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Recent Tasting Notes

Honey-like aroma of Yi Wu. No smokiness. 10+ infusions. A very enjoyable session. Have 4.5 cakes going into longterm storage.

Flavors: Amaretto, Beeswax, Berries, Camphor, Clean, Nectar, Plum, Syrupy

195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 2 tsp 4 OZ / 133 ML

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This tea is from Michelle who got it from Rich and now I am drinking it here. 17 years old. Older than my oldest niece and cousin. Thank you both!

I prepared it western, 4 granms and roughly 4 minutes steep and it was one of the finest shu puerhs I prepared in this method. It was smooth, clean and dark as expected from shu; quite fermented and quite long mouthfeel. But it wasn’t so heavy for my stomach as many other shu puerhs making it acidic and unsettled.

Maybe it is not really complex in flavor, I will find out once I prepare remaining 7 grams with gongfu method, but I liked it. Also there was no foul odour or taste.

Just afterwards I have decided to descale our kettle. It is better than nothing, but if I used stronger method than citric acid in high concentration, I am afraid it would start to leak. But teas will be hopefully better now. I already thought that some teas are pretty same regardless their origin.

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

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Prepared western, 7 grams per 300 ml vessel, steeped for 5 minutes or so.
There is not many things that annoy me, but one of them are “funny” comments about my tea. For instance “You are having some awful smelling tea.”, or “Those weeds you call a tea?” and such. Today it was “You have some really strong tea today, right?”. I said nothing to this comment. Like coffee is refined drink, especialy when they use just pre-grinded coffee beans and fill the cup with hot water (not sure how this preparation method called in English).

So, I was drinking my really strong tea today afternoon, as again I was craving puerh somehow. I rarely get green teas as they don’t understand why I don’t want boiling water and of course, they use it for their coffee.

I got indeed a bit earthy, but not fishy, as AllanK says, indeed quite fermented. Following with sweet notes, quite like a dark caramel to me, with some notes of red berries and their seeds. Interesting flavour profile and I wonder how those flavours will develop during gongfu steeping one day.

Thank you Michelle and Rich for yet another shu puerh.

*they = my family members

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 7 g 10 OZ / 300 ML

Haha, I get being minorly annoyed at comments about tea. When I walk into work with a glass jar full of cold-brewed green tea, without fail, at least a few people will say something about beer or pee. Glass jars of black tea usually elicit some comment about “drinking on the job” or “having a stiff one” as a reference to whiskey.

Martin Bednář

Edit: why I don’t want it => _why I don’t want boiling water. Sometimes thinking is faster than writing. In English.


Yeah, I’ve heard ‘em all at work—getting ribbed for bringing yellow tea (it was chamomile, for goodness sake) in a clear tumbler, "What’s that little baggie full of leaves on your desk?" and “It smells like shoes.”

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Surprised they have this one on Steepster haha. Blind bought a cake of this because it was so cheap (< $0.04/g!) and I wanted to try a different type of heicha than shou puerh. This tea is in bits – some of the smallest I’ve seen in loose leaf tea. Lots of bits of stems too.

I think this is a decent value for what it is. I was hoping for it to be tolerable at least, and that it is. Flavor is a bit sweet, but fairly simple. No astringency or bitterness. Mouthfeel is decent, but not as full or interesting as many shous I’ve tried. Flavor profile is very different from the shous I’ve tried. This one completely lacks any earthy/forest floor notes that are common in shou. Longevity is poor at 5-6ish infusions, but I didn’t try to push the times in the later infusions.

I can see myself sipping on this from time to time, as a break from shous. Will likely take me a long, long time to get through the brick haha.

Flavors: Citrus, Pepper, Sweet

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Part of the huge puerh gift box from Rich, thanks!
Earthy and creamy and smooth. Maybe not the most complex, but certainly drinkable and not harsh. Not fishy or dirt tasting, just a standard ripe puerh, you won’t be disappointed if you don’t expect too much. A good candidate for mixing with peppermint.


Oh, peppermint… now there’s an idea.

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Sample from fresh PS order. While my experience with puerh is not great enough to tell how dry storage vs wet storage should affect the flavor, this does seem like a fairly green tea for its age. Only trace bitterness though does seem to indicate that it has some age. Nice flavor overall.

Mouthfeel is only mildly thick, and even less so for its age. Stopped after infusion 8. I will say that this is the first time I’ve experienced what I assume others refer to as “cha qi,” and it was quite overpowering. Perhaps this also indicates it has some age to it?

