157 Tasting Notes


This evening I broke into the 2013 spring harvest. I needed something soothing and dependable to cure the doldrums. Though each harvest yields a slightly different flavor profile, somehow they all retain enough common elements to strike the same chord in my heart. To me, this tea is always beautiful. It’s gentle, forgiving, uplifting, and kind. It knows exactly what I need and it brings to me a state of calm and quiet joyfulness.

Tea soulmate.

Right now, I don’t need anything else in the world…

Flavors: Cedar, Chocolate, Citrus, Cocoa, Cream, Honey, Malt, Marshmallow, Muscatel, Nuts


“Tea Soulmate”… That makes me smile :-)


I adore this tea and I love this note


And it inspired me to make it my first cup of the morning. Dang! I love this tea. I need to look, but I’m pretty sure I rate it at 100 too.


Happy tea times <3


Times like this remind me why I love tea! It can completely turn my mood around and make me feel centered. I love Zhu Rong. She’s always there for me… (:

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I’ve wanted to try this tea ever since I first learned of it! Thanks to hapatite for the sample.

It smelled very maple-y and slightly alcoholic in the bag. SO. MUCH. MAPLE! That weird alcohol smell had me worried about brewing, but I went for it anyway. It tastes much milder than I expected it to. The TGY base is floral, buttery, and very “green” like fresh young plants. The maple is the next dominant flavor and it’s accurate. Probably my favorite part of this tea. I don’t taste any cheesecake, though. There’s a slight tangy flavor that I can’t identify. It’s like cream cheese, but it’s certainly not cheesecake. This tea isn’t vanilla enough or creamy enough to remind me of cheesecake, or even dessert. Darn. It does make a lovely maple TGY though!

Sadly I don’t drink oolong very often, and definitely not greener, lighter oolongs like this TGY. Into the swap box it goes.

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Green, Maple, Tangy

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Note that this is not the pre-mixed blend currently offered by Verdant. I ordered Laoshan Black and their Chai Spice separately. For this cup, I used 2tsp of chai spice to 1.5tsp of LB. 10oz of water, boiling, steeped for 4min 30.

I had a cup of this before work yesterday and I’m having another today!

Now this is pretty good. It has an aroma of cocoa, berry, tulsi, and cardamom. The current chai spice blend includes two different kinds of tulsi. I’m a little saddened by that, honestly, because I associate tulsi with cooking spices and I don’t necessarily like it in my tea. Also I’m very sensitive to the aroma and taste. It’s not unpleasant—it adds an element of green freshness that I enjoy—but it is VERY strong. The other spices are well-balanced; not biting or overwhelming in any way. The LB is smooth and chocolatey without any bitterness or astringency.

Second steep was 5min. The tulsi has backed off some—thankfully! LB is able to shine through much more. Cocoa, wood, and a soft creamy mouthfeel. The cinnamon and fennel are more dominant as well. There’s a tiny hint of berry sweetness and honey at the end of each sip. Yes, it is good…but I’m not overly impressed. I loved Laoshan Village Chai when I had it a year ago. I blame the tulsi this time around.

Flavors: Berry, Cinnamon, Cocoa, Honey, Spices, Tulsi, Wood


does it also have the goji berries in it?


Yes it does. I forgot to include the ingredients.

Here is what is listed on their site:

Ginger, Cinnamon, Clove, Fennel, Cardamom Seeds, Elderberry, Cardamom Pods, Peppercorn, Burdock, Saffron, Vanilla bean, Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, Goji Berry, Galangal


UGH…. soooo tired of the goji berries… and i think the tulsi was getting to me last time. i want my original LB chai back :(

Terri HarpLady

I just realized a way I can get around the crappy water in FL!
I’ll bring my chai, pick up some almond milk, & make a daily batch of chai awesomeness each day, no water included! Thanks for the inspiration, kumquat!


ooh there you go terri!

