Hand Picked Autumn Tieguanyin (2011)

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Oolong Tea
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Almond, Apricot
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200 °F / 93 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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113 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I am working on drinking the supply down! It is therefore not okay to have to add to it just because I must have forgotten to add it in the first place. Anyway… Once upon a time I had a sample of...” Read full tasting note
  • “Sipdown! I have enjoyed this a lot but all good things must come to an end… especially where green oolongs are concerned. I am picking up on the saffron notes a LOT this morning and I am cold...” Read full tasting note
  • “First Review. I’ve been beating around the bush…waiting for just the right time to taste this tea. The reports being so glowing and all…I wanted time and a peaceful state of mind. Tea is for that...” Read full tasting note
  • “Woohoo! So I’m not completely jaded on tea. I drank two cups of this this morning and I am enjoying it! My left eye keeps twitching and that is… worrisome, but I imagine that’s from the lack of...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

“The fresh autumn harvest of our famous Tieguanyin has just arrived! Try it at the very peak of its potent flavor and aroma…”

Last autumn’s Tieguanyin harvest quickly became one of the most popular teas we have ever offered. The farmers we work with in Anxi somehow manage every season to combine the floral ideals of spring, the grassy sweet ideals of autumn and a uniquely potent saffron aftertaste. Their autumn harvest tends to be the most robust and full-bodied. Last autumn, the Tieguanyin had a distinctive juiciness like biting into a perfectly fresh peach.

We work to get our fresh green teas and Tieguanyins on a plane as soon after picking as we can and spare no expense in our rush air shipping so that you can experience teas like this one at the peak of their potency.

About Verdant Tea View company

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113 Tasting Notes

250 tasting notes

I just got this as a smaple in the mail yesterday, and I was excited to try it out. I prepared the first cup with near-boiling water, and let the tea steep for 15 seconds. The resutl is a very nice Tie guan yin, with a very smooth floral taste, and a very interesting aftertaste. I’m not an expert on spices, so I can’t say if the after taste really is saffron like David wrote on the website. REgardless of what it really taste like, it is a very delightful flavor which lingers for several minutes on the roof of my mouth. There is also a hint of sweet grass in the tea, but it’s mostly getting overwhelmed right now. It will probably develope more later on.

The second cup was steeped for 10 seconds. The flavor was much smoother, and it was also much gentler, with the falvor taking a few seconds to build before reaching it’s full strength. The aftertaste is mostly unaffected, which is rather nice, and the tea is now a pleasant balance between floral and fruity, with hints of grass to round out the flavor. It is certainly developing well, and I have high hopes for it’s continued development.

Third cup, 15 seconds. This is a greally balanced cup of tea, where the grass is beginning to dominate the falvor, and the floral notes have become the new undertones. Like many Oolongs, this third cup balances the various flavors very well. Also, the aftertatse is definitely a spice, but again, I’m not an expert, so I can only assoume that it’s safforn.

Fourth cup, 20 seconds. As I expected, this is where the tea starts to weaken and fade away. The flavor of grass still dominates, yet the floral taste is very weak now, and the fruit I could taste earlier has also faded a lot. Regardless, the aftertaste continues to be a major factor, starting out very mild, growing for a good 30-45 seconds, and then lingering for two minutes. While I’m sad that the real fun parts of this tea are gone, it’s still very nice. The fact that the aftertatse lasts so long is really a testament to the quality of this tea.

Also, as a quick aside, I found the second-craziest tea-related thing (after the tea fertilized by panda poo): http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=527

5kg…That’s enough tea for years of drinking…

205 °F / 96 °C

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294 tasting notes

I am brewing this in the Gaiwan again. The first cup is flawless. So light and wonderful. We now know that Oolongs get better after the first steeping. The second cup has opened up and I am in heaven. This tea is near perfection. The aroma and flavor will stay with me. It’s that powerful yet so delicate. This is about as good as it gets. I cannot write that it tastes like butter or spinach or orchids or whatever. It contains subtle hints of all of these. When I first joined Steepster I bought the Spring version just because people were raving about it. And they had every reason to. I’m raving about this. We sat down to a dinner of Dumplings with salad of Lotus Root tossed with long green hot peppers. The tea was a perfect addition. The real plus is the way this tea calms you and stimulates conversation. Deep conversation. I totally overstepped the third cup and I am definitely getting the lime taste that others have noted. Even oversteeped it is incredible.


