Verdant Tea

An Introduction to Oolong Craft

An Introduction to Oolong Craft

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This bundle includes five 25g bags of oolong tea for 125g total (25 sessions).

Oolong is the most technically-demanding and time-consuming tea in the world to produce, and our partners take on the challenge relying on their own hands and their senses, not machinery, meaning sleepless nights and 20 hour days in the workshop to finish their tiny micro-batches of varietal-driven oolongs that honor their specific microclimates, from Wuyishan to Daping Village.

This sampler brings together iconic oolong teas from our partners across China to share a glimpse at the magic and complexity that comes out in the long turning and fluffing process that defines oolong teas and gives you a sense of how many styles can exist within this single category, from dark roasts and aged oolong to fresh floral vibrant green oolong.

An Introduction to Oolong Craft: 

Sparrow's Tongue Wuyi Oolong (25g)

Sparrow's Tongue, or Que She is named after the shorter, smaller leaves of this distinctive and uncommon Wuyi tea varietal. Sipping Que She is a strong example of "Yun": each infusion brings out more and more of an almost electrical tingling sensation on the tongue and back of the throat. This sensation is inherent to the highest quality leaf from older established tea stock growing in the right rocky conditions in Wuyishan, but it is brought out by slow low-temperature firing in bamboo baskets for fifteen hours at a time, resting several weeks and repeating four to six times. This year's Sparrow's Tongue Oolong has notes of dried mango, rose, chestnut and nutmeg. 

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Original Wulong Revival (25g)

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 come. This Original Wulong Revival uses the older Ben Shan varietal leaf and undergoes three times more careful hand turning and fluffing than modern Anxi oolong. For finishing, it is loosely rolled in the oldest style of oolong making that is half strip style and half ball, with many of the leaves more strip-style than rolled. Master Zhang describes the shape as a dragonfly. This hand processing and shaping yields a different tea- a genre of its own outside of Wuyi style, Guangdong style or Anxi style. The light roast is rewarding and brings out a unique savory sweet complexity we don’t see in other teas from Master Zhang.

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Mi Lan Xiang Dancong (25g)

Huang Ruiguang's family Mi Lan Dancong is picked only once a year from single trees that are not pruned back to encourage deeper roots & more robust flavor, year after year. His mountain plot and decades of work in improving agriculture techniques for the region have earned Huang Ruiguang's Milan awards such as the recent 2015 Gold Medal at the Sixth Guangdong Tea Expo. Mi Lan varietal is set apart with its distinctive golden green leaf color in early spring & its luscious deep aromatics.

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2024 Reserve Laoshan Roasted Oolong (25g)

Laoshan Roasted Oolong is a triumph of technique coming together with the iconic chocolatey flavor that Laoshan has become famous for. An eighteen hour process in the workshop brings deep complex minerality, fruity and floral undertones to this fully-oxidized reserve harvest. Since it’s invention just a few seasons ago, the He Family has been sharing their technique with their neighbors; now five families in Laoshan are producing Laoshan Oolong. It is affectionately called “Dou Dou Cha” (little soy bean tea) by everyone in Laoshan, both for Laoshan teas’ unique “soy bean” aroma and for the oolong’s adorable rolled shape. This spring, Mr. He reserved part of his family’s early spring harvests specifically to create this special reserve grade Roasted Laoshan Oolong tea.

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2010 Aged Tieguanyin Mini Cakes (5x7g)

This 7g pressing from the Liu Family in Longjuan captures the depth, complexity and nuance of their early experiment aged Tieguanyin pressings in a convenient size for single session brewing. To age Tieguanyin, the Liu Family needs to reroast yearly for up to five years to control for moisture and ensure slow even change. Beyond the traditional notes of "lao tie," this pressed and aged oolong has a medicinal and cooling quality and bright foresty texture all its own.

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Special Grade Tieguanyin (25g)

Master Zhang’s reserve designation is an almost impossible standard, requiring the perfect combination of high elevation rocky soil, cool stand-out weather during the growing season and on the picking and finishing days. Some years, Master Zhang doesn’t designate a reserve or special grade for certain teas. It all depends on the final tea, which needs to satisfy a certain level of sweetness, a long lingering aftertaste, and thick balanced texture and evocative aroma. This extremely limited special grade Tieguanyin was hand-picked and hand finished over an exhaustive day and a half fluffing and turning process to bring out deep intense florals and creamy texture. The true flavor of the Tieguanyin varietal is preserved with Master Zhang’s expert green finish.

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2023 Spring Anxi Jin Suo Shi (25g)

Jin Suo Shi or "Golden Key" has been cultivated in Wuyishan on a small scale for almost one hundred years. In the last few decades Jin Suo Shi has been the subject of substantial research for its natural cold and drought resistance. Master Zhang cultivates a small grove of Jin Suo Shi, planted from seedlings picked up during his years of research on Wuyishan's growing and finishing techniques. The terroir of Daping and Master Zhang’s expert finishing bring out fruity notes in this uncommon cultivar, along with a building intense sweetness. This spring's harvest is finished with a dark roast.

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