We're off to the tea fields of China. Help us pick the best spring teas and tea wares...
I just wanted to update folks on more of the great teas and tea ware we’ve been able to source from our Spring trip. It’s been quite a week recovering from jet lag, but it’s been so energizing to taste Spring tea every day, share the first photos and videos of our friends and their tea farms, AND start moving into our new teahouse! :)
That’s right.. I am writing right now from our new space in Minneapolis. We’ve been moving boxes for most of the day, and it will definitely be a few weeks before we open our doors to the public, but we’re inspired and energized to share our friends’ teas with our local friends and neighbors.
First of all, Mrs. Li’s Dragonwell has arrived, along with the Spring harvest batches of Laoshan Green and Sun Dried Jing Shan Green. Master Zhang’s Early Spring Tieguanyin took an extra day in customs, but cleared this morning. For everyone who pre-ordered, your teas will start shipping by Wednesday next week, if not sooner!
We’re also really excited to be introducing a lovely pre-Qing Ming Spring 2013 Bai Mu Dan this season! It’s incredibly sweet.. we’ve been able to steep it about 30 times each session, and it just becomes more and more sweet and creamy. The Bai Mu Dan is enroute, and will arrive at Verdant Tea HQ the week of May 20th.
Also on the way is the Spring harvest of Yu Lu Yan Cha! The support and excitement this innovative tea met with last season was so overwhelming and positive, Wang Yanxin was able to secure a much larger harvest of Xinyang leaves. This Spring, we set aside the entire 100lb harvest, and I have to say, it’s really incredible. Wang and her friends in Laoshan and Xinyang have really outdone themselves. So smooth full and complex, David and I couldn’t believe our good luck. I am really excited to get to share this tea with everyone.
We also have the brand new Spring 2013 harvest of Yunnan White Jasmine on the way! The autumn harvest has only been out of stock for a week or so, but with Spring bursting to life all around us here in Minnesota (finally!!), I find myself craving this tea every morning, and I can’t wait for it to arrive.
We’ve been able to source a good amount of new tea ware this Spring, and your response to what we’ve shared so far has been so supportive! We have a bigger round of tea ware arriving from Qingdao at the same time as the white teas and Yu Lu Yan Cha, and in the meantime, we were able to put up today another striking metallic-glaze tea pot and several more tea cup patterns.
Last but not least, video and pictures! I’ve just gotten started this week going through all of our footage and photos, so there will be much more coming over the next month, but for now, I’m really pleased to share these stories from Mrs. Li, Master Zhang and the He family!
Mrs. Li explains how to brew her Shi Feng Dragonwell:
She starts the video with the best piece of advice.
“When you drink tea, steep it light… steep it strong. It doesn’t matter. It’s your own choice.”
Master Zhang’s Tieguanyin tea fields
So gorgeous, so perfectly peaceful. If only we could have captured the sweet smell of the misty peaks! I wish everyone could have been there with us. We picked tieguanyin right from the bushes and ate them.. perfect. The natural, incredible floral taste of tieguanyin makes so much sense once you’ve visited the place where it grows.
Meet the He Family!
The whole family helps out during the Spring harvest, even little NiuNiu (only 5 months old!). It was so wonderful to visit the He’s again this Spring. We will definitely have more in-depth articles, video and photo albums within the next month sharing more of the He’s story. We even got to film the entire 6+ hours process of making Laoshan Oolong!
All in all, it’s been an amazing Spring, and none of it would have been possible without your support and good wishes. From all of us, to all of you: thank you!!
That is so cool that you guys now are going to have your very own tea shop!!! Congrats!
Thank you!! We are really excited to get to share our tea with new friends and neighbors. It’s been great to share with so many people around the world through our website, but there’s just something about pouring tea for friends in person.. Once we officially open our doors this summer, I hope we get to meet some of the Steepster-ites who live locally!
We had our first tasting with the whole Verdant Team (minus WeiWei and Wang Huimin!) this weekend after we finished hauling boxes across town. Perfect way to kick off the new adventure.
Our last batch of Spring teawares have arrived, and I just put them up for sale moments ago. There are some great, affordable complete tea sets in an awesome Crystallized Glaze, as well as more tea storage jars. We were even able to bring back three patterns we offered last Autumn of hand crafted, hand painted tea cup patterns by Sun He Hua, along with Ru Kiln cups.
Hope you all enjoy! We had so much fun picking these out- it’s really exciting to be able to offer these.
In other news, the Yu Lu Yan Cha and Spring Yunnan White Jasmine arrived early! These spring teas are officially in stock (along with our Spring Greens and Early Spring Tieguanyin), so you won’t see a delay in fulfillment.
For everyone who’s followed along on our trip and supported the venture with pre-orders and excited: Thank You! From the bottom of our hearts, the whole Verdant Tea Team.. including Wang Humin in Xiamen and WeiWei in Jimo :) We love working with such an awesome group of customers- you make us feel grateful and lucky every day.
It’ll probably be sold out in like … two seconds, but just in case, is the Yellow Leaves Storage jar, or the paired storage jars air tight by any chance?
Nope- not sold out :) We wanted to make sure we’d have plenty of selection this time.
The jars are not completely airtight like a ziplock or heat-sealed bag, but they will keep out air in the same way that a re-stopped bottle will. On the underside of each top is a soft-yet-firm cushion covered in cloth, and the cushion is just barely larger than the opening. The cushioned plug will wedge easily into the jar’s opening, then re-expand to fill the space completely. It takes a strong grip and a firm pull to remove the top again: I can turn the jar over, without the top budging. However, I would not want to immerse the jar in water and expect the interior to be bone-dry: a rainy ledge? yes, but not a full bathtub.
