2012 Bulang Gushu "Ancient Tree" Shou / Ripe Puerh

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Wet Earth, Wet Wood, Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate, Almond, Butter, Caramel, Creamy, Dates, Mocha, Vanilla, Earth, Smoke, Sweet, Cream, Pepper, Wood, Molasses, Wheat, Berry
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Edit tea info Last updated by looseTman
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205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 7 g 10 oz / 308 ml

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19 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I’d enjoyed a sample of this tea two years ago and looking at my cupboard today and then this thread, it served as a reminder that the 2012 Bulang Gushu was the only Shou at that time to blow my...” Read full tasting note
  • “Holy cocoa! For a moment this morning I almost thought I had prepared some hot cocoa and not some shou! The cocoa/dark chocolate notes in this tea are the strongest I have ever experienced. This is...” Read full tasting note
  • “Very much enjoyed this tea and would buy more. I am new to tea tasting and to puerh, and this is my fifth shu. My first one was from a grocery store in Chinatown, $10 for a cake. I had no idea....” Read full tasting note
  • “I pulled this tea out today hoping for a calming experience. I lit some incense from Japan, donned my silk Chinese robe, turned on some instrumental music and brewed up some of this tea. I gave it...” Read full tasting note

From Crimson Lotus Tea

This rare puerh is made from trees over 200 years old picked in the Spring of 2012 from high altitude tea gardens in the Bulang Mountains of Yunnan, China.

True ‘gushu’ 古树 (ancient tree) material is rarely made into shou puerh. It takes dedication and determination to risk valuable leaves on the uncertain shou puerh process. Great skill has crafted this tea.

This tea is a feast for the senses. The rich aroma and thick mouthfeel presents a smooth, layered, multi-dimensional experience with sweet flavors of chocolate and molasses with a hint of nutmeg spice.
We buy this product in large 2 kilogram bricks the size of a loaf of bread. We break the brick apart and keep the chunks as whole as possible. We put 250grams in these large resealable heat sealed pouches.

Use 5-7 grams of leaves and brew with 6-8 ounces of water at or near boiling. Wash twice for 3s each, then start with a quick steep of 8-10s. With each re-steep adjust the steep time to your taste.

About Crimson Lotus Tea View company

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19 Tasting Notes

82 tasting notes

I’d enjoyed a sample of this tea two years ago and looking at my cupboard today and then this thread, it served as a reminder that the 2012 Bulang Gushu was the only Shou at that time to blow my socks off.

I’d planned to order a 250g bag but will order another sample first to refresh my memory.

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21 tasting notes

Holy cocoa! For a moment this morning I almost thought I had prepared some hot cocoa and not some shou! The cocoa/dark chocolate notes in this tea are the strongest I have ever experienced. This is not a deep, dark and smooth shou like I normally like, which just goes down so smooth. Nope, this one totally grabs your attention but in a good way.

So this was a much anticipated shou for me to try, coming recommended by Crimson Lotus Tea in a reddit thread where we accidentally discovered that we enjoy shou that brews “thick and dark, a bit like motor oil”. Also a big thumbs up to CLT for helping out with some shipping issues and making it possible for me to get my hands on this tea.

So it was a quick and somewhat haphazard session this morning as I am away from home dealing with some family issues, but I am very impressed. I used approximately 7g of tea in a 150ml gaiwan. Rinsed twice and let it sit for 30 seconds. The first steep was pretty weak (about 10 seconds). Steeped about 15-20 seconds for the second, and woah, strong cocoa notes and a deep burgundy colour! A bit bitter, but a good bitter like a dark chocolate. No fermentation flavour or maybe its just well hidden, and didn’t really feel any earthiness either. I got 4 good 15-20 second steeps out of this, the 5th was a bit flat. Steeped it again for about 3 minutes but after the earlier explosion of flavour this felt pretty tame. I have a feeling that once I am back home and able to have a calmer session with shorter intial steeps, I’ll be able to get more out of it. I also want to try this western style as it feels like it would make a nice hot cocoao substitute!

