Tea Urchin

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drank Mu Zha Tie Guan Yin by Tea Urchin
51 tasting notes

I hope that the fine folk involved in the production of this tea drink it themselves. If they do, I expect that the feeling of satisfaction at having helped bring out the fullest potential of these leaves gives them a feeling of satisfaction unmatched by any I have experienced in my short time on this earth.

For all that the term “Tea Master” has a (probably deservedly) dubious reputation in the west, I challenge anyone with a discerning palate to drink this and tell me they’re not out there. They don’t need to flaunt it. They just handle their tea expertly, share it with folks they will likely never meet, and the world is a better place for it.

And the tin is terribly cute too!

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85

Got a sample of this witih Liquid Proust’s Sheng Olympics 2017. This was a pretty good tea. It was a fairly balanced mix of bitter and sweet. I didn’t really pick up on the specifics so I will just generalize and say it was good. If I had any shortage of sheng cakes I would say it is good enough to buy a cake. But I have a lot of sheng cakes, although far fewer than I have shou cakes. It was very good and it was nice to try it.

I steeped this tea twelve times in a 150ml gaiwan with 8.1g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse. I steeped it for 5 sec, 5 sec, 7 sec, 10 sec, 15 sec, 20 sec, 25 sec, 30 sec, 45 sec, 1 min, 1.5 min, and 2 min.

Flavors: Bitter, Sweet

Preparation
Boiling 8 g 5 OZ / 150 ML
tea123

One of them ones :)

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Preparation
6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Preparation
3 g 2 OZ / 45 ML

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98

This is the pinnacle of sweet puerh. I’ve tasted a few that blend well into the “dessert” category, but this tea wins the game with longevity, qi, and thickness. The leaves are slightly darkened and loosely compressed. They give off a nice aroma of strong wood, subtle honey, and spicy musk in the background. I warmed up my pot and placed some inside. The becomes much stronger with a good heavy musk of fruits, tobacco, and cherry. A few sweeter notes of brown sugar and vanilla bean rise to the surface after a few sniffs. I washed the leaves and prepared for brewing. The taste is strong, full, and direct. I experience of whirl of flavors. The brew begins with a layer of resonated sugarcane, oak wood, and a crisp base of wildflowers. The next steep yields maple brown sugar, molasses, and a smooth honey aftertaste. A flourish of marshmallow rises from the tongue on the exhale. After that, I am greeted with a full bodied cedar taste that is wrapped in these same desert tones. The brew is potent. The soup continues darkened and filled with great flavors and tones that are mostly sweet and incredibly syrupy. The qi begins very aggressive and unstable, but it soothes out if you ease the session on. The sensation balances out to full body hum with powerful yet smooth waves. The feeling compliments the last steep which yields subtle floral qualities and sugar water. This is a tea I couldn’t drink fast enough. I really enjoy it, and it is one of my favorites. This is great example of the feminine qualities in yiwu tea. I don’t always reach for something sweet, but this makes a good desert tea, and its an instant crowd pleaser.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJF1sZEAmqG/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Brown Sugar, Floral, Honey, Maple Syrup, Marshmallow, Oak wood, Smooth, Sugarcane, Sweet

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

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86

This not a very pretty tea. The leaves are stout and heavily compressed; A gray sheen covers the surface of the tea. The chunk smells of brief char and wet grass. The compression was fairly tight to get any other scents. I warmed up my pot and placed a bit inside. I lift the lid to meet oak barrel, strong pipe tobacco, wet leather, and sweet plum musk. This is a burly kind of tea. I washed the tea for a bit and then prepared for brewing. The taste begins sweet and thick with a pleasant aftertaste. The base of the brew is of maple wood with chestnut. Later steeping brings tobacco, red fruits, and maple syrup. The tea takes about six steeps to finally break away from one solid mass. The taste is fairly decent with good complexity and sweet/bitter mix. However, the qi is what’s so unique about this brew. When I look back at my notes, I can tell how strong a tea was by how much profanity I tend to use. Lets just say that there was good vocabulary in my journal. The sensation begins slow and creeps behind you. The qi becomes powerful and heavy (a bit too much). The feeling acts as a ton of bricks and it slowly presses down on you. I took a few breaks away from my tea table. Personally, it was a bit too aggressive for me, but I think some others would enjoy this.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BH2wT4lAwRa/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Char, Dark Wood, Heavy, Plums, Red Fruits, Sweet, Tobacco