Wow, this sounds incredible. Great note!!

Charles Thomas Draper

Thanks. The tea does the writing and the thinking. It inspires. The better the tea the better the tasting notes will be….


Ooh, dumplings. :9

Charles Thomas Draper

Hand made and fresh….


I want to come to your house for dinner… hee hee

Charles Thomas Draper

There was shrimp and chicken in them…. I know you are a vegan. I only eat what swims and flys. I know that sounds crazy. No beef or pork….


to each their own… :)

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8861 tasting notes

This tasting note will not do this tea justice as i think i’m going to leave this for the night and continue this tomorrow when I’m puttering around the house getting my swaps in order. my mini goal this weekend is to try and get down to 190 teas (ignoring the 70+ that are on their way atm and not yet IN my cupboard of course).

As many of you know, oolongs are not generally my thing. But i picked up a sample of this to force myself to branch out a little. So i WILL drink this, at least the small sample of the sample i pulled out, and the rest will go to one of the girls/swap folks who enjoy a good green oolong!

to be continued….

Edit: Been having this in the morning while i figure out swaps and orders and overall it’s not a bad tea. But it IS an oolong and there is something in it that is tickling my nose and making me want to sneeze.


Daaaaayam. And here I was feeling super sheepish that over the past week, I’ve acquired, I don’t know, 20 new teas.

Mini goal is right. I would probably cry if I had a cupboards filled with 190 teas.


Incendiare – I blame kittenna, Indigobloom and raritea. Because we’re all in close proximity, we often place online orders together. Sometimes splitting sample sizes or the bigger sizes so that we can try new things. Thankfully, MOST of my teas are in smaller sizes except for my butiki teas hahah


Cry of joy yeah… :-)


Sometime,try a very dark roast oolong and see if you like those better. I enjoy some pretty charcoal roasty ones now and then.


Bonnie – oh I for sure like darker oolongs better. I’ve tried a few and most of them i’m ok with. That doesn’t stop me from trying green oolongs though to make sure my tastes haven’t changed :) The rest always goes to a good home when i don’t like them.

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59 tasting notes

Oh, the things this tea does to your mouth!! It’s scandalous.

I’ll admit, I really loved Verdant’s spring harvest from 2011, and I was nervous that nothing would be able to compare. Luckily, my fears were totally and completely unnecessary. I am very excited for folks to try this TGY (especially if they tried the Spring), because 1) it’s awesome and everyone needs to try it and 2) it can teach so much about TGY’s in general.

When judging a TGY, there are three general things I look at: flavor, texture (mouth feel), and aftertaste. Flavor is pretty clear- you look for something with levels of complexity beyond a general sweet and floral taste. You can actually find several green oolongs outside of China that have very interesting, lovely, complex flavors- but they stop at just that.
This TGY is full of delicious flavor. Both of Verdant’s TGY’s are excellent and extreme examples of classic Spring flavor and classic autumn flavor. They typify the flavor profiles. Basically, a Spring Iron Goddess of Mercy tastes more like spring.. very floral, creamy, with a sweetness like white or rock sugar. Autumn Iron Goddess of Mercy is more robust.. usually very buttery, with hints of nuttiness and.. well- I can really only describe it as an “autumnal” flavor. This TGY has the autumn profile in spades (more on that in a bit).

