676 Tasting Notes
Second Review. This time…Hot Tea Baby!
The last time I reviewed this tea, I had it on ice. NOT ICED, rather UNDER ICE. 2 tsp. in a pot with several ice cubes slowly melting on top and WOW!!! it was so concentrated in flavor and good! Ninja Tea.
What??? would this Gyokuro taste like hot? I had no idea? I’d never had a Gyokuro before the iced one. Never heated!
I began with 1tsp dry dark leaves in my Gaiwan and a 180f 1min steep. Since this was my first tasting, I used a double wall glass cup to catch the color which was the most fantastic bright (but pale) yellow green. Almost fluorescent!
The scent was not very vegital…but the flavor…ah…oh…ouch! WOW AGAIN! The flavor is like sweet corn but not. Creamy, buttery…and then…cool without tasting minty.
I wanted to say that I had just had chicken on the grill with fresh white corn…and had a swig of crushed ice from an empty glass…still sweet from Southern sweet tea. All of those flavors coming together…THAT! is what I tasted.
There is no bitterness at all even when cool. The coolness just gets more buttery and silky.
I Love this! I really Love this tea…!
http://youtu.be/WZ6HOUGE-Ok Aretha Franklin Baby I love You
Yesterday was Mothers Day. My daughter Annalisa and I usually take off for the day together…all…alone… without her 7 children and we play!
She had planned for us to see the new movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” with Judie Dench (first 2 showings were sold out), and I picked the Dushanbe Tea House for lunch in Boulder since she had never been there before.
(Google this tea house. It is hand painted and assembled without using nails and a gift from Tajikistan to Boulder (sister city).) The icon left is a picture I took of the ceiling.
We had a great seat at the tea bar and the wait staff were very attentive. I asked about the best Puer’s and this Black River was suggested. The waiter brought me the 3lb. foil pouch to sniff the Puer but alas, his hands were covered in lime juice and that’s all I could smell. He placed some dry Puer in a cup (without my asking) and still the odor from the kitchen and bar were too strong. I decided to try the tea at any rate.
My pairing (and my daughters) was a delicious and light focaccia fench toast.
A western style teapot was set before me with a 3 minute timer, teacup and small bowl for my steeper basket. The wet leaves were huge and darkest brown almost filling the basket. They smelled like leather and beets but, it was not a very good smell.
I tasted the tea and wished I could have had a glass cup to look at the liquor because it tasted like dust. Not dirt, but like it was dusty. Instead of the earthy or musty Puer flavor, there was a dusty bad taste of bad beets that I did not like at all. It was so rancid tasting that I could not drink the tea. Not wanting to make a scene on Mothers Day, out with my daughter, I waited until the end of the meal and asked if the Puer had been rinsed. The staff had no idea and said not all of the Puer’s are rinsed first. Oh. This is what I suspected. That and the fact that this was at the bottom of a 3lb. foil bag. If waiters with lime hands are just grabbing instead of pouring or using tongs, other flavors are getting on the Puer.
I have a sensitive nose and taste buds. Blech to this Puer! It was one of the worse I’ve ever had!
On the other hand, the service at the Dushanbe is the BEST! The waiter had me fill out a card so that the service on the Puer could improve. That is promising.
And the movie was so much fun. I think I’m Judie Dench in India! What a hoot! I hope you all had a wonderful day with mom’s or being mom’s.
Something Personal and goopy…about Mother’s Day…Warning!
Every year I get very depressed at not being a better mother to my two children. For many years I was a single mom. I wanted so much more for them and I should have been a wiser mother in many instances. Every year, I hide away and don’t want to see anyone on Mothers Day. I cry.
And then, my daughter posted a beautiful love note to me on Facebook that broke me down yesterday morning and my son called with love and I had to take it all in.
Love your mama’s… we are more fragile than we let on sometimes!
Tonight, one of the 5 tea’s that granddaughter Schey and I tasted was this alchemy blend. I knew that Schey is fond of mint so I saved it for a cool 4th tea tasting right before the finale 5th tea (Laoshan Chai). I was correct in my thinking that this would appeal to her. The peppermint is not overwhelming and the flavors are blended in subtlety. No artifical flavors. No caffeine. This tasted really, really good!