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

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70

Bitter, creamy, and green tasting. I liked the first steep a lot before that shenginess kicked in. Thank you tea friend for the sample, but I’m not yet converted!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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Preparation
6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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93

The aroma of the dry leaves is very light with vegetal sweet notes. After the rinse the leaves have a smoky, vegetal, a bit sweet and a touch of camphor.

1/5s: Thick, oily mouthfeel. Nice astringency with the tiniest touch of bitterness that punctuates the finish. Taste is honey and a little vegetal, but mostly honey. Some nice huiguan. Ohhhh man, after the earlier cha gao session, the cha qi just punched me in the face, LOL!

2/7s: Have to go easy on this one as pushing the steep too fast will bring out more of the bitter note. Not overbearing here, but it is peaking out here. Amazing huigan despite the increased bitterness. Lots of body; thick. I know this is the second session of the day, but this has to have some pretty strong qi!

3/7s: Very interesting bitter note. It’s not subtle, but the sweetness around it makes it… pleasant. Ha! There’s bitterness at the sides of the tongue but sweetness everywhere else. The bitter note fades quick and you’re left with that honey like sweetness. I have to try this one again when I haven’t had a prior session. Also… I REALLY should have gone with my 90mL teapot. This cha qi is threatening to kick my ass! Very dry/astringent ending on this one akin to a full bodied, dry red wine.

4/10s: Bitter is a bit subdued as the leaves get a little wake up. Honey note and sweetness continues.

5/7s: Dropped back down to 7s and good thing. Bitterness picked up a touch, but the sweetness and huigan are YUUUGE . Very thick mouth feel. First time having a tea that made me understand people’s description of a tea having an “oily” mouth feel. That said, the finish is still sharp, crisp and sweet. Something else going on too, but can’t quite place it. Maybe a camphor note coming through.

6/8s: Loving this huigan and the way bitter and sweet mingle on the tongue and give way to pure honey (perhaps a tiny vegetal note this time) in the aftertaste. Great mouthfeel. Oooooh, starting to feel that heady cha qi again. The caffeine content on this one has to be pretty high. The crazy thing yesterday was that I was SUPER awake and alert, but not at all jittery. Love that about these types of teas. :)

7/8s: Nice! The bitter note decided to take a break or perhaps blended into the astringency a bit more. Sweet, honey, with tiny vegetal and minty note. Note how short I’m having to keep the steeps to keep the bitterness down. I’m guessing this tea will go to 20 steeps easily. Bit of creaminess to that thick mouthfeel too. Love this steeping!

8/8s: Same as previous.

9&10/10s: Combined in the pitcher. Being lazy because it’s late. Man that’s good tea! Same quality

11-19/15-20s: Dang it, life got busy, but I kept drinking tea.
Unfortunately that means my notes aren’t what they usually are as sometimes I had to drink on the go or away from my computer. I’m continuing filling my tea pitcher (cha hai?) which is about 3 steeps/teapots with my zhuni pot.

If you cannot stand ANY bitterness this tea might not be for you, but if you don’t mind a little bit, this tea is awesome in its complexity. Just be careful not to push the early steeps too hard. In other words steep by taste not by time ie add 5 seconds with each additional steep. Listen to the leaves and you’ll be rewarded with amazing tea.

This is another tea that I would love to have a full cake of, but I realized that the slightly insane amount of money I’d spent over the last few months or so was only with a single tea supplier. Given that I’ve been buying tea from at least 4 or 5 other suppliers… I really, really don’t want to know how much I’ve spent on tea this year, LOL!