Terri HarpLady

Sorry I’ve been such a complainer lately… :p


Works of a mad scientist……. :p

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I had Golden Orchid yesterday evening, and this morning I had the base tea for GO! North Winds is unmistakably the base blend but it lacks the smoothness and the creaminess of GO. (Those vanilla beans make a huge difference.) It has notes of cocoa, honey, fruits, chocolate, and grain. It’s chocolate but it’s not a DARK chocolate. The fruity notes are simultaneously like plums, cherries, and raisins, but then it’s not quite any of them. There’s a hay-like flavor as well. Some caramel sweetness peeks out in the aftertaste, but it’s subtle. I want to say there’s a somewhat mineral quality to it, too. Maybe I’m crazy!

Now that I’ve had the two, I think the main differences between GO and NW are texture and sweetness. While GO is like satin and velvet—soft fabrics—NW is like freshly sawn wood. It’s soft, but there’s a graininess to it. GO = glossy. NW = matte. I hope that makes some sense.

I hate to compare the two because they are not the same. They are teas for different occasions. (At least for me.) North Winds is for mornings; Golden Orchid is for evenings, a time where you can devote your attention to something luxurious. I now have a greater appreciation for the latter.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Grain, Hay, Honey, Malt, Plums, Raisins


Lovely review. I enjoyed your textural descriptions!


wow, thank you so much. this is perfect. your descriptions & comparisons of texture are so helpful. i recently had Verdant Tea’s Laoshan Black (which i love) & it sounds a lot like what you’re describing here, though i don’t doubt there could be a world of difference between them! i read so many rave reviews about Golden Orchid which naturally drew comparisons to North Winds. i was dying to know the real difference. your review answered so many questions, again thank you :) both go on my wish list!


Thanks you guys!

@pyarkaaloo I’m so glad I could help you out! There is bit of difference between LB and NW. NW is a little darker and heavier, as far as texture and flavors go. I prefer it for that reason. I do hope you enjoy it!

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Chai was calling my name tonight. I shouldn’t drink tea so late, but it seems that I’ve been reverting to a nocturnal schedule over the past weeks. I’ll just embrace it. Also, why has only one other person reviewed this tea?! Get on it people. Brenden’s chai is the best.

I used almost 1.5 TB for 10oz of water which, after brewing, I realized was potentially crazy. It made a STRONG cup of tea. Fortunately it doesn’t overwhelm! It’s quite tasty. There’s a lot of warm, tingly spice that’s refreshing and invigorating. As teataku pointed out the cardamom is a little strong. Luckily I like cardamom. A lot! And the base tea, my god. It’s thick and malty with notes of cocoa, caramel, sweet potato, and the suggestion of dark red fruits. Plums and cherries and things of that nature. It’s creamy like pudding; luscious, visceral! It’s a sexy sexy tea. This is the first time I’ve used “sexy” to describe a tea, ahaha…I think it’s appropriate! “Intoxicating” is another good word for it. Plus, it’s good for resteeps. The spice and the cocoa pull back a little, the caramel and fruit come forward. Mhmmm. I’m all about it. I love Yunnan blacks and I love chai spice. This is just a marriage of awesome. Bravo Brenden!

Flavors: Caramel, Cardamon, Chocolate, Cocoa, Malt, Red Fruits, Spices, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes, Thick


Ravishing review :-)
(And why is it that I din’t have this tea yet???)


I don’t have this :(


What, both of us???? What’s wrong with us, thought we were gonna have ALL the TEAS!!!


I don’t even know how it’s possible. And this is a GREAT note

Terri HarpLady

Sounds wonderful

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Wow, did this tea get better? I’ve had it once or twice since my order came in a couple of weeks ago, and somehow it seemed…lacking. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in the right mood, maybe it was because I had different expectations. (It does seem different from the old version but it’s not just the vanilla bean.)

Oh! I just realized, the last few times I brewed I forgot about drinking it until it was lukewarm. It could be an issue of temperature…I’ll take note of that. It’s much better when it’s still hot.

