Artisan Revival Stone-Pressed Banzhang '06 Sheng Pu'er

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Edit tea info Last updated by Spoonvonstup
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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23 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Another day, another sucessful tea experiment. I put a generous ammount of leaf in my teaball, but I only let it steep for about 10 seconds. The result was pretty muhc perfect, with not even a hint...” Read full tasting note
    93
    smitty1110 242 tasting notes
  • “This was included with my last order as a sample. I know I have tried it a few times before but after watching Davids video I am confident that I will finally brew the mysterious Sheng correctly. ...” Read full tasting note
    94
    chasmargate 293 tasting notes
  • “Thanks so much Azzrian for sending a bit of this along! I was in the mood for a pu-erh and this is the first tea I was able to try in my new Bodum YoYo infuser and mug! I have no idea why it is...” Read full tasting note
    90
    Tea Sipper 1330 tasting notes
  • “I can't believe that Wang Yanxin was able to convince the Banzhang Ancient Forest Workshop to part with seven more bricks of this beauty. It is everything I love about sheng pu'er, thick and nutty...” Read full tasting note
    verdanttea 30 tasting notes

From Verdant Tea

Workshop: Banzhang Ancient Forest Workshop
Year: 2006
Region: Banzhang Mountain, Xishuangbanna
This tea is immediately rich and buttery, with a refined walnut flavor that lingers in the aftertaste. The next steepings build upon that with the thick texture of melon that grows and unfolds like one might expect a Tieguanyin to steep out. Later, an orange citrus sparkle engages the top of the palate, supported by a woodsy juniper flavor. This is honestly a very difficult tea to fully capture in description. In all of our tasting sessions, we have come to realize that if you think of a flavor profile while sipping this, you will find it in the tea, no matter what you are looking for. It combines the thick and luscious quality of our first generation Artisan Revival with the nutty and savory qualities of the Farmer’s Cooperative, and the cedar sparkling qualities of the Star of Bulang.

As our first generation Artisan Revival dwindled, we wondered how we could follow it up with a worthy successor. This brick, like most of our sheng pu’er can be credited to pu’er master Wang Yanxin. David trained under Master Wang to understand pu’er. We told her that her Artisan Revival from Hekai was becoming one of the most respected pu’ers out there, and begged for more. She only told us then that she had given us the entire remaining stock of it, but promised as a matter of honor to find something even better. This is what she came up with. The aging potential is of course unimaginable. We recommend purchasing one of the seven 357g bricks we were able to acquire before they are gone.

About Verdant Tea View company

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23 Tasting Notes

93
242 tasting notes

Another day, another sucessful tea experiment. I put a generous ammount of leaf in my teaball, but I only let it steep for about 10 seconds. The result was pretty muhc perfect, with not even a hint of bitterness, and an amazing mouthfeel. I wouldn’t call it buttery, but it was a very smooth feeling which lingered on the hard palate for a good minute. The aftertate of walnuts was also fantastic, and I hand’t actually tasted it nearly this strongly in previous tasting for this tea. I can’t wait to see how this develops today.

The second infusion was setted for 15 seconds, but ti didn’t turn out quite as well. I think that upping the step time was a mistakes, since a bit of astringency is now present. The smoky/cedar flavor is a bit more prevalent as well. As the tea cooled, the astringency actually got more subtle, which is the opposite of a lot of my teas. I’m actually rather excited to see what will develop next.\

Third infusion, 15 seconds, but I let the water sit for about three minutes before pouring. The results is a smooth and surprisingly sweet cup of tea, with a resergence of the mouthfeel and aftertaste, as well as the development of an interesting fruity flavor. It might be orange like the description says, but it’s not that prominent yet, so I can’t tell. Anyway, this tea continues to impress with interesitg and delicious flavor developemnt, once more leaving me eager to see what else it has to offer.

