Hand Picked Early Spring Tieguanyin (2013)

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Oolong Tea
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Butter, Flowers
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Edit tea info Last updated by Dinosara
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205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 11 oz / 315 ml

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From Verdant Tea

On our spring trip to China, we were lucky enough to meet Master Zhang, a native of Anxi and lifetime Tieguanyin farmer. In mid-April, the very earliest harvests were just being finished. We sat in Master Zhang’s family home and drank this tea just three days after he finished it. The early spring Tieguanyin from Master Zhang’s 1000+ meter terraced mountain tea fields in Daping, Anxi has a fresh vibrant quality unlike any Tieguanyin we have tried before.

While most Tieguanyin is simply floral, this spring harvest tastes almost wild, with complex notes of pine, sweetgrass, mineral, and a crisp apple texture. The body of this tea is as creamy as can be, full and thick with vanilla notes. The creamy body lingers on the palate in the aftertaste like saffron.

The floral elements of this Tieguanyin are bright and sunny like daffodil and marigold. They seem to blossom on the palate, leaving behind caramel sweetness. Sipping this tea is uniquely refreshing and quenching, a masterful embodiment of this unique, early spring harvest, picked a full three weeks before the majority of the crop.

Master Zhang’s tea fields stretch across the side of a mountain that is almost always covered in mist. It is so high up that the day we visited, it was actually in a cloud. The spring water feeding the tea is pristine, crystal clear and sweet as sugar. We picked leaves right off of Mr. Zhang’s tea plants and ate them fresh, revealing the sweet, pure chlorophyl-packed nature of his tea. Master Zhang and all the farmers in his hillside in Daping are committed to fully organic farming techniques. The fresh flavor of the tea shows off their hard work.

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18 Tasting Notes

1271 tasting notes

I feel awful that I preordered this tea, got it in May and never got around to drinking it till now. The tea smells very fragrant and fresh.

What makes this tea session more special is this tea is also hand picked by me. Off the floor. As I dropped the open packet. Sigh. FYI, don’t step on a tieguanyin.

Tastes like spring: daffodils, butter, creamy, crips, wet grass and minerals. Very lovely and quite floral in early steepings – perfect for floral lovers.

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/2013/09/04/hand-picked-early-spring-tieguanyin-from-verdant-tea-tea-review/


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3294 tasting notes

I don’t know why I don’t drink Tieguanyin more often. It’s not like I don’t have any, in fact I have a ton of it! There are a bunch of them left over from when I was in Verdant’s TOMC & TOMCR, plus I also have others from other companies.

So this one is from last June’s TOMC. It is the essence of spring itself. The aroma is gently floral, the taste is also gently floral & yellow, like spring daffodils, with a beautiful yellow color to the liquid as well. As I run through the steepings, the leaves bloom, gracefully, lushly, like some cross between lettuce & Wakame. I served some to one of my students & her mom, & they were like, “I feel like we’re drinking flowers!”
I love turning people on to new teas!


TGY is usually the first tea I give newbies, they always respond with, “is this tea? Its not bitter like my tea.” Sets there wheels rolling. Next thing I know I have to order more for all the newbies. How’s your Yunnan Sourcing addiction going?

Terri HarpLady

Funny you should ask, Big D, I was lurking on their website a few days ago. I haven’t ordered anything…yet!


Saving up for big spring harvest extravaganza. Getting my tea rhythms straight this year. Going to try and see if I can drink all my greens before they are 8 years old :)

Terri HarpLady

It’s kind of nice how tax returns come in spring…:)

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122 tasting notes

Coldsteeping! My very first cold steep. I started this about 4 hours ago. It is much more astringent than when made as a hot tea, but the green and floral flavors are really coming out!


I really enjoy oolong cold steeped!

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2201 tasting notes

I drank this tea (#74) a few times in the last week. I had a gongfu session with it over the weekend, drank a western brew a couple of days ago, and finished it off this morning in another western brew. Every session was very enjoyable. Sweet and floral and buttery, with bit of a vegetal grounding note. Still delicious, but I’m glad I finished it up as I have a pouch of the 2014 picking too!

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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612 tasting notes

Another great tea sample from Nicole! Yay! Super thanks for this.

what I wrote on FB earlier:
“think Robert gave me his durn cold (this always happens but I always act like somehow I can avoid the inevitable if I just try hard enough, alas), got the classic itch in my throat. worked like a demon early this morning so hopefully i can do a protracted gongfu tea brewing session this afternoon (someone on steepster sent me a buncha verdant oolongs, oh baby) before he comes home (and before the cold renders me tea-dumb).”

So here I am. I’m still very clumsy/ungraceful about doing things gongfu—the job gets done I guess, but with zero artfulness on my behalf alas—but I love how it forces you to really respect and pay full attention to your tea. And I am getting better at using a gaiwan without looking ridiculous, so there’s that.