Flavors: Bitter, Dark Bittersweet, Honey, Sweet

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 13 g 7 OZ / 220 ML
mrmopar

Go ahead it won’t go bad. It will just get better with age. Nan Nuo is one of the regions that had a hurrah and then slipped back a bit. I think it is coming back around again.

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93

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90

This was very yummy! The leaf is of moderate compression and is filled with soft fruity tones and some tang. A light floral (mums?) can picked off from the leaves along with brown sugar and molasses. I warmed up my gaiwan and stuffed this inside. The aroma picked up into crystalized sugar, wet oak, more molasses, and apricot. I washed the leaves and swished them around to prepare for brewing. The taste began an oil thickness. The drink is heavy, syrupy, and tasty. The flavor is 100% sweet with wildflower honey. The cup even smells like honey. However, a few steeping in, a light grass astringency blends with the desert qualities. The brew continues like this for some time. Later brewing yields some heavier floral notes (dandelion?). I really liked this. The qi is nice and warming and a constant buzz effect. The brew is nice, but it lacks some complexities. It’s a very yummy tea, but it’s not interesting.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BIFzo5KgC7E/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Apricot, Dandelion, Floral, Grass, Honey, Oak wood, Powdered sugar, Smooth, Sugar, Sugarcane, Winter Honey

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

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90

A beautiful tea. I love Bulang; there’s something about the peppery acidity that makes me happy. The leaf is loosely compressed and has a sharp grassy scent. The undertones include some light florals and sweet aromatic wood. I warmed up my shibo and threw it in. I gave the shibo a shake and lifted the lid to intense raisin tones with apricot. The scents are sweet and heavy. I can take in some dark wood underneath a massive amount of peach. This was going to be a good tea. I washed the leaves and gave em a steep. The taste has a sweet character with some light bitterness, at first. The peppery kuwei rises up from the vegetal and floral qualities to nip at the tongue. The next steep yields some roasted vegetable tones with a consistent rising peppercorn. The astringency appears at about steep three with a drying squeaky clean tone. The dryness is tart and cleansing. The brew then turns into a unique drink with bright tones; I can pick up daises, lemon, and hay. The aftertaste is potent and lasting with a tart sweetness; alike a lemon bar. The qi hits mid session and it hits hard. A nice vibrating sensation the creates a tingling pulse up the spine. By the end of the session, I can feel my hairs rise. This is a goosebumpin’ tea! I really enjoy this one, and I can’t wait to get some more of it!

Flavors: Drying, Floral, Flowers, Hay, Peach, Pepper, Peppercorn, Sweet, Tart, Vegetal

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

I really like e this one a bunch.

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Preparation
4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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Preparation
4 g 2 OZ / 60 ML

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92
drank Bai Rui Xiang by Tea Urchin
85 tasting notes

A treat for turkey day! Super excited to try this, I cracked open the sample bag to unearth leaves that were not quite tall, but dark AND handsome, in addition to smelling like cocoa and burnt sugar and tantalizing danger to my wallet (we’ll keep this little encounter a secret from the SO, haha).

I started off hitting this with boiling water, which was a mistake. It was delicious nonetheless, with a strong mineral roast flavor across the spectrum, high and low, along with lingering sweet caramel afternotes and a bread-y flavor that ended in an intense dance of orchid bouquet flavors that accompanied each exhale, but was very strong on the roast bitterness and much improved when I switched to 180 F halfway through the session.

The lower temp water brings out an AMAZINGLY buttery slick, creamy mouthfeel along with a decadently rich honey and orchid flavored body and a distinct peach fruit aftertaste, well balanced and accentuated throughout by the now calmer, subtler roast.

There is astringency and bitterness to this tea, particularly at the start where I hit it with (I realize now) much too hot water and the roast stood out strongly, but it is well balanced throughout and I feel complements the underlying flavors, helping them to stand out rather than detract.

The mouthfeel, as mentioned before, is a lovely creamy slickness that coats the throat steadily across sips and brings out a nectar sweetness in the throat that slowly shifts to a more mineral, sugar sweetness and even a surprising subtle menthol cooling quality as it dies. It and the bright peach notes were the highlight of this tea for me.

