1340 Tasting Notes
Buttery sourdough notes, a roasted chestnut and toasted rice nuttiness, and something sweet. I love holding up the bag of dry leaves to my nose; it smells like sourdough or pickled plums (umeboshi). Sweet & sour and, oh, so very good.
Butiki’s introductory note on steepster for this “puerh” spurred me on to make my first purchase. Yeah, that’s right.. it wasn’t the Cantaloupe & Cream but this! It sounded so intriguingly unique and, even though my experience with puerh style tea is limited, I always get a mouth-watering sensation when I see posts for them. Weird, yet it worked out for me here!
Happy New Year (or New Year’s Eve, depending)!
Man, this is good! Today I finally worked up the courage to try the five second steep, gongfu method, in my measuring glass. When I made it yesterday using my wonky method it felt like the oolong was jumping from one flavour profile to the next in a chaotic array. This allowed me to taste all of the transitional stages, slowly, step by step. This is simply magical.
I let my mother smell the wet leaves and her reaction was in the negative but then I pleaded her to take a sip of the first steep, and also the fourth one, I think (when the finish became delicious). She told me it was smooth and like drinking a fine eighteen year old scotch. A positive reaction.
I haven’t kept track of how many times I’ve steeped this; I’m just enjoying the transformation of the flavours. It started out malty smooth, had a stage that tasted and smelled like fruit jam, and is now on a buttery, creamy, honey stage. I’m not getting anywhere near as much of that “roasted rice/genmaicha” flavour as I did yesterday. Where did it go?
I don’t have a gaiwan or a device to measure grams but I can do this! Yummy oolong, although I think I still prefer the greener ones.
Bengal Spice used to be my absolute favourite hot beverage; I brought boxes of it with me when I started university away from home. It was my comfort drink. Then things got busy, I “discovered” tea, and this was pushed to the back of the cupboard. Until now.
I went to check up on my mom, and she handed me her mug and said “I think I’m spoiled on pumpkin chai.. try this.” I never thought I’d be the type of person to say “blegh”. Just awful cinnamon cardboard water in milk. We both agreed to dump the rest of it down the sink.
Maybe.. the box had gone stale (better chuck out the box). I’d like to believe that but I think the truth is that it’s not for me (or my mother) anymore. I wish I could give this a higher rating, just for old times sake, but I’m afraid my face looked very similar to that red dude on the far left of the spectrum.
When I think of nauseating, overpowering jasmine teas this is one of them.
This pretty pink tin of twenty tea bags was given to me as a birthday gift last year. It was an incredibly sweet thought and I had never seen pearls before this. The individual sachet bags are gorgeous; the leaves themselves look like delicately rolled bits of green and white cloth. At the time, the jasmine aroma reminded me of root beer.
This tea is consistent. The jasmine is exuberantly floral. Sometimes, I pick up a pleasant “salty” sweet finish. The flavours have a tendency to overwhelm and I can’t imagine following the suggested four minute steep.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those teas I find myself reaching for. I still have twenty tea bags. They must have given me extra because I’ve had this at least three times in the last year.. just did a count on my gifted Paris tin and, although it says “twenty sachets”, I counted twenty-one. Lucky me!
Hybrid, eyeball estimation style steeping:
The dry leaves remind me of waffle cones: light and dried out, with a sugared vanilla sweetness. Whereas the dry leaves smell like stale, woody “waffle cones”, the hot water makes them come to life. It tastes buttered and fresh from the baker. Light waffle malt first steep.
Second steep: feels lighter than the first “awakening steep”. The honey notes are so very sweet and moist. There’s a roasted rice taste that reminds me of genmaicha. Delicious, like crispy grain goods with syrup drizzled across. Aftertaste is a fruity honey with a somewhat buttery lingering sensation.
Third steep: Lots of sweet butter and cream that pairs magically with the toasty note. Vanilla and caramel notes too? This is the best! Fourth steep is similar. The finish reminds me of Butiki’s Sparrow Tongue- where does that even come from!? I think I’m going to stop on my fifth steep today but this has at least another few left in it.
The tea has transitioned from roasted sweet malt to a rich, honey-infused, buttery cream. I’m getting the impression that Verdant Tea doesn’t deal in the simple and static.
I would’ve never picked this out for myself as I’ve not been a huge fan of the darker oolongs I’ve come across in flavoured blends. I’m grateful Verdant Tea threw this one in as my sample, though, because my preconceived notions were wrong.
