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Recent Tasting Notes
One of those teas that instantly knocks your socks off and I wasn’t wearing any to begin with. Used a thin walled gaiwan, rinse and 10 minute stroll to feed the birds then steeps of 30/30/30/30/40/40/40/50/50/60/60/70/70/90/115/130/145/160 and so on. Liquor was thick pouring and on the tongue, with flavors starting out floral and then turning sweet. Not a trace of astringency, a slight bitterness but you have to be paying attention. The spent large leaves are all whole and uniform and as I looked in my strainer not a piece of broken leaf to be found. A most amazing tea, will be buying the whole cake next time.
Ooooooh! Another sample from my Tea Urchin gift from Marzipan :D
I’ve never had a sheng quite like this one before. It reminds me of Silver Needle white, sort of hay like and a little sweet, with a floral shengy vibe, and mousse-like creaminess! I keep thinking of it as flower custard :D
Most young sheng is coarse and powerful. This one is elegant. I have trouble calling out specific flavors because the flavors are so well integrated, but straw and wood are obvious, with hints of flowers early and black pepper and anise in later steeps.
There is a lot of cha qi, so I’m getting very relaxed. The first two steeps had very little astringency or acidity, and no bitterness. Later steeps have some acid and astringency, but still only a hint of bitterness. The finish is excellent, and much of the complexity comes via the interaction of the finish with the aroma and taste.
I really like this tea. I have no idea how it will age, but it is really great for drinking right now. I got it as part of the recent Tea Urchin Sampler set.
Above standard raw puerh, has a soft dry sweetness with all the prerequisite flavors of hay, pine nut, kelp. Hui gan much in present with a solidness on the tongue and that seeping of sweet coming off the parotids. Used a gaiwan one rinse and a rest then steeps of 20/25/30/35/35/35/40/40/40/45/45 after that it became a blur, as I needed to do some chores around the house since the cha qi was coming on strong. The spent leaves were all uniform and quite green with flecks of brown.
This tea starts out with a light straw flavor with hints of spice, then gradually shifts to a more woody taste. Each steep is elegant and balanced, with some astringency but hardly any bitterness.
I’ve had the tea twice. In my notes from the first session, at 190 degrees, I raved about the cha qi. In the second session, at 200 degrees, my tasting notes were similar with respect to flavors, but I noticed only moderate cha qi. I’m not sure if this is due to the temperature or just my mental state at the time of the tasting.
I enjoyed this tea, but it didn’t excite me the way some teas do. At the price, I’m not sure it offers good value, though it seems that you really have to pay for Yiwu tea these days.
Like going from a steely Chablis to a refined Montrachet. Soft smooth buttery, lots of oak but there is one thing that Montrachet doesn’t have. Sweetness from the very 1st steep. I’ve never experienced this before probably cause I’ve never had a raw pu erh this old. It also has a gentle smoke, no astringency, and lasted forever. Used 7.5 gm in 100 ml gaiwan. I was all over the map with the steeps though, settling on 30 seconds to give a nice golden clear soup. This was added to my order as a sample from Tea Urchin and I thank them tremendously.
Having some really delicious sheng today while cleaning and prepping the house for thanksgiving. We are cooking for 11 people tonight! My husband is smoking a turkey, and we are making spicy collards, maple roasted Brussels sprouts, and dinner rolls. Oh and I made apple pie! My MIL is bringing scalloped corn and a pumpkin cake, and my mom is bringing fancy baked mashed potatoes with cream cheese in them (around here we call them party potatoes!)
Anyway I’m very thankful for all my wonderful steepster friends. Hope you all have a safe and warm holiday and tummies full of delicious food and of course TEA! <3
Just blissing out to some of the best Sheng on the planet and listening to some of my favorite music from 2014: Hiss Golden Messenger, Cloud Nothings, Alvvays, Mastersons, War on Drugs, Real Estate, Popstrangers, Future Islands, First-aid Kit, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Against Me and on and on.
As I ascend into the rarefied air of truly upper echelon shengs, I marvel at the power of the ancient wild tea leaf to concentrate such a variety of flavors (citrus, teak wood, soy, vanilla) and to release such a transforming energy that, in one sip, swept away the cold, rainy Monday morning and replaced it with my own little tea Utopia. This tea should come with a warning: do not attempt to operate a computer or motorized vehicle after drinking this tea. Do not shop for this tea under the influence; hundreds of dollars will disappear as you stockpile the 2013 version of this tea. It’s worse than going to whole foods when you’re starving.
Breaking this one out after the "Chairman"was a bit indecisive tonight. I received this courtesy of a tea friend to try. I read the vendors note and am fairly excited to try this one.