That said, if I could sum the flavor of this tea up in one word, it would be “boring.” I wonder if/how much the storage conditions affect this experience. Not bad and pleasant to drink, but not the tea for me in the end. I have heard some people don’t trust PS’s reliability with older cakes such as this one…

Flavors: Bell Pepper, Bitter, Pear, Smooth, Sweet, Sweet Corn

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Last of the 5 samples from Puerhshop. This one was free. Yet another cake under $0.10/g

Basically no bitterness or astringency. Mild sweetness. Initial flavor is bold for a sheng, but I find the complexity, mouthfeel, and longevity lacking. Apparently, Bangdong is a village in Lincang city.

I was really cheering for this tea from the get-go, primarily for two reasons. First, I found an identifiable smell (other than the “smell of sheng” that I can’t classify otherwise) to the wet leaves. Second, the initial 1-3 infusions were quite bold and the flavor was wonderful. Thereafter, the flavor declined steeply, and did not return by infusion 10 even with longer steeps and a temperature bump. I doubt upping the leaf/water ratio would help.

Overall I’m disappointed by this tea, but thankful to have received a free sample. I’m open to changing my opinion when I try the remaining sample again.

Wet leaf: citrus

Flavors: Citrus, Pear, Sweet

3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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This is $0.08/g?! God I love puerh. Not an amazing tea or anything, but for that price it’s quite exceptional. Will be getting a cake of this one.

Bitterness is very mild and far overshadowed by the sweetness of the later infusions. No astringency. Also the first time I’ve tasted cantaloupe (one of my favorite fruits) in a tea. Usually I get notes of honeydew (the bane of my existence; it’s a subtle difference I know :)) if a tea is melony. In the fruit salad of melon-flavored teas, this is a welcome reprieve from monotony. It’s an understatement that I can down some refrigerated cantaloupes on the hot summer days of Georgia. Glad to find a tea that will round out those days well.

Longevity is 15+ infusions. Liquor coats the tongue like a weighted blanket. Minutes-long aftertaste is wonderfully sweet.

Apparently Nanzhao has been a series Xiaguan has produced since the 90s. The name refers to an ancient Chinese kingdom in modern day Yunnan. The series tend to have high ratio of large buds on the surface, and aim to be sweeter than the average puerh.

If you prefer the sharp, bitter flavor of unbridled young shengs, this milder tea is probably not your style.

Flavors: Bitter, Cantaloupe, Honey, Smoke, Sweet, Vegetal

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 3 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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I am noticing a trend in shengs as I sample more of them. The semi-aged ones seem to have retained some of the bitterness on the front/middle end of younger shengs (2-5 yrs old), but the bitterness dissipates earlier and is replaced by a more noticeable sweet/fruity presence near infusion 6-8. Will revisit this hypothesis as I sample more shengs.

Mouthfeel is initially bright and later becomes chalky around infusions 5-7. Longevity was good with >= 15 infusions. Bitterness is medium-low and peaks at about the max level I can comfortably tolerate before sliding away with molasses-speed.

This is certainly a nice tea for the price at under $0.10/g, but I’m not yet convinced to buy a cake. I love the initial 1-2 infusions, and dont mind 3-6, but to me, the meat of the tea is in the later infusions. It is unclear to me if, with aging, the flavor of these later infusions would persist, predominate, and/or begin earlier. Certainly a nice tea and definitely one I’d be happy to drink should someone offer it to me :). Apparently, Mansa is a village on Yiwu mountain.

Flavor progression: Cream + oregano → bitter + bright + savory → bitter + wet earth → sweet + apple skins → sweet + apple + honeydew

Flavors: Apple Skins, Bitter, Bright, Chalk, Cream, Honeydew, Oregano, Savory, Sweet, Wet Earth

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Found an old sample of this tea in my cupboard this weekend, figured I might as well kill it. I used all three good nugs and some crumbs in my 130ml gaiwan. Gave it an aggressive rinse before letting the tea try it’s best to open up. The storage situation wasn’t the best for this sample, but I was still able to enjoy the thick silkiness of the broth anyway. There wasn’t too much complexity in this tea anymore, which was a little disappointing. I was able to get some subtle dark cherry and woody notes from each steep though, which felt redemptive. all in all it was unmemorable few steeps.

Not using a number rating for this review, simply because the age and storage of this lil sample. It’s had a hard life XD

Flavors: Earth, Mud, Petrichor, Silky, Wet Wood

7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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Well, this is a different ripe pu-erh story than yesterday! Thank you Michelle and Rich!
I have used 6 grams this time. I wasn’t paying again too much attention to it, so it won’t be super-descriptive steep by steep note.

