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Recent Tasting Notes
From the Puerh TTB-5
One of my favorite teas is the 2013 TU Peacock, so when I saw a 2016 peacock in the TTB I got greedy and took all 10 grams. It’s been resting for a few weeks, and it’s now time to taste it. I decided to make a big deal out of it and am tasting it side-by-side with the 2013.
Both teas have 3 grams, with roughly 70 cc steeps of 10, 10, 20, 30, 40, 60 seconds at 200 degrees.
1st steep: Both have a fairly light straw color, with the 2016 a bit more green. 2016 has a light nose with hints of fruit, straw, and spice. The taste is more of the same. The nose is more subdued in the 2013 and it has less fruit but a richer texture in the mouth. Later steeps show a tropical fruit underneath a straw flavor. The 2016 has good mouth-feel but the flavors are more on the surface, with much less richness or depth. The Finish is very good, but light and fruity rather than deep and complex. In the absence of a comparison, I would like the 2016 quite a bit, but it suffers in comparison with the 2013, though when I come back to the now much cooler 2013 it doesn’t seem as good as it did.
2nd steep (after 15 minutes to let the cha qi settle; I can still taste the tea a bit!): 2016 tastes richer than before with spice and some fruit. Excellent finish, despite the fact that the flavor seems to be mostly on the surface. The 2013 has less spice but a rich fruitiness that is further back in the mouth, and continues through a long finish. Both teas has such a long finish that the whole side-by-side tasting is compromised: I sip one tea while the finish of the other is still very active. I’m also feeling a full-body cha qi that is probably affecting my tasting. I’m also noticing a significant level of astringency.
The third steep is usually my favorite. Here, after another 15 minute break, the 2016 has a nice, spicy nose, and a crisp acidic taste with hints of fruit and spice. The finish seems more powerful than the taste, which to me usually indicates a need for aging (at least with wine). The cha qi hits me almost immediately. The 2013 is much less aromatic, and the flavor is richer yet more subdued. This tea also seems to get bigger after I swallow. Big and rich, and I’m riding a tea drunk. Drinking the two teas in short succession brings out the best in both, due to the long finishes. Awesome tea drunk.
I waited a couple of hours to continue. 4th steep is spicy but too astringent, but I really like the finish. 5th steep is sweeter, but also with less fruit and spice. The flavor seems to have moved to the roof of my mouth. It has a thick, chewy texture that fills the mouth and lingers in the finish.
Bottom line is that I like this tea a lot, but I don’t think it’s quite as good as the 2013. The question is whether it will age into what the 2013 is today. I may need to buy a cake to find out.
I was hoping for a more aged taste based on what I could dig up on this tea, but honestly, wasn’t getting much love from this one. It’s not much of a bitter tea, although it has a teeth smacking astringent quality despite that (can feel all my teeth while drinking this one).
The aroma is incredibly honeyed and there is something like a waxy honey aftertaste, although the liquor itself has almost no sweetness until closer to the end of the steeps, and even then it is a more of a throat sweetness than a mouth sweetness. The color is less red, more deep yellow bordering on orange.
All in all, wasn’t feeling this one, it was too dry for me to enjoy what flavors might have been underneath (although that honey aroma is pretty nice, I have no idea how it can taste almost nothing like how it smells). Also not a huge fan of the hint of smoked leather or tobacco clinging to the edges of it.
Flavors: Astringent, Hay, Honey, Smoke, Tobacco
Man, this is a nice tea. It’s the opposite of what I’ve been drinking lately – which has tended more towards sort of hostile, aggro puerh. This is rich and warm and smooth, but not in any way boring. It’s actually, it certain weird ways, closer in spirit to certain roasted balled oolongs. It actually reminds me a little of Tea Urchin’s Mu Zha Tieguanyin. It has this central rich sweetness, this glowing aliveness, that sorts of just enfolds you. Less flavor notes, and more this central throbbing sweet thick warmth.
Sadly, they’re out of it. Alas.
Totally gorgeous. I think the bitter puerhs were my first puerh love – dig me some of that Bulang – but this is the next level shit. It’s a glorious bitter, somewhere between a quinine bitter and a burnt-rubber bitter (but good!) – just hanging out and glowing while all this other oceanic stuff – warmth, passing dairy flavors, all kinds of fruity junk – meld and change and pass beneath it. And that bitter flavor just hangs out up there, glowing a little, and just being so insanely beautiful.
I got this out after giving a little time to acclimate to its new home. I got 10 grams off this and it seemed to be loosely compressed and easy to get into. I put this in the gaiwan and rinsed it and allowed it to rest for about 15 minutes.
The wet leaf gave some hints of humid storage but not in an excessive way. I brewed it very quickly as Bu Lang tea is known for strength and bitterness. The brew turned out a nice golden color in the cup.
This is a strong Bu Lang! It seems to be oily and thick in the mouth. There is a pronounced bitter bite in this one. A bit of smoke that disappears very quickly. A hint of the old book and leather as well. I think the bitter and the old ’ horse tack leather’ as my friend KS says come through in this one. This is almost as strong and possessing the bite of a Lao Man E tea. For lovers of strong in your face teas this is one.
Flavors: Bitter, Leather, Smoke, Thick
For a key to my rating scale, check out my bio.
