Master Han's Shu Pu'er 2002

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Wet Wood, Clay, Fruity, Mud, Nuts, Sweet, Wet Earth, Earth, Metallic, Raisins, Berries, Olive Oil, Spices
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Edit tea info Last updated by Terri HarpLady
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 15 sec 7 g 8 oz / 228 ml

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23 Tasting Notes View all

  • “For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to...” Read full tasting note
    terri-harplady 3103 tasting notes
  • “This is so good, I really wish I got more when it was available. My stash is getting painfully smaller every time I drink it. If it comes in again, I’m getting more for sure. Aromatic,...” Read full tasting note
    Kamyria 125 tasting notes
  • “This is my first experience with puerh of any sort. After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed...” Read full tasting note
    caile 214 tasting notes
  • “Here we go. As always I start with shortest steeps possible like 5 sec and slowly increase the time. This shu is amazing. Clear amber color, leather smell but not strong. Very easy to drink. I...” Read full tasting note
    boychik 425 tasting notes

From Verdant Tea

Master Han, who wild-picks his tea in the depths of Mt Ailao National Forest Preserve as part of the Dongsa Farmer’s cooperative, is making some of the best pu’er in the world. His strict dedication to crafting each batch uniquely to the leaves picked leads him to innovate and bring out the best of his land. This is the first batch of shu pu’er he has produced, using aged leaves picked in 2002, then pressed in 2012. This technique leads to an extremely clean, rich and sweet shu pu’er that he is proud to share.

As the tea steeps, the steam wafts sweet raisin aromatics with mossy forest undertones.

The liquor is perfectly light and clear, with the green plantain and olive oil flavor distinctive to Master Han’s Black Tea and his Qianjiazhai shu pu’er. The tart notes in the tea are reminiscent of a blend of hibiscus, elderberry and rose. Herbaceous hints of coriander and fennel sneak into the aftertaste.

The musty and aged quality of this tea is so refined that it moves away from earthy and more towards the satisfying smell of old libraries. The more you sip, the more a camphor-like aftertaste and cooling sensation build up in the back of the throat. The aftertaste continues to build and get sweeter and juicier the more steepings you enjoy. It is exciting to see Master Han innovating and trying new things even when he has an established tradition of sheng pu’er. May future years bring more of this precious pu’er.

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23 Tasting Notes

1031 tasting notes

It’s cold and rainy here, and the list of my usual teas has been becoming boring lately for some reason…maybe the change in season? So I decided to try a new to me tea tonight! And I also wanted shu for the weather..but not the usual suspects lol. Something rich, something warm, rich, comforting! Also had another ridiculously busy day at work with more overtime hours (think I have maxed out my allowed banked hours for the year now) and my head has been hurting on and off today from the cold, rainy weather outside. So this one has to be tried!

A disclaimer – I had some garlicky pasta for dinner lol, so hopefully it doesn’t impair my tasting! Also am replacing the Brita filter and just cleaned the kettle, so this is made with tap water and hopefully not too vinegary water lol. I rinsed the kettle and reboiled it and threw that bunch of water out, so we should be good!

The dry smell is a bit musty, a bit earthy..not overly strong smelling, but definitely a shu pu-erh, in a good way! I did a 25s rinse (steeping Western style), and the leaves smelled a bit fishy still, so did a second 15s rinse and the wet leaves open up to this strong, woody scent! Heady! Mmm a wet forest, perfect for what I want tonight :D so the actual steep was for 30s, the liquor is fairly dark, and there is a smooth woody scent to the cup.

As for the flavor, yes, that darn garlic from my dinner is interfering a fair amount lol, but I can discern a light earthy flavor, not too strong, certainly not overpowering or fishy to me! There is a hint of that olive oil flavor I know from that awesome black tea that Master Han made, what was it…oh, Master Han’s Yunnan Black! Yes, that is definitely in there..but the earthy woodiness tones it down and mutes it. It is a bit musty, but in a good, damp wood way. And I detect a hint of sweetness somewhere in there, kind of in the middle of the sip to the end of it, maybe the fennel making an appearance. I also get a slight linen aftertaste for some reason, I like it, but maybe it’s the mustiness lingering.

Overall, this is tasty and warming. This is such a pure tea, it feels fresh and cozy simultaneously. It is exactly what I needed tonight – grounding, relaxing, comforting, just what I needed. Now I’m even more excited for my incoming Verdant order, which consists mostly of the new pu’erhs they just released! Now that I have experimented with more pu’erh, I am excited to get back to the ones from Verdant, previously the shu’s were a bit much for me with their bold flavors, but now I can appreciate them :)

Anyways, a tasty tea! Not sure how to rate it since the garlic is interfering, so rating subject to change :)

ETA – I resteeped this tea!! Landmark moment lol, I hardly ever resteep anything anymore. I am quite enjoying the calming sensation from this tea, and how it warms me fully, even my emotions. I would consider ordering this again just for the good vibes I get from it! :)

Flavors: Wet Wood

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2485 tasting notes

SSTTB: Pick #19

I’m pretty sure this is my first STRAIGHT Pu’Erh. I think I remembered all the steps tonight when making it, like doing a wash. It smelled pretty nice dry; very rich and earthy and maybe a little bit nutty. Steeping, it had an almost oily smell that I’ve come to associate with Pu’Erh in general.

