Spiced Elderberry Pu’er

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Pu-erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
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205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 45 sec

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15 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I can’t believe that it’s only been a few months since I reviewed this pu’er blend the first time. It seems like ages. Maybe there is some time warp when you’re a tea drinker (I swear I’m getting...” Read full tasting note
  • “okay I got a slew of new stuff from Verdant, pretty soon I’ll have tried every tea in their entire line… lol I like pu-erh tea but I also like pu-erh blends, especially with fruit so I thought I’d...” Read full tasting note
  • “What a lovely chai! First steep was WAY too strong for me. All ginger, nothing else. But then I oversteeped, being at work and all. Boo!! Second steep is more balanced, and actually allows the...” Read full tasting note
  • “When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal. Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

Orange and pu’er are a classic and predictable combination. In honor of the deep berry complexity of the 2008 Xingyang nuggets that we used as the base, this tea has dark sweet elderberry, a touch of orange peel, flowery hot galangal, and spicy ginger. Together, the result is a tea that is thick and complex, but still tastes like it could be straight up pu’er. The berries and spices only bring out the natural qualities that high end pu’er already has.

Ingredients: 2008 Xinyang nuggets shou pu’er, elderberry, orange peel, galangal, ginger

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15 Tasting Notes

676 tasting notes

I can’t believe that it’s only been a few months since I reviewed this pu’er blend the first time. It seems like ages. Maybe there is some time warp when you’re a tea drinker (I swear I’m getting younger and I’ve also lost 20 lb’s in the last 3 months).

This week I turn 64. Yes. Those birthdays keep a-comin…year after year and there’s nothing you can do about it. The good thing about being 64 is that you don’t have to worry about your looks anymore and I don’t have to go out and get a job or worry about getting pregnant. I can say what I want and stay up late and sleep in. Not bad. So, my daughter Annalisa took me to an Eritrean dinner (a fundraiser for African Charities) at her church last night and we had a great time…I dressed in my Eritrean dress and I danced and had fresh roasted coffee. (Ethiopians and Eritreans roast and serve coffee in a ceremony that is closer to a tea ceremony and can last all day).
Here’s a photo of Annalisa and I http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabilitea/7243230384/
and the coffee…http://www.flickr.com/photos/disabilitea/7243230558/

So this morning I was sore! My legs hurt from dancing just a bit because of my fibromyalgia but it was worth it. You’ve got to live!
I really wanted a shot of good Pu’er with a wake up kick. I hadn’t had this Spiced Elderberry Pu’er is months and it sounded just right for soothing the after effects of spicy lamb, chicken, greens and injera bread from last night. I was so right!
How soothing the ginger and elderberry would be. Now that I’ve tasted several of the alchemy blends from Verdant, I delight in the restraint used when creating each blend. There is caution used so that no one herb or spice overwhelms another. This blend is warming and sweet while comforting to my stomach (a good thing) because of the mellow Pu’er. Um, this is a blend that I should be drinking more often (making that note to self).


So what day is your bday? Mine is the 28th! Happy early bday to you!


23rd…Happy Birthday to you!

Invader Zim

It looks like you had a good time Bonnie! Hope you both have a happy birthday, many blessings.


Thank you Invader also!


Happy Birthday to both Azzrian and Bonnie!


You two look amazing!! I love your outfit, it is stunning!
and I second the birthday wishes to Azzrian and Bonnie!!


I LOVE that outfit! You look great! Happy birthday to you both. May the coming year be full of goodness, joy, content,ent, and peace!


Shucks! Thanks young peeples!


Happy Birthday Bonnie – you look great! :)


Happy Birthday! (you too Azzrian!) Hope you are able to enjoy it with the family!


Cheers! Party at my house …wait, Jason has whiskey and cigars …but I have a pool and no kids and wine ….then there’s that 109 containers of tea stuff …nah!

