This is a nostalgic green tea for me. All of Verdant’s other greens are from the far-off village of Laoshan in Shandong Province. This one alone falls within the Southern Chinese growing region, hailing from Yunnan.

The first time I tried this was a dark rainy night in Hangzhou. I had wrapped up a day of interviews with tea vendors, mostly selling Dragonwell, and found myself out in torrential rain walking along the shoreline of the city’s famous lake. My goal was to find either a taxi or a teahouse to get out of the rain. I walked and walked with no luck at either. After about an hour of wandering and thorough pounding from the rain, I saw an old wooden structure down a side street. The whole sign was not visible, but I saw the character for tea, and made a dash for it. As I rounded the corner, I saw that the sign read “Jingshan Teahouse.” I had never heard of Jingshan before, but didn’t particularly care. I entered the old wooden building and asked for a table.

The teahouse was completely empty, and the woman behind the counter scurried upstairs to find a table and some hot water. She handed me a big, wooden-bound menu proudly and I opened it to find just three teas. Jingshan Tea, Jingshan Budset Tea, and Jingshan Early Spring Tea. I almost laughed at the oddity of three menu items, but ordered the Early Spring Tea, and waited. Instead of the usual Gaiwan, the woman brought a short glass, poured hot water and sprinkled the tea leaves on top, telling me to wait for the tea to start dancing around.

This was clearly no ordinary tea waitress. I struck up a conversation while waiting for the leaves to open and found out that her family was a farmer family in Yunnan, and they saved money to open a shop in Hangzhou to spread the tea of their village that they were so proud of. I sipped the tea and experienced a crisp, sparkling and determined sweetness that impressed me. The woman was very happy I liked it and immediately began pulling out books and picture albums of the mountain Jingshan. I convinced her to sell me a little bag of tea to drink at home, and left much happier, and with much more taxi-finding skill.

It took me three years to track her down again, and with some help from good friends in China, I was able to bring the Jingshan green that she shared with me to America. I have been drinking it hot and iced, and notice that its original effect of clearing the mind and having an overall cleansing feeling remains true. When I am not in the mood for the bean-like heartiness of Laoshan, I turn to the lighter Jingshan, and watch the buds uncurl in a glass tumbler.

My hope is that some Americans will get as much joy out of discovering tea from an obscure little-known village as I have. While neither Jingshan or Laoshan are famous, the farmers are honest, devoted and honorable.

Time to go steep up another tumbler-full!

E Alexander Gerster

Thank you for sharing such a great personal story with us! Through your bringing this tea to the USA and making it available to us, we have a wonderful chance to share in your serendipitous finding of the Hangzhou/Jingshan teahouse. Looking forward to trying this tea soon!

Shinobi_cha

That is a really cool story!
I have been to Hangzhou, but only for two days… took a boat out on West Lake.
But finding a tiny little teashop like that (NOT selling Long Jing!), discovering the tea… then actually being able to track them down again … what a fun experience. Makes me feel very nostalgic too, thinking of my experiences in China. Thanks for sharing.

Azzrian

What a dreamy wonderful experience! For a moment I was lost in your story as if reading a book. Thank you!

Charles Thomas Draper

Yes. This one should be in the Steepster Hall Of Fame.

David Duckler

Thanks so much everyone! I am glad that these little stories are well-enjoyed. Much of the enjoyment of tea for me has been listening to stories. There is nothing like sipping the day away at a teahouse while a tea master tells you all the legends of their village. I really want to bring more of that feeling of discovery to tea drinking back in the west.

Invader Zim

Your story was one of the main reasons I wanted to try this tea. It did not disappoint. I would love to sit in a tea house and listen to a tea masters legends and stories! I don’t think I’d ever want to leave!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Comments

E Alexander Gerster

Thank you for sharing such a great personal story with us! Through your bringing this tea to the USA and making it available to us, we have a wonderful chance to share in your serendipitous finding of the Hangzhou/Jingshan teahouse. Looking forward to trying this tea soon!

Shinobi_cha

That is a really cool story!
I have been to Hangzhou, but only for two days… took a boat out on West Lake.
But finding a tiny little teashop like that (NOT selling Long Jing!), discovering the tea… then actually being able to track them down again … what a fun experience. Makes me feel very nostalgic too, thinking of my experiences in China. Thanks for sharing.

Azzrian

What a dreamy wonderful experience! For a moment I was lost in your story as if reading a book. Thank you!

Charles Thomas Draper

Yes. This one should be in the Steepster Hall Of Fame.

David Duckler

Thanks so much everyone! I am glad that these little stories are well-enjoyed. Much of the enjoyment of tea for me has been listening to stories. There is nothing like sipping the day away at a teahouse while a tea master tells you all the legends of their village. I really want to bring more of that feeling of discovery to tea drinking back in the west.

Invader Zim

Your story was one of the main reasons I wanted to try this tea. It did not disappoint. I would love to sit in a tea house and listen to a tea masters legends and stories! I don’t think I’d ever want to leave!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

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

Following These People