Taste wise; yup this is definitely earthy! It reminded me of mud or clay – and if I told that to a non-tea drinker and even attempted to explain why that’s a good thing they’d probably just look at me like I was/am completely and totally nuts. Oh, and speaking of nuts I totally picked up on some nut notes in this, and a sort of natural sweetness that reminded me of fruit but in a semi nondescript way. And in regard to that oily smell from when it was steeping? Totally not present in that taste.

Yeah, this was pretty good! I’m glad the box gave me a chance to finally try a straight Pu’Erh! I was worried the lack of added flavour would some how make some ghastly flavour (fish, perhaps) stand out that has, at this point, been masked to me by added stuff. Not the case; this was awesome!

It’s very, very weird though to think that when this tea was harvested I was only seven though. Like, that’s really blowing my mind right now. So cool!

Oh, and Big Brother premiered tonight! I drank this cuppa lovely while watching it with Tre! We both, funnily enough, at this point have the same favourite houseguest. We’re totally team Donny!

Check him out here:

So far, he’s just PERFECT! So funny and genuine! And I think he’s gonna be so sweet and also a smart player! He’s my early on pick! Do me well Donny!

Flavors: Clay, Fruity, Mud, Nuts, Sweet, Wet Earth

Boiling 2 min, 30 sec 12 OZ / 354 ML

Oh no! Why did you tell me Big Brother started? I always get so sucked into that show, haha.

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1741 tasting notes

Thank you Sil for adding this in andd helping educate me on puerhs! (189)

The verdict? I like it! I gave it a short rinse, and steeped it for 2 minutes and the result is a nice earthy brew that pleasantly smooth and maybe even a little sweet? I’ll finish this cup, and try to resteep it later!

..just you wait…

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703 tasting notes

Yesterday I was hanging out with Master Han’s 2004 loose shu which I enjoyed but wasn;t wowed by. Today I’m trying out the 2002 to see if I can notice differences. Might help educate me a bit about my tastes and the different flavours and aromas.

I am using the small gaiwan again with boiling water, a ten second rinse and then combined the first two steeps (both 15 seconds) in my small koi cup. The aroma reminds me of mushrooms and damp earth – it poured a sea here so I am used to the wet earth! This isn’t as offensive as the initial aroma of the ‘04 I had yesterday. Taste-wise, this is not as sweet, it has some juiciness but isn’t as bright. This is more earthy and almost has a light coffee edge, without any defined bitterness.

Steeps 3 and 4 were combined in one cup again, each given 30 seconds to steep. I prefer the convenience of combining two steeps but I think I am losing flavour this way. I might try doing two steeps at a time but separate cups so I can just drink them in order. Anyway, this has a little more depth than the first round but the flavours are muddied. I think it’s because of the combo. Darn laziness. I think I’ll call the tasting note quits for now and just enjoy the rest.

At first, I preferred the sweetness of the ‘04 puerh but this one seems to have more depth and body. I can’t quite appreciate the nuances yet, but I did enjoy the tea. I definitely need to try this with each steep done individually. Tentative rating but I prefer the 04 to this for now. I have 2 ounces of this though (accidentally bought it twice) so I can try it many more times.


I sometimes combine quick steeps in the same cup just as you seem to do (unless another cup is handy).

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1248 tasting notes

This has sat here for a bit with me wanting to wait to drink it for whatever reason. Today, I grabbed it and just started making it… so I guess today is the day! Started with just a small chunk in a 12oz. cup, and then added the other/last chunk to it, because it was brewing up a bit too lightly for my liking with a pu-erh.

First steep, 3 min, 200F: fishy, earthy, creamy, something dried berry-ish, and a lingering taste that I can only describe as metallic in a good way.

A huge thank you to akgrowngirl for sharing this very precious tea with me.

Flavors: Earth, Metallic, Raisins

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
Sami Kelsh

Metallic and raisins sounds weirdly good!

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1480 tasting notes

I am in the middle of the other reviewers with my opinion of this one. The dry smell is kind of like musty fish. Verdant calls it raisin aromatics with forest moss undertones or something like that. I get fishy. The dry scent reminds me of a not so good puer I bought in a can some years back. I know the dry aroma is usually misleading so I carry on. Once steeped the wet leaf aroma is still a bit harsh to me but it adds dark notes like cocoa and bread or grain. The taste is old dusty book leather (Oooh I like that) and wheat – like the shredded cereal (I like that too). As it cools I do get some notes I will agree are raisin like. The aftertaste is nutty and fruity. Mid sip the flavor gets real pronounced but not harsh or bitter. All in all, I like this fine but it is not one of my favorite shu. If I change my opinion with more steeps I’ll update. Thanks Terri.


Yeah I try to make an effort not to inhale the aroma of shu. Sheng a different story, the aromas of it are very diverse compared to shu.


Yeah, given our descriptions of the smells it is a wonder any one new ever gives it a try. Almost never is the aroma anything like the taste.

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117 tasting notes

So I’ve been drinking mostly oolongs the past day or two, but I’ve got a six hour shift ahead of me and I was falling asleep, so I dug this puer sample out of my cupboard. Of course, I don’t know how (or just don’t bother?) to do it right so it’s probably a waste of this fancy verdant tea. But it was a free sample so technically it’s the cheapest tea in my cupboard. Anyway.

I broke off half the sample, rinsed it, sort of, threw it into a mug of boiling water just before rushing downstairs. It was a bit of a shock at first, because apparently I’d forgotten what puer tastes like.

It’s quite nice now, though. Tastes like dirt and wet wood in the nicest way. I’m getting a little of the raisiny taste people mentioned. It’s smoother than that other stuff I tried once. Wow, my tasting notes are so legit. I’m really tired tonight…

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