106 Tasting Notes

93

I know I’m dating myself, but when I was a kid there was this candy called razzles and the company that made them had a contest where you had to explain whether razzles were a candy or a gum. Presumably you would win a lifetime supply of razzles.

Well, you could play the same game with this scintillating tea from Yunnan Sourcing. Is it an Assam with Yunnan notes or a Yunnan black with Assam undertones? Luckily, all I have to do is enjoy the tea which has the body and heft of an Assam with the fruitiness and chocolate maltiness of a Dian Hong.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

94

Wow! This 11-year old ripe pu-erh is absolutely delicious. So sweet and complex. I have it tucked away in my work drawer and often forget about it, but no longer will it fly under the radar.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

I’m in a good groove with this tea—drinking it for the past few mornings. I like how the initial impression is of a rather dry, dark chocolate and then a mellow molasses sweetness washes over the tongue. In contrast to the Yunnan teas in which I find a pronounced fruitiness, the Gao Shan has more of an austere quality that is very refreshing. I’m also beginning to take notice of the energy difference between teas (as opposed to mere caffeine effects) and this one never fails to make me feel ebullient.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

96

I can’t overstate the importance of tea urchin’s presence in the current tea landscape. Their shengs possess the most incredible energy and depth of flavor, which bespeaks the care with which the leaves are chosen and crafted into beautiful cakes. Read the reviews on their website; their devotees capture far better than I the intense experience of drinking them.

DigniTea

Agree – two thumbs up for TU!!

TeaBrat

you Steepsterites are a bad influence on me… :)

Charles Thomas Draper

Doug I agree 100 percent.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

96

Sampling this amazing sheng is like test driving a Ferrari or Aston Martin; it confirms that there is a level of excellence and a driving experience that is transcendent. Unfortunately, it also makes your own car seem like an ox cart. You buy these shengs from Tea Urchin for the long haul. Right now they are wild, mercurial, and exploding with fruity, grassy/grainy flavor, and there’s something enjoyably masochistic about the bitter fruit. The time will come when the this tea will mature into something incredible, but by then I’m sure my sample will be gone.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 2 min, 0 sec 0 OZ / 0 ML
scribbles

Nice comparison :) ! I’ve been itching to make an Urchin purchase. I’ve held off, but i’m reading a lot of positive feedback, so I think an order is soon coming.

Stephanie

TeaUrchin is wonderful stuff

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

It’s hard to think of a more pleasing sheng. If it were an actor it would probably be Tom Hanks—consistently very good, eminently likeable, almost no bitterness or rancor. It might not be the Daniel Day Lewis of teas, but sometimes all that intensity can be trying.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec
Garret

We are laughing quite loudly in the tea shop right now as we read and re-read this review. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for that!!!

Doug F

Thank you for this great tea! It’s impossible to mess up and has the perfect mix of sweet and tart flavors.

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

drank Shincha Kunpu 2014 by Den's Tea
106 tasting notes

Ah Spring. (Well, if it ever arrive here in Maine).

And this is one of the most anticipated releases of the season. Always amazing, this refined vegetable broth with its dynamic green color and briny base is one of the best teas in the world, IMHO. It’s also an incredible mood-booster, with astronomical amounts of theanine. Scoop it up before it disappears.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 30 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

This is always an intriguing tea to me. In many ways it reminds me of a proper Ceylon, but it also features a pronounced blueberry/grape flavor with a hint of coconut. An enticing amalgam and truly a genre-busting tea.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

92

This is almost 10 years old and it’s evolving beautifully into a sweet, creamy tea with some emerging hints of camphor. Delicious!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 5 min, 0 sec

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

90

I have piles of unread books around my house, but will that stop me from buying the new Collected Poems of Derek Walcott today? No. I have scores of albums I’ve downloaded and barely made it beyond track 1. Will that stop me from downloading the new War on Drugs or Future Islands this week? Absolutely not.

My over-stuffed tea cupboard has also suffered from this unbridled acquisitiveness. And it’s keeping me up at night as I pore over all of my teas that are nearing or over the one year mark. So I’ve made a promise to myself to only buy the absolute jewels of my annual tea drinking cycle until I drink down some of my stash: Shincha from Den’s Teas; a first flush darjeeling from Upton and Imperial Mojiang Yunnan tea from Yunnan Sourcing.
So to make room for my spring Darjeelings, I’m drinking a lot of this quality second flush from Sungma that has delicious honeysuckle sweetness,a citrusy vibe and a mild roasted flavor.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML
TheTeaFairy

Haha! Love this review. My whole life revolves around books, music and tea, that means lots of compulsive purchases that lead to unread books, unheard music, and teas that are stacking up, waiting to be drunk…love being surrounded by books, love knowing I can choose from over 8000 songs to suit my mood, and love to just be able to drink my most prized tea on a tuesday, for no particular reason…just cause I can!

BTW, The War on Drugs latest album is their best to date, in my humble opinion…just thought I’d mention it :-)

Doug F

That’s pretty much my planetary alignment also, when I’m not being a dad to my two wonderful boys. I agree with your humble opinion, though I did enjoy when Kurt Vile was part of the group.

TheTeaFairy

Aww, two boys, that will keep you busy, I understand the unread books situation even better!

(Yes, I like Kurt Vile too but not such a big fan of his solo work…)

TeaBrat

ha, I suffer from the same affliction when it comes to books (and tea of course)

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

I love tea and living in a place that is cold or cool nine months of the year, tea is a constant source of warmth and education. I always drink tea straight and rarely drink flavored teas or Tisanes, except for the occasional Rooibos. I’m a proud father of two young boys, an avid skier, motorcyclist, reader, and runner. I have a doctorate in English (dissertation on Emily Dickinson.)

Location

Maine

Following These People

Moderator Tools

Mark as Spammer