The sample I was sent had 7 grams so I brought out the Gaiwan on this one. I am trying to season a new Yixing and I was afraid it would soak up a lot of this teas character. The dry leaf has a pleasant fruity and flowery aroma to it. I gave it a quick rinse and then steeped it. a 5 second or so steep done 3 times and into a 10 oz. mug. This tea pits up a sharpness quality to it. A good mix of the bitter and sweet and a nice little tingle to it. To be a young sheng it really doesn’t carry the astringent quality of many young teas but it has a good strength to it. The sharpness from earlier in the note is how quick those notes arrive in the cup. Some teas take a while to “put it on you”, but this is a straight to the point one.
I am enjoying this pretty well but only one cup tonight as the day starts early tomorrow and I don’t want this to interfere with me counting sheep tonight.
Getting a little brown sugar and/or caramel notes as it cools a bit.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Floral, Fruity, Sweet
Breaking this out as the "Chairman’ has picked and ordered for destiny in my cup. This tea is loosely compressed out of the sample bag. A nice hay and clover aroma to it. I got out 10 grams for the Yixing to start with. Dry leaf very nice looking. gave it a 5 second wash to open it up. Wet lea has a nice floral aroma to it. Brew is a light yellow color. I did 2 quick steeps for the cup. It is a “mixed” bag. Some sweet some bitter but not overpowering in either category. It is more of a “soft” tea with a little tongue buzz but not punchy like a spring tea. I would guess this would be a very nice “starter” sheng to bring someone into puerh. As mentioned in earlier notes I think a Spring version would have a bit more strength and punch to it. A nice really easy drinking Sheng with none of the notes of a Spring tea. Aroma on this is really good and I quote another “Spring tea for the strength and Autumn for the aroma”.
A nice easy to drink Sheng that shouldn’t keep me awake too long after drinking. Relaxing and very mild one to have. Slight honey aftertaste.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Honey, Sweet
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.
This Yi Bang is a very nice tea! When I first started the session, I was not very impressed but by the fourth infusion the leaves had become magical. Beautiful whole leaves and the resulting clear bright liquor has a warm, smooth mouthfeel with soft, sweet notes. I’ve been through 12 infusions and the leaves continue to produce. I also prefer it in 200 degree water rather than boiling.
I can’t overstate the importance of tea urchin’s presence in the current tea landscape. Their shengs possess the most incredible energy and depth of flavor, which bespeaks the care with which the leaves are chosen and crafted into beautiful cakes. Read the reviews on their website; their devotees capture far better than I the intense experience of drinking them.
Sampling this amazing sheng is like test driving a Ferrari or Aston Martin; it confirms that there is a level of excellence and a driving experience that is transcendent. Unfortunately, it also makes your own car seem like an ox cart. You buy these shengs from Tea Urchin for the long haul. Right now they are wild, mercurial, and exploding with fruity, grassy/grainy flavor, and there’s something enjoyably masochistic about the bitter fruit. The time will come when the this tea will mature into something incredible, but by then I’m sure my sample will be gone.
Breaking this out in remembrance.
Listed by the vendor as outstanding floral, sweet soft and creamy with a intense huigan.
lots like a man who passed last night. Soft and smooth, not creamy but always pleasant and a intense strong man who loved his wife and children and nieces, nephews and grand children with a soft but strong love.
The floral and pleasant notes with the good tea buzz on the tongue are very reminiscent of the man I drink in honor of. Soft and strong at the same time. Like a whisper at many times and like a storm in his strong and faithful love for his family.
A special tea that I raise a cup to for a special man.
Flavors: Floral, Sugarcane, Sweet
Another excellent Sheng from Eugene and Belle. The liquor is a beautiful golden color that smells like a smokey hay with a bit of tobacco thrown in. The tea itself is extremely smooth with absolutely no kuwei or astringency noted. This tea tastes just like it smells, it is a beautiful balance of hay, smoke and tobacco with a very gentle huigan to it. Well done Eugene and Belle, you have a passion for tea and your products show it!!!
Another truly amazing tea from Eugene and Belle (I sense a theme here). They say that this tea is “One of our hidden gems”, and folks it really is. The color of the liquor is a beautiful gold and it smells like hay mixed with a bit of butter and hint of brown sugar. The tea itself is very smooth with lots of great huigan and absolutely no kuwei or astringency. The taste of the tea is that of grass with light undertones of butter, nuttiness, and brown sugar. As with all Tea Urchin teas the energy of this tea is unbelievable. Almost forty minutes after my steeping session my taste buds are still excited and I can actually still taste the tea!!! Well done Eugene and Belle, and at $58 for 357g this tea is an outstanding bargain.
Another insanely good TeaUrchin sheng! Woo!
This is the last un-tasted TeaUrchin sample from my birthday gift from my husband. This is definitely not one I would have picked out for myself just for the cost alone. (30g for $17.50)
But yes, it is indeed something special. Delicious floral sweetness, nice balance with the tangy “bitter” spice notes, and amazing cha qi. I am tea drunk at work :) “One Thousand Butterflies” FTW
I’m super impressed with TeaUrchin in general and would recommend them to all fans of raw puerh!