The dry and wet leaves smell absolutely decadent, like cocoa and sweet sparkling vanilla. The tea liquor has an aroma of chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and cherries. Mouth-watering delicious. The taste is very similar, too! It tastes like dark chocolate! Thick, rich, wonderful dark chocolate. I for one think that the darker the chocolate, the better, so this is heaven. It’s so smooth too. Mmmmm. The vanilla bean adds an element of sweetness and smooths out the tea base. Makes it velvety soft, creamy. It’s like a liquid chocolate dessert. I’m noticing fruitiness but it’s not quite cherry. I was thinking plum, then I second-guessed myself and read the tasting note. I guess it is plum! Neat. It’s not very strong, it’s just a subtle hint beneath the chocolate and vanilla. After sipping there’s a slight nutty aftertaste and caramel sweetness. The notes of cocoa carry through. Oh my, my, my. This is so good and I can’t get over how SMOOTH and RICH and VELVETY it is! It’s a keeper. I was unsure, but I’m convinced now. AND it’s good for resteeping. I am so on board.

Upped my rating.

Flavors: Caramel, Chocolate, Cocoa, Cream, Dark Chocolate, Nutty, Smooth, Sweet, Vanilla


Great review!! And you will never want to be without this tea again. I think the vanilla bean makes this tea even better with time, that’s why you might see a difference. I know MzPriss (who’s GO is the absolute favourite) prefers it when it’s older :-)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I love lightly aged GO. A month even makes a HUGE difference :)


Then mine should be AMAZING by the time I get to it ;)


That might be! I believe it. It seems much smoother and sweeter today than before. After this, I’m trying North Winds again to compare. (:


Haha! please dex, don’t wait 6 months before trying this one!!!


I’m working on getting better at that… ;))


Yes kimquat – it DOES get better as it sits a little while. The vanilla infuses more and it gets smoother and smoother so it is even more excellent in my mouth.

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drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
157 tasting notes

…I have a confession to make. I love Verdant Tea, but this is my least favorite black tea from them. It might be my least favorite tea of theirs that I’ve had, period. I’ve tried, I’ve really tried to love it. Sadly while others have been fireworks and cymbals, LB has always been “Ehh, it’s alright.” I don’t get the hype. But then again, everyone is mad about WPT’s Golden Orchid right now and I’ve had nearly the same response. “Ehh, it’s alright.” There are others I prefer.

On to the tea. It smells divine, I’ll give it that. The taste isn’t quiiiiiiite the same but it does parallel the aroma. It tastes faintly of cocoa with grain, toasted rice, wood, honey, and a creamy taste/texture. It’s a light- to medium-bodied tea, but there’s heavy malt in the aftertaste. A little bit of caramel. And I swear I taste soybean.

In theory, I really like this tea! It has a lot of elements that I enjoy in a straight black. But when I’m sipping…I can’t help but think of other teas I would rather be drinking. The mind wanders. It doesn’t captivate me. I do, however, like it in blends. (Laoshan Village Chai and Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black specifically!) I’ll finish what I have, but I doubt I’ll stock back up when it’s gone. And it probably won’t be missed.

Flavors: Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Grain, Honey, Roasted, Soybean, Toasted Rice, Wood

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From my pre-order package! I finally got into it today. Aw yes. I haven’t had this tea in a good while. Probably a year, when I ordered my first five teas (sampler!) from Verdant.

I used almost 2tsp in 10oz of water. First steep: 1min. Second: 1min20. Third: 1min40.

