Silver Buds Yabao

Tea type
Pu-erh White Blend
Not available
Apricot, Cardamon, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Marshmallow, Mineral, Nutmeg, Oats, Peach, Pine, Plums, Straw, Drying, Fruity, Grain, Hay, Hot hay, Nectar, Sweet, Wood, Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream, Frosting, Vanilla, White Chocolate, Bamboo, Fennel, Melon, Cucumber, Honey, Honeydew, Ginger, Smooth, Spicy, Licorice, Spices, Autumn Leaf Pile, Mushrooms, Brown Sugar
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Edit tea info Last updated by David Duckler
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 45 sec 8 g 5 oz / 138 ml

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108 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Everytime I drink this, the flavor automatically just seems SO familiar. It’s a cooked breakfast cereal: Cream of wheat, or maybe steel cut oats, cooked overnight in the crockpot. There is a pool...” Read full tasting note
  • “I have a terrible track record for this tea. I think I am under-leafing and under-steeping it because it’s mostly just water. It’s such a pretty tea to waste. I steeped it a second time for 10...” Read full tasting note
  • “I have been playing around with this tea to figure out the best way to steep it. Definitely more leaves and more time if you want a richer cup. I iced some buds a few days ago and have been french...” Read full tasting note
  • “Cold steeped over night in the French press (to keep the buds in the water) in the fridge. The result is much more profound than the hot steepings have been. There is a long, mouth sticking...” Read full tasting note

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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108 Tasting Notes

25 tasting notes

I’ve made some progress with gongfu, and finally discovered what is meant by “sweet aftertaste”. So, I thought I’d give this one a try, and I happened to have some lying around. I remember not liking it, before. It had no flavor, but seemed to smell nice. Today, I decided to use a full 7 grams to 4 oz ratio, and a long 45 sec steep. Turns out, this helps dramatically. Spicy notes were in the aroma. But, there’s also a sweet white chocolate, and slight butterscotch note, as well. They are also very present in the taste, even though the spice notes are absent. Mouth-feel is creamy smooth. There’s also a sort of taste that reminds me of the corn meal coating around the corn dogs at the Fair. Sweet, and buttery. It’s ironic that this tasting would coincide with fair season, where I live. Although, I wasn’t even thinking about it at the time. I’m also noticing a caramel flavor, which reminds me of Autumn candy. The white chocolate part is my favorite aspect to this tea. It’s also a little bit like cake frosting. The taste is very subtle, and I would only recommend this tea to an experienced taster. It’s rather unique, and certainly adds a completely new experience to be discovered for those who appreciate such things.

Edit: Aha! I knew I recognized that sweetness… It’s definitely like Blue Agave nectar!

Flavors: Butterscotch, Caramel, Cream, Frosting, Marshmallow, Pine, Plums, Vanilla, White Chocolate

Boiling 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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27 tasting notes

I’ve been dating SBY for a while now and am now committed to a permanent relationship. It has taken me a while to write a review, as this charmer is quite the chameleon. The flavor profile changes dramatically over the successive steepings, as well as through the temperature changes during each steeping. Early steeps are quite spicy, becoming more fresh, sweet and subtle over time. I orders 2 packages and am aging one and drinking the other. I’ve also ordered these intriguing buds from another company for comparison. I love this enigmatic generous tea.

Flavors: Bamboo, Cardamon, Cedar, Cinnamon, Fennel, Melon

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1 tasting notes

I was very intrigued by this tea because I had never seen it before. According to Verdant Tea’s website it states that this tea is unlike others in the sense that it does not come from the plant camellia sinensis which all tea comes from and then goes through an oxidation process but rather are buds picked from ancient tree’s in the winter in China. Sounds dreamy and romantic, right? So of course I bought some from their moving away sale. Opened the bag and instantly got the smell of fresh cucumbers. So far, I’m still tring to figure out the right ratio. I’ve only brewed it in a gaiwan. The first time I did 5 grams of tea with boiling water. I don’t have a tea kettle that controls water temp just yet so I’m not sure if that matters for this brewing. The flavor was incredibly light. Once the tea cooled their was a faint taste honeydew. I then changed the ration to 10 grams of tea and got a lot more flavor out of it once it cooled down! The honeydew was there with a nice hint of honey that sticked to the tongue a little. I can see in other reviews people said to cold brew it-I will try that soon because the flavor enhanced the more it cooled. Would also be curious to age this myself and see where that goes. Besides being tasty and unique it also is a gorgeous looking tea!

Flavors: Cucumber, Honey, Honeydew

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 10 g 3 OZ / 103 ML

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14 tasting notes

I could never place this tea in a flavor category but I know when I taste it, it just feels great to swish around my mouth. It’s spicy but also tender, the body has a slick thickness to it that I really enjoy and with just a little bit of honey it tastes totally different. I also love how you can make a cocktail out of this tea with a little bit of gin. Definitely something I will be coming back to again and again.

Flavors: Ginger, Smooth, Spicy

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec 2 tsp 5 OZ / 150 ML

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882 tasting notes

Got a nice box full of new teas to try! This one was in it and I really wanted to try it. Steeping it gong fu style. The aria of the wet leaves is amazing. It’s sweet and spicy with pine and herb notes. The first steep kind of tastes like lightly sugared warm water. The second steep has a nice piney spice with a touch of sweetness. There is almost a soft ginger taste to it. The third steep lost a little of the spice and is turning a bit sweeter. I think I may have under leafed. Next time I will try adding a little more :)

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150 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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334 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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726 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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156 tasting notes

Received in a swap with BrewTEAlly Sweet forever ago!

Oh my goodness, this tea was unexpectedly delicious. I’ve never had a yabao and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I used pre-boil water and steeped for just under 2 1/2 minutes. The tea liquor is very, very pale—almost clear. The aroma is like spice and wood. A sharp smell, but very woodsy. I’m sipping right now…it’s cedar and wood on the front end with a spicy undertone. It’s fresh and clean, like air in the forest, or on a mountainside. There’s a hint of fruitiness that’s like peach or honeydew. At the end of each sip it develops a very sweet, marshmallow flavor. It coats your mouth with syrupy sweetness and it’s SO refreshing. It really packs a wallop for such a pale, modest-looking tea. It looks like it will be going strong for a while, too…if what everyone says is correct! I’m excited. I’ll definitely be sipping on this one for the rest of the day. It’s great. (:

Flavors: Cedar, Honeydew, Marshmallow, Peach, Smooth, Spices, Sweet, Wood

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755 tasting notes


Did a cold steep of this last night, and OMG YUCK! I tried to drink it but ultimately tossed it out. I think this was better hot. I think it was too mushroomy for me cold steeped.

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