Master Han's Shu Pu'er 2002

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Dates, Medicinal, Camphor, Chocolate, Mushrooms, Olive Oil, Peat, Raisins, Spices, Wet Earth, Wet Wood, Earth, Musty, Caramel, Cherry Wood, Forest Floor, Leather, Wet Moss, Honey, Clay, Fruity, Mud, Nuts, Sweet, Metallic, Berries, Cream, Hay, Rice Pudding
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Edit tea info Last updated by Terri HarpLady
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec 6 g 6 oz / 188 ml

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39 Tasting Notes View all

  • “For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to ‘guru’ types. So, having said...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is so good, I really wish I got more when it was available. My stash is getting painfully smaller every time I drink it. If it comes in again, I’m getting more for sure. Aromatic, smooth and...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is my first experience with puerh of any sort. After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed color is...” Read full tasting note
  • “Here we go. As always I start with shortest steeps possible like 5 sec and slowly increase the time. This shu is amazing. Clear amber color, leather smell but not strong. Very easy to drink. I...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

Master Han, who wild-picks his tea in the depths of Mt Ailao National Forest Preserve as part of the Dongsa Farmer’s cooperative, is making some of the best pu’er in the world. His strict dedication to crafting each batch uniquely to the leaves picked leads him to innovate and bring out the best of his land. This is the first batch of shu pu’er he has produced, using aged leaves picked in 2002, then pressed in 2012. This technique leads to an extremely clean, rich and sweet shu pu’er that he is proud to share.

As the tea steeps, the steam wafts sweet raisin aromatics with mossy forest undertones.

The liquor is perfectly light and clear, with the green plantain and olive oil flavor distinctive to Master Han’s Black Tea and his Qianjiazhai shu pu’er. The tart notes in the tea are reminiscent of a blend of hibiscus, elderberry and rose. Herbaceous hints of coriander and fennel sneak into the aftertaste.

The musty and aged quality of this tea is so refined that it moves away from earthy and more towards the satisfying smell of old libraries. The more you sip, the more a camphor-like aftertaste and cooling sensation build up in the back of the throat. The aftertaste continues to build and get sweeter and juicier the more steepings you enjoy. It is exciting to see Master Han innovating and trying new things even when he has an established tradition of sheng pu’er. May future years bring more of this precious pu’er.

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39 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

For those who don’t know me, I have a very deep cynical streak (the title of my first CD was ‘Cynical Serenity’). I also have trust issues, especially when it comes to ‘guru’ types. So, having said that, when I hear people referred to as ‘Master’ this, or whatever, I’m always a little suspicious. Also, when companies give all these amazing descriptions & make things sound so unbelievably good, I secretly roll my eyes with doubt. Even Verdant. Sometimes it just seems a little over the top.

Having said that, where Verdant is concerned, I am almost always impressed, & today is no exception. I don’t know why I should still be skeptical, except that it is just my nature, I guess.

So…I’ve been enjoying this Shu all afternoon, steeped in a Gaiwan, steep after steep. Everything about this tea speaks of quality & craftmanship. From the awesome banana-leaf wrapper, (or whatever it’s made of, your damn right I’ll be buying a brick!), & the dark beauty of the leaf itself, to the bright clean flavor that is fruity, creamy, & slightly tart, this is a lovely Shu! I’m not done with it yet, & next time I’ll use the Xingyang workshop parameters.

Master Han is the Jedi Master of Tea. Thank you David & Lily, for all that you do for us crazy tea drinkers! I love you guys!


Ha ha. I’m a total secret eye roller. Sometimes not so secret. This tea has one of my most favorite tea descriptions ever, especially this part “The musty and aged quality of this tea is so refined that it moves away from earthy and more towards the satisfying smell of old libraries.” Someday when I finally develop a taste for puerh, maybe that will sound appetizing. Not so much yet :-). But I am sipping on special dark right now. Finally found one I don’t want to just dump down the drain. Ha ha.


ah, subtlety is lost on me… i don’t do it in secret, i’ve been known to say ‘prove it’. not rudely, just candidly.

this puerh i would love to try….. august, august, august.

Terri HarpLady

My favorite “old library” shu is xingyang golden leaf ’98. I love that tea, & it just happens to be one of the reserve teas this month too!

Autumn Hearth

Oh lucky! (for both this and the Xiangyang). I need to hold off for financial reasons. I hear you on the skeptical. My mom is often mentioning workshops to me by “one of the great spiritual teachers/leaders of our time” or something similar. And though I may be inclined to what they are giving a workshop about: ancestors, journey work etc, my mom’s phrasing turns me off.

Terri HarpLady

Autumn, I figured out a long time ago that the answers always come from within. Nobody in the world can intercede for me, or do anything to help me connect to the Universe (God, or whatever). If I sit down & ask for guidance, I will receive it. There are a lot of things that nobody can know…the Pope, the Dalai Lama, etc. I’m not saying they may not have some answers, but those same answers are available to me (or you) when we take the time to be quiet & alone, maybe journal a little, & breathe! Nobody can guide my spiritual experience except me!


