Autumn Reserve Tieguanyin/Verdant Tea . . . . . .

Not gonna lie to you, Sisters: these past few weeks have been QUITE STRESSFUL for me. So I’ve been in Treat Yo’self mode: cookies. cheese. trashy pop music. trips to the zoo. leisurely walks on the treadmill instead of strenuous weight lifting.

And tea. ALWAYS TEA.

Today I decided to try one of the samples I’ve been looking forward to: Autumn Tieguanyin from Verdant Tea. Oolongs are my current favorite, and frankly, I deserve fineries.

This tea is a creamy walk through a spring meadow filled with fluttering buttercups. It’s so light and dainty. If it were an garment, it would be a pastel mint-colored tutu. If it were a voice, it’d be Ingrid Michaelson’s.

The tasting notes I’m picking up are mostly flowery, sweet vegetal, and slightly creamy. The description on Verdant Tea’s site says “pound cake,” which I’m not sure I’m getting. This may be, in part, due to my profound unclassiness. I may not have enough fae in my blood to be able to pick up on everything. But I’m getting the idea, and I’m adoring it.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

Master Zhang has worked for over four decades continuing his family’s craft growing true Tieguanyin varietal tea high above Daping village in Anxi. He is working to bring back the original habitat of the region by clearing mountainsides and planting trees, bringing back wildlife and biodiversity, for better tea and a better future. He has won awards across China and has been recognized as one of the leading teachers and craftsman in Anxi for his unique approach to grading teas and processing for flavor. Instead of grading solely by elevation or tree age, Master Zhang holds the “Reserve” designation for the few teas that meet his strict criteria of lingering intensive aftertaste, pervasive sweetness, and thick creamy body. This means that only the leaves whose weather, position in the field and processing come together perfectly can be offered as Master Zhang’s reserve. This reserve grade Tieguanyin was hand-picked and hand finished with an exhaustive fluffing and turning process to bring out deep intense florals and creamy texture.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2017 Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong from Verdant Tea. . .

The Backstreet Boys have a song on an early album that went, “If you wanna get it good, girl, get yourself a bad boy.” This is pretty rich coming from the Backstreet Boys, obviously, but one cannot deny the appeal of a bad boy. Cigarettes, leather, motorcycles, hard liquor, and a devil-may-care attitude.

In my teas (and in my real life), I tend toward the “good boy”: straight or sweetly-flavored teas. But every once in a while, the bad boy winks at me — and I see, for a moment, what all the other girls are gushing about.

This lapsang souchong is a trouble-maker. It’s smoky and rich and dark and mineral. Its flavor is “natural and subtle addition that came from drying the leaves in a wok heated by pine wood. The smoke from the pine wood naturally mixed with the tea, creating a deeper and more foresty flavor that accentuated the tea’s minerality.”

If you’d like to see that drying room in action (you know you do), you should go to the listing for the tea.

Although this tea isn’t my “type,” I totally see its appeal for other people, and think that, if you want to try a rich new lapsang souchong, this might be the one for you. It’s a wild, satisfying ride.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type:  Black
Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea
Description

The earliest Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong, (or Lapsang Souchong as it is commonly referred to in the West) was never deep-smoked. The smokiness was a natural and subtle addition that came from drying the leaves in a wok heated by pine wood. The smoke from the pine wood naturally mixed with the tea, creating a deeper and more foresty flavor that accentuated the tea’s minerality. The Li Family preserves this old-school aesthetic with careful application of smoke from local resinous pine. The sweet, roasted quality of the smoke processing blends with the rich flavor of the tea to yield a dark fruity flavor, and bring front and center the mineral texture of the soil of Wuyi.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Notes on 2015 Shou Mei / Verdant Tea. . . .

Zero degrees and getting colder. The past few weeks have been full of intense cold and winter storms. Makes this one want a floral tea to remind me spring isn’t too far away. And vacation is even closer. This 2015 shou mei has a silky mouth-feel with no astringency.

After I unwrapped the ball I noticed that the leaves were an array of colors. Usual leaf colors nothing crazy. It reminds me of the bark on a Rainbow Eucalyptus Tree except darker with less pop. The flavor is quite floral with honeysuckle and other unique garden flowers. Scents of rose and gardenia overflow your senses if you smell the wet leaf. Just lovely!


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Verdant Teas
Description:

No description as this one is not currently being sold on the site and is no longer available, however, the general description given for most shou is workable.

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.

Steamed.

Buns.

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
Description

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?

No.

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
Description

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!