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Recent Tasting Notes
Long time my friends. I am treating myself this afternoon with this wonderful nectar. The effects are almost immediate upon ingestion. An energy is felt in the brow and around the eyes. My mindset is calm yet incredibly vigorous. This is what great tea is all about. It is raining outside but this tea provides warm, glowing sunshine. Sublime tea.
I enjoy the Tea Urchin offerings and a kind tea chum gave me a sample of this tea to try. I have mixed feelings about fall harvests for I have had some very enjoyable and some not so enjoyable Autumn shengs. I am sorry to say that for me, this particular tea is in the latter category for I think it falls short. The dry leaf is beautiful – nice large whole leaves with good color. The smell is not very strong for the dry leaf and the wet leaf has what I would describe as a dull smell. The taste is equally dull for my senses. The tea soup is a lovely yellow color and it is very clear (as mentioned earlier, this is very nice leaf). I must say that I am very glad to have had the opportunity to try this one for I might have been tempted to purchase the whole cake. For now, I am going to conclude that I should stay with spring pickings when it comes to Gao Shan Zhai tea cakes.
I totally thought I had reviewed this one before, but I guess not! This is another sample from my huge box of TeaUrchin sheng samples my husband got me for my birthday back in June. Best gift EVER!
After my recent blissful experience with the 2012 Spring version of this tea (insanely good flavor and strong cha qi!) otherwise known as “One thousand butterflies” I decided to revisit this one for comparison.
This harvest is also quite wonderful. It is a bit more mellow, not as floral or as insanely sweet but still well balanced. I get a warm richness from this fall harvest. Early steeps are quite bold. Tastes like colorful autumn leaves instead of spring flowers. Very light pleasant bitterness and no astringency. It is not exactly buttery but I keep thinking of browned butter as I drink. Third steep in I start to get that lingering herbal/spiced aftertaste in the back of my throat. Ahh, sheng. You’re my pal :)
Broke this one out as directed by Chairman Meow. The Chairman “pawed” and pointed this out tonight for me to try.
I got out 10 grams and let the Chairman approve of it and in the Gaiwan it went. I gave a quick rinse before starting. The aroma was nice and very sweet an fruity. I can’t really describe which one but very nice. I did 5 second steeps on this one. The liquor is a medium yellow level of darkness. It has a nice aroma to it. The brew has a bit of bitter bite and astringency to it but not overpowering. Not a lot of discernible smoke as in the vendor’s description. It does creep up on you and give a semi-sweet and pleasant bitter to it.
Multi- faceted in terms of flavor notes. maybe a bit more complex than my taste buds. Pleasant and very reasonably priced for a 5 year old tea. I think I should have bought more than a sample.
Flavors: Astringent, Bitter, Honey, Sweet
After this review people may get the feeling that Eugene and Belle are paying me to write reviews, they are not! Another EXCELLENT sample from Tea Urchin! When I opened the sample bag and smelled the dry leaves I was greeted by this wonderful smell of pipe tobacco, yes pipe tobacco. The liquor has a beautiful golden color that smells of flowers mixed with tobacco. The taste, flowers mixed with tobacco, is unbelievable and everything about it is exceptionally balanced. There is some astringency and kuwei but the sweetness keeps everything in balance and the three work in perfect harmony to produce a taste experience that is a pure delight for ones taste buds!
This is a sample from Stephanie – thank you so much
5g 100 ml gaiwan 200F
I’m going to continue later. I love it. It’s nice, sweet, juicy bell peppers. There is slight cooling sensation in after sip in earlier steeps. I wonder if it continues later on. Enjoyed it a lot.
