Master Han's Shu Pu'er 2002

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Dates, Medicinal, Camphor, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Peat, Raisins, Spices, Wet Earth, Wet Wood, Earth, Musty, Caramel, Cherry Wood, Forest Floor, Leather, Wet Moss, Honey, Clay, Fruity, Mud, Nuts, Sweet, Metallic, Berries, Cream, Hay, Rice Pudding
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Edit tea info Last updated by Terri HarpLady
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 6 oz / 188 ml

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38 Tasting Notes View all

  • “For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to ‘guru’ types. So, having said...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is so good, I really wish I got more when it was available. My stash is getting painfully smaller every time I drink it. If it comes in again, I’m getting more for sure. Aromatic, smooth and...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is my first experience with puerh of any sort. After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed color is...” Read full tasting note
  • “Here we go. As always I start with shortest steeps possible like 5 sec and slowly increase the time. This shu is amazing. Clear amber color, leather smell but not strong. Very easy to drink. I...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

Master Han, who wild-picks his tea in the depths of Mt Ailao National Forest Preserve as part of the Dongsa Farmer’s cooperative, is making some of the best pu’er in the world. His strict dedication to crafting each batch uniquely to the leaves picked leads him to innovate and bring out the best of his land. This is the first batch of shu pu’er he has produced, using aged leaves picked in 2002, then pressed in 2012. This technique leads to an extremely clean, rich and sweet shu pu’er that he is proud to share.

As the tea steeps, the steam wafts sweet raisin aromatics with mossy forest undertones.

The liquor is perfectly light and clear, with the green plantain and olive oil flavor distinctive to Master Han’s Black Tea and his Qianjiazhai shu pu’er. The tart notes in the tea are reminiscent of a blend of hibiscus, elderberry and rose. Herbaceous hints of coriander and fennel sneak into the aftertaste.

The musty and aged quality of this tea is so refined that it moves away from earthy and more towards the satisfying smell of old libraries. The more you sip, the more a camphor-like aftertaste and cooling sensation build up in the back of the throat. The aftertaste continues to build and get sweeter and juicier the more steepings you enjoy. It is exciting to see Master Han innovating and trying new things even when he has an established tradition of sheng pu’er. May future years bring more of this precious pu’er.

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38 Tasting Notes

27 tasting notes

Recieved this 5g sample in my 5 for 5 from Verdant. Although I’ve been enjoying sheng for some now , I have just recently, after reading so many positive Steepster shou reviews, summoned up the nerve to try another “ripe” pu. (Around 15 years ago, I recieved a sample of ripe pu, and I mean RIPE! I thought for a second upon smelling the wet leaves, that I was down wind of a Billy goat. RIPE!) If this is an acquired taste, I don’t think I’ll get there.

This shou, however, is gentle, smooth, earthy and interesting. I brewed gong fu style and rinsed the leaves well (actually I soaked them in tepid water for a minute to loosen the chunk a bit, then rinsed as directed). Earthy and complex, I found notes of moss, peat, wet wood, damp earth, and a savory note (perhaps the olive oil referred to?) I lost count of my steepings, but I really appreciate the complexity of this shou through many steepings. The earthier notes gave way to chocolate, raisin, herb and spice, proceeding through a cooling mouth feel in the later steepings.

If this tea becomes available again, I would purchase it. I won’t rate shou until I gain more experience, but thank you Master Han for this gentle shou.

Flavors: Camphor, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Peat, Raisins, Spices, Wet Earth, Wet Wood

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633 tasting notes

a decent tea.

when i smell the leaves dry, they smell musty.

when i smell the leaves wet, they smell like chocolate.

when i smell the brewed tea, i smell earth and chocolate.

when i taste the brewed tea, i taste chocolate and earth.

i rate this a 90 because im not too keen for shou puehr.

many thanks to Scribbles for this decent tea.

Flavors: Chocolate, Earth, Musty

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 8 OZ / 250 ML

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503 tasting notes

This is my new Shou pot’s first gongfu session!

This brew has restored my faith in Shou. I am very skeptical of Shou. I’m a traditional pu-erh drinker, and I’m a strong believer in Sheng. Although, I decided that I need to re-open my horizons, and this is the brew that I picked. Today is a day of celebration, and I believed this brick would suit it well. The dry leaf was a loosely compressed brick. The brick was dark red and brown and carried the scent of cherry wood and spice. I placed this chunk inside my warmed yixing and gave it a shake. The warmed leaf deepened to a mossy forest floor aroma. I washed the leaves and prepared to brew. The steeped leaves reminded me of being out on the lake on a cool autumn morning. I could smell the light mist rising from the water, and the dew off the shoreline flora. The flavor was incredible! The sip began as a smooth wood and leather flavor, and then broadened with a full bodied earthy tone. The brew finished with a lingering sweet aftertaste of caramel and sugared fruit. I was able to pull a fair amount of steepings out of this, and I believe it to be a brilliant beginning to my yixing’s life! I am very happy to have tried this beautiful brew.

