Note coming soon- I need a little bit of time to share my thoughts on this one.

(simple summary: incredible)

EDIT:

So – this tea is really cool. Every time I think about someone trying this for the first time, I’m so pleased and proud for them! I think, “Oh- you lucky person! You’re about to have a real treat. Lucky….”

This is a shu pu’er, and by now, it’s almost 13 years old. I’m always impressed by this, not because it’s just old, but because it is clearly so fine. From my understanding and experience of old shu’s, things this old and older generally just taste really musty and (well) “old”- any further complexity is usually just straight dirt or heavy sweetness. They’re boring, and why not? Shu pu’er was (and still is) a relatively new thing, still being perfected as something more than swindler-trying-to-sell-you-fake-old-sheng.

But enough of those- onto this one!

Whenever I’ve gone to one of their tastings that includes this tea, Verdant always has us try this tea last. Thank goodness! It would be so unfair to the other pu’ers to start a tasting with this tea. It is the culmination of an afternoon’s education, and the glimmering hopeful promise of all that could await you in your future tea-life.

How can I describe the taste of this tea? Sure- I could tell you all of the things my tongue is telling me: sweet, sparkling / musty like a grandest library, full of books and the feeling of shared knowledge / incredibly crystalline and light-weight, almost like a vapor / the guilty pleasure of the smell of book-binding glue in new books, or the back of a stamp, or fresh-minted money / clean vegetal sweetness, like celery or grass after the rain / lunar.

All of those things are true, but (as Nate has said, and as others will surely corroborate) the real strenght of this tea comes with the connections and memories it pulls out of you and the company you drink it with. Do not drink this tea if you do not want to reminisce. Do not drink this tea if you do not want to find yourself opening up with honesty and truth to those you’re drinking with. Drink this tea with good true friends, or with people you really want to know better. Drink this tea if you’re willing to still yourself and listen to what it could help you uncover, if you want to meet again a younger version of yourself, and if you’re ready to revisit the places of your youth.

This is a quiet tea. This is a tea drinker’s tea. This is a tea for memories, and a tea for honesty, and a tea for connections. If you like tea, then this is a tea you just have to try.

….

It’s pretty inconceivable, but this tea could continue to age and grow! I cannot imagine where this one might go in another ten or twelve years, and I do not know if I’ve got the self control to make it that far on one canister.
Also, the tin mentions that there was an even higher grade of this tea produced, but it was reserved solely for state dignitaries. Incredible. What must that taste like now??
For now- I will hide the tea in the back of my closet, at the bottom of my box of pu’ers. I will save this for special occasions, or for very beautiful, rainy days. I will keep going to Verdant’s tastings, and I will be sure to stick around for the end.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
Nathaniel Gruber

Good review. Any serious Pu’er drinker needs to try this. For those that have fallen in love with it like we have, the only option is to buy at least a few tins of it. Like we’ve said, one tin is simply not going to work long term with this tea. The fact that this one is even available for purchase is such a blessing.

David Duckler

I think it is ridiculous that farmers will even part with tea like this. To get stuff of this caliber, you can’t just walk in with fistfuls of money. You have to drink tea with someone for days, and in this case, months, before they open up enough to bring out their treasure. I think one reason that many companies have trouble with sourcing is that they go on a whirlwind tour and allow just a day in each tea region. I had the unique privilege of living for a year straight with these people with the primary goal being research, and I can tell you that they look at money as a dirty and base thing. One tea friend actually hired somebody to stand in his shop and accept money. The owner wouldn’t touch it. That is the coolest thing ever! If you like this tea, by the way, I have a few old sheng pu’ers in the works. More on that later.

TeaEqualsBliss

David! That’s an awesome story!!! So glad you shared it here! :) LOVE it!!!

Charles Thomas Draper

@ David, I admire your friends in China. I’m sipping this incredible tea and I’m at a loss for words.

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Comments

Nathaniel Gruber

Good review. Any serious Pu’er drinker needs to try this. For those that have fallen in love with it like we have, the only option is to buy at least a few tins of it. Like we’ve said, one tin is simply not going to work long term with this tea. The fact that this one is even available for purchase is such a blessing.

David Duckler

I think it is ridiculous that farmers will even part with tea like this. To get stuff of this caliber, you can’t just walk in with fistfuls of money. You have to drink tea with someone for days, and in this case, months, before they open up enough to bring out their treasure. I think one reason that many companies have trouble with sourcing is that they go on a whirlwind tour and allow just a day in each tea region. I had the unique privilege of living for a year straight with these people with the primary goal being research, and I can tell you that they look at money as a dirty and base thing. One tea friend actually hired somebody to stand in his shop and accept money. The owner wouldn’t touch it. That is the coolest thing ever! If you like this tea, by the way, I have a few old sheng pu’ers in the works. More on that later.

TeaEqualsBliss

David! That’s an awesome story!!! So glad you shared it here! :) LOVE it!!!

Charles Thomas Draper

@ David, I admire your friends in China. I’m sipping this incredible tea and I’m at a loss for words.

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Bio

I generally drink Chinese teas.

I love things that are interesting, that force me to stop and think about and enjoy what I’m experiencing. Even better are those teas you just have to drink with a friend so that the outpouring of tastes and memories find a sounding board in a trusted companion.

I’m into tea as an experience rather than just a thirst quenching beverage. I love to learn- there’s so much to learn about tea.

I also prefer my teas to be exceedingly delicious, if at all possible. Luckily, I have great tea friends and teachers that can hook me up with the good stuff.

Something I’ve noticed about my ratings:
I tend to use Steepster more like Yelp and less like Twitter. I’ll generally only review a tea once in its life (though that review and rating might be edited over time to reflect changes in my own understanding of it).
I do not generally log each tea I’m drinking as I drink, since that feels like a distraction- I’d rather just drink the tea!
I tend to only review teas I really love or that I really did not enjoy. If it falls somewhere in the middle of “meh” and “that was pretty good, I suppose,” then I won’t be compelled to sit down and spend time giving a nice, fleshed out review and rating.
As such, it might seem like I give out high scores willy-nilly. Instead, I’m doing my first round of rating mentally off-site, and presenting only the teas I really want to share with everyone.

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Richfield, MN

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