2003 Farmer's Cooperative (Mt. Banzhang) Wild Arbor Sheng

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Pu-erh Tea
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Marzipan, Smoke, Chestnut, Citrus, Creamy, Honey
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Edit tea info Last updated by Spoonvonstup
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205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 oz / 109 ml

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74 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I have to admit I’m somewhat new to the world of Pu-erhs. My first taste of Pu-ehr was the Kim Fung Brand. I knew when I bought it that it was going to be very different. I am now trying to...” Read full tasting note
  • “Today this tea is completely kicking my head in. After a good 18 steeps on the wang shu over the past day and a half, and today’s on again off again rainy day pattern, I wanted to take things to...” Read full tasting note
  • “Another Sipdown, from Sil. I drank the last of this from my cupboard awhile back, so it’s nice to find a sample in my collection of teas from Sil. This is a savory sheng, with strong...” Read full tasting note
  • “Woke up with a cup of Zhu Rong and now I’m a few cups into this and it’s really helping wake me up nicely. This is a nice, creamy, sweet and slightly smoky sheng. There are hints of spice and...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

Year: 2003

Dry Leaf: Very dark, large curled leaf, unbroken with longer stems. Loose hand-pressed ball of tea.

Aroma: Smoke of a campfire deep in a wet forest of redwood and eucalyptus after fresh rain.

Tea Color: Small floating down gives this Chardonnay color a darker opacity that turns orange in sunlight.

Taste through early steepings: Immediately creamy with a tingling sweetness like the finest spring Gyokuro. Assertive notes of toasted walnut and hazelnut linger in the throat. As this continues steeping, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom spice with mucovado brown sugar play across the palate.

Taste in middle to late steepings: The intriguing muscovado sweetness carries through even as the intense tingling texture subsides. The spice of early steepings slowly moves towards baked apple. Very late in steeping, the texture of licorice root comes through across the tongue accompanied by notes of malt and barley.

Steeped Leaf: Enormous dark green leaves that are thick and strong with abundant buds and long stems.


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74 Tasting Notes

6770 tasting notes

I’m very happy that Verdant told me to rinse twice :)
My first ‘real’ infusion – post rinses – was quite pleasant – but still full of natural flavor! The aroma wasn’t overwhelming and the taste was a bit nutty with a tad of sweetness for a pu-erh. There was a slight earth-green type taste in the background, too.

A very good Pu-erh!

More infusions coming soon…


I wish I knew about the rinsing process for this one, seeing as how I only did it once and got quite a bite out of it with my first sip. I’ll definitely try it again tomorrow!

Nathaniel Gruber

yes, this one can give quite the bite if not rinsed. it has a lot to offer though. great tea :)

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8874 tasting notes

Also drinking this one today…i think i’m trying to get through a couple puerhs as well as manage 9 sipdowns so that I’m in a great spot for next week where i won’t get the chance to really do much except drink 1-2 teas. My initial impression of this one is that i REALLY don’t like it. But this is just the first steeping. It’s almost too musty for me..or something. We’ll see what later steepings hold.

Edi: Additional steepings have improved my initial impressions of this one, but not enough for me to want to drink this again. Guess it’s just not up my alley.

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186 tasting notes

My first puerh from verdant… surely not my last.

I love the smell of the dry leaves, slightly bitter scent that should be present of a good Sheng with sweet undertone that I can’t really identify yet, maybe vanilla/caramel. The brew accentuates the scent of the Sheng, it almost made me think if would be bitter tasting but it is slightly bitter with an amazing creamy body, it becomes slightly fruity and musky like a cedar forest that just got rained on. The after taste is floral and fruity with freshness.

I love smelling my cup, the sweetness is more apparent and you can really smell the apple and caramel. The pepper is apparent right between the initial tasting and before the floral and fruity aftertaste appear. The aftertaste stays in the back of your throat for a while.

