2016 Single Tree Sheng

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
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Apricot, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Dill, Gardenias, Grass, Green Wood, Honey, Jasmine, Lettuce, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Osmanthus, Plum, Salt, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Tulsi, Vegetal, Wet Rocks, Astringent, Wood
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Loose Leaf
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Edit tea info Last updated by A-House
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 4 oz / 123 ml

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From Verdant Tea

Located at 24°16’13.6"N and 101°12’19.6"E, we selected this approximately 1300 year old tree with Master Zhou for its beautiful microclimate. For this 2016 Single Tree pressing, every leaf was hand picked & gently sun dried before being hand pressed by Master Zhou in a custom carved stone mold. This is a chance to taste tea from one of the oldest trees in the Mt Ailao National Forest Preserve. This true single origin tea has a sparkling texture and incense aroma for wonderful aging potential.

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6 Tasting Notes

1045 tasting notes

This was one of those teas that I strongly suspected would be a bummer before I ever bothered to motivate myself to try it. Unfortunately for me, however, I promised Liquid Proust that I would review this tea back around December of 2016 and knew that I would have to follow through at some point. Today I finally got to a point where I could no longer stand seeing this sample every time I opened my big tea cabinet, and since I had the day off work due to illness, decided that I may as well get it over with. L.P., should you see this review, better late than never, right? Just so you know, I did not care for this one either.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a fairly standard rinse (about 10-15 seconds), I steeped my full 5 gram sample in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 5 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 7 seconds, 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, and 15 minutes. I definitely did not stick to Verdant’s brewing guide here. I treated this more like the other teas I have been drinking lately, starting with very short steeps and steadily working my way up to extended infusions.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea leaves emitted funky, herbal, vegetal aromas. It was like a mixture of camphor, menthol, and tulsi on the nose. I could just barely detect a vague hint of citrus too. After the rinse, the bouquet turned very vegetal. I could pick out aromas that reminded me of seaweed, spinach, and pickled cabbage. The first proper infusion introduced a slightly smoky element to the nose and more fruitiness, as a touch of smoke quickly gave way to a combination of bitter orange, tart cherry, and sour apricot. In the mouth, the tea liquor/soup was immediately tart and rather briny. Funky vegetal notes that reminded me of a combination of cooked spinach, collard greens, pickled cabbage, and tulsi were underscored by a hint of seaweed. The finish allowed for the brief emergence of sour apricot and tart citrus as well as unexpected hints of cream and butter. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn fruitier, gentler, and more floral. I noted stronger cream and butter notes in the mouth to accompany new impressions of dill, damp grass, mustard greens, malt, minerals, sea salt, green wood, moss, cooked lettuce, wet stones, sour plum, and honey. I also began to note a definite note of smoke, more clearly defined bitter orange and apricot notes, and belatedly emerging flavors of tart cherry, camphor, and menthol. Floral notes of jasmine, osmanthus, and gardenia struck quickly and disappeared just as quickly. Verdant’s tasting note suggested that I should also have been noting sticky rice and candied pomelo impressions, but I never found either. The later infusions presented thin notes of minerals and brine underscored by fleeting impressions of citrus, apricot, tulsi, seaweed, and cooked leaf vegetables with perhaps barely perceptible hints of tart cherry and menthol here and there.

As always I was able to pick out a ton of aroma and flavor components, but I have to reiterate what I said earlier and opine that this tea was not worth it. First off, there is no way in Hell this was produced from a 1300 year old tree or whatever it was they were claiming. That just does not happen and we should all know that by now. Marketing b.s. aside, this tea had a lot going on in it, but none of what it offered was particularly unique or compelling. The tea started off super vegetal, offered a rush of new flavors that did not stand out much from the vegetal murk, and then faded quickly. By the end of my review session, everything the tea offered had been muddled together for so long that it was more a pain in the ass and less a delightful challenge to try to pick out individual sensations. To add insult to injury, the previously unmentioned thin, slight, watery body and near lifeless mouthfeel of the tea liquor made this tea seem even more drab and unappealing. After it was all said and done, I hastily concluded that I would never go near this tea again, and thankfully I do not ever have to. I wouldn’t recommend this one to anyone.

