170 Tasting Notes

drank BaDa 2013 by pu-erh.sk
170 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
170 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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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!

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

Nice! I’ve gone through the same. I feel like being busy at work has allowed me the time between sips to appreciate notes that take longer to develop. Some slow huigans are under-appreciated!

Doug F

I do almost all my pu-erh drinking at work. With two young boys at home, work is the most serene part of my life right now!

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95

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!

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

This sounds like a wonderful tea! I have to put it on my wish list.

jschergen

Yiwu black tea? Interesting..

Doug F

inbetweenisode?

jschergen

Not a bad idea. Give y’all a break from the massive amounts of YQH.

Liquid Proust

:) Love this stuff!

JC

Damn, Now I want it. lol

Doug F

Only $8.50 for 50 grams.

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I’ve already reviewed this tea and noted its clean, sweet profile but I just figured out why I’m so enamored of this tea: the wu liang is as dissimilar from green tea as a sheng is likely to get, and not being a big fan of green teas, this is a great characteristic. Very consistent, no bitterness, sweet but with a little bit of fruity bite, this is more like an oolong than most shengs. An excellent tea to drink right now.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 30 sec 7 g 4 OZ / 130 ML
JC

I’ve had this cake for a WHILE now and I haven’t tried it. But I’ve heard good things so far.

Doug F

Yeah, it’s not a “wow, this is the most amazing, complex sheng in the world” kind of tea, but it’s really nice to drink, very easy to brew and you can taste the purity of the leaves and the fact that they grew in such a remote, pristine environment.

JC

Yeah, Wu Lian is never flashy, but I’ve had really good examples of it. I’ll dig this one out this week. I did end up buying a 2015 Huang Shang cake from YS in his last discount. I hope there aren’t any other specials before the holidays, I need to buy presents before I’m Puerh tempted! lol

Doug F

I know. I just ordered a bunch of black tea and the green miracle from Scott’s US site with the 15% discount, but there are so many others I want.

JC

I started putting things on my cart and then I looked in horror, partly because the amount I had accumulated and partly because I knew I needed to start taking a few things off it. lol

Doug F

That’s what I do. Build up and shave off.

Ginkosan

Damn Scott’s Hongcha is what’s up.

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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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