I’ll reserve final judgement until I’ve had a calmer session at home but I strongly expect I’ll be ordering more of this (on top of the 500g I already got). Hmm.. it comes in a 2kg brick….


Flavors: Chocolate, Cocoa, Dark Bittersweet, Dark Chocolate

205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

When you rinse this let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then do short steeps 5 seconds or so.. It will probably brew a bit different.


Will do mrmopar, thanks for the suggestion! This morning was way too rushed and I know I didn’t manage to give it the attention it deserves, and probably missed a lot of the notes and flavors.


I know lots of times I rush too. That is just a little trade secret as they say that IMO helps the tea. It always seems the water tends to creep on into the tea with the rest.


Thanks for sharing mrmopar, much appreciated.

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21 tasting notes

Very much enjoyed this tea and would buy more. I am new to tea tasting and to puerh, and this is my fifth shu. My first one was from a grocery store in Chinatown, $10 for a cake. I had no idea. That one, even after rinsing , it had some marine flavors, then settled into mustiness. I thought I liked that mustiness. But since then I have sought out better shus. I shudder to think of that first cake now.

This 2012 Buland Gushu is the best shu in my limited experience. So clean, mellow. This is not a forest floor, earthy, wet leaves, or wet cavern, musty cathedral shou. Not at all.

This shu is cocao (powder) foregrounded, with a slight grip of bitterness that dark chocolate lovers appreciate. The cocao persists over the steepings. Mocha.

Eventually a fruity character opens up. I discerned prunes but then decided it was more like dates (Middle Eastern). Vanilla extract or amaretto. Maybe caramel. Pound cake. A sweet aftertaste on the palate, and after swirling around, a creaminess that seems even buttery on the tongue going down.

Hints of all of this continue even into later steepings, so this shu did not completely flatten out and collapse into one dimensionality even into the 10th steep, although of course it was much thinner.

The aroma also was nice: marshmallow? Amaretto? Sweet almond. Maybe some moss, but again, this is not a wet forest shu.

I drank this late at night, and it did keep me up and made me quite alert, unlike a couple other shus that have quickly immersed me into contemplation.

[Update: second session>into steep 5 and man this stuff has caffeine, I gotta slow this session down].

[Udate2: gradually kept steeping, but seriously feeling the caffeine, too much, going to my head and behind my eyes. Next time I will reduce to 5 grams and steep maybe every half hour. Unfortunately, due to this buzz rush, I won’t be able to have this as my all-day companion, and so I may eventually lower the rating to the low 90s. The effect on my body is a pretty important consideration for me.]

Flavors: Almond, Butter, Caramel, Cocoa, Creamy, Dates, Mocha, Vanilla

7 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

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258 tasting notes

I pulled this tea out today hoping for a calming experience. I lit some incense from Japan, donned my silk Chinese robe, turned on some instrumental music and brewed up some of this tea.

I gave it a 10 second rinse. First steep I went for 30 seconds. The brew was very light in color and flavor with only hints appearing. The second steep went 30 seconds as well. Same story. I was starting to wonder if this was just a very light shou.

On the third steep I was able to back off the time to 20 seconds. Then the dark, rich, smoothness of the tea came out. Little, if any, fermentation flavor. For some reason, my palate is off today and isn’t picking out any distinct flavors. Everything seems to be melding into one delicious and creamy shou. That is fine by me.

At any rate, you can tell this is a high quality tea. I am glad I bought a sample of this to try. Now I know I want to buy this tea.

Flavors: Creamy

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 8 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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289 tasting notes

Dug this one out of my shu bin today. Wow, it is really good. The first couple steeps had some fermentation funk, but that gave way quickly to a deep bittersweet chocolate flavor. An excellent shu.

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15131 tasting notes

This one was on my wishlist and dexter did me a favour by sending my a little to try…or maybe it’s not a favour since i think i really enjoy this one. I’ve been drinking it this morning while doing some things around the house. We’re trying to decide if we want to go to niagara for the later afternoon/evening :)

My first steeps of this one were creamy., smooth and dark and delicious. In later steeps i get a litle more cacao, that same smooth strength and a bit of sweetness coming through. Going to keep going with this one over the afternoon i think. thanks dexter!