The elements that really put a green oolong (or really any kind of tea) into a higher class are texture/mouth feel and aftertaste. Textures can include creaminess or astringency/dryness.. sometimes, you can get a ringing or vibrating texture (like Verdant’s Big Red Robe). Other times, the texture is more like the feeling of linen in sunshine or paper (all Yunnan teas tend have this for me). This TGY does something really really awesome. My whole mouth starts tingling and pulsing… each sip I take seems to prime and prepare my mouth for the next- the texture feels like my old tongue is being stripped away to reveal a fresh, new tongue that positively aches for more and more of the brew. It’s fantastic; you just have to experience it for yourself. For this reason, this is definitely a tea to try in a dedicated way, without other strong (food) flavors muddying or taking over.

And then.. there’s aftertaste. This is the real final test for TGY’s with me. Sometimes, the things that separate good green oolongs from GREAT ones seem like small things on the surface, but once you’ve tasted and recognized those things, you’ll never be able to drink oolongs and judge their quality in the same way again. The main culprit here (besides bitterness of course) that bogs down other teas is.. lemon. If there’s lemon in the aftertaste of the tea, it’s a sign of lower quality. (Now, this is not to say the oolong can’t be a thoroughly enjoyable brew.. it will just never reach the extreme heights that green oolongs can be for me; also, if you don’t brew TGY gong-fu style over many small steepings, this lemon taste will probably not make an appearance). It’s no fatal, unforgivable flaw- it’s just a weakness I’ve noticed over the years. Here’s another place to watch for lemon-y-ness: try letting the leaves rest for an hour or so, and then come back to them. If it’s a lower quality TGY, you will notice a strong lemon flavor.
This TGY has note a trace of lemon. Instead, it’s got other really exciting things: Kaffir lime, for one (like it’s Spring cousin before it).. also the creamy sweetness of perfectly roasted marshmallows! If you steep this tea out even half-way, you will notice the aftertaste lingering literally all day in your mouth. It was so strong and delicious the other day, it was almost unbearable- I didn’t want to go another moment without more amazing tea! I ended up brewing the Jing shan green from Verdant.. mmm mmm MMm, that’s a winning combo.

All of this rambling, and I haven’t even gotten to the main flavors of this tea! How I go on sometimes..

Upon first brewing the leaves, I put my nose up to the gaiwan to inhale the steam.. My technical notes for the aroma were “[I want to] stay in thissmell forever..” I am so looking forward to brewing this tea up when the snow is really coming down here in Minnesota. Then I won’t need to go outside and drive over to the St. Paul Como Conservatory and sit in the orchid and tropical flower rooms.. I can just have the experience right at home in my gaiwan.
The smell of the first brewed liquid reminded me of extremely sweet candy and grapes or grape skins. The flavors.. so good, so autumny. Initial steepings yielded leafy spinach and greens married beautifully to something peppery and spicy and buttery. Something also reminded me of the Song Yang White we’d tried earlier in the evening. The next steepings were very fruity (pit fruits) with saffron, with just a bit of Yabao sparkle. Even still, that great “green” taste was still right in the heart of the flavor. My scribbles go on and on. There was a texture that made me imagine water and stones from inside a clean, magical wishing well. There was a flavor that felt bronzed, just like the great red color that burnishes the bruised edges of green TGY. As others have already noted, there was peach- lots of peach! Particularly the flavor of peach skin and the flavor you get from the aftertaste of eating a juicy ripe peach. Orange flavors and grapes, and of course flowers!

Enough of my ramblings. I clearly really enjoyed this tea. No messing around with “99” scores and whatnot, what’s the point?

Go out and try this tea. If you give it just a little bit of time and attention, you’ll have an amazing time. This is especially true if you can round up some friends to try this with you- conversation helps immensely (as does seeing everyone’s goofy, conspiratorial grins).
Corollary conclusion: Autumn and Spring TGY’s a very different creatures, each with their own special aspects to be enjoyed. I hope that folks can get as excited about the new harvests of this tea as they do about Spring Japanese green xin cha. There’s so much to be excited for with each season. Plus, I’m tired of teahouses across America just offering one TGY that stays the same throughout the year. It’s like they’re saying TGY has only one flavor! It just doesn’t make any sense to squeeze all that TGY can be down into one, simplified experience (usually a more boring spring).
What do you all think about that?


