Tea Urchin

Recent Tasting Notes

i get notes of apricot skin, dryness on the tongue and lingering flavor on the back of my throat. Somewhat sweet with a pleasant bitterness, and a bit “darker” tasting than most shengs. Not dark like a black tea or a shu, I’m really not sure how to describe it! I do not have the words for this…FAIL.

Great tea buzz from this one though :) TEA ENERGY FTW

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85

Breaking this one out after one of these long work days. They are terrible and don’t leave a lot of hours to drink tea.
I did 10 grams in the Gaiwan to start out. A quick rinse and 3 5 second steeps into the fair cup. The brew is crystal clear in the cup. No cloudiness at all. A little touch of grape in the aroma and the first sip is “Bang” a large hit of the bitter as noted on a previous review and a nice mouthfeel to this one. This has one of the hardest bitter punches I have experienced. It gives a slight touch of faint sweetness in there after plowing through the bitter. Some hints of pine and flower in there.
Nice and strong as this one will punch you in the buds. You will have to enjoy the strength of the bitter it brings to truly enjoy this one with the good Ku Wei and Hui Gan.
Strong and powerful balanced a bit more to the bitter side but enjoyable.

Flavors: Bitter, Pine, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
Sammerz314

One word, Turpentine LOL!

mrmopar

Yeah it is stout even with very short steeps.

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93

Another excellent Sheng from Eugene and Belle. The soup is a beautiful golden hue. The smell of the soup is a really pleasing floral smell that reminded me of wildflowers. The taste is incredible, simply incredible. This Sheng has a unbelievable taste of grass mixed with butter. Like the Wan Gong 2014 Spring that I drank last night, this is one extremely smooth Sheng. Absolutely no hint of kuwei or astringency at all. Again, way to go Eugene and Belle!

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
Stephanie

I’m totally falling in love with TeaUrchin!

SWApilot

I think I already have!!!!!!!

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92

Another excellent Pu’er from Eugene and Belle. In their words “… this Wangong cake is a stand out processing from the 2014 spring harvest” and are they ever correct. The color of the soup is a beautiful golden color. The smell of the soup is an excellent floral and grassy combination that is a delight to smell. The taste is quite simply amazing. To my taste buds the soup has a very well balanced floral and grass flavor with just a hint of honey that comes out at the end. What really surprised me is just how smooth this Sheng is. After seven steepings there was absolutely no astringency and just the slightest hint of kuwei. My favorite part of this Sheng is the energy it exhibits. Here I am twenty minutes after my last sip and my tastes buds are still excited and I can actually still taste this wonderful tea.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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92

Another tasting note. This is the second Pu’er I have brewed using boiling water instead of 200 degree water. I am blown away by the difference 12 degrees makes. This tea went from excellent to incredible. This time around I noticed a buttery smell to the soup that was not present during my last steeping. Also, there was a touch of butter to the taste of the soup as well. Again, if you love Sheng Pu’er, you really need to give this tea some serious consideration.

Preparation
Boiling 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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92

This is just a tasting note/book review. I just returned from vacation and while on vacation I read a copy of the English translation of “Pu-erh Tea” from the Appreciating Chinese Tea Series which is an excellent book by the way. The most important thing that I learned from this book was that I was steeping me tea incorrectly. So today I decided to put the techniques that I learned from the book into practice. Let me just say, I was BLOWN AWAY. Those techniques turned this excellent tea into an incredible tea, they really did!!!! I still want to know what that secret 20% is.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
DigniTea

Are you going to share these “special” techniques?

SWApilot

They really aren’t that special I guess. The big ones were using boiling water instead of 200 degree water and shortening my steeping times a bit. I am really amazed at how much those two changes alone have improved the depth of flavor on this tea.

DigniTea

OK thanks. Probably a good idea to vary time a bit more than I do and maybe even play with temp since I always default to boiling.

TheTeaFairy

SWApilot, who’s the author of this book series?

SWApilot

It was written in Chinese by Wang Jidong and translated by Chen Zhufen and Liu Qingling. If you go to Amazon search “Appreciating Chinese Tea Series”. The trick is finding the English translation version unless you can read Chinese,

DigniTea

I’ll keep an eye out for that one. Here’s another great book on puerh: Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic (Culture, Place, and Nature) by Jinghong Zhang from Yunnan University. Bought it after seeing it mentioned several times in another tea chat room.

SWApilot

Thanks, I will look for it!!!!

TheTeaFairy

Thanks to both of you, always on the lookout for good tea books. Now that I’m getting more and more into pu’erh, I can use all the help I can get!

SWApilot

This is why I love the website so much. You meet a bunch of great people who genuinely care about helping others grow their passion for tea!

TheTeaFairy

What you said SWApilot…so much truth.

