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The only alarm clock needed this morning was the bright sun! Those of us fortunate enough to live in higher altitude’s know about sun glare and the need to wear sun glasses year around. It’s really bright out today!
My condo looked like an alien spaceship was outside shining lights under the doors and windows trying to get a beam on me in my pajama’s. No deal! No alien was going to separate me from my tea cupboard!

A nice warm sunny day usually comes right before snow, someone pointed out yesterday. (Heck, we’ve had nothing but nice sunny days
for the past year!)
It’s December! The forecast looks promising for this weekend…we hope! I that December magic with a couple of inches of snow!
I have my camera ready!

The Tea:
This morning, I wanted to practice my Gaiwan skills with the new Verdant Sheng I purchased during the Black Friday sale.

I’ve been watching the new Verdant video and practicing how to pour and strain tea, shaking off all the water from the leaves so that there is none left. (Which causes bitterness in the next steeping)

I have a small 4oz. FAT (easy to handle) white Gaiwan, and I used a small amount of hard sheng (about 1.5 tsp). Boiling water.
(It is important that the water is filtered or you may have bitter tea.) A strainer is very useful. Always rinse the leaves once first.

My infusions were as quick as I could manage (5 seconds).
The liquor was a light yellow green, and the leaves smelled like sweet salty tobacco then changed and had a sweet herb scent.

The small amount of hard Sheng I used almost filled my Gaiwan half way with big green leaves when it expanded fully.

My first tasting was smoky, salty but not harsh. The scent was light tobacco, but the leaves were still tight and hard, waiting to expand. Not much to comment on as yet.

The second tasting was softer than I imagined it would be…sweet and savory on the finish with a smoky tinge and vegital something that reminded me of the feeling when drinking a Gyokuro.

For the third and forth infusions, the light smoke and saltiness settled down and an herb flavor, Greek Oregano came to mind… with a peppery bite. The tea never became dry or harsh but stayed smooth and very easy to drink.

As I went through each steeping (now on the fifth) I realized just how smooth this Sheng was. Something that I don’t always experience with a young Sheng.
The flavors were rolling around in my head for a long time because there was a definite umami quality about it!
There, I’ve said it!
Usually this is only a term used for Green Tea, but I experienced umami as this tea hit all the sweet, salty, savory, slightly bitter taste points.

This reminded me of roasting root vegetables like potato, red onions, sweet potato, parsnips with olive oil and butter, Greek oregano and sea salt. The vegetables retain the savory quality but roasting brings out the sweetness and smokiness too.

One thing that I don’t understand much about is aging Pu’er. That’s something I have to study up on. Right now though, this is a tasty
Sheng. You just have to be careful not to oversteep or you’ll have a bitter cup.

JC

YAY! I knew I wasn’t crazy lol. I agree, ‘umami’ is a usually a green tea characteristic but I have found some Puerh that wear it. I like it, it is soothing in my opinion.

Bonnie

YAY! That mean’s that I’m not crazy too, or we’re BOTH crazy!

JC

LOL! SHHHHH! They are not supposed to know that. But honestly, I really like it, no matter how unexpected it was for me. It was very welcomed. In my experience, the ones with this trait have a longer than regular aftertaste, and as time passes it starts to become sweeter like you would have expected the aftertaste to be.

Invader Zim

After reading your review, I wonder if I get bitterness a lot because I overleaf? When I did mine (I don’t have a scale) it ended up filling my entire cup when it was fully expanded. And just so you too know, I read nothing :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve begun using a very minimal amount of leaf with puerh and enjoy it a lot more. There’s even touchas that I cut in half to maximize flavor for me.

Bonnie

Invader- I don’t read notes before either as a rule. I do read brewing instructions on regular tea’s though but not information on taste. I like to make up my own mind and see how it compares. I’m more at ease with how much Shu Pu’er to use and how long to let it steep. I like mine a bit on the stronger side so no cutting Shu Tuo cha’s in half for me Whispering Pines. You can’t do the stronger brewing with a Sheng or the hairs on your head will raise up like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. (I lost some of you with that reference!) That’s where cutting back a little works better for me too.

Invader Zim

Lol, Bonnie, when I said I read nothing, I meant of how you two are crazy! But I don’t read reviews before trying teas either. I like mine a little less strong, but I think I will start using less leaf, especially for shengs. And my hair is short enough that it does look like Alfalfa in the morning! No reference lost on me!

Bonnie

Me? Crazy? Heh, you tawkn to me?

Terri HarpLady

Nice review, as always, Ms. Bonnie. I haven’t tried this one yet, I was gonna drink it today, but I realized I was more in the mood for a Shu. Even though I’m still fairly new to Puer, it feels good to know which type I was in the mood for!