Fourth infusion, same preparation as the third. I’m actually really pleased with the development of the orange flavor. It’s not terribly strong, but it’s very pleasant, and adds a lot of depth to the flavor. It should also be noted that the aftertaste is a bit like sparkling cider now, and lingers for at least three minutes on the hard palate. It’s remarkable how the small change in my preparation has yeilded an amazing new depth of flavor for this tea, especially now that the smokiness is fading, exposing the more more subtle flavors. I can’t wait to see what else it has to offer.

Fifth infusion, 20 seconds, cooler water. This tea can only be described as “subtle” at this point. Other than the juniper and hint of orange, the other flavors are very muted now. Also, the smoothness has changed, and it’s more like a kind of mineral or metalic smoothness, a change that has been gradually occuring over the last three steeps or so and has just finally finished. I’m personally amazed that this tea still has more development left in it, which is always a bonus.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Charles Thomas Draper

Try it without the teaball…

Joshua Smith

I probably should, and it would be even better to use a gaiwan, but brewing in one cup and pouring it into another tends to get a bit messy, and my mom yelled at me last time I did it…

When I get back to college this weekened, I’ll try it.

Bonnie

Investing in a finum brew basket will be worth it!

Joshua Smith

Thanks for the great idea! I’ll certainly look into it!

Spoonvonstup

I loe following along with your steepings. So much fun! I alo second Bonnie’s brew basket suggestion- I think it’s my favorite “western” brewing implement.

Joshua Smith

Thanks for the positive feedback! Since you mentioned brew baskets as well, I will definitely be looking into getting one.

Jim Marks

Better: http://amzn.com/B001713L84

Steep Western style, unconstrained in an open vessel, then decant through this device.

I rarely get on anyone’s case about equipment and technique, but tea baskets and tea balls significantly impact the quality in the cup.

Spoonvonstup

Good suggestion, Jim!

When I use a brew basket, I use the large size, which fills up the whole volume of the cup I’m brewing in. As it is, I put the basket in a cup, the leaves float freely in the covered-cup-within-a-cup for the 2-5 seconds I’m steeping, and then I remove the basket and set it on it’s head/cover.
However, I agree that your suggestion this would be ideal if I had another smaller, glazed teapot (or cover-able vessel) OR if I were better at pouring without dripping everywhere (in which case, I would use a cup with it’s saucer on top). I will bookmark this, too, for when my gongfu strainer inevitably gets lost or broken.

Bonnie

I like Western Style also Jim, but for a smaller amount of
Pu-erh or quicker 20-30 sec. steepings in a mug, a Finum works well too.

Jim Marks

I shouldn’t have said “Western” because that implies long steep times. I’ve just gotten so used to my gaiwan that I think of [non-yixing] tea pots as “Western”. Which I know is totally not true.

What I meant is steep in a vessel that is wide and open, regardless of how big or small, and then decant into a cup or mug. I have two beehive type pots that are, I think at most 8oz and may be only 6, that I use in this way when I want more than the 3.5oz I get from the gaiwan.

We have Finum like baskets and wide brew baskets (usually pulled out of cast iron kettles that some ninny thinks you’re supposed to brew tea in). Liz uses them a lot. Anecdotally, for myself, I find that they still constrain movement, and impact the cup.

Bonnie

I know what you mean…there’s no way I can do 5-6 steeps at 8oz each on a Pu anyway unless I dump most of each steep into a pitcher for having later cold (which I like).
So my 4oz clay Gaiwan or 6oz ceramic Gaiwan or PIAO 6oz is what I use when I review. BUT, when I’m just drinking a pot for myself and not reviewing…I sometimes go for 32oz and a big glass pot and steep longer and soak myself in puerh! (not literally but you know!) Pull out the bark and cover the pot with an old fashioned tea cozy and drink for a long while.

Joshua Smith

thanks for all the wonderful suggestions and tea wisdom. I’m personally leaning towards the brew basket (large size), since poouring from my cup to another seems to end with tea everywhere.

When I have more space/get an apartment, I’ll start looking tinto geting a more sophisticated setup (gaiwans, teapots, etc.) but for now it’s just not feasable.

Charles Thomas Draper

Exactly Jim. Constrain movement….