Dylan Oxford

Happy almost birthday ;)


; ) ; ) (Unless you guys were winking at each other)


Happy Early birthday! : ) I hope you had an amazing time! You look great in the Eritrean dress!

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2816 tasting notes

okay I got a slew of new stuff from Verdant, pretty soon I’ll have tried every tea in their entire line… lol

I like pu-erh tea but I also like pu-erh blends, especially with fruit so I thought I’d check this one out. I steeped this one in my infuser mug at around 200F for 3 minutes.

This is really nice! It has many layers of intriguing flavor. The pu-erh is dark and earthy, the orange and elderberry are tart and fruity, and the ginger and galangal add a nice spicy kick. This will definitely warm you up. With the first steep I felt like the ginger really overpowers the cup but I didn’t mind as I really like ginger.

On the second steep the spiciness is starting to retreat and the pu-erh is coming out a lot more. I couldn’t help myself, I had to try it with soymilk. Yummy! Definitely check this out if you’re an adventurous sort of person that likes spices and fruit…

200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 30 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

You know I am not one for flavored tea but this one has me intrigued….


Maybe you can ask for a sample of it next time you order something. :)


How is it flavored?


Charles just likes his teas straight, without any fruit, herbs or other stuff added in. :)


Sounds delicious!

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1759 tasting notes

What a lovely chai!
First steep was WAY too strong for me. All ginger, nothing else. But then I oversteeped, being at work and all. Boo!!
Second steep is more balanced, and actually allows the Pu-er and orange to peek out. Rindy. Yum!
It’s nice and warming, and spicy. Not getting any berry yet, maybe that will happen in my third cup :)
Overall, this reminds me of DTs ginger puer, only this is far more complex and yummy!
Mucho thanks to the lovely Azzrian for this cuppa.
Rating: High eigties/low nineties. Not sure exactly where just yet!


In the back of my head I keep hearing the comedy line “…and your mother smells like elderberries.” Was that Monty Python?


Your so welcome Indigobloom! :)

Terri HarpLady

Is this one of last winter’s blends? It sounds like it would be right up my alley


Gmathis, good call… here’s the clip! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3I5XcsReT0
Azzrian- you da best chicky!!
Terri Harp Lady- I wish I knew so I could tell you…

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6005 tasting notes

When I pulled the brew basket out of the water, I smelled such an interesting aroma. Definitely reminded of thai food, which is probably the ginger/galangal.

Although I rinsed it kinda twice, I just ran water through the infuser basket, and am not sure this is appropriate. I still haven’t looked up how to rinse a tea properly. Anyhow, I’m getting a bit of a fishy smell from it. Which oddly works with the ginger/galangal, but is weird to smell from tea. Hopefully I haven’t ruined it by a lack of rinsing!

Tasty and spicy, I can taste both the ginger and galangal, but neither is overwhelming – I have to say that this is probably the best use of ginger in a tea I’ve ever encountered. There’s also a berry note, which must be elderberry. A lingering savoury flavour remains on the tongue after one swallows, which is quite nice. I can’t pick out the pu’er in here, but it’s obviously tying everything together. Once I have a better idea of what straight pu’er tastes like I might be able to say a bit more as to that aspect.

Overall, I’m finding this to be a very savoury, interesting tea. The spicing is very well done, with everything blending together perfectly and nothing sticking out or overwhelming the rest. Definitely would help with a craving for thai food, imo. Probably not something I’ll keep in stock, but a fabulous tea to have tried!

ETA: Second infusion (same parameters): A little weaker perhaps, but the spices are all present and I can pick up the pu’er now (possibly because of a bit of an oversteep – it may have had more like 3.5-4 minutes as I got confused when the timer went off and thought I had water in the microwave… yeaahhhh). Still smells a little fishy, but it doesn’t carry over to the flavour. Just makes me think of fish sauce here though (as I said above, it works with this flavour combo).

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

It never occurred to me to rinse an alchemy blend. I Don ‘t rinse that type. It tastes pretty good as a latte and iced also. You’re right about having this with Thai food! Really good!