I just ordered some last night…can’t wait!

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49 tasting notes


So what’s all the hype about Verdant’s tieguanyins? I have been asking myself this question since I first joined steepster. Finally, I broke down and ordered an ounce of this tea just before it sold out.

I open the bag at home. Subtle scents of orchid and plumeria greet my nostrils. As my 5oz yixing pot heats up, I spoon my 5g of tea into a lotus plate. I see deep green, loosely rolled pearls. This sight tells me that the tea was lightly oxidized and lightly baked, indicative of a modern Anxi-style tieguanyin. My yixing is hot, so I dump out the water, add the leaves, shake the pot thrice, and enjoy the aroma once more. Once again, I smell tropical flowers, but the warmed leaves release a much heavier scent.

First steeping: 30seconds, longer than what David recommends, but I want to give the leaves an opportunity to open up a bit. No scent greets my nostrils with this brew. I become quite skeptical. Why do people on steepster rave about a tea with no aroma. I take my first three sips, and I suddenly understand. Candied honeydew melon and sugar snap peas. A lingering aftertaste of saffron. Thick, rich, buttery mouthfeel like I’ve never experienced it before. The color of the brew is a glowing yellowish green.

Second thru fourth steepings, 5 seconds. The sweetness of the honeydew dominates, but the sugarsnap pea has not left completely. A fine balance of sweetness and umami. The saffron aftertaste is still there and getting stronger. The buttery texture leaves in the second steeping, but returns full force by the fourth steeping. This is an outstanding tieguanyin. I’m beginning to wonder if David mistakenly replaced my order with his personal store of award-winning gold. Could it be?

Fifth steeping, 10 seconds. More butter, more melon, and candied peaches. Mushrooms with exotic spices. This tea is changing the way that I think about tieguanyin. Flowery? Yes. I would expect that. But I don’t expect the lingering aftertaste, the smooth, heavy body, the durability to last for five full-flavored steepings under 10 seconds. I am almost nearly convinced that David accidentally mismatched my order with some competition winning tieguanyin that was meant to be sold for $20,000 for 100g.

I know that this tea can give me more steepings, but I am currently unable to do more. I must take a break. I will log my appreciation of more steepings on another note.

Thank you David Deckler, you have won yet another loyal customer.


See?! This is no hype! Nuff said!


This review made me break down and rush to Verdant Tea to place my order. This will be my first Verdant Tea order, but I don’t have any doubts that this should be good. I swear I am going to go broke.

David Duckler

Dear Chadao,
No mistake! This Tieguanyin is the only one in my personal stash, because all the “competition grade” teas given to me as gifts in the 2000-3000 price range were simply boring in comparison.

I actually have a pretty strong belief that if a tea is not going to be my own daily go-to, it isn’t going to make the cut for the site. You should see the pile of samples that don’t make it!

Anyways, great tasting note. I am glad that you are noticing all the intriguing savory elements and the thick mouthfeel. While our first batch of Spring Tieguanyin ran out in a week and a half, more should be in before the end of the week.

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262 tasting notes

I am jumping into this lovely one with open arms, whilst listening to a wonderful instrumental by Andrew Bird: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWPHa308V14&feature=related. The dry leaf smells very floral and creamy. Rice puddingish with a hint of vegetal wafting in the background.
1st: I did the pour on pour off immediately method (for the 3-6 second steep). I decided it smelled to good to not take a sip and proceeded to burn my lips and tongue harshly. Just the tips of each, so deciphering flavours is still possible.. I guess today my lips will be bright red. ouch!
Back to tea – the flavour of this is fantastic to me right now. It’s orchid with a slight vegetal/asparagus note. The orchid note is definitely forefront and accompanied by many other flowers… A meadow. But this time there is marshmallow that pops up in the end of the sip an says hello. Ohhh man maybe I am wrong. I think I have a rock sugar and marshmallow brawl going on in the back of my mouth. Sparkly rock sugar followed by a quick squishy vanilla-ish marshmallow thud. Give me more!
2nd: A gorgeous lime green/asparagus water tea. There is a hint of the kaffir lime leaf just following the predominating meadow that is in full bloom in my mouth. There is definitely a grassy sweetness to it as well. As if I were eating the sweet white portion of a blade of long grass. I also get glimpses of stone fruit like apricot. Thank you so much for your flavour offerings beautiful TGY.