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94
293 tasting notes

This was included with my last order as a sample. I know I have tried it a few times before but after watching Davids video I am confident that I will finally brew the mysterious Sheng correctly. In previous tastings of fine Sheng I may have used too much leaf and my steep times were way tooo long and these potent teas will make you pay. I basket brewed this one cup style. I did a quick steep to wash and off to tea nirvana. The first cup was mellow and fruity and numbed my mouth nicely. There was a tingling that remained between sips. My brow began to perspire. My body was becoming calm yet I had the energy to do anything. My second steep was this luscious nectar that was becoming stronger and more alive. An incredibly intense tea even with a 3 second steep!
I am now looking at perhaps 18 more steepings. In my previous experience with Sheng they seem to last forever. As of now it’s a beautiful day and it’s time to play. More fun with Sheng later….

DaisyChubb

Beautiful review! It’s also a beautiful day here, and play we shall :)

Charles Thomas Draper

An old man once told me we are not here to stay we are here to play….

Charles Thomas Draper

And thank you Daisy…

Bonnie

This is what tea is all about. You shared a beautiful story of how this Sheng made you feel…the glow and exhilaration…then the realization of how glorious the world is in the moment.
You grabbed it.

Joshua Smith

I’m glad that you had more success brewing this tea. Enjoy the nice weather! You’re lucky, the humidity is climbing towards 75% for me, so I;m going to be inside for most of today :-/

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90
1330 tasting notes

Thanks so much Azzrian for sending a bit of this along! I was in the mood for a pu-erh and this is the first tea I was able to try in my new Bodum YoYo infuser and mug! I have no idea why it is called “yoyo”. (It matches my vintage Bodum electric kettle!) The mug is clear so I have a nice view of the steep color. This one has the color of a draft of beer! So I’m not sure how much caffeine pu-erh has if the color is so light. (I’m assuming the darker the steep color, the more caffeine it has? I don’t know.) I like this mug though.. it’s either because the bottom of the mug is slanted or because the mug is clear, that when I’m sipping it, it looks like the mug has less tea in it than it actually does. I get a bit sad, but when I set it down, I can see that there IS a ton of tea left in the cup!

All of these steeps were for two minutes after two 10 second rinses (not sure if I’m doing that right!) Autumn is what the tea reminds me of. The leaves look like autumn leaves. The fragrance is smokey, like there is a burning pile of leaves in the yard. I wouldn’t guess that this is a pu-erh, because it doesn’t have that typical pu-erh flavor profile. It kind of seems like the flavor of tree bark, in the most appetizing way… so I guess you could still call it earthy! The flavor is smokey.. it most reminds me of a russian caravan. The flavor is smooth, silky, woodsy, light, and a tiny bit spicy… The second steep gets even smoother. It’s interesting that pu-erhs have such a wide range of flavor. I pity the fool who doesn’t steep their leaves multiple times. All three steeps were very consistent! I’m sure I could have steeped many more times. But I’M the fool who only used those dipper infusers until now (those I still will, especially for teas like rooibos that don’t need expanding). I knew for a while that the leaves were being strangled… so it was nice to see these leaves breathe. I like this tea! To sum up: it’s an autumn pile of smokey burning leaves and branches. It made me really miss autumn, even though it’s March (well, I miss autumn the first day it snows anyway.) Very unique… but I’m sure all of Verdant’s teas are unique.

Also, I read some of the tasting notes after typing mine up, and it seems I’ve said a lot of the same descriptions that others have. It seems my palate has improved too! Nice!

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I think the long rinses saved you, Sipper!
Most shengs can be pretty harsh if steeped for any length of time, at least that has been my experience. If you still have some of the sample left, I recommend 3-4 oz in a smaller cup, 1 quick rinse, then steep 4 – 6 seconds, adding a few seconds to each steep. I’m not trying to be a know it all, but it would be a fun experiment & another way to enjoy the tea. I love Mt. Banzang’s, wish I could buy a whole cake of it!
Enjoy the day!