I only rinsed it because the instructions on the Verdant website told me to :) I was dicey about it though, and maybe won’t try it next time. Is it bad to not rinse pu’er? Health-wise, I mean. I understand that at least part of the purpose is to “awaken” the tea.

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525 tasting notes

This is quite tasty! I had it a few days ago so I can’t describe in detail, but I enjoyed the ginger and puerh combination. Very warm and sweet and comforting. Like an internal hug. It was also quite caffeine-y. I think I’ll save the rest for a cold day. :)

Thanks for this kittenna!

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138 tasting notes

This is a great blend and a great intro to pu’er if you don’t want to dive head first into the world of pu’er. I am not a huge pu’er fan, but I have been trying to get more into them. It seems that verdant’s pu’ers are the only ones that I like. I have already purchased more of the Diyi Cornfields Shu that I got from Steepster Select, and I wanted to look at the other pu’ers that they had to offer. I told myself that while the descriptions of them were enticing I thought I should look more into the Alchemy Blended pu’ers to start off with.

It was hard to choose between this one and the Chrysanthemum Pu’er, but the word “spiced” tipped me over to this one. Me being a chai lover I had to try this one first.
The dry leaf smells amazing. No mustiness that has stopped me before, but pure spice. I put two nuggets and 2 teaspoons of the spices. Did a quick rinse and brewed it for 5 mins. The wet leaf was so sweet and spicy smelling that I almost forgot that it was pu’er. The first sip was smooth and clean. Clean dirt with ginger and orange. I could not make out much of the elderberry, but the galangal was in the background.

Very nice Verdant:)

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec

You drank so much tea yesterday!

Have you tried the Peacock Village yet? If you liked this blend, I have a feeling you’ll really enjoy the new shu. It has everything in this blend, plus some more complexity..naturally. It’s pretty cool.


Yeah it was my day off. Plus I had a whole season of white collar to watch..lol. I have not tried the Peacock village, but I did buy Xingyang 1998 Golden Leaf Pu’er, and I have the Artisan Revival Stone-Pressed Banzhang Sheng. I might get it in the future, but right now I’m going through the green,blends,blacks, and blends. David gave me a sample of the yunnan jasmine white tea. It was also very good. So I have almost tried everything.
I actually drank more then what I posted. I just did not write a tea note on all of the teas.

David Duckler

Thanks! I am glad that you are digging the pu’er. This one is great for the colder weather setting in here in Minnesota. Spoonvonstup has a great palate- @Spoonvonstup- the memory of teh Peacock Village pu’er, or tatsing it for the first time is what inspired this blend. The spices used are menat to bolster the pu’er, and respect the flavors that it has- elderberry, citrus, and spice, are common in really good pu’er, and I wanted to bring them to the forefront here. Feel free to ask for a sample of the Peacock village next time you order.

By the way- you did an impressive day of tasting there! It sounds like you too are blessed with a tolerance to caffeine that so many people wish they had when I conduct tastings.


I am going to put in my next order on Friday. Since we can ask for one tasting I have been eyeing that Songyang White. The last orders I have left it up to Verdant, but I may have to request that one.

By the way…where do we request that?

David Duckler

Hi BTVSGal. You can either leave a sample request in the instructions to merchant field, or send a message via email or our contact form after you order, and I will be sure that you get whatever you request. The Songyang is a very fun one- different from any white tea I have tried, and much greener. Happy tasting,

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1473 tasting notes

Oh my goodness. I meant to request a sample of this but forgot to email before the package was shipped, boo. Imagine my happiness when I opened the box to find a sample of it included anyway! Yay!! Squee!!!!

I had a rough afternoon, and my wonderful wife made a pot of tea for us to split. it was this little gem and I fell in love. Ordering more tonight. So much love. It was just juicy and gingery and a lovely cuppa. And when I came back to my computer, I found a message from a dear, dear friend who I hadn’t talked to in a year! My day perked right up, in part to this lovely tea.

