2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Tasting Notes for 2018 Autumn Laoshan Green / Verdant Tea

More tea, less steep time. Less tea, more steep time. Too much water, less flavor. Each tea has unique steeping parameters. Each steep will be different. Even for the same tea of the same harvest.

Edamame. Very vegetal. Slight astringency. Clean and crisp


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This harvest is picked in the cool autumn air after resting the plant through summer. The result is crisp, fresh flavor with more savory green bean and cream that Laoshan for which Laoshan is famous. The He family’s signature green tea is fed by mountain spring water, picked by hand, and cultivated sustainably using traditional chemical-free farming techniques including growing rows of soybean between rows of tea to restore nitrates to the soil. The extreme northern climate means cold winters and short growing seasons, but the He Family perseveres, protecting their tea in greenhouses over the winter. The result is a deeply sweet and delicate green tea unlike any other in the world.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

misaki / Matchaeologist

This is the top tier of matcha for Matchaeologist. I was impressed with matsu save for the color, so my expectations for this one are definitely higher.  So let’s begin!

First the color. Gorgeous! Just what I was hoping. That luscious emerald/jade green. Slightly chocolatey aroma. Very soft to the touch. Likewise with the liquid, a serene green appearance. Wish it was accented with a lovely froth but that is something I find hard to do.

As I poured in more water a unique marine aroma drifted up to my nose. Wish I could explain it but it was gone so quickly. Silky mouth feel. That slightly marine flavor came back again; it’s almost fishy in flavor but it comes and goes so quickly. Do not worry though as strange as it is I’ve only had the sensation a few times in the many sips I’ve taken. Maybe it’s me?

Regardless, if you like umami this has a wonderful umami undertone to it. Slightly grassy , no astringency.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Matcha
Where to Buy: Matchaeologist
Description:

This crème de la crème ceremonial-grade matcha brews an exquisite, buttery-sweet broth of chlorophyll elixir with rich and malty roasted aromas

The crown jewel of our artisan-roasted matcha, Misaki™ uses only the topmost leaves of shade-grown tea trees nurtured for over 30 years before harvest, boasting the sweetest and most luscious taste profile in our range. The captivating aromas of pure umami and roasted caramel can be experienced upon brewing. Packed full of L-theanine and immunity-boosting antioxidants, this rich ambrosia can also be prepared in ‘koicha’ (thick) consistency that can launch you into a transcendent state of alpha-wave nirvana

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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.


 

Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description:

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Cloud Water Tea

Description:

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!