Thank you Stephanie for the great experience. I would buy it if it would be some specials
I came across this tea while sorting through a lot of pu samples. I prepared about 5.5 grams and steeped them for a brief 5-10 seconds. I usually use shorter steep times with LMEs. The wet leaves have a pleasant nose that brings smoke and fruits to mind. Surprisingly, the liquor isn’t as bitter as I had expected, considering its origin. There is a heavy ku but its definitely tolerable. Nice hui gan and mouthfeel. There is what I find to be a charming astringency in this tea. IMO, this tea can definitely be enjoyed today but giving it a few years may be required for those who enjoy softer pus. 82/100
Another excellent Sheng from Eugene and Belle at Tea Urchin. I have to agree with Stephanie and DP’s review on tea Urchin. The soup is a very nice golden color. The first few steepings produced a very nice vegetal taste with just a hint of kuwei and astringency, and I do mean a hint. Later steepings transitioned to a much sweeter taste with a nice honey undertone. To keep the tea as strong as I like it I did have to increase my steeping times on the later steeps. Over all, an excellent Sheng that is well worth the money. Well done Tea Urchin!
Another lovely tea from the slew of samples from TeaUrchin I got for my birthday. This is a different flavor profile than I am used to from sheng. It is quite bold and full of “darker” notes. It is kinda smokey and earthy as well as somewhat mushroomy and woody. Not exactly delicious tasting but not offputting either. Perhaps it’ll be one of those “feel good” shengs…we’ll see :)
This sheng is kind of strange. My first steep had a bitterness that reminded me of cocoa…but it is definitely a SHENG so it is really weird. Like, the liquor is a translucent amber…how is this giving me cocoa notes?
2nd steep also bitter, but more fruity. I will have to be more careful with this one in the future- maybe lower temp and shorter steeps…I do feel like the flavors lying under the bitterness are quite interesting!
I need some “cosmic” sheng to cheer me up!
Took my bird to the vet this afternoon. She has a tumor on her tummy :( Anyway, it is growing, and there is nothing they can do for her. Luckily for now she is maintaining her weight (which means she is feeling well enough to eat properly.) She’s getting to be an older birdie, so I am trying to take solace in the fact that up until this point she has had a very pleasant life, and trying to wrap my head around the fact that sometime in the not too distant future I will have to deal with her slow (hopefully not painful) death and all I can do is comfort her as best as I can!
Sorry to be a downer…ANYWAY, I got new birthday present TeaUrchin sheng samples! YAY! So far everything I’ve tried from TeaUrchin has been top notch. This one is pleasant. I think there is something extra special about Autumn harvests, as much as I have raved about a few first flush green teas in the past, heh. My vocabulary for describing sheng flavors is still in its infancy, but this one is rich and somewhat herbal/floral tasting. It has a nice balanced pleasant bitterness/astringency. When I inhale as I am sipping I feel the camphor-like vapors seem to permeate my entire being. Good sheng. Sheng good.
Another one from the group TeaUrchin order.
I have been drinking the same leaves all day, but didn’t have time at work to take detailed notes on each steep. The steeps did get progressively sweeter and more honey-like. There is some slight tongue tingle, but not much. A little tiny bit of woodiness, with some crisp vegetal flavors. When I did a long steep I got a pleasant, light sort of bitterness. I’m excited to explore this one further :)
This is a cake I would definitely not have been able to afford on my own. Luckily this was part of a group TeaUrchin order I took part in. Thanks Yang-Chu and all the other Steepsterites who let me in on it!
Anyway, this might be my new favorite sheng! gasp! I’m not sure what a rockmelon tastes like, but I do get some fruity notes, as well as floral. Great energy and a tangy sweetness. I regret that I lack the proper words to describe this one. So much flavor!
Good shengs are magical though. That’s all I know :)
The vendor description is spot is spot on about this one. Woody notes with mushroom and a slight sweet on the end. This is a very quiet and calming tea that brews a rich amber color. It shows more age and depth of flavor than a cake pressed in the same year of production. I would guess as that having it stored has helped it age faster. Not for a faint of heart drinker! I started with one wash and 15 second steeps to bring this one out.
Flavors: Mushrooms, Wood