Silver Buds Yabao

Tea type
Pu-erh White Blend
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Caramel, Clove, Licorice, Marshmallow, Cedar, Hay, Sweet, Wood, Honeydew, Peach, Smooth, Spices, Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms, Pine, Brown Sugar
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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97 Tasting Notes View all

From Verdant Tea

Year: 2010

Workshop: Xingchen Workshop

Region: Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China

Dry Leaf: Yabao is in a class of its own. Unlike any other teas, the buds are picked from ancient tea trees in middle to late winter when the bud is still tightly compacted and encased in a protective shell as it awaits spring. This particular Yabao is composed of large buds that have not begun to open yet and allowed to sun dry completely without any other processing, making this more similar to yellow or white tea than to pu’er. Still, like pu’er yabao is aged to greater complexity.

Aroma: Heady and thick smell of snickerdoodle cookies baking and a trace of pine needles.

Color: Extremely light. Almost clear.

Flavor: This unique tea has intense flavors of mulling spice. There is a floral texture and the sweetness of marshmallow. The texture becomes velvety over many steepings.

Notes: Yabao is very hard to find. It has not developed a following in China yet, making production quite low. I believe that its audience is in America, where tea drinkers are not yet set in tradition, and people are open to new things. Yabao is a perfect gateway to aged teas, because it is much more mild than conventional pu’er, while still growing in depth and complexity over time. I have a single brick of 15 year old yabao, and it is simply my absolute best tea. Age some for yourself and see what yabao has to offer.

About Verdant Tea View company

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97 Tasting Notes

20 tasting notes

Quick tasting note for this, which i got as a sample

String players will understand this but this smells just like rosin and tastes like what rosin SHOULD taste like (don’t ask how i know it doesn’t…). I’m definitely smelling and tasting marshmallow too, but like GOOD marshmallow. It’s way sweeter than most other unsweetened teas. I didn’t understand the description of “sparkling” but now i do. It tastes almost like someone squirted perrier in there! Ahh! So strange but good

Will resteep (brewed western)

Edit: green apple flavor identified. Even though i hate green apple this is strangely yummy. This tea just plain confuses me

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec

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59 tasting notes

Dry Leaf: This tea has a spicy aroma with a faint cedar aroma I pick up.
Wet Leaf: This tea had a warm and spicy aroma didn’t pick up the cedar smell really in the wet leaf.
Liquor: It was extremely pale almost clear.
Taste: This tea to me is light with a spicy kick to it. This tea’s spiciness got lighter and lighter with each steeping but it is the spice you pick up mostly with this tea.
My Score/ Over All Opinion: 90, I personally couldn’t compare this to anything. In my humble opinion this is in a league of it’s own. I was experimenting with this tea and found a little bit of raw honey just adds that touch of sweetness and works well with this tea in my humble opinion.

Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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5 tasting notes

A truly delicious tea! I used about 4 teaspoons with 1.5 cups of water for a medium-strong flavor, and resteeped 4 times before I had enough. There is a LOT of theanine in this tea, the sweetness of the theanine is apparent in the first few brews. The taste was slightly fruity, floral, earthy, and complex. It was not “toasty” tasting like I’ve come to expect from anything below black/puerh in the tea oxidation spectrum. This tea was very relaxing and I didn’t feel much caffeine. I’m glad to be an early adopter of this amazing tea variety.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec

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141 tasting notes

So this is also from the Great Canadian Travelling Tea Box. I consumed this yea on Oct. 1, 2013. This tea had me on the fence, as I felt I couldn’t fully grasp the flavor. I chose this as my second tea to try because it piqued my interest.

Dry Leaf: This was an interesting leaf, as it was something I had never seen before. It was little yellow-y, white buds that had a sweet scent.

Steeped: It was light in flavor and color, there was a really subtle taste of spices, but it was very subtle. And I got kind of an earthy feel from this tea.

Again, I will have to try this tea again at some point, but it was pretty interesting.

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92 tasting notes

Not my cup I am afraid… :( Like previously mentioned in the comments – the taste is weird and I cannot even classify this as tea tbh. More like herbs.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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13 tasting notes

it’s weird for me something that i don’t expected..
this don’t look likes tea and don’t taste like tea…
it’s not bad… maybe a little weird for me.
i think i have to taste it another time,
now that i know what is the falvor i wait to be in the mood for taste it.

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19 tasting notes

Using a gaiwan with this tea is one of the most amazing tea experiences. It starts off complicated, lots of spice, pine and wood notes with a hint of sweetness. By the end it is purely toasted marshmallow, one of the most amazing, perfect and natural progressions. The spice and pine slowly wear off and the sweetness gets more pronounced each time.

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121 tasting notes

This is the first tea I’ve up-rated for its ‘fun’ quotient! It’s a brain-tickler… normally I would not expect to enjoy this combo of flavors but they are mysteriously intriguing. I dislike clove but the first steep it was all about clove and licorice… but with a countervailing smoothness and sweetness that removed their edge and left the whole palate stunningly interested. Smooth, sweet and savory.

The last sip, by then cooled, was another stunner: caramel. Just this intense sweetness out of nowhere. What fun.

As Amanda ‘SoggyEnderman’ Wilson noted, it has a fragrance of basil, which is just another twist in the interesting profile. Maybe there’s a little juniper in the flavor, but I didn’t pick up the strong pine that characterized it for so many other fellow Steeps.

This tea is a great conversation piece, so a must-have for any tea tasting having the purpose of sampling a wide range of different tea personalities

The name “yabao” is a perfect psycho-onomatopoeia – what your thought ‘sounds’ like in your head when you taste this… like a flash-impact word in a superheroes comic book : bam! … yabao! ha!

Plus it’s fun how the buds puff up like little seaweed pillow-fingers in the Atlantic, if you know the ones I mean.

Thanks to Christina for the great trade!

Flavors: Caramel, Clove, Licorice, Marshmallow

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273 tasting notes

This is the second yabao that I’ve tried, the first being from Whispering Pines. These buds from Verdant are thinner and sharper, looking more like wild bamboo shoots, though the dry aroma of pine, rosemary, and dried grass is much the same and quite inviting. The difference that comes through when brewed is an additional, cinnamon-sugar aroma that is just a little spicy and sweet. It’s very unique, though the overall impression of the brew is still quite subtle, even more so than the WP version. Now I finally understand why Verdant had a blend called Yabao Snickerdoodle, because that’s exactly what this reminds me of!

Will play more with multiple infusions some other time, I feel like there’s more I could be getting out of it. I do find the part in the description about yabao being relatively obscure in China to be true, it’s a tea I have never seen in China or mentioned by anyone I know there, and there is relatively little information about it even online. It is something that I hope people will appreciate more in the coming years.

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644 tasting notes

This tastes like wood and hay. Sweet wood and hay though. xD Think I like normal Silver Needle better than this even. Oy. Not for me. :S

Flavors: Cedar, Hay, Sweet, Wood


I went and brewed some after seeing this note and remembering it was in my cupboard…but fortunately it turned out alright! (Or maybe I just like wood and hay…)


sounds like your tastes are similar to mine. Yabao is yuck…a lot of oolongs are yuck… haha

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