What kind of experience have people had with Verdant? Their artisan Pu-erhs intrigue me. The prices are obviously high, which doesn’t necessarily bother me, but I find their descriptions over-the-top pretentious and cloying.
I’ve had excellent experiences with Verdant Tea. In fact, they’re really the only teas I’ve been reviewing on Steepster, because I find them becoming my favorites, and I’m not motivated to go write reviews for most of my other teas because they’re just not as exciting.
The customer service is excellent. You get a sample each time you order, and the sample is a recommendation based on the teas that you’re purchasing. You get a tracking number with each shipment (USPS), and I get the teas within a few days. Plus, the shipping is basically free.
I live in the Minneapolis area, which means I live close enough to go to the tea tastings that Verdant hosts at some of the local tea shops. They’re really fun to go to, since the owner (David) has lots of great folk stories and anecdotes from when he was researching tea in China. The tea is also unquestionably good, and the tastings are a great way to try the teas risk free before figuring out which ones I want to take home.
I used to get Verdant’s teas through my local shop (Infinitea), but I found that buying directly from Verdant online was often cheaper and with better customer service.
As for their tea, it’s hands down the best I’ve found in the United States. I spent time in China myself (learned basically all of my Chinese from my friends at the tea market in Qingdao), and they carry my favorite green (Lao Shan) which I haven’t been able to find anywhere else. Their pu’ers are almost offensively delicious; it makes me wonder why other vendors don’t bring in this kind of thing. I guess it helps to be a really small company with good connections.
Of the pu’ers, I personally own an entire ball of the Farmer’s Coop, a brick of Artisan Revival, a tin of Xingyang, two bricks of Twin Elephants Golden Needle, and a brick of Tea Trail (which I need to reorder soon..getting low!). I think I’ve tried all of them. I am saving up money to buy at least one tong (stack of 7) of Artisan Revival, because I cannot believe how cheap and young it is for being so perfect already. Ideally, I’d like to have two or three tongs to put away in a closet and forget about, so that I’ll be able to drink it for the rest of my life without paying the fortune I’m sure it will be worth in a few years.
If you’re curious about Verdant’s pu’ers, I’d suggest either trying out the Sheng or Shu sample packs, or just e-mailing David (see his website). He’s been really flexible with friends of mine about making up personalized sample packs and searching out oddball teas and accessories.
Bottom line is, Verdant really truly loves tea and tea culture. The teas they bring in show that they are dedicated to bringing in the very best they can. If you’re curious, you should just give one of the teas a shot; I recommend them wholeheartedly and with no reservations.
Wow! That’s quite a testimonial. I’m definitely not shy about searching out and purchasing the best teas. The fact that Verdant has done the leg work makes it easier than going to a site like Yunnansourcing that has hundreds of shengs and shus. I’ll give the sample packs a try.