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Master Han's Wild Silver Buds 2010 Sheng

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Pu-erh Tea
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From Verdant Tea (Special)

Verdant Reserve Club – March

Master Han picks wild tea trees in the Qianjiazhai region of the Mount Ailao National Forest Preserve, Yunnan. He takes the utmost care to “let the leaves speak,” pressing each batch of leaves differently to bring out their best, either as a looseleaf sheng, a black tea or a pressed cake or ball of tea. After such positive reception to Master Han’s 10 year aged sheng and his wild-picked black tea, we asked him to pick something out this month himself, something that he was especially excited about.

He chose to share this younger wild picked sheng full of silver buds. Made from larger bud and leaf material compared to his aged and pressed cakes, this sheng highlights the wild nature of Master Han’s home in Qianjiazhai. Master Han is a man of strong opinions- refusing to make shu pu’er for example because he doesn’t think it suits the leaves from his plot of the forest.

We were surprised when he sent us a younger sheng for the reserve club- until we tried it. You can almost imagine standing among the wild tea trees in Yunnan just from smelling the dry leaf. When I first met Master Han, it was clear how proud he was of his home. He may be quiet, but I know that he thinks that he is making some of the best pu’er out there, a kind of pride I can respect when he backs it up by carefully tending his trees, hand picking every leaf and bud, and treating every harvest uniquely in processing.

The aroma of this tea is packed thick and concentrated. I imagine taking shelter under one of Master Han’s tea trees in the rain on a warm summer day and smelling the steam rising off the wet bark and soil.

The early steepings immediately grab my attention. If the crackled blue of Ru Kiln porcelain were a taste, this would be it. Like the coolness of stone, the sweetness of powdered sugar, and the citrus of early spring mandarins.

The next steepings introduce a creamy thick savory element closest to almond butter on wafer crackers. The mineral, citrus and nutty elements blend together in a way that feels like the taste a Dragonwell would have if it were made into an oolong.

Keep steeping this out all the way- later steeping are so soothingly sweet and smooth with a green bean heartiness that carries forward. Tasting the story of this tea change over many steepings is a prelude to the longer story ahead as this tea smooths out with age and grows darker and richer. A wonderful testament to the value of traditional wild picking and processing that Master Han is devoted to.

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5 Tasting Notes

1851 tasting notes

Well I was going to finish off one of the green oolongs gongfu today but I appear to have forgotten them at the office. So I figured, well, maybe I will sit down with one of those shengs.

I chose this one first because it is not aged long and I wanted to try a relatively “fresh” sheng before I move on to the aged one. I am unsure of whether I have had a sheng; I’ve certainly had shu puerh before, but the smell of the dry leaf is familiar to me, so maybe I have. The dry leaf smells very vegetal but also kind of mossy and then also warm like yeasty bread.

When the hot water hits the leaves I am struck by an intense leafy aroma, a little like cooked spinach. The liquid from the rinse smells familiar to me, but not as a tea; more like fresh, damp earth. The actual early steeps (3 seconds) have more vegetal notes in the aroma. They also have a distinct scent of puerh that is hard for me to couch in any other terms. It is a bit treeish, that is both leafy and woody. A little bit of cedar, a little bit of oak. The flavor is slightly minerally and woody, with a bit of cooked greens to it as well. A few steeps in I got an intriguing floral aftertaste of osmanthus that was subtle but present. Hmmm, unexpected!

I never got almondy notes that have been noted before, but I did really enjoy the later steeps. This was a pretty good experience and I look forward to trying my other shengs.

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2485 tasting notes

So I know I’m not the only person here that is a member of the Verdant Reserve TOMC. My March box arrived on saturday (according to the online tracking it was delivered friday at 3:30, but that wasn’t true). I’ve had a busy couple of days, & only today did I finally have time to just relax & breath, & sample something from the box. I picked this sheng first because I’ve been dragging all day, & I realized I really needed some Sheng.

It’s a loose Sheng, & real appealing visually, with shades ranging from a dark olive drab to charcoal. The aroma was of lime (the fruit), with a vanilla quality, but not in the actual smell, more in the way it made my nose feel. The wet aroma was of bright winter sunshine.
I followed the instructions: 5G + 4oz (rinse) X 4 sec
I like to pour 1 cup to savor, then combine the next 3 in a little glass pitcher. I sit & enjoy & when the pitcher is empty, I do it again.

The first steeping was the texture of unglazed porcelain.
Citrus up the the center of my tongue, hinting of lime.
A very ‘clean’ sensation.
2-4 a highly mineralized clay, which would seem drying, but somehow a sweet juiciness also was there, transforming the lime to tangerine.
My tongue started tingling.
5 Very bright taste of sunlight
6 – 8 Polished stone, or glazed porcelain. There’s something about this tea that reminds me of the texture of unsalted rice cakes, with an aftertaste of almond, & now I’m thinking of those awesome Nut Thin almond crackers. Yeah!
9 – 12 Now a vegetal taste starts coming up. I’m also thinking of lime again, but this time it is the lime used for making corn tortillas.
I’ll probably steep a few more rounds later, but I’m starving now, so time to fix something to eat!

I feel better now than I’ve felt all day!


mmmm this one should be a good one! looking forward to it. my box is still in transit… lesigh

Terri HarpLady

As always, everything in the box looks awesome! Every month I think I’m gonna drop out of the ‘club’, & then I can’t!
“Just one more month”, little Terri begs. Ms Theresa looks at her, rolls her eyes, & says, “We’ll see…”.


i cancelled my subscription this past month eep only because we’re moving into spring and i’m really not a fan of the greens and whites. I mean i don’t hate them, but i’d rather save my money and just pick up 1-2 of the teas to try in the regular rotation of teas. And then i’ll likely pick it up again later in the year if there are slots open lol

Terri HarpLady

I see your point, totally. I’ll drink a little green or white here & there, but a little goes a long way.
I’m actually thinking of canceling the regular TOMC (I did the bundle), because they keep sending me teas I already have. I guess that’s really my fault, because I buy everything they come out with, & really, I guess it’s not a bad thing, since it’s just more tea, LOL.
Anyway, I gotta quit buying so much damn tea! :D


that’s not a bad idea…or, stop buying their teas until after the totmc gets there :P

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