I haven’t been able to really taste the Hazelnut notes, that was a bit disappointing to me, since is one of the reasons I got this puerh. Non the less, this is a great puerh, it reminds me of the Aged Mao Cha (I think they are about the same age). It is well balanced with many notes/flavors that has nice bitterness, almost no astringency, balanced sweetness and freshness. I would recommend it and I bet it would be great to continue aging.


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144 tasting notes

I think this may be my first-ever straight pu’erh. If not, it’s at least my first sheng. Excited! The Verdant site says that this was picked in 2001, when I was 10… it’s strange to think about.

The dry leaves have a pleasant musty smell that makes me think of venturing into my grandparents’ basement when I was a kid. It’s almost eerie how spot-on it is.
I’m using my gaiwan and after two rinses, the leaves smell amazing. I tried really hard to think of words to describe it, but I can’t. You’re just gonna have to try it yourself, lol.

First steep – Definitely nutty, and there’s something spicy about it too. Something leather-like in the taste. I can’t help but feel calm with this tea. I feel a lot of stress slipping away while I drink it.
2nd – The texture is silky smooth and there’s a surprising sweet aftertaste! I actually did a double take. It takes longer to emerge on some sips.
3rd – The musty-ness is receding slightly and giving way to a clear, light kind of sweetness.
4th – The best steep yet. This is definitely a complex tea and probably one that I’m not really experienced enough to comment on yet… I feel like I’m trying to play a song on guitar and messing up all the notes. It’s amazing though!

I got up to around 12-14 steeps (I lost count). I want to try more pu’erhs after having this! Maybe after experiencing a few more I’ll be able to give better reviews.

Jim Marks

OMG, I was 10 in 1983…

Jim Marks

I got to try a shou from 1978 once. I’d love to find a pu-erh from my birth year as a 40th birthday present to myself next year.


You, by your unwillingness to say words without meaning, have said everything important about your experience with this Pu’er! (I was 10 in 1958) yikes! : (

Charles Thomas Draper

Sheng seem to go on forever….


Happy first sheng! You’re in for some fun now, I reckon.

(10 in ‘97)
If you find a nice pu’er picked this spring, you can pull it out in twenty years and say, “This was picked when I was 21. Can you imagine?”

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775 tasting notes

Smoke, wood, nuts, and burnt desert vegetation.. I think I may be more into puerh teas when the weather is not as nice and I want to transport myself into a place of dry heat. Although, this may have a place during the hot summer evenings too, cicadas abuzz. It’s dry but it’s also strangely refreshing and clean.

I did a really quick rinse and then steeped this western style today for an excessively long period of time (my gongfu is packed up for the move out tomorrow). I don’t think my methods hurt it today, and the more I sip away at this the more flavours I’m finding to fall in love with. There’s a lingering taste of sweet Nutella (roasted hazelnuts) that is freaking amazing. As it cools there is something spicy sweet like apple pie. Maybe I could drink this particular puerh all the time.

Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Terri HarpLady

I love this one!


Yes! I was looking for a staple puerh and I think this may be it. I just need to save up all my pennies now. :)

What’s your best prep for this?


Someone wanted to make a Verdant order soon. All I want is the chai spice blend, check the spreadsheet! :)

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314 tasting notes

Staring the New Year off with some serious tea! ;)

Soft mint and licorice-like aroma…slight notes of cardamom. At first sip, the flavor is like fresh moss and mushrooms. Hints of bark and sap. More sips..loamy-clay, black licorice, pine…and more mushrooms. There is a “baked” quality to this which I find very comforting—baked in a savory way—like a favorite quiche or casserole. And the back of my tongue feels slightly numb—may be the combination of the heat and the tea’s latent astringency.

Overall, this has been a very restorative, calming cup. And a wonderful start for this new day and new year. :)

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Nathaniel Gruber

i get that slightly numbing effect from this tea as well. :) love it.


Great notes- you’re picking out some really wonderful things!