Dinosara

I’m sorry but this comment is a little odd. She liked the tea, so clearly this method “worked” for her. This is a more western-style steeping but it’s not a wrong way to steep.

Terri HarpLady

Definitely not wrong! It’s all an experiment anyway, so I was just suggesting an alternative experiment. I hope what I said wasn’t taken as criticism, as that wasn’t my intention. :)

Dinosara

Sorry Terri, my comment wasn’t meant toward you. I agree it’s fun and interesting to try different ways to steep. It’s just odd because she wasn’t complaining about the tea at all! If she had rated it poorly based on her steeping parameters it would have made more sense to me to immediately suggest different ones.

Dinosara

She did actually follow Verdant’s western-style steeping instructions for a sheng. They recommend two rinses followed by a 2 minute steep.

Bonnie

Erased comments to avoid pissing off anyone. I have a difference of opinion about steeping this puer.

Dinosara

Sorry Bonnie, if I made you feel like your opinion was unwelcome. It wasn’t my intention, I just wanted to make sure that Tea Sipper, as a new puerh drinker, didn’t feel like she was being told she did it wrong after she enjoyed the tea.

Tea Sipper

I appreciate any suggestions! Just because I liked the way I brewed it this way, doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way. Maybe it would have been better, but I only have the set up for western style brewing right now (hey, I just advanced past the dipper infusers. haha.) However, that was the last of this tea I have. I do worry that I’m ruining really great teas (especially Verdant’s) if I’m steeping them wrong, but that was the way that Verdant suggested brewing one of their Shengs. thanks everyone (And I wouldn’t have minded seeing your comment, Bonnie — I know you are a puer drinker!)

Tea Sipper

I just checked again for the Mt. Banzhang Sheng and it says two rinses for 10 seconds and then steep for two minutes. (I realize the Sheng I had could have had different steeping instructions, but I couldn’t find them.) So I poured water so it was covering the leaves, left it in for 10 seconds, dumped the water, did that again, and then steeped for two minutes. All other steeps were for two minutes too. (And no rinses in between steeps.) I know that Verdant’s oolongs have very short steep times, even with western, but I didn’t think to do that with this one since the site was telling me two minutes.) ah well! It wasn’t terrible!

Tea Sipper

Maybe if Steepsters have the original packaging for some of these Verdant teas, they could edit the info on Steepster if the info isn’t on Verdant? Unless all sheng steeping instructions aren’t that different… I have no idea.

ashmanra

Great review, T S! I have very little experience with shengs compared to shu. I love me sme good, strong shu! Well, as long as it isn’t fishy! I usually give it a nice long western steep and then resteep. One thing Bonnie does with shu that I just love is…I steep one pot of shu western style, then put the leaves in the refrigerator to cold steep. And I can leave them in there for days and it still tastes good. It is such a refreshing drink, what I imagine a big glass of cool water would taste like to someone who just crawled across the Sahara! Like primal, pure water before pollution existed, with all the tastes of creation (earth and leaf) mixed in! Can you tell I like it? LOL!

Shmiracles

oh ashmanra! blowin my mind! love it

Tea Sipper

Yeah, that made it sound pretty good, ashmanra!

Bonnie

Thanks guys, I didn’t want to sound like a big know it all. I do want to say that the color of the tea has nothing to do with the caffeine content. Green and white tea most often have more than something like puer. It’s the quality of the leaf, the handling…age…processing and such that effects the amount of caffeine. (I heard that coffee is similar on the news yesterday on the Today Show)

Tea Sipper

thanks for the info, Bonnie! I had no idea that green & white have more caffeine than puer, but like you said, it depends. Very interesting!

ashmanra

Age of the leaf matters, too. I believe I read that caffeine is often higher in the little buds of leaves because it discourages insects from eating the baby leaves. Sugars are higher, too, to fuel the growth. Tea. Is. Wonderful. Miraculous and complex.

Terri HarpLady

What Ashmanra said!!

