Feng Huang Wuyi Black from Verdant Tea. . . .

Need a pick-me-up when you’ve spent the afternoon scanning and filing papers?

Because I do.

I imagine that your struggles are different, but you identify on some level.

Today I went in for Feng Huang Wuyi Black by Verdant Tea — a new tea with caffeine. Gotta call in those reserves.

The dry leaves are really long and twisty and dark. You know how the Death Eaters in Harry Potter fly around, leaving those long trails behind them? They look like that. I literally looked at the twists and thought “THE DARK LORD HAS RISEN.”

Would the Death Eaters drink this? I think they might, because it’s a pure leaf (no add-ins). And you know how they love purity. (All villains post-WWII have shades of Nazism, which is a bit tedious because there are so many other different types of evil to explore in addition to totalitarian eugenics. Anyway, that’s probably a subject for a much longer think-piece and not a tea review. So I’ll stop here on that trail.)

But it’s an interesting pure tea. Lots of flavor is packed in there. This tea has a mineral zest low note, a creamy mid-note, and a sort of raisin high-note.

According to Verdant’s site, the mineral note is supposed to be the lightest of notes, and berries are supposed to be up at the top; but I’m not getting that when I drink that black.

I worried that my tongue might be dead from years of exposure to my grandmother’s cooking. (SICK BURN.)

So I tried it with a little bit of vanilla almond milk and AHA. BERRY IS IN THERE. Sometimes you need the temperature to drop and a little bit of cream to whisk sweetness onto the tongue.

I prefer this tea with the almond milk and the lighter flavor, which isn’t something I’d normally say.

I think that without the milk, it’s your average Death Eater. With the milk, it’s Dolores Umbridge.

Yikes. Choose your path carefully.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Feng Huang Black comes from transplanted Fenghuang Dancong from Guangdong established in the mountainous rocky slopes of Wuyi. As in Guangdong, these plants are cultivated as single bush trees instead of hedges. The result is a beautifully elegant expression of the bright, fruity, complex and sweet flavor of Fenghuang Dancong with the deep mineral notes of Wuyi. Black Tea Xiao Zhong style processing tempers the naturally tropical fruit of Dancong and pushes it towards blackberry. Because this tea is grown as single bushes and picked only once a year, the annual yield for the Li Family is very small. We are lucky to share this small batch from the Li Family’s tea gardens

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Jin Jun Mei from Verdant Tea aka Super Starling enjoys steamed buns!

I have a confession to make.

I purchased this tea because Verdant told me it tasted like “steamed buns.” I laughed at the phrase “steamed buns,” and then I laughed some more.



It hasn’t gotten any less funny. It’s still really, really good.

And yeah, this tea totally tastes like bread! It’s smoky and malty and a bit sweet. I detect maybe some butter/vanilla in there, around the edges. It’s so heavy and thick it’s almost broth-like. Even before I drink it down, it just SMELLS really good. It feels like it should have calories.

It’s not the sexiest thing in the world — it’s a classic staple.

It’s like a guy who’s got a little bit of Dad Bod going on. (I have actually written “Dad Bod” on my sample bag.) This tea is Mr Right, not Mr Right Now.

And no Mr Right would be complete without… STEAMED BUNS.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Jin Jun Mei Wuyi black tea is one of the most labor intensive and demanding teas to produce. The picking window is very small and the skill required so high, that every experienced farmer in the Xingcun region works together to pick Jin Jun Mei buds for each other over the first weeks of spring. Li Xiangxi’s spring-fed tea grows out of rocky, sandy soil, yielding a rich mineral flavor true to Wuyishan’s unique terroir.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Mi Lan Black Tea from Verdant Tea. . . .

The description for this tea included the phrase “orchid candy,” whatever that means. You may be wondering: Is that a thing? Can that really be purchased somewhere?


It cannot.

You may purchase a floral variety of said name; you may acquire a dish in that shape; you may order regular candy in an orchid color scheme.

This tea was, like Luke Skywalker, my only hope.

And oh yes, it delivered! This tea tastes like orchid and sweetness. A swig of caramel.

Also a bit of rascally zing at the base.

This is a family of pastors with that one kid who gets into trouble at school — but non-criminal prankster stuff. And the parents say things like, “Little Joey gets his drivers license this week. Time to put his guardian angel’s flight speed to the test, AM I RIGHT?”

