100 Tasting Notes

Glorious tea. Like eating cotton candy and chasing it with the best Assam. There’s an upgrade? How is that possible?

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

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89

This is just a really solid Assam that I enjoy more and more with each cup. It isn’t the least bit bitter and has a more pronounced cocoa flavor than most Assams I’ve had. Not a lot of leaf is required to get a tasty and memorable cup.

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

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97

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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drank Organic Korakundah by Butiki Teas
100 tasