Trying this after the Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black and the dry leaf scent does bare some resemblance, very fresh and sweet with a bit of cocoa. Will all of this village’s teas taste like candy? I wasn’t going to find out. I didn’t trust the recommended western brew time suggestion of 3 mins but decided to compromise on 2, big mistake. I could smell it over steeping even though my kettle said it had dropped to 170 before I poured. Overcooked argaragus bleh, though I took a few more steeps enough to know there was good body there and a bit of spice. I should have saved the rest of the sample packet for the next day, but I was frustrated and wanted my tea. I tried it again for less than a minute, I should have lowered the water temp and steeped for 30 seconds because it still turned out “over cooked” I resteeped these leaves at 150 for 30 sec but the damage was already done. Very sad, I’m sure it would be excellent gonfu style but I won’t be ordering any of it, unless it is included as a free sample with a future purchase. I would like to compare autumn harvests to spring, but I still have the dragonwell style sample. Another day.

Edit 5/15/12: So grateful to have another sample of this, already much better, though it is certainly finicky, or perhaps I am sensitive to strong greens? A bit fuller and more savory than this spring. It is both warmer and cooler, in a very autumnal way. There is a warm creamy salinity on the tongue and a coolness that fills my nostrils. Interesting. Can’t say I’m getting any cocoa yet but shall keep on steeping on.

170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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