Golden Buds Shu Pu'er Xingyang 2010

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Pu'erh Tea
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Nuts, Wood
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Edit tea info Last updated by Terri HarpLady
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205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec 8 g 10 oz / 295 ml

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From Verdant Tea

A sweet, clean and rich new cake from the incredible Xingyang Workshop made solely of golden bud material. . . .

This exquisite cake from Xingyang Workshop is made from 100% golden bud material, creating a smooth, luscious and sweet pu’er embracing all the best elements of flavor that Yunnan is known for. The compression on the cake is generously loose, giving the leaves room to breathe all the way through and age more evenly. The smell of the wet buds is that of cinnamon and a more savory version of a golden needle black tea.

The early steepings are subtle, with a mouth-filling rich texture and the sweet sparkling aftertaste that Xingyang is famous for. The body of the tea is warming like caramel with light crisp vegetal notes evocative of Brussels sprouts.

The later steepings are reminiscent of pure heartwood sandalwood incense that burns at many private shrines and tea gatherings in China, especially in the lingering sweetness at the tip of the tongue. Xingyang pu’ers tend to develop more and more of the vaporous incense-like aftertaste as they age, moving towards perfectly clean, sweet and complex profiles. It will be exciting to see this young cake grow over the years.

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32 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

I am far from a sipdown on this tea. I bought some, & also received some in the TOMC awhile back, so I’ll be able to drink it for awhile, BUT I wish I would have purchased a cake of it while I could. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every Xingyang Shu I’ve tried, & hopefully Verdant will continue to unveil more Xingyang offerings. This one is lovely, sweet, & clean caramel with a hint of cinnamon. I should drink it more often.


i would be happy to drink it more often as long as it didn’t run out!

Terri HarpLady

I’m re-steeping the same leaves some more now. It’s still tasty…


day before yesterday i think i did 5 resteeps.

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1186 tasting notes

Sipdown! I had this after an amazing meal cooked by my wonderful bf of ratatouille, rice and chicken with mushrooms in a sauce. So good! And I had a tasty beer to boot with it, a nice dark ale! Then I finished with a cup of this tea, although it had cooled off, still excellent. Also, just finished watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi, very good documentary. I need to go to Japan to have real sushi, or at least to the coast, here in AB it is not the best I imagine haha. Anyways, I might have another cup of this tonight in a while, might try a different tea before it though, oh I steeped the last bit of this Western for a minute after 2 rinses – 20s and 25s. Not bad! No milk added today. I have one shu pu’erh left in my stash it looks like, a sample of Master Han’s from Verdant. Might have to order a bit of one of Verdant’s shu’s to have on hand when I’m craving it! See previous notes on this tea :)

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i adore this tea!


Very tasty indeed! :)

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390 tasting notes

I come from what is fondly referred to as a half and half family—when my mother married for the second time she married a relatively agnostic jew! Life was amusing as my step-father grilled ‘jewish pork chops’ on the barbeque. Holidays were even more entertaining as he grumbled over the origin of Christmas lights and half the Hanukkah table stumbled over the musical prayers while drooling over the platters of brisket and piles of latkes… why am I tormenting you with excellent images of a multi cultural holiday table? Because latkes were the first thing that flooded (and I mean flooded…. I haven’t been able to get the taste out of my head) my latke starved brain when I opened the bag of this puerh.

Long pressed tendrils of puerh overlap in a manner very like latkes. A deep gold, smelling like a light tobacco…

Now, I go to verdant not for an alternate reality, but an expository one. Verdant constantly amazes me with the effects that technical proficiency can have on a farmed resource. How do you attain layers without adding things? Can planting crops between rows, oxidation time and harvesting early really have that much effect? Apparently so.

I love puerh. More specifically I love this puerh. It is by far the best I have ever tried. My conscience is prodding that I should converse with my wife and let her know about the infatuation. ‘Sweetheart, I find myself drawn to a shapely, golden wonder…’ oddly, I can envision her laughing in my face and walking away in amusement. Lucky for me I’ve always been told that funny men make the world go round.

Down to business. It is light, sweet, earthy and nutty. I taste no florals… but on occasion I get a hint of an echo of (and mean the merest decadent hint) a baked banana. You know, the ones that are buttered and have brown sugar and a bit of lemon juice added before you shove them in the oven… the ones that go golden and have a very slightly crisp edge when all is said and done…

Reading over this review I realize it is for the most part food porn: filled with images that everybody wishes they had on their plate. A torment with the shapes of brisket, latkes and baked bananas and their beguiling scents. I am a mean and nasty man… but it’s all verdant teas’ fault! (take it up with them)

One of my favourite teas, but my absolute favourite puerh. Thus: 100.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

By far my favorite review from you! Visual, personal and descriptively humerous, based on truth! Latkes of course! Crispy edges! Puer is wondrous,so welcome to the world of my addiction!


dramatic sigh… my true feelings about puerh! a long time at art school and a true enjoyment when i make people laugh. this tea was amazing!!!

