Peace Out Verdant Teas!

Not that they are really ‘going away’, but they are moving:

“This July, we are moving our operations from Minneapolis, MN all the way back to China. Instead of picking out a small selection of our farmer partners’ teas and shipping them to the United States before sending them on to you, we will actually be helping our farmer partners sell their entire collections and ship directly from the farm to you.”

I’m excited to see what is to come :)

80 Replies

I ordered tea from the moving sale.

Thank you so much for your support, Lariel! I’m so glad you got to pick out teas before so many sold out.

I like that rose bergamot tea.

Me, too! I think that was one of the very first blends we ever made with Bergamot. I am working on getting that recipe and the others up as soon as I can, so stay tuned – I will update here when that is finished.

Are you going to make other tasty bergamot blends?

Good question! We don’t have any immediate plans to make new bergamot blends – right now, we’re focusing on making sure we have all of our ducks in a row for the new website launch and transition, and then we’ll be working to show off more of what our partners have to offer. If and when we do, I’ll be sure to post back here or PM you and let you know :)

Hi again, Lariel – the recipe for Bergamot Rose Laoshan Black is up, along with every other recipe :)

If there’s one you’re looking for that you don’t see here, just let me know and I will work on finding it to share with everyone.

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Phi said

I saw Earl of Anxi, campfire blend and lots of their blends are on clearance… are they going to still offer those in China? I <3 both of those so much and drink them a lot, and have been looking out for more Earl for months now.

I’m sure nothing is set in stone until they get to China, but they may end up selling more straight teas being in China… however, I don’t see them giving up blends that they are known for, you know?

I think it will be a fantastic opportunity for them to work closer with the farmers, we shall have to see what comes of it.

They address this on the page linked above.

LuckyMe said

“Our current collection of blends will be sold until stock is exhausted, and then all of our blends will be archived.This will make room for new traditional teas or blends made with traditional Chinese herbs. In the meantime, we will be sharing the full recipes and ingredients for all of your favorite blends.”

It take this to mean current blends will be discontinued and replaced with new ones from China.

Personally, I’m looking forward to a bigger selection and better pricing on tea and teaware. The downside will be longer shipping times but I suppose the trade off is worth it for fresher tea.

Lindsay said

They’ve already posted their recipes for the current blends:
Definitely sounds like they’re all being phased out.

Ack. Laoshan Village Chai D:

Hi Phi! So sorry for the delay in responding here. It is true – Earl of Anxi is being discontinued, along with all of our other current Alchemy Blends. However, as Lindsay posted here already, I am in the middle of writing out all of our recipes in full, with clear directions and all of the ingredients so that folks can feel free to remake their favorite blends themselves.

This is in fact something we’ve been thinking about for a long time. Blending is not a magical art, especially if you have good ingredients to work with! I am really, really excited to be sharing these full recipes with tea lovers so that everyone can make up blends whenever you want AND get inspired to tweak and play and make new blends of their own. For example – toasted rice + carob? It’s a beautiful, rich base for caffeine free blends, and could work well with a wide variety of other ingredients! It’s one reason I have a little jar of toasted rice in my spice cabinet: so I can blend up tea on the spot, depending on my mood. I hope that folks at home really take these recipes and run with them – I would LOVE to hear about (and taste!) variations that people come up with on their favorites, too! Maybe we could do a big traveling tea box sometime? I could see just sending a big binder with recipes along with a bunch of base ingredients and extra bags, and then each person down the line blends up a version of their own to share with the rest of the box, and maybe adds their own recipe to the binder.

@KiwiDelight – Sorry! That one sold out MUCH faster than I expected. I have already posted that recipe, but I know it is a little more complex than others. I definitely recommend taking a look at the recipe and using that as a starting point – you should feel free to experiment with editing the ingredients and making substitutions based on what is available near you.

If there’s anything you’re having trouble finding, I can see what I might be able to recommend as an online source, or make suggestions for alternates that might be available in a bulk herb section at a grocers or co-op.

Lily, I ordered some Chai Spice, which I’m looking forward to to trying :] And thank you for posting the recipes to your blends!

cookies said

Totally going to try the toasted rice + carob as a caffeine free base. I’ve never purchased carob before, and it seems like I can find roasted and unroasted carob. Do you recommend the roasted version (or roasting it yourself)?
Thanks so much for the recipes/advice. Can’t wait for the order I placed to arrive :)

@KiwiDelight – thank you so much! It’s my pleasure; just wish I could finish them all a little faster :)

@cookies – We’ve generally used Roasted carob “chips” (the seeds and pods) rather than unroasted or carob powders.

