Tea Trail 2004: Willow Grove Workshop

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Pu'erh Tea
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205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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28 Tasting Notes View all

  • “I followed the instructions on the verdant site, to brew this tea gongfu style. The wet leaf is of an old ancient pine forest, deep and earthy, black as night. It’s a smell I love. The flavor is...” Read full tasting note
  • “First of all, yes, I’m alive. I’ve been amazingly busy recently, with professors really ;piling on the work as the semester draws to a close. But today I have a bit of time, so I’m doing a review...” Read full tasting note
  • “My tiny tasting cup finally came! I’ve had this sample from Verdant for awhile now but I wanted to wait to try it until I could give it attention and lots of steeps. This is my first tasting note...” Read full tasting note
  • “This is somewhat contradictory tea: it’s earthy but light at the same time. It also has a “clean” taste. It’s a perfect after dinner tea. I had vegetables from the farmers market, black beans with...” Read full tasting note

From Verdant Tea

A uniquely clean shu pu’er with both warming and cooling qualities, a sophisticated musky profile, and a sparkling texture like fresh mint and basil leaf. . . .

Our first generation Tea Trail brick from Yongming workshop became an instant favorite for its potent cooling notes and clean body. This older tea embraces the same spirit as the first Tea Trail but builds on it with a complexity all its own.

The aroma of the wet leaf is that of pine sap, wet forest moss, rosewood, and wafting incense. The flavor builds on the aroma with a first steep that is altogether refreshing. it reminds us of water drawn from an untouched and perfectly clear stream, with mineral notes picked up from smooth stones lining the stream bed. Then, after the refreshing cooling sensation a lush warmth begins to build. Though obscure, the best way to describe the flavor is in its relation to the rich aroma of antique lacquered furniture that has absorbed decades of incense. Trailing the lush warmth is a musty sensation that is almost vaporous. It reminds us of the smell of fine, crisp parchment paper.

As we continue with more infusions the clean cool sparkling begins to play on the wamth building in the chest, creating a thrilling taste experience. The sweetness and flavors of fresh mint and basil leaves come through. Later, the tea begins to take on a thicker body with a flavor similar to whole wheat bread, while at the same time maintaining an intense juiciness. In late steepings, the warm spice and incense flavors remind us of cinnamon baked apple.

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28 Tasting Notes

3294 tasting notes

I followed the instructions on the verdant site, to brew this tea gongfu style. The wet leaf is of an old ancient pine forest, deep and earthy, black as night. It’s a smell I love.

The flavor is both bright and dark, if that makes sense. Very earthy, a little drying, slightly sweet, and there is the ‘fresh’ sensation of mint, but not the flavor.

I’d like to say, at this point, that I’m hypersensitive to a lot of weird things. A few days ago I drank a puerh that made my head feel numb. This one is doing the same thing, only in a much crazier way. I don’t feel that I’m in any danger, but I am going to put the tea away for now. I am going to describe what’s going on, because I want to know if anyone else has ever experienced anything like this from drinking puerh.

As a preface, a little personal history. In my youth I did a lot of hallucinogens, especially of the fungal nature. (I’ve been drug free for 29 years) Having said that, right now I feel like I’m on a mild shroom trip. My entire brain is tingling, especially in the 3rd eye area (front and back), & I feel a little numb mentally, but also strangely alert. If I didn’t have students coming soon, this would be a good time to go sit in meditation. With my eyes closed, this actually feels really good. With my eyes open, I’m having some photo-sensitivity (which I have sometimes anyway). I’m not having any other visual distortions, but the tingling/cooling sensation is also spreading, first down my spine, and also throughout my body.

Again, I don’t think I’m in any danger, I just feel weird. Maybe this is what they call ‘Chaqui’?


I’ve had some “tea drunk” feelings before with really good pu’erhs and oolongs. Mostly I just get really drowsy and blissful.

Terri HarpLady

Not all Puerhs effect me this way. So far, it’s this one and Puerh Poe from Adagio, and one other, but I don’t know which one. I just started a list in my Tea Journal. I’ve drank several others and not had this effect. It’s like a 3rd eye stimulant, and the tingling has subsided, leaving behind a mild headache, drowsiness, & some of my typical migraine symptoms: difficulty focusing my eyes, & sensitivity to sound & light. I’d go lay down & take a nap, but I have students all afternoon (until 7).

The funny thing is, part of me wants to do a couple steepings, just to see if the numbness returns, LOL.


I actually got a scratchy feeling in the back of my throat with this same pu’erh, and I thought it was an allergic reaction at first.


First I’d ask if it only happens when you drink tea. If not I’d go to a doctor. If so, the feeling in the head feels like a numbness for me sometimes, and I think I feel it more than some people because of my brain issues. Having an empty stomach can increase the feelings too or give nausea. I get good feelings from puerh that help my migraines most of the time. Don’t drink your puerh too fast. Too much other tea also. Too much caffeine is as bad as too little for people with migraines.