Flavor is mildly complex but too light and eventually quite astringent. Fuller body notes than the other Tea Urchin teas I’ve tried but still quite weak.
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Caramel, Leather, Menthol, Plums, Rose, Spices
This is the first darker sheng that I have really enjoyed. The depth to this raw is quite strong, but it’s smooth at the same time. Easily brewing this over the normal time and temperature and it isn’t brewing bitter, just giving more strength to it. The hue is medium when most all of the sheng I enjoy are light and vegetable like, but this is more like old plant water with some small patches of astringency.
This was a surprise because I thought it would be just a normal sheng for drinking today, but I’m quite thankful for the depth that it had while being on the darker side to which I normally dislike. It’s pretty close to the 2014 You Le
This company has some great puerh. I’ve always enjoyed a majority of their productions, and this pressing is no different. I’ve heard a lot of noise about this tea, and the tea gods smiled on me and some ended up in my gaiwan. The cake is heavily aromatic with a sweet floral character as well as some spice. A heavy dark wood note acts as a soft but stern base. I warmed my gaiwan up and prepared for brewing. The warmed cake becomes even better by giving off intense scents of plum, raisan, juicy blackberries, honey, and the same dark wood base. This tea has a lot to give and has some unique scents. I washed the leaves once and prepared for brewing. The tate begins light and very sweet. A thick oily mouth-feel followed by encompassing honey tones. The aftertaste is a long and lasting succlent taste with a slight bitterness. The tea carries a faint mesquite flavor in later steeping, and then morphs into an intense brown sugar note. Past that, a light floral note introduces itself, I beleive it to be lily or maybe even a subtle iris. The qi is spot on with an invigorating cooling sensation that begins at heart center as well as a good head buzz. The taste has a kicker huigan and slight kuwei. This is a solid blend, and I really enjoyed it. The only fallback is that the tea drops abrutly. The flavors, huigan, and sensations falter instantly while brewing. Nevertheless, this is still a great puerh. This is one of the teas that you go to the website to buy during the session; however, the tea is now sold out. That realization of a lost tea made me rather sad. I hear the 2016 blend is going to be released soon though…
Flavors: Blackberry, Brown Sugar, Dark Wood, Floral, Honey, Plums, Raisins, Sweet
I finally took my taste testing a little more serious these past few days. I weighted out 15g of this tea and split it into 3 piles. Sunday, Monday, and today, I went through a session of this tea.
I find it to be easy to brew: Flash steeps provided a more clear liquid that was sweeter, but longer steeps (10+ seconds) began to darken and have a more deep vegetable taste. The leaf, at this point and age, is not as beautiful as it once was which stinks because the pictures of this from when it was first pressed are WOAH!
This could be a pretty good daily drinker with the ability to steep light or medium on the spectrum of depth or even the balance of sweet or roasted spinach. It’s really as simple as that. I don’t find this tea to be a showcasing one, but it’s certainly one I enjoyed drinking for the last few days which means something as I am probably hitting 100 different shengs this year at this point which means the bars keep going higher and higher and higher. Saying that this was enjoyable is a compliment most teas will no longer see anymore.
Oh the issue of trying so many things… so many become typical and I do not look forward to realizing that more this year.
Have I got my sheng legs? This does taste better than it used to. It’s not as Caramel or floral as my really-very-good oolong.
It’s bitter, milky/creamy through the middle very leafy green. Had lovely stonefruit aroma, but the taste was pretty zappy. Tacked my lips together.
One thing I know is I liked this hot instead of 90. So dunno if that means anything.
Reviewing this like this because I really don’t know if my taste is changing (it is) or I’m forcing it to drink too-young sheng and my pumidor game needs upping
I enjoyed it. Ish.
Flavors: Bitter, Caramel, Cream, Green
Off my special diet today and enjoying some other teas I haven’t had in a whole month.. I have been having only 1 green tea a day. This tea was a bit of a disappointment for my first sheng in a month. It was very mineral, straw, and light apricot.I like raw pu-erh teas that are closer to green teas. This one is okay but I prefer more fruity notes.
Really like this sheng. Its fruity and pleasantly sour. With a slightly thick mouth. The strength of taste isnt too strong at first, and I have had three cups during extended lie-in butnow im buzzing. Its a bit too strong for me, as with other Tea Urchin teas I have tried they seem to hit me quite hard.
Slightly camphor nose & a comforting fruity & vegetal that I seem to like from Yiwu, although this one isnt as round as the snake blend, but there is something soft about it. I sometimes get creamy from this as well – its something like milk, not taste, but in its structure and feels in my mouth. Nice stuff, but im currently balancing on the edge of it falling into sourness, which isnt my preference with this milky-structured (to me) sheng.
I freally really dig the wrapper art as well :D
Flavors: Apricot, Camphor, Fruity, Milk, Pleasantly Sour, Sour, Vegetal
Used 7g with boiling water in a 100mL gaiwan. It was quite good, especially steeps 2-5 or so. Got some kind of creamy vegetal or hay notes. It got more and more drying as I went past steep five though, so I think next time I’ll try this with either 200 degree water or a bit less leaf. I suppose I could go and try it both ways. Also, after reading Tea Urchin’s description, I think I may have increased steep times a little bit too quickly. Definitely is good though :)
Flavors: Creamy, Hay, Sweet, Vegetal