pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou

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Rich select said

Gao Shan Zhai 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin
I am working my way through the several pu erh samples I recently ordered from Tea Urchin. This is another good one! Though I like some of their others better. It is well balanced, and brews a nice golden honey color. It has a sharp astringency, but not over the top, and some sweetness and fruitiness that suggests it will age well. It has a mellow but stern cha qi and held up well to numerous infusions. Another lovely tea from a great company!

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Rich select said

2012 Yong De Organic Ripe Pu’erh by Yunnan Sourcing
It turns out I thought I was tasting the 2007 version of this tea when I wrote an earlier review. It was in fact the 2012 version available from Yunnan Sourcing at a very cheap price! So I highly recommend giving it a try if you like lighter shus. I think this one will age nearly as well as the 2007.

This is a lightly fermented safely tasty shu. Just a slight touch of fishiness, which I actually like in this tea. It is quite smooth, with light body, and a hefty caffeine kick! Kind of a safe shu. Hard not to like, though I enjoy bolder teas.

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mrmopar said

2013 Yiwu Peacock blend from the TeaUrchin. This is a very fragrant tea with scents of floral and brown sugar. It is a “Full bodied” sheng that brings a lot to the plate. It starts out very subtle in the first couple of steeps with notes of some slight sweetness that is very full mouth feeling. It carries on well in the later steeps with some bitterness that rises to the front. It is pretty gentle to be a young sheng with none of the harsh bitterness many bring to the cup. Very nice and enjoyable.

Yang-chu said

There are several peacocks out there. I’m not sure that I catch the reference. What do you know about the allusion, if anything?

mrmopar said

Yang-chu it is this one from the Tea Urchin.
http://teaurchin.com/yiwu-peacock-blend-2013-spring.html.
The only downside is $20.00 shipping. I think one day some of us should “pool” together with a big order we could split stateside to save on the cost.

Yang-chu said

I had no idea that they sold their teas for so cheap. All of the ones that had caught my attention were definitely pricier.
I figured that there were already folk who had some kind of group where this precise thing was done, purchasing of cakes and then divvying it up, especially when it came to the pricier cakes.
Anyway, I’m down. There’s a company that really has my interest called Rainforest Tea Factory, Yu-lin Cha Fang. There’s also one called Heng Bang. The former sells their stuff for the hundreds of dollars and I doubt that I could find it for much cheaper even if I were in Yunnan to purchase it… which I’m not anyway.
Anyway, I’m way down. We assemble a group of folks who are down and set a list and proceed accordingly. If we each scored about 60g, we’d need a group of about 6 people. Obviously costs would vary.

MzPriss said

@mrmopar – YES! The shipping hurt my feelings – so I would totally go in on an order. There is a LOT I want to try. It all sounds so good. I easily came up with about 8 samples I wanted to try and didn’t get through everything.

Yang-chu said

It really only makes sense that if folks are going to at least get TeaUrchin that we work together. $20 s/h for samples?!!

mrmopar said

Oh no I would order a cake or two. We could probably order from one point and then ship from there. The Post Office has some pretty good flat rate boxes and stuff or you could pack a cake in bubble wrap in an envelope.

MzPriss said

I think there’s at least one cake I want too

mrmopar said

We would need a person with a paypal account and the ability to ship from the destination point in the US. One could buy it all and receive it and then bill each person for the product and shipping to each individual.

Yang-chu said

I’m down. I’m willing to serve as the point person, but we need at least six people to join in. It looks like we have three already. I’m open to whatever the crew decides. We’re already set on TeaUrchin. Maybe three or four cakes. We’ll save loads!

mrmopar said

Yeah either way. I am in Virginia. i don’t know where everyone else is located though. I think the lower 48 would be the best in terms of shipping price. I think that outside of those parameters the cost would probably go up. I think that if the $20.00 shipping cost is involved I would be glad to put that as part of the acquisition without any trouble. If we had 3 others the initial shipping would be covered for the rest.

DigniTea said

I’ll join in on a Tea Urchin order.

Yang-chu said

I’m in LA, as in California. We have four people now. Only two more and we’ll have enough for us to all have 60g, technically 59.5.
Since I work in Chinese medicine customizing herbal formulations, I already have a scale.

MzPriss said

yay! This makes me happy. I’m in Texas.

I would be interested in ordering a few samples :)

Yang-chu said

Looks like we have five now. Only one more. Great. I’ll let you argue amongst yourselves as to which cake(s) you want purchased. I’m partial to Bu-lang, Jing-mai, and any of the Yi-Wu, the being many many variations within.

mrmopar said

Alright now we need a distribution point and someone with a paypal account for ordering and being paid for the order.

