This Silver Needle Jasmine truly came about as a sort of conspiracy between Wang Yanxin, our scout for Yunnan teas, especially fine pu’ers, and Weiwei, Verdant’s employee in China who works with farmers mostly in Laoshan and Anxi.

Both Weiwei and Wang Yanxin have some of the most formidable and discriminating palates in the world. The conspiracy here is that neither of them have any inclination towards jasmine tea at all. When Weiwei and I are drinking tea together with a workshop or farmer, she always asks for a glass of water to discreetly wash the taste out of her mouth when jasmine is served. I would just shake my head. Come on Weiwei, you can find some of the most heady and floral Tieguanyin, but take that profile a bit further towards Jasmine and you wash your mouth out with water?

Wang Yanxin always had a bit of jasmine on hand, and was known for supplying Qingdao with the best jasmine of anyone. One day I asked her if I could buy a bit of her jasmine to take home for family member less inclined towards pu’er than myself. She flat out said no. She said that normal jasmine is not good to drink, and pulled out a variety that cost several hundred dollars a pound. “This is the only one you can have.” Wang Yanxin has a strong will, so I didn’t argue. I tried to pay, but she gave it to me for free. She said that she didn’t want my family drinking anything less.

Keeping this in mind, I imagined a pretty cold reception when I started making inquiries on a jasmine for Verdant Tea. To my surprise, Weiwei said that her and Wang Yanxin had been talking, and they thought they found something that was good. I asked Weiwei if she liked it. She seemed slightly embarrassed to say yes, but admitted that she did. Wang Yanxin pulled her connections to get us a jasmine from Yunnan, made with a silky silver needle white tea. Weiwei approved the scenting.

When I got the first box, and cut open one of the heat-sealed bags, I knew that Wang Yanxin and Weiwei had found something special. Most of the tea-lovers here in Minneapolis that come by Verdant HQ when new shipments get in are pu’er or oolong people. This jasmine seduced pretty much everyone.

The update from Wang Yanxin and Weiwei is that they are now actively scouting more jasmines. In my last shipment, there were over 40 new samples to try. This silver needle variety actually got them excited to drink jasmine. I get jasmine pearls, little blooming teas, twists of scented Huangshan Maofeng, and a large variety of possibilities. While none have yet approached this one for staying power, it is good to know that my friends in China have broadened their horizons.

Charles Thomas Draper

I too have been seduced.

erichbenoit

also a big fan of this one…

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Comments

Charles Thomas Draper

I too have been seduced.

erichbenoit

also a big fan of this one…

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

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Bio

I fell in love with tea while doing work on classical Chinese language in China. I loved it so much that I went back for a year to research tea instead! Over a year and several summers in China I have had the chance to train in gongfu tea ceremony, and test the limits of my palate in tasting competitions. I was privileged to spend large chunks of time with farmers on their tea gardens, and was exposed to some of the smallest and most honest operations out there. It only made sense to go into business and deepen my relationship with tea and the farmers who make it with such care and humility. Now I own a small, but unique tea business importing the best teas that my farmer friends in China have to offer. Some of these teas are from regions that have never exported before. All of them have a story.

I will review teas on Steepster, because I think this is an awesome site, and a great community, but I won’t give them a numerical rating, as I don’t want to skew the system. I am having a great time here, and look forward to meeting more tea folk.

Location

Minneapolis, MN

Website

http://www.verdanttea.com

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