In the brewing video for this one, David’s not kidding about the aroma and explosion of spring in this one. Growing up with the lilac festival in Rochester every year, this one really spoke to me as there’s tons and tons of true-floral aroma, especially of lilacs. The awesome thing is despite being very floral and spring-y, this tea is not wimpy at all. It has a lot of backbone, with some sweet, fresh-cut grass (as opposed to the harsh, older grassiness in some Japanese greens), just a little bit of hay, and pine! Reminds me of summers as a kid hiking and canoeing in Vermont around B&B country (my parents had close friends up there), farmhouses with straw in the yard and wooden bridges and rocky caverns and streams of cold, rocky but sweet water. There’s also a creamy sweetness to this which comes as a surprise with the upfront floral elements. That vanilla-y aspect lingers and grows, which is lovely and tied up with those Vermont memories in that our friends ran an antique shop with a candy store within, so this conjures up the smell of those creamy caramels along with everything else Vermont. More mineral comes out after a few steepings as well, along with a mysterious element I can’t quite name, something more savory than sweet, heady and frankly a little sexy…hm. Saffron’s listed on the site, and I can see how that might be what I’m sensing. Whatever it is I really like it, and to go into detail would possibly be TMI it’s so alluring, ha. Appropriate for spring, let’s just say.

If you could bottle these exact aromas as a perfume, with their depth and evocation and gradually unfurled complexity, I’d wear it, and I hate perfume. It would have all of that going on yet also the freshness (and mysterious flowers-and-the-whole-world’s-getting-it-on sexiness) that’s here too.

Definitely worth doing gongfu style.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I jumped on your stream of thought and traveled through every picturesque visual bubble, delighting in how easily the words tumbled into blossoms of scent, aroma and visual memories. Great job!


Aw, thank you Bonnie. That means a lot to me coming from you. (:

Terri HarpLady

libido in a bottle? LOL!


haha, it totally was!

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652 tasting notes

1.5 tsp for 250 mL water @ 90C, steeped 3 minutes Western style, first infusion.

Tieguanyins are one of my favourite things to drink.

I adore the 2012 Autumn Harvest Tieguanyin from Verdant, greatly enjoying its depth and snap. The 2013 Spring is creamier, a bit more suggestive of orchids, almost like a Quangzhou milk, and more — well, springlike, fresh and new. The creaminess stands out for me, suggeting sweetness and vanilla. Lovely.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Mineral notes in the finish as I get further down the cup. Very nuanced.

Michelle Butler Hallett

Third infusion yielded some surprising mushroom and forest notes, the sort of thing I’d expect from a Yunnan black.

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772 tasting notes

This is under a different name on the page of notes that came with this tea from the classic TOTMC. There are a lot of oolongs this month. I’m hoping that this will help me develop a fondness for oolongs when I can try a lot of them (4) as I did with green tea last month (Dragonwell is awesome).

Drinking this it tastes very…oolong. Not sure how I can explain it. It’s okay but I’m not really craving it to drink the rest of my cup. From the notes, I’m definitely picking up on the sweetgrass and mineral notes with something kinda vanilla like in the aftertaste. I definitely don’t taste pine and I have no idea what “crisp apple texture” is supposed to be. And I have no idea what saffron tastes like. It is definitely on the floral side of the tea spectrum. I’m finding I’m not too fond of the more floral teas, wanting those that taste more like vegetables.

I’m logging a rating because of my own tastes and I want to remember, but it shouldn’t be considered really if you have a taste for oolongs already. If you like oolong tea, you will more than likely like this one.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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257 tasting notes

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! This is a perfect tea for Valentine’s Day because it is like a bouquet of daffodils!!! It is amazing how they achieved this aroma. It also has a note of butter.
If I am wanting a floral Oolong, I am definitely going to look to Spring Tieguanyin because this is very nice with no astringency which is what I have experienced with some others.

Thank u to Terri Harplady for this sample!!!

Flavors: Butter, Flowers

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 4 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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63 tasting notes

This tea is elegant, fragrant, fresh, and easy to drink. Very enjoyable. The tea is tightly rolled in the beginning, and expands dramatically after several steepings to show rather lovely whole leaves. I like this tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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149 tasting notes

I think this is the tea I tried in the Verdant Tea Shop? Someone correct me otherwise?

Anyway, I was actually a little let down with this tea. It had the nice floral tones (gardenia) and a nice creamy feel, but was a little too delicate. What really was the reason for my lack luster approach was when I tried to second brew it I got no taste at all. I ended up re-steeping for 4-5 mins and with not much results. Maybe my water had cooled too much, but wasn’t anywhere near the top 10 Tieguanyins I’ve had.

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