Yang-chu said

We only have 5 people. Can’t we get one more person. If we do then everyone gets about 2 oz per 357 cake. It’s just simpler. What about Sammerz or Javan? I don’t mind being the distribution pt.

Sammerz314 said

I want to but I am trying to cut down on pu spending. I haven’t placed an order in over a week… lets see how long this lasts lol. What are you guys ordering anyways?

I’ve been trying to ignore this thread, with limited success :}
If you need a 6th person, I’m in. I live in Florida.

Yang-chu said

Oh fabulous. We now have a 6th. I can place an order immediately. I think we’re in for three cakes, just to conserve on shipping, so how shall we tally the votes. Any strong opinions about any cakes? My only thought is that we stick with the Tea Urchin brand. I can source some of those other more cheaply.
I think MzPriss and mrmopar should go ahead and cast a vote. We’ll have an opportunity to do do this again anyway, so we can rotate.

Yang-chu said

Here’s our list of players.
TeaExplorer
MrMoPar
MzPriss
Stephanie
DigniTea
Yang-chu

DigniTea said

Since I’ve not tried the Tea Urchin products, I’ll fully support whatever choices you make.

I’m of a similar mind as DigniTea. I am interested in trying the Tea Urchin branded pu’s, but do not have a strong preference as to which ones. I’d be willing to let mrmopar and MzPriss choose for this round.

mrmopar said

I will be is for a cake of the Peacock blend.

Should I list what samples I want here or PM with Yang-chu about it? I wish I could afford a whole cake right now but even just samples will be great! :D

Stephanie — Unless I’m mistaken, the purpose of this pool, as put forth by Yang-chu, is to obtain “super-samples” by purchasing whole cakes and splitting them 6 ways, yielding around 60 grams of each cake to each participant.

Yang-chu said
mrmopar said

I want a “whole” 2013 spring Yiwu Peacock cake for my collection. The 2013 Bulang Beauty looks intresting, and the Mang fei 2011 spring may be another. I am definitely on a whole Yiwu Peacock and the other 2 if everyone reads over the site and cast a vote, they look affordable and are spring material which should have some punch to them.

Ok, well I’m good for going in on some cakes as long as I don’t go over $30 including shipping. Sorry guys I’m broke right now! I would very much like to try the Peacock. Beyond that I am open to trying whatever everyone else is getting, as long as it is a nice variety between sheng and shu :)

Yang-chu said

Is the idea of getting a whole cake this way about s/h? Why not save up to get several at a time? Which makes me wonder what their limit on shipping is at the price of 20.

mrmopar said

Yeah that’s the idea for me but others can still order samples or full cakes if they want. I was thinking for everyone to save on getting what they want by being able to divide the shipping on the box we order. I will gladly pay half the $20.00 shipping fee to get that Yiwu Peacock blend. They sent a large box with what I ordered that could have been filled even more. I am sure if we get what we all want someone could contact them to make sure of the shipping before we order.

Yang-chu said

Ok, I’m trying to move this process along, so here’s my thoughts: Yi Bang 2012 and Mang Zhi 2011. Essentially, we’ll be dividing it by five, so there’s room for one more person now that I’m clear about what MrMopar’s designs. If someone feels strongly or if there’s someone who’d still like to jump in there’s still time. Curiously, no word from MzPriss these last few days.
Again, my email is [email protected]. Email me with your addy particulars for now. This way I’ll know you’re actually committed to playing along. The two cakes selected shouldn’t go over Stephanie’s limit of 30 give or take a few dollars.

Email sent! :)

Email sent.

Yang-chu said

Still waiting on DigniTea and MzPriss.

Javan said

I’ll be on the waiting list so I can take someone’s place if they drop out.

Yang-chu said

Ok, we’re still waiting for MzPriss. Javan, since MrMopar only wants a whole cake, you’re welcome to jump in. That will still make our group six, in terms of divvying up the cake. Also, voice any opinions you might have about the selections I made, just to move matters along.

Your jumping in gives us the opportunity to consider yet another cake. We want to be in the $180 range.

Javan said

I’m glad we can get to three samples. I’m okay with whatever samples are selected.

DigniTea said

Great. Glad you’ve joined in Javan.
Since we’ve upped the price target to $180, I recommend the following three cakes:
Yi Bang 2012 (suggested by Yang-Chu)
Yiwu Peacock Blend 2013 (suggested by Mr. Mopar)
Mang Fei 2011 (suggested by Mr. Mopar)

Yang-chu said

The MangFei isn’t a TeaUrchin tea. ;-)

mrmopar said

No the Mang Fei is from a different producer. They can be brutish and astringent in the early years but transform into great things with some age on them. The Yi Bang is also a different producer but as the vendor carries them both I would feel they have met some criteria with the vendor.
Javan nice to see you in as well.

