Hunan Aged Green Cake [Out of Stock]

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Pu'erh Tea
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From Harney & Sons

This is an unusual 7 year compressed tea. It looks like Pu-erh, and goes through fermentation like Pu-erh. However this tea does not develop the earthy flavors found in Pu-erh. So it is a mellow brew with fruity aromas and flavors. This tea can be brewed several times, evolving with each brew. Elvira and Mike visited this organic garden during their recent trip to China.

Place in a 2-cup teapot, rinse with boiling water for 5 seconds, and discard that water. Add more boiling water and steep for about three minutes. This tea can be steeped several times and it will evolve with each brew.

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

5 Tasting Notes

3313 tasting notes

Unusual, indeed! Thank you to Russel Allyn and Harney and Sons for this sample!

I started out with good intentions. I was going to break my sample in half and make some for me tonight and save the rest for my friend tomorrow. Boy, is she going to disappointed! Heh heh, she didn’t know about this one so we just won’t say, shall we?

I couldn’t break this in half. It was as hard as a brick! I gave up and tossed the whole chunk in my pot. I did a very quick rinse since it was hard, but perhaps it should have been longer because when stabbed the chunk with a spoon during steeping it still didn’t want to break up! But the aroma was very intriguing!

I know it isn’t a puerh, and isn’t supposed to have the earthiness of one, but there was something earthy about this to me. The liquor is golden with a brown tinge. There are tiny specks of leaf in my teacup, which I find beautiful and artful, like a sprinkling of parsley In a white sauce, or ground pepper on top of potatoes. We eat – and drink – with our eyes first!

The taste is smooth, with a little tiny tingle of astringency. No, this definitely isn’t tasting like a puerh. This is smokey! And after the second steep the leaves have a tiny hint of coffee aroma! The liquor has a coffee taste as well, but light and fruity at the same time. This is most unusual.

Looking in my little pot, I see that the clump has broken up and my pot is FULL of leaves. I decide that the third steep will be extra short so as not to become bitter. There is a definite learning curve with this one.

Steep three now tastes like a sheng! With a drop of coffee in! My friend need not worry. I am going to stop here for the night, and we will be drinking this tomorrow, probably quite a few more steeps from the looks of things.

This tea is all I hoped it would be…different, unusual, a new experience, and worthwhile!

Thank you, Russel and Harney and Sons!


Some shengs are a bit smoky. This sounds like an interesting tea though. I wonder if it will keep for a long time like a pu-erh?


I don’t know! I would love to know if it has the beneficial tummy effects of puerh and is probiotic. The wet leaves now smell like freshly cut timber!


Ooh! I’d love to try this one. On the shopping list it goes!


Yup added to the list too!

Just Me

I’m intrigued.


Oh, my, I need to get my eyes checked. I thought the name was HUMAN Aged Green Cake. (Soylent Green Tea? ;)


Soylent green is people! LOL!

Jim Marks

What I do with sheng is use a paring knife to pick it apart. Any long, thin, flat, whippy bladed knife will work. Obviously, a pu-erh pick is ideal, but I hate buying specialized tools that do only one thing.

I’m a bit confused by H&S is insisting this isn’t a pu-erh. Green pu-erh is not all that uncommon. Is it pressed? Is it aged? Then it’s pu-erh.


Jim, I am confused by it too. Recently Verdant put an aged silver white needle cake on their website, it’s under the white tea section and they don’t call it a pu-erh. There must be something we are missing!

Jim Marks

Well, that’s a bit different. That’s something genuinely distinct from the pu-erh processing tradition.

But from what I’ve read, pressed, raw, green tea is a fairly typical kind of pu-erh.

In fact, back when all tea was essentially Chinese green tea, when it was being traded up the silk road, it was also essentially all green pu-erh as well. Packing it into bricks is what made it “transport ready”.

Like anything else pressed, age can only do it good, not ill, provided you store it properly.

Jim Marks

I wonder if this isn’t pu-erh because it is from Hunan instead of Yunnan?

Harney & Sons The Store

Jim is right on track. Pu-erh is exclusively from Yunnan, and has an a time honored tradition of tea leaf variety and processing. It is also my understanding that it is in violation of Chinese law to market non-Yunnan teas as Pu-erh.

Jim Marks

There are twenty “famous teas” in China, of which pu-erh is one. In much the same way that EU law protects certain regional products such as Champagne and Parmasen, the law in China protects these teas.

I didn’t realize the rules on the famous teas were just as strict, but it appears that they are.


I plan to have some more steepings of this later on, while I pick up some puerh attributes, it really doesn’t taste exactly like a puerh. I would say it resembles a sheng puerh more than anything else, but isn’t exactly the same. I am sure the regional protection is the reason for the name. It was quite an interesting experience, and that is what I was looking for!


For what it’s worth, the Dr. Oz episode that aired locally yesterday touted pu-erh as a fat-burner when drunk first thing in the morning. (White tea recommended at lunch, chickweed tea in lieu of afternoon snack and bilberry tea—tisane—suggested to reduce cravings.)


question for Harney and Sons: will this tea keep for years and improve like a pu-erh?

Jim Marks

Interesting. All the CTM folks I know talk about oolong as the tea to drink during exercise, not pu-erh.

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115 tasting notes

When I found out that Harney & Sons had a 7-year old, compressed green tea, I had to buy it.

I know this tea is not a Pu-erh, so I am not expecting the characteristic earthiness of one.

Leaf Quality
The leaves were tightly compressed, and arrived in a tin, pre broken into medium-sized chunks. These leaves had lots of color to them. There were pale green ones with white hairs, dark green leaves, and light green leaves together. The unwashed leaves smelled very sweet, and very floral. The washed leaves smelled more brisk. Slightly earthy, but still sweet. Their color still showed through that first wash. The leaves after steeping expanded quite a bit, and were more uniform in color. They smelled nutty, grassy, and not sweet nor floral anymore. It had also lost its earthiness.

Brewed Tea
The brewed tea was a beautiful golden-yellow with a hint of green. There was also a honey-sweet, nutty aroma, similar to that of cornbread.
First Steeping
I thought that the earthiness had left, but it showed up in this steeping. It was welcomed, as it went well with the floral notes. This tea was slightly brisk, with a sweet finish. If a green tea and a Pu-er were blended together, I’m sure it would taste something like this.
Second Steeping
This cuppa was more sweet. Very sweet actually. Both the smell and flavor were light- no briskness at all. The aftertaste was very floral, and pleasant.
Third Steeping
This steeping was the most floral of them all. It retained all the sweetness from the second brewing, and still smelled a bit nutty. All earthiness was gone at this point.

This tea is wonderful. My favorite from Harney & Sons so far. It evolved greatly with each brew, and became very sweet. I’m going to save some pieces of this cake to age. I hope those pieces turn out good as well!

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9 tasting notes

Fruity and smooth, almost a hint of smokiness. Very smooth and peachy. Might become one of my favorites!

Ben Livingstone

Like sugar in an advanced stage of caramelization! Similar, yet quite different from the first infusion. Slight vegetal hints along with the assertive stone-fruit flavours.

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