A sample from Verdant. I thought it would be neat to try something VERY fresh, or at least as fresh as I am going to get it, living on the other side of the Earth from where it is grown!
This is very bright green in the leaf, and they are the flattened leaf that is characteristic of Dragonwell tea. I ate a leaf just out of curiosity; it was crispy and tasted first of vegetal green tea, then bitter. So maybe don’t eat the leaf…;)
I brewed “grandpa style” using an unbleached bulk paper filter in a mug, 175 F water. I’m never too precise about amounts of tea, but I used about 3/5 of what was in the bag, so 3 g. The quick instructions on the back of the sample bag said 10 seconds for the first stepping. Uh, no. It still smelled and tasted like water at 10 seconds! Maybe if I were doing gongfu brewing with the entire sample! I actually gave it a little over 2 minutes in total and it was nicely flavored and ready to drink at that point.
This tea is yellow with a tinge of dark green/brown in the brew. Smells rather gyokuro-y, if that’s a thing: savory, clean and vegetal. The taste is round/mineral, not bitter except a tad in the aftertaste, with lots of spinach/lima bean/artichoke vegetalness. It does make the mouth feel a little dry, but not in a bad way. I find it smooth and drinkable, but not shy-and-retiring; the flavor makes itself known.
Overall a very nice tea for those who like green tea and the whole vegetal “thing” (I know some people really don’t like that) and want something drinkable and tasty but not overly expensive, at least as Verdant’s prices go. This 5g sample was $3, to give you an idea of cost. If you’re buying at Verdant you already know you want something a few notches above what you can get at, say, your local Whole Foods, in terms of quality, and you’re aware you’re supporting a small business and getting something handcrafted by family growers in the great tea regions of Asia, so really, price is of less importance in the grand scheme of things when you are shopping for this type of tea.
If money is really a concern, try the Build Your Own Sample set: pick five or more tea samples (5 g each) and you get 10% off. The most expensive sample packet on the website today is $4.95 with the discount, but most are between 2-3.50 each. Each gives you the kind of tea experience you will NOT have with grocery-store or coffee-shop tea. They even upgraded one of my samples (not this one) to a 25 g bag for free; maybe they were out of sample packets of that one and the packet-sealing machine was on the fritz, so they grabbed the only size package they had of that tea? Or maybe they felt generous!
Flavors: Artichoke, Lima Beans, Mineral, Spinach, Sweet