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!

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!