I told Schey that I had often made this particular tea iced which was refreshing. Later I showed how several blends work well together. I often take some Holy Basil Spa Blend and mix it with a bit of Pu-erh and bottle the blend for on the go iced tea. Yum! So rich from the pu-erh and cool at the same time from the mint. The combination is great for curbing hunger and lagging energy during long drives or shopping trips. I just stick a bottle or two in a cooler sack and off I go.
Next, we watched a Verdant TV Video about how to serve tea showing the equipment to use, and how to be considerate to guests when serving tea.
The shared moments that I have with my lovely, bald (cut her hair off in support of her Godmother who has cancer) 18 year old granddaughter are priceless!
Happy Mothers Day to my tea friends, and Happy Grandmothers Day to a few oldsters.
Thank you TeaFairy for this sweet sample!
I’ve been waiting for my granddaughter Schey to come over for some tea tasting! I have 5 different types of tea for her to try…but she’s late. It’s for a good reason though. Mom and dad are picking up a little foster boy who may be my next grandson! He’s had visits already and the other children have been in agreement on this little one. Me too,child #7!
Also, last night very late, my daughter Annalisa cut off all of Schey’s hair. She’s bald. Her Godmother has pancreatic cancer which is inoperable. I am so proud of the mother my daughter is this Mother’s Day! She’s raising great children!
While I waited, this Cherry Blossom Tea seemed a light enough choice.
I steeped the tea 3.5 minutes and drank in the sweet smelling cherry scent. Ummmm! Very fragrant indeed! The first large sip reminded me of Ludens Cherry Cough Drops in a wonderful way. I liked it when my dad slipped one to me in Church as a little girl. They were intense Cherry and warm going down my throat. Then I wondered if I could make the tea taste like the creamy Swirl Cherry Life Savers? (I’ve gone off my rocker!)
I added sweetening and some cream (no soy or other gunk…Cream). Yup, it tasted like the Swirl Cherry Life Savers! Hey! (Did a little dance here)
This is tasty and the bai mudan that usually makes my mouth feel like a furry cat is crouching in the back of my throat was ok because of the mix of green tea! (So a cat in the grass is alright (stupid I know!)).
In all, a nice and flavorful very Cherry tea!
Thank you to David Duckler for this fantastic Sample. Latest issue of this fine Pu’er
One of the stories I read on the Verdant website was the idea of buying a newer brick of Pu’er when you get engaged, and spend half of the brick (so to speak) with the people who attend the wedding, and the rest of the brick little by little piece on every anniversary for the rest of your life. The point being, that every year the Pu’er and the marriage will age,mature and get better. I love that way of thinking. You can apply this to other occasions…a birth and so on. This Pu’er is that kind of brick. The one you would want to choose for lifelong celebrations.
Because this tea will reach 18 infusions I would not attempt to write about each one and fill pages with notes. I know you are relieved! Me too! I’m going to have to lump some information together and hope it makes sense.
First, all steep times were 4 seconds to begin with and 6 seconds after the 8th infusion.
1tsp dry Pu’er
4 oz. clay Gaiwan (la tee dah)
Spring water at the boil
I did a 2 second rinse first and washed my hands in the rinse to remove any other scent.
Every steeping produced a light brown (more beige) liquor.
1. The most fantastic smell of any leaves ever! They smelled like the drippings from a roast! And sweet like the sweetness of artichokes!
Later steepings: No leather smells at all until steeping #5 and then a bit vegital. Before that there was some smoky scent that had developed. I loved the really good smelling, beautiful, big dark green leaves.
1. The first pour was full and warm like cedar wood and sparkled. I smelled a floral note but could not tell what it was.
2. Jasmine right up front and then dryness like the skin of juniper berry…but then WHAT IS THIS? Sweet smoky ceder with a bacon flavor! Couldn’t be, but it was! I didn’t notice it at first and went back to smell the wet leaves…uh huh…there it was…smoky little leaves! Very juicy too! I loved the smoke!
3. Not as smoky, more like cedar but more tannin. Hum.
4. Same as #3
5. Now, this pour was beginning to get more floral, sweeter, sparkling and juicy. There was a creaminess at the end and jasmine flowers that brightened the cup. It tingled.
6. Unbelievable, apple and citrus came to visit…light and refreshing with something else. That taste was cinnamon to me. Not sandlewood or cedar…cinnamon. It had the warmth and spice to compliment the citrus.