Sounds like some sort of allergic reaction.
I’ve had problem with migraines as well so I really sympathize. It is not fun at all.
Tea Trail 2004: Willow Grove Workshop, however, is one of my favorits from Verdant Tea.

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250 tasting notes

First of all, yes, I’m alive. I’ve been amazingly busy recently, with professors really ;piling on the work as the semester draws to a close. But today I have a bit of time, so I’m doing a review as quickly as possible. I’m still multitasking, doing my Abstract Algebra homework while writing the beginning of this review.

I was really generous with the ammount of leaf I used today becasue I caved and bought a lot of stuff from the Verdant Tea Cyber Monday sale and I need to do some stash busting. Anyway, I let the first cup steep for a bit more than 20 seconds, which resultedin tea that was a nice amber color, and which had a pleasant earthy aroma. Unlike some shu, where the aroma can be overpowering, this tea is just the right ammount to enhance the experience. The teaste is earthy, yet still surprisingly sweet. Also, lets not forget the thirst-quenching and the cooling sensations that this tea has to offer, which give it that extra uniqueness to make this tea really stand out.

Second cup, steeped for 15 seconds. I usually only let the second cup steep for 10 seconds, but I felt a bit adventurous today. The result is much earthier than the first cup, but still delightfully clear and juicy. The mineral sensation that David mentions in the tea’s description is also more obvious during this steep, rounding off the expereince with a pleasant smooth aftertaste that migrates to the hard palate. Once again, this tea delivers an amazing experience.

Third cup, also 15 seconds. This was a very complex cup of tea, as I seem to have caught it during the middle of the big transition from the bolder flavors of the early steepings to the smooth, cool, sparkling sensations that coem atthe end. The spakling feeling is starting to assert itself, and the mineralish aftertaste has faded significantly. Also, the flavor is clearer, like the musty old flavors have been washed away. It’s very interesting, and I’m savoring it as much as I can.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec

Earth to Joshua Smith….Hello….Hope you’re studies are doing well!!!

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148 tasting notes

My tiny tasting cup finally came! I’ve had this sample from Verdant for awhile now but I wanted to wait to try it until I could give it attention and lots of steeps. This is my first tasting note logging multiple infusions! I don’t have very sophisticated taste buds but I still felt like I got a lot of this tea (Rayn contributed a bit too).

I started out by giving this tea two quick rinses.

1st steep – about 4 seconds
Smells like hay and dirt, has a reddish brown color. The flavor reminds me of earth, mushrooms, hay, and the woods.

2nd steep – 5 seconds
Liquid is dark in the infuser but pours out a darker brown tinged with red. I still smell hay and dirt and barnyard. Tastes slightly mineraly?

3rd steep – 10 seconds
Sparkling taste is getting more prominent and it feels kind of cooling on the inside of my mouth. Still smells really earthy. Slight scratchy feeling near the back of my throat.

4th steep – 15 seconds
Scent is warm and almost spicy. More sparkly and sweet, this is the first time it’s tasted sweet. Wiggles, my cat, was very interested in this steep and spent a long time sniffing it!

5th steep – 20 seconds
Pu’erh is very sweet on this steep. Kind of juicy and fruity. I must have really liked this one because I drank it fast.

6th steep – 25 seconds
Clear and sweet. Rayn comments that this one “tastes like mineral water”. Didn’t get much before it got cold since he got home from work :)

7th steep – 30 seconds
Rayn’s note: “sweet and spicy”. Color is getting lighter again, I taste a bit of the spiciness Rayn mentioned, and it seems to be getting earthy again to me. As it cools more sweet mineral water flavor.

8th steep – 40 seconds
Light amber liquid. Flavor is bright, mineraly and this reminds me of pine or cedar.

9th steep – 1 minute
Light red color. Very sweet with a hint of saltiness.

I ended up steeping this three more times but didn’t write the last few down, they were really similar to the 9th steep.

205 °F / 96 °C
Rachel Sincere

My palate is not sophisticated at all. I hear “hay, earth, and the woods” and I think “Dump it! Trade it! NEXT!” LOL


Haha! I know it sounds odd, but it tastes good.


What Rachel said. =)

I found a Bodum tasting cup that I want to get. It’s so cute, it’s only about 2 or 2.5oz. I’m so psyched that I finally found something I like. Now I just have to find a place where it’s actually in stock…

Anyhoo, really cool tasting note! I’m impressed by all you got out of the tea in spite of your supposedly unsophisticated palate. =) I’m looking forward to similarly educating my own palate soon.