You said exactly something that has been on my mind about Verdant. They go so far out there with their over the top selling hype, I find it a real turn off. It makes me want to boycott them because it seems so manipulative. That being said, their teas are generally wonderful. But I can’t help feeling cynical when I try their teas which almost takes some of the joy out of the experience. I hope they read these comments, though I might send them a note as well.


mine arrived along with a sheng and a hand picked laoshan in my tea of the month shipment…

on a separate note and playing the part of devil’s advocate: culturally there are chinese tea masters, and in the north america there are tea mastery courses… verdant (in my opinion) creates brilliant products. who does it hurt really if they refer to their tea engineer as master han? why assume it’s a manipulation and not a sign of respect.

i can’t say either way which would be true, and in my experience the middle road is often the most accurate. i suppose i like to err on the side the cup of tea half full.

Terri HarpLady

All in all, in spite of my skepticism, I’ve loved almost every tea I got from them, LOL. I guess that really says it all, right?


terri, you are a lovely person.

Terri HarpLady

Why thank you, James!


Just noticed this thread, bit of a late response here, but I’ll throw in my two cents…

I’m also a bit skeptical of anything/anyone with the title of “master”, but it recently occurred to me that it’s a traditional form of respect in the Chinese culture to call an experienced elder “lao shi”, which basically means “teacher” and I suppose could also be translated to “master”. Considering that Verdant’s relationship with their tea sourcers is one of friendship and respect, I can understand why they would refer to them as “Master so and so”.

I also have some slight issues with Verdant’s fancy descriptions, but after listening to some of the conversations David has with the tea farmers, I’m certain of Verdant’s genuineness. Up until then, I had a slight concern in the back of my mind that some of Verdant’s claims of friendships with tea farmers and sourcers were exaggerated, but his fluency in Mandarin is impressive— I almost couldn’t tell he had an accent (my family is from China so I hear Mandarin and a few other regional dialects being spoken fairly frequently).

Terri HarpLady

Cool, Ag! Thanks for chiming in!
The truth is, I love almost every tea I get from Verdant, & I do feel that they are very genuine in all they share. I also really enjoy the info they share, & the personal way that they deal with the growers, & those of us who purchase the tea.

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125 tasting notes

This is so good, I really wish I got more when it was available. My stash is getting painfully smaller every time I drink it. If it comes in again, I’m getting more for sure.

Aromatic, smooth and earthy… YUM!

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84 tasting notes

This is my first experience with puerh of any sort.

After rinsing, the aroma is reminiscent of seaweed, which unfortunately is not pleasant to me in a culinary sense, and the brewed color is surprisingly dark. Tastes also of seaweed or perhaps more of moss, with a somewhat lingering clean juiciness. Tried a second cup after more rinses (amazing how dark this is), and could not get past the earthiness of this even when not breathing in the aroma.

Interesting, and glad to have tried it, but don’t think it is for me.


Sorry to hear you didn’t like it :( But every tea is a learning experience all the same :)


How short your steeps were? I’m quite successful with shortest steeps possible like 5 sec.
This particular shu I found too clean and too mild for my taste. Don’t dismiss it. Try some other time;)


Yes, it was a learning experience and I enjoyed trying it for sure!


boychik, I played around a bit with steeping times…probably a bit longer than 5 seconds, and as well tried longer times – still pretty earthy.


I would try it again some other time.
If any one told me 4 months ago that I would be so into puerh I wouldn’t believe. I started with shu( had a free sample) that was very bad quality, completely black fishy. But I had a feeling that it was a bad sample. It didn’t stop me;). I’m addicted.
Do you drink coffee? I find shu is similar to black coffee. I do drink 1 cup everyday no milk or sugar. If you like green tea then maybe sheng is the answer.


Yeah I think puerh takes a little time to get aquanted with you. My first was a disaster.


haha, yes I will have to try again another time. I really don’t know much about puerh at all.
And I do drink coffee but didn’t find this similar, except in color perhaps. ;-)


If you have only had this a short period of time let it “air” out. I usually put any new puerh in the pumidor for at least 2 weeks before I get into them. Just let it get some air and moisture and it will probably wake up a little. I get things from China that have been vacuumed sealed with no airflow or moisture and they are usually in transit a month or so sometimes. I just pull them out and hope they come “alive” again. I think this will change given a month or so.


Thank you, mrmopar. It was in a sealed bag – I will the rest of it get some air for awhile and try again. And, I never knew there were pumidors!


That should read, “I will let the rest of it get some air..”

