2018 King of Thieves Dancong/Verdant

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This little phrase can be used time and time again with tea.

If you don’t like it the first time you try it, try it again. I was not impressed with my first session, so here we are trying again.

The dry aroma is better this time around. Somewhat floral, somewhat earthy.

The first time around is the best but I’m finding subtle floral notes that are nice in later steepings as well. The mouthfeel is smooth and refreshing.

While using my aroma cup I encountered I very briefly encountered some intense fruity notes with woodsy notes but couldn’t find it again after that. The leaves are a unique dark color but when wet they are outlined with lighter brown shades.


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Leaf Type:  Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant

Description

贼王 or “King of Thieves” got its name from the famous story of a thief stealing this valuable tea tree in the middle of the night over 200 years ago, but leaving some of the roots and trunk in their haste to cut it down. King of Thieves growing today is said to have regrown from that little remaining root stock. This tea was hand picked and hand processed over 24 hours of intense labor to bring out its rich nuanced dessert-like flavor and spiced tropical undertones.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2003 Aged Ben Shan/Verdant Tea

Have you ever judged a book by it’s cover? Looked at a tea and thought, meh? I confess I did that with this one. I’m not a big fan of pu er and some other aged teas I’ve had were okay. But I figured let’s give this a try anyway.

I only have a 5g sample so I’m going to do everything right with this one. Using the gongfu method I’ll be trying to steep as many times as I can. (Ended up with around 5 or 6 steepings).

The dry aroma is very woody, dried wood with other earthy notes. When wet, the minerality immediately comes forth along with some clean earthy somewhat roasty notes. It is a unique aroma that is rich and deep but not overwhelming.

The flavor, likewise, is mineral. Soft on the palette. The second steeping has revealed interesting milky notes. Also with the second and third steeping, unique rye notes came out. Like rye bread without the bread. Heavier roasted notes towards the end.

If you guys are able to give this tea a try I highly suggest it. Just make sure you give yourself a good half hour to enjoy the tea as it should be. No tea mugs for this tea.


Want to Know More About This Tea?

Leaf Type: Oolong

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Description

The Ben Shan cultivar has a big, strong flavor that is full of all the fruit and sweet florals we love in Tieguanyin. Ben Shan is so rich that it is often sold as Tieguanyin or blended with Tieguanyin to make Tieguanyin taste more like Tieguanyin. Some of the oldest tea bushes on Master Zhang’s high mountain plot are Ben Shan varietal, planted by his grandparents. Ben Shan is used by Master Zhang in many of his Wulong revival experiments for its versatile nature and big, deep texture. Careful aging and roasting bring out unexpectedly tropical florals paired with a taut cooling minerality.

 

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

2018 Laoshan Osmanthus Black / Verdant

Osmanthus. A flowering tree native to Eastern Asia. There are many varieties but the bright, orange blossoms indicate that this is the Osmanthus fragrans. Of all the teas this family, the He family, produces this one ranks of the top of the difficulty list. Due to the tiny size of the flowers they all must be hand-picked.

For each batch they must pick thousands of flowers. After de-stemming and getting rid of all else they dry the flowers while processing the tea. Once they reach the finishing stage the flowers are added to the tea. One might ask if all that trouble is worth it.

Yes. Double and triple yes.

You may open the package and find it lacks scent as I did and wonder what you are in for. This is my first time trying out an osmanthus flower mixed with a tea. It won’t be the last. The wet leaves boast a unique aroma, unlike anything I’ve smelled in a tea before. It is sweet, like perfume, with high floral notes and scant earthy undertones. Hold on to your hats, the amazing train doesn’t stop there.

The clear, amber liquid, light at first but becoming slightly darker as you steep it longer, has a silky mouthfeel with a tiny bit of astringency in the aftertaste. A whirlwind of flavor begins with orange-chocolate tones and changes to brown sugar. Fruity accents, woodsy undertones.

Everything comes together so nicely on the palette. I think I need more of this.

 

 

 


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Leaf Type: Black

Where to Buy: Verdant Tea

Description:

This is a brand new 2018 premiere! Last year we were lucky enough to share the He Family’s Roasted Oolong scented with local osmanthus flowers. This year Mr. He wanted to share a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.

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!