Xingyang Nuggets 2008 Shu

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
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205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 15 sec

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From Verdant Tea

Workshop: Xingyang Workshop, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan

Year: 2008

Flavor Profile: We have been looking for a more affordable pu’er for quite some time. This is the first we have found in a lower price range that maintains intriguing complexity and a perfectly clean mouthfeel. The smell and first steepings really do remind us of dirt, but it is the best dirt ever- the black, rich soil in a forest. This transitions smoothly into that certain musty and almost vegetal flavor that is trademark to all Xingyang workshop tea. In addition, a surprising juicy quality and lingering sweetness come through in later steepings.

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14 Tasting Notes

294 tasting notes

I am drinking this after the 2007. In the Yixing with generous leaf and no rinse. The first steep was light. Maybe I should of rinsed it. Steep 2 is holding its own. Darker. Stronger. Earthier. I do not think I will be able to go through this one for multiple steepings. I know when to say when. Or do I? For the 3rd steep the nuggets seem to be coming apart now. I am still getting the numbness and this mouth coating sensation. It is a very good tea. I probably should have waited another day to try it. It is hard to properly taste it right after the 2007. Besides, I can take no more….

Nathaniel Gruber

Fair enough….I like your honesty.

This one is VERY good. I think that a 92 is a pretty fair and accurate rating nonetheless.

Charles Thomas Draper

I will be tasting again. I am sure I will do things differently that may improve it.


Nathaniel, you work for Verdant, right? ;-)

Nathaniel Gruber

I do, David and I worked together in a Teahouse for a year before we both left. He went on to start Verdant Tea, and I work in a church ministry now but do a few things with Verdant. David is the main man to talk to though.

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3134 tasting notes

This is the other pu’erh I brewed up tonight. Same method: 10 second rinse in water straight from the kettle, followed by the normal infusion.

This one smells mildly fishy, but it doesn’t carry into the flavour, which is remarkably mild and… straw-like? That kind of hay/straw sweetness is what I’m getting. I’m pretty new to pu’erh, so am still pretty awful at describing them, but it definitely tastes like pu’erh to me! I like it, but I definitely preferred the Farmer’s Cooperative one. And I dislike the fact that I get any fishy aroma whatsoever. It was a turnoff for my mom too (it’s unfortunate that we liked the same one, because I don’t really want to leave that one for her, but probably will leave a few cups’ worth because I have so darned much tea!)

205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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300 tasting notes

It’s official I am in love with shu. It has to be the most rewarding tea for my taste buds and this one is no exception. At first this reminds me of the Yanxin’s Reserve ‘04 Nuggets with their creamy angel food sweetness and notes of cinnamon, but in these last two infusions (steeps 4 and 5 after the rinse) it takes on this juicy dark berry note and very well be a good stand in for the Peacock Village ’04 Shu, if I am unable to stock up before it sells out (okay so they are both low stock but this one is certainly more affordable, I may have to do a side by side tasting). But seriously this is delicious and can stand up to the ’04’s, just imagine once it ages… I love what it’s doing to my mouth, oh no my cup is empty, must brew more!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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149 tasting notes

Backlog from this afternoon/evening.
I’m still not very experienced with pu’er, but I really enjoy this shu. It’s earthy and musty, but very pleasant and comforting, like the smell of the earth in the woods after the rain. There’s a bit of sweetness to it, too. And it lasts for a number of short (< 1 minute) steeps.


Did you western brew or use a Gaiwan? (I like the 30 second steep method with poking the nuggets)


Western brew (mug and a large filter basket, steeped for ~20 seconds. I haven’t tried poking the nuggets— I should do that. Thanks! :) ). I’ve been meaning to get a gaiwan at some point, but haven’t had much time to do any research on them, sadly. Maybe during winter break…


Gaiwan doesn’t matter as long as you have a brew basket and mug and saucer to put on top or something. You need to control how much water and such. I like to poke the nuggets a little and I read that David Duckler’s Pu-er person in China does this. Try 30 second steeps.

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177 tasting notes

Sweet, mellow, pleasant, with a taste that reminds me of sweet brown rice. Like a movie you watch and enjoy but slips into anonymity after a few months, I don’t think there’s anything about this tea that will nestle deep in the recesses of my memory, but it’s proving to be a nice companion as I wind down my work week and look forward to welcoming my lovely wife and two wonderful little boys home.

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337 tasting notes

I’m more and more drinking Shu Pu’er. This one is particularly sweet, rich and musty with notes of cinnamon. I also like that the tea looks like some pieces of ancient tree bark.

I have to admit that in the past I have been somewhat apprehensive about buying Pu’er from unknown vendors. I always admire how people buy Pu’er on eBay. I don’t know .. it just makes me uncomfortable. I’m not an expert so I need some guidance, I need a vendor I can trust and so far Verdant tea has been excellent.
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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7 tasting notes

I have had sessions with these nuggets a couple of times, which I have enjoyed greatly. It is a fantastic tea packing a wallop of a qi that just about knocked my co-worker off his chair when I shared it with him.

