Qianjiazhai Old Growth 2012 Sheng

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Pu-erh Tea
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Forest Floor, Olives, Orange, Orchid, Flowers, Potato
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Edit tea info Last updated by BoxerMama
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 6 oz / 177 ml

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21 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I haven’t had sheng in quite a while, and it definitely was calling out to me today, so I’m having a gongfu session with this amazing tea. I’m debating ordering a few more shengs during verdant’s...” Read full tasting note
  • “Master Han has a couple of new Puers that Verdant recently added to the webpage, including another Sheng. I’m curious to see how it will differ from this one, & it’s coming in the TOMC box, so...” Read full tasting note
  • “Sooo…Shengs are part of my tea no man’s land, having tried just a couple I have very few references when it comes to write a review… I always envy those of you who seem so taken by it (Charles, if...” Read full tasting note
  • “Mmm… This is so incredibly good. I already liked it the first time I tried it but I over-steeped it then. Today I did things the right way and this tea is simply delicious. I used 7g tea in about...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

Master Han picks wild tea trees in the Qianjiazhai region of the Mount Ailao National Forest Preserve, Yunnan. He takes the utmost care to “let the leaves speak,” pressing each batch of leaves differently to bring out their best, either as a looseleaf sheng, a black tea or a pressed cake or ball of tea.

He works his own land, but is part of the Dongsa farmers cooperative. The cooperative does not pool tea for bulk selling, but rather invests in equipment together so that each farmer can produce their own distinct products with a greater degree of ownership. This pu’er cake was made using Master Han’s leaf, but the cooperative kicked in for one pu’er cake wrapper and a pu’er press that everyone can share.

This loosely compressed cake of sheng has yielded deep complexity that brings out the richness that Master Han’s land has to offer. The initial aroma is of strong elderberry tea with woody undertones and a distinctly potent and energizing edge.

The early steepings are sweet like holy basil, and spicy like green plantain. The taste is so smooth it could easily be a dancong infusion instead of a young sheng pu’er. After the first light steepings a rich and addictive savory flavor begins to develop with the edge of a fine aged parmesan tempered with balsamic vinegar. This edge opens and rounds out into a buttery potato flavor with herbaceous banana leaf notes.

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21 Tasting Notes

1186 tasting notes

I haven’t had sheng in quite a while, and it definitely was calling out to me today, so I’m having a gongfu session with this amazing tea. I’m debating ordering a few more shengs during verdant’s cyber Monday sale, and eventually want to try mandala, but I really do not need more teas at the moment lol. But we will see :) anyways, this is sweet and pure today. So much honey! I love how this one changes, I will continue to enjoy quite a few more steepings this afternoon. See previous notes :)


I really, really, adore this one! The leaves keep on giving…


Agreed, it lasts so long, with so many flavors! Such a wonderful tea!

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3294 tasting notes

Master Han has a couple of new Puers that Verdant recently added to the webpage, including another Sheng. I’m curious to see how it will differ from this one, & it’s coming in the TOMC box, so I’ll get to find out! I’m hoping my TOMC will arrive by next monday, as I’m leaving town Tues AM, flying down to Orlando area (Apopka) to visit my Mom & Dad for a week. I still need to figure out which teas I’m bringing!

This one came in the TOMC box in March, along with Master Han’s Wild Picked Yunnan Black, and Xingyang’s Golden Buds 2010 Shu. Some months of the TOMC interest me more than others, but that was a particularly nice month!

This tea starts out lemony, with a tangy green-ness of a fresh peppery olive oil. It maintains some tartness as it leans towards a sweet grapey fruitiness, & in the later steepings it reminds me of Kolkannon, an Irish dish of potatoes & Kale, in this case drizzled with a bit of olive oil & a pinch of salt.


oooooh i want some!


I can’t wait to see some reviews o n the new pu Verdant has up. I am considering getting a cake of the 2912 sheng under the assumption that I can age it if I don’t like it and keep trying it. Anything to justify more tea, right? :)

Terri HarpLady

Right! I’m glad they are including it in the TOMC this month, so I can try it first!

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359 tasting notes

Sooo…Shengs are part of my tea no man’s land, having tried just a couple I have very few references when it comes to write a review… I always envy those of you who seem so taken by it (Charles, if you read this, you know I’m thinking of you!)

Following up on my resolution of drinking special teas at non special times, I reached for my special box tonight and fetched this one out.

I’m using 7g and a gaiwan.

Dry, it smells so strongly of spices and raisins, one would think it’s a flavoured blend!