Yang-chu said

this is the Yi Bang I see… Has their packaging. http://teaurchin.com/yi-bang-2012-spring.html

mrmopar said

Got ya, I was looking at the 2011 they had in the store.

DigniTea said

I had looked at and was referring to these two tea cakes.
Mang Fei 2011 Spring on the TeaUrchin website.
http://teaurchin.com/mang-fei-2011-spring.html
Yiwu Peacock Blend 2013 Spring
http://teaurchin.com/yiwu-peacock-blend-2013-spring.html

MzPriss said

OK sorry y’all very behind on this – for some reason I wasn’t getting the “go look at the thread update on this”. I will go to the Tea Urchin site now and look and get back. ASAP. Can we also pick out some of the samples we want and have them added to the order or are we just breaking up cakes?

MzPriss said

I’m good on the ones you have listed so far. And um, feeling like a doofus, but how do I look at a protected email so I can send one?

I’ve read the descriptions of the 3 proposed cakes and am OK with the choices:
Yi Bang 2012 (suggested by Yang-Chu)
Yiwu Peacock Blend (suggested by Mr. Mopar)
Mang Fei 2011 (suggested by Mr. Mopar)
MzPriss — What’s a “protected email”?

MzPriss said

When I try to click on the link in the post to send Yang-chu my address, it says “protected email” and it throws up a window. So I am following Yang-chu now and can hopefully send my address through a message here

MzPriss — Huh, that’s odd. I just clicked on it and my email program opened with his address in the “To:” field. If you want you can follow me I will send it to you via direct message.

Yang-chu said
DigniTea said

Might be a good idea to switch this conversation to PM where things like this typically take place. I am now following each of you. MzPriss and Yang-chu, if you start following me and all others in this conversation I’ll start a separate thread for this group.

Yang-chu said

Ok here’s what it looks like.
Yi Bang 2012 Spring $97, Mang Zhi 2011 Autumn $44, Peacock blend $35. All three are varieties packaged under the Tea Urchin label. The total is $176, obviously. Several have requested samples and MrMopar wants his own cake and volunteered to pay $10 toward s/h to get it here. It’s easy enough to figure cost/oz. Plan to budget about $6 s/h on this end, except for MrMopar, which will be about $9. All things considered, you might just order the cake straightaway, as you’ll get next to no savings. I posted a lb cake yesterday to WA first class and the cost was $7 + $1 for the box. I stopped posting stuff flat-rate because it’s not a good deal.

1) Please be careful about posting your email address on the public forums, guys! I definitely agree with DigniTea that some of this should be in a PM, specifically the email addresses.

2) I cannot believe that I missed this thread!! :( I have been wanting to place a Tea Urchin order for a long time. I think I will wait until the summer after everyone has reviewed these wonderful teas and then spoil myself. :)

Javan said

That sounds good to me, Yang-chu.

Yang-chu said

Thanks for the heads up about emails. Sorry you missed out, Tea Pet, I’m sure you’ll get lots of reviews. I’m pretty sure we’ll do this again.

mrmopar said

Yeah you may want to ask Tea pet if she wants in. I think since i really only want the one and would save only $1.00 or so someone who would only want a partial/sample may be the best bet.

Yang-chu said

Javan jumped in already. ;-)

It’s completely fine, mrmopar! I’m very much looking forward to all the reviews! That will help me decide for the summer! :)

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mrmopar said

Backlog on this one. 2010 Yunnan Camphor Tree Flavor Ripe puerh. This tea has an almost buttery mouthfeel to it. It comes across with wood, vanilla and camphor notes. These are slightly subdued as this is the second day drinking this. It leaves an almost sweet lasting taste dancing around the back of the mouth. Pleasant and smooth no off tastes to put you off this one. Notes of wood, sweet, vanilla and camphor. A somewhat lively one.

Yang-chu said

I’m interested in trying some of these Camphor types. Where did you source this?

mrmopar said

This one came from Berylleb King Tea. They are fantastic sellers in my book and I think several Steepsters other than me will vouch for them. The cake is quite affordable. I bought one a few years back. These guys sell sample sizes on almost everything in their store. They normally ship out within a day and usually 2 weeks and you have it.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yunnan-Camphor-Tree-Flavor-Ripe-Pu-er-Tea-Cake-357g-/320799830793?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ab128f309.
The link will take you to this item. If you get anything from them just mention John sent you and they will take great care of you.

Yang-chu said

Gracias! I’ve seen their stuff.

mrmopar said

You are quite welcome. Great sellers.