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as long as they keep laoshan black, I am happy :D

We DEFINITELY will! And since the tea will be shipping right from the He Family’s new shop it will 1) be SUPER duper fresh and 2) never go out of stock!

I’m also really looking forward to offer a wider selection of our partners’ teas on the new website, including alternate pickings of Laoshan Black and other experimental teas. I just can’t wait!! Lots of work and final details to finish up between now and then :) but I know it will be that much better for all of you.

That is amazing to hear Lily! I am so thrilled that you guys will be able to have this incredible opportunity to operate in China. You guys never fail to disappoint in providing the most delicious teas out there. I am so looking forward to what is in store for you guys. I was wondering if you were going to still do tea of the month, and if more positions would open for subscribers? I would so love to subscribe , but it seems to be full often. You guys are the best! Cheers :D

Hi Maskotea – thank you so much!! Yes, we’re actually pretty excited about the improvements and changes we’ll be able to make for our Tea of the Month Club. We do have new sign ups closed at the moment, just for the transition period to make sure the switch over happens smoothly. When the Classic club reopens, each month will be curated by one of our partner farmers. For example, one month might have Master Zhang pick out three teas he wants to share with folks, and then the next month, the He Family will curate the selections in the box! Our friends know their own teas better than anyone, so we’re really looking forward to giving them control over what they want to share with all of you. I’m working on finishing up all of the details in the next few days; when the website switches over and more spots open up, I’ll be sure to post the link here!

That is awesome news! So excited to see the new website! Last question I had was about your tea ware selection. Will there be more offered as you guys move over? I have loved all the beautiful gaiwans and yixing pots supplied in the past. Hoping to see more soon :D
Thanks Lily!

Yes – and great timing! We just finished inventory of the last of our teaware, and put them all up on the website about 30 seconds ago :)

However, absolutely yes! We are working with our partner and good friend in Xiamen, Mr Chen Long Bin, to help him open an online retail website and gallery of his own. Along with sourcing fantastic pieces from Jingdezhen, Yixing, Taiwan, Korean and more, he is also an incredible product designer with exquisite taste. We’re really excited to help share his work and the work of his partners later on this year.

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Lindsay said

I’m excited too. :)

Lindsay said

And I’ve placed another order. Between all the spring pre-orders, and now this sale… I thought about totalling up all that I’ve spent on Verdant orders in the past year, and then I decided to stick with blissful ignorance. ;)

Thank you so much, Lindsay!!

Your support really, really makes a difference, and I just can’t say thank you enough.

But no reason not to try… THANK YOU! Thank you!! Thank YOU :) THANK you :D

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Might make more sense for people in Asia to order their products due to not covering shipping back and forth around the world, but it’s not as if there aren’t already a list of suppliers in China I haven’t got around to ordering from (and other countries).

LuckyMe said

According to their site, shipping will still be free on most orders. That may give them an advantage over other foreign-based vendors like Yunnan Sourcing.

boychik said

there is no free shipping. its included in price. nobody is shipping out of their pocket.

jschergen said

+1 boychik. Free shipping usually just means their item cost is marked up more.

LuckyMe said

No argument there, shipping is of course built into the price. My point was, assuming their prices remain the same – according to their site prices may even go lower – that will make them very competitive amongst their peers in the tea industry.

It does make one wonder about how the cost difference works out for them to send a few hundred grams of tea back to the US. Shipping would be much higher (a relatively small package costs $20 to ship from Thailand, maybe only $10 if there is almost no weight to it) but import taxation issues completely change. Of course I’m not claiming shipping is identical in Thailand and China, or even that a business couldn’t arrange some better options than conventional post here. But there must be more to it than them just dropping it off in the normal mail system by package as in the US.

Hi john-in-siam, so nice to hear from you!

It’s true; I am really looking forward to being able to ship domestically in China and throughout Asia. I grew up for many years in Indonesia, so I’m pretty familiar with how frustrating it can be to be left out of favorite things that ship “world wide!”.. just not to you. We do have many customers for example in Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, and I have often been frustrated by how wasteful it is to have to ship tea – for example – from Qianjiazhai to Xiamen to Minneapolis, and then all the way back to again. Cutting out all of this extra shipping, boxes, packaging, petrol, tape, compostable packing peanuts.. ! The waste may not seem like much on an individual order, but it definitely adds up.

