Wow, what a wonderfully surprising tea. The smell of the dry leaf reminds me of Big Red Robe and the aroma of the wet leaves and liquor as well as the first sip had me fooled into believing this was Laoshan black, definitely dark chocolatey, how does Verdant manage to find these teas?! I wish I had taken the time to fully savor more of the first few steeps but a tugging toddler saying mommy I need you, I need you! Had me rush through my gonfu while the water was still over 200F. I need a cha hai (serving pitcher) instead of pouring right into my small bone china cups.

See I have a ritual, whenever I try a new high quality tea straight tea I pour out a good portion of the first three steeps (or the rinse and first two) in three cast iron dragon cups on a shelf above the sink. There are offerings to house spirits (think Shinto meets northern European ancestor veneration with a dash of Roman traditions regarding the Lares and Penates- spirits of the land and the pantry). The ritual of tea is one of hospitality to me, even if I have no living human guests. So yeah I leave myself a few sips of the first three steeps and in this case I was rushing more than usual and as such the tip of my tongue is a tad burnt.

But I did finally heed my toddler’s calling and he and I enjoyed the fourth infusion. There is so much going on in this tea beyond the initial cocoa. It turns savory in the second steep, a bit smokey in the third and has luscious honey and floral notes. In this fourth infusion I enjoyed all of the above plus toasted sesame notes and yes just a trace of avocado. I intend to taking my time with many more infusions and hope to come to a greater appreciation for the Mi Lan Dancong Oolong, which I personally have a difficult time with for whatever reason.

Edit: this got more oolongy in the 5th-7th steeps and is reminding me a a sheng pu-erh in this 8th infusion with some cool mintyness. Very nice.

205 °F / 96 °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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