7. Again, spicy and floral. The citrus coming and going. I think it was shape shifting. I had 11 more infusions to go!
What I had enjoyed was the hide and seek…the playful quality of this Sheng. I certainly had never smelled leaves like this. Incredable! And such depth of flavor with a consistant 4-6 second contact was amazing to me. What the future holds for those fortunate few who possess a whole brick of this Pu’er…well…what a grand thought! I have more infusions to go!
Just a FYI This is the first tea that Verdant Imported when the business was started. Very Special!
My latest order from Verdant arrived today oh joy!
Sometimes I’ll order and ounce of a tea and get hooked, which has been happening lately with the alchemy blends. The are soooo good!
Ginger lovers pay attention to this blend because it’s something special. The ginger is spicy like biting into fresh ginger…with heat to it. The orange, galangal, fennel, cinnamon and pepper (etc.) are blended so deftly that no one flavor stands out alone. This is smooth, warm and comforting tea.
Here is the favorite way I like to drink my Thai Ginger Fire Tea:
I always have coconut milk for my breakfast cereal and often use it in my tea. It’s so naturally rich, sweet and nutty. What a perfect milky addition for the spicy tea along with some sweetening. Thai dishes are often prepared in this sweet coconut spicy way that I love. Very delicious. Caffeine free too!
I know this is going to be fantastic iced.
My favorite iced tea’s are 1. Verdant Alchemy Blends (all of them so far!) 2. Pu’erh’s from Verdant, Teavivre and a few others. These make hearty iced tea’s that revive the spirit on a hot day!
This Ginger Fire will be a great mixer with juices or 7-up! I’m going to try steeping some simple syrup or honey in a little bit of tea, strain… and serve on cornbread with buddah!
Thank you to Stacy at Butiki Tea for this sample
This is some wonderful Strawberry Oolong!
I am really fond of Black Tea, Pu’erh’s, malty Assam, smoky Lapsang Souchong, but this Oolong swept me off my feet. The flavor after a 4 minute steep was an authentic and gentle strawberry in a buttery, creamy golden liquor. There was a touch of floral orchid taste on the finish . As I said before, wow! This is desert-like!
Adding some rock sugar brought me to the best Springtime Tea experience. Paired with little salty expensive local cheese for lunch from The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop and I am ordering this tea right away.
I have to commend Butiki on not only their fine customer service, but on how well they flavor their tea. Never overdone or harsh, Butiki is a reliable tea company! They are one of my top 5 vendors that I will reorder from often!
I’ve been waiting for the right time to brew and taste this remarkable Verdant ’04 Shu. You know, waiting for the peaceful mood and amount of time without any interruptions. Then, last night I had a night of rest without pain! I woke up with a prayer looking forward to whatever God has in store for my day, being mindful to be thankful for whatever comes.
This is not a sample tea! I bought enough to have over and over again. Oh the delight of it all!
My brewing method for Pu’erh’s has become my Yixing purple pot that looks like a bird. It’s very easy to use. It has a handle and filter in the spout that looks like a bird beak. I am having some steeping adjustment issues! The Western style that I used before had much longer steep times…and the Yixing method is shorter. Also,the Western method might give 5 steeps and the Yixing 18! Who drinks 18 cups by themselves?! I know I can’t do that much drinking all at once so I devised my own plan of 5 infusions and then transfering the leaves into my Gaiwan for later since it isn’t porous. I don’t want any mold in my porous Yixing pot! I hope this is useful information to anyone else just starting off with a Yixing. Cut the steep time down like the instructions say!
Rinse the Nuggets 10 seconds and do this twice. Use Spring water (especially if you have a clay pot!).
1. I blew the steep time on the first infusion…ha! It went about 3 minutes. Old habits are hard to break! The liquor was very dark and sweet smelling like linen and cake. This is the most linen scented tea I’ve had. The Pu’erh was juicy and smooth without tannin or bitterness. When I went back to smell the leaves, they were still a hard clump of bark and also sweet smelling like the tea but not earthy or malty.
2. This time I only steeped 8 seconds with good rich brown color in the liquor. This was much better tasting. The flavor had not opened up yet but it had become creamier and less linen like. The leaves were still hard in a clump and black brown.
3. I could taste a tell-tale Pu’erh-ness that I love on this pour. Sweet earth and cinnamon biting my tongue. The tea was juicy and I tasted waffles warm and nutty.
4. Now I did a 5 second steep and pour. The leaves had opened up quite a bit now and smelled more leathery. The liquor was dark and malty, rich and smooth. There was a definate sweet bakery undertone with peppery cinnamon filling my mouth. The linen was gone but not the juice. I could feel the coolness with the pepper which was an interesting sensation.
