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I’ve been drinking Shengs for a while now, but other than a couple selections from Verdant tea, most of my purchases have been moderately priced cakes and samples; they’ve been enjoyable but I felt it was time to really explore the upper echelons of raw pu-erhs and from what I learned, Tea Urchin was the place to go. I bought four samples and Eugene generously threw in a fifth and suggested I start with the manzhuan. This is a young tea and I bought these samples with an eye to getting a cake and aging it.

The first couple of steeps were sweet and complex with that lovely eucalyptus taste and a fruity base. Successive steeps became quite bitter (as I expected) but still very rich and tasty. Quality Shengs also generate heat and energy in the throat and chest and this one was no exception. I was buoyed along during the day on a steady tea high.

With this sheng—and, I’m sure, with my other more expensive samples—I feel like I’m crossing the borderland from tea to precious elixir.

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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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