@LuckyMe – that’s right. Shipping rates will be really similar to what they were a few months ago, before we started our Free Shipping special to US customers. About $5 for orders under the free shipping threshold, and free above that. One great thing I’m looking forward to is being able to offer the same kinds of shipping to Canadian, European and Australian customers that we do for US customers: more transparent, more equal and fair for everyone.

Just because we’re shipping from China doesn’t mean that we should be passing along any inconveniences we may hit ourselves to any of our customers: if we hit a few snags and have to lose money on some shipments? That’s OUR issue, not our customers’.

@boychuk and jschergen re: free shipping
That’s a great point, and one that’s often forgotten about in this age of Amazon Prime and instant shipping and flash fire sales on the internet. David actually really got into all of the details that go into how we figure out what we can pay for on customers’ behalf and what we just can’t in this in-depth article. I highly recommend reading it if you have the time!

@john-in-siam (Hi, again! :P )

Good questions – we’ve been doing a ton of research on this for the past year, ever since we realized that this was something we needed to do. The last thing we wanted to do was move to China to help our partners and make things easier, but then make it impossible for the folks who love their tea to order!

It turns out that there are many, many different ways to get retail packages to customers around the world – even more so if you are a business rather than a “normal” customer. From DHL to China Post, there’s really something to fit every need: from super fast turnarouds to really cheap, really slow-boat options. Luckily, we were able to work with the same great folks who assist us with our shipments now to find a solution that meets all of our goals: quick shipping with reliable tracking, at a really REALLY good price.

Essentially, because of partnerships between China Post, USPS, and freight forwarders like our current partners, packages can enter the US mail stream directly, and essentially act just like our normal shipping now for practically the same price. For example, we’ll be able to keep offering our 5 for $5 tea sample pack to new customers for the same price – $5. It’s been a lot of hard work, negotiations, dead ends, expensive (failed!) tests, and finally lots and lots of test packages between Minneapolis and Laoshan, but we are super excited to have found a solution that really works.

We finalizing all of our shipping tables and shipping FAQ now for the new website and new China-based fulfillment, so I really appreciate all of your great questions and feedback.

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Uniquity said

I just realized I have been out of LBCG for a while. And now, forever. This is why I hoard the last bit of a tea!

Zack S. said

Got 20g of it for swap! Follow me if interested.

Oh – but did you know that you can make it yourself at home? I posted the full recipe up right here:

If you have any questions about the recipe, please don’t hesitate to ask! I just put these up last Friday (and I am working on getting all of the others up as fast as I can), so it’s possible that some of my explanations could be more clear.

Uniquity said

@Zack – Thanks for the offer but that would just be enough to drive me crazy, hehe.

@Lily – I think it’s really great that you’re sharing your recipes. Thank you!

Thanks, Uniquity – I hope I can finish them all by the end of the week!! If there are any I’m missing (or any special blend club recipes), or any blends you guys want to see sooner, just let me know and I’ll prioritize those.

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Being a tea company myself, it’s really exciting to see businesses like Verdant who started small, and are now have really expanded :) I’m sure this has been a dream some true for them!

Thank you! We are still a pretty small family business ;) (David and I and Geoffrey, Lauren and Kelsey working on design and logistics here in MN, and Wang Huimin and Wei Wei in China), but it is crazy to think about the time when we could fit all of our tea for a few months on just a couple of shelves!

It’s been a lot of work, but it’s all about doing what we can to honor the trust and hospitality that our partners and friends in China have so generously extended to us. We made a promise to share their teas and our stories, and this is just the next step in doing what we can to honor that promise.

I feel like it will never be enough, but I am really happy at the steps we’re taking to step out of the way and let our friends stand in the spotlight. My big goal for the next year is to work to fade into the background, so that tea lovers around the world really understand who the stars are.

We’re facilitators, logistics people, and designers. All of the hard work is done before we ever get in the way, and all of these changes are about closing that gap between the amazing people who make the tea, and the awesome people who LOVE that tea.

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Thank you so much for your kind words, Liquid Proust! I know you have been working on exciting projects yourself :) so I really appreciate your sentiments and support when you’re so busy working on new fun things yourself.

We are super excited about how these changes will help us essentially step all the way out of the way, so our partners can connect more directly with tea lovers like all of you. We’ve been working on this for the last year – ever since we started the work and research for our Transparency in the Tea Industry series – and it is so wonderful to finally be able to share what we’ve been so excited about. At the end of the day, David and Geoffrey and Lauren and Kelsey and I? We’re not important! Wei Wei and Wang Huimin? Amazing, talented, beautiful, wonderful people – but they know it’s not about them either. Our team at Verdant is not what’s important – it’s about our partners. NOTHING would work without them; without their hard work and generosity, there would be nothing to drink, nothing to love and nothing to share. That’s why we’re also really excited to update our website so that Verdant can step out of the way, and our friends can stand in the spotlight like they deserve.