5. I think this was my favorite pour. Short and sweet, peppery spice up front with a little linen scent and dry but juicy (if that makes sense). I gave the tea my best winery tasting- room slurp to the back of the mouth, rolling it around your palate test. Sweet, slightly malty, vague salt, super smooth, sweet yeast bread dough, cool cinnamon bark with pepper finish.
6. (I added a little sugar which brought out a vanilla yammy taste due to some subtle malt I suspect).
At this point there were still some hard parts to the leaves that must open up in the water! I have 12 infusions to go! Whoa!
I love Pu’erh…love, love, love! This was so good already! I’m not even half way done with the first tasting and it will go on all day! How much Pu’erh do you think I used for these 18 infusions? 1.5 teaspoons! Crazy Wonderful!
Thank you TeaFairy dahling for this tea sample!
Appropriate tea for this early evening would be…NUTS! Because I’ve been wacky NUTS! today (if you read the Kombucha review you know this already). Therefore, I picked the Toasted Walnut as a perfect follow-up tea for me to taste.
Now TeaFairy is funny girl. She sent me sample packets in French so that I had no idea what ingredients were in the tea. She labeled the name and brewing instructions though. (Good girl for that!) So for me this is Noix grillees. Cool!
The 4 minute steep time produced a deep gold greenish liquor that smelled like pastry all buttered and warm. My first sip was light but not very nutty (I discovered later that there were other ingredients that tempered the nuttiness) and sweet enough to drink without having to add sugar. For me though, I wanted some sweet tea at that time of day. Um, worth it too! Nice, creamy tea smooth and fruity. I could smell the walnut scent but the flavor was more like coconut cream. Later I read the ingredients, English Version, and voila’ coconut is in the mix along with some fruit.
This is tasty tea and a nice treat but I think it’s almost false advertising on the name. There is no toasted walnut flavor. The other flavors completely overpower what could have been a unique tea. Try this again DavidsTea. It should have been called Nutty Coconut Fruit Tea to be more accurate. But, the tea did taste good!
Far out and thank you to my friend IndigoBloom flower child for this cool sample
This whole review is the rambling of an old woman. If you hate that sort of thing, do not read on!
Finally a tea that has some history (Kombucha and the hippie part) to have some fun with! The Haight in 1967! (Haight Ashbury San Francisco) Was really wierd! My best friend had moved there and when I went the 50 miles from San Jose to visit…well…I had been to a “Love In at Stanford”, and a “Sit In” at my Collage, and a meeting with “H. Rap Brown” (look it up) but this was a mind blowing freaky place! Even then my senses said DANGER! The thought of taking drugs around a bunch of strangers where anyone could do whatever they wanted to with you…well…it wasn’t for me! Pretty much that’s what it looked like on the streets and at my friend Kay’s place. A little girl around the corner from my house got hooked up with Charles Manson at that time in the City. Her name was Susan Atkins. I remember her way before the evil happened. Old memories.
Anyway, I had a lot of pain in my bones last night and had to go back to sleep this morning to catch up. The Kombucha called to me…hey Bonnie…let’s boogie on down memory lane and groove to the 60’s beat again! Cool! Far out! I could dig that!
http://youtu.be/cvWjIgiUIw4 …Mamas and the Papas Are you Going to San Francisco
I steeped this tea a long time…6 minutes and it’s delicious! I love pineapple! My review on the flavor is going to be short and SWEET!
This is full and buttery, not a thin fruit tea but naturally sweet and ripe. Happy to say that hot or cold this does not change character! Lovely cup to ice or drink hot which means you can have it year around in the cupboard and delight in it any way you want to have it.
This is a flavored oolong and I would have on hand because it isn’t fussy. Great every day, dependable tea!
(FYI I think I’m the only one in the Bay Area of my generation that did not do drugs! Instead I became a Vista Volunteer and went to the East Coast during the Civil Rights Era. I did however, wear mini shirts and platform shoes and looked like a hooker!)
http://youtu.be/ntLsElbW9Xo This last one is a classic 60’s protest song by Barry Maguire called The Eve of Distruction. He came to my home…(actually we were friends long ago) and got there before me one night and when I arrived the house was full of people and he was just sitting on the couch playing the guitar…some guy was washing my dishes. This was after I was married with children in the 70’s.