The energy on this one was excellent and strong, I could feel it rushing to my head by steep 3 and it steadily built over the session in a very invigorating (but calm) way. It fades fast in flavor intensity after steep 10, but those 10 steeps are bursting with flavor and an intoxicating ride, definitely a great way to prepare for the food prep and festivities to follow today.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t break my wallet when it does get released, ^^;.

Flavors: Baked Bread, Butter, Creamy, Honey, Mineral, Nectar, Orchid, Peach, Roasted, Sugarcane

Preparation
7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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Preparation
5 g 3 OZ / 80 ML

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97

Hahah, this tea is something else. I real surprise for me. The leaves have slightly tight compression and give off a sweet squash flower and lemon grass aroma. The leaves are bright and cheery. I picked this up due to the words “early reserved trees”. I trust Eugene, and he is one of the few vendors I do trust. That being said, I put my wallet where my mouth is and trusted that these trees were the bees knees. Anyways, I warmed up my gaiwan and placed some inside. The aromas were nice and bright with some berries, fruits, grass, and sugar. These are all relatively common tones being sweet, tangy, and nice aromas. The flavor was maple candy sweet and lively. I noted some bitterness and viscosity along with butter and cedar. The taste became mildly sour along with some citrus tones. Then, it happened. The reason why I had put my trust in this vendor. The qi approached me. The qi looked me up and down and decided around steep three to take a 2×4 to my face. This qi was strong, and I mean young Hulk Hogan strong. The tastes became sweeter, the aromas became stronger, and the stars seemed brighter; I was lit. I experienced severe ringing and buzzing in my ears between wooden plank wacks. My notes state “…enough power to drive you to the sky”. I feel that this is suiting. To conclude, the flavors are decent and the tones aren’t bad, but I wouldn’t drink this for those reasons; I’d drink it for the power. This has a great punch and fair acidity, and I will be grabbing more.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJItcWCAKmg/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Berry, Candy, Cedar, Citrus, Floral, Grass, Maple, Squash Blossom, Sugar, Wood

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

Hearting this simply for the “young Hulk Hogan strong” reference.

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89

A very nice loosely threaded puerh. The leaves give off slight scents of floral with soft wood. It as approachable sweet and tangy note. I warmed up my gaiwan and slipped some inside. The scent opens into aromatic sweet herb with sugarcane. I can pick up some white grape jelly and blueberry in the background. An intoxicating scent rises from the lid. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The taste begins sweet and smooth with a mild astringency at the back. A prominent apricot tone lifts off the tongue, and a candied fruit stays at the back of the throat. The feeling is thick and silky as it eases my throat. A darker woody tone appeared after a few more additional steepings. The hardy wood balanced the flowery fruits. The brew creates a lasting flavor. A stark pear tone appears in final steeping along with some cooling sugarcane. This was a good tea, but the qi was lacking. I enjoyed the flavors and tones, but it seems like something is missing from this soup. I’m not quite sure, but it doesn’t seem complete.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BJSwbzdg4LN/?taken-by=haveteawilltravel

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Candy, Dark Wood, Floral, Flowers, Pear, Sugarcane, Sweet, White Grapes, Wood

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

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80

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80

Dry leaves smell faintly smokey, wet leaves smell so strongly of smoke that they smell a bit like burnt fruit. Lost my notes on the first 4 steeps due to a restart. Will try to reconstruct as best I can.

Steep/Time: Notes
1/15s: Very little of the smokiness that made me shorten the first steep time shows up in the cup. Instead I get hay with a bit of melon.
2/20s: Same as previous, with perhaps a bit of smoke
3/30s: Pushing here just a little bit. Getting very noticable astringency, but it’s not unpleasant. Lends a crisp finish to the cup. Hay as moved to a bit more of a background note and the melon tastes are front and center.
4/35s: Actually getting some bitter notes and more of the smokiness I’d smelled in the leaves. Hay is back to the forefront with the melon sort of fading.