It was a really cool tea, Nik! Well worth trying if you’re interested in pu’erh. Even Wiggles (http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lzo3ppZ4OW1r581hyo1_1280.jpg) couldn’t resist checking it out.


I’m not, all that much, but I’m trying to psych myself into getting interested. =P


P.S. Wiggles is very cute. Is Wiggles wiggly?

Daisy Chubb

If it’s any help Nik, I wasn’t interested at ALL in puerh… but puerh got interested in me. I’m hooked now – highly recommend this and other Verdant pus!


Verdant…pus? Oh! The plural of “pu,” I get it now. Had a really grossed out moment, there. =P Thank you, yes, that does help. I try to keep an open mind, and I’m willing to go earthy if there’s sweetness to be found, but I’m not even remotely willing if there’s only fishiness to be found. =)


Nik – Wiggles was a very wiggly baby! Nowadays she does wiggle a bit, but mostly naps and starts fights with her sister.
In my experience, better pu’erhs don’t have any fish taste or flavor.

Daisy Chubb

haha ‘pus’ – my bad!
Yeah to be honest, I don’t think I’ve had a single “fishy” puerh from a high quality vendor like Verdant or Mandala. Only from DavidsTea n_n; (I still liked them, but it’s a totally different thing like the difference between a book and a movie!)

Daisy Chubb

Sorry to hijack your tasting note Claire! It is wonderful!


DaisyChubb – I don’t mind hijacking! :)

Autistic Goblin

very cute kitty!

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336 tasting notes

This is somewhat contradictory tea: it’s earthy but light at the same time. It also has a “clean” taste. It’s a perfect after dinner tea. I had vegetables from the farmers market, black beans with herbs and feta and marinated tofu strips and finished it with a cup of tea. That was SO good.
Sadly this was the last cup left. Everybody in my family likes this so it did not last long.

200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 15 sec

I hate running out! Good meal!

Invader Zim

Dinner sounded delicious!


If I could I would gladly share it with you :)

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676 tasting notes

First Review

What a treat and privilege to review this Shu Pu’er just released by Verdant Tea.

“I don’t want to mess this up, so what method of brewing should I do?”, I thought. The directions on the Verdant website were easy to adapt to my PIAO glass infuser pot which would allow me to watch the Pu’er brew loosely with a small amount of water. Perfect for the task at hand.

I used Spring water and rinsed the first infusion before steeping. Each steep was 3 minutes long.
Here’s a little tip from Grandma Bonnie: Rinse your hands in some of that tea water. Somehow, get the SMELL of the tea on your hands so that no other scent will cloud your tasting.

1. Watching the Pu’er bark float in the hot water, little particles began to hang in the water like planetary debris. Little by little the color changed to cherrywood and the leaves smelled like furniture lacquer and molasses honey. There was no huge earthy smell, no musty caves of China or dusty boots in either the scent or first taste. This was genteel. Here was a country kitchen with warm, baked bread steaming on the window sill and a crock of mineral water from a mountain stream to wash it down with. Juicy, burnt edges on the crust so faint that you wondered if there were nuts in the bread…but decided that the thought was a phantom. You could smell some wild mint far away…ah now gone. Sweet wheat bread.

2. This was a sweet smelling cup, golden orange-brown like root beer. The wheat bread flavor was almost gone but a tingle of coolness had arrived. I could feel some tannin on my tongue and a woody, amber honey that was very ripe. This steeping was a mystery as if it was in the middle of making up it’s mind on where it was going next. Waiting in the wings, ready to go on stage. I couldn’t wait to see what was next!

3. The leaves were laying on the bottom of the steeping reservoir, giving all they had left…a squeeze of robust color now a lighter deep golden brown.
The flavor was smooth and a bit salty (I liked that). Here was a bigger mineral taste, without any bitterness, right up front. It gathered up juiciness and sprinkled spice in my mouth. I could feel the heat. I pulled back a moment…where were the flavors? A trickster ambushed me on a side street with a cool attitude. Yes, Cool Operator! Mint had arrived. Warmth, Spice, Mint. Are you serious?! I slapped my face and came to my senses. This was so pleasing.
I decided to become a rebel…to become, Grandma Bonnie! (you may want to stop reading here because this is not what tea purists are supposed to do!) I added a little sugar to what was at the end of my cup. And it turned into BREAD PUDDING! I am serious! (I will never get any more sample tea’s from Verdant I just know it!)

This is a Pu’er that is not like the others I’ve had, you know, the deep earthy ones, and light bakery vanilla ones. When have you or I ever had the bread, spice, mineral and mint (mint?!) in one Puer?! It is very different and worth tasting!
Thank you to the special people who seek out the best tea from small farms for us to enjoy!

http://youtu.be/sOI8ae3Lub8 (Smooth Operator, Sade)

Daisy Chubb

Wonderful review as always Bonnie, such a treat!


