Verdant Tea

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drank Fei Zi Xiao by Verdant Tea
1406 tasting notes

Spring 2022 harvest, a freebie with my order. Thank you!

Round, fluffy-sweet and silky spring water with smooth fruity notes I can see as lychee and muscat grape. Threads of malt and chocolate, cinnamon and mild cardamom. Tangy, mineral, sparkling, playful tannins. Osmanthus in bottom of cup. Very clean, leathery aftertaste.

Excellent tea! I only drank this prepared in a 60mL gaiwan with 2.5g each time. Good longevity for a red tea this way.

Flavors: Cardamom, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Clean, Dark Chocolate, Dust, Leather, Lychee, Malt, Mineral, Muscatel, Osmanthus, Round, Silky, Spring Water, Sweet, Tangy, Wheat, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 OZ / 60 ML
Marshall Weber

I loved the free sample of this that Verdant sent me with a recent order too. So so tasty!

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Free sample from my last Verdant order. Verdant hit yet another one out of the park. The Li Family deserves an olympic medal for their teas. Absolutely gorgeous!

Covers a gamut of sweet flavors very well. It’s fruity, chocolatey, and pleasantly tangy. Peach is the most predominant flavor in the liquor. Thick, impressive mouthfeel for a black tea. No bitterness or astringency. Longevity is nice at 10+ infusions.

This varietal of tea is Fei Zi Xiao, named after a premium cultivar of lychees. This name translates as “the concubine smiles.” As the story goes, Emperor Tang Ming Huang of the Tang Dynasty ordered a batch of lychees to be rapidly transported (to keep them from going bad) from south China to his palace in northern China to be given to his most beloved concubine, Yang Gui Fei. While I have tried many lychee-flavored things, I have not tried an actual lychee (on my bucket list), so take my next statement with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, I can’t claim to get any lychee flavor from this tea, but the lovely peach flavor will do in its stead :).

I’m EXTREMELY impressed with Verdant and they will be my go-to tea source for black teas and dan cong in the future. Also looking forward to trying some of their Chinese greens. From my limited experience with their teas, I am far more impressed with the quality than for other shops that offer such a wide variety, likely because they source from separate small farmers.

Not only is their tea phenomenal, but they obviously care about their customers, as this free sample is of one of their $0.44/g teas, which is exceedingly generous! As much as I love this tea, I don’t think I’ll have it on hand often because of the price (ballin’ on a budget), but I will certainly be ordering more of it from time to time.

Harvest: Spring 2022
Location: Wuyishan

Dry leaf: Dark chocolate, cinnamon, cherry.
Wet leaf: Malt, wheat
Flavor: Peach, sweet, tangy, honey,

Flavors: Cherry, Cocoa, Honey, Malt, Peach, Sweet, Tangy, Wheat


High praise, that’s awesome. I have opened their website so many times, but haven’t tried them yet.

Marshall Weber

They are definitely worth trying imo!

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Very nice Dancong and the last of the three samples I got from Verdant! I would say probably not worth the $0.50/g price tag for me, but if it were closer to half that, I might get more. It is certainly high quality and complex, and I love how similar the dry leaf smells to cardamom!

Mouthfeel is full and toasty in the initial steepings. This would make a perfect tea for a cool fall day :). Glad I got to try this wonderful tea.

Lasted probably 8 infusions or so. Was expecting a bit more sweetness/fruitiness to develop on the back end of these infusions, but didn’t get much tbh.

Harvest: Spring 2022

Dry leaf: Cardamom
Wet leaf: Flower of a fruiting plant
Flavor: Sweet, astringent, almond, toast, creamy, melon

Flavors: Almond, Astringent, Cardamom, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Melon, Sweet, Toast

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drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
102 tasting notes

Sipdown! Made caramel almond butter shortbread specifically to drink with the end of this tea. Mmmm now I need to get a new dianhong…

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drank Golden Fleece by Verdant Tea
102 tasting notes

Got such a tiny amount of this tea left that I decided to split it and do a sort of modified western style with about 2ish grams of tea. This is perhaps my final (non-lapsang) Chinese black, and I am in the mood to savor. I have other equally fascinating black teas on deck, and while I am anticipating those, nothing beats a delicious dian hong.