And thanks for the link Dignitea :-)

mrmopar

Agreed on the community aspect. That’s why I have stayed around here a while.

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Beautiful leaf from 100+ year YiWu tea trees so I was anxious to try this one. First few steeps were very subtle – pleasant enough but little depth or complexity. For a moment I wondered if I should just move on to another tea but I decided to keep working with this Yiwu. After the fourth steep there was stronger flavor but certainly not overwhelming – sweet taste, coats the mouth and throat and lingers; enough subtle bitterness slips in to balance nicely. In general this is an easy to drink tea with beautiful high quality leaf. It won’t knock you over with its flavor but a good tea to keep on hand. I used 6.5 grams with a 5s rinse and a 30s idle followed by 10s, 10s, 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 40s steeps. Not my favorite YiWu but definitely worth owning. Note: fairly priced at $35 for a 357g cake.

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

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79

Drank this one all day! It started out somewhat astringent, which I enjoyed but I think perhaps others might not appreciate. It was good, as almost all of my TeaUrchin shengs have been, but definitely not my favorite of the bunch. I give it a B-

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79

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80
drank Wan Gong 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin
64 tasting notes

This is one of the more expensive teas at Tea Urchin. The good: the quality of the leaf is amazing. The color is a crystal clear amber that holds up to seemingly endless infusions. The tea is very thick and hearty. There is almost no bitterness. But it is lacking in character. I find the flavor is kind of dull, with no punch and little huigan. I wonder how a tea like this will age. It is clearly very high quality, but little flavor for my tastes.

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80
drank Wan Gong 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin
64 tasting notes

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89

I’ve been enjoying this sheng all afternoon. This is another one of my huge batch of TeaUrchin samples I got for my birthday :D

Lovely sweet and somewhat mellow. I’m digging the vibe and creamy mouthfeel. Flavor is bright and fresh with hints of floral.

Cheri

Sounds yummy! Sheng sounds like it could be right in my flavor wheelhouse. I have one at home that I just need to try.

Charles Thomas Draper

This is an incredible tea.

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92

This is my first sample from Eugene and Belle and it is a gem!!!! The smell of the leaves is that of green hay (my grandfather was a hay farmer) with a slight floral accent. The soup is a very light honey in color and smells like green hay mixed with flowers with a bit of smokiness thrown in. The taste is excellent. It is a very bold fruity/floral mixture with a beautiful huigan and absolutely no astringency. The energy of this tea is incredible, long after drinking this tea my taste buds are still excited and I can still taste the tea itself. I will be ordering a bing of this gem!!!!!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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92

Another Sheng Yiwu snob alert!! Here is Eugene and Belle’s description for this tea: " This cake is a special Yiwu blend that we made to celebrate the birth of our son Miles, the dragon baby. When he was 5 months in the womb, he visited the mountains where this tea was made. The leaves are 80% Gua Feng Zhai, 20% secret :) Completely hand made, stone pressed & double wrapped, this cake is a gem." The soup starts off a very pale gold in color that by steeping four turns into the color of raw honey. The smell to me is a combination of butter and hay that is very pleasing to to the nose. The taste is a very sweet with a beautiful floral undertone. There is just a hint of kuwei with a very nicely balanced astringency at the end. This tea is not cheap, but it is worth every penny I spent on it. I just want to know what the secret 20% is!!!!!!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 5 OZ / 147 ML

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92

This is my first Tea Urchin tea and it lives up to its name. Eugene nails this one on the head: “Our 2013 Spring Bulang blend has all the hallmark bitterness of Bulang kucha, but with a complex mid-range and a delectable sweet top note & huigan.” The soup is a beautiful light gold and to me has a beautiful smell of butter. The taste is perfectly balanced between sweetness and bitterness. My favorite part of this tea is how it’s energy keeps the taste buds alive long after I am done drinking it. This is an excellent Sheng and if you love Shengs you really need to give this tea a lot of consideration. Well done Eugene and Belle!!!!!!!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 g 5 OZ / 147 ML
TheTeaFairy

The cake’s wrapping is spectacular!

SWApilot

In case you would like to know about the wrapping:

“Each cake is wrapped in hand-made Dai paper, with a linocut block print by the artist Elaine Su-Hui. The colorful splashes are inspired by the ceremonial headdress worn by Bulang women.” and “Inspired by the pom-pom head adornments worn by the Bulang women during tea tree worshiping and ancestral ceremonies.”