I apologize that it took me so long to find the thread here!! With everyone’s Moving Sale orders and all of the work that’s been going into the transition, I have been woefully absent from Steepster :( But I hope folks won’t hesitate to reach out with questions, ideas or anything else that you want to share.

Because at the end of the day, the other star of the show is you guys. Without our partners like Qing Qing He or Li Xiangxi or Master Zhang, we wouldn’t have tea to share, but without all of YOU tea lovers, there would be no one to share with!

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Zack S. said

I had been wondering about acquiring more Yunnan Black Jasmine (part of the Blend Club a few months ago), and now I’m seeing all the blend recipes shared. Any chance you could share the Yunnan Black Jasmine recipe? I’ll follow you incase you want to msg me =)

Sure! That one is quite simple, if I’m remembering correctly; the tricky part is the ingredients (a Dian Hong you love, and Intelligent Nutrients’ Jasmine Spirit Essence: ). I will dig up the recipe and send it your way!

Zack S. said

Ugh that stuff is $100 per >2oz. Looking forward to the recipe though!

I know – it is price extremely well compared to anything comprable (which I haven’t really found), but that’s still an investment if you’re not using it as most other folks do :) IN also makes a more affordable (and smaller) Jasmine that’s a blend of Jasmine from India and Egypt. I have not played with it myself, but I wholeheartedly endorse anything these fine folks are producing:

Jasmine scented black teas have become really popular (at least in Qingdao) over the last year, so I wouldn’t be surprised if more starts making it to market over here soon. I know Wang Yanxin is a huge fan, and she’d love to share more of what her friends in Lincang are creating. Maybe we’ll be able to source some in 2016!

Hi Zack – here is the recipe for Yunnan Black Jasmine!

and my apologies ahead of time; I remember now that David really wanted to go all out with deluxe ingredients for this blend box.

- 1 oz Dian Hong
- 5 drops IN Jasmine per ounce
- 5 drops Vanilla extract per ounce
- 6 strands saffron per ounce
- 2 grams Blue Lotus per ounce

First, add drops of Jasmine oil and Vanilla around the edges of a bowl, and then swirl to evenly coat the surface of the bowl.* Add your tea to this bowl, stirring with the large spoon to make sure of an even coverage. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and allow the aroma to infuse into the citrus mix for 4-8 hours.

*IN’s Jasmine is fitted with a roller ball for convenient application. Removing this can be difficult, so you can also run the roller ball in a few passes along the bottom of your bowl (depending on the size of your bowl and the size of the batch you’re making)

Finally stir in the Blue Lotus. Crush the strands of Saffron with your fingers and sprinkle evenly over your blend.


If you like, you can also use this idea (high quality, food grade Jasmine oil + high quality vanilla scenting Yunnan Black) to create a blend of your own. The saffron and lotus added creaminess, richness and additional deeper floral complexity to this particular blend, and were used to pair with the particular Dian Hong we sourced for this club. You could get a similar effect if, for example, you scented Golden Fleece ;) Or you could use more vanilla and no saffron to get richness and a little more sweetness, etc etc.

So much of the final details in blending has to do with the particular base tea you’re using,so you should feel free to experiment and be flexible, especially if you’re making small batches just for yourself.

Zack S. said

Thank you so much for the detailed recipe, definitely going to experiment a bit with the ingredients! Really appreciate the fact that you are connecting with people online, whether it be here or on the Verdant blog, or elsewhere.

Thank you, Zack! It’s my pleasure :) I’m just sorry that I’ve been so busy over the last few months to stay up to date everywhere online, but I’m very happy for the opportunity to connect with everyone again.

If there’s anything I can do, just give a shout!

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This makes me so happy! I love your company, and I’ve received nothing but star service. It’s always nice to see a small company flourish into something bigger and better. I wish you the best in your travels and hope for great prosperity in this venture!

Thank you so much!! Your support and your kind words truly mean so much to all of us :) It’s been lots and lots of hard work, but it’s worth it if it means we can better connect you to our friends in China doing their own (much more important! much more difficult!) hard work of growing and making tea.

I’m really excited for all of these new things to launch – and can’t wait to share more tea with you soon!

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