Speaking of dian hongs, This is such a unique tea. I distinctly remember the height of the hype train for this tea, and I was a little skeptical at first. But the second I gave in to the peer pressure, I realized that it was hyped for good reason. The leaves are so distinct and beautiful, and all the golden fuzzies full of the promise of a cha qi buzz. I really enjoyed each session I had with this tea, which is definitely why i squirreled some away until now

Steeped 2ish grams in about 100ml water for 2.5minutes each time. Got a satisfyingly sweet brew, filled with sweet honey, cocoa, vanilla and a musky woodiness.

Flavors: Cocoa, Earth, Sandalwood, Vanilla

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

I have a soft spot for gold and silver fuzzies. :) However the tea tastes, it’s always pretty!

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Another review from the Great Steepster Shutdown of 2023. Will flesh it out on trying the second half of the sample.

Wasn’t crazy about it tbh. Definitely not worth almost $1/g. Unique flavor, but perhaps just not for me. I’m open to having my mind changed when I try the other half of the sample.

Harvest: Spring 2022

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Tried this tea over the Great Steepster Shutdown of 2023.

HOT DAMN! Best black tea I’ve had, hands down. Worth the price a million times over! So sweet and strong of a flavor that I thought it had to be a blend or something. Like drinking liquid s’mores and a molten lava brownie mixed together, except way better!

Lasts 12-14 infusions easily, so it has wonderful length too!

I am really loving Verdant Tea’s offerings.

Harvest: Fall, 2022.

Flavors: Cherry, Cinnamon, Dark Chocolate, Graham Cracker, Marshmallow, Sweet


High praise, indeed! Adding to wishlist.

Marshall Weber

I’m sure you’ll love it!


I love how chocolatey this tea is. This is the tea to win over non-tea drinkers.

Marshall Weber

Agreed! It’s definitely a great choice for that.

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drank 2003 Aged Ben Shan by Verdant Tea
6062 tasting notes


But I have nothing to say, and it’s gone.

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Love Laoshan blacks. Deliciously chocolatey and rich. I don’t know that I’d ever be able to tell the different ones apart without having them side-by-side though.

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First Dancong and I am blown away!!! Definitely enjoying it more than most of the yancha I’ve tried tbh. The roasted notes dont come through in the brew like most yancha. The flavor is subtle yet complex initially, and becomes more potent past infusion 3.

I’ve never known what an orchid smells like. I do have a recently acquired Phalaenopsis orchid in my apartment, so I spent some time trying to smell those flowers. The smell was not apparent at first, but I did eventually pick up a mild and pleasant smell with my nose. On re-tasting the tea immediately afterwards, I can see why people think it gives off an orchid aroma.

The mouthfeel is quite enticing here. It is hard to describe. Feels somewhat wet while the tea is in your mouth, but after swallowing, I can’t really say that my tongue feels like it was wet just a second ago. I find with most teas that my tongue is either left overly dry and craving more fluid, or feeling like the tea still lingers and my tongue is still wet. It is as if this tea strikes the perfect balance of astringency to just fall in the middle of these two.

The aftertaste is also a fascinating experience. Even after the tea has left your mouth for a bit, certain aromas and flavors (especially grapefruit) and a tingling sensation pop into existence as if out of thin air! It also lasts many minutes after I’ve swallowed the liquor.

As the infusions progress, some honey flavor comes out of the tea, but is not present for the first 4-5 infusions to my palate. Longevity was great at 12-13 infusions for me.

DEFINITELY buying more of this when I run out.

