Master Zhang's Top Grade Gande Tieguanyin

Tea type
Oolong Tea
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Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Lemon
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec 12 oz / 354 ml

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From Verdant Tea (Special)

Verdant Reserve Club – June

We met Master Zhang on our spring trip to China, where he was kind enough to drive us four hours from the Anxi county seat to his mountainside terraces at the highest elevation spot in Gande, past Daping. In terms of traditional regional quality pecking order, Master Zhang is in about the best spot for Tieguanyin in the world. He and his wife, along with his parents do most of the picking and all of the processing on their fine oolongs, and this one is entirely hand made from the choicest leaves.

This tea is an excellent example of the mastery involved in balancing sweet florals, creamy notes, and grassy notes. In Anxi, most tieguanyin is grouped as either naixiang (creamy), or huaxiang (floral). Any tieguanyin that successfully fills out the entire palate with thick velvety cream in the mouthfeel all while remaining fragrant with sweet mature floral aftertaste and sweetness is something else indeed.

Steep many times to see the way that the early grassy florals build in body as the creaminess builds, and eventually subsides to long-lingering aftertaste.

Use 4g of leaves for a medium gaiwan or cup and brew basket. Heat the gaiwan or cup with boiling water and pour out. Add leaves, rinse leaves with 205 degree water for less than a second. Steep each round for 3-5 seconds, increasing time by 3 seconds each steeping after the third steeping. Enjoy at least 15 infusions.

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10 Tasting Notes

2201 tasting notes

AH-mazing. Love this one. It is everything that I love about a green, unroasted tieguanyin. Floral, sweet, buttery. An exceptional example of this type of tea.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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3294 tasting notes

Sitting in a garden, surrounded by delicate spring flowers, eating a cream puff…or maybe a bowl of whipped cream…yup, that pretty much describes this tea :)
ps…after several steepings, you notice that your neighbor is mowing the grass…

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122 tasting notes

This was my birthday tea, made possible by the lovely and talented Lily Duckler. Thank you so much, Lily! This tea does not disappoint. I am a big fan of the early spring tieguanyin and I was interested to compare that with ‘Top Grade’ tieguanyin. I was so happy to have the opportunity!

The top grade smells a little different: more mild. After the rinse it smells amazing. Visually it has less stems and is a little more uniform. The taste has similar notes, of course, but this one is a lot more floral. I was getting lilac in addition to the springtime daffodil taste that the regular tieguanyin has.

I am treasuring this tea. It is only for special occasions — like my birthday and my 111th tasting note! Thanks again, Lily. You and Verdant continue to amaze!




Happy birthday! That tea sounds amazing…lilacs! :D

High Adventure

Thank you! So delicious. :D I highly recommend.

Lily Duckler

Oh- I’m so glad to hear you are enjoying!! Thank you for your kind words, but I can’t take any credit. I pass it all along to Master Zhang. Happy Birthday :D

Michelle Butler Hallett

Happy belated!

Verdant are amazing me. I thought I’d tried it all. HA! I haven’t even tried rating Verdant teas, because they’re in a whole other class from anything else I’ve drunk, and I am now quite spoiled.

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239 tasting notes

Tried this westernstyle today.

5g/200ml glaspot.

The flavour is nice, but it´s to weak, like theres something missing.
Is this really a high altitude tea? I would choose a nice alishan anytime over this.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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1379 tasting notes

Although I was initially disappointed with this one, I’ve grown increasingly more impressed with this one as I’ve had time to experiment with it. My new favourite oolong steeping strategy is to “rinse” the leaves until they begin to unfurl, and then do a first steep of about 2min 30sec.

The aroma of the dry leaves is equally buttery and floral, with a touch of something sweet and lemony, and that is much how it tastes once it has been steeped. It’s a fine and delicate flavour that layers itself on the tongue, like silk, over time. The finish leaves behind a melted butter texture and taste, which make this tea feel heavier than it is.

This has some of my favourite aspects about oolong, but my all-time favourite component is actually the heady floral aroma of that first rinse. I wish I could make my whole room smell that floral, green, and fresh. This oolong is real pleasure to work with! I’ll often get to around six steeps without realizing how much of it I’ve drunk.

Flavors: Butter, Cream, Floral, Grass, Lemon

180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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