Backlogging and based almost entirely on my notes

Experience buying from Verdant Tea http://steepster.com/places/2886-verdant-tea-online-minneapolis-minnesota

Date of Purchase/Amount of Leaf/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping: I received a 15 grams sample of this from David in the fall of 2011; I believe it was harvested in the spring of that year; I steeped this on 12/10/2011.

Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: All I remember here is that the appearance and aroma of the leaves reminded me of the best qualities of an expensive spring green tea I tried from a local Asian market months earlier.

Brewing guidelines: < no notes here, but I vaguely remember using most of the sample with six cups of H2O, and I probably steeped it loose in my glass six-cup Bodum, with stevia added >
……….1st: 165⁰F; 1’
……….2nd: 180⁰F; 1.5’ (“180F was intentional due to it being a sun-dried tea.”)
……….3rd: 185⁰F; 2’ (“Much later in the day.”)
……….4th: 188⁰F; 2.5’

Color and Aroma of tea liquor: Pale yellow color; < no notes on aroma >.

Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping):
1st:… mild, but good flavor;
2nd:.. a little more flavorful then the 1st (probably due to the higher temperature)
3rd:.. still good, but very mild
4th:… minor flavor

Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: No notes here other than, “Leaves were on the top during all steepings.”

Blends well with: I tried blending the remaining amount of this sample with another green tea, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out well; my guess is that the other green tea had different brewing requirements. Needless to say, I make it a goal not to mix samples any more (I was bummed, as I really liked this tea)!

Value: This wonderful green tea is about as expensive as the other green teas Verdant Tea offers (as of 6/5/2012 it is on clearance, but I believe it is normally about $40 / 4 OZ); it’s too expensive for me at regular price, but I may decide to acquire some if I can get a ‘deal’ on it at some later date (i.e. during a sale) when the fresh stuff comes in, or possibly as part of a sampler pack.

Overall: It’s been over seven months since I brewed it up now, but I do remember thinking at that time that this was one of the best tasting green teas I had ever had. Although I have enjoyed tasting all of the green teas he carries, I think I liked this one the most. “It reminds me of a Teatrekker tea that tasted like artichokes. I like it!” Notes on 2nd steeping: “I think I should have done the first steeping hotter. Slight astringency (bite/dryness) here that was absent on the first steeping.” My understanding is that since sun-dried green teas are processed a little differently than the Chinese green tea processing methods normally used (basket or pan fired) it needs to be brewed a little differently. I think I would start at about 175F-180F the next time I brew this one up. I am hoping to be able to get my hands on some of this great Tea again sometime in the near future!

165 °F / 73 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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(Updated 6-3-2014)

After about three years I changed my avatar from the picture of a green teacup with steam rising (one I created using Paint) to this dragon gaiwan. This is one of my favorite gaiwans, although I haven’t brewed any tea in it as of yet.

You can call me, Joe.

What, How and Why I steep:

I typically expect, and shoot for, at least three flavorful steepings out of (just about) any tea I brew up.

I generally start at the times and temps below ( = minute(s), " = second(s) ), then add 5F and 30" for each successive steeping:
Chinese Green - 175F, 1’ ;
Japanese Green - 160F, 1’add 15F, then decrease by 15";
White - 160F, 2’;
Oolong - This varies;
Indian Black/Chinese Red and Herbals - a little off the boil, 2’; why do I start with such low temps & short steep times? So as to ‘spread out’ the flavor over multiple steepings. I have found this to work with every tea I have tried so far. Also, I am not looking for intense flavor in that first cup (i.e. Western style), I would prefer to taste it—and savor—it over many steepings.
Pu-erh - Beginning in 2014, I finally chose to dive into pu-erh! Standard parameters when I brew ripened pu-erh in my 150 ml gaiwan (I also own an 11 oz Yixing):
First I do a 15" rinse with near boiling water. Then for each successive steeping I add Stevia.
……….1st: Near boiling, 0.5’
……….2nd: Boiling , 1’
……….3rd: Boiling , 1.5’
etc. Until there is no flavor, or I ran out of time and energy.

I hope to ‘streamline’ my reviews going forward, so, hopefully, they are a little less technical and dry (and perhaps even stilted), and a little more organic and experiential (and hopefully, flowing); this somewhat new approach to reviews is a kind of metaphor for where my life is headed right now, and is one reason why I write reviews: as a kind of time-capsule of where I was in my life at that time.

Tea Rating scale:

1 – 29: There is no reason to even think about drinking this stuff again.
30-49: I may drink it if someone else brewed it up, but I would not bother brewing it up myself let alone bother buying any.
50 – 59: I like something about it, and I may brew it up if I already have some, but I would not buy any more of it.
60 – 69: I like a few things about it, and I may buy it if the price is right.
70 – 79: This is a tea I enjoy and would drink fairly regularly as long as it is reasonably priced.
80 – 89: A tea I will drink as often as I can, and will likely try to buy some when I run out (as long as it’s affordable).
90 – 99: This has everything I look for in the best of teas: beauty in appearance, a delightful aroma, and most importantly, depth and yummy-ness in its flavor.
100: Perfect.

My primary interest is in artisan loose-leaf Chinese green, red and ripe pu-erh tea, although I enjoy a white and an oolong tea every now and then as well. Here and there I brew a few of the other true teas and an occasional herbal.

Since I choose to live on a very limited income (‘Voluntary Simplicity’), I have to be very conscience about how much I pay for tea. In reading their Tea Enthusiast’s books, Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss sold me on the wonders of artisan teas. Thankfully I have found that there is affordable, artisan tea out there; it’s just like anything else that has true value: it takes hard work, dedication and at least a little persistence to find it.

I came to tea out of a desire to find something to help calm and focus my mind as naturally as possible. My mind is very active, so to speak, and at times I find it very difficult to focus and keep myself centered. For years now I have been practicing Yoga daily along with others things to help me to stay relaxed and present, but I found I wanted a little something extra to help me start the day; the theanine in green tea seems to help me in this.

I have been enjoying loose-leaf tea since November of 2010.

I enjoy connecting with others about tea.

I drink Stevia with just about all of my tea (no sugar or artificial sweeteners).

I drink a pot of green tea every day in the AM (usually steeped three times over the course of the day), sharing it with my wife.

Each tea in my cupboard is carefully and colorfully labeled in a tin or in a jar that used to hold something else (I love to reuse things!) .

I have three teapots: a glass Bodum – I don’t use the metal infuser/press anymore (greens), a 16 oz glass Victorian (to brew greens and whites, and to use as a pot to decant other teas into), and an 11 oz Yixing (ripe Pu-erh only). (New in 2014) I also one a number of gaiwans ranging in volume from from 125 ml to 250ml.

I tend to be direct, straightforward and honest when I post anything to the discussion boards. I take the approach that everything I say is stated with the implied disclaimer: In My Humble Opinion (i.e. IMHO). I may occasionally emphasize this point, where appropriate. I view your comments in the same way. You are in no way obligated to read what I have posted. And I am in no way similarly obligated to you.

Sitting with my cup of tea I greet the day in anticipation of new discoveries along the way.


Midwest, USA

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