Lily Duckler

Thank you! I love this review. I will definitely have to print this one out and keep it posted on in the office.


lovely! always glad to entertain while expessing my appreciation of your remarkable teas!!! and… totally separate: JUST THIS MINUTE I FOUND OUT I GOT MY STUDENT LOAN! guess what i’ll be doing for the next four years? OMG. the stress is gone and i feel like a limp noodle. i think i need a cup of tea… i am going to resteep my puerh in celebration.


You’re going to school for 4 years and the stress is gone? You’re an interesting person, JustJames… very interesting. :D


different kind of stress though, right? i have a family, i have a house… i have a job i can’t do because of a disease i never signed up for and zero financial security as a result. the job was crap in the first place.

this way i will be doing and studying something i truly love to benefit people i adore. is it going to be easy? nope. am i immensely freaking relieved and taking this on from the perspective of ‘ultimate challenge and i want that trophy’? you better believe it.


Love “jewish pork chops.” And you’re right, it’s amazing how one tea can achieve a multilayered flavour profile without adding any actual additional flavourings to it.


Congrats on the student loan! And your description is making me so hungry! I must think of where I can get latkes!


it’s what he calls them still, lol. ‘jewish pork chop night’.


see? i am a mean and nasty man, and yet completely unrepentant! i have a recipe i can send you…. =0)

Lily Duckler

Wow- congratulations, JustJames! That is ***fantastic*** news. Cheers to a new chapter and a new adventure


That sounds amazing James! I’m so excited for you. I hope your new career / education will male the best of hour writing abilities!


i don’t think i realized how much stress i was carrying. i can’t stop laughing. thank you for the congratulations, and for your support…. getting the loan was tricky because on paper it looks like we have more than we do. so i had to send in appeals and explanations and talk to government, lol. being on here was the only way i kept my marbles.

nothing worth having was ever easily got… if it had been handed to me without a fight i may have appreciated it less.


Yes, school is indeed a different type of stress. I just finished and started working again, but I’m not yet at the point of ‘I miss school!’ :) I wish you the absolute best. :)


thank you most kindly…. i will find a way to involve my love of tea into my projects, just watch! lol.

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15131 tasting notes

I’m drinking this over the course of the afternoon – gongfu style. I have trouble with some of verdant’s puerhs in that they all taste very similar and generic. I will add more later, but at the moment i am getting very little that others have gotten while sipping on this one.

Edit: yeah…future steeps left this tea closed off to me. oh well…there’s always another!


afternoon? yeah….. i guess it is. morning!


Time difference goober!

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368 tasting notes

The last month or so has had me toggling between that 1992 Menghai (notes of flood damage and deep forest loam) and the 2011 Lao Tong Zhi Old Comrades (quite sweet, a second brick of which is waiting for me in a PO Box in CA, which I can hopefully recover before too much time goes by, I’m nearly done with the first brick).

Those of you who have been reading for some time know that I have developed a great love of Yunnan golden over the past few years, and the website talks of sandalwood which is one of my favorite scents, and so it is with great anticipation that I dive into this new shu offering from the great folks at Verdant.

The dry leaf smells sweet and spicy, caramel and sandalwood indeed. But get it wet and suddenly you’re in the forgotten back room of a boot repair shop. Old leather, dust, mold and old wooden tools. Despite this, the mustiness coming off of this cup is unexpected. More like a very peaty Scotch than old leather.

This is clearly a young tea. I hope Verdant has the discipline to hide away a few cakes to put back on sale in 5-10 years time. I know I sure don’t.

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Terri HarpLady

The women in my family (that would be me, myself & I, plus both of my grown daughters) all firmly believe that all men should smell like Sandalwood. I’ve also had this discussion with other women I know, & I like to think that it is unanimous.

Jim Marks

I currently blend sandalwood oil and frankincense oil for myself. Sometimes a hint of patchouli.


A Chanter that smells like church.

Jim Marks

It helps me remember where my heart is supposed to be when I’m not in the kliros.


The forgotten back room sounds amazing. What is sandalwood? I have heard of it but have no frame of reference for its scent.

Terri HarpLady

KS, it is the scent that Old Spice (original) is based on, I think.
Aromas are so wonderfully engrained in us, pulling us inward, bringing out emotions, awakening memories. I can’t smell roses without feeling nurtured & childlike. My grandmother, who was the most nurturing person I’ve ever known, smelled of roses (although I didn’t make the connection until my mid 30’s during a massage).


