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My wife is headed back East in a few days with our daughter to visit the family, and as a result our work schedules are ridiculous over both the last few and the next several days. I work days and she works nights, so the few hours of togetherness over the weekend were fleeting and gone. And so it was with a heavy heart that I turned to this month’s order from Verdant and specifically the Mi Lan Xiang – hoping to find a spark of inspiration in a sullen night.

I am truly blown away by this tea. Please don’t stop reading the review as I will go into more detail shortly, but my overall impression begs to be stated ahead of how I got there. So much of the experience this tea delivers is in the range of ethereal and doesn’t translate well in terms of trying to describe its flavor profile. Sure, those elements are there, and it is a lusciously juicy and intricate tea in its own right. To say that it is positivity in a cup would sound over the top and nonsensical if you are reading this but haven’t tried it yourself. Please do so.

I measured 5g of Mi Lan Xiang into my little 120ml gaiwan and then put my new Secura thermo-controlled boiler to the task of making my tea life easier and more fulfilled. (After watching David’s video sessions using a Zojirushi, I opted for the cheaper but more practical-for-my-wallet Secura.) Two successive flash rinses warmed the wares and it was time to see if the outlook for my night was going to improve.

Boy did it ever.

The thing that struck me first was the weight of the tea in my mouth. It has an almost simple syrupy consistency and reminds me of the way that a wake will lap at the sides of a boathouse in the cove after slowly rolling in from the thoroughfare. At first the bright taste of an undefined melon is there, and the combination of the scent and the flavor is intoxicating.

As the number of steeps move into the high single digits, a prevailing numbness and dissipating of any negativity builds and washes through my psyche. The flavor arc dances like a dervish, humming and swaying between nectar and spice never-ending.

This is the first tea that I have actually journeyed deeper into the teens with. I have tried with only one other and lost interest not in the taste but in the lack of change between steeps. To date, this is the most singularly enthralling tea that I have had the fortune to experience. Why is it after midnight and where can I put this moxie to best use?! This is one transcendent tea!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Bonnie

Brilliant! I thought I was the only night owl! I wish that I could capture the essence of the experience as well as you have just described it…and the texture. Transcendent!

jason

Glad we agree on this one! Now I’m off to do the dishes and try not to wake the downstairs neighbors ; )

CHAroma

You make me want to buy this tea, and I don’t even like dark oolongs that much! Awesome awesome review. I can picture the entire experience. Hope work calms down so you can spend more time with your wife.

jason

@CHAroma, such a nice compliment and thanks for the well wishes!

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Comments

Bonnie

Brilliant! I thought I was the only night owl! I wish that I could capture the essence of the experience as well as you have just described it…and the texture. Transcendent!

jason

Glad we agree on this one! Now I’m off to do the dishes and try not to wake the downstairs neighbors ; )

CHAroma

You make me want to buy this tea, and I don’t even like dark oolongs that much! Awesome awesome review. I can picture the entire experience. Hope work calms down so you can spend more time with your wife.

jason

@CHAroma, such a nice compliment and thanks for the well wishes!

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Bio

I am so very new to loose leaf tea and, after decades of really really good coffee, I am blown away by the diversity and complexity that this little leaf has to offer. Every new cup is an adventure and I look forward to sharing them with you!

+ I attempt to rate teas in comparison to others I’ve tried of the same general variety, so a green tea rated at 95 vs a pu’er at 90 doesn’t necessarily mean that I liked the green better than the pu’er – it just means I liked it better than most other greens.

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Castle Rock, CO

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