Dragonwell Style Laoshan Green: 2012 Spring Harvest

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Mark B
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 15 sec

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9 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I think this is pretty amazing! Certainly one of the best Dragonwell-style’s I have had and hands down one of the better green teas (generally speaking) I have had! I love the lemon-lime-citrus...” Read full tasting note
  • “So this one got a touch oversteeped today too. Closer to 2 min than I would have liked. However, it didn’t suffer too badly. Still rock sugary and delicious. It’s edging towards astringency/too...” Read full tasting note
  • “Thanks to Mark B for this sample!! Pretty sure I underleafed the cup as I had a hard time getting much flavour. There were some honeyed sweet tones, some mild brothy notes, and an even milder...” Read full tasting note
  • “Verdant tea – spring 2012 Laoshan Dragonwell style green I received this in a very generous swap from Autumn Hearth. As much as I love Dragonwells, I know that this one is special, and so I...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

DATE OF PICKING: April 10th, 2012

LOCATION OF PICKING: Ocean-facing slope of Laoshan Mountain in Laoshan Village, Shandong Province He Family Farm 15-20 acre plot fed by the mountain spring running down from the rock face of Laoshan.

WHAT WAS PICKED: Young leaf material with buds wilted in bamboo baskets, dried over a carefully trended wood fire and pressed flat.

This exquisite early picking truly shows off the best elements of both Laoshan flavor and Dragonwell flavor. The aroma of the wet leaf is that of bread dough rising on a warm surface, yet the first impressions of of the flavor are perfectly bright and sparkling. The mouthfeel is very engaging, creating a crisp mineral sensation on all parts of the palate.

After the first flash of fine texture, other notes come through. There is a gentle sweet green quality brought out by a citrus juiciness and mouthwatering Tieguanyin-like aftertaste. Elements of floral aroma are mixed in as the aftertaste settles into a licorice-like sweetness.

Later steepings bring out more savory Laoshan elements as the body of the tea becomes thicker and notes of butter and sugar snap pea come through. The overall sensation remains very cleansing and perfectly sweet.

*Note: Because of a very cold spring, only a small amount of this tea was harvested. The good news is that the slow growing conditions have led to a much sweeter richer tea. The bad news is that we were only able to obtain eight pounds total. Once this sells out, it will not be replaced with the same batch. While unfortunate, we also embrace the temporary nature of tea, and hope that you will enjoy this offering to the fullest while it is available. The He family passes on their thanks.

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9 Tasting Notes

6768 tasting notes

I think this is pretty amazing! Certainly one of the best Dragonwell-style’s I have had and hands down one of the better green teas (generally speaking) I have had! I love the lemon-lime-citrus notes. I also love the sugar snap pea flavors. It’s incredible smooth and buttery, too! And, of course, it’s SWEET! I have found it hard to find a dragon-well with all of these elements thus far…and ALL naturally speaking…nothing artificial and no flavorings…just natural pick-ups from the teas surroundings! I’m so grateful Verdant knocked this one out of the ballpark! A pure delight!

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6106 tasting notes

So this one got a touch oversteeped today too. Closer to 2 min than I would have liked. However, it didn’t suffer too badly. Still rock sugary and delicious. It’s edging towards astringency/too strong, but I am only aware of it because of my poor sore throat, which is extremely sensitive to the least bit of non-smoothness. (So in other words, this tea is absolutely delicious and my throat is messed up.)

Glad this one still tastes good in spite of its age! Gotta sip these greens down more quickly next time. Still a few good cups of this one left.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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1759 tasting notes

Thanks to Mark B for this sample!!
Pretty sure I underleafed the cup as I had a hard time getting much flavour.
There were some honeyed sweet tones, some mild brothy notes, and an even milder vegetal aspect that was very hidden underneath. Next time, I’ll try more leaf in the infuser!


Yeah, I tend to dump a lot of leaves in my infuser now, as I prefer a stronger flavour. I keep it to about a 1 min infusion at 82C, as well.


Yeah I had it at one minute but went in for more after finding the lack of flavour. Plus I have to guess at temp! (thermometer doesn’t reach the bottom so leaves most of the rod exposed and gives off an inaccurate reading)


What sort of thermometer? Most have the sensor right at the tip. I use my meat thermometer (as you may remember seeing previously :D)


One I bought at Davids eons ago. I did a test once, using a really tall glass vs one of my mugs. Not entirely controlled since there was more liquid in the glass, but it gave a much higher temp reading almost immediately, up to 96 I think it was, whereas when I use my mug it never reads above 91!
Though it occurred to me later that I didn’t pour the water overtop of the thermometer, which I haven’t tried yet.


