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.

Tea Specifications

Brand: Verdant 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

One thing that 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.

gu hua sheng puer tea

First Steep

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.

Second Steep

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.

Third Steep

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.

Fourth Steep

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.

Fifth Steep

The fifth steep is still producing a nice golden-yellow color.

The various tastes of the tea seem to have melded together with minimal astringency.

It also tastes a bit more like water than before.


Overall, I think it’s an enjoyable young (not aged) sheng pu’er tea, but it’s definitely not the greatest quality.

In my opinion, it’s probably not from 100 to 300 year old trees either.

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.