171 Tasting Notes
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Drinking Sheng reminds me that I must eliminate prejudices and assumptions and bring my awareness to the tea at hand. I’m at work, listening to music and answering emails—it would be easy to mindlessly brew and drink and expect the usual “young sheng flavors.”
Luckily I paused to focus on this tea, which provided some singular tastes. The leaves looked very clean and loosely compressed so I decided not to rinse. I was rewarded with a slightly sweet, slippery mineral water taste, that reminded me of the delicious iron-rich well water we had at my childhood home. Subsequent steeps maintained the mineral water base and featured a pronounced hickory nut and peanut flavor with building sweetness that was most prominent on the tip of the tongue.
This tea definitely has its own personality that separates it from the apricot/stone fruit or floral flavors of many raw pu-erhs.
Thank you, pu-erh.sk for the sample!
I have to agree with Proust on this one. From the first sip it’s apparent that this is a delicious, smooth, raisin-sweet tea that carries an undertone of Assamica maltiness. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say this is one of the nicest Chinese black teas I’ve ever tasted and beautiful to look at and smell to boot. Thanks to Scott for making this available!