I’m thinking, this will render a similar taste, but not at all! I wont describe each steep as I rarely do, but I’m on the 4th right now and I’m just in awe…

I can already tell this is not a tea that will appeal to everyone though. It has lots of bite and astringency. Loving these characteristics, it’s tailor made for my likings.

I visited an olive oil shop a few months ago in Montréal. They make you sample the oils the way you would for wine at a winery. You get to experience all the subtleties this fruit of the gods has to offer.

This Sheng reminds me of a peppery olive oil I bought.

First, the bite tickles your tongue and your mouth is filled with a nice fresh citrusy and woodsy feeling. Then emerges a round coating sensation that balances everything out.

Now, I know this is a young Sheng, and I have yet to experiment a lot more in order to make up my mind and see if Sheng is a new found passion, but I have this cute yixing pot I’ve been saving for I don’t know what. I have a feeling it will be dedicated to Sheng in a very near future…

Sorry for those seeking a more specific tasting note, but as this happens very often when I come across something new that blows my mind, I can’t give much more as a taste description. This is what I classify as a «feel tea», it gives me clarity and makes me see colours…

As I’m on a leave of absence from work for at least a month, I might start painting again. Haven’t done that in years, and I realize my creativity has been put to rest for way too long…

Thank you Verdant for that.

Terri HarpLady

I vote yes for painting! Let that Chaqi flow through your brush onto the canvas!
There’s a shop a few minutes from my house that sells oils, vinegars, etc called Vom Fass. They’ve got maybe a dozen or so olive oils, ranging from buttery to peppery, & it’s the same way. You can stand there sampling things all afternoon, & they have the best balsamic vinegar I’ve every tried, the real deal. It’s sweet & thick & amazing!


Hahaha! I have a feeling the ChaQi will create a rainbow splatter on that canvas :-)
That’s exactly how my shop made me feel, the name is Olive & Olives and they carry the balsamic too! They have walls full of different bottles and they sell online, but going there is so much fun, I don’t mind the 45min drive!

Charles Thomas Draper

Welcome to the world of Sheng. A very mystical brew if I might say so myself….


Oh, I’d say you may say so yourself :-) However, I have to remember not to have it so late at night, it just kept giving and now I feel so energized, I can’t sleep!

Terri HarpLady

A very mystical brew, indeed! :)


You’re on the right path! Love the comparison to olive oil tasting. We have a shop here in town where I can sample oil, vinegar and wine taste all in the same shop(just need cheese and a baguette).
I recently unpacked my poor eisle (I can’t remember how to spell it right) so you and I will be drinking tea and painting. I decided for me, to begin with painting how tea made me feel instead of trying to make anyone else’s idea of a proper picture. It was liberating to paint and draw feelings.

Charles Thomas Draper

And yes, proceed with caution. They will keep you awake…


@Terri: No doubt, and mystical is good for me right now :-)

@Bonnie, I’m actually looking for mine today…somewhere in the basement or garage. plus I don’t even know if the paint tubes are still good! But I also have pastels somewhere. I like the idea of a tea-inspired painting too, that’s how the idea came to mind after all. We can compare our «work» later :-) But my interpretation will end up being a tree I think, I used to paint trees all the time and I miss that…

@Charles: Thank you, I will remember that, for sure! I got a few more infusions out of it this morning, still had something to give it seems…

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125 tasting notes

Mmm… This is so incredibly good. I already liked it the first time I tried it but I over-steeped it then. Today I did things the right way and this tea is simply delicious.

I used 7g tea in about 7-8 ounce of water. I rinsed it and then steeped it for just 10 seconds. The resulting liquid was pale yellow. The taste – delicious. Slightly vegetal, slightly floral, slightly astringent. The first cup went way to fast… I gulped it.

Second steep: 15 seconds in 8 ounce of water. The resulting liquid is still pale yellow. The wet leaves smell sweet and almost fruity. The taste is more pronounced now with well balanced astringency tingling my tongue throughout the sip.

Third steep: 20 seconds this time in 8 ounce of boiling water. It’s much more potent right now, the color is darker yellow, but I think I like it the best steeped for 15 seconds.

I’ll continue steeping this for the rest of the afternoon. For me this is one fine tea. I know that some people say it’s a young sheng and hasn’t reached its full potential yet. I don’t have any experience with shengs so maybe they are probably right, but I still love this sheng. If it can get better with time, then that’s even better.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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13898 tasting notes

meh. like i said before, verdant’s puerhs seem to not jive with me. I don’t hate them but they tend to not taste like much. I’ll send the rest of my sample to terri since she seemed to enjoy it more than me but i’m glad i tries it. Must try all the teas!