Flavors: Apricot, Butter, Camphor, Cherry, Cream, Dill, Gardenias, Grass, Green Wood, Honey, Jasmine, Lettuce, Malt, Menthol, Mineral, Moss, Orange, Osmanthus, Plum, Salt, Seaweed, Smoke, Spinach, Tulsi, Vegetal, Wet Rocks

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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48 tasting notes

No matter what I did this tasted like hot water and nothing else. Just fake hype.

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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200 tasting notes

So I totally admit to buying the tea for the hype, especially given last year. I thought it was gonna sell out, but as of writing this there is still plenty in stock. I just bought a sample and let it sit for a while, but decided to finally break it out.

And WOW this actually pretty good. First, it’s not very bitter or astringent. Very smooth, which may turn some sheng drinkers off but is perfect for me as I’m kind of a wimp about bitterness. I DID use a lower brewing temperature (190), but I’m sure it could have held up at a higher temperature.

I got LOTS of steeps out of this and a little bit of a nice tea buzz too! Overall, I was quite impressed. Now, as for how old the trees REALLY are? Eh.. we don’t have to get into that. I’m just judging the tea on the tea.

190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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47 tasting notes

Got this one as a sample.

5g, ~100ml, at 200F, starting with a 5s wash.

First thing I want to say is that it isn’t as woody + astringent as other sheng pu’erhs. This is a nice thing for me, as I personally dislike that a bunch.

First steep wasn’t too strong of a taste, but everything was soft. So it was just a poor steep or I didn’t let the leaves open up enough yet.

Second steep brings the flavours out. Leave the mouth dry, but it’s a strong combination of that woody sheng flavour with a minor plum backdrop.

Third steep, i forgot about it and kinda oversteeped it by a minute instead of 15s. Surprisingly, not much of an astringency detected, but more of an increased plum flavour that balanced out the wood.

With the leaves open, the woody astringent taste starts to take hold and overwhelm what very little plum flavour there is.

In short, this is a soft sheng pu’erh compared to the other sheng pu’erhs I’ve tasted. But do take this review with a grain of salt. I dislike sheng pu’erh in general and this one is no different. But if you do like sheng pu’erh, just keep in mind that this is a more mild taste than others.

Flavors: Astringent, Plum, Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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1113 tasting notes

Alright, it’s Friday and I want to drink something unique or good. My first thought was some Pubertea, but I don’t feel so happy about some BS shipping on it so I’ll wait till the sour feeling goes away. I went to the stuff I’ve bought and found this 2016 single tree sample I bought for those who helped with the Sheng Olympiad because I didn’t want to have another year of controversial tea; even if the highest end was great. Whatever I write about this please know that Verdant provides great service to me as a customer and I value the teas they bring to the community regardless of claims. I drink for myself and at the end of this session I’ll let you know how I feel.
First thing, 100g is $49.00! That’s a hefty price on a sheng; not to mention 100g cakes are pretty much just an enlarged beenghole. Opened up my 5g sample and saw this was maocha from which makes sense for sample portions and all but I wonder if that changes the taste. Either way, brewing will be much easier. From the looks of the leaf, this has the look of terrible Dacong or some ugly mocha from 4 years ago; like the stuff I bought on Aliexpress once. Not the best first impression, but shou looks like cow patty so who’s to say looks will determine anything. So here go!
Steep one and I can smell the darker notes on this rather than the lighter ones of fruit. I suspect there will be some medicinal taste within some forest elements of damp wood if the smell aligns to the taste.
It was at this very sentence that I decided to stop taking notes. Then it was this sentence that I got back to my computer to let you know that I ate oreos with milk after the 6th steep because my mouth and throat were feeling dry. Also, just so you know, I decided to go back to this sheng after the sugary snack… what am I doing to myself?

