Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Master Han is a remarkably talented crafter of wild picked pu’ers and black teas whose workshop and ancient plot of tea forest is an hour’s walk to the nearest gravel road in a national forest preserve. We were lucky enough to meet him at his first tea conference. Tucked away in a hidden corner behind slick modern displays with uniformed reps from Xiaguan and Menghai, Master Han and his young apprentice seemed apprehensive about the operation. We were on our way to a panel on gongfu brewing when the sheer beauty of a bag of his wild-picked black tea caught us in our tracks.
NOTES: grape, olive oil, linen, scotch, honeycrisp, coconut
Learn more about this tea here.
Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black from Verdant Tea is a rather light cup, not that it lacks any flavor whatsoever, its just not as in your face with robustness as some teas. Robustness? Well spell check passed it so it must be a word. Regardless, this cup is lightly sweet with a sourgum like flavor, there is also a wild grape flavor coming to the top of the notes. The tea is clear to the bottom of the cup. The color is dark, like black tea should be but it is transparent. There is a slight drying sensation on the tongue while sipping, perhaps this is the linen note mentioned?
The flavor of black olive comes out as the tea cools just slightly and that is the note that lingers most on my palate. It is a lovely savory note to mingle with the sweetness of the tea, balancing it nicely. A lovely yam flavor develops more so as the tea becomes a bit cooler, and I am sure that further steepings will bring about that scotch, and coconut flavor I am looking for. Also I notice as the tea cools more the black olive note becomes more of an olive oil flavor which is interesting.
Verdant once again delivers one of the most unique tea offerings and I am so happy to have sampled some! Learn more about Master Han here.
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
New Spring 2012 Harvest!
This jasmine makes us understand what jasmine is all about. It starts with a silky smooth silver needle white tea from Yunnan with notes of cinnamon sweetness. Jasmine blossoms are scattered around the tea while drying for several nights in a row, and removed in the morning to be replaced by fresh blossoms, scenting the tea in the traditional method. The result is a perfectly integrated flavor, that starts off with the textures of a white tea, and sweetness drawn out and extended by a silky jasmine aroma. Continue steeping this out, and an intriguing apricot jam flavor starts to come out and compliment the subtle spice of the yunnan white. In later steepings there is even the slightest hint of pine needle.
ICED: Perfumed florals are more potent, with an exquisite silky texture and notes of melon and banana fruit salad.
Learn more about this tea here.
I was so pleased to sample this tea. I was surprised at the first flavor note I tasted being that of nut, rather than jasmine. Interesting because I have not really noticed anyone else picking up on that in other reviews, and it is not listed on the Verdant site as being a flavor note in the tea. Everyone experiences their tea in their own way though. I find the jasmine to be natural and light in the first steeping. A light sweetness and a slight rock mineral quality, but no one note is standing out in the first steep beyond the nutty flavor I am now so focused on. The mouthfeel is creamy, and the cup color is very pale yellow, almost beige, and quite clear. The after flavor is somewhat vegetal but only so slightly, more like a green tea than the after taste of a white, but lovely. Everything about this steep is slight, delicate, gentle. Now I am not saying I detect absolutely no jasmine in the flavor, I do, but even then it is faint and does not make me declare this a strong jasmine tea. I think however that is what is so lovely about this cup, the jasmine is so natural that it does not make you feel assaulted by its note. Toward the end of the cup of this first steep I am beginning to pick up on hints of a baked sugar confection flavor. Quite enjoyable!
In the second steep more of the notes come forward and the color of the brew is slightly darker. There are some lightly cinnamon notes but to me they come over as more like a black pepper which is delightful and awakens the senses. This note is detectable both in the aroma and flavor. Fruity notes are also coming forward which taste like red and blue berries. The sugar notes develop more as the cup cools. Jasmine is still of course a flavor note that is present but unlike many jasmine teas this one does not come over like grandma’s perfume! For those who have experienced a jasmine before and hated it – you must know that not all jasmine teas are created equal. There is a distinct difference between one that is done well and one that is not. This is done to perfection. A natural jasmine will taste, and for that matter smell far different than an artificial one. I leaned this long before my tea journey through natural perfumery and essential oil training. There is nothing quite like true jasmine.
Steep three evokes somewhat of a savory flavor palate with the citrus and linen notes in the background. There is a light drying sensation now on the tongue with grapefruit and orange notes. I am also detecting an oregano flavor. This is quite pleasing and surprising! I was not expecting the savory notes.
I am going to get many more steeps out of this tea!
All in all – a wonderful experience! I enjoyed this tea while listening to a Reiki CD and it was such a glorious way to welcome a new day!