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371 tasting notes

This review is based off of my third time sitting with this shou. Had a gongfu session with a ruyao gaiwan. 30 second rinse (this piece was tough to decompress). I didn’t bother to keep track of steeping times. It kicked the bucket at around number 10 (ten minutes).

Why?? Why does it have to be overcast/rainy on weekends and when I have time off, but sunny when I have work?? I was planning on finishing off my sample this morning. I guess the timing couldn’t have been better. Other than damp earth and loam, the wet leaf aroma has a note of intense cocoa. The burgundy soup has a full and rich body, and a thick, creamy texture. It’s a bit cloudy for about seven infusions but clears becomes clear afterward. Super chocolately – one of the most chocolate-filled shous I"ve had. Later in the session I also taste prunes and raisins, especially prominent in the aftertaste.

Consistently rich, chocolately, and creamy – this is my kind of shou. I’m in a good mood today.


Boiling 8 g 4 OZ / 118 ML
Crimson Lotus Tea

It’s sunny here today for some reason. Odd for a Seattle winter. That shou should be a good uplift for the overcast days though. :-)


It sure was!

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107 tasting notes

I’m going to do a longer and more well thought-out review another time, but I just wanted to pop in to say how much I am enjoying this shu. It’s so different from others I’ve had. It’s sweet, thick, and rich, but there’s a note of pepper that hits the back of the throat much in the way a good olive oil does, and I just love it. I guess that’s a Bulang? There’s also a nice energizing buzz (qi or just caffeine, I don’t know which, maybe both). Anyway, I will probably end up ordering a lot more of this – I can see the 25g sample going quick!

Crimson Lotus Tea

“You can take the shou out of Bulang but you can’t take the Bulang out of the shou!”

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359 tasting notes

Hi everyone! Remember me? Miss y’all!! ;-)

Not gonna lie…I’ve had a few shopping sprees at Crimson Lotus in the last few months.

Yeah, yeah…I need a good spank!

But to my defense, I will say this: I don’t regret any of it. Top notch quality in the tea and the little pots. Yes, CL does know how to feed my addictions!

Now this tea. My friend MzPriss, who has exquisite tastes, bought this Bulang before I did and she was so excited about it, I could not pass on it since her and I are Teaplets and usually have the same tastes. She was right.

Since it comes in a gigantic brick, they sell it to you in chunks of 250g.

I used 12g for 170ml Jian Shui pot.

After the rinse, I can already tell this will be a treat. The smell is amazing.

Forget traces of barn, seaweed or leather that can be found occasionally in shou puerh. Think more “Caramel alert”. It’s sweet. And it takes over my mouth in a swirl of texture and body.

Yes, I will call this decadent. Creamy with notes of vanilla and dried fruits.

Laters steeps bring some cocoa but not the bitter type…it’s very mellow.

BONUS: it provides a nice relaxing qi, yes i feel like a noodle, and i like it.

Dexter the Dobe is looking at me funny cause I’m a little giddy and he feels it. yes, Momma is high on tea again!

This is something I will be craving. I’m glad I went for the 250g bag instead of the sample.

Now I’ll just close my eyes and dream of getting the 2 kilo brick!!

Pics of the session:





MMMMMMMMM LOVE this one an love that you are writing notes again. We need to spend more time here. I miss it. This is a great note!


Thank you love… I miss it too!! We will be here more often…cuz…FREEDOM!!!


MzPriss & TheTeaFairy,

" We need to spend more time here." Agreed!

Both your presence and contributions have been greatly missed! Welcome back!


Dear looseTman you are just the sweetest !!! Thank you so much :-) I have missed you!


Awwwwww thank you so much looseTman! We are happy to be back.


You both need to hang around here more…. just saying pumidor disciples….


PD – LOL :-D


Aww thank you Mrmo!!


