Unusual, indeed! Thank you to Russel Allyn and Harney and Sons for this sample!

I started out with good intentions. I was going to break my sample in half and make some for me tonight and save the rest for my friend tomorrow. Boy, is she going to disappointed! Heh heh, she didn’t know about this one so we just won’t say, shall we?

I couldn’t break this in half. It was as hard as a brick! I gave up and tossed the whole chunk in my pot. I did a very quick rinse since it was hard, but perhaps it should have been longer because when stabbed the chunk with a spoon during steeping it still didn’t want to break up! But the aroma was very intriguing!

I know it isn’t a puerh, and isn’t supposed to have the earthiness of one, but there was something earthy about this to me. The liquor is golden with a brown tinge. There are tiny specks of leaf in my teacup, which I find beautiful and artful, like a sprinkling of parsley In a white sauce, or ground pepper on top of potatoes. We eat – and drink – with our eyes first!

The taste is smooth, with a little tiny tingle of astringency. No, this definitely isn’t tasting like a puerh. This is smokey! And after the second steep the leaves have a tiny hint of coffee aroma! The liquor has a coffee taste as well, but light and fruity at the same time. This is most unusual.

Looking in my little pot, I see that the clump has broken up and my pot is FULL of leaves. I decide that the third steep will be extra short so as not to become bitter. There is a definite learning curve with this one.

Steep three now tastes like a sheng! With a drop of coffee in! My friend need not worry. I am going to stop here for the night, and we will be drinking this tomorrow, probably quite a few more steeps from the looks of things.

This tea is all I hoped it would be…different, unusual, a new experience, and worthwhile!

Thank you, Russel and Harney and Sons!

TeaBrat

Some shengs are a bit smoky. This sounds like an interesting tea though. I wonder if it will keep for a long time like a pu-erh?

ashmanra

I don’t know! I would love to know if it has the beneficial tummy effects of puerh and is probiotic. The wet leaves now smell like freshly cut timber!

Michelle

Ooh! I’d love to try this one. On the shopping list it goes!

Azzrian

Yup added to the list too!

Me

I’m intrigued.

gmathis

Oh, my, I need to get my eyes checked. I thought the name was HUMAN Aged Green Cake. (Soylent Green Tea? ;)

ashmanra

Soylent green is people! LOL!

Jim Marks

What I do with sheng is use a paring knife to pick it apart. Any long, thin, flat, whippy bladed knife will work. Obviously, a pu-erh pick is ideal, but I hate buying specialized tools that do only one thing.

I’m a bit confused by H&S is insisting this isn’t a pu-erh. Green pu-erh is not all that uncommon. Is it pressed? Is it aged? Then it’s pu-erh.

TeaBrat

Jim, I am confused by it too. Recently Verdant put an aged silver white needle cake on their website, it’s under the white tea section and they don’t call it a pu-erh. There must be something we are missing!

Jim Marks

Well, that’s a bit different. That’s something genuinely distinct from the pu-erh processing tradition.

But from what I’ve read, pressed, raw, green tea is a fairly typical kind of pu-erh.

In fact, back when all tea was essentially Chinese green tea, when it was being traded up the silk road, it was also essentially all green pu-erh as well. Packing it into bricks is what made it “transport ready”.

Like anything else pressed, age can only do it good, not ill, provided you store it properly.

Jim Marks

I wonder if this isn’t pu-erh because it is from Hunan instead of Yunnan?

Harney & Sons The Store

Jim is right on track. Pu-erh is exclusively from Yunnan, and has an a time honored tradition of tea leaf variety and processing. It is also my understanding that it is in violation of Chinese law to market non-Yunnan teas as Pu-erh.

Jim Marks

There are twenty “famous teas” in China, of which pu-erh is one. In much the same way that EU law protects certain regional products such as Champagne and Parmasen, the law in China protects these teas.

