Verdant Tea

Update from the fields 2021

Update from the fields 2021

Update from the fields 2021

Spring updates from Laoshan and more!

June 4, 2021

Fresh tea season is here!

With rich, sweet aromatic fresh teas coming in from the He Family in Laoshan and Li Xiaoping in Dragonwell, you might be wondering how this 2021 spring tea picking season is going - both the weather conditions and what it means for the families behind the tea.

photos courtesy of He Qingqing, April 2021

Early spring in Laoshan this year came late, but stayed consistently cool and misty for a perfectly-aligned harvest.

In recent years, spring has fluctuated between freezing nights and warm days, forcing the He Family to leave their greenhouse covers on longer, but this year, the nights were temperate enough to remove the greenhouse covers early, letting the buds slowly form in the open ocean air. The results are spectacular, one of the first harvests in many years to line up with ideal conditions, letting the He Family focus more on picking and finishing craft and less on emergency field management.

What this means for the tea itself is smaller yields but extremely sweet, rich and aromatic brews packed with more minerality and textural nuance.

This is all great news for the He Family, who has had to deal with several years in a row of bitter cold winters and losing tea plants to the frost. This winter, Mr. He spent hundreds of hours working on triple-layered greenhouse protection to give the plants an advantage against teh cold, and combined with more mild temperatures, this paid off immensely- preserving teh old-growth rootstock for a perfect spring

These early harvests after the greenhouse covers came off are in stock now -
the reserve Da Tian harvests:

  1. 2021 Spring Laoshan Black Product
    As low as $1.50
    In stock
  2. 2021 Spring Laoshan Green Product
    As low as $1.50
    In stock

The He Family’s classic harvests are on their way,
expected to arrive in the next few weeks (before the end of June)

A Note About Early Pickings:

When we talk about 1st pickings, these very early very delicate harvests don’t all happen at the same time.  When farmers like Mr. He or Li Xiaoping are hand-picking tea leaves from their old-growth bushes, the first buds of the season don’t all come in on a single plant at one moment. Indeed, after the shaded greenhouse cover comes off in Laoshan, a single tea bush needs to be picked first at about 4am in the morning, then again in the cool evening, and again the next day as individual buds come in.

The goal is for each bud is picked right at the vry moment it reaches perfection on a case-by-case basis. This requires a lot of craft and experience, as well as a lot passes over the same plants. Because the flavors change after the delicate buds are exposed to sunlight for a day, it is critical for these reserve harvests to catch the buds, as they grow.

What does this mean for you?

This is a reminder of the seasonality of tea, and the way that harvests even spread out by a few days can have very different qualities.

If you want to try the earliest harvests, don’t miss the in stock early spring reserve teas from Li Xiaoping in Dragonwell and the He Family in Laoshan, as once they are sold out, no more can be made until next year.

This seasonality is what makes green tea so special. The He Family is equally excited about the classic harvests they have on the way to us now, so make sure you try as many pickings as you can to see how the flavor and aroma change over the course of the spring.

What’s next for Laoshan?

The He Family has spent late spring wild-foraging at the cooler higher elevations for herbals like Gan Zao Ye and Huai Hua. These teas are being finished now, and we hope to open pre-orders for these and Laoshan oolongs, as soon as we can confirm a flight for the precious harvests.

In the last week (last week of May), the weather has been shifting to rainy season, much later than usual. This gave the He Family a tremendous picking window for early slow growth buds, catching them just as they grow in, yielding a much more thorough first picking and classic picking of extremely high quality, especially given that much of the plant stock has been left unpicked to grow for several years until this spring.

A note on pre-orders

As China opens back up, demand for the He Family and Li Xiaoping’s tea is expected to skyrocket. Mr. He has been tapped as an expert on TV to talk about Laoshan, and his family’s work is being noticed. Pre-orders are especially critical in helping us and the He Family make sure enough tea is set aside.

Laoshan Huai Hua herbal tea

Mr. He interview for Qingdao's QTV-2

What else is coming?

Master Zhang’s early Tieguanyin grows at a high elevation and cold climate, meaning later picking dates. It is just finished now, and we hope to open pre-orders before the end of June. Expect more updates soon.

White teas from the Wu Family and pu’er from Qianjiazhai benefit from some resting time after finishing and are expected in mid to late summer. Wuyi teas and Dancongs require multiple rounds of firing and resting and will likely be available by autumn. Right now, 2020 roasted oolongs are at their peak for flavor and texture.

