270 Tasting Notes

This shou is very easy to drink. From the steeping leaves, you pick up the scents of wet wood and leather. Dark brown tea soup yields a sweet and fairly mellow sip – woody and earthy with a definite dark chocolate overtone. Absolutely no bitterness found. The leaf seems to have staying power – 8 steeps in and the cup is still very flavorful with a 20s steep time.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Manzhuan + Spring + gushu. What’s not to like? This tea is even better than I expected (since it is a new 2014 tea, I figured I would try it just for fun and then wait a few years to enjoy it). The dry leaf looks very nice; the aroma of the brew is pleasantly fresh and sweet; the liquor is a clear yellow; the flavor of the sip is smooth, sweet, and slightly fruity. This tea is lovely and very easy to drink. What a lovely sheng to own (even though it is rather pricey)!! I rather doubt this particular cake gets much age because I am likely to pull it out frequently to pick off more leaf.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Cwyn

This one makes me sooo tea drunk, hahaha!

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I enjoy the Tea Urchin offerings and a kind tea chum gave me a sample of this tea to try. I have mixed feelings about fall harvests for I have had some very enjoyable and some not so enjoyable Autumn shengs. I am sorry to say that for me, this particular tea is in the latter category for I think it falls short. The dry leaf is beautiful – nice large whole leaves with good color. The smell is not very strong for the dry leaf and the wet leaf has what I would describe as a dull smell. The taste is equally dull for my senses. The tea soup is a lovely yellow color and it is very clear (as mentioned earlier, this is very nice leaf). I must say that I am very glad to have had the opportunity to try this one for I might have been tempted to purchase the whole cake. For now, I am going to conclude that I should stay with spring pickings when it comes to Gao Shan Zhai tea cakes.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This cake is made from high quality leaves and the tea is very easy to drink (i.e. little to no bitterness or astringency). The leaves are whole and quite large. As the tea brews the aroma is buttery and sweet with a bit of hay thrown in. The tea liquor is very clear and is a lovely pale yellow-orange color. The flavor of the sip is also buttery and sweet with a warming freshness and a pleasant mouthfeel. This is a delicate and reflective tea to enjoy. I went through six very pleasant steeps today and will likely try it again tomorrow or the next day to see just how far I can take it. Some may find this tea a bit boring since it does not “knock your socks off” but I find it rather comforting.

Preparation
7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
Yang-chu

Your review is spot on!

Stephanie

TeaUrchin yay!

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Update:
Day 3 using the same leaves. This is a very fine tea – smooth and subtle; does not knock you over the head; a consistent low level of complexity. There is something comforting about it! In total, 18 enjoyable flash steeps.

Stephanie

That is a lot of steeps!

mrmopar

I had a Haiwan tea like this that went a couple of days really well.

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I became aware of this fine tea through tea notes written by Hobbes a few years ago. Vibrant and fresh aroma from the wet leaf. Nice whole leaves. Clear deep yellow tea soup. Mild and smooth taste with a definite mushroom note. An appealing understated complexity which continued to evolve throughout the tea session. The tea liquor coats the mouth and provides a nice lingering aftertaste. Lots of staying power with these leaves. I rinsed twice and then started flash brewing – enjoyed 10 steeps and it definitely has more to give. I am very happy with this tea and glad that I was successful in tracking down this interesting tea with almost ten years of age on it.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 88 ML

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A very interesting puerh. The 2011 Norbu Spring White Buds Raw Bing Cha is made of material from Yong De of Lincang Prefecture near China’s border with Myanmar which was harvested in the Spring of 2007. Light compression which flakes off very easily. A little sweetness and a very nice cooling effect. Intense yet delicate evergreen scent. It does taste earthy but still light and smooth, a little naturally sweet, somewhat fruity yet slightly astringent, and there is a bit of malt with a nice lingering aftertaste. Later infusions definitely become more woody overall producing a hint of smoke with a few notes of cedar. A lighter puerh which is definitely worth exploring if only for the purpose of appreciating the many different forms that Pu-Erh can take.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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This is a very affordable (currently $17.50 for a 357g cake) flavorful everyday ripe puerh. Moderately compressed cake making it quite easy to pick off leaves to brew. Chocolate brown leaf interspersed with many golden tea buds. Good woody flavor with decent energy. The dark tea soup presents a low level of sweetness with definite cocoa and berry undertones. No real bitterness. Enjoyed six dark infusions and I think I could have probably used the leaves a few more times

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 4 OZ / 125 ML
Stephanie

Oh hey I am drinking this today too! :D

DigniTea

Good thinking – I found it to be surprisingly delicious!

jschergen

Hard to beat the value on these YS ripe pu’erh cakes. Decent tea for exceedingly reasonable prices.

DigniTea

jschergen – I agree!

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A whimsical add-on item that has really paid off. This little 100g cake was quite a surprise – nice flavor, promising chaqi, and good potential for resteeps. The cake is fairly easy to pick apart; the leaf looks beautiful and whole; the tea soup seems clear although not the brightest gold I’ve seen. There is definitely smoke in both the scent of the wet leaves and the flavor of the sips but it is not too heavy and feels more like an underlying rather than dominant theme. The liquor tastes quite fresh and sweet with a bit of astringency but this is quite pleasant and a nice complement to the subtle fruity sweetness. I’ve been through five infusions today and will likely try more tomorrow. The tea is a bit reminiscent of the White Whale and a bargain at $5. I went back to pick up two more to hold onto for two years before I pick off leaves again.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
Stephanie

Sounds good! I get to taste the fabled white whale soon, YAY!

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Bio

For me, tea is magical with its ability to transform by bringing one back to center and inspiring both peace and contentment.

Reformed coffee drinker. Switched to tea as part of my goal to work on living a healthier, more balanced life — haven’t looked back since. Surprised to learn what a passion I have developed for all things tea related.

I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Started with flavored teas but moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging. My cold brews for iced tea tend to be a fruity green, white or rooibos but every once in awhile I’ll chill an oolong or puerh.

I no longer assign numerical ratings to teas because our enjoyment of tea is very subjective. Reactions to a particular tea vary from person to person and within the same person across different tasting sessions. My tea notes are now simply comments reflecting my impression at that specific point in time. They are useful to me and if they happen to be helpful to someone else that is good.

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