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Tea Urchin

Recent Tasting Notes

91

This is my fourth tea sample from Tea Urchin. The only problem I’m having is that they are all so good I want to order a cake of everything I’ve tried! Pu erh is an expensive passion. This was another high quality tea with a nice feel to it. It is definitely on the more mellow side and seems to already be exhibiting some signs of aging. Got a good number of steeps, each honey colored medium bodied with not much bitterness and some honey like sweetness. The cha qi was solid but not overpowering. Another solid tea from a great company. An added plus – the wrapper is adorable!

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drank Lao Man E 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin
17 tasting notes

Wow, talk about bitter! This tea is not for the faint of heart. It is incredibly bitter, purposely made to be so. Will this bitterness translate into a well aged pu erh? Perhaps! But I would not drink it again for at least another few years. It does, however, have staying power, lasting a god number of infusions, and you can just tell that this is a quality tea. It has a nice feel to it, possesses medium body, and so far is not terribly stimulating. I’m not sure whether I want to buy a cake and age it, but I am considering it! I am not going to rank it because I just wouldn’t know how to.

mrmopar

Yeah those young shengs can be brutal! Lao Man E and Mang Fei as well as some Bulangs are POTENT!!!

Rich

Indeed. So how does one decide whether to take the chance and purchase a cake like this for aging? I feel like it has a lot of substance. But it’s hard to know without experience what a tea like this will turn into.

mrmopar

I would be hard pressed to say on this one Rich. I am still learning the sheng thing as it has just been a year or so since I have found ones I like.

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91

A lovely tea acquired from Tea Urchin. It has a touch of fruitiness, the good kind of bitterness, and a well balanced young pu erh flavor that held up well to a good number of steepings. It seems like it would have the potential to age well, it just has that feel to it, though I suppose one never knows. The cha qi was really different, it wasn’t overly stimulating but rather facilitated a calm alertness. The only downside is the price – a cake comes in at just over $100. If it were half that, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. The sample came as a freebie with a recent order.

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96
drank Lang He 2010 Yu pin by Tea Urchin
17 tasting notes

This is my first tea from Tea Urchin. I was very excited to try some teas from them, the company has a nice feel to it. Their wrappers are really fun (I know, don’t judge a book by its cover or a pu by its wrapper. Isn’t that how the saying goes?) Their teas are a bit on the more expensive side, so I was hoping for high quality in return. This particular tea is not one of their own, but rather is from the Langhe factory. This ripe pu erh didn’t disappoint. I’m going to have a hard time going back to Menghai ripes after this one. It is a exceedingly smooth tea. Rich, medium bodied, and not a hint of bitterness or any off flavors. It is just a fine tea! Creamy, very slightly woodsy, and clean. I have several other Tea Urchin samples I will review in the weeks ahead. But this is surely a good start.

mrmopar

+1 Good people.

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97

I’ve been drinking Shengs for a while now, but other than a couple selections from Verdant tea, most of my purchases have been moderately priced cakes and samples; they’ve been enjoyable but I felt it was time to really explore the upper echelons of raw pu-erhs and from what I learned, Tea Urchin was the place to go. I bought four samples and Eugene generously threw in a fifth and suggested I start with the manzhuan. This is a young tea and I bought these samples with an eye to getting a cake and aging it.

The first couple of steeps were sweet and complex with that lovely eucalyptus taste and a fruity base. Successive steeps became quite bitter (as I expected) but still very rich and tasty. Quality Shengs also generate heat and energy in the throat and chest and this one was no exception. I was buoyed along during the day on a steady tea high.

With this sheng—and, I’m sure, with my other more expensive samples—I feel like I’m crossing the borderland from tea to precious elixir.

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Quite frankly my dear friends I should not be drinking something I cannot afford. My love of sheng know no bounds and I had to at least try it. I probably used around 5 grams and the resulting liquor was pale and sweet very light. Do not let this tea fool you. After one tiny cup I went outside and tended to a tiny Korean Fir bonsai that has not been doing well. I was with it for maybe 30 minutes when I realized it was as if time was standing still. This tea was very mild in terms of flavor but it was knocking me to the ground in chaqi department. The body becomes very relaxed. When I returned to the tea I knew to go slow and really enjoy this incredible gem. The pale liquor was now a brilliant yellow-gold and the sweetness intensified. This tea truly creeps up on you in flavor and in its intensity. I started this session yesterday and I am drinking this as I write. Words cannot do it justice. At nearly 300 USD for a cake its by far the most expensive I have ever had. It is truly a magnificen tea. I love the way it makes me feel. I can only imagine buying this and aging it.

mrmopar

Sometimes we have to splurge! Life is too short to not have some of these simple pleasures around.

