Yanxin’s Reserve ’04 Shu Nuggets from Verdant Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Pu-erh

Where to Buy:  Verdant Tea

Tea Description:

These nuggets are formed from only the smallest most delicate buds, and slow-fermented to form nuggets.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Wow!  Just … Wow!

I always seem to be so surprised by pu-erh… surprised that I actually like it.  The first couple of times that I did try it were less than successful tastings, and as a result, I have it programmed in my head that I do not like pu-erh.  But, you’d think that by now, after so many successful tastings since those first few, that I’d have managed to reprogram myself and realize that I DO like pu-erh.

And I REALLY like this pu-erh.  Immediately upon opening the pouch I KNEW this was different.  The tea has been formed into little nuggets, looking a bit like dried clots of dark earth.  And I expected it to smell like dark earth, but it didn’t.  The aroma is fairly faint.  I detect hints of wood, but not much else.

The flavor is quite remarkable.  The tasting notes on Verdant Tea’s website seem to describe what I’m experiencing very well.  Notes of sweet cinnamon and a vanilla tone that is not so much a creamy vanilla, but more of the sugary sweetness you’d experience from an angel food cake.  Enhancing these angel-food-esque flavors even more is a sort of cake-y like taste … wheat and browned sugar and tones of malt.

But it’s what I don’t taste that makes this shu even more remarkable … I don’t taste EARTH!  Usually with a shu pu-erh, even a very good one that is sweet and delicious, there are earth tones that taste unmistakeably … well, like earth.  But, I don’t taste those same earthy tones here.  I don’t taste that brine-y fish taste.  I taste a sweet, clean flavor with notes of wood and spice.  And I like it a LOT!

If you have wanted to get in to pu-erh but have not found one that you can enjoy without tasting those strong, earthy flavors, try this one!  This one WILL surprise you!

3 thoughts on “Yanxin’s Reserve ’04 Shu Nuggets from Verdant Tea

  1. I enjoy reading all your reviews.

    Can you please tell me the difference between shu and sheng pu-erh? Every tea site I go to assumes that you should already know this and I don’t. Thanks.

  2. Hi Bill: I had written out a pretty thorough comment to explain the difference between the teas but it somehow disappeared on me. So, I am sorry that it seemed like a long time for me to respond, I had responded, and didn’t realize that it did not post. I will try to answer your question again!

    As you probably are aware, Pu-erh is an aged tea, processed in a way that is different from the other tea types.

    Sheng pu-erh is also sometimes called “raw” pu-erh. It is processed using a slow oxidation process. They are then stored using either a wet or dry storage aging process, which allows their unique complexities to be derived through a slow, natural aging.

    Shu (also spelled Shou) is also sometimes called “ripened” or “cooked” pu-erh although they aren’t actually “cooked.” They are processed in manipulated conditions that imitate the long aging process of a Sheng using warm, humid ripening conditions. How well these conditions are controlled has an effect on the final process.

    Usually, Sheng is the preferred process, but, I’ve tasted some pretty spectacular Shu pu-erhs, which is why I recommend not giving up and continue to try and taste different teas.

    Thanks for your question. I hope you’ll keep reading!

  3. Thanks, liberteas, for your long and informative answer!

    It’s very exciting to see you review a tea that I was thinking of buying-good to get someone else’s perspective.

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