Thursday, January 23, 2014
Verdant Tea, Mrs. Li's Shi Feng Dragonwell Green Tea
The first sips are green as can be, packed with chloryphyl spinach with a taste like fine Gyokuro green tea. The aftertaste is sweet and crisp like white grape and sparkling water. The second sip reveals a strong cucumber and fresh melon flavor: juicy and refreshing.
Later sips show off the fruity, lychee profile of the tea, and a light caramel honey sweetness in the aftertaste. The liquor is full of down from the fresh buds, creating a thick and velvety mouthfeel like creamy vanilla pudding.
I crave dragonwell from time to time. It has a distinct taste that sticks with you. I am looking forward to this one from Verdant. It is from the spring of 2013.
The leaf looks much like the picture - Large pressed flat and jade green. It looks kind of like it is dusted in white.
The steeping instructions are different than I have used before. The website calls for 175 F water to be be gently poured to half full, then three quick pours to stir the leaf. They say to start sipping immediately and do not cover.
The result is a liquor the color of white grape juice. The brew aroma is a light steamed spinach. The wet leaf is seaweed and steamed spinach scented. How can it possibly have any flavor with out steeping? I don't know. Verdant recommends drinking from the steeping vessel and when the cup is down to the 1/3 mark, fill it back up. I can't do that. Even at 175 it is too hot for my system.
I will have to pour into a drinking cup and wait until it cools. This resulted in a short steep of about 30 seconds. Verdant's method would result in one continuous steep.
The sip is very good even with my botched methodology. Green and fresh. Sweet and crisp. A little like spinach but not really. Using my imagination I can see the white grape aftertaste. I probably wouldn't have reported it that way had I not read it.
There are zero harsh edges and no bitterness - not that I expected any. There is only a bit of drying common to the type of tea. Later cups were steeped 2 minutes and are as flavorful as the first. This is a very fine example of dragonwell.
Visit the Verdant Tea website.