Harvest: Spring 2022
Location: Wudongshan, Guangdong

Dry leaf: fruity, roasted.
Wet leaf: malt.
Flavor: honey, grapefruit, orchid, floral, sweet, melon.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Grapefruit, Honey, Malt, Melon, Orchid, Roasted, Sweet

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

Mi Lan Xiang smells + tastes more fruity than floral to me. If you liked this tea, I recommend sampling Verdant’s High Elevation Mi Lan Xiang. It’s a little subtle but has more of that orchid and roasted peach flavor.

Marshall Weber

Thanks for the rec! I’ll definitely give that a try. And I agree, the predominant flavor here for me is grapefruit for sure.

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Got 50 g of this just in from Verdant and I definitely like it! Most complex and unusual ZSXZ I’ve had. Very smooth and very sweet, with only a touch of bitterness in the aftertaste and minimal astringency.

I prefer the flavor profile (although less complex) of OWT’s ZSXZ, but this gets the same rating because it lasted more infusions (at least 12) before weakening.

I like the tea a lot and will enjoy drinking the rest, but doubt I would reorder at $0.35/g. I could see repurchasing if it were closer to the $0.20-0.25/g range.

Harvest: Spring 2022

Dry leaf: pear, orange, sour.
Wet leaf: malt.
Flavor: graham cracker, maple syrup, walnut, sweet, brown sugar.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Graham Cracker, Malt, Maple Syrup, Orange, Pear, Sour, Sweet, Walnut

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Sipped through another 25g bag. I could drink this tea everyday. It’s just so unfussy and consistently delicious. Though, I prefer the autumn varietal over this one, as it’s a bit more chocolatey.

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Sipdown! I’ll admit up front that I probably didn’t do this tea justice in its last few steepings. I prepared it western style and drank it over the course of the workday. Usually I stick to my middling teas during work so I don’t feel bad for not giving them much attention, but its been rough going lately so I’ve been leaning into quality teas more to cheer up the day. On the flip side, that means good teas are not getting my full focus.

Anyway, this was a really comforting, richly roasted cup. I steeped it pretty strong, so only got three robust steeps out of it, but they were great. It paired well with chilly, gloomy weather. I could see this making a good iced tea, too, actually.

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I ordered these crassicolumna tisanes when we started having trouble sleeping after caffeine and even high sugar at night. Hot cocoa went by the wayside, and Teeccino replaced it. I wanted something to gong fu and this and the Wild Crassicolumna Black tea were going to fill that spot, hopefully.

But tonight I wanted something to go with supper, just a faux Asian dinner I threw together. I really wanted green tea but I don’t have any that is decaf. I didn’t want flowery or minty herbals, either. I settled on this.

I don’t think I have had any other yabao so I can’t really make comparisons there, but I can say this was excellent with our meal. Ashman loved it. I have made three steeps Western so far and might make another.

This is more akin to a highly mineral white tea than anything else I have had to compare it. It has good body, the color is goldish like my large broken leaf shou mei and deeper than I expected, and the mineral notes make you want to gulp and gulp.

I can see this being a repurchase when it is gone. Good stuff.

I will also be lookng into a good hojicha to steep by the big potfuls, not something I would really do with my powdered hojicha since it would settle to the bottom throughout the meal and post-meal tea drinking. Any recommendations there appreciated.


This sounds lovely. When I was trying to reduce caffeine, I drank a lot of kukicha. Sometimes I’d add bergamot oil and almond milk and it was a decent stand in for a proper earl grey.


Hey ashmanra, I have some fresher hojicha for you if you want free tea.
Reviewed favorably by Cameron B
I admittedly haven’t tried it yet and won’t be able to drink through it by myself.


derk: Won’t you please let me purchase some from you? You have given me so much already!

Martin Bednář

If ashmanra won’t get her part, I would gladly accomodate some of houjicha. It’s almost impossible to get some here.

