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Sorry to be absent for a while on Steepster. We have been busy putting the finishing touches on our new website. With that done, I hope to contribute more to the conversations here, and answer whatever questions I am able to.

I thought that with the season, yabao would be a good tea to meditate on. Here in Minnesota, all the trees are just bursting with little “yabao” buds. They are those hard buds ready to unfold into a clump of leaves. I can only imagine the little buds in Yunnan right now and the Xingchen workshop busy picking.

I stumbled upon Yabao as a complete accident. I drank tea with the same vendor every day for a month or so, and each day they would pull out something new and crazy to challenge me, asking me questions about what I tasted. Finally, they ran out of new things to show me, until he remembered yabao.

The vendor looked sort of shifty-eyed around him before pulling a pressed brick of the buds out from under his desk. He wouldn’t say a word about it before I tried it. When I was at a loss for words, tasting something I had never before experienced, a look of triumph appeared on his face. “I bet you have never had THIS one before, huh?”

He was right! I didn’t even know what those strange little buds could be. He explained that they are picked in late winter and that only a few of them can be taken from each tree so as not to stunt the tree’s growth. I unfolded a bud for me and showed how many layers they have. We counted over a dozen.

I resolved to get some of this tea. I went back every day asking him about the yabao, but he didn’t want to part with any. He only had nine bricks. Finally, right before I left, he gave me one of his bricks. Last time I was in China, he was pleased to hear that I was going to brew it at my wedding for the guests.

The woman in Kunming who represents Xingchen workshop was so surprised when I walked into her shop and immediately identified a bag of yabao. She practically jumped out of her seat. “Don’t you want jasmine or something? How do you know about yabao?” I explained to her trying it before, and she invited me to sit for the full afternoon drinking some pretty crazy teas.

I was able to get back in touch with her workshop when I started Verdant Tea. In fact, yabao was one of the teas I was most excited to share when I was just getting started. It is a subtle experience to be sure, but one whose depth is rewarding under the right circumstances. I enjoy yabao the most in the evenings when it is dark and quiet, as it reminds me of mulling spice, of cedar wood chests, and the like. It is fun to see others discovering yabao as well. Happy tasting!

Kashyap

the first time I encountered a reference to this it was in the writings of Baisao and then around that time I noticed posts surrounding this tea in your offerings and so I bought it immediately. It is certainly unique, almost reminiscent of the vanquishing of winter by early spring growth, wet undergrowth, damp wood, musk and hidden in its parchment layers, hints of dry, downy floral and elusive spice….it reminds me also of the first time I was surprised by tasting tea flowers and the odd autumnal corn husk flavor…thanks for bringing the legends back to our cups so we can apprecaite the journey

David Duckler

Thank you for the Baisao reference. You have given me a new legend to explore. Your image of the vanquishing of winter is perfect- If a Song dynasty poet were to compose a tribute to Yabao, they would use the images you have provided. This makes me think that collaborating with a poet to compose a small tribute of words for different teas would make for an excellent piece to meditate on with an evening tea session.

I am actually in the planning stages of a tea as myth exchange. I want to provide free tea samples of a new and inspiring offering in exchange for a short piece, preferably an origin story for the tea. The tea as art contest I sponsored for Tieguanyin and Big Red Robe yielded some pretty inspiring pieces.

Thanks!

some crazy person who loves tea

ooo, ooo, ooo, pleeeaassee offer tea in exchange for poetry. poetry contests are the only kind of contests i can win.

Bonnie

I loved reading this account David, and Jason just sent me a sample with two new White’s. I am fortunate to be able to try this remarkable tea since it isn’t available any longer. What a treat…I can hardly wait! These are all White Stags in the Mist!

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Comments

Kashyap

the first time I encountered a reference to this it was in the writings of Baisao and then around that time I noticed posts surrounding this tea in your offerings and so I bought it immediately. It is certainly unique, almost reminiscent of the vanquishing of winter by early spring growth, wet undergrowth, damp wood, musk and hidden in its parchment layers, hints of dry, downy floral and elusive spice….it reminds me also of the first time I was surprised by tasting tea flowers and the odd autumnal corn husk flavor…thanks for bringing the legends back to our cups so we can apprecaite the journey

David Duckler

Thank you for the Baisao reference. You have given me a new legend to explore. Your image of the vanquishing of winter is perfect- If a Song dynasty poet were to compose a tribute to Yabao, they would use the images you have provided. This makes me think that collaborating with a poet to compose a small tribute of words for different teas would make for an excellent piece to meditate on with an evening tea session.

I am actually in the planning stages of a tea as myth exchange. I want to provide free tea samples of a new and inspiring offering in exchange for a short piece, preferably an origin story for the tea. The tea as art contest I sponsored for Tieguanyin and Big Red Robe yielded some pretty inspiring pieces.

Thanks!

some crazy person who loves tea

ooo, ooo, ooo, pleeeaassee offer tea in exchange for poetry. poetry contests are the only kind of contests i can win.

Bonnie

I loved reading this account David, and Jason just sent me a sample with two new White’s. I am fortunate to be able to try this remarkable tea since it isn’t available any longer. What a treat…I can hardly wait! These are all White Stags in the Mist!

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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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