I didn’t realize the rules on the famous teas were just as strict, but it appears that they are.

ashmanra

I plan to have some more steepings of this later on, while I pick up some puerh attributes, it really doesn’t taste exactly like a puerh. I would say it resembles a sheng puerh more than anything else, but isn’t exactly the same. I am sure the regional protection is the reason for the name. It was quite an interesting experience, and that is what I was looking for!

gmathis

For what it’s worth, the Dr. Oz episode that aired locally yesterday touted pu-erh as a fat-burner when drunk first thing in the morning. (White tea recommended at lunch, chickweed tea in lieu of afternoon snack and bilberry tea—tisane—suggested to reduce cravings.)

TeaBrat

question for Harney and Sons: will this tea keep for years and improve like a pu-erh?

Jim Marks

Interesting. All the CTM folks I know talk about oolong as the tea to drink during exercise, not pu-erh.

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Comments

TeaBrat

Some shengs are a bit smoky. This sounds like an interesting tea though. I wonder if it will keep for a long time like a pu-erh?

ashmanra

I don’t know! I would love to know if it has the beneficial tummy effects of puerh and is probiotic. The wet leaves now smell like freshly cut timber!

Michelle

Ooh! I’d love to try this one. On the shopping list it goes!

Azzrian

Yup added to the list too!

Me

I’m intrigued.

gmathis

Oh, my, I need to get my eyes checked. I thought the name was HUMAN Aged Green Cake. (Soylent Green Tea? ;)

ashmanra

Soylent green is people! LOL!

Jim Marks

What I do with sheng is use a paring knife to pick it apart. Any long, thin, flat, whippy bladed knife will work. Obviously, a pu-erh pick is ideal, but I hate buying specialized tools that do only one thing.

I’m a bit confused by H&S is insisting this isn’t a pu-erh. Green pu-erh is not all that uncommon. Is it pressed? Is it aged? Then it’s pu-erh.

TeaBrat

Jim, I am confused by it too. Recently Verdant put an aged silver white needle cake on their website, it’s under the white tea section and they don’t call it a pu-erh. There must be something we are missing!

Jim Marks

Well, that’s a bit different. That’s something genuinely distinct from the pu-erh processing tradition.

But from what I’ve read, pressed, raw, green tea is a fairly typical kind of pu-erh.

In fact, back when all tea was essentially Chinese green tea, when it was being traded up the silk road, it was also essentially all green pu-erh as well. Packing it into bricks is what made it “transport ready”.

Like anything else pressed, age can only do it good, not ill, provided you store it properly.

Jim Marks

I wonder if this isn’t pu-erh because it is from Hunan instead of Yunnan?

Harney & Sons The Store

Jim is right on track. Pu-erh is exclusively from Yunnan, and has an a time honored tradition of tea leaf variety and processing. It is also my understanding that it is in violation of Chinese law to market non-Yunnan teas as Pu-erh.

Jim Marks

There are twenty “famous teas” in China, of which pu-erh is one. In much the same way that EU law protects certain regional products such as Champagne and Parmasen, the law in China protects these teas.

I didn’t realize the rules on the famous teas were just as strict, but it appears that they are.

ashmanra

I plan to have some more steepings of this later on, while I pick up some puerh attributes, it really doesn’t taste exactly like a puerh. I would say it resembles a sheng puerh more than anything else, but isn’t exactly the same. I am sure the regional protection is the reason for the name. It was quite an interesting experience, and that is what I was looking for!

gmathis

For what it’s worth, the Dr. Oz episode that aired locally yesterday touted pu-erh as a fat-burner when drunk first thing in the morning. (White tea recommended at lunch, chickweed tea in lieu of afternoon snack and bilberry tea—tisane—suggested to reduce cravings.)

TeaBrat

question for Harney and Sons: will this tea keep for years and improve like a pu-erh?

Jim Marks

Interesting. All the CTM folks I know talk about oolong as the tea to drink during exercise, not pu-erh.

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Bio

I am a music teacher and homeschooling mom who started drinking loose leaf tea about five years ago! My daughters and I have tea every day, and we are frequently joined by my students or friends for “tea time.” Now my hubby joins us, too. His tastes have evolved from Tetley with milk and sugar to mostly unadorned greens and oolongs.

We have learned so much history, geography, and culture in this journey.

My avatar is a mole in a teacup! Long story…

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North Carolina

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