I was too harsh on this one. I was biased towards the price tag. I had four notes written two in the 90s and two in the 80s. The 80s were mostly considering the price vs what else you can get for that price. But the reality is that I should just rate the taste of tea and price being expensive or cheap is up to each person. Read the notes for details. :)
Initial Note This are the notes I took when I first received the cake, the cake was very aromatic with fruity and young sheng notes. I’ve consolidated my other three notes at the bottom in the Final notes section :)
Dry – Aromatic, young notes apparent, honey, apricot, faintly creamy.
Wet – Young, honey, creamy, floral, fruity, stronger apricot.
Liquor – Bright, somewhat pale yellow with slight green hue.
1st 3secs – Honey, creamy, slightly nutty and floral bittersweet notes up front. As it goes down, the bitterness is more apparent, but very mellow and pleasant with fruity and floral undertones and a somewhat savory base. Very young notes were apparent in the aftertaste.
2nd 4secs – Honey, slightly creamy and nutty, floral bitterness with bittersweet fruity undertones up front. As it goes down, it becomes slightly more bitter, but maintains a mellow and pleasant body with some more body adn thick apricot notes at the end. Slightly young still but more honeyed-apricot finish.
3rd 5secs – Floral bitterness, bittersweet fruity notes, light creamy and nutty notes and honeyed up front. As it goes down, it thickens and intensifies its bitter notes with floral and fruity character that resembles apricot as it fades away. It still has the young notes as the huigan fades and stays on the tongue.
4th 7secs – Floral bitterness, bitterseweet fruity notes, thinner body with nutty notes and some honey up front. As it goes down, its bitter notes become more apparent and develops a very pleasant thickness that in turn develops floral/fruity tones that resemble apricots. Some astringency is present with faint young notes, but still honeyed-apricot finish.
5th – 10secs – Floral bitterness, Bittersweet fruity notes, smooth but juicy (as opposed to the initial creamy character) honeyed up front. As it goes down, it becomes thicker with more apparent floral bitterness and fruity bittersweet notes that resemble apricot. The finish is sweet, with honey and apricot and develops young notes with minor hay/herbaceous characteristics.
6th 15secs – Floral bitterness, bittersweet fruity notes, smooth and somewhat thinner and honeyed up front. As it goes down, it is slightly thicker with an apparent floral and fruity character that play betweent bitter and bittersweetness that is very pleasant but plays with more astringency on the tongue. The finish is honeyed-apricots like, it is lasting but has a herbaceous prescense that lingers with astringency.
7th 25secs Floral bitterness and fruity notes that lack the initial smoothness but remains honeyed up front. As it goes down, it has faded thickness in the background like a ghost of what it had to offer, the astringecy is more apparent and brings out the bitter and bitter sweet floral and fruity notes. The finish is still honeyed, and the astringency is still there, the herbaceous/hay is more apparent in the finish.
8th 35secs – Mostly flat and one dimensional. It starts with bitter floral and bittersweet fruity notes, but they seem faded and overtaking by astringency and a mineral/metallic tone, there’s still honey in the front. As it goes down, it gives hints of a thickness that quickly dissipates and becomes bitter-to-bittersweet floral notes and astringent. At this point to me, the astringency went from apparent but pleasant to just astringent.
9th 45secs – Mostly flat, bitter-bittersweet notes and some sweet, no body to it.
Not stealing, but cleverly borrowing Cwyn’s analogy for New Amerykah 2 :P
If New Amerykah 2 (2014) is an illegal and a jail-bait, this one is the Beauty JUST over the age, that carries herself very well… but had that tad too much to drink LOL. When you first meet her, you take it at face value; it is a young sheng after all, but it surprises you during the first few steeps with a gentle well rounded body and only hints of immaturity. The living image that age does not dictate maturity….
As cups go down, the unfiltered reality starts to leak out. Once you reach the 5th steep (sometimes one or two past that), the scene gets loud, immature and uncomfortable. Astringency develops at first and it isn’t an issue, it’s expected, bitter notes are demanded from any Kucha and it slowly delivers. It feels like I went on the ‘perfect’ date and ended up stalking the waiter to bring me the check.
Now, for reality. I was victim of my own preconceptions, the reviews were amazing and with the price tag I expected no less. I feel like this is a really good Sheng blend, but that’s all it is, a blend. The huangpian gives it this undeniable maturity and deep notes at first, but that’s make up and dress up, each cake portion will differ from the other because you can’t guarantee that every piece you get will be balanced, some times it seems like you hit a honeyed, bitter and complex jackpot(sometimes short-lived) and other times you get mostly younger leaves with fine developing characteristics, but lacking depth and maturity. I’d say sample this one for the good times, $90 for a cake this young and with not proof of aging potential is not in my budget; but if you favor young Sheng… this is your date.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Nutty
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