Funny that this is the first of the Verdant Alchemy Blends I am trying when it was always the one I was least, ahem, curious about. Don’t get me wrong, it sounds like an interesting flavor challenge, but I don’t think chamomile and I get along. However I ordered all eight of the that were available earlier in the week and since this one is staying for the summer it would be a shame not to try it in case I do like it and want to order more.

As for why it was the first one I tried of all the blends, well I suppose thats not quite true actually, I tried the complimentary sample David included as soon as my package arrived this morning. I was trying decide what tea to brew to start off the day and kind of hoping there was some Imperial Breakfast tucked in there for me. This Laoshan Earl Grey prototype fit the bill well. I’m guessing it is the prototype for the Bergamot Rose Laoshan they released yesterday, just sans rose. It was light on the bergamot which is a very good thing for me and so very very chocolately. I seriously loved it and I’m sure what they released is amazing as well. I’ve never tried a chocolate earl grey and though I know they are available, I probably never will. This seemed like the natural version of that and I would take it any day, it was a truly delightful cup(s) I had four or five of them :)

So that put me in the mood for this tea, as well as the Lavender Earl Green. I thought surely the latter would be my evening cup but we had pizza for dinner so Laoshan Black and Big Red Robe sounded much more stout than potentially dainty perfume (I’m sure it actually wont be). In fact I think an after pizza needs to be made from Big Red Robe, a nice Pu’erh and Laoshan Black (again should have ordered the Imperial Breakfast when I had the chance, new one sounds great as well).

I’m rambling too much and I haven’t even described this. Well it smells wonderful, I love mint and the scent from the loose leaf was both soothing and stimulating. When the leaf hits the warm mug I get more of the Laoshan aroma, but not nearly as strong as the sample this afternoon. Once brewed the aroma leaves remind me of some decadent dessert more than any one ingredient. Hot I get all chamomile and mint and twinge of astringency and I thought following the 2 min suggestion was a mistake. As it sits a bit though I can pick out more of the chocolate and it is honestly very nice. Something I will have to experiment a bit on, I loved the shorter steeps with the Laoshan Earl Grey.

I’m looking forward to diving into the rest of these samples, I feel less intimidated by then than say the Golden Fleece that remains unopened. Also my Verdant drawer is officially too full, I’m keeping these eight blends in the kitchen in a nice divided gift box with Upton, Teavirve and swap samples. This should also promote drinking. Right now I wish someone would reinfuses my tea for me, I have a sleeping toddler on my lap.

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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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