1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43 / Verdant

Longjing tea leaves are flat.

When I first encountered Longjing with another company I confused it as a Dragonwell. Easy to do but now I see that Longjing is even flatter and has broader leaves, at least of the ones I’ve assessed.

This first pluck is ripe with sweet, grassy flavors. There is a uniqueness in the astringency in that it reminds me of eating a tangerine. The dry leaves are my favorite part of a Longjing.

They smell so wonderful, perhaps it’s that summer grass smell.


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Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea


Mrs. Li’s first picking of the year is full of all the nutrients and sugars stored by the plant all winter long and offers a more complex, sweet and subtle taste experience. It has a longer aftertaste and thicker texture than later harvests. The soil is full of quartz and white sand while the water comes from natural mountain springs, yielding a flavor that simply can’t be matched outside of Shi Feng itself.

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Twisted Black Tea / Cloudwater Tea

Thought it was silly that they wanted this tea to be steeped for 7 minutes. Most teas can hardly make it to five minutes before they are tannic. Which isn’t a bad thing as there are those, like my father, who like a good strong cuppa. Not me though.

So I only went about 3 minutes. It seems like many of the teas I’ve tasted that are grown in volcanic soil tend to be lightly in taste and need a longer steep time. So here we are on my second steeping. I’ve stopped at five minutes out of curiosity.

The astringency is already kicking in but I’ll go the extra two and pray it doesn’t become a bitter bash. They weren’t kidding when they called this twisted. The dry leaves are not just twisting but also curving and rolling. During the two extra minutes the liquid cooled slightly allowing more flavor to come through. Perhaps it’s just me but I really feel that when the water is hot you can’t truly experience any of the flavor.

The mouth feel like clean with a slight caulky feel, but maybe that is the astringency kicking in. Which has strangely mellowed as the water has cooled. Mineral flavors of volcanic soil co-mingle with earthy flavors of cedar and musty, forest floor. If you are ever in Hawai’i grab yourself a bag or better yet go check out their estate in Kilauea.

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Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Cloud Water Tea


Maintaining a bold and consistent character, our Twisted Black tea is full-bodied, very smooth, and possibly woody with an underlying sweetness and aftertaste of sweet potatoes.

Brewing Suggestions

3 grams per 6oz water. Steep for 7 minutes at 195 – 212 ° F. Re-infuse with increased time.

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Bai Mu Dan Oolong / Verdant

Death has a way of making a nice cup of tea seem like a hug. I’m at peace and yet it still hurts.

Each sip is like a comforting hug. This silky mouthfeel is like a good friend wrapping you in a soft, warm blanket of encouragement. This unusual varietal has characteristics of it’s white counterpart while retaining the unique minerality of an oolong. It has the astringency that gives the slight feeling of one that had just licked a rock. A smooth, wet rock. Perhaps this rock was in a flower field.

A field of summer flowers comes to mind in the aftertaste. Roasted flavors dominate most of the flavor wheel for this one. Strange vanilla tones also appear if you let your palette sit without tea for a bit and then you swish it around. How unique! Tea, at least for me, has a wonderful way of lifting ones spirits.

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Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea


You might recognize “Bai Mudan” as a white tea. This intriguing harvest is Da Bai cultivar planted in Wuyishan and picked with the classic Bai Mudan mix of leaf and smaller buds, but finished as a roasted oolong. The result is fascinating – a tea with the buddy mouth-filling textural thrill of a traditional Fuding Bai Mudan, but with the minerality and deep roasted flavor of a classic Wuyi Oolong. The aromatics are full of orange zest and licorice root. The first infusions have a bright white tea quality with earthier burdock undertones and coriander spice. Later steepings are rich and aromatic like floral ginger, with notes of juicy plum.

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Not My Momma’s Merlot / KipersLilTeaShop

Raise your pinky fingers. This tisane brews a beautiful clear, rose in color. Close to Merlot but closer to a

Rosé. The mix of berries makes for a unique medley. The flavor is close to a merlot but fights with the cacao nibs and the vanilla rooibos for dominance.

Nutty, vanilla, slightly fruity. It’s definitely not your momma’s merlot but if you are looking for a replacement this is a good second.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Herbal
Where to Buy: Kipers Lil Tea Shop

Bold, beautiful, robust, and berry-delicious!! This tea blend really does taste like Merlot Wine (without the alcohol).

The aroma of cacao nibs and berries hits your senses first. Then the tea brews to a deep, merlot red color. The cacao nibs melt and blend with all the rosehips, hibiscus, elderberries, cranberries, and cinnamon to create this one-of-a-kind delicious tea.

Lightly tart, but mildly sweet at the same time.

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Black Ruby/Rakkasan

Sustainability. What does that mean to you?

Is it as simple as maintaining ecological balance within the confines of ones company property or it is more than that?

Any company can put a label on their tin but to live it is a different matter.

Black Ruby comes from a women-only run estate. Though there is no specific information on Milan Kumari Khatri’s tea estate nor that I can currently find on the web, besides what is on the Rakkasan website, I can tell just by sipping this tea that the estate has very high standards.

If English Breakfast had a sister, this would be her. This delicious tea has the usual earthiness but also has some extremely unique fruit undertones, such as black cherries. If you want to support a good company make sure to give this tea a try!

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Leaf Type:  Black

Where to Buy:  Rakkasan Tea Company


This tea is no longer on the website but click below for more information .

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