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658 tasting notes

I was so thrilled to receive my first tea of the month package from Verdant yesterday! I had a long day and night of studying and these teas kept me company. I am terrible at keeping count of how many infusions I’ve got out of the tea. I just keep going as long as I’m enjoying it. I think this must have been in the range of 15-20.

I’m quite inexperienced with puerhs and they are overwhelming and frightening still. But, I managed to enjoy this one rather than just thinking “yep, that’s puerh” at least part of the time (especially in later infusions). I brewed this in my gaiwan and, I think, used too much leaf. It was a touch bitter through the first several infusions. I also think I will take up the suggestion of two rinses next time.

Otherwise, this was quite smooth and had a touch of sweetness. I definitely found it nutty, maybe a little woody, and smokey but not in the way smoked teas are. More in relation to whatever woodiness I mentioned. Very complex, and full of flavours I don’t think I’m able to grasp yet!

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20 tasting notes

Yay! I was so very excited to receive this order a few days ago from Verdant. After reading what seems like volumes of reviews and snippets around the web, I was finally going to try my first Pu’er! Now enough blabbering, it’s time to set the tone..

Mid-mornings in Colorado during this time of year are very centering in and of themselves. Warm sunlight that basks without baking and the slightest of constant breezes are enough to turn my feet into lead when I am sitting on the back porch facing the front range of the Rockies. It was on just the right kind of in-between sort of morning that I came to know my first Pu’er.

Measuring 2.6g into the glass gaiwan, I let a rinse course through the leaves twice. 4 seconds and zero breaths later I sat holding a cup of the lightest of amber colored odysseys. And then it began.

The first steep coated my mouth in ambience, it was an overture of something indefinable. By the second, there was a sparkling tingle that held what I can only describe as a memory of a vanilla wafer. Not the taste itself, mind you, but the way your mind creates a flavor when you think back on having tasted something. The third, fourth, and fifth took the memory and made it real. A taste that matches what cedar planks smell of continued to build just behind the vanilla and overtook it by the sixth, as the vanilla wafer retracted into a wider sweetness that lost any defining characteristic but presented most openly on the exhale. Seven through ten were muddled in my mind as my thoughts strayed from concentration on what I was drinking to chasing fleeting ruminations on the patchy cloud patterns and a passing squirrel. Strange how this cup makes it both incredibly easy and incredibly hard to focus!

If this is what I can expect from Pu’er going forward, I believe I will have to examine it in a far different light from other teas. No rating on this one though – seems like bad form to rate the first.

EDIT After trying several others and gaining even just a small amount of perspective, it doesn’t seem fair to Verdant not to rate this one as it really is worth your consideration!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Thanks for the mental sensory journey. Awesome!


Living here also I could envision that view of the Frontrange and the sparkle of the sun this time of year! The tea experience, well expressed. Funny thing about Pu’er is that every one is a different window. It may be a cookie or a forest or cool mint, cake, cedar or shitaki mushrooms! Glad this was a fine tasting!

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250 tasting notes

Backlogging from yesterday. The tea was sweeter than I remember, but it still tastes less refined than other aged shengs. Of course, that’s the charm of this tea: It has unique and complex flavors that really make this tea memorable. I only got four infusions out of it because of time constraints, but they were all excellent, with the favor mellowing, yet getting progressively more complex. I’m really gonna miss i=this tea when I finish the sample…

Boiling 2 min, 45 sec
Jim Marks

One would (might?) hope that a “wild arbor” leaf would be less refined than a garden leaf.

Joshua Smith

I agree with you, but the point is that this is the quality that I like the most about the tea. This tea is a pleasant contrast from my Japanese greens and Indian blacks because of it is a bit rough around the edges.

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773 tasting notes

when i brewed this i was like, it’s totally orange. neato.
not like my super bazonkers fave or anything, but the leaves are fun to look at and it tastes nice.
i stayed up too late so i am super drinking tea and barely thinking about it.
you get what you get.

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