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

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!

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.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

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.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!