Like in Seventh Heaven when no matter what trouble the kids got into, sweetness was the name of the game, and a lesson was always learned.

So if you want to try a black tea that’s very floral and soft, check this one out. Your angel will thank you for the moment you spend drinking it instead of pursuing trouble.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Huang Ruiguang’s family Mi Lan Dancong is picked only once a year from single trees that are not pruned back to encourage deeper roots & more robust flavor, year after year. His mountain plot and decades of work in improving agriculture techniques for the region have earned Huang Ruiguang’s Mi Lan awards such as the recent 2015 Gold Medal at the Sixth Guangdong Tea Expo. This Mi Lan is allowed to naturally oxidize for over 24 hours before being carefully spread, baked and tumbled. The oxidation creates a deep rich black tea flavor, but Mi Lan varietal’s natural juicy floral honey flavor still comes through strong.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2016 Loose Leaf Gu Hua Sheng from Verdant Tea. . . . .

I ordered a giant basket of pure teas from Verdant because I was trying to be more worldly. I was like “I am going to UNDERSTAND this tea. I am going to BECOME ONE with MORE VARIETIES.”

Today’s pick: a pu’erh! That’s fermented tea. Sort of intimidating. All the pu’erh I’ve ever loved has been in a blend. The only other one I’d tried before this was sort of appalling, so I was nervous to try this one. (I only ordered a tiny sample, just in case).

This one, 2016 Loose Leaf Gu Hua Sheng, tastes a little bit like a toasty sencha green tea mixed with yam or some other starchy vegetable. The description for this product on their site describes this flavor as “plantain.” I think I can pick up a sliver of banana-ish taste, but I’m not really familiar with plantains

I’m mostly into blacks and sweet teas, but I enjoy this cup. It’s different from what I typically drink, in an exciting and not-intimidating way. I think that this is a good introduction to pu’erh for a n00b like myself.

This is also a tea that one could feel good about purchasing. According to Verdant, proceeds from this go to books and operating costs for the sleepaway Zhenyuan Jiujia Wengang Village Primary School. The Collective that grows this tea is the “stewart” to the “truly wild” 100-300-year-old tea trees “that grow in one of the oldest and most remote tea forests in the world, on Mt. Ailao.”

They use traditional methods. And they look really happy about it.

If you’d like to try one of the Collective’s teas, here they are

I feel nice about it and I hope you do, too!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Master Zhou’s Gu Hua harvest is a careful blend of maocha from trees aged between one hundred and three hundred years old, picked for a balanced and rich full body and aroma. Gu Hua is the very early autumn harvest prized for its rich flavor and intense aroma. These truly wild trees grow in one of the oldest and most remote tea forests in the world, on Mt. Ailao. Every leaf is hand picked and carefully sun-dried without applying heat or using machinery for the most natural and pure flavor.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

An Interesting Take on a Oolong from Verdant Tea. . . .

Did you ever try a tea and it doesn’t taste like the description? So you aren’t sure if you’re crazy?



This tea, 1995 Aged Tieguanyin, is supposed to taste like cream, caramel, marigold, and cherry. I am getting spicy (!) and nectar. So I guess the nectar/slightly flowery taste could be the marigold and the caramel? But there’s definitely a little bit of a hot zing in here.

The flowery nature is definitely in there. According to this tea’s (very frou-frou) description, “Master Zhang’s terraced fields on the cloud-enveloped peaks of Anxi are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water.”

I see the combination of the flowers, the spice, and the aging as a movie in which a woman gets kidnapped by a salty old pirate (hot). He tries to woo her with flowers (flowery) on his creaky boat (aged). She comes to realize that her old life, with its cross-stitching and frills, was stuffy. She comes out as gay and spends the rest of her life being platonic best friends with the pirate and mastering the sea. The credits roll on her climbing up into the rigging to do some sort of, you know, adjusting the sails thing or whatever. At sunset.

This tea wasn’t what I thought it would be. But if weren’t for the tea, we wouldn’t have that nice pirate story, now would we? Sometimes you have to take an unexpected adventure.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Oolong
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

This 1995 aged Tieguanyin varietal harvest already has over twenty years of aging. Master Zhang’s terraced fields are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water. The natural complexity of his tea makes it a perfect candidate for careful aging, which involves yearly re-roasting and sealed storage. The result is a classic rich dark profile that brings out the rich fruity creamy notes in Tieguanyin.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!