So this session lasted roughly three hours by time I was done and only 16 steeps; not sure if I pushed the heck out of this or if it goes that long. The look of this leaf is just pure ugly. I had a huge stick going through my pot the entire time with many stems showing me their side that the sun never saw. Just not appealing looking. The aroma stays constant of wet leaf steam and light mossy bark. There’s no taste of moss, but the medicinal taste is somewhat like what you get when a little aloe for a sunburn gets in your mouth. A little cooling feeling and a little ‘oh that is nasssssssssssssssssssty’ going on.
For me, this tea is 100% void of bitterness which is awesome for a sheng. Admittedly, I’m not sure if this is the same type of material being picked as others due to the look and taste. With no sort of feel at all, other than wanting some oreos, and the look I’m kind of suspicious. The taste never has a sweet side to it and the to the best of my ability I would say this taste like a girl cologne; you know that kind marketed towards a ‘sporty’ man but it smells kind of sweet like whoever is wearing it wants to smell like the candy at the bar around beers. Anyways, I tried this tea and pushed it pretty hard because I had one shot at it. With that said, I wouldn’t want to revisit it within the next year but I am also curious to how easily the cakes break or if they were pressed very loose like the Bill Clinton I have downstairs. I wonder if someone could name a cake Bill Clinton or Snookie… wait, there should be a loosely pressed shou named Snookie.
Verdant has the best roasted oolong period when it comes to the Autumn Laoshan Roasted Oolong and some great black teas for someone who isn’t a black tea drinker, but this is just not my thing. The tea they put out in the spring that was older than the USA was pretty good and had the notes of fruit I enjoy… it’s just this is for a different set of taste buds.


I’m sorry for the unpleasant experience, but I’m glad it allowed you to produce this entertaining note!


L.P., I have to say that I think this is a great note. I have often felt the need to explain my attachment to Verdant recently, and I feel the same way you feel. I think they do a wonderful job of bringing unique, high quality teas to the market, and in my experience, their customer service is exceptional. When I started getting back into loose leaf tea, I stumbled across their website and decided to give them a chance based on their tasting notes. The way they broke down flavor components was very similar to the way I described what I experienced whenever I drank tea. At the time, I frankly could not have cared less about puerh, so I was not aware of the controversy they had generated. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I concern myself more with how a tea tastes than how it is marketed. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about honesty and transparency in marketing, but I ultimately feel that as a customer it is more my responsibility to judge my experience with a given product rather than my perception of the story behind it.


I should also point out that I recently received a sample of this with a recent order. I’m not looking forward to it.

Liquid Proust

Well, I typed two paragraphs and it vanished.

Anyways, I’ll drive to you next spring or summer since you’re not far.

I find Verdant to have great TGY and black products for the most part. When it comes to WUyi and Dancong it is hit or miss. Then with pu’erh it’s more or less something they don’t specialize in; reardless of that, I want to try them out for sure.

Let me know how you find this when you try it


Will do. I find with Verdant that I almost always greatly enjoy their roasted Tieguanyins, though the greener variants I personally find to be hit or miss. Their other Anxi oolongs I also find to be hit or miss. I almost always enjoy their black and green teas. I actually really enjoy their Wuyi oolongs for the most part, but I have yet to try them all. So far, I have really liked their Bai Rui Xiang, Bai Ji Guan, and Qilan. I go back and forth on the DHP. It seems to depend on the year. I have yet to try their Dancong, but then again, Dancong is not really my thing. Of the few pu’erhs I have tried, I find that I prefer the Xingyang stuff over the Zhenyuan.


I remember stumbling upon the pu’erh controversy as well, but I agree with eastkyteaguy. I’m pretty much a strict green + herbal tea drinker and I find Verdant’s teas are some of the best I’ve ever had.

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152 tasting notes

This tea is light amber in color with the aroma of wet wood. It tastes of wood and plums, not too shabby.

Flavors: Plum, Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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