Boosting the rating on this by a couple after steeping a lot of leaves for a minute (probably could have reduced that) in my measuring glass + mug. While the notes always taste slightly different I haven’t had a bad cup of this yet!
Today, the jasmine comes off even more banana like in flavour- it almost has a sticky sweetness to it. Delicious fruit. It reminds me of the sweet notes in the sparrow tongue- honeysuckle again? It’s so sweet…annd it’s gone. Second cup!
There will be many more cups of this today.
You know you love a tea when you push it to the multi-steep max. I’m glad I opened the Yunnan White Jasmine sample as my second Verdant Tea. I feel like the leaves are being patient and kind with me, despite my prior apprehension about working with them.
I remember my sister making me a virgin Pina Colada in a blender as a kid when we were in Kauai. The creamy coconut and sickeningly sweet pineapple were almost unbearably rich- it’s one of those things that I feel needs something strong, like rum, to balance it out.
Why do I bring up that story? Well, despite that both it and this tea are related to Hawaii, the dry leaves remind me exactly of a Pina Colada. Luckily, unlike my virgin milkshake, Hawaiian Dream does possess that cutting strong addition that prevents it from being nauseatingly sweet. The black base is noticeable once steeped- in the odour and during mid-sip.
It’s not very astringent, and the pineapple, along with a little coconut, carry the cup. I think I may be noticing the sweet pineapple slightly more but it’s a close thing.
The one thing that prevents me from enjoying this tea to the max is the fuzzy and dry mouth. I still like the idea for the flavour combination, however, and I can’t complain about the dry leaf scent. Maybe this would taste good as an iced milk latte or slush.
Side Note: Ingredients have a tendency to settle. My coconut pieces were all at the top and I had to mix it all up.
Today this tastes… floral, creamy, and banana like.
I haven’t been using enough leaves. I need to buy a gaiwan and don’t have my gongfu pot here, but maybe I can try short steeping the rest of my sample in a measuring glass.
I like this a lot but I need to try my other samples from Verdant Tea and work on my steeping skills before I pick up more!
Edit: So far I’ve gotten four good solid steeps out of my meager serving of leaves, after reducing the water. The fourth is the creamiest and sweetest yet, with even a hint of pepper. This tea has held up well to my unintentional abuse.
2nd Edit: Made it to fifth steep and I bet there would be a sixth if I left it for around 10min. This one tastes like pines- which remind me how much I love that spruce pop (Christmas trees in a cup). Still a good dose of Jasmine left and lots of silk.
Western Style. I should stop drinking tea at 2AM. School habits die hard.
First sip: It tastes like solid ordinary green oolong to me. although, I shouldn’t say that, as technically I have only tasted ONE straight oolong up to this point.
Second sip: Whoa! Did my Dad take some of the butter that he had just melted for the popcorn and dump some into my teacup? It’s extremely buttery, and there’s something like honey but softer and more floral. After experiencing that I went and double-checked the online write up of this tea and it mentions honeysuckle notes? I don’t remember what honeysuckle tastes like but maybe that’s what it is.
I’m still unsure how to describe oolong but soft buttered spinach sort of covers this one. I’m also getting something “freshening” mid sip and in the aftertaste. Apparently there is also a cinnamon note but my dead tongue only gets a hint of it if I take a gigantic mouthful and imagine hard enough.. It’s dominantly sweet butter.
Second Steep: Consistently tastes like the first steep. Buttery body and a sweet finish. The brothy “texture” continues to be thick like melted butter too.
Wow! I honestly bought this for the inclusion of “sparrow” in the tea name. I wasn’t anticipating much- I definitely wasn’t expecting to love it on first steep. I guess I’m a sucker for butter, cream, or anything that so much as mentions birds. This is definitely as delicate and mellow as a “sparrow’s tongue” and the small, scrunched up dry leaves further painted that image too. I checked Butiki’s website and apparently this tea is on sale for 33% off until January 18th. I may have to take advantage of that next week.
Finished up my sample (sipdown?) and I don’t know what I did but it turned out excellent! Something involving a rinse, a measuring glass, and a mug with a steeper/strainer.
Besides the burnt redwood, which is toned way down today, the vanilla and jasmine are the most prominent (and delicious). Next is the a buttery vegetal texture and an aftertaste of berry/fruity sweetness. Everything is creamy. It’s still an intensely complex cup but it’s allowing me to enjoy it today.