When spring comes, my family is thinking about flip-flops, patio furniture, fresh produce, and walks around the lake. I am thinking of Laoshan, of Mr. and Mrs. He and the wafting aroma of piles of fresh spring buds drying and being curled. I am thinking of the cool morning mist that requires you to wear a jacket in the village, and of the crystal clear spring where the kids play on the weekends.

I asked Weiwei, who maintains our relationship with the farmers while I am away, to bring gifts to the He family and see how the new harvest was going. The news I got was a bit nerve-wracking. This year was an extremely cold spring, which delayed the harvest significantly. I was told that very little tea was being picked early on. Weiwei suggested that we offer the He family far more than usual for the crop since they got so little in the first weeks of spring. Of course, we were happy to do so.

The drawback of the cold spring meant a pricier green, along with a tiny shipment of only eight pounds of this precious leaf until later in the month. However, the benefit became clear as soon as I cut open the first vacuum-sealed bag. The fragrance was thick, heady and overwhelmingly fresh. It truly smelled like being on the farm in Laoshan village.

Steeped up, this Laoshan early spring harvest is unlike ones I have tasted before. I expected an exquisitely sweet flavor, but I couldn’t have anticipated the thick creamy body, or the nuance of the sugar snap pea flavor. It actually makes perfect sense when you think about it. Colder spring and slower harvest means smaller leaf that has spent less energy growing. Less energy to put out big leaves early on means more sugar and nutrients stored in the leaf contributing to the rich flavor.

I am so honored that the He family is willing to part with this crop and trusts us to represent it well. Mr. and Mrs. He pass on their thanks for all the support and kind words that I translate from comments left here on Steepster. Indeed, the enthusiasm here is one part of what drives their commitment to innovating, improving their Laoshan green and Laoshan Black every season.

May everyone enjoy this tea. I hope the fresh smell, the tender leaf, and rich flavor evoke for others even a small part of this village that I miss so dearly.

Bonnie

What a beautiful vision!

Angrboda

Is this the same family who produces the fab Laoshan Black too?

jason

Just ordered some last week! I’m looking forward to having the opportunity of trying it while I still have a few steeps of Autumn Green left to compare it to – and the part about it being so sweet that you can eat the leaves after teasing the drink from them sounds like I may be trying to squeeze in another order before this one is all gone!

Kashyap

sounds amazing and this is just the kind of relationships we need to have with our farmers

chadao

The owner at Seven Cups had the same issue with her farmers. It was a rainy spring, which meant a later harvest and a shorter picking window. As much as I hope for good prices, I hope more for the equitable retribution to our producers, and I will happily pay a premium for the just livelihood of anyone who creates a quality product that I enjoy. Thank you Verdant for working directly with the farmers and ensuring a high quality, sustainably produced tea.

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Comments

Bonnie

What a beautiful vision!

Angrboda

Is this the same family who produces the fab Laoshan Black too?

jason

Just ordered some last week! I’m looking forward to having the opportunity of trying it while I still have a few steeps of Autumn Green left to compare it to – and the part about it being so sweet that you can eat the leaves after teasing the drink from them sounds like I may be trying to squeeze in another order before this one is all gone!

Kashyap

sounds amazing and this is just the kind of relationships we need to have with our farmers

chadao

The owner at Seven Cups had the same issue with her farmers. It was a rainy spring, which meant a later harvest and a shorter picking window. As much as I hope for good prices, I hope more for the equitable retribution to our producers, and I will happily pay a premium for the just livelihood of anyone who creates a quality product that I enjoy. Thank you Verdant for working directly with the farmers and ensuring a high quality, sustainably produced tea.

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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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