I will write more on later steepings if I get enough homework done now. I am tea drunk on Big Red Robe and TGY for sure though.. swoons


I pulled this one out to try tonight after reading your marshmallow/rock sugar brawl notes, fun!


=) perfect! So glad it inspired your next cuppa. I am sure it will be as delicious as mine were.


Liked the review…….and the music too.


Great! Happy to share Scott!

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423 tasting notes

I received this one in my tea of the month selection for March. My first impression after opening the package ’it’s like buttah’! Seriously this has such a buttery scent to it I was instantly in love without even tasting it! That is some serious commitment on my part. As the leaves (which were beautiful) steeped more of the buttery notes came through and the leaves opened up perfectly. I used my bodum Tea for One to steep this in and it came out perfect! (I love this Tea for One cup.)

Now on to the taste of this tea that knocked me off my feet at first smell…WOW! So rich, smooth, and yes still buttery. This is amazing. It is also light, crisp, and refreshing. There’s just so much going on I can’t pin everything I like about this tea because the good just keeps coming with it! I’m pretty sure I’ll get a few more steeps out of this too. THIS is already in my cart over on their site…now to order it (and two other favorites) without my dear, wonderful hubby finding out. ;)

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec

Tried it iced too and it is equally amazing!


I just made my first Verdant Tea order – this review was the breaking point!
It sounds absolutely delish and I can’t wait!! ee!


Oh man I really hope you like it! :) I have some more sitting in my cart over there right now. I need more!! What else did you get?

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39 tasting notes

I’ve now had four drinking sessions with this tea. The first three times were with friends, and presently I’m drinking it on my own. Always preparing it in a gaiwan with, more or less, Verdant’s suggested guidelines for Gongfu brewing. Delectable tea!

I initially encounter a quality reminiscent of roasted nuts in the fragrance and flavor, mixed with green vegetal notes and a hint of vanilla bean. Complex! As the profile builds with successive infusions, these qualities yield at turns to surprising others: a little kernel of toasted rice, the aftertaste left by ripe grapes, sweet butter punctuated by a grain or two of sea salt, whispers of those long-gone lilacs of spring… It’s all very fascinating, even as these flavors seem so divergent. There is something indescribable that holds the show together…

In fact, I feel like the flavors interact and move on and off the stage of a captivating theatrical play. So running with that analogy… in later acts, I recognize a lush juiciness developing, with notes of honeydew and plum on the long road home, being guided by this savvy prevailing peach flavor. Peach is definitely one of the key characters, as throughout the whole experience, even before making its first entrance, mention of it can be repeatedly heard in the discreet whisperings of some characters and in the lively repartee of others. What I mean by this is that, from the beginning, there is a sensation on the tongue after sipping that feels like the soft fuzz of a peach skin — but it’s not immediately recognizable as such. With continued drinking, the juiciness grows, the aftertaste deepens, then soon enough the presence of peach makes its grand entrance, and after each cup there’s this uncanny sensation that you just ate a really nice ripe one. I love this!

Comparisons are inevitable, but I feel that I must assess the beauties and virtues of this Autumn Tieguanyin in their own right. Her dignity quietly commands it. The spring and autumn pickings of this tea are no doubt related, but they each have such unique characteristics that, for me, a direct comparison would be unwarranted. There will be more spring pickings, and more autumn pickings, and I’ll let each be compared with its kind. If I could say anything about what makes these spring and autumn teas distinct, it would be that this Autumn Tieguanyin is like a more reserved, but more sophisticated, sister of the Spring Tieguanyin. No less beautiful, but she doesn’t make the kind of head-turning display of it her sister does. She’ll ask you to invest some attention and time in getting to know her, and appreciating her knowledge and intellectual charms, before she unfolds a full glimpse of her beauty for you. But this extra effort is wholly worthwhile, because when she does, finally, grant you that gift… my, does it feel special!

