Tea UrchinEdit Company
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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
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
The Trails of LBZ, Case 10 of 6
(Liquid Proust search for his favorite laser beam zensheng)
Eye candy before reading https://www.instagram.com/p/BGXhClmxYAJ/
First I just need to reiterate as I do many times that I wouldn’t drink all these ‘top notch’ teas if it wasn’t for the amazing tea community. Many times I am surprised with random acts of kindness that I myself am use to being the sender and not receiver. There’s something special about teamail, especially when it’s something you want but can’t afford currently. This time, someone from Instagram hooked me up. A huge thank you to this person as it provided happiness as I went through the samples sent to me. This type of generosity is not just found by those who spend hours online talking about tea and sending it out. The tea community is very welcoming to trade with many people so please never shy away thinking your cupboard wouldn’t interest someone as many times it’s the idea that helping anyone out is an invitation that has been waited upon.
On to the tea.
I could easily sum this up as: Worth the price. However, that would be prior to shipping and what not. A 5g session, which is what I had, runs $8’ish and I firmly believe that what it provided was well worth that tag; speaking in which 5g brews out 20+ steeps while a glass of wine doesn’t refill itself.
The first three steeps were not bitter, but it was easy to tell that the leaf had a little unfurling to do before the smoothness of the session began; but I will make the comment that the lip smacking sweetness is gone by steep four as it begins to mellow out. Once I got this leaf down to where it brewed out something similar on each brew, I began to notice how gentle each sip was in the way that you describe the higher end rice used for sushi versus everyday rice; if you know what I mean, imagine the difference of ramen noodles versus handmade noodles (good ones).
It wasn’t long until I started to taste a combination of squash and a dry sweetness like grape/apple skin. While dry ended teas are not my thing, the flavor of this one made it acceptable in the way that a great yancha also does. It’s hard to say if the look of the leaf or the taste is more appealing as the leaf is just beautiful.
Going into the later steeps it mellows out and provides a thinner soup base texture; this may be due to the drying of my mouth and wetness making contact, or a possible increase in viscosity as it brews. I found myself playing with some steeping time as it went on to see how 45 seconds would do and it didn’t bring out any bitter notes which was awesome; but if it is brewed longer there comes a tart like sweetness at the end of each sip rather than a minor grape/apple skin taste.
It’s the clarity of this leaf that leaves me considering a purchase, but I’ll wait for a group buy and jump on 25g as that would be 5 sessions; and if I find friends who would share near me it would be what… $2 a session if 4 people join in. While it’s not as powerful as the 2009 stuff I had, or as remarkable, it has that purity to it that I found in Last Thoughts, Midas Touch, and spring Bang Dong (which I suspect will double in price as I drive the market to it… :P )
Grateful to have tried this once, online banking will disagree with me by the end of the year : )
https://www.instagram.com/p/BGXhUpaxYA_/ Bath time.
I think this tea is really high in tea quality. The combination of sour and smoky flavors really does make this tea taste like a sugar cookie.
I don’t think I would order it again, mainly because I’m not a fan of the weird mix of tasting notes. However, it is really high quality and the leaf looks like it was just harvested yesterday.
You can look at the full review on my blog…
Flavors: Green, Lemon, Pleasantly Sour, Smoke, Sweet
Puerh Tea TTB. This was a very tightly compressed. The first two steeps were very, very light, almost the color of water. Once the leaves opened up it was a little better. This was a strong and bitter sheng. I didn’t notice any smoke. This was not an apricoty sheng at all.
I steeped this eight times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.1g 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, and 30 sec.
This has to be among the top 10 most unique oolong I have been able to drink thus far. At first I thought it was stored wrong because it smelled like chai in a way. I ended up brewing it and was just… wow, this stuff is complex and confusing.
Strong notes of cinnamon come through with this odd taste of butternut squash. Almost like cinnamon butter and sweet potato fries. While it sounds like a fun blend, this is a straight tea. Really messes with my head as I drink it and to think it’s about $10 an ounce is a great price for such a unique oolong that has aging ability that would be much different than other oolongs
I used 7g in my 100mL gaiwan with boiled water. I could tell this was a quality tea.
Early steeps were light in flavor with notes of straw, apricot, and burnt sugar. Though the flavors were pretty light, the mouth feel of this showed its power. It made my tongue feel fat and tingly, and the feeling traveled down the throat and warmed through my chest. As the session went on, the sugar flavor died out a bit. Got straw, apricot/stonefruit flavors, and a pungent flavor which showed the power of the tea. Mouth feel was thick throughout the session and continued to travel through the body. I would probably consider buying a cake of this if it wasn’t sold out. Darn sample-tease lol.
Flavors: Apricot, Burnt Sugar, Pleasantly Sour, Stonefruits, Straw, Thick
Drinking a tea from my wishlist is always a treat :)
Been wanting to try this for awhile for two silly reasons: it says wild and it is from Tea Urchin.
The leaf is a bit darker then the pictures would suggest, but I’m here for the taste. It has a mild texture, almost a buttery tgy feel but not quite there. The taste is a mixture of green and lightly oxidized oolong to the point that its more like a creamy green. Some nice notes throughout but the loss of the crisp taste from steep one goes by steep two so the sharp notes become mixed in which makes it lose its delicacy (though it’s still nice). I’ll be honest in saying this is probably a tea better about a month after its done rather then later because I’m pretty sure it lost a freshness aspect in the taste that should be there; I could be wrong on this.
