Liao Mian Ji / Verdant

It is currently snowing outside.

We Lord of the Rings loving Minnesotans are trying to determine whether this is third winter or elevenses. I’d prefer it to be over all together. But because I am not equipped with elemental superpowers to rid us of this weather a mid-day gong fu session will do.

Recently I have had the pleasure of enjoying many oolong using this fashion of tea ceremony. It is incredibly relaxing and makes one truly appreciate the tea. Not to mention you are able to pull out unique flavor nuances that may otherwise be missed. Nothing to be missed with the dry smell of this tea though.

Almost put it in my nose and still couldn’t detect anything. The liquid is a light honey color. If brewed with hot water, pour a cup every 10 seconds and let them cool slightly. Doing so will let you properly experience the liquid. Silky on the tongue with minimal astringency in the after taste. Flavors of summer flowers abound, a meadow of marigolds, especially when steeped longer than 2 minutes.

Also it should be noted that the Liao Mian Ji I am sampling is not the same as the one in the link below.

This one is definitely a lighter oolong. Maybe a 30-40% oxidation would be my guess.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Master Zhang cultivates this almost unheard-of varietal as part of his commitment to achieving the rich biodiversity in his tea fields, all while maintaining zero-impact agriculture for his Original Ecological Preserve designation. Liao Mian Ji is a unique cultivar, full of deep dessert-like caramel undertones and rich nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Master Zhang’s slow full roast brings out even more sweetness in the aftertaste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mi Xiang Dark Roast Oolong / Verdant

Flavor and aroma descriptors are fascinating.

Take two people drinking the same batch of tea steeped for the same amount of time in the same cup and both could still pick up different nuances.  Step beyond that though and think about some of them.

Tar. Granite. Compost.

Not many who say that a tea has these characters but even if they do you have to wonder, so… did you chew on some tar? Lick some granite? Perhaps it comes down more to the aroma seeping into ones nose and enveloping the liquid flavor? Why get so philosophical?

This tea is intense, that’s why. It teases with a toasty earthy aroma that quickly dissipates the moment th water is poured on the leaves. High minerality in flavor.

I probably did like a rock or two in middle school. Master Zhang has perfectly roasted this tea to create notes of honey that pair so deeply with the toast notes. Steeped for over three minutes and it gives me hints of bourbon! Stop playing with me!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

“Mi Xiang” is literally honey fragrance, and a few sips give credence to the name. In other finishing styles, honey usually takes a backseat to more powerful florals and fruit flavors in Tieguanyin, but Master Zhang here has brought out the subtle, thick and rich honeyed quality of Tieguanyin through his precise roast. We have so much respect for Master Zhang’s values in roasting tea. So many workshops will roast to impart heavy handed roast flavor, and in doing so, burn their tea and compromise its original integrity. Master Zhang roasts slowly and with perfect precision so that even a tea this dark tastes only of itself and not of roasted flavor. The result is a tea full of honey, toast and oak, a cozy delight in cold months.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2nd Picking 2019 Shi Feng Dragonwell / Verdant

Do you get excited to drink tea?

Though it doesn’t happen everyday, I do get excited for my afternoon steepings. What adventure will we have today?

What flavor will pop out or what will surprise me today?

Our adventure today begins in the Zhejiang Province in China. This huge, one time zone country is known for its tea but it is farmers like Mrs. Li that are keeping the true spirit of tea alive. Sustainable farming practices with no pesticides and years of research into how to make it work properly has helped this family achieve tea that truly takes you to China when you drink it.

The dry leaves smell of grass and hints of veggies. The sweet but astringent grassy flavor carries into the after taste. There is a trifling of minerality but honestly the grass is so strong I can’t quite decipher any mineral specifics. They are definitely there though. The area it is harvested from is known for its rocky, clean soil. Makes one want to visit.

Where does your tea adventure take you?


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Mrs. Li’s fresh 2019 Shi Feng Dragonwell is here! Mrs. Li is one of the few farmers fortunate enough to have several plots of land on the famous mountainside of Shi Feng, where her original cultivar (Longjing Qunti) Dragonwell is fed by sweet mountain spring water, picked by hand, and crafted one leaf at a time by her husband. She cultivates her world-famous tea using entirely organic farming techniques.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Black / Verdant

One phrase I continually hear around this area, MN, is “I don’t like tea.”

Man, I loathe that sentence so much.

Most of the people who say this have no idea of the depth they are missing out on. They think it’s as simple as Lipton and bagged Earl Grey. I probably wouldn’t like tea either if that was all that was available.

Fortunately, thanks to tea farmers and the internet there is a plethora to choose from. This tea, for example, would be a great starter for many who only know Lipton. It has depth.

Such a depth that they probably never thought could exist in a beverage. Have them start off by looking at the dry leaves. What care and devotion it took to harvest and process these leaves in order to get them to you! They almost look like chocolate. Does your friend like chocolate? No…? shh its ok. Don’t tell them.

It has chocolate hints to it but maybe they will taste something different then I am. Make sure they don’t slurp it all down at once like my daughter. Tea needs to be enjoyed a sip at a time. Slurping is fine. Especially to pick up the chocolate and earthy flavors, just don’t down the whole cup in one go.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

The He Family’s Laoshan Black has become their most famous tea, earning them features in the US and Chinese news media for their innovative work. This tea is fed by Laoshan’s famously sweet mountain spring water and oxidized traditionally for three days before finishing to bring out rich chocolate notes. This year is the smallest harvest in Laoshan for years due to a bitter cold winter and early rains and heat. While the cold has made for a difficult year for the He Family, the weather has yielded an even sweeter than usual tea, the precious result of careful hand-picking, field management and craft. Rich, full bodied and satisfying, Laoshan Black has become our benchmark for all other black teas.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell / Verdant

ASPARAGUS!

It smells like it was grown with asparagus! Never have a smelled a tea that so strongly resembles this vegetable. I like asparagus if it’s done right but drinking it? I don’t know…

The wet smell is glorious. Simply heavenly. Would buy this tea just so I could smell this all day. Slightly roasted scent with hints of asparagus still lingering. Fresh like the day it was picked. In fact, if you close your eyes you can probably imagine the walking in the thick of the tea trees on the Shi Feng mountainside.

Once you pull yourself back into reality you awake with very vegetal flavors. This is presumably the most vegetal green or tea in general that I have ever had. Let me be real honest though, it’s like drinking asparagus juice.

Not quite as strong though as there are also slight mineral characteristics to mellow it out. Which I’m assuming come from the unique earth in the Shi Feng area.

It is a crisp sip with a bit of astringency. I know I probably don’t make it sound very appealing but it really is unique and should be tried!


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Green

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

The new 2019 Pre-Qingming Dragonwell is now available! This early spring tea is all about a fine and subtle sweetness, and a long, drawn out aftertaste and crisp texture. Cool spring weather produces a small harvest of truly sweet tea. This is Mrs. Li’s first picking of the season, carefully hand-finished by her husband, Shui Huamin. Her true original cultivar Dragonwell (Longjing Qunti) grows on the mountain slopes of Shi Feng and draws in sweet mountain spring water.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!