  1. 2021 Reserve Laoshan Biluochun
    2021 Reserve Laoshan Biluochun
    Mr. He personally hand twists and finished each leaf in this labor-intensive early-spring biluochun style. Laoshan spring comes much later than southe[...]
    Out of stock
  2. 2021 Spring Reserve Laoshan Green
    2021 Spring Reserve Laoshan Green
    A mild winter and cool spring has made for a stunning early harvest of delicate buds and leaves from the He Family’s ocean-facing plot at the foot o[...]
    Out of stock
  3. 2021 Shifeng Semi-Wild High Peak Dragonwell
    2021 Shifeng Semi-Wild High Peak Dragonwell
    This limited offering from Li Xiaoping can only be picked in years where the weather is cool and temperate and the rain is very light. At the very top[...]
    In stock
    As low as $18.25
  4. 2021 Reserve Spring Laoshan Black
    2021 Reserve Spring Laoshan Black

    This tea is the earliest curled Laoshan Black from the He Family of 2021 - carefully crafted with hand-picked buds underneath the protection of the[...]

    In stock
    As low as $2.25
  5. 2021 Reserve Pine Needle Green
    2021 Reserve Pine Needle Green

    Mr. He’s daughter Qingqing, co-owner of Verdant Tea, pioneered this finishing style with her father. She loves the long delicate twisting techniq[...]

    Low Stock
    As low as $13.25
  6. 2021 Spring Laoshan Green
    2021 Spring Laoshan Green

    The new 2021 spring harvest is here! Laoshan Green was the first tea produced at Taiqing temple by the Taoist monks of Laoshan. The plants were or[...]

    In stock
    As low as $1.50
  7. 2021 Spring Laoshan Black
    2021 Spring Laoshan Black
    The He Family’s Laoshan Black has become their most famous tea, earning them features in the US and Chinese news media for their innovative work. Th[...]
    In stock
    As low as $1.50
  8. 2021 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell
    2021 1st Picking Shi Feng Dragonwell
    This early spring tea is all about a fine and subtle sweetness, and a long, drawn out aftertaste and crisp texture. Cool spring weather produces a sma[...]
    Low Stock
    As low as $26.85
  9. 2021 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43
    2021 1st Picking Shi Feng Longjing #43
    #43 Varietal Dragonwell was specifically bred and selected to bud even earlier than classic Dragonwell in Shi Feng and yields yellower plumper buds th[...]
    In stock
    As low as $26.85
  10. 2021 Reserve Flat Pressed Laoshan Green
    2021 Reserve Flat Pressed Laoshan Green
    This special hand picked, hand made tea was picked this year during the very best spring picking window for the He Family's "Da Tian" harvest - picked[...]
    Out of stock
  11. 2021 Shi Feng Dragonwell
    2021 Shi Feng Dragonwell

    Li Xiaoping grows this true Dragonwell cultivar on a perfectly-shaded mountainside in the tiny and sought-after Shi Feng microclimate- a uniquely s[...]

    In stock
    As low as $13.95
  12. 2021 Shi Feng Longjing #43
    2021 Shi Feng Longjing #43
    Dragonwell varietal #43 has been carefully bred and selected in the last fifty years as a new tea well suited to Shi Feng’s terroir. It buds earlier[...]
    In stock
    As low as $13.95
  13. 2021 Spring Original Wulong Revival
    2021 Spring Original Wulong Revival
    Master Zhang is a true innovator. He doesn’t make tea to follow trends. He experiments and takes risks to make tea better for the generations to com[...]
    Regular Price $6.95 As low as $6.26
  14. 2021 Spring Tieguanyin
    2021 Spring Tieguanyin
    Master Zhang is proud to be sharing true Tieguanyin varietal oolong, fed by mountain spring water and grown without pesticides or fertilizers under th[...]
    Regular Price $6.50 As low as $5.85
  15. Tea of the Month Club
    Tea of the Month Club

    PACKED & CURATED by our farmer partners. Each month, our Tea of the Month Club box is hos[...]

    Low Stock
    /Every 30 Days
  16. 2021 Spring Traditional Tieguanyin
    2021 Spring Traditional Tieguanyin
    Master Zhang excels at finishing his traditional Tieguanyin. He works to bring out the florals and strengthen them, allowing the green quality of the [...]
    Regular Price $6.95 As low as $6.26
  17. 2021 Shi Feng Dragonwell Black Tea
    2021 Shi Feng Dragonwell Black Tea

    For the fourth year in a row, Li Xiaoping is sharing her new Dragonwell Black Tea! She uses the same delicate early buds as her famous green tea, [...]

    In stock
    As low as $13.50
  18. Special Grade Laoshan Gongfu Black
    Special Grade Laoshan Gongfu Black

    Laoshan Gongfu Black is one of the most difficult finishes for the He Family, requiring flat-pressing and hand-twisting and curling to achieve the [...]

    In stock
    As low as $3.00
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