@mrmo – I am dire ned of getting the shoumidor ready. and the shengidor is almost full


nice review! however, i dont really like shou puehr anymore. (except for: http://yunnansourcing.com/en/nan-jian-tea-factory/2935-2006-nan-jian-phoenix-ripe-pu-erh-tea-mini-brick-100-grams.html) that is a great shou. i am a sheng person now

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709 tasting notes

I’m pretty certain this is the right tea – I received it as one of three free samples from Glen at Crimson Lotus Tea. I am pretty excited about it because Crimson Lotus is one of the “hot” companies around here that I have been wanting to try but couldn’t yet justify an order. Now I’ve got an opportunity to try a couple things and see if I will dip my toes further in.

At random, I selected this sample to try tonight and on first sniff it seems a good choice. One thing I noticed is that I have a bit of fannings/dust but I am thinking that is rough handling by Canada Post as the intact chunks look to be good sized leaf. I’m using the full 7 g sample in my ~120 ml gaiwan with boiling water (minus ~1g that was too small and I worried would escape the gaiwan in a pour). Two quick rinses per the recommendations on CLT’s website, and then a 10 second steep.

The leaves are VERY awake at this point. The beau smells dirt, but dirt after a fresh rain. I get wood, leather, smoke, and other dark and delightful aromas. The liquor isn’t very dark, but it didn’t have the chance to get dark. The flavours are muted compared to the aroma but still full bodied and giving the impression of a thick brew. No off aromas here, and nothing fishy. Just dark and rich and yummy.

Second steep at 15 seconds yields a very dark brew. More what I expected right off the bat. Clearly the leaves weren’t as awake as they seemed. This is fairly brown and opaque. I can barely see the grain of the table through the cup. Aroma has moved over to what I frequently refer to as barn-like. And, as always, that is a positive. Sweet clean hay and something earthy and organic to take it darker and deeper. The flavour is very different than first steep. I get sweetness and almost a bit of astringency with a little bit of a dry mouth. It’s “earthy” and sometimes the beau and I each get a bit of a fruity taste. Maybe like a fruit leather or dried apricots.

Steep 3 at 20 seconds is also quite dark, the sweet aroma is gone and it’s really rocking some smokey aroma right now. The flavour is less earth, more sweet and smoke morphing into each other. It feels like the tea is coming into itself with this steep. I always seem to enjoy the third the best. Is that common?

4 at 25 – less dark in colour but aroma settled in nicely with damp earth and a hint of smoke. Flavour is starting to mellow out. I’m searching a littler more to detect anything new. Sometimes it sips in sweet, sometimes a bit smokey. There is still a bit of a dry mouthfeel and a slight cooling sensation at the back of the throat. I may have abused the tea, or that might be part of it. I’ll never know!

5th at 30 seconds is starting to lose its aroma. Maybe I should have upped the ante a little bit on this steep. The flavour is also a bit lacking. Needed more time! I think I’m going to use the leftover leaves for a western style pot tomorrow morning with my breakfast. I’m getting a lot of tea out of these leaves.

All in all, this was a nice session. I wasn’t particularly wowed – there was no “OOOH, Chocolate!” the way some of my favourite backs can be but it is definitely an easy drinking shou that I could use to teach people what pu-erh can be like. Definite positives, and no negatives, just not the wow factor that gets me to keep buying something. I’m really glad to have been able to try it though, and I look forward to sipping on the other two samples.

I was just reading other reviews and saw someone mentioned fermentation flavour. I wonder if that is what I mean when I am talking about earth/barn. Starting to think so! I like it, just never know how to describe it.

Flavors: Earth, Smoke, Sweet

Boiling 6 g 4 OZ / 120 ML

This is an excellent tea. Gushu is rarely made into shou.

Liquid Proust

This review is going to make me look at my leaves and think, “awe, they are beginning to go to sleep on me!”

Crimson Lotus Tea

Thanks for the review! It is tricky breaking up these heavily compressed bricks. We try to put only whole chunks into our samples. We keep the dust and broken bits for ourselves to brew. The remnants off these bricks brews up just as good as the leaf does. :-)


Did the final steep Western style (forgot about it and it steeped ~10 mins). The results was really sweet and a completely different animal. I think the coolest thing about pu-erh is the way it changes entirely based on temp/time/leaf to water ratio.

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