I wonder if it’s because the mug sucked more of the heat out of the water than the glass. My mom has a DT one, and yeah, it never hits over about 91 in her mug, but that’s just because of heat loss. If she nuked the mug + water, I’m sure it would read boiling. I don’t think a great deal of the probe needs to be in the water. I mean, as much as possible is certainly better! But a cm or two is probably ok.


hmmm I thought about that to! but keep forgetting to test it. I really should one of these days!! I mean, I’ve heard about people warming up their mugs first so that the water is true temp and not skewed by heat suckage


Yeah. I used to microwave all my water, so it was always truly boiling when I made teas requiring boiling water. Now I use a kettle, and don’t bother heating the mugs. For teas that need boiling, I just pop in the infuser immediately. For teas that need ~90, I wait maybe 10 seconds before putting in the infuser, and for teas that need ~80, I use my thermometer (because different mugs/water volumes take different times to reach 80, and usually teas requiring that temp are finicky!)


Yah that’s how I do it mostly, but I found that in the heat of summer things work a bit differently! heh.
I know I should use the thermometer more… I will, eventually! :)

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323 tasting notes

Verdant tea – spring 2012 Laoshan Dragonwell style green

I received this in a very generous swap from Autumn Hearth. As much as I love Dragonwells, I know that this one is special, and so I decidedly didn’t drink it until I had a chance to sit down and really savor it (especially since it’s no longer available).

Upon opening the little envelope, I’m struck by how thin the leaves are, and how pure the olive-green color is. The scent is similar to that of snow peas or sugar snap peas. It’s somehow very rich.

I might be a bit stingy with my leaf, but I don’t have a scale and I want this to last as long as possible. I tip a little bit into the tasting cup, just enough to mostly cover the bottom. I figure that’s enough.

I ruined the first steep, at least according to David’s suggested guidelines. I forgot that I left my tasting bowl at home, and only brought the brewing vessel. In my search for an appropriate substitute, I pulled out one of my Amsterdam teacups. This is about the same size as the bowl, and has about the same rim thickness (important to me). But then as I began pouring, I realized it was pink. Oh no. Scrambled around and found my English teacup – white ceramic inside, but a very thin rim. What I’m going to do is decant into the English and then pour into the Amsterdam to drink. Messy, but I think this is better. But in all my scrambling around for cups, I let it steep about ~7-10s, instead of his recommended 3.

First steep: ~7s. The liquor is almost white. There’s a barely-noticeable ecru (how’s that for color vocabulary?) tinge to it. It tastes sort of like the way grass smells after there’s been a rainstorm, or very early in the morning when you’re crossing a field covered in dew. Although the tea is hot, the taste is a “cold” taste.

Second steep: 3s. The liquor is lighter than the previous steep, and I feel this is as it ought to be. Very, very pale; hardly distinguishable color. The scent is definitely green, almost a sort of baby spinach note. The taste is perfectly replicated in the aroma. It’s definitely a very light tea, but the flavor is fully developed. Although it’s delicate, I don’t feel as though I’m missing anything.

Third steep: 3s. The liquor is the same color as the previous steep. I’m getting the taste of the peas I smelled in the leaves.

I looked inside at the leaves lying limp in the tasting cup. They are a bright green olive color. It’s really cool how I can see the plant itself: many of the leaves consist of two leaves and a stem.

Fourth steep: 7s. As I poured this from the brewing vessel into the teacup, one tiny leaf attached to a stem slipped into the cup and swam around like a little fish. It’s currently floating, stem at the surface of the water and the tip of the leaf just barely standing on the bottom. On a couple sips, I get a very strong sweetness, kind of like a floral honey. But it’s elusive, and I don’t taste it often. One touch and it’s gone.

As I finish the cup I take the leaf that is floating in the bottom out. It is perfectly formed, with the leaf spreading out from where it is almost folded into the stem. It’s oval-shaped with a pointed end, and maybe half an inch long. I’ve never seen a tea leaf like this. It feels smooth and rubbery and delicately veined. It is fully expanded from its time spent stewing in the cup, unlike its still-folded brethren in the brewing vessel

Fifth steep: 10s. The liquor is still white. I love this. It’s beautiful. I’m getting more and more of that elusive honeysuckle. Good

Sixth steep: 13s. There’s something really sweet surrounding this, like a nut that’s been dipped in chocolate. Only it’s sort of a grass that’s been dipped in honey

I’m going to end this review here, as I’m already at six hundred plus words.. but know that this is one phenomenal tea. I don’t have much from Verdant because really I always want to give them the respect they deserve, and I’m often running around like a madman, but I want to do an order soon (when I start working again.. heh) and get a variety of teas, maybe in one ounce sizes so that I do have teas that will stand up well to this sort of extended session.

