Xingyang Golden Leaf Shu Pu'er

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From Verdant Tea (Special)

Reserve Club – July

Since we recently highlighted Xingyang Workshop and their uniquely clean and sparkling pu’er through the Golden Buds Shu, we wanted to bring back one of the first teas we fell in love with. This well-aged Golden Leaf was packed in 2002, but picked as early as 1998, giving it time to develop intense complexity. The fun in trying older pu’er is that it is helpful as a guide to understanding the younger pu’ers. Once you see what age can bring out in a tea, tasting young teas becomes more fun. You can apply what you have tasted to imagine the changes that will occur over the years to every pu’er you drink.

The Xingyang is a true tea lover’s tea. It evokes the smells and feeling of being surrounded by books in an ancient library, yet it is not musty in a dirty way like many older pu’ers. The mustiness takes the mouthfeel of an enveloping vapor. The aftertaste is perfectly sweet and lingers for hours. As this tea steeps on. (30 or more steepings can easily be had) a bright vegetal taste emerges, which plays with the sweet aftertaste. The smell is deep, like wet ocean sand. Despite its age, this tea is incredibly accessible due to its sweet and sparkling taste.

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4 Tasting Notes

2188 tasting notes

Sipdown, 132. I have come to the realization that I’m just not that excited by puerhs, sheng or shu. So I’ve packed up my reserve club puerhs off to someone who will appreciate them better, or will pass them to someone else who will appreciate them. I did, however, save one gongfu-sessions’ worth of each tea to try, in order to continue my tea education.

The description of this tea says that it is a true tea lover’s tea, and talks about the mustiness of old books. Again I come across the conundrum of puerhs, in that they often encapsulate some of my favorite scents, but I don’t necessarily want to taste those scents. Musty books/libraries, old oak barrels, newly dried tobacco, piney woods, wet rock. I love those scents, and they all often show up in puerhs of different varieties. This one definitely has the old oak bourbon barrel thing going on.

It’s amazing how sweet the first couple of steeps are. It’s incongruous to me… The scent and initial taste of somewhat smoked wood, followed by the sweetness of candy. I think especially for shu I can see the appeal, especially because I like bourbon and some of the same notes run through this puerh. This is nice, I am enjoying it. I just don’t think I am ever going to crave a puerh or want to have a particular one more than once. Maybe one day I’ll find a puerh that I love enough to keep in my cupboard.


It’s good to explore! I don’t like oolongs but I keep trying…just incase lol


I’m still in the exploring pu-erhs stage. I’ve had some good and some very bad!


Yes, definitely! I will always keep exploring because I have learned that sometimes my tastes change randomly on me.

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1779 tasting notes

Thank you to Sil and Dinosara for letting me have a cup of this!

I steeped it western style and I am really enjoying it. It’s dark and earthy but much sweeter than I would have expected. I’ll try to steep it a few more times, but so far this is a definite winner!

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8269 tasting notes

gah steepster ate my note. to recap:

this one was from dinosara and terri… i had it yesterday and it was really nice. This is not a strong puerh – it’s light and refreshing and reminded me of drinking spring water, except with taste that was sweet and earthy and just downright calming.

Final Count Yesterday: 75 (though that will be going up again with some teas that Kitenna dropped off once i get another few moments to enter them)


Omg 75. You are my hero !


haha that number will be up again today, but hopefully not tooooo much

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1113 tasting notes

This tea was a generous gift from CrowKettle :)

I packed up a servings worth of leaf to take to work with me this morning without really researching the tea first. I’ve never seen shu leaf that looked quite like this, but I didn’t think much of it, and rushed off to work. I brewed up my first steep as soon as I got here, and then checked out the Steepster page for it. I had no idea that CrowKettle had sent me such a treasure! I’ve never had the opportunity to try a puerh tea this old! Apparently it can go for 30 steeps??? I will definitely have to find a way to transport my wet leaves home with me after work so I can continue the adventure :D

As per my usual style for shu, I’m steeping this one “Western-ish” which is somewhere in between Verdant’s recommendation for Western style brewing of this tea, and the Xingyang Workshop’s Recommendation.

I’ve never had anything quite like this one! I’m used to shu tasting very earthy and foresty. This one DOES taste like ancient books and wood. Yet somehow it is very sweet and CLEAN. I’m upset because the air is so dry here, my sinuses aren’t quite right today and I’m sure I’m not experiencing this taste and smell fully. (so glad I have enough leaf to try it a few more times!)

Immediately after tasting, Esme by Joanna Newsom was playing in my head, so I will be listening to her lovely harp music while drinking it ALL DAY today.

“I believe love will always surround you
Brave as a bear with a heart rare and true
But if you are scared, if you are blue
I have prepared this small song for you:

Sweet Esme! Sweet Esme!"

I’ll update on subsequent steeps of this tea today in the comments if I feel it necessary :)


I want to drink ancient books!


I would go Gongfu style ;)


Yeah, I definitely will next time, boychik. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! haha


pls update us. too bad this tea is not in stock

Terri HarpLady

First off, I love this tea, I hoard this tea. It is definitely a rare treat! I’m glad you’re getting to try it!

On a secondary note, Joanna Newsom! So unique, so fun. I was so thrilled when her music was used on a tv commercial :) There are harp players who have a disdain for her, especially her vocals. The Harp world is full of closed minded prima donnas, who view anything that isn’t classical as sacrilegious, much like the piano teacher of my youth. I’m grateful not to be one of them, & I consider Joanna to be wonderfully original. I love the heavy duty classical stuff, whether playing it or listening to it, but I also love jazz, rock, & pretty much everything else. As a songwriter myself, I love other harpists that are willing to take the untrod path, to find their own unique expression on this awesome instrument. I mean really, in my opinion, that is the true purpose of life, to find your own path & enjoy it, being as unique & creative as you can along the way! And loving people, of course, & drinking lots of tea, & savoring each moment!!


I wondered if you would notice my mentioning a fellow harp player today, Terri :)

I’m a big fan of Joanna! I generally love artists who use classical instruments but have a non-traditional pop or rock flavor to their music. And she is SO unique! Zoe Keating on cello is another artist in that vein who comes to mind :)


Terri, I always wondered if you liked Joanna’s music. :D

Terri HarpLady

I like almost everybody’s music!

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