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This generous sample came to me from Stephanie – thank you so much.
5g 150ml gaiwan 195F
rinse/pause/5/5/5/10/10/15/15 etc
i think i had this tea over 4 days, still saved leaves,may try today.
beautiful long leaves. 1st steep was very nice mild, sweet and citrusy. nice mouthfeel,sweet peppers emerging
i decided to raise the temp to 200F
the color is dark yellow-orange. very juicy, sweet peppers and apricots. The following steeps were very sweet. eventually peppery notes disappeared and were just sweet and mild, some astringency (nothing major) and no bitterness ( or maybe it was just barely noticeable and i just got used to it). Anyway very nice and positive experience. Made me tea drunk ;)

Preparation
0 min, 15 sec
MzPriss

I got an nice sample of this from Stephanie as well and after reading this note I’m looking forward to it even more than I already was :)

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88
drank Yi Zhan Chun 2012 by Tea Urchin
64 tasting notes

I have to agree with Tea Urchin’s description of this tea. It is quite nice, smooth with a touch of bitterness, a little coffee type flavor. Clean and medium bodied. And it’s gushu (wild trees), so that’s a plus! A quality tea all around. This and the Lang He Yu Pin are great ripe cakes from TU, I’ve tried the other two they currently have and they are not terribly interesting.

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85

Just received my second Tea Urchin order, what a great company. They put their cakes into individual little boxes. Everything was packed with care. This tea is a blend. It was pretty good, as usual from Tea Urchin. It had some interesting flavors, a moderate amount of bitterness for a Lao Man E, and strong cha qi. My wife and I got a little tea drunk. It lacked somewhat in zip and strength, which are my top preferences. But it was very nice nonetheless.

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92

Thanks a bunch to Yang-chu and the rest of the Steepsters who went in on a big TeaUrchin order! And special thanks to mrmopar for hooking me up with the puerh group order thread :)

Trying my first sheng from the shared cakes! YAY! The leaves are slightly glossy and beautifully compressed. (All the leaves from the TeaUrchin order appear high quality to my admittedly untrained eyes.) This is an energetic, punchy young thing with pleasant astringency and slight bitterness. Slight floral undertones and just enough sweetness to balance it out. I REALLY dig this. Very happy I got to have some. I will eagerly drink the rest :D

Can’t wait to try the others!

boychik

sounds soo good! Enjoy!

mrmopar

I really liked this one also. Great example of good Yiwu tea.

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72
drank Xikong 2012 Autumn by Tea Urchin
141 tasting notes

Dry – Fairly sweet and aromatic for a autumn cake, some floral notes.
Wet – Thick Honey and a more apparent floral scent.
Liquor – Mid amber color.

I got this tea as a sample from my order from TeaUrchin.

This tea started as a fairly surprising pleasure since it started with a very pleasant honeyed sweetness and some thickness although it was very limited compared to Spring offerings I’ve had. The broth had a fairly good hold and the Huigan lingered in the tongue for a while.

After the third steep the broth started going very thin and astringency started to become more apparent. The overall experience was OK, if you want a Puerh for work or to drink on the go this is a good choice, otherwise I’d recommend keeping with Spring offerings to fully enjoy the mouth-feel and apparent deep honey notes that Xi Kong can offer.

Flavors: Flowers, Honey

Preparation
Boiling

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79
drank Xikong 2012 Autumn by Tea Urchin
64 tasting notes

I have to admit, I bought this one because me and my wife just loved the wrapper. You should visit Tea Urchin’s website to see what I mean. Very cute. But it is an autumn pu erh, and it shows. It has a pleasant enough flavor, but it just lacks zip and zing. It is very safe to drink now while young, with very little astringency, well balanced and mellow. I still stand by my statement that Tea Urchin teas are outstanding, this one is definitely pretty good.

mrmopar

I think I got the picture up for this one.

boychik

i’ve never seen wrappers like that.

boychik

Thanks for the link. I love it

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85
This is a very fragrant tea with scents of floral and brown sugar. It is a “Full bodied” sheng that brings a lot to the plate. It starts out very subtle in the first couple of steeps with notes of some slight sweetness that is very full mouth feeling. It carries on well in the later steeps with some bitterness that rises to the front. It is pretty gentle to be a young sheng with none of the harsh bitterness many bring to the cup. Very nice and enjoyable.
Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 10 OZ / 295 ML
mrmopar

Yeah I think we are getting a community order in for The Tea Urchin.

Stephanie

Do they offer just samples for sale? I don’t have proper whole cake storage yet…

mrmopar

They do, I bought this one as a sample with a couple of cakes from them.
http://teaurchin.com/yiwu-peacock-blend-2013-spring.html.
that link should get you there. We are working on a community order since shipping is $20.00 US for any order. check the puerh of the day sheng or shou discussion.

Stephanie

Thanks!!!

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85

I am working my way through the several pu erh samples I recently ordered from Tea Urchin. This is another good one! Though I like some of their others better. It is well balanced, and brews a nice golden honey color. It has a sharp astringency, but not over the top. It has a mellow but stern cha qi. It held up well to numerous infusions. Another lovely tea from a great company!

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