Thankyou very much, that is most helpful! :) That sort of stopper lid will work fabulous, since I drink my tea so fast anyway, that it’ll be perfectly efficient for my use. I was concerned that the lid just simply sat on top without any stopper or cork like function, so I’m definitely glad I asked!
Edit: There, you just made a sale, haha. :) Super excited to try out a couple of the Spring teas I ordered sample sizes of too while I was at it! :D
Very excited about getting one of the gaiwan sets: http://verdanttea.com/teas/crystalline-glaze-gaiwan-tea-set/
What a beautiful balance of elegance and earthiness. Perfect for me since I don’t like the stark white or busy painted gaiwans so much, but am a fan of celadon and zisha.
I got a “yixing” gaiwan last year for mother’s day and it broke the second day (it was paper thin and lined with porcelain) I ordered a crane celadon-esque looking gaiwan a few months later and the company took my money but never replied to my emails and I never got my gaiwan. So I figured this time I’d order from a company I absolutely trust.
I’ve admired crystalline glazeware for years but they were usually in sky blue. This fits my aesthetic much better, I love my “antiqued” off-white dishware. Looks like there are two sets left ;)
Congrats for finding your ideal set then. :) I was really admiring that same set too, it’s beautiful. I don’t like my teacups being overly loud either, but I don’t like the just plain white either, since it’s just so … plain.
Thank you, Chizakura! I’m so glad that these fit what you were looking for. :D
Autumn Hearth: Hurray! We were really happy to find those sets (though I must admit, it was difficult to put them all up for sale without saving one for the teahouse), and even happier that so many folks are as excited about them as we are. Hopefully, this will help make your last gaiwan debacle fade away to just a memory!
Thank you both for the kind compliments. Beautiful teawares definitely played a huge role in helping us fall in love with tea, so it’s always been important for us to offer teawares that are as beautiful as they are functional, walking the line between simple-not-boring.. gorgeous-not-gaudy.. It’s a challenge, but so worth it when you find just the right pieces!
The last stage of our Spring sourcing project has finally arrived:
Laoshan Oolong is here!
I can’t really express how honored we are to be a part of this exciting project. The He family never ceases to amaze us with their innovation, energy and devotion to incredible tea. We spent several days with the He’s this spring, documenting the step by step processed that go into making Laoshan Oolong. The result is pretty unbelievable. It’s one thing to know academically that tea is hard work and a labor of love. It’s another thing to spend days documenting the entire process, from crack of dawn picking to past-dinner-first sips, marveling all the time at the care that goes into making each batch, wondering at all of the meticulous skilled labor that goes into every leaf.
I hope you all enjoy reading about what goes into making Laoshan Oolong. I am working on threading together video of the process with interviews with the He family, so I hope to share those too, soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the pictures!
Most importantly: special thanks to EVERYONE for your support over the years. Your overwhelming support of the He family’s early innovations like Laoshan Black, Laoshan Dragonwell Style and Laoshan White tea have absolutely made a difference, and we can trace a direct line from Laoshan Oolong all the way back to the amazing community here on Steepster.
Thank you for welcoming crazy, brand new teas! You’re enthusiasm and love of tea give us all the courage to just go for it, try something new- something unimaginable just a season before. This couldn’t happen without you, so thank you very much!!
From the whole Verdant Team and the He’s in Laoshan,
Man, once I’m at the $5 off coupon next week I can’t wait to make another Verdant order. I’m always leery of ordering and then having a sweet new black tea come up for sale but I should be safe. Right? : )
Uniquity- you should be safe! I don’t know of any other new black teas until the autumn harvest (unless Master Han shares something new and fun in July when WeiWei goes to visit him in Xishuangbanna). Good at least for a bit ;)
So glad my birthday is a week from today. I know what I’m getting! Tea, tea and more tea! :)
Aha! Found where you were hiding Lily!
I’m lending my voice to the other remarks of excitement over the new Laoshan Black and Green Oolong Tea’s! Can’t wait to try them and share with my local tea friends!
David and lily – any word on the rewards that you have up? Noticed that the tshirt and reserve teas were down the other day. Does this mean new things are coming or just that we’ll be sticking with the 5$ and 10$ coupon?
Also, anything you can tell us about anxi fo shou coming back? :) keep forgetting to email you to ask but I know a few people here at least are wondering about the rewards so I figured might as well post
Good questions, Sil!
The last t-shirt was redeemed just a few days ago, so we’re definitely plotting for other rewards. So for those who’ve been saving up, don’t worry!
If you have any ideas or wishlists of what you’d like to see in rewards, please let us know! We’d love to make it as fun and rewarding as possible for everyone who’s so generous and supportive of us.
As for the Anxi Fo Shou: unfortunately, the Bi Family did make make the Anxi Fo Shou Black tea this spring. It was an experimental tea they made with last fall’s Fo Shou varietal harvest, but the local demand for their more traditional teas was high enough this Spring season that they decided not to make a 2013 spring version as a black tea.
We loved the tea, so we’ll definitely find out if they’re interested in trying another Fo Shou black tea this fall: if they do, Steepster will be the first to know!
Nooooooooo! Doh. Ah well, there’s for sure interest from me for another fo shou this fall :) ill know to pick up a bit more next time!
Thanks for the reply! :)
Oh my goodness! I had some this morning! I better start hoarding, I love it too!
tasty…i know where you live..i’ll be coming by to steal the rest of your stash! i saw it was low, went to order some and it was all gone… poof! haha