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TTB Review #31: I had a feeling the moment I smelled it — flashbacks to my awful experience with Wolf Tea’s Honey Scented Black that I rated a 1 so very generously. What is it about these that just turns me off? Stale butter, burnt popcorn, old honey… I’m sorry to anyone who enjoys these but they are clearly not for me. I did manage to finish this cup so it gets a mildly higher rating than the aforementioned comparison.

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TTB Review #11: Oh wow, this one is very astringent with earthy/woody notes. I very much feel like I’m drinking tree bark. I don’t hate it, but I’m not sure I’d ever choose this again. Certainly a unique taste that was new to me.

Edit: Tobacco! That’s what this reminds me of! I couldn’t think of it at first but this is exactly it – like an ashtray, a liquid cigar.


Wow! I have picked up tobacco in shu but that is cool that you found it in a sheng!

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TTB Review #9: Very unique flavor to this one, I once again struggle to find the appropriate comparison with which to describe it. There are candylike notes coming through which act as natural sweeteners for this black tea. Very enjoyable and delicious.

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Date drunk: 10 Mar 2023
4g in 100ml gaiwan

Warmed dry leaf this time gave me super strong scent of Thanksgiving––roasted chestnuts, pecan pie, toasted almonds––and matcha. This smell is divine.

1st infusion (80˚C, 0:15)
Notes of really delicious vegetables––lemon butter asparagus. No astringency this time.
Rating: 86

2nd infusion (81˚C, 0:20)
Wet leaves have this syrupy sticky-sweet scent, like kumquat/yuzu jam, on top of the fresh-green-tea smell.
Liquor is just wonderful, mineral floral and sweet like the freshest mountain spring water, with a hint of umami vegetable broth and mushrooms. This tea is performing even better than the first time when I opened the bag fresh.
Rating: 87

3rd Infusion: (82˚C, 0:30)
Wet leaves smell like roasted sweet corn and buttered green beans, along with a whole host of other things I couldn’t parse.
Steeped for a tad longer than I wanted to, so some astringency came out. Liquor is still sweet, toasted-nutty, and scrumptious.
Rating: 84

Overall Rating: 86

Flavors: Almond, Asparagus, Butter, Chestnut, Lemon, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nuts, Pecan, Spring Water, Sweet, Syrupy, Yuzu

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is for the 2022 harvest of Mrs Li’s Shi Feng Longjing #43 (not 1st picking).

Dry leaf smelled kind of fruity, sweet citrus
Warmed dry leaf hit me in the face with toasted almonds and pecans, roasted asparagus, and butter spinach. I love love this aroma, want to wear it around as a perfume lol

1st infusion: (80˚C, 0:15)
Sweet and fresh but a bit light on the flavour, but already starting to get some astringency so I wouldn’t have pushed it harder
Rating: 83

2nd infusion: (82˚C, 0:30)
Stronger umami notes now––I swear I got a noseful of toasted shrimp paste (belacan)! Brothy and flavourful. Mostly savoury, there is still some sweetness that’s more prominent when liquor has cooled, and just a tad astringent.
Rating: 85

3rd infusion: (83˚C, 0:35)
Not as smooth as the others. Almost a strange hint of spice like chili powder? Maybe contamination of my cup
Rating: 79

4th infusion: (84˚C, 0:40)
Smoother than the last. But I think i should have brewed this and the previous one for a shorter period.
Rating: 81

Overall Rating: 82

Flavors: Almond, Asparagus, Butter, Pecan, Seafood, Spinach, Vegetable Broth

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

For me, bowl steeping seems to be the answer for green teas that turn out bitter when steeped gongfu. I use the same amount of tea that I usually would, but steep it in around 250 ml of liquid starting at around 185F.


Leafhopper: I have never tried bowl steeping. Must do that someday.


Thanks for the tip, Leafhopper! I will have to try that soon.

