Today I am reviewing a 2020 Gua Hua sheng puer tea made by the Qianjiazhai Dongsa Cooperative and sold by Verdant Tea.
I received a 5 gram sample of this tea.
Harvest: August, 2020
Location: Qianjiazhai, Mt. Ailao, Yunnan, China
Elevation: 2,140 Meters
Tea Varietal: Qianjiazhai Assamica
Master Zhou’s Gu Hua harvest is a careful blend of maocha from trees aged between one hundred and three hundred years old, picked for a balanced and rich full body and aroma. Gu Hua is the very early autumn harvest prized for its rich flavor and intense aroma. These wild trees grow in one of the oldest and most remote tea forests in the world, on Mt. Ailao. Every leaf is hand picked and carefully sun-dried with minimal time on the wok for a more natural and pure flavor. – Verdant Tea
The only thing which strikes me as odd about their description of this tea is that they are claiming this tea is from 100 to 300 year old trees, but they are only charging $11 per 100g for it, which is generally low-cost for a tree of that age and altitude. Perhaps they are being truthful, but tea of this sort, for this price, would be a rare find.
Regardless, this is supposedly a blend of maocha leaf material from the Qianjiazhai region.
I decided to brew this tea in a gaiwan.
So, I put about 4 grams of tea into my gaiwan and give it a 10 second rinse.
A quick 10 second rinse not only washes your tea of potential impurities, but it also gives the leaves a chance to ‘wake up’ from their dried state.
This puer tea came in loose-leaf form, but it is also made into tea cakes.
Brew time: 20 seconds.
Brews a nice golden-yellow color.
The first steep has a familiar taste of sheng puer.
Notes of minerality and spice are most prominent.
Other notes include apricot, moss, and hay.
This isn’t a very floral tea so far, but the fragrance has a certain sharpness to it.
Not much astringency or bitterness on the first steep.
Moderate mouth-feel, slightly cooling.
Brew time: 30 seconds.
The tea leaves have now opened.
The taste is a little more floral on the second steep.
Just slightly more bitter and sharp but overall the tea is pretty smooth for a sheng puer.
I am already feeling the ‘cha chi’ from this tea and I am only through the second steeping.
Brew time: 35 seconds.
Same familiar flavor notes, but this is probably the most potent steep yet.
Much stronger astringency.
It also tastes perhaps a bit more earthy now.
Much of the astringency and bitterness from the third steep is now gone.
The earthy flavor has subsided a bit and the flavor seems to be a bit more floral now.
The fifth steep is still producing a nice golden-yellow color.
While this steep is not the most potent, it is still interesting, and probably the smoothest steep thus far.
The various tastes of the tea seem to have melded together with minimal astringency.
It also tastes a bit more like water then before.
I could probably steep this a couple more times, but I feel like I’ve had enough caffeine for now.
Overall, I think it’s an enjoyable young (not aged) sheng pu’er tea.
I also think that the $11 per 100/gram price tag is very reasonable.
That being said, although I consider this a decent tea for the price, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite either, and it’s definitely not high-end material.
Video of Master Zhou
If you would like to see a video of Master Zhou, Verdant Tea has a video of him which we have embedded here from YouTube.