The DJBooth

Elderberry? I’ve never had that in a pu-erh…I have had an elderberrh oolong that i thought wad so so. You have intrigued me with this one.


DJ – It’s good, you should try it… :)

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300 tasting notes

So this blend was at the top of my wish list and when I heard it was being discontinued I had to pounce and order all the other blends for good measure. Elderberry intrigues me and while I believe I’ve had it’s root in some medicinal tinsanes, I don’t think I’ve really experienced its flavor before. I was a bit unprepared for the intensity of the spice notes though. Again I don’t think I have much experience with ganghal and while I love me some ginger, for some reason I was imagining clove. The smell of the dry tea is potent and did nearly make me sneeze. The husband was actually standing next to me in the kitchen when I opened it and based on the expression on my face, he declined the offer to sniff. I inhaled again more carefully this time and found it to be rich, exotic, culinary and comforting.

I probably brewed this different than most, choosing short steeps in hopes of getting the most out of the pu’erh. The first infusion was the most spicy and I could barely make out the elderberry or pu’erh. I probably would have been happier treating this as a rinse, however I think I would have loved it as a fall/winter blend, just not what I was expecting from this one. The second infusion still carried quite a bit of heat but notes of dark tart and swee berry started coming through with a bit of earthy pu’erh. The third was probably my favorite, a nice balance of all three elements and with a nice mustyness that carried over into the fourth infusion as well.

I didn’t get to spend as much time with this tea as I would have liked, it being Father’s Day and all (brewed up the husband a cuppa Scottish Breakfast in the morning). However I look forward to experiencing this western style, maybe with a quick rinse to lessen the spice. More than anything though I want to try the 2008 nuggets this is based on and see if I can find some of these notes in it, which I suppose is the point. Really should have ordered it at the same time.

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30 tasting notes

I wanted to meditate today on the idea of blending teas. You can probably tell from the Verdant website that we love straight up tea with a passion. So what’s with the blends? I see a lot of back and forth about blending in general on the forums here and elsewhere. Some people find it to be fun and interesting to try blends, looking forward to the additional flavor dimensions, while others feel that it distracts from the subtlety of the base tea.

For me, a blend is a commentary, a literary criticism, an essay, on the tea I am using as a base. The tea is the theme of the essay, the main thesis statement. The spices, herbs and flowers are all supporting paragraphs. A good essay will hash out all the possibilities of the thesis in several paragraphs before returning to the theme with a new understanding. For me, a good blend will use things like elderberry or galangal to help clarify the taste of the tea.

When I drink Xingyang Nuggets, I taste the dark sweetness of elderberry and the slight floral spice of galangal already. They are there in the tea. By adding the spices, I am giving those hazy feelings a place to “crystallize” and make themselves known. A blend for me is always going to be exploring and pushing the basic flavors of a straight up tea with the goal of helping the taster come to a new understanding of what the base tea has to offer.

For that reason, it is sometimes especially fun to try a tea by itself, and then try one of the blends and see how the flavors relate. This also means that every time I drink a base tea on its own and taste a new flavor it gives me new ideas for blending.

Hopefully this makes sense. There are a lot of reasons to drink straight up tea and a lot of reasons to drink blended tea. This is just one perspective that I have been thinking about a lot recently that has been guiding my “play” with new blending.

Best Wishes!


Love hearing about this!

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267 tasting notes

The description, which states that in many ways this could be a straight up pu’ehr, is totally spot-on. The flavoring is really subtle, and don’t let the elderberry scare you away if you’re a bit wary of berries in tea, as I am. The berry is certainly as mild as the other flavor components- yay, no kool-aid taste. This seems to be a decent pu’ehr, and the flavoring softens it a bit, and sweetens it too.

Second steeping is actually even less flavored and more straight pu’ehr.

I’m so into flavored pu-ehrs lately… open to anyone who wants to swap me one of these for just about anything.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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