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Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota

Age of leaf: Stated as harvested in early summer; I received the tea in mid to late fall and brewed it up right away.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Tiny tightly curled, wiry dark-green leaves and buds. Aroma is earthy, and my mouth started watering when I really started taking in the smell of the leaves; it was as if the aroma triggered some autonomic reaction in my body to remind me of the importance of eating healthy green vegetables! That was a very interesting experience! (I suspect this may happen with other quality green teas) It seems that there is a nutty note hiding somewhere in there, too.

Brewing guidelines I have taken information from more than two separate steeping sessions into consideration for this review (I list the parameters for only two). On the first steeping session I used my standard green tea parameters, including using one rounded tsp tea per cup of water; on the second session (below, in parenthesis) I used hotter water, steeped it longer, and I used a little more than one rounded tsp of tea per cup of water. Glass Bodum pot used with with leaves floating freely. Stevia added.
……….1st: 172, 1’ (182, 1.5’)
……….2nd: 177, 1.5 (179, 2’)
……….3rd: 182, 2’ (187, 3’)
……….4th: 185, 2.5 (190’, 4’)

Color and aroma of tea liquor: < Later on the color >; Slightly sweet and vegetal aroma, pleasant.

Flavor of tea liquor It’s funny that I can’t find any details in my notes for this, the most important detail! However, what matters most is that my wife and I both like it. And I ­*can* remember that it tastes fresh, vegetal, slightly sweet, and I think there is a hint of chocolate running around in there (but I may be thinking of the Laoshan Dragonwell).

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: Smells of fresh cooked spinach.

Value: Good. This is David’s least expensive unflavored green and at his ‘bulk’ prices (or on sale) this tea is affordable for me.

Overall: The appearance of the dry leaves (and later, the wet leaves) impressed me right away, as I have never seen anything like it before. I like the aroma of both the leaves and the tea liquor. Yet, while I liked so many things about this tea, I was not impressed with the flavor in the first steeping session; not that it was bad, it was simply weak. So I emailed the owner, looked at the reviews on Steepster, and used the information from David’s reply and the reviews to make adjustments to my steeping parameters: go with higher temperatures for longer periods of time, and slightly increase the tea to water ratio; Lo, and behold! I got much stronger flavor! It does have a bit of astringency if brewed too long, but it doesn’t really distract from the enjoyment of the tea. I enjoy watching the leaves as they steep while hanging on the top and bottom of my glass Bodum pot; none of the lower grade green teas hold themselves in such high esteem! I really wanted to like this tea; and it turns out my perseverance—giving it a number of chances—paid off! I do really like this tea. Thank you David, and a big thank you to the He family in Shandong Province, China.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Bio

(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.

Location

Midwest, USA

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