fruit, fresh pear
Nose – Wet Leaf: Initially a strong tieguanyin note, butter, fruity sweet notes definitely took a back seat and so did the roast, almost smells like a lightly roasted tieguanyin with some fruit and floral notes, pomegranate maybe.
Eyes – Liquor: The liquor is noticeably cloudy, which is strange. golden amber brown.
Mouth- Texture: Thick and soupy
Taste: Wow, spicy, a muskiness very similar to some pu-erhs I’ve tasted. Don’t know how to describe the taste other than manly aftershave but not perfumey. Roasted note is still there a little, fruit notes minimal, sweetness very minimal. To me it tastes like a pu-erh with a tinge of dan cong oolong fruitiness. Very interesting tea, but not necessarily my (cup of).
Nose – Empty Cup: Burnt sugar
Mouth – Finish: Smooth, light astringency at the end
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Large dark olive green leaves
Effect: I swear this one is getting me a little tea drunk like aged pu-erh does, rushy, getting a light sweat on. I tend to not like the effect raw pu-erh has on me though.
Flavors: Floral, Leather, Musty, Pear, Smoke, Sweat
210 Degrees F, Gongfu, 20 seconds + 15 seconds infusions
Wooo, the smell of those leaves, yummy! Sugar, honey, lots of stone fruits. I went off of the Verdant tea website’s recommendations and increased time by 15 seconds every infusion, haven’t really brewed like that before. Its usually a 5 or 10 second increase at the most. It made each infusion really consistent and might’ve actually gotten a little stronger each infusion until number 5. I was still getting excellent flavor through infusion 7 though. I really enjoyed brewing this way. The tea was great, I like heavy roasted oolongs with a good amount of honey sweetness and fruit and this was a great tea session. The fruity notes were rather unique as well. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what fruits I was getting though. An interesting, delicious heavy roasted oolong. I love it! Will reorder. 8 Infusions.
Season: Spring 2017
Origin: Fujian, China
Picking: Up to 3rd or 4th leaves
Elevation: 600 M
Eyes – Dry Leaf: Heavy roasted, dark dark browns and blacks, twisted, large leaves
Nose – Dry Leaf: Mmm, honey, very fruity, heavy peach preserves, maraschino cherries, so much fruit!
Nose – Wet Leaf: Granulated sugar, Honey, Still lots of fruit but not necessarily peaches, mustiness, thats all I’ve got.
Eyes – Liquor: Amber Brown
Mouth – Texture: Medium
Mouth – Taste: Heavy on the floral notes at first, orchid, then rounding out to a fruity cherry sweetness and a light charred wood finish. Not quite as sweet as I thought it would be.
Nose – Empty Cup: Burnt sugar
Mouth – Finish: Smooth, slightly drying
Eyes – Wet Leaf: Dark olive green
Body sensation: Mood uplifted, I am in a great mood right now.
Flavors: Burnt Sugar, Honey, Orchid, Stonefruits
205 Degrees F, Gongfu, 10 sec + 5 per infusion
A very pleasant, super smooth tea. Started to get a little dull after 5 infusions. Upped infusion time and was able to get 7 Infusions. I originally rated this tea at an 83, but I am taking it up to a 90. This is a tea unlike any other Ive tasted and I could drink this every morning.
Season: Spring 2018
Cultivar: Linking Region
Origin: Yunnan, China
Picking: Large Buds
Elevation: 2000 M
Eyes – Dry – Hairy, golden brown buds, a little black, dusty
Nose – Dry – Fresh Cut Hay
Nose – Wet – Buttered Biscuit, Brown Sugar, Medicinal, Menthol, Sour Grapes
Eyes – Liquor – Dark Golden Amber Brown
Mouth – Texture – Thick and Syrupy
Mouth Taste – Hay, Biscuits, Extremely Smooth
Nose – Empty Cup – Burnt Sugar
Mouth – Finish – Extremely Smooth, Refreshing, Lubricating
Eyes – Wet Leaf – Dark Golden Brown Buds
Effects – Mildly Energizing, Centered, Peaceful
Flavors: Butter, Grapes, Hay, Medicinal, Sour
This was another Spring 2019 Laoshan green tea sample. The downside of buying so many samplers is when you do come across a really good tea, you don’t get to enjoy it for very long. I managed two sessions with this and consider it one of their better greens from this harvest with a flavor distinct from other Laoshan varietals.
The dry leaf smelled of spinach and lima beans. A pine nut aroma emerged after letting it sit in a warmed shiboridashi. Wet leaf smelled like cabbage and spice. The first couple of steeps were light and cooling with a clover like sweetness and notes of toasted pumpkin seed. The next 2 steeps had a zucchini-like vegetal flavor with light spice, broth and balanced with a soft sweetness. Absent were the soybean and anise flavors that characterize most Laoshan teas.
Flavors: Broth, Lima Beans, Spices, Vegetal, Zucchini