I’m finding that with Shu’s I usually go with 5grams of tea in my 4 oz Gaiwan, whereas with Shengs I want much less. Still not sure how much yet. 5 grams was WAY too much, even with the shortest possible steeping, 4 grams still seemed too strong, so I’m gonna try 3 next time.

Bonnie

Good idea. This one I think less is more. My own opinion though.

Insence&Tea

Teachat has some good threads about aging puerh if you’re interested.

Terri HarpLady

I guess I missed the ‘slamming’, must have happened when I was off playing gigs somewhere.
I find that with tea, as with all other things in my life, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (or in this case the taste buds, etc). A tea that I love might be a total turnoff to another sipper. The price I am willing to pay, the place I put my trust (as in tea purveyors), those are things that are subject to my own experience, & no one else’s. We all share our experiences & preferences here, in what I consider a loving & open hearted community, but only I can determine what my tastes are, if it’s worth the cost, how it makes me feel, etc. I Love Verdant, more than anything because of the commitment to the authentic & unique artisan ideal, but also because the teas are awesome. I love the educational element as well.
So the bottom line, for anyone, is “Do I like this? Is it worth the price for ME?” If not, don’t buy it. No need to trash a person, or a company, just give your opinion in an open hearted way, and try something else.

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Comments

JC

YAY! I knew I wasn’t crazy lol. I agree, ‘umami’ is a usually a green tea characteristic but I have found some Puerh that wear it. I like it, it is soothing in my opinion.

Bonnie

YAY! That mean’s that I’m not crazy too, or we’re BOTH crazy!

JC

LOL! SHHHHH! They are not supposed to know that. But honestly, I really like it, no matter how unexpected it was for me. It was very welcomed. In my experience, the ones with this trait have a longer than regular aftertaste, and as time passes it starts to become sweeter like you would have expected the aftertaste to be.

Invader Zim

After reading your review, I wonder if I get bitterness a lot because I overleaf? When I did mine (I don’t have a scale) it ended up filling my entire cup when it was fully expanded. And just so you too know, I read nothing :)

Whispering Pines Tea Company

I’ve begun using a very minimal amount of leaf with puerh and enjoy it a lot more. There’s even touchas that I cut in half to maximize flavor for me.

Bonnie

Invader- I don’t read notes before either as a rule. I do read brewing instructions on regular tea’s though but not information on taste. I like to make up my own mind and see how it compares. I’m more at ease with how much Shu Pu’er to use and how long to let it steep. I like mine a bit on the stronger side so no cutting Shu Tuo cha’s in half for me Whispering Pines. You can’t do the stronger brewing with a Sheng or the hairs on your head will raise up like Alfalfa from the Little Rascals. (I lost some of you with that reference!) That’s where cutting back a little works better for me too.

Invader Zim

Lol, Bonnie, when I said I read nothing, I meant of how you two are crazy! But I don’t read reviews before trying teas either. I like mine a little less strong, but I think I will start using less leaf, especially for shengs. And my hair is short enough that it does look like Alfalfa in the morning! No reference lost on me!

Bonnie

Me? Crazy? Heh, you tawkn to me?

Terri HarpLady

Nice review, as always, Ms. Bonnie. I haven’t tried this one yet, I was gonna drink it today, but I realized I was more in the mood for a Shu. Even though I’m still fairly new to Puer, it feels good to know which type I was in the mood for!

I’m finding that with Shu’s I usually go with 5grams of tea in my 4 oz Gaiwan, whereas with Shengs I want much less. Still not sure how much yet. 5 grams was WAY too much, even with the shortest possible steeping, 4 grams still seemed too strong, so I’m gonna try 3 next time.

Bonnie

Good idea. This one I think less is more. My own opinion though.

Insence&Tea

Teachat has some good threads about aging puerh if you’re interested.

Terri HarpLady

I guess I missed the ‘slamming’, must have happened when I was off playing gigs somewhere.
I find that with tea, as with all other things in my life, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder (or in this case the taste buds, etc). A tea that I love might be a total turnoff to another sipper. The price I am willing to pay, the place I put my trust (as in tea purveyors), those are things that are subject to my own experience, & no one else’s. We all share our experiences & preferences here, in what I consider a loving & open hearted community, but only I can determine what my tastes are, if it’s worth the cost, how it makes me feel, etc. I Love Verdant, more than anything because of the commitment to the authentic & unique artisan ideal, but also because the teas are awesome. I love the educational element as well.
So the bottom line, for anyone, is “Do I like this? Is it worth the price for ME?” If not, don’t buy it. No need to trash a person, or a company, just give your opinion in an open hearted way, and try something else.

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Bio

Colorado Grandma
http://www.teaandincense.com
Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska

Location

Fort Collins,Colorado

Website

http://www.teaandincense.com

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