Spent the day with this (as much as I could with a very clingy toddler) and may have to come back to it again tomorrow, as I didn’t reinfuse as much as I could have. This one is tricky, its a subtle shape-shifter, a bit elusive, yet rewarding when you sit and listen.

It starts off silky, with a hint of wood, spice and nut. I had a hard time pinning down the walnut, but once I pictured my tongue running over those tannic silky membranes I was there. I get a hint of cedar, but not nearly as much as other shengs, its more just woodsy, but not any particular variety of forest. There is juniper and apple when you look for it (or read about it). However it is mostly dirt and spice. Not hot spice, but a rough, dry, anonymous Yunnan dirt and spice (but not just peppery). Right now I feel like sheng evokes dirt and shu moist soil (don’t get me wrong I lovvve tasting the earth) but I am overly tired and need to come back to this in the morning.

Edit: It has been revived and this time round I’m doing longer steeps, first thirty then a min and I’m on 2 and a half mins right now. The tea, or maybe I or perhaps both of us are responding better to this. Yes it is still musty and vaporous but there are some solid notes also, mint and clove, not strong clove, but like the taste and feeling of old fashioned clove gum after you’ve been chewing it for awhile and the flavor is starting to fade. That. Let’s push it to three and then I think I will have to revisit the Farmer’s Co-op 03 and Star of Bulang 06 before my other pu’erhs arrive tomorrow. I still find it a heck of a lot easier to enjoy shu, but I’m learning. Edit edit: this is gooood, went for another and another, might not stop ;). Will definitely be starting at 30sec after the rinse next time!

Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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