Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Verdant Tea, Golden Fleece
This is the finest, most nuanced and intriguing Dian Hong we have ever encountered... This tea is not the assertive experience that some seek in a black tea. It is not robust in the traditional sense. Instead, this is a subtle experience that will appeal to lovers of fine oolong and pu’er. The mouthfeel is perfectly smooth- not creamy, but silky. The taste unfolds slowly, confident in itself. The sweetness begins like that of vanilla ice cream, but quickly expands on the palate in the aftertaste with a gentle tingling similar to raw sugar. An enveloping honey profile is also present.
The wild-picked buds yield an intriguingly well-integrated spice profile. It is hard to pick it apart, but there are certainly cinnamon flavors, and the sweetness of ground clove and allspice. The tea has a warming quality and a brightness that truly feels like sunlight. In later steepings a satisfying thickness like incense and sweet morel mushrooms begins to develop and mix with the sparkling and sweet qualities.
Dian Hong is always at or near the top of my favorite tea types. This one by Verdant Tea is another, like Laoshan Black, that has achieved near mythic status among my fellow tea drinking friends. Given Verdant's track record so far, and taking one look at this beautiful golden leaf, I have no doubt I will love it.
The leaf really is gorgeous to look at, the golden buds are covered in fine downy hair. The aroma dry does not give a lot of clues as to what is coming. It reminds me of a tall brown dried field.
I used two tsp of leaf in my press and boiling water. The steep time was around one minute. The brew starts out light orange brown in the cup and turns darker as it cools. I used the word brew instead of my usual liquor because the wet leaf sings malt. So intoxicating an aroma. I could sit here and sniff the leaf all day but I think I'll drink tea instead.
Wow! Good choice. This is fabulous. It is honey and brown sugar, along with the malt, giving it a bread like quality. Some Dian Hong has a sweet potato taste. This edges that direction but turns away. It is sweet, warm, and yes, silky. Just wow!
I see where Verdant is referring when mentioning a spice profile. Late in the sip and into the aftertaste it does suggest spices. I can't say I am sophisticated enough to pull out the particular spices they mention but that's OK as no matter what the notes are, they are welcome and amazing.
I don't join the mythic status crowd easily, but I really can find no flaw with this tea. Definitely a must try for Dian Hong lovers.
Visit the Verdant Tea website.