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!

Crassicolumna Sheng + Tea Flower Cake / Verdant

Never judge a pu er by it’s cake. If you think a tea cake is a cake made with sugar and tea you would be 50% correct. A tea cake, generally made with pu er, is made by pressing leaves together to form a circle. Pu er is unique in that it is actually a subcategory of dark tea.

Don’t know what Dark tea is? Go to Google and prepare to have your mind blown! Moving on, I’ve been breaking the cake apart with a knife but I now realize I should probably be using something more akin to a flathead screwdriver. The wrong method can create finer pieces.

Of course, I’m a noob when it comes to pu er in general so this is all a new learning experience for me. As far as flavor goes I find it earthy. Dry forest floor. Very little astringency. Pu er is a very forgiving tea. The suggested steep time is 10 seconds for Gong fu method and 30 seconds for American style.

Luckily if you are forgetful or easily distracted *ooo shiny* you can be assured that it won’t become overly tannic.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Pu Er

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

Camellia crassicolumna is a close relative to the tea plant, growing wild in the forests of Qianjiazhai alongside Camellia sinensis var. assamica and many other near-relative species that are even now being categorized by botanists. Crassicolumna grows distinctively tall, making it very difficult to pick, but the payoff is a deeply complex spice-forward flavor, and intense lingering sweetness, all without caffeine. When finished like sheng pu’er, Camellia crassicolumna ages just like tea into deeper complexity.

Mr. Zhou blended the giant crassicolumna leaves with about 10% tea flowers picked from wildly propagated Camellia sinensis var. assamica plants. These flowers add a tiny amount of caffeine back into the mix, but also add deep sweetness and a sunny marigold profile, rounding out the crisp edge of the Crassicolumna with layers of sweet deep complexity.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Green Oolong / Verdant

An aroma sweet like passion fruit custard.

Appearance twisted, crocodile skin green. Two leaves and a bud attached to a twig. Unfurl, gently, in water not so hot. The steam rises with bouquets of asparagus. They find your lips, those bouquets, and you wonder if you are not drinking a Camellia Sinensis but a Asparagus officinalis broth.

Minerality follows, slight but rounds the flavor out nicely. Cleansing mouthfeel with a bit of astringency in the aftertaste. This oolong has a much lower oxidation level then most.

Mr. He, tea master, has produced this tea to have almost the same percentage of oxidation that a Bilouchun does according to their special note included with the box.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This tea is the He Family’s answer to the challenge that oolong is only for southern China. Despite Laoshan Village only having fifty years of tea cultivation and oolong being the most technically demanding kind of tea in the world to produce, Mr. He comes through brilliantly. The careful kneading and rolling brings out a beautiful, pure expression of the minerality of the soil and the water. This tea is processed without a roast for a true green flavor of Laoshan.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Autumn Laoshan Pine Needle Green / Verdant Tea

Laoshan.

A mountainous area on the east side of China. South east of Beijing and due north of Shanghai.

My appreciation for Chinese and Japanese tea is higher than that of others after visiting both countries. What I acknowledge more than anything now though is a family tea farm, such as the He family that grows, harvests, and processes this tea.

Flavors of vegetal, sweet grass, almost a lettuce type of flavor are heavy on the palette. It finishes with an interesting sweet note. They reference a light herbaceous cooling in the aftertaste in the letter that came with the tea box.

I wish I could explain this to you but it literally has a cooling feeling with a flavor of a bunch of mixed herbs.

Also worth a mention is the dry smell and look. Called Pine Needle green because it resembles a pine needle. The leaves they use require plumper leaves due to the process this tea goes through to receive the pine needle look.

They require a bit more work than other green teas. The smell, though fleeting, was an intense waft of vegetal and grassy bliss. If you enjoy green teas I highly suggest giving this one a try.


Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Description

This innovative tea is first carefully curled before being pulled straight – all by hand. The result is a delicate, nuanced, and flavorful brew that lasts through multiple steepings. He Qingqing loves the way the leaves dance in a glass pitcher for brewing and the way that the hand finishing shows off Laoshan’s delicate deep-green buds and leaves at a glance. This 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. This year’s harvest is particularly notable for the deep minerality that shows off Laoshan’s rocky soil.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

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!