Tea Sipper

Also, I don’t know if anyone could tell but that one bit about resteeping was like channeling Mr.T and not really me calling anyone a fool. :D

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30 tasting notes

I can’t believe that Wang Yanxin was able to convince the Banzhang Ancient Forest Workshop to part with seven more bricks of this beauty. It is everything I love about sheng pu’er, thick and nutty like Farmer’s Cooperative, yet sparkling with hints of orange and melon. Banzhang Mountain is a magical place.

I have been checking in on the region using google satellite images, and it is still just as remote. The old village has only six houses! The new village has a whopping eleven. You can see the winding footpaths where the villagers walk to wild-harvest this tea.

I will admit it, I bought the last brick of this from Verdant Tea when it was running out, and have felt guilty for not letting it go with so much interest, but how could I? I recently tasted some 15-year tea from the area and it blew my mind. This is already getting there. Luckily I don’t have to feel so guilty anymore with a few more bricks back in stock.

Bonnie

A Coup! Very exciting! I appreciate the continued effort to bring such rare tea to all of us in North America (and beyond also). Sounds delicious.

Anthony Joel Verbrick

This is good news.

Kashyap

what year/vintage is it?

David Duckler

Thanks! This is actually more of the 2006 vintage. ’06 was such a good year for Yunnan. All the ’06 sheng from Wang Yanxin that I try has so much potential and complexity already. This brick was pressed on June 6th, ’06. I know that for us 666 may be a loaded number, but for the villagers of Banzhang, they must have known this would be a good one to press it on a palindrome. Exciting to have it back, even for a short time.

Kashyap

thats awesome…i totally agree…all the sheng pu erh from that region in that year that I’ve had the chance to try were all amazing…so strange…its a rather somber year for me…my mother died from a 2 year fight with ALS in the Sept. of that year and there is no way I had even the inkling of the weather conditions in China….nice to hear you have this..I will have to pick some of this up

Michael Hetrick

Sigh… Sounds like I’ll have to place an order when I get back home! I’m currently drinking the Nansan Village Sheng, which is hitting all of the right notes. Any comparisons between the two?

David Duckler

Hi Michael, sorry for the later reply here. The Nansan and the Artisan Revival are both on the more rich thick end of the spectrum for flavor, but while the Nansan is more on the spiced, herbaceous side of things, the Artisan Revival is nutty, creamy and slightly floral. Definitely worth tasting if you haven’t already gotten around to it.

Michael Hetrick

Thanks! I’ve already taken out about half the ounce that I purchased. It’s great. In fact, I think I should go make some right now…

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94
6770 tasting notes

I have more Verdant Teas on tap! Here’s one that was a nice surprise…but then again…most of them are from Verdant!

It’s light in color – a light brown with a touch of tangerine color.

The aroma is earthy/sweet-woodsy with maybe a bit of gentle smoke underneath.

The taste is gentle, too…velvety, very slightly sweet, a bit nutty – like walnuts, it sort of reminds me of a gentle mist or fog. This is a wonder! This is mighty-fine! Thumbs up!

Azzrian

I have a verdant pu-erh sampler kit here just begging me to tap into it! Waiting for a full day to just relax and really enjoy them. This makes me want them NOW!

TeaBrat

Pu-erhs are fun!

Lynne-tea

Oh my that sounds delightful!

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2244 tasting notes

In my limited pu’erh experience, I seem to prefer sheng to shu pu’erh. Perhaps it’s just the ones I’ve tried (as they’re pretty limited anyways), but I decided to start trying a few more to figure out which I like! Also, I just bought samples of 4 more from Verdant… so it would be best if I started drinking them!

I probably didn’t brew this one completely properly – I rinsed it with a continuous stream of close-to-boiling water for 15 seconds, then infused for two minutes. The water was from a kettle, so likely dropped more in temperature had I microwaved the water as usual (yeah yeah, I know…)

Ok… this is a bit too strong for me. I probably overleafed, so likely my fault. It is, however, much more pleasant than many pue’rhs I’ve had. No fishiness, and more of a creamy flavour. Astringent though, however (but that’s my fault I suspect). I thought I had measured out about 1.5 tsp of leaf, but it was a bit difficult to be accurate, so I was probably a bit off.