The tea has an aroma of cocoa, grain, honey and malt.
It first tastes like honey and sweet potatoes. Next, there are some flowery muscatel notes that remind me of a Jin Jun Mei or a Darj but then, are nothing like those at all. Kind of fruity-winey but juicy instead of dry. There is a hint of chocolate as well. It’s not strong, it’s not heavy, but it’s there. This IS a very light tea. It feels smooth and soft, like…silk. Yes. Airy and lovely. Persisting throughout is a sweet, juicy honey flavor. It grows stronger before being joined by notes of grain and light, buttery pastry. Those are the flavors that linger behind: buttery bread, honey, and sweetness. It leaves a malty feeling without being thick, heavy, or “dark”. Difficult to describe.

This is a truly exceptional tea. In later infusions it gains a woodsy, spice dimension to it as well. It has a lot of flavor…especially for something that feels so light and delicate. I think it would be perfect as an evening tea, something to enjoy while curled under a blanket at home, reading a book. It’s something special. Many thanks to everyone on the Verdant team for bringing such a lovely tea to my cup!

Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Cocoa, Flowers, Grain, Honey, Muscatel, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Sweet Potatoes

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Revisiting this tea after many months! I think that, like the Sleeping Bear Blend, I only had this one once or twice before I put it away. It wasn’t the right time for me to appreciate it…but that time is tonight!

Each sip starts bright and minty sweet. Clean, calming, refreshing. Like breathing fresh mountain air. There are notes of soft, delicate jasmine as the tea unfurls in its full glory. It’s buttery with a somewhat honeyed taste. Thick mouthfeel, medium body, creamy and somehow slightly smokey. (At least at first.) I’m a sucker for buttery green tea, and this one is not really vegetal or grassy at all. So it means AWESOME in my book! I don’t like grassy greens; the vegetal factor is the reason I hardly drink green tea. I don’t even like vegetables. Anyway, getting off topic. Everything is quite well-balanced. The finish is buttery sweet, lingering on for a few minutes until the cleanness of the mint takes over again. It’s not a definite mint flavor, per se, it’s more of a texture. And it’s just barely there.

This tea re-steeps well, too. I infused it for 4min 20 the second time; the mint is toned down a little and the butter-honey notes of the green tea seem more intense. This is a good blend, a very good blend. Of course I would get into it after it’s discontinued. I did this to myself. At least I still have a decent amount left to enjoy…

Flavors: Butter, Floral, Honey, Mint, Sweet

3 min, 0 sec

I liked this one too.


Yeah, I didn’t expect to like it so much. Greens are usually meh for me.


I like greens, but I don’t like the overly grassy, or vegetal ones either. For straight greens I tend to keep the brewing times short, starting at about 45s, though sometimes less. It tends to play up the sweet and fruity aspects of the teas for me.

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This one is really growing on me. It’s cozy and nice. I get strong cravings for it, sometimes.
Taking back what I said; it’s a definite re-order!

(For poetic ramblings see previous notes.)

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I am still relatively new to loose leaf, as I have only been drinking it since 2013. I’m amazed at how much my tastes have changed just over the past year. I have met such lovely, kind individuals on Steepster and am so glad to have become a part of this community.

Pure black teas are my favorite. I drink black tea daily and I try to keep a variety on hand. I also enjoy white tea, puerh, and the occasional oolong. Matcha is something that I love though I haven’t tried a large variety. The very good matcha that I’ve had is quite expensive. In general I try to stay away from flavored teas—especially those with artificial flavorings—but I will make rare exceptions, and I do enjoy a well crafted blend of straight teas. Things I (usually) don’t like: green oolongs, rooibos, straight green teas.

Rating System
90+ The very best! Teas that I always need in my cupboard!
85-89 Teas that I enjoy immensely and will try to keep around.
80-84 Makes a very pleasing cup. I will enjoy drinking them, but won’t necessarily try to keep around. (There are exceptions.)
70-79 Decent, but could be better.
60-69 Mediocre.
40-59 Gross. I might still try to finish the cup.
39 & under Undrinkable. I probably dumped this cup. Depending on the specific rating, I probably threw the rest of the tea out as well.

Some of my favorite tea companies are:
-Whispering Pines Tea Co.
-Verdant Tea
-Mandala Tea

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