1220 tasting notes

Ok, moving on to the next tea, this already makes me want the subscription. Since it’ll cost me about half a day of work per month I may have to go for it once I actually do get paid…eee.

So with this sample I just decided to use it all and make an 7-8 oz cup with it.

This is like my third or fourth sheng and I don’t like them as much as shu so we’ll see how this one goes.

It really tastes like olive oil, minus the weird texture there would be from consuming ounces of olive oil. I’ve only had one decent olive oil ever and it wasn’t even this green tasting…of course most of those are too much money for my tastes. I definitely taste the holy basil too. It’s not spicy but more herbal.

Third steep was getting into that hard astringency I don’t like with sheng.

Fourth steep…I can’t drink this. That astringency has become stronger and SHARP.

One day I’ll get there. But once I hit this point I just can’t bring myself to keep steeping and see if it moves past that.


Have you considered sacrificing the 4th steep and moving on to 5? Instead of sacrificing potentially 3 steeps especially if it does move past that. I have never made 6 or 7 steeps like some of the people on here but if you’re just curious to see what it does, it’s something to consider. I mean, people taste wine without drinking, so the concept of spitting doesn’t shock me, nor does it strike me as wasteful.


I rarely drink the entire cup of a steep so I can move on but I have a strong issue with tasting something I don’t like and being able to keep drinking that same thing. I just get afraid of it continuing to taste like that and I really, really don’t want another sip, so I can’t bring myself to drink it anymore even if it were to change. Four steeps of a sheng is a lot better than my first, which was one steep and one sip haha.

adagio breeze

Not tea-related: what characteristics do you like in an olive oil? I like most of the ones I’ve tried, so maybe you have a more discerning palate than I do.


I like when they’re lighter feeling and you can taste a fruitiness to them. I buy some stupidly cheap one so it has none of that, but I had a really, really small amount of one from California and it was really good…I am saving up for this one http://georgiaolivefarms.com/gof/store/


oh well the one I want isn’t even on there right now but this is its description “Our Pure Georgia Arbequina oil is only available in limited quantities each harvest season. This oil is 100% Georgia grown, EVOO. Its Green and buttery with a fruity finish.”

adagio breeze

Wow, I didn’t even know they grew olives in Georgia!
I prefer the fruitier oils myself, even though a more peppery flavor is supposed to indicate better quality and/or more health benefits.

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514 tasting notes

I got a sample of this pu-erh from cheetah pita (thank you!)

It is a pretty good pu-erh. I’ve been putting it off after my experience with the raw pu-erh sample that I got from Misty Peak. Although I have had good sheng in the past, I was still recovering from my most recent experience.

Im only on the third infusion of this one right now, but so far its yielding a very creamy cup with mild mineral notes and bitterness; slight astringency. There are other earthy spice-like flavors too that I can’t place, but they are nice. This is not my favorite sheng pu-erh ever, but it is helping to put me in the mood for pu-erh again.

ETA: I had to write this note quickly because I was running late to pick up my cat from the vet.

After I took some more time to contemplate the flavors notes of this tea, I think I can sort of recognize the olive oil and basil notes that it is advertised to have. Also, now that I think of it, the sheng I’ve tried in the past was aged at least 5 years or longer. Maybe very young or raw pu-erh is what I don’t like as much. Although so much more palatable than the bitter Misty Peak pu-erh that I tried, I just don’t dig mineral flavors.

And since I’m here writing, let me tell you about the cat and the villainous vet’s office. She needed a dental. She needed one last year but we could afford it. She really really really needs it now. We can barely afford it, but I budgeted it in and took her to her appointment today. Her blood work showed that she has a high white blood cell count so the doctor called me 4 hours later (about the time I expect them to say that all went well) and told me they couldn’t do the dental but that they wanted to do more blood tests and xrays to check for cancer. I ended up paying nearly as much as the dental would have cost and walked out with my cat in the same condition as before save an antibiotic shot in case it is an infection. So now Im really wondering why the heck I couldn’t have just gotten the antibiotics and then test her for other stuff if they didn’t have an effect. . .I am so mad. (>.<)


They shouldn’t have done anything to your kitty without your consent, unless you signed a form stating they could. I hope everything turns out well with her… it was always a bit scary when my cats were put under for dental work… one time, my cat ended up having 7 teeth extracted (didn’t bother him a bit in terms of eating though!) And then the last time he went under for a bit of dental work, he ended up having a stroke under anaesthesia, and never recovered (there was also a tumour on his pancreas, and he was diabetic… it was a bad situation.)


they had my verbal consent. It is technically my fault for not asking why and just letting the dr. tell me what “needs” to be done. Really, if my cat has cancer that’s something I doubt we can do much for anyway. Therefor, I don’t think waiting two weeks to see if antibiotics lowers the cell count would have caused any harm in the long run. But I asked the Dr. what needs to be done and I just went along with all that she told me. I am so awful thinking straight under pressure and I feel uncomfortable standing up for myself most of the time because I am afraid of coming across as rude (this is what I have my husband for, lawyer in training with no hesitation snapping at anyone for the slightest offense. But, alas, he was not with me this time).