I wish I had taken some proper notes prior, but today I did something different with it following a string of straight steepings. I decided to make Hong Kong-style milk tea. I boiled the nuggets in a pan of water with a measure of Sheng Shan Xiao Zhong reducing it to a thick broth, near to a syrup. I then added milk and some sugar direct to the pan for another few minutes before filtering out the leaf.

I have to say the nuggets worked exceptionally well, creating a deep musty base which cut through the dairy and sugar without the slightest hesitation. It was definitely one of the best interpretations I have made since returning home from my visit to China last year. It was just the warming I needed on this cold and blustery day.

Boiling 8 min or more

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53 tasting notes

I’m getting to where I’ve tried more than a few pu’ers now, and I feel like it’s a getting a little redundant to say one tastes “earthy” because, well, every pu’er I’ve had has held that characteristic. It’s like saying peppermint tea tastes minty. Pu’er experts of steepster, is this an accurate judgement?

But this one, under the obvious earthiness, holds some note I’m not sure I’ve tasted before… I kind of want to say.. mineral, maybe? It reminds me of what water might taste like if I was taking a hike in the woods and stopped to drink from a stream… just very fresh and cool and yet… rugged and natural, outdoorsy, like fresh air. I know those aren’t generally words used to describe tea, but I’m trying here.

In my, still admittedly novice, experiences with pu’er, between shu and sheng, shu is growing on me much faster. Maybe it’s just that dark earthiness… shu seems more… soil and fall leaves to me, whilst sheng tastes more like spring saplings, still earthy, but more woody and less soil-y. And I just really dig that “forest floor” quality in all of the shu that I’ve tried.

I know, it sounds like I’m talking about drinking trees, but trust me when I say I mean this in the best way possible.

I’m looking at the leaves now and noticing that these are some resilient little nuggets. I’m about 7-8 post-rinse steeps in and they’re still clinging together in their little clusters. Some of them are significantly darker than others— I wonder why this is? Maybe some of them were on the outside of the piles while they were aging while others were at the center? I have so much to learn about pu’er (and so little money!)

Mmm, I’ll also note that the “river water” note as I’m now calling it, seems to emerge best when the water is at it’s hottest— I just reboiled the water and that bright, clean note is now stronger than ever. I really love it. I just wish my tea-vocabulary could describe it.

Ooh, just caught a berry note. Delightful. This is now a hike-in-the-woods-and-drink-from-a-stream-and-eat-a-handful-of-wild-blackberries tea. All the adventure, none of the risk of snakebites, bee stings, or stumbling over a root and spraining an ankle.

I’m noticing the darker nuggets seem to be much more stubborn to open and separate than the lighter colored ones. Maybe the darker ones are more compact? At least they’ve all sunk now; for the longest time one of the darkest nuggets insisted on floating on the surface of the water as it steeped.

I’ve just now come up with a new term for that river-water taste/feel: rocky. Or maybe going back to mineral would be more accurate. I can’t say I’ve ever picked up a rock and sucked on it, not since I was a child at least, but I expect water rushing over lots of little river-pebbles might tasted something like this.

I love how shu just seems to last forever and ever. The only downside to that is that I can’t just have a quick morning session before work without feeling like I’m wasting several steepings. This is definitely a slow, unwinding evening sort of tea. I really would love more evenings like this.

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25 tasting notes

Being my first shu, I can’t really rate this by any measure, other than my general impressions. I have to admit, to me, this actually tastes simular to a dark roasted oolong, or black tea, except that it has an earthy, sedimenty… something. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it when I first smelled it. But thankfully, it doesn’t taste like it smells. I can deffinately see why it’s an aquired taste. Although, I do find it enjoyable. I can totally see why people like shu. Again, I can’t vouch for this one in particular, being my first. However, I can say that I like it. I chose it as my first, mainly because it was sent as a sample in a plastic baggy and exposed to the light. So, I worried about its shelf life. Also, I figured it would be the least popular out of all the shu samples I received, and I didn’t want to spoil myself, and give it a prejudiced rating. I never read anyone else’s ratings, or reviews, and so I can’t compare it to what other people’ve said. I thought I’d go the unbiased route with all of my samples from Verdant. As good as this one is, I’m looking forward to trying the others. If they’re any better, then I’m certain I’ll enjoy them, too.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

I’ve been getting into shu, and it’s a pretty marvelous world…have fun!

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66 tasting notes

One the better shu’s that I have had the privilege to come across.
Clean earthy aroma. Hearty and warming. It Does indeed have a pastry-like character. Easy to brew and consistent across many infusions

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec

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