163 Tasting Notes

89

I found this to be super flavorful with a heady perfume reminiscent of a darjeeling muscatel. Sweet apples and melon dominant the profile. Teabox has so much to explore and these Nilgiri teas definitely deserve attention. I’m thinking of signing up for their monthly subscription—there has not been one tea in the sample pack that I split with Big Daddy that I wouldn’t be happy to drink on a regular basis. So many seasonal varietals of Darjeelings, Ceylons, and Nilgiris!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 15 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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92

I’m actually commenting on zy83, purchased in the fall of 2015, but no matter—I find Upton’s Yunnan rare grade to be a reliably tasty brew that hits all the right notes for this style of tea: malty, caramel sweet, with a subtle peppery note. A great choice for those fans of Yunnan Sourcing’s Imperial Mojiang.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
TeaExplorer

I still have some ZY84 from 2014 that’s holding up quite well. I agree with your observation that it’s similar to the YS Imperial Mojiang.

Doug F

That’s pretty good endurance. I have to admit, I go through it pretty quickly!

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95

“I woke last night to the sound of thunder,” to quote Bob Seger, tremendously odd for February in Maine, and when I walked outside to 60 degrees, I knew I had to start my day with Spring Wonder. While this tea is less overtly honeysuckle-sweet than most first flush darjeelings, it is delicious nonetheless, with a buttery grape flavor and absolutely no astringency. I know spring hasn’t arrived yet, but for one day I can pretend it has.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML

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drank BaDa 2013 by pu-erh.sk
163 tasting notes

I had a very nice session with this Bada yesterday; last time the tea was mercurial, but this time I discovered a pretty stable flavor profile comprised of mint, nuts, and apricots, with a steady increase in sweetness throughout the session. The leaves were small, so even the early steeps were flavor-rich.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML

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This tea makes me feel so damn good! It tastes like white peach and bee pollen with a hint of sugar and has absolutely no bitterness. I’m left with a nice fullness in the back of the mouth and a feeling of intense well-being. It reminds me of some Nilgiri whites I’ve been sampling lately, minus the rosewater.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
TeaBrat

sounds great :)

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90

Golden monkey style teas have always been a staple in my tea cupboard and Upton always offers a couple solid versions that serve well as regular drinkers. This one has a nice aroma—raisin, plum and a little smokey tobacco. The taste reminds me of the brittle caramelized top of a creme brulee partnered with the earthiness of prunes. It’s very smooth, moderately dark, a tad smokey and has a great, long-lasting aftertaste.

Everyone has experienced that moment when you stand in front of your stash, ruminating over your choice for the day, saying to yourself, “I really should drink this one today; it’s been awhile.” But then you choose that same comforting selection that you reach for maybe six or seven times out of ten. This golden monkey is one of the latter.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 10 OZ / 295 ML
TeaBrat

I want some!

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It has been a few months since I had this and I’m not dissuaded that the flavor profile of this tea really stands out from other shengs. I’m picking up a more floral perfume this time along with the same mouth-watering thickness. Like an excellent poem, there seems to be something new to discover each time I try this.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 5 tsp 4 OZ / 130 ML
JC

Nice note!

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drank Bulang 2006 Spring by Tea Urchin
163 tasting notes

What a pleasant surprise to start my Friday! Eugene included this free sample in my latest order and I’m grateful. It has the perfect amount of herbal/medicinal/minty flavor that I love in semi-aged shengs, no bitterness, a hint of smoke and sweet vegetable component to boot.

It generates a nice tingling sensation on the tip of the tongue and solid qi (even if it does drop off somewhat quickly).

I feel I could drink this regularly and remained intrigued.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
DigniTea

I have several of these 2005 Six Famous Tea Mountain Co. productions and I generally like them. They all seem to be single-estate productions and they are often first-flush. I enjoy the 2005 Bulang so I am happy to learn that the ‘06 is also good. I’ve heard that productions from later years are somewhat lower in quality.

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I’m really enjoying this one today after emerging from a little cold where I couldn’t taste anything. I will say this for a cold: I can get drink and deplete my teas I don’t like very much and not have to actually taste them.

Tea Urchin teas seem to share a similar profile—fairly sweet and clean with a spring water freshness. James @teadb: maybe it would be interesting to do an investigative episode about the small pu-erh vendors like Crimson Lotus, EoT, pu-erh.sk, to discover whether their offerings share similar traits or characteristics regardless of terroir.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
Stephanie

I adore the 2012 version of this tea

Stephanie

And I don’t agree that Tea Urchin teas share a similar profile…which ones have you tried? :)

Doug F

A fair number. Lao Man E, Man Zhuan, Gao Shan Zhai, Wang Gong. Maybe it’s my insensitive taste buds, but I always get a similar vibe from the TU teas, not much apricot or other stone fruits, just a nice clean floral sweetness.

jschergen

That’s some silver lining right there re: sickness :).

I agree to some extent with Doug although many of them are different enough to keep it interesting (IMO). I think towards the tail end of the session a lot of their teas do tend to converge. 75% of what they press also seems to be Yiwu teas, which probably doesn’t help in the diversity category.

As far as that other idea.. I’m afraid for the time being I’m completely burned out of young sheng. I’ve had productions from all three vendors though.

Don’t think CLT has a house taste or w/e.
Pu-erh.sk definitely has some similarities across their teas. They seem to source 2-3 teas from a single area with about 3-4 areas total.
EoT I think has a good deal of variance. Even their Yunyun and Yunya from different years are different enough to be interesting.

Stephanie

Fair enough. I’ve heard folks say the same thing about YS shou…all similar towards the end. Interesting!

Doug F

Thanks for weighing in Stephanie and James!

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92

I have to agree with Big Daddy on this one—it was a true eyeopener for a person that never drinks white tea. Granted, I steeped it for a good four minutes with fairly hot water, but the result was a quite flavorful brew which reminded me of this incredible ice cream I had at a Persian restaurant in Boston that was flavored with rosewater.

I had always felt that white teas had negligible flavor but this is a tea I could see stocking and drinking in the afternoons. Quite delicious!

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 4 min, 0 sec 5 g 12 OZ / 354 ML
Kristal

I don’t really go for white teas either. Maybe I should look into this one!

Doug F

It’s great but very expensive. I got it as part of sample box of Nilgiri teas.

Shae

I’m not a fan of white teas either for the same reason. The way you describe this one makes it sound really good though.

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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.)

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Maine

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