A uniquely warm and comforting fresh autumn harvest with notes of pumpkin, spice, and cream. . . .
Pictured above, Mrs. He and David Duckler holding fresh picked Laoshan tea
This year's fresh autumn harvest Laoshan Green from Mr. and Mrs He is a comforting rich embodiment of autumn. Tasting this tea is more like settling into a blanket than anything else. The aroma of the wet leaf is a perfect combination of sweet and savory, with the traditional green bean notes of Laoshan present, but complimented by a rich lingering smell of fresh-pressed roasted sesame oil, and blackened asparagus spears just pulled from the oven.
The He family tea fields in Laoshan Village, autumn 2012
Early infusions hit the palate with a wonderfully fresh juiciness which quickly unfolds into a rich aftertaste. The lingering flavor is that of steel-cut oatmeal simmered with fresh cream. As the oat and cream flavors meld together with the juicier sensations, the autumnal taste of baked pumpkin dominates.
Later infusions build on the baked pumpkin notes with textural notes of spice and a citrus zest, which taken together makes for a pumpkin pie taste experience. The aftertaste is as sweet and creamy as ever, suggesting perhaps vanilla ice cream slowly melting on top of the warm pie.
This is a uniquely comforting green tea. It still possesses all the fresh green flavor of our summer harvest Laoshan green, but this plays a background role. The spinach and green bean notes allow the sweet warm savory qualities to come forward. Brewed in a large mug or pot, you get the full experience of all the early and late steepings melded into one commanding flavor profile.
Try the autumn picking of the tea that Max Falkowitz of Serious Eats NY says "makes the air smell like there's biscuits in the oven, and the brewed tea feels so buttery and creamy on the tongue that it's almost like there's milk right in there."
Date of Picking:Autumn 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 curled.
Quantity Acquired:We acquired 15 pounds of the first autumn picking.
Sourcing Agent(s):David Duckler drank this tea with the He family after spending months in Laoshan Village on a tea research grant.
Verdant Tea Founder, David Duckler, Brewing Summer Harvest Laoshan Green
If possible, use filtered or spring water, freshly boiled.
Western Brewing: Use one teaspoon of leaves per cup of water. If possible, use a glass tea pot or brewing pitcher to enjoy the performance of the leaves as they unfurl and begin to dance around. Steep for 1 minute with 175 degree water, or until most of the leaves have sunk to the bottom of the vessel. If you don’t have a thermometer, just wait for the smallest bubbles to start coming up, and the water will be ready. Enjoy at least 3 infusions.
Gongfu Brewing: Do not heat your gaiwan. Add 4 grams of leaves for a medium gaiwan. Use 175 degree water. No need for a rinse. Steep for 3 seconds. Increase steep time after the third steeping by 3 seconds or to taste. Enjoy at least 6 infusions.
Laoshan Style: Cover the bottom of a tempered glass tumbler with leaves. Pour 175 degree water along the edge of the glass so that it does not splash over the leaves, but slowly submerges them. Drink as soon as you can handle the hot cup. Refill with boiling water throughout the day.
Jingshan Style: Boil water to 175 degrees, or until the smallest bubbles start rising to the surface. Fill a tempered glass cup or teapot 2/3 full with the water. Sprinkle 1TB of leaves per 8oz of water used in the vessel. Swirl lightly and watch the leaves slowly unfurl and sink. Drink right out of the cup, blowing the leaves to the side, and experience the tea first very light, and then stronger as it continues to steep.
An Afternoon in Laoshan Village
"Those who approach high quality tea from a business perspective first will forever have doors closed to them. Those whose relationships are based on an equal cultural exchange are welcomed...Tea and Hospitality
"Through the ritual of preparing the tea, the farmers could achieve the hospitality and beauty of offering the cup without the aid of the leaf...Ayi Style Tea Brewing
"I love preparing any green tea this way as it shows off the beauty of the leaves by keeping them in motion throughout the steeping process...