301 Tasting Notes

What an enjoyable shou. The dark leaves yield a dark red tea broth with smooth and mellow flavor. Layers of flavors to enjoy and the finish is sweet in the throat. One of the deepest ripe puerhs I have enjoyed. Definitely no fermentation taste left – none of the wo dui flavor common in heavily fermented shou. In addition, I do not detect the typical woody flavors – this one is more like dark cocoa and minimally sweetened biscuits. This is a good one!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I got this one and I really need to try it now.

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A fruity sheng made entirely from You Le Mountain tea leaves now aged over 10 years – a very nice tea for a decent price! Tightly compressed cake with many whole leaves and buds throughout. The material used is from an autumn picking and yields a clear golden yellow tea liquor with a spicy scent. The first infusions offer a fruity flavored tea but it carries a tart sweetness (a sweetness with a bite). Later cups are more mellow and fruity – berries and peaches. The aftertaste is long and sweet.
Produced in the Jinuo Mountain tea factory of Xi Shuang Banna. Handmade by the Jinuo minority group inhabiting the You Le Mountain area. Cakes are made using classic traditional methods developed over hundreds of years of tea growing.

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

How is shipping from them to our side?

DigniTea

I’ve been paying for EMS Small Packet ($20-$25).

Cwyn

I guess this was dry stored, cuz it is still giving yellow color?

DigniTea

Cwyn – stored in Kunming

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This Nannuo Mountain tea is sun-dried and fairly potent yet easy to drink. There is an appealing bitterness and it provides a surprising spectrum of tastes – aged-worn leather, forest wood and tobacco but there is also a bit of fruity sweetness (maybe plum) present. The gold tea soup was a tad cloudy and there were a few stem pieces in the mixture of leaves I picked off from the moderately compressed cake. Nice huigan which builds throughout the session leaving an aftertaste which offered a pleasant cooling effect. I found this tea very easy to like. A good moderately aged tea at the very fair price of $39 for the 357g cake.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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A Dayi factory cake with fairly tight compression. Warm and rich aroma which is strongly earthy yet a bit sweet. Leaves used seem to be of a high grade. Ruby red tea soup with an aromatic and pleasant scent. First sips are quite mellow with a full and woodsy taste. Later infusions yield a gentle creamy and bittersweet flavor. Nice sweet finish in the aftertaste. No fermentation smell or taste left in this one. A lovely Menghai Dayi shou worth owning.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Known for its gentle and mild character, I am a fan of most teas from Yiwu (like so many people). This cake is rather dark and mysterious and it holds a special place in my collection. The raw material is from purely Yi Wu old-growth tea trees (reported to be over 1000 years old). The giant whole leaves are clearly hand arranged and wrapped to form the cake – unlike anything I have seen before and when I opened the cake wrapper I was reminded a little of the grapevine wreaths you buy from craft stores.
The cake has a lovely loose compression of large dark leaves and I found a rather pleasing damp yet light aroma of sweetness (perhaps a bit like fresh hay). The wet leaf produces the scent of sweetness mixed with roasted grains and a clear gold tea soup. This is certainly not the most flavorful YiWu tea I have but with a bit of age on them, the leaves produce extremely smooth, sweet and buttery sips with decent cha-qi. This is not a particularly thick tea soup and I have enjoyed eight quite pleasant cups today. There is definitely a dose of caffeine in each cup but the tea leaves me calmed and comforted. I like this one!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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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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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. I enjoy most tea types but I cannot handle jasmine or other florals and I’m not particularly fond of bergamot. Moved quickly into unflavored blacks and puerhs and seldom drink anything else. Now most of my purchases are puerh cakes for aging.

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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