First of all, it is much easier to pry than yesterday. It was almost loose leaf!
Secondly, it steeps quickly, so I started with 5 seconds rinse and fast steeps afterwards.

Thirdly, it has got so good flavour and aroma! I noticed notes of (not in particular order): toast, bread, dark chocolate, bitter, coffee, fruity, dough, caramel, creamy vanilla, smooth.

Brew is usually clear, though oily dark; with interesting viscosity — I believe it was thickier than usual teas are.

I have searched for Rongzhen puerhs, but nothing found, If you got some source… let me know!

0 min, 30 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

I can send some more of this one when I get home from my travels :)


This sounds delightful. The only puerh I have in my cabinet now right kind of grossed me out… you give me hope for the future of exploration, haha!

Martin Bednář

I will certainly consider it Michelle.
beerandbeancurd honestly, shus were always hit or miss for me. Some are very heavy, alkaline, but some were delightful, creamy and with chocolate notes. It’s so hard to get one that suits well the taste and it is very unexplored style for me.


beerandbeancurd: if you’re shu is fishy or just way too strong, try setting a session’s worth out in a bowl with the wrapper undone (if tuo) or just loose. Let it breathe and then try it. I have done this for anywhere from two hours to two days, depending on how unruly the tea was!


Thank you for the tip, ashmanra! I’ll try this for sure!

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Very decent shou at a great price. This would be a great “daily drinker” as it’s not overly intense, bitter, or cloying. It’s smooth and gentle with good aromatics.

Flavors: Incense, Woody

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Again a puerh from Michelle, thanks to Rich as well.

Again, somehow random choice from the box and prepared western. I took one chunk and loose tea in, but I haven’t weighted it.

It turned out pretty well after about 5 minutes steep. Its aroma was mostly antique store, lightly earthy and pleasant.

However, it taste it was somehow weak, quite boring, lighlty woody and kind of sweet. Brown sugar comes to mind.

It seems that this tea faded a lot, afterall it is from 2008. We will see how last chunk will do in gongfu brewing.

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Earthy, Woody

205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec 10 OZ / 300 ML

Age shouldn’t have too much of a weakening effect on shou. I’d guess leaf quality or poor storage. Try a bigger chunk?

Martin Bednář

I know that. I think it wasn’t truly premium leaf. I don’t know… maybe too dry storage?

Or I just used too little tea. We will see how different it will be during gongfu brewing.


I look forward to that note :) Curious.

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Martin’s note inspired me to do a tasting note for this one.
I brewed it differently, I have a tuffy strainer inside a slightly bigger cup where 150 ml will cover a few scoops of tea. After a rinse I start with 1 min, then start adding 2-5 minutes at a time until the last steep is 15-20 min. To me, brew times depend on the first sip, is it too weak/strong then add/subtract some time. When I’m done traveling so much I might be inspired to try the best of gifted shou in my clay pot.
This one is one of the better shous from Rich, I think. Its earthy and creamy with a bit of chili spice. Not bitter at all, and I’d call it more smooth than earthy.

Martin Bednář

I agree it is more smooth than earthy, but I was lacking longer aftertaste. Certainly, there are chances to brew it in the different ways.

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Thank you Michelle for this tea from Rich — so thank you too, however, not sure when and if you will read this. But that’s not important. Sharing the tea is lovely.

So, yeah, after long shu puerh hiatus, I am trying a few again. I have received some tea samples from Michelle, so I am curious if I find love for them.

Searching for actual teas is sometmes hard. For example I thought there are spaces in the name of this, but apparently they aren’t.

First steep also as a flush, 5 seconds long
It has changed the color rapidly! While dry, the leaves were smelling after chocolate, but when wet, they are a bit peaty, woody and mossy. A little mushroomy maybe as well.

Brew is very light though, with strong woody presence and I notice some “dirt” taste. which can be only because it was brewed so weak and flavours weren’t able to develop well.

Ten seconds steep
Peaty chocolate? Weird aroma, but it is exactly what it reminds me. Taste is even more woody, thick, with red fruits aftertaste? It’s so short, but I bet it’s fruity.

15 seconds steep
See second steep and double the intensity.

30 seconds steep
Very thick, tends to be sweet and mostly chocolate. Again, red fruits aftertaste. Sadly, short and almost no mouthfeel overall.