Terri HarpLady

Mopar, how big is your pumidor anyway? :)

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493 tasting notes

Here we go. As always I start with shortest steeps possible like 5 sec and slowly increase the time.
This shu is amazing. Clear amber color, leather smell but not strong. Very easy to drink. I do feel sparkling. My palate is not trained yet to recognize all the notes. All I can say I really enjoyed it.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

Is that your cup? : )


Thanks. I didn’t write a note yet. Playing with my phone. I think it’s fun to add pics. Shu has so many shades. I’m obsessed …


Yes. My cup and my glass gongfu pot;). Review will come soon. You inspired me to drink this tea and wanted to take a pic. Thanks caile;)


haha, OK


+1 on the shou obsession. Almost for got, need to stand up for this. Speech is as follows “Hi I am mrmopar and I have a problem with shou puer, I guess I am a shou addict”.


Anyone with a severe shou addiction, to lessen your temptation for shou please box it all up and ship to ….. just kidding!


woww what a gorgeous color!!


thank you


That’s great you enjoyed it! I will have to try mine again after some time and see if I like it any better. :-)

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1442 tasting notes

Thought I was going to get “puerh” and ended up getting the world’s most glorious nut and raisin trail mix instead. I was not expecting that twist, but I don’t resent it at all.

Setting: a pretty big mug. Temperature: boiling. Time: 1 minute rinse (maybe that’s too long to be termed a “rinse”), 30 second steep. I’ll write a more serious note later.

Second steep of 40 seconds at first tasted more like olive oil and wood smoke, but took on sweet finish which made the earthy trail mix of my mind materialize again.

Flavors: Berries, Earth, Nuts, Olive Oil, Raisins, Spices

Boiling 0 min, 30 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

mmm trail mix!


I read somewhere here 5 sec rinse couple min rest then 5/5/10/15 etc. I hope you don’t mind me telling this . This works pretty good for me for shu. Sheng is tricky. Short steeps always work.


Oh, no, I actually really appreciate the advice! It’s part of the reason I record the time/temp. and check everyone’s puerh notes. Sometimes I get lucky and it comes out tasting great despite the experimenting, like this one did, but I’ve wrecked a few too. Thank you :)


for shu cha I typically do 2 rinses,the second being long enough to draw just a little color out of the leaf…steep times will vary quite a bit from tea to tea,depending on leaf size,bing vs.loose,lao cha tou etc..


there really is no wrong or right way though…I tend to brew “heavy”,I like to overleaf oversteep most teas…it just comes down to personal preference..


@cryptickoi. i agree there is no right or wrong. im a beginner so its easier for me to do shortest steeps and see how flavors develop. i’m more in control. once i know more or less what to expect from this particular tea i can increase the time. so many people are turned off by pu because of long steeps. i still dont feel comfortable with sheng :(

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15131 tasting notes

Guys… i am massively exhausted. I’ve tried napping today, drinking lots of water and tea… and i just can’t shake being totally tired. So this is one i;ve been drinking most of the afternoon and i have to say it’s one of the few puerhs i’ve enjoyed recently from verdant. More often than note, i find myself preferring the tones and notes i get from mandala’s puerh instead. This though? it’s light and refreshing and delicious… and the other half of my sample is going to cavo for her to try and explore since she’s starting to look at puerh a little more :)

Terri HarpLady

This one really is nice :)

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1447 tasting notes

After the success of Butiki’s Puerh Tuo Cha the other day, I decided it was time to dig this one up and steep it already. It’s secretly been driving me nuts in my sample drawer for a while, but the world of pu’erh is daunting.

I’m really finding it difficult to get past the scent of this one, but I can taste a wee bit of earthiness here beneath that scent. I feel this one has potential, and at this point it’s definitely me and not the tea. Perhaps in due time, as I possibly explore more pu’erhs I’ll come back to Verdant.

Thanks akgrowngirl!

205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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592 tasting notes

Ok, so this is the first pu’er that I’ve tried, and I gotta say that I don’t really get it. This was part of my 5 for $5 that Verdant used to have, and I was really excited to try my first pu’er. The tea smells like a wet forest after rain and tastes like it, too. Tastes a little bit like dirt at first and then like wet wood. I’m obviously not rating the tea because I have no idea what I’m talking about when it comes to pu’ers. At least I’ve tried it out now!

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4197 tasting notes

I retrieved this from a teabox ages ago. It only had one serving, sealed in the original packaging. Possibly I was distracted but the only thing I noticed was that this is an okay ripe pu-erh. Nothing bad about it but nothing outstanding either. Probably not a dark and deep enough pu-erh for me. I didn’t want to go without writing a tasting note for it though, seeing as how long it took just to get around to drinking this.

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239 tasting notes

To be honest, besides being able to classify different shou puerhs by flavor profile, I have never had a shou really stand out. This one is no exception. It’s a pleasant experience, to be sure, but I’ve never had a shou that knocks my socks off.

This shou fits into the predominantly woodsy profile, tasting like fresh, wet wood. There’s a sweet, creamy flavor as well as mouthfeel. Overall, quite nice.

Thanks traveling tea box!

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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