Flavors: Caramel, Cherry Wood, Forest Floor, Leather, Wet Moss

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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818 tasting notes

I chose this tea as my free sample in my last order. It has a clean taste with notes of spice and wood. Interesting, but not really a flavor profile I’d crave.

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35 tasting notes

Included in my 5 for $5 sampler, as I attempt to broaden my horizons past flavored tea and tisanes.

My first thought: oh, a vintage. I followed the brew instructions but was unsure about the very, VERY earthy scent. Sure enough, the flavor was equally earthy, not neccessarily in the best way. Perhaps my palate is not refined enough. Either way, I get the appeal but won’t be reordering.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 3 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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583 tasting notes

About 4 grams for 300mL water @98C, steeped four minutes, Western style.

I can taste everything listed in the tasting notes, even the brightness, which is pleasant … but I still can’t finish it. Pu’er and I just can’t get along.


I only brew puerh Gongfu style . You might like it too

Michelle Butler Hallett

I expect you’re on to something.

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155 tasting notes

My amazing Teaplet Sarsita provided me with a sample of this. I knew it was her favorite shou and now I see why. It’s DELICIOUS! There is absolutely no fermentation taste left, just a smooth sweetness with a nice wintergreen breeze blowing through it. It’s nice and relaxed and I’m enjoying it very much. Thank you Sarsy xo!


Noticing many folks going more aged on shou and finding some great choices.


Yeah I’ve noticed that too. This one is really nice and I’m sad I can’t buy any.

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35 tasting notes

Very dark brew with a strong earthy smell. I didn’t think it smelled like something that would be enjoyable to drink, but I’m on my third steep and it is quite good.

Flavors: Earth

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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1107 tasting notes

As I prepare for all 7 of the deadly sins to attack my holy temple of taste buds, I remind myself that I have committed to re-steeping this tea six times to experience the difference between steeps with pu-erh tea.
I am not a fan of pu-erh at all, but this tea has milder version of stomped on hay from some random barn. I’m really hoping that the next few batches will lose that taste and smell and give me something I can describe as tea. As of now I understand the shameful feeling that comes with cheating… sorry my dear oolong, I’m just ‘experimenting’ right now.
Here’s to hopes that steep two may turn out better!
That was the first steep at 4minutes and no wash because I had no clue what I was doing…
The steeps after that were 20 seconds each. This brews very smooth and I can actually identify an earthy taste mixed with honey and I really enjoy it. I look forward to my new adventures with pu-erh. This tea is quality from the way the leaf is pressed and unravels over steeps to the beautiful honey taste that accents the earthyness quite well. This will forever be the tea that I ruined at first but made me realize I have have been brewing pu-erh wrong for quite some time.

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107 tasting notes


Sorry for my massive absence T_T I got back to work full time a couple of weeks ago and the site isn’t the easiest to use, for posting notes, on my phone…

Aaaaaaaaaaand: I came down with a really heavy cold on Thursday so I haven’t really been able to appreciate much tea over the past couple of days. However, it did make me really crave shu puerh, so I thought I’d give this one a try…


I dunno what it is about Verdant’s teas, but they’re always exceptional. Maybe I just have a similar palette to the Ducklers. Or maybe the teas really are just that good. Who knows.

Either way, like I said above: I have a pretty heavy cold, so I didn’t really want anything that was overly nuanced or delicate. I also didn’t want to use anything that I only have a little of, in case I really didn’t enjoy it and ended up wasting precious tea. Given I have a new 500g brick of this, sitting in my puerh box, I thought I’d give it a go. Plus, my cold is starting to lift somewhat, so my sense of smell is slowly returning.

I didn’t get any pile smell at all from this puerh, which was a very pleasant surprise! It still smelled earthy, granted. But far from unpleasant. I pried off 4g and loaded it into my pre-warmed Yixing Gaiwan (thanks again, Stacy!) and then gave the tea two quick rinses with boiling water. Then came the first infusion…

To my surprise, the infusion smelled like raw honey. I was really impressed. I can also definitely see what they mean by a “raisin” like scent – it’s definitely there. On the palette, it was exceptionally smooth and had a really thick mouthfeel. It was also really sweet, and that honey note actually carried right through. I did also get the elderberry note, along with the herbaceous after-taste, that they mention on the site. I can understand the olive oil suggestion, too – with the thickness of the mouthfeel and that honey-like sweetness, it’s a clearly recognisable note.

I probably won’t get as much out of this tea as I will on a day when I’m not all sniffly, but I really enjoyed it. It was delicious and just seemed to get sweeter and sweeter the more I drank it. Fantastic tea.

Flavors: Honey, Olive Oil

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

Hope you’ll feel better soon!

Red Fennekin

Thank you! I am recovering already, I think – it feels much less intense than yesterday, anyway :-)

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