Not my favourite… I’ll try it again a bit more carefully, but although it’s definitely drinkable, it’s probably not something I’d reach for. I may be offloading the majority of my pu’erhs on my mom at Christmas, as she does seem to enjoy them.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Invader Zim

I’m fairly limited in puerh experience, but I’m finding that I too seem to prefer sheng over shu.

Kittenna

I think it’s because the shengs to me have tasted more tea-like, and the shus have been a bit on the fishy side? I’m still so inexperienced though!

Invader Zim

I haven’t really experienced a fishy puerh, lucky I guess. but I think I prefer shengs because they do resemble regular tea more closely. Shu’s to me almost all taste the same, not much variety…earthy and raisins.

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81
280 tasting notes

There was just too much talk about Verdant here to not at least give them a try, especially their green tea and pu’er, so when they had an excellent deal recently, I took them up.

This was one of the samples I requested. I have very limited experience with pu’er… just two others; one ‘beginner-friendly’ shu from a tea store that wasn’t too bad, and a sample of Guan Zi Zai 2005 from Life in Teacup.

I don’t have any concerns about sheng; to me, aged tea is no more strange than other aged things, cheese, wine, etc. So approaching this tea was no concern. In fact, I imagine shu is to tea as cabbage is to kim chee, sauerkraut, etc. and I love certain things that have been fermented well, so I can imagine enjoying shu a lot, as well. On the other hand, I have heard a lot of horror stories about it, so I would probably approach it more carefully.

I also enjoy (to a certain extent) earthy and smokey flavors, like mate (which is almost always smoked) or houjicha, so pu’er hasn’t seemed a strange concept to me, rather very intriguing.

I followed Verdant’s instructions, and using my makeshift gaiwan, put the remainder of my sample (3-4g) in, rinsed once, and used 2-3oz water per infusion, going up to about 17.

The leaf looked like it had actually been loose pu’er rather than pressed into a cake (the leaves were not stuck together and looked like dried, unrolled, dong fang mei ren [oriental beauty]), and as their description states, it sounds like the method of stone pressing causes the leaf to be loosely packed into the cake.

Since I have so little experience with sheng, I don’t know how that influences my impression of this tea. The first steepings (esp the first) had an underlying citrus-like sweetness. It wasn’t sweet like the returning sweetness in the back of the throat, but left an almost sweet flavor somewhere in the middle.

The aroma was a smokey-woody-earthiness, similar to mate but much smoother. I could say it was almost like what you would imagine an earthy cave to smell like (“not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole”).
EDIT: I meant to add here – this was the best part about it for me and delicious!
Besides this smokey-woody flavor, which in one steeping reminded me of a nice savory/salty stew, it was a very smooth tea. I didn’t get much else from it, actually.

Late into the steepings, I experienced a very mouth-drying sensation that was almost unpleasant. I was hoping this would signal a shift in what the tea became/tasted like, but unfortunately it seemed to mean that the tea had only a couple pleasant (but not overly interesting) infusions left.

So, take my long review as you like, since while I know I am someone who could probably really enjoy pu’er, I don’t know a lot of what to expect (what makes one good or not). As far as whether I simply liked this tea- yes, I did, but it just wasn’t the same as Japanese greens.

I think I knew this before I started, but I don’t believe pu’er is something I will ever get into, at least not for this season of life. I don’t have hours to do long tea sessions and many infusions. The best I can get most days is one pot/4 infusions, but more often it is 3 infusions (for a Japanese tea, which is an easier brewing method than gaiwan, imo). I will certainly enjoy a few pots of pu’er here and there, but I simply don’t have the time to do it proper justice (via gaiwan).

Unless, someone who has a lot of experience with it can say that the western method works well? If I could do the western method and drink 3-4 infusions, instead of 15-20, that would be doable. Let me know if that really does good sheng/shu justice and what the parameters for each infusion could be (in general).