5/35s: Hay, smoke and melon. Still picking up a bit of bitterness.
6/30s: Hay melon and detecting a note of apple. (red delicious sort, not tart)
7/30s: Melon, apple… hay in the background on this one. Some pleasant astringency, no bitterness.
8/40s: Flavor is consistent, but any time I push past 30 – 35 seconds, that bitter note shows up. I’m not used to brewing with such a small pot nor with this particular tea so this is very experimental. Melon is prominent. Can still detect apple and hay.
9/30s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
10/35s: Same/similar to steeps 6 & 7
11/40s: Big melon with hay and apple. Nice astringency is still there. Bitter note detectable, but not as biting as previous steepings.
12/50s: Interesting cup. No bitterness, but the smokiness is now showing up as more of a cacao note with hay, apple and melon, though the latter two are now more background notes just present enough make clear that you are indeed still drinking the same tea as previous.
13/60s: Ok this is turning into something both lovely and surprising. More fruit and cacao than anything with a bit of hay. More of the flavor profile I’d expect with an oolong. More rounded taste here with the only astringency present as a crispness in the finish.
14/65s: Same as previous. Lovely. May need to put this pot to more use…. or heaven forbid, buy more 80 – 100mL teapots. _
15/75s: Falling in love with this oolongs now. Wonderful steeps here. Curious if it’s just the tea or a matter of brewing a smaller pot.
16/90s: That stepped up the cacao a bit. Very nice. Still lots of fruit tempered with a bit of hay. Bit of irony that I’m enjoying such a remarkable tea on what may prove a most negatively momentous day. LOL, guess it all a matter of perspective and perception.

Flavors: Apple, Cacao, Hay, Melon, Smoke

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 0 min, 30 sec 6 g 3 OZ / 90 ML
tanluwils

This tea’s name is really something else.

LucidiTea

It really is. That’s probably 90% of the reason that I decided to give this on a try. :)

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80

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94
drank Bai Rui Xiang by Tea Urchin
320 tasting notes

This is the first tea I went for out of my Tea Urchin group buy. Thanks to Tea Urchin for including this one! :)

This tea is one of my first really high quality oolongs, and…I might be in trouble. It was really good. The dry leaf had a sweet floral (orchid?) aroma. After a rinse, it also smelled slightly fruity and roasty as well.

The first steep had a light orchid flavor on the front of the sip, with a rich and long lasting mineral sweet aftertaste. After that steep, the flavors flip-flopped a bit, with a nice mineral sweetness to start the sip, followed by an explosive aftertaste which was slightly floral for one steep before moving firmly into a fruity category. At first I thought it was something really tropical, like mango or pineapple, but I think that was just my reaction to how juicy it tasted. After a few steeps’ worth of experiencing it, I decided it was pretty clearly a peach aftertaste. It carried on this way for around seven steeps, also accompanied by a slight drying quality. It was not unpleasant, and I believe it may have even benefited this tea. Here’s how: the sip starts off with a sweet mineral flavor, which is followed by a drying sensation which cleanses the palate to make way for the explosive fruity aftertaste, allowing it to shine through on its own, especially since they’re both sweet flavors.

After these first eight steeps, I finally started increasing the steep times from flash steeps – just a little bit at first. These next three steeps were on the lighter side, with the mineral sweet front of the sip taking over a bit more over the faded peachy aftertaste.

The tea went a further five or six steeps, all of faster increasing times now. In these final steeps, the aftertaste passed once again into a more floral realm. They were a bit lighter and airier all around, but still stayed with me for quite a while.

This was a pretty incredible tea. I’m glad I used the whole 7.5g for the session, though it worries me that I could develop a pricey oolong habit if I decide to pursue this kind of tea more. This one also had a very relaxing qi to it – I certainly felt good and teadrunk pretty early on in the session. The explosive, juicy, and long-term lingering qualities of the aftertaste really made this a special tea. I think it was quite balanced in terms of sweet and dry.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Mineral, Peach, Sweet

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

Um yeah, expensive dancong habits can get very expensive… Although I find I can still enjoy some with half that leaf & still flash steep

Matu

Nice. I’ll have to try other ratios too. Don’t have anymore of this one though ;)

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