Yep, I’ll vouch for Berylleb King Tea as being a solid, reputable seller in my experience. In fact I’ve got an order in transit from them right now.

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mrmopar said

Having a 1999 CNNP 7542 from Dragon Tea house. Got this a while back from DTH. I was discussing it with another Steepster about purchasing it. When it arrived I put it in the “pumidor” to re-hydrate a bit since it was sealed in a ziploc bag. I gave it 2 weeks and brought it out. The cake itself looks almost like a 5 year old sheng as opposed to the 15 year vintage stated from the seller. It has a medium level of compression that I was able to break off quite easily. I decided to use the gaiwan as most of my yixings are already seasoned and I wanted to have this as “pure” as possible.
10 grams and a 10 second rinse. The brew is a very light golden amber more like a green tea. The aroma is musty with a lighter floral smell very subdued. My guess is this one was very dry stored for it’s life. You get a little musty in the sip along with a medium bitter note from it. It gives something that makes your mouth water a bit. It is not punchy but very light for what it is. I played around with the leaf I brewed and found a couple as long as my pinkie finger in there. The leaf is mainly bigger than most factory cakes made today. Not one of my favorite shengs but maybe some storage with some more humidity will bring it out.

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Rich select said
Xikong 2012 Autumn by Tea Urchin

I have to admit, I bought this one because me and my wife just loved the wrapper. You should visit Tea Urchin’s website to see what I mean. Very cute. But it is an autumn pu erh, and it shows. It has a pleasant enough flavor, but it just lacks zip and zing. It is very safe to drink now while young, with very little astringency, well balanced and mellow. I still stand by my statement that Tea Urchin teas are outstanding, this one is definitely pretty good.

Yang-chu said

I purchase most of my teas based on the wrapper and region. Price is no object. hahahahaha. (I wish)

mrmopar said

Don’t we all…..

Rich select said

I should say we only purchased a sample based on the wrapper, though!

Yang-chu said

Yeah, wrappers are a prized possession of mine.

MzPriss said

I have tea-envy of you and mrmopar cause there are a bunch of the TU teas I want to try.

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mrmopar said

Seeing how tonight is going I broke out this one from the Tea urchin. 2010 Chen Sheng Yi Hao. It will actually be my second tasting of this cake. It seems loosely compressed so I was able to break out 10 grams very easily. I am using the Gaiwan to keep it pure in essence. I did a very short rinse, actually pouring the water out once it covered the leaves. I let it set about 20 mins or so to open up. it has a nice green pea aroma to it when I opened the lid up. I did 3 short 5 second steeps and put it all in one cup. this is not a subtle sheng but a tongue tingling honey sweet shot of mouth-feeling tea that will excite your tongue. It trails off with a slight enjoyable bitterness and this is one you can feel after you drink it. This is a very lively tea that I probably shouldn’t drink this late at night. This really a fine tea. Camphor ,citrus and some slight pine on the taste buds.

Sounds perfect.

Yang-chu said

Voila!

DigniTea said

Did you notice that Tea Urchin just increased the price +12% on this one?

Yang-chu said

It’s not unusual for the prices go up on an annual basis, especially the good ones.

DigniTea said

Thanks but I was really directing this comment to mrmopar since he wrote the tasting note and I was wondering if he still thought it was a good purchase with this price increase + high shipping. I own multiple newer Chen Shengs and I had wanted to pick up this one from Tea Urchin.

mrmopar said

Yeah I think it is still priced pretty fairly for LBZ blend. it is a lively tea for sure. I saw the Peacock blend went up also. They have added some more inventory in the store as well. After spring most sellers do increase the pricing on the tea as it is now older and I think they try to compensate for their storage time and investment. Maybe I should keep things under the lid if we are going to get some things.

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Rich select said

2008 Menghai Dayi Tea Factory * 8582 * Raw Pu-erh Tea cake by Menghai Tea Factory
This is an excellent tea. I ordered mine from tuocha. It brews a nice golden color, all the way through several infusions. The flavor is smooth, with little astringency. Some fruity notes come in at the later infusions. It’s flavor is simple but quite nice, and I enjoyed drinking something with a little age to it. I would highly recommend trying this cake if you want to get some idea about what aging will do to a pu erh, and you don’t have tons of money to spend.

mrmopar said

I agree this is a good one from Tuocha tea.

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boychik said

Autumn Song by Mandala. i got a generous sample with my recent order. I love it, leaves are gorgeous, very smooth and easy to drink(I’m a shu person, trying to branch into sheng area)

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Sammerz314 said

Sampling a 2012 EoT Bulang today. I received this generous sample with my previous order. This is indeed a very powerful tea. Alot of ku wei with a nice finishing sweetness. Not my favourite (I find the ku a little too much) but good.

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