45 seconds
Is it a hot chocolate? Nope, it’s Yiwu puerh. Tastes great, but thin. No aftertaste, no mouthfeel after a sip. Sadly. That’s reason for lower rating.

60 seconds
Just right timing to call it done. Brew is light and I got only woody notes. Maybe I did too big increments.

Flavors: Chocolate, Mushrooms, Peat, Red Fruits, Thick, Wet Moss, Wet Wood

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

If you have more, try brewing longer with a lot of leaf.


If brewed that way, a lot of shou can have the intensity and body of a good coffee.

Martin Bednář

I will try that derk. But I don’t feel I have underleafed it, but I can be wrong :)

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Part of my shu tea box from Rich.
This one is earthy and spicy with camphor notes. The wet leaf smells like dark chocolate and cloves, and there is a slight bitter aftertaste that lets you know its puerh. My favorite, and I think the smoothest, of the ones I’ve tried so far. Maybe not for one trying to ease into puerh, but certainly an enjoyable cup.

Flavors: Camphor, Clove, Dark Chocolate, Wet Earth

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This little tea surprised me. A very smooth and sweet little brick. Zero bitterness.

I added these to an old order about a year or so ago from Puerhshop Canada just to sort of pad out the costs (it’s only a couple of bucks for a little 50g brick so I got a bunch). I noticed it was a bit on the dry side when it arrived so I just lined the wall of my puerh container with these little guys.

Compression isn’t super tight so it’s quite easy to break up.

I placed the dry leaves into a steaming pot and they have a slight green-wood and camphor/vanilla note which is promising.

What you get is clean, simple and sweet. It loses the sweetness a bit after steep 3, and heads into the milder sort of ‘sweet pea’ territory.

There’s zero detectable storage funk. Clean.

The scent from the first few steeps and the pitcher is close to the crispy caramel on a creme brûlée. Along with the hints of vanilla custard. A little of a eucalyptus or camphor note, but this fades toward vanilla and sugar pretty quickly.

I’ve brewed this in a few pots. Right now, it’s in a larger (130ml) Qing Hui Ni pot – and it’s fairly plain and sugary. I tried it in a smaller Zhuni (90ml) earlier and the eucalyptus/camphor note was stronger but there was probably a higher leaf ratio.

I get a bit of a numb tongue afterwards.

Would definitely recommend it. Extremely good bang for the buck.

I’ve put 85 because it’s just got one main note (definitely not complex flavour combo) and it doesn’t infuse much past the 4th infusion. But what it does have is very nice.

Flavors: Camphor, Caramel, Eucalyptus, Peach, Peas, Vanilla

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 125 ML

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Solid aged white.

Smell: Honey, malt, some remaining floral character, books, muscatel, etc.
Taste: Malt, woody, autumnal

Really good for the price. An easy going cup with enough complexity and age to keep things interesting. Really dig it.

Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Honey, Malt, Muscatel, Paper, Wood

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Purchased from puerhshop.com summer 2021.
5.4g in 100ml gaiwan:

- Smell (Dry Leaf): Honey, Malt, Old Books
- Smell (Wet Leaf): Old Books, Almond, Sugarcane, Caramel, Dried fruit, Malt, Oregano
- Smell (Liquid): “Aged”, Old Books, Oregano
- Taste: Malt, Paper, Age, Paper, Honey. Did I already say paper?

This tea is a solid, well priced, aged yue gang bai that is absolutely worth buying if you drink a lot of aged whites and want a daily drinker. It’ll really help you keep your hands off the really good stuff you want to have aging. The Troy, Michigan storage from puerhshop is definitely on the very dry side of storage, but luckily that has been really good for this tea. I was worried that the storage would have really hampered the aromatic quality of this tea, but that isn’t the case. Going to have to buy another cake for daily drinking.

Flavors: Malt, Paper, Sugarcane

Boiling 5 g 100 OZ / 2957 ML

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5.4g, gaiwan, 100mL

I brewed this past midnight during midterms prep, so I was cranky and didn’t continue infusing. Notes are sparse and probably reflect as much.

same dry leaf smell as rest of PS order: dates and dried fruit. Something is up with their storage or my nose. Maybe one, maybe both. First time getting a surprise with the leaves: leaves had a piece of straw/hay inside. lol.

212f, 1×5s rinse
200f: wet leaves exude strong smoke. Lots of stems in this sample.

5s: unpleasantly smoky. Hint of date on the aftertaste. Sharp note.

12s: Sharp and smoky. Cooling on aftertaste with slight sweet.

5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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