Fun tea for sure!
Used 4g in 60mL gaiwan with boiled water.
Had to be pretty careful with steep times early in the session, as this tea can get bitter pretty easily. This tea went for a pretty good number of steeps, probably around 15 as mentioned on TU’s site. Started out with bitter hay/herbal notes with a sweet honey huigan and decent cha qi. As the session went on, the flavors flip-flopped, and honey sweetness came more to the front with a mouth-drying (not particularly bitter) finish. I thought this was pretty good, but the mouth-drying effect did get a little bit intense in the later steeps, so I might try the 2009 version they have and see if that has softened any.
The tea had a thick mouthfeel throughout the session.
Flavors: Bitter, Hay, Herbs, Honey, Sweet
Its flavour seems lighter than some Yiwu cakes from other vendors at the same age. A dry fruit/honey aroma, sweetness and tartness are not so intense; however, they are gentle, delicate, and linger in my throat/tounge for an hour. Like the previous review, I can also feel a nice white wild flower at the begining time of the sip. The tea soup has almost no bitterness, astringency and smoky tobacco smell, impressingly, even with extended brewing time. In addition, most of raw pu-erh tea taste become worse if we (unintentionally) drink it at room temperature but Xi Kong remains more delicious for me. This tea is pleasing and I like it very much.
Lightly roasted, sweeter than savoury (honey), a bit of cinnamon & almond. The liquor aroma is as good as the aroma from the gaiwan. Its pretty nice if you like more of a dessert aroma to your yancha. Some fruit in there as well as Orchid. Its not super thick/glossy/creamy/oily but sweet & smooth.
The first four steeps were the nicest, after that the taste and aroma faded into drinking soft pearly water, which is still nice, & with camphor hints that was quite interesting. By the 7th steep I was on 1:30. I think I did 0/5/8/20/30/1:00/1:30, but with half the recommended, 3.5g/100ml, 90-95c. Final steep 2:00 @100c
Premium price but a lovely experience. Next time I will bite the bullet & do 7g/100ml and flash it with boiling water – I think it can take it, and a longer session will be greatly appreciated.
Flavors: Almond, Camphor, Char, Cinnamon, Fruity, Honey, Orchid
So now I know what it is like to have buyers remorse for those who buy YQH and do all they can to make it taste better than it is because of the price tag…
Tea Urchin is my go to place for high end stuff that makes e feel good, but this one did not do that. I should have read more about it online to know it wasn’t within my own preferences of a tea, but when there’s a group buy and you get deals… TRY EVERYTHING!
This particular sheng is in the medium to dark range for a sheng. Typically I like my raw tea to have essence of flower or fruit making it seem like it was a cake worth breeding with things that the bees like, not that the flies like; which leads me to this dark, damp wet hay. Some people really enjoy that taste, I do not.
I am in luck though, I can put 25g of this in the pu’erh TTB that is coming around :)
However, I need to find someone to swap the rest with because I won’t drink this… I’m becoming pickier with my sheng; but not my beengholes :P
p.s. for reference, I did steep this 14 times because it last and I love me some TU so it was hard hard hard to go ‘this is the first one I don’t want to hold onto’
Thank you Mr Mopar for this sample. This is another good raw. It was fairly bitter at the start with as I would describe it two bitter taste. One up front and in your face, another behind it. That stronger bitterness was gone in about four steeps. The second bitterness continued. there were some sweet notes in there too, but no longer the apricots of a young sheng. This tea has in that sense started to age I think. I enjoyed this tea and gave it twelve steeps in a small gaiwan.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 50ml gaiwan with 3.7g 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. The leaves were not done. If I wanted to I’m sure I could get another few steeps out of them.
Thank you Mr Mopar for this sample. This was an excellent tea. It was a punchy and bitter tea though. Bitter in a good way if you know what I mean. I steeped this tea twelve times and stopped because I had had a lot of caffeine. But I think it would have kept going for a lot more steeps. I think this tea is definitely worth buying. If I ever get around to buying from Tea Urchin it will go to the top of my list. This was good tea. There was a sweet note behind the bitterness too. A very complex tea in nature. You might call that note apricots, not completely sure.
I steeped this tea twelve times in a 120ml gaiwan with 7.9g leaf and boiling water. I gave it a 10 second rinse and a 10 minute rest. 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.
I’ve had the Tea Urchin order in my pumidor for about a week, and decided it was time to start sampling. If this tea is any indication I’m going to be happy with the order. Though this is a 2011, it is tasting middle-aged: the flavors were more wood than straw, and the color was more orange than yellow. There is still quite a bit of astringency and acid, so I’ll enjoy watching it age.
The really strong first steep has lots of fruit, and hints of straw and veggie. Long, powerful finish. Somewhat chewy texture. Strong cha qi. 2nd steep is soft and sweet and bursting with flavor and cha qi. I really like this tea. Started noticing a bit of molasses, and less fruit or veggie in the 3rd steep. Turned astringent at the end of the cup. 4th steep is quite astringent, slightly bitter, but I still taste a bit of fruit underneath. I haven’t had this for an hour, but the cha qi is hitting me after less than an ounce. The next few steeps were still potent, with a bit of fruit poking out from underneath an astringent woody flavor. Around the 7th steep the fruit began to dominate the wood, though there is still some astringency at the end of the cup. At this point my steeps were lasting about a minute. Still good texture.
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Flavors: Broth, Cinnamon, Cream, Freshly Cut Grass, Olive Oil