Thanks Terri. A scent I remember from years ago. You are right. Smells can instantly transport us through time.

Jim Marks

Sandalwood is a category of trees the wood from which retains its fragrance for decades after being cut — unlike most wood.

Typically when people discuss it they mean rather the essential oil which is harvested from it, rather than the wood itself.

This oil is often rendered down into an incense which is common in Buddhism, Hinduism and in some Eastern Christian settings (although frankincense and myrrh are more common).


When we moved in our present home, I was delighted that there was a grapevine in the backyard. When we had lived here eight months that the grapes were ripe and scenting the backyard, I remembered that as a child I got caught in a bear trap under my great aunt’s scuppernong vines, which were near the chicken house. I had completely forgotten it, until I smelled those grapes! (Not injured, don’t worry.)

Jim Marks

Sandalwood certainly isn’t the scent of the contemporary “Old Spice” (blech).

Terri HarpLady

Lol, Jim, but I think it’s in the original, probably not as an essential oil, but as a fragrance facsimile. Anyway, as essential oils go, sandalwood is wonderful, right up there with jasmine & patchouli, & rose.


Verdant is the only tea company that I know of that has blended frankincense with Oolong tea. (I love the blend)

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1113 tasting notes

I got three little sample packs of this in my trail tea of the month club box a few months back. Felt like a nice pu-erh today to sorta detox after the weekend! Tasty and nutty and chasing away my sweets craving :)

Terri HarpLady

I like this one a lot!

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1220 tasting notes

Soooo upon looking in the puerhs I still have to try from Terri, I discovered that I got the sample set for the Verdant TOTM back in…March. I didn’t ever put the teas in there in my spreadsheet so honestly I’m not surprised I didn’t remember them.

So now time to taste those! Finally. I figured I’d start with this one coming from a sheng before. I also just realized that with the previous tea that was the farthest I probably ever made it into a sheng. Progress!

Very exciting: I pulled the big piece from the little packet and it was exactly 5g. No work necessary! Woo. Did the two rinses and I’m ready to drink.

Have I ever mentioned that one of my favorite things about shu is that most of them smell like pasta? I think this super low carb thing is getting to me. Also they come in cakes, cake, man. Cake.

Though sometimes w/puerh you don’t even need cake.

It’s pretty light at first, but I love that crispness to it, like champagne bubbles. And there’s caramel, of course. But it’s not too in-your-face about these flavors.

I ended up forgetting about it for over a day so now I’m back to it. I don’t think it lost anything from the wait, although I did not cover it very well. It’s still very light, although just a tad earthy, there’s a lot of mineral notes to it, and it’s sweet.

I did two more steeps but I just can’t get into it. I don’t know if the air got to it maybe? But I have some left so I really want to try the other workshop suggested steeping method with the rest.

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171 tasting notes

I’ve taken some time off work and I feel like I’m on house arrest. Gotta keep watch of Octane. We got good news from our vet this weekend, but we’re still on seeing the results in him that we should.
So, with stress at maximum level I was grateful to have my tea club haul arrive yesterday. I’m escaping in this cup today, it’s fantastic, on my fourth cup, it’s smooth and sweet and woodsy. I’m in love!


Glad to hear there was good news :) Keep us updated…

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557 tasting notes

Delicious, The taste of this one is the reason I fell in love with puerh in the first place i think, it reminds me of some of the very first puerhs I ever tried.
It is earthy and bold yet smooth and clean tasting. The taste to me at first is slightly sweet and almost doughy like a flakey pastry dough almost like a crossant.
later steeps are surely reminiscent of sandalwood and have a slight pleasant bitter to it, its a nice puerh to me.
I enjoyed this one very much :)

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818 tasting notes

Wow. Just wow. And not in a good way.

I was really excited to try an unflavored puerh, since I’ve only tried flavored, and I thought the notes of this tea on Verdant’s site sounded good, so I got a sample. The leaf is definitely chipped off pieces of a whole cake, which is kinda cool, and new for me. I did the recommended rinsings, and brewed it western style at a 2-minute infusion. The aroma was very similar to my beloved cinnamon swirl bread tea, in that it smelled bready and earthy.

The taste, however, pretty much shocked my system. It didn’t taste AT ALL like it smelled. The first sips, I thought I got a woody flavor, and then a leather note hit me smack in the face and that was all I tasted, and it was not good. I’m sorry to say this, but I dumped that cup and brewed another, hoping the next infusion would be different. It was not.

I guess this type of puerh is not for me. I looked at the ingredients for cinnamon swirl bread tea, and it contains a yunnan-based puerh. Maybe I should look for one of those. Or maybe I should just stick to flavored for now.

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