This is Pu’er the way Pu’er should be. I don’t think I’ve found a more authentic Pu’er than this one by Verdant Tea. First of all, Verdant Tea is not a multi-million dollar international company, and you’ve probably never heard of them. However they provide some of the highest quality teas in the world because they actually travel to the tea estates in the regions they get their tea from and use tea from small tea farmers in remote locations, to get tea from places the world would normally never be able to drink tea from, and provide it to the public by selling it on their website.
Their packaging is humble but attractive. I do wish they had included the steeping instructions for Western Brewing on the package like they have on their website, but the packaging itself is a lovely paper foil lined resealable package.
The Pu’er itself is like no other Pu’er tea I’ve ever seen. It was obviously a piece of a tea bing or brick, broken into large chunks. The layers of tea were AMAZING to see, and in between the compressed Pu’er tea leaves you could see whole leaves and sticks inside the layers of the cake, and I rinsed the tea with boiling water as recommended twice to remove any debris from the transportation processes. The third brewing I am enjoying now and it is absolutely exceptional!
Verdant Tea describes this tea as:
Workshop: Tian Di Ren
Region: Peacock Village, Menghai County, Yunnan
Tasting Notes: The Peacock Village is unique in its perfectly light and clean body. It does not weigh down the palate with earthiness. Rather, it sparkles in its crisp sweetness. The very large leaves used are similar to the old tea tree leaf material in the Xingyang 1998. The first steepings yield a crystalline orange tea with tea oils swirling on top. The sweetness is like rock sugar and white grapes. After the preliminary steepings, the tea starts to unfold in darker buckwheat flavor and honey. Unexpectedly, there is something in the texture and aftertaste of dried oregano. As the tea steeps out, the grape-like fruit taste becomes dark elderberry, and the aftertaste is tinged with the warm spice of Thai ginger and peppercorns.
Other Notes: This is an excellent shu pu’er for people who have not yet found themselves attracted to pu’er, as its texture is so light and accessible. Indeed, the Peacock Village brick is the first pu’er we fell in love with studying with pu’er master Wang Yanxin. We find that longer gongfu steeping brings out the best the tea has to offer.
Traditional (Western) Brewing
Use 1T of tea per 8oz or water. Rinse leaves twice with 208 degree water. Steep for 2 minutes. Enjoy at least 5 infusions.
Gongfu Style Brewing
Use 5g of tea for a 4-5oz gaiwan or yixing clay teapot. Pour boiling water into pot and immediately pour out into pitcher. Pour this rinse over the pot and cups used. Repeat rinse a second time. Steep for 10 seconds each infusion, and enjoy at least 18 infusions, increasing steep time to taste.
I brewed this tea using the Western method, and the first infusion after rinsing the leaves was rich, thick mellow and hearty. A very deep mahogany liquor with a gorgeous smooth earthy flavor, with a hint of what tastes like minerals in the background. The aroma is very woodsy and aromatic. Although the flavor is deep and rich it remains light on the palate, making it a wonderful after-dinner tea.
As exceptional of a tea that this Pu’er is, what I find more extraordinary is the tea company behind it. Normally as a rule I do not harp on about any particular tea company unless there is something truly noteworthy to mention. I am the Tea Guru, and the Tea Guru is never biased by the company, she is only interested in the tea she is drinking. However, in this case, after reading this page on the Verdant Tea website, I had a completely new appreciation for the tea in the cup I have in my hand right now, and I wish to extend my thanks to the people of The Peacock Village for their very hard work in producing this very fine Pu’er tea, and I feel that they deserve a bit of international notoriety for creating such a truly fine Pu’er tea. And I thank Verdant Tea for bringing such a great tea to light!
I have no doubt it took a lot of hard work to create a lovely Pu’er such as this, and being a 2007 Shu it is relatively young still being only five years old, however the process used to create this Pu’er tea, and most importantly the way the Pu’er was stored during that five year period was obviously done in the proper manner as this tea has a delightful array of subtle flavor nuances and notes throughout the brick itself, and in each cup and each re-brewing of the tea leaves.
Indeed this is one of the more complex Pu’er teas which I have sampled, and it is a true pleasure to discover notes of oak, bamboo, smoke, amber and sun-dried and withered tea leaves. It’s a beautiful symphony of flavors which tantalize the palate, and being a fan of Pu’er teas I have to honestly confess this is one of my favorite Pu’er teas ever. As far as I am concerned the flavor and aroma of this tea are exactly what a good Pu’er tea should be.