Doug F

That’s the great thing about samples! The tea sounds great.

Charles Thomas Draper

I agree with both of you….

Asaf Mazar

having just consumed three inexpensive samples of theoretically good pu erh, I am back to the conclusion that the most affordable teas are often the expensive ones that you actually want to drink a second time :) I believe that 99% of the time good pu erh is expensive pu erh, probably because the folks that try it before we do will hoard or raise the price of anything that is good enough to stirr demand. seems like the market is flooded with cakes that are weak in both flavor and qi. It appears that $15 per 100 grams is the bare minimum for anythign decent. BTW check out this new one said to be 600 year old tree: http://www.jkteashop.com/spring-600-years-old-single-old-tree-raw-pu-er-duo-yi-village-nannuo-mountain-p-848.html

Charles Thomas Draper

Asaf, I only wish I had bought some before the prices rose dramatically. I 600 year old tree you mentioned may be the same company that I was looking at on Ebay.

mrmopar

I thought I was the only Ebay shopper….

Asaf Mazar jk tea shop sells on eBay. There is 5% discount coupon also on the main site. They have great prices on shipping and nice selection of Dan Cong teas. Their 2005 nano mountain sheng 15g sample is worth a try.
Charles Thomas Draper

mrmopar I have only shopped for Pu-erhs. I have not bought any. I have read about counterfeiting so I am leery. Asaf I am looking into jk now. mrmopar who do you suggest?

mrmopar

Hi charles, two ebay sellers for puerh are Berylleb and Idllu. Both have the “real” thing. I have another seller over there that will get items I can’t find on Ebay. There are a couple of good sellers on Aliexpress also. I would recommend Grandness tea shop and Dr Tea, both have had good things. If you need a link or intro to any of these let me know and I will get the “ice” broken with you. All of these he been great to deal with. Garett at Mandala tea has some good stuff stateside as wellas the Puerhshop and Yunnan sourcing us. I just wished Scott carried all the items stateside that they do on the China site. Let me know I would be glad to help you or anyone else out.

Charles Thomas Draper

Thank you. I already use YS. And yes, I wish they carried the the same products here in the USA. I have been very happy with them and Tea Urchin, Zhi Zheng, Bannacha in France and The Essence of Tea in England. Of course we are always on the look for more. The Chawang shop in Yunnan may get my business as well. They are very reasonably priced…

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Quite frankly I knew I was in for a special tea. The dried leaves are the longest I have ever seen. The initial steepings presented an intense mouth feel and flavors that I can never describe. The later steepings became more subdued but still beyond interesting nonetheless. I have totally fallen for the world of Sheng. Beyond the flavor and aroma profiles you are dealing with teas which are mind blowing. Teas that take your mind and body to places you have never been before. To say I highly recommend this tea would be an understatement.

Asaf Mazar

Thanks for sharing! sorting out the phenomenal shengs from the mundane is something that is best done from recommendations such as this rather than from vendor descriptions. I look forwards to trying this one.

Charles Thomas Draper

Asaf, it is all that and more…

Terri HarpLady

Although still new in this area, I also find sheng quite alluring, not to mention mind-blowing, 3rd eye opening, etc.
It’s a tea that I have to reserve for its own time, & sometimes I look at all of the shengs out there, wanting to try a new one. Mostly I’m relying on reviews of others to make my selections, so thanks Charles! This one sounds interesting!

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I have truly gone astray into the world of Sheng Puer a

fter erichbenoit was beyond generous in sending me samples of the tea worlds finest treasures. This one is intense. Intense in aroma. Intense in flavor. My mouth is wet with its beautiful flavor. A flavor that seems to linger endlessly. The energy I am feeling is beyond description. This is serious tea. Very serious. As you can see by my typing skills being totally impaired.
Bonnie

I’m chuckling imagining you tea drunk trying to make sense of your keypad.

Charles Thomas Draper

Bonnie the only thing that made sense was the tea.

charab

Being rendered into stumbling typing is sometimes highly recommended. Especially when tea is involved. It took its’ place righteously then, hehe.

Charles Thomas Draper

Thank you Paul. I am very grateful to have this humble leaf in my life.

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