Thanks, now I can eat breakfast!


agree, great review! sounds like a winner!


You may just convince me to try pu’erh! And I don’t particularly like pu’erh!


I love your reviews! This is making me want to try some pu’er for sure.


Thank you tea friends! You are always supportive and kind!


What a great idea to include a link to the music you think is appropriate to listen to with the tea!


A bit of tongue and cheek musical humor on the smoothness of this tea!


I almost ordered that one yesterday! I chose to try the Mt Banzhang ’03 instead but wow you sure make this one sound like it belongs on my next order!

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125 tasting notes


I got this shou a year ago with my very first Verdant Tea order and it was the very first pu’erh I tried. I remember getting a head rush after drinking it. :D

A year later only a little bit remained on the bottom of the pouch… Some broken leaves and dust, all in all about 4 gram worth. I just threw it all into my little pot and steeped it for 3 seconds in 6 ounces of boiling water.

I was thrown into the deep woods where caves open up to the forest floor and moss covers every rock in sight. I can smell the pine in the air but see no sun… It’s misty, and mysterious. I lie down on the ground and peer into one of the caves… the scent is intoxicating… earth, moss, wet rock, wet wood.



Oh, I love to explore, can I go with you??


lol can you tell I can’t wait for the spring to come? I want to go visit all my favourite hiking places and explore new ones…. Caves are always so intriguing.


I’m fascinated by caves, always been. Especially underwater cave. Bahamas have spectacular ones:


That was beautiful! Thanks for sharing. :)

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4843 tasting notes

This is a fascinating Pu-erh. The earthy flavors of this tea are lighter than the aroma would suggest. What is really interesting in the first couple of infusions is the lightness of the body and the crisp, exhilarating sensation that comes with each sip. It is almost minty… but it doesn’t taste minty – it just feels minty, if that makes sense.

By fourth infusion, I noticed that the body became fuller, and much of that lightness I just mentioned is gone. With the heavier bodied tea comes interesting cinnamon and apple notes that were merely hinted toward in the first infusions.

I took this through six very incredible infusions, and I found myself enjoying each new infusion even more than the previous one. This one is definitely worth exploring!


It is cool. One of the best things about this Puer is it’s ability to change personalities. One moment there is the cooling almost mint, pine…refreshing Puer and then, a bread honey vanilla…what the?! How in the?! You can’t pin it down!

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141 tasting notes

Thank you LiberTEAS for this sample!

This has taken me much more time than planned to finally add the notes to this wonderful tea. At least that’s what a journal is for, to keep my thoughts recorded. This tea is too special to forget.

The aroma that rises from the pot, immediately reminds me of stewed tomatoes. The taste of the cup is mellow and tame, which I really like. Not exactly what you expect from a shu. The liquid is slightly acidic, yet minty – especially towards the front of the mouth. I’m also picking up some likeness of peppercorn. This is a very nice tea, that stays with you the rest of the day.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

That is a good observation, the flavor staying with you. A great quality to find in tea.


Bonnie, you are right. It’s nice to have a tea stay with you, even more so if its a good one. :)

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300 tasting notes

Wow does this tea ever conjure up memories! My train of thought upon breathing in the scent of my first cup after the rinse: “Oh this is really woody, ooo and a bit of smoke, mmm campfire, no, an old cabin, a grand old cabin with a tall vaulted wooden ceiling and beams and railings and old wooden furniture and an old brick fireplace and oh my goodness Girl Scouts!”

http://friendsofcrowellhilaka.org/north_house.htm This is the mansion our troop stayed at I think twice. Yes it is brick on the outside but the floors and the ceiling and the loft, all wood, chestnut apparently. I would love to take Rowan there for a day trip. And check out this beauty toward the front of the camp we always passed: http://friendsofcrowellhilaka.org/amity_house.htm

Anywho this tea takes me there. It seems a bit stronger than some of the other Verdant shu’s I’ve tried, especially in this second infusion which has some fruit and floral aromas oddly enough. It is dark and sweet and yes a bit musty, but I really like that it’s like tasting time, hallow logs decomposing on forest floor after a rainfall and an old not very often lived in house. Oh how I love shu, off to reinfuse! Third infusion: Hello mint and basil! Fourth: more wood, savory, prickly… stewed tomatoes, yup.

205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Hesper June

Beautiful place!
I love when tea takes me places:)



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807 tasting notes

Yixing Method

First steep – mineral, leather, sandalwood, tree moss, oak, drying in back of throat, light bright mouthfeel.

Second steep – the same but stronger with an ever so slight sweetness peeking through toward the wisdom teeth, yes I realize that is strange.

Steep Three – same flavors but lighter – tickling on back of throat – slightly cooling sensation but not minty.

A nice earthy pu-erh.

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