180 °F / 82 °C

It’s such a pleasure to spend time looking at tea, the color and aroma, and then each phase of flavor. You really took the time to enjoy this Dragonwell. You can tell that the tea was giving you a rich experience.

Daniel Scott

Awesome review! How many ounces are you drinking per steep? Six steeps seems like a lot of fluid, but are your cups very small?


IThis is the tasting set I have :http://www.adagio.com/teaware/tasting_set.html?SID=8a6aa0c326a6d1cd8fb2f544f66cc865 … Adagio says 5oz, which is bigger than I thought it was.


I have 2 of these sets from my local shop which makes it easy to pour two oolongs for instance and compare them for tasting with a friend. Nice smaller size.

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49 tasting notes

This is certainly a tea you can over brew. Unlike some teas, in my experience, once it goes bitter, no amount of additional water will dilute and save it. Treating this like a traditional Longjing Dragonwell would be a mistake. I prepare this tea in my double wall glass tumbler using about 175 °F water. Most of the time I leave a root with my Longjings. In my opinion, as with the other Laoshan greens that I’ve tried, this needs to be fully decanted.

I think Verdant Tea’s brewing instructions are spot on, and see why they include a demonstration video. This tea is finicky. The 1 min steep recommended in the written instructions? I’d venture to say even that is a bit too long. As you’ll see in the video, he’s working in seconds, not minutes. Also if you wait for the leaves to drop, which I found was very slowly (if at all), you’re again asking for trouble.

It’s certainly a beautiful tea to look at, both the dry and wet leaves. The color of the brew is lively and vibrant. It shares many of the qualities of the Laoshan Greens that I’ve tried, though the pan firing Dragonwell preparation introduce a bit of cinnamon nose and first taste impression. But honestly, I’m not going to go into more detail here because I’m just generally put off by this tea.

I’ve wanted to like it. I had the same reaction to the previous Autumn Dragonwell Laoshan. I respect Verdent and appreciate what they offer and how they operate. But, in the end I think this tea is just too much work. I believe you can get a wonderful result under certain circumstances, but I’ve been more disappointed than rewarded. Maybe I lack patience. Maybe I just prefer a tea that’s a bit more forgiving.

175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec
Mark B

Anybody interested in a trade? I’ve got a 1/2 oz. left and don’t intend on drinking it. It appears some people really like Dragonwell Style Laoshan Greens, so here’s a chance to try something that’s in low supply and fairly pricey.

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66 tasting notes

Steepster was misbehaving and wouldn’t let me post tasting notes the evening I tried this, so I’m posting now from memory. I should also mention that I did the conventional mesh-ball brewing on this, not gongfu, so I might have different things to say once I’ve gotten around to doing it “right” (is any way really “right” if it yields a great cup of tea? Anyway…)

I have pretty high expectations of everything I buy from Verdant, and this one met them solidly, if not spectacularly. The leaf is neat-looking, as others have mentioned: very dark green and obviously hand-flattened, so each leaf is sort of bladelike. Some are very long (I had to break three or four of them to fit them in the mesh ball). The inside of the bag is covered with beige fuzz, which must have come from the leaves, but there doesn’t seem to be fuzz on the leaves—interesting. The smell in the bag is rich and vegetal.

This really does brew up into an almost colorless light-yellow brew, so don’t make the mistake of over-brewing trying to get some color into it! I let it cool a little too long while I answered the phone, but maybe this gave the flavor a little time to develop. Flavor: light, refreshing, perhaps more like a white tea than a green tea, but with a pronounced gyokuro-style brothiness that is really satisfying, and a consistent undertone of rich veggie-like flavor. This is not a strongly flavored tea, and I didn’t taste any bitterness. Just good flavor and that brothiness that I like.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this were a dud as iced tea, but I guess stranger things have happened. Anyway, I don’t try everything iced, because I have other cold beverages I enjoy (and in any case I live in Wisconsin, where at this time of year, one increasingly enjoys one’s beverages hot!).

Definitely, I’m glad I bought this, and will enjoy it every time I drink it, but it’s not the life-changing brew that my first Verdant Tieguanyin was.

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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57 tasting notes

The gong fu brewing method is the only one that works well for me when brewing this tea. I steep for a few seconds with very low temperature water at first (about 165 F) and then increase the steeping time by a few seconds and occasionally increase the water temperature by 5 to 10 degrees.

170 °F / 76 °C

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