And I think I must spend a great deal of time sharing the good company of this tea. Her charms may yet enthrall me more than her stunning sister.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I can’t wait to try this one!


me too!

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98 tasting notes

The second tea I’m trying from Verdant.
Dry: grassy and zesty, with a hint of fruit juiciness. Normally the whole “grassy” description freaks me out, but I really like this…when I put it in my brew basket in my rinsed mug, I smelled it and got something creamy.
1st steeping: while steeping, I’m sticking my nose over the mug (which I do pretty invariably.) I’m getting a scent that I can’t really place, but it reminds me of one of my favorite fragrances…it was essential-oil based, a little dusty but with a zinging fruity note. That’s exactly what this smells like. Mmmm. Can’t wait!
Sipping…a very evident green taste on the first sip. This is my first oolong, too, by the way. The green taste recedes into the others after the first few sips, and the rest of the mug has a crisp mouthfeel with a little tartness and more characteristics of a black tea. At the bottom of the mug, I’m starting to get the taste of whatever that delicious essential-oilish aroma was…I’m really excited to keep uncovering the flavors in this tea. I also really really want an yixing for oolongs now…

2nd steeping: again, I’m getting that lovely essential-oil smell that I can’t place. Mmm, this is a bit creamier than the last time. Very subtly so. I still have a crisp, green mouthfeel and sort of a bright-tasting note. Now I’m tasting a light floral note that goes to the back of my tongue. The aftertaste is dusky and vegetal.

3rd steeping: Ooh. Nutty, floral, smooth. Kind of creamy. I’m getting a twiggy undertone…edging on roasty. Hey, I can taste the Kaffir lime! I haven’t ever had one before but this is a limey taste…right at the end of the sip, on the back of my tongue and roof of my mouth. Wow. This is fascinating.

4th steeping: aaa! Knocked over my empty mug and spilled the brew basket onto the floor. I picked up the leaves that had fallen on the floor and put them back in. The floor is pretty clean—who knows? Maybe some flavor notes will come in because of that…heehee. This made me really appreciate how high-quality this tea is—the leaves are so big and whole that I didn’t have to pick up much! Anyway, aroma: greeny and juicy. Taste is milder now, but still retains the green freshness of before.

This was very tasty, exciting, and unusual. I don’t want to give it a rating just yet; it deserves another session in which I brew it gongfu style—I think that will bring out the flavor better. Like I said before, I’d love to get an yixing teapot for oolongs as well!

205 °F / 96 °C

First oolong! Congratulations! Sounds like you might be spoiled for oolongs in the future.


heehee, yeah.

David Duckler

Wonderful- I am glad that you are finding as much to discover in the Tieguanyin as I do every time I drink it. Oolongs are an incredible world to step into- the crafting of the tea has such dramatic effects on the final product. Drinking oolong always feels like entertainment, not just a beverage or a taste.

An oolong yixing can be delightful- I have one for Tieguanyin, and one for darker oolongs, and they both give back distinctive flavor. Just be prepared for a good yixing pot to eat up a lot of flavor the first few time you use it.

Have fun!

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774 tasting notes

Mini sipdown! Working through these samples slowly.

This is my second time trying an oolong specifically labelled as a Tieguanyin! I’m actually drinking this, gongfu style, right beside the sample from Zen Tea that Cavocorax sent me. I still have a hard time describing oolong but there are some noticeable differences.

This one’s a little more vegetal, nutty, and all-around hearty in nature; definitely not as intoxicatingly floral, although that element is still there, or as vanilla-sweet. This oolong is very mellow and smooth and a lot more subtle in its flavours than the first one. It became very vegetal near the tenth steep, and started off buttery and creamy.

Now I can appreciate the base that makes up Earl of Anxi.

185 °F / 85 °C

good observation.

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