Ahh, I understand. :( I’m the same way with my car… pretty sure I got suckered into services that really didn’t need to be done because I’m far from an expert. I really hope that your cat just has a minor infection, or something easily treatable, which cancer typically is not.


Sorry to hear about what happened at the vet! My cat had to have two teeth extracted at one point and it took a long time for him to come out of the anesthesia. Hopefully it’s just an easily curable infection and nothing more serious.

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771 tasting notes

First non-generic pu’erh! First tea using a gaiwan and those itty bitty cups! Mine are so cute! First month (free!) of Verdant’s Tea of the Month club, which I’ll probably be continuing even if I don’t like both pu’erhs that came with this month’s selection. Such cute little packages, good for just about one tasting session.

Anyway, I just poured my first steep after 2 rinses.

1st Steep (5 seconds)
Water is mostly clear and smells like black tea except…more. More earthy, more…something. More pu’erh I guess. I did manage to get water everywhere and burn my fingers again. Third time so far this morning since I burned them on both rinses too. I did not drink the rinses.

Well it’s very…bitter. And…I don’t know how to describe this flavour except I’ve only gotten it from pu’erhs. It’s probably blasphemy but I think I’m going to have to add a tiny bit of sugar to each of these infusions if I’m going to make it through this tasting.

With a tiny bit of sugar added, not enough to make it sweet, just enough to take the edge off, I’m getting less bitter and more actual flavour. Something…composty maybe? Hard to describe. I’ve always been terrible at describing flavours.

Second Steep – 10 seconds
I now understand why a sharing pitcher is necessary. I’ve decided to pour each steep into my gravity infuser before draining it into the cups, if only because I won’t splash everywhere and it’s really the only thing with a wide enough opening to work very well for what I have at my desk.

Still not tasty, quite bitter, a quite ‘sharp’ flavour on the tongue that lingers.

Steep 3 – 15 seconds
Okay it’s much better if I drink it very hot, rather than cooled down a bit, but it’s still not what I would call tasty. The taste is changing but there’s again nothing I can really identify except a sharp bitterness.

I think at this point I’m going to turn in the towel and truly give up on pu’erhs for the time being. If I can’t get through one using the right methods and as high quality as Verdant is known for, I’m obviously not going to like any of them. Thankfully I think that I already have a trade going out that I can slip the other pu’erh from this TOTM into, she likes pu’erh.

Not going to rate because that would be unfair to this tea.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

good to know! at least you tried :)


Did you try either Western-style? That’s the only way I’ve really tried pu’erh so far. With a normal (1.5 tsp) amount of leaf, and an infusion of 1-3 min or so. Definitely possible that the flavour’s just not for you, though!


I’ve tried pu’erh (not as good as this one, those were from Nature’s Tea Leaf) before Western style and I didn’t like it there either, although I don’t like it MORE with the gaiwan, if that makes sense. Western style I can doctor it up more. But I really think the flavour’s just not for me. I have some pu’erh I’ll have to find good homes for later.


Fair enough. I’m still don’t like it nearly as much as a lot of people, though I am trying. I do prefer sheng to shu, though, and learned that short, western-style infusions make for tastier tea. It’s a good thing my mom likes pu’erh, because I accumulated quite a lot from Verdant thinking I would like it much more than I do…

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39 tasting notes

this is a very nice sheng cha….complex,sweet and nice qi…I just ordered a second cake so that I can drink one now and age another…good stuff…8g in a 120ml gaiwan….

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec

Good amount to enjoy. I love puerh in the Winter!


shu tends to be more of a cool weather tea for me…sheng however i’ll drink whenever….


Some shu’s are spicy.. and warming which is great when it’s cold. I mix average shu with chai quite often…make a big pot and keep it going on a cold day. I have trouble with bone pain when the weather changes, but puerh helps lessen the severity.


that sounds good….

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1113 tasting notes

Finally trying this from my trial tea of the month club box….it tastes like the forest floor. I haven’t decided yet if that is a good thing or not! :)

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