I ordered an ounce of this when I noticed the stock was low a couple months ago. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to try such a highly rated tea with descriptors that sounded right up my alley. Granted this was before I had tried any shu, I had to resist ordering them all, but picked up one of the newer offerings the Yanxin Reserve ’04 Nuggets for some comparison. I tried the nuggets first as an introduction and it was a lovely one.

This does have some similarities, but where the nuggets were sparkling, this is smooth and earthy. This is more coffee cake than angel food and I’m pleased I chose this for desert. It’s sweetness doesn’t kick in until the fourth infusion, but boy does it shine. And even in the first five second steep, this is the darkest cup I’ve ever seen. The sixth infusion is a bit smoky, the ninth has a hint of cinnamon and the tenth reminds me of toffee. I definitely get Amy Oh’s twig tea reference, this is just so more more velvety and deeper.

I want to stay up all night and drink this, the boys are already asleep, I’m just hoping it will keep till morning. Me thinks I love shu and am looking forward to trying the sample of Xingyang Golden Leaf David included with this order. I also can’t wait to order the Cornfields Toucha later in the summer and Peacock Village come fall.

Update: This tea is so generous, I’m enjoying my tenth mug (8oz), twenty-four hours later. I enjoyed 6 infusions last night and I believe this is my fourth today, a couple of them were light (both in color and taste) and minty (something I’ve taken as a cue it might be spent), but I just upped the time and it is so very vibrant and sweet (I also started getting some spice in the last infusion). So here’s to another wonderful night with a wonderful tea!

Scott B

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Scott B

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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