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Drank this with ashmanra’s Finicky tea" prompt in mind! This tea is more unpredictable than finicky I suppose, since I get wildly different flavors each method and session I have with it. Cold steeped this one, with some meh results. The mineralty and roastiness were present, but subdued. Found a little bit of something creamy, like vanilla, clash with a lemon zing. I wonder where that banana note went to from the last time I made this tea… I still have about 15g to play with, maybe my next foray will be steeped hot then chilled. Hmmmm.

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Found a small hoard of aged oolongs in a corner of a tea bin recently. I remember going on an aged oolong buying binge because of a mind blowing sample long forgotten. Bummer that none of them really cry out to me anymore, curse my changing tastes! Since I am so out-oolong’ed that I doubt I’ll be able to go through what looks like 250g. I’ve been thinking of ways to not let them go to waste. Thankfully, I’ve been able to rehome some to Barsomm and PamelaOry. Hope they get a kick out of them!
I had made some of this tea grampa style in a thermos to take with me to a friends birthday get together. Ended up leaving it at their house, and I picked up back up from their place after a few days. I opened up the thermos expecting the most rank smell in the world, but… the tea smelled delicately more delicious than I’ve been able get from my usual gongfu attempts with this tea. it straight up smelled like bananas. I couldn’t not drink the rest!! The super long cold brew (well, eventually) was so freaking good, it had an excellent mouthfeel, so rich. It brought out not onlt the banana, but some pear, and a mineral bite that kept me coming back. now i know I have to cold brew this tea and leave it in a friends apartment for at least four days to extract the bet flavors from this tea XD

Is that bad? Well, over 24hrs later and so far it hasn’t killed me… Only time will tell

Flavors: Banana, Mineral, Pear

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I bought two of the crassicolumna teas from Verdant when I started having trouble sleeping after our night time gong fu sessions. I tried the other one gong fu style a long time ago and I just felt like I shouldn’t post a note on that one until I tried it again and played with it a bit.

This is my first time trying this one. Like the other tea, it is not at all like black tea. I really thought it would be. I had hoped for something like a complex black or oolong, but this is clearly neither.

I followed their instructions closely and used my Upton Tea scale to weigh the beautiful, twisted black leaves. They are large and brittle. Boiling water, ten seconds, and poured off. The liquor is golden. The first steep was poured off to taste alone and subsequent steeps were made and combined in a pitcher, increasing steep time by five to tens seconds for each.

The first sip feels very tongue-coating, the body rather thick. The more it cools the thicker it seems. Yet when you swallow, it has that extra “wet” feel of white tea. Saying that just now makes me realize this reminds me of a shou mei I had a long time ago. So I have been sitting here trying to think how to best describe this, and there it is. It is very similar to some white teas I have enjoyed. That means Ashman is probably going to love this one. Maybe even has a bit of white peony quality to it.

The first flavor note that popped into my mind was honey, followed by something like a metallic mineral. There is a creaminess that lingers, very mouth coating, yet feels thin when I swallow. There was a tingle with the swallow at first, but not briskness, then that went away. Fruit and spice notes were fleeting whispers, but pleasant.

I enjoyed this tonight, but it definitely is much more like drinking a heavier, creamy white tea than like drinking a black tea or a hefty oolong. As long as I keep that in mind, I will be happy with this purchase and would buy it again to satisfy night time cravings with no caffeine. As long as what I am craving is white tea…

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Sipdown 2 for today and 3 for the month!

I enjoy rou gui oolong and love that mineral “rock” taste. I should have realized that the black tea was going to strongly favor that profile, but I didn’t think and made this when we were really wanting a strong black tea for lunch.

It was a good tea, but not what I would consider a black tea, and really if you are craving black tea this probably wouldn’t fill the bill for you. If you are craving a rock oolong, it would.

The color was light even on the first steep. There is no roasty taste like a dark oolong, but rather a rock oolong taste and smoothness with a hint of the extra oxidation that carries it into black tea territory. Just a hint, mind you.

Nice tea, but not one that I would re-purchase unless I wanted an alternative to a rock oolong.

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