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec
David Duckler

Dear Shinobi_Cha,
I am glad that you got a chance to brew this up Chinese style. In answer to your question, sheng pu’er can be brewed up in a big pot if temperature and time are controlled (which you are probably used to from Japanese green). A lot of young sheng pu’er is unbearably dry and bitter, but for something as smooth and rich as this brick, it is very doable. I will often save the broken leaves for myself from a brick and brew it up in a big pot with excellent results. You might actually get more out of it that way. Brewing a sheng pu’er in a gaiwan strips it down to a lighter tea, but each steeping presents different elements of the flavor. A big pot combines all those elements.

I am surprised that this tea didn’t yield more for you- it is definitely one of my new favorites for its complexity, but honestly, it took me months of sheng pu’er drinking to even get why people would willingly consume the stuff. I was lucky to have a patient teacher in Wang Yanxin who connects me with the farmers. Some of the shu pu’er might yield more complexity right of the bat. Any of the Xingyang pu’ers or the Peacock Village are good candidates. Sheng is so elusive, so hidden in the textures and aftertastes. Shu pu’er carries more in the actual flavor itself. It also tends to do better in a big pot than shengs do.

Big pot brewing for me means 8oz or more, with at least 1-1.5 teaspoons of tea per cup. For sheng I would use around 200 degree water for 2.5 minutes, but you can play around to see what works.

I hope that your journey into pu’er is rewarding! It certainly has been for me.
Best Wishes,
David

Shinobi_cha

Thanks a lot David!

I think one of the issues I had was that this was just a sample, and only half of it (3g, maybe 4). So I think the small amount of leaf partly contributed to the somewhat lighter nature. That being said, I would not describe it as weak at all.

What I didn’t mention in the note was that my actual first brewing of this tea was “western style” in a 180ml kyusu, using 4g leaf and about 5oz water (to share with a friend). I think I brewed it for 3 minutes, but can’t quite remember the exact amount of time. It was a nice cup.

Bitter doesn’t concern me at all; it would just connect the tea to the ‘green’ tea it was when it was new, actually; and that is a good thing to me.

Your comments about how the different brewing methods resulting in the ‘two types’ of yields make a lot of sense – you either get a cup that is more of the elements combined, or one that is more nuanced and unique with each infusion. That is also one reason why I chose to do a gaiwan brewing for my ‘real’ tasting, because the first time was to be able to share it, and also try to wrap my head around what sheng is.

Funnily enough, I can definitely see why people would consume (good) pu’er, there is something very intriguing about it. But while I have enjoyed tea a lot more seriously for about two years, I still don’t see myself as being good at picking up a lot of subtleties. Getting better. So while my note on this tea is that I didn’t get the complexities mentioned, I hopefully clarified that my experience is certainly a strong factor in my impression of this tea.

I don’t see myself wanting to drink it regularly (yet), but I do see myself seeking out sheng (and shu) further. I’m looking forward to this and next month’s tea club, being that they have both the Xinyang and Yabao.

Thanks for the brewing suggestions!

Nathaniel Gruber

Great conversation, and great explanation! I think that what David said about brewing it western style for several minutes is very true. When trying to explain Chinese vs. Western style tea brewing to friends, I usually start by telling them that each tea tells a story. When we brew it in an yixing pot or gaiwan for many short steepings we are seeing the step by step, page by page progression. It will change from beginning to middle to end and we can look back on it and explain so. Whereas with Western style, we are combining all of those steepings in to one “flavor”. We are essentially getting the readers digest summation of all of the steepings put together. Or, to put it another way, the Western Style is like watching the movie rather than reading the novel.

This is not so say that one way is superior to the other, rather, it’s just a matter of preference and often times, practicality. I love to sit down each night and unwind by making tea in my yixing pots for an hour or two before bed. The caffeine doesn’t affect me at that hour (luckily) and I find it a great daily ritual. However, when a small group of friends comes over on a Saturday morning to watch English Premier League Soccer, we will drink tea from my 20 oz. Western Style tea pot and basket because we’re not really paying too much attention to the tea…we’re watching soccer.

Different situations. Different ways. Both are good. I do think to really get to know a tea though, one does need to sit down for many steepings to “read” the story it is telling. Fun stuff!

sherubtse

Why the heck have I never heard of this company? ?

Many thanks indeed for (unknowingly) introducing me to them, Shinobi_Cha! I have taken a look at their website, and their customer servcie, shipping and related policies look very impressive.

How was your experience ordering from them?

Thanks.

Best wishes,
sherubtse

Uniquity

#Sherubtse – I know you didn’t ask me but I have also ordered from Verdant and would highly recommend you give them a shot, at least if you are a fan of quality unflavoured teas. I ordered two teas and received two more as samples, all well packaged and shipped to Canada (for free! :D). The teas are, unsurprisingly, fantastic and David is wonderful to correspond with – I came out of the exchange with wonderful tea and lots of information. They have a code on at the moment where you can upgrade your free sample to a free ounce too, which is nice. I am resisting the urge to order again, even though I don’t need tea at the moment.

sherubtse

Many thanks for the feedback, Uniquity! Very helpful.

I am very fussy about customer service, both online and in-store. Shipping costs play a large role in my online ordering as well.

Nice to see that you are in Canada as well.

Best wishes,
sherubtse

Shinobi_cha

Hi sherubtse,

My experience was great; they were very helpful in ensuring I received the samples I requested (for some reason my request in the order was cut-off) and everything went smoothly and quickly.

I’m looking forward to trying the other teas I’ve ordered, as well as the other 4 (or so) that will come in the tea club for Dec and Jan. I’ll likely review all of them here, too.

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53 tasting notes

Last of this. I got my email notice the other day that my Verdant Tea monthly-club shipment was on its way, along with another ~$50 order I made because I have absolutely no patience or self-control when it comes to tea that I want to try. I was hoping that joining a subscription-based tea club would curb my desire to make these massive tea orders… nope. Instead I spent weeks wondering what teas would arrive, browsing the site again and again, hoping that month’s subscription would include something or other. I figured I would wait until my subscription package came before making an order, in hopes that it would tide me over, but … no, I just couldn’t wait. Oh well; at least I will have a ton of tea to look forward to… to sip alongside my 10cent instant noodle dinners that will be all I can afford to eat, hah.

Anyway, since I have so much Verdant tea on the way, I don’t feel so bad sipping through what’s left of my stash. Though my sense of smell is not functioning at its best right now, I can still really enjoy this. It’s making me ever-so-slightly tea-drunk; I feel a bit hyper-sensitive to touch, I think. It really is at its best full, savory, brothy flavor when brewed super-hot though. Sigh, I will miss this, but I am really looking forward to all that will take its place.

Terri HarpLady

Aiko, I’m relieved to know that I’m not the only one loitering on the Verdant site, planning new orders, etc. I have actually managed to make it through a few weeks without placing an order there, but only because I wasn’t sure what would come in our tea of the month package. I’ve actually filled out an order form twice in the last week, left it sitting on an open tab on my laptop for a few days, & then it was gone. I do need to place a new order there, but the word ‘need’ is no doubt an exaggeration, which should be replace by something like ‘jones-ing for’, or some similar addict-like phraseology.

Aiko

Haha! It’s good to know I’m not alone. I feel like such an addict sometimes; I’ve done the same thing, filling out wishful orders that I really can’t afford. And now my eyes are going to be just glued to the site throughout their trip to China, watching for any must-haves to pop up. I keep telling myself “just this one last order, then I really need to stop buying tea.” It’s never true. But I have yet to regret a single purchase!

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92
138 tasting notes

This is one of my favorite pu’ers. I remember purchasing this 7 months ago and kind of forgot about it. Nice to find it again and be enchanted by its cedar apple qualities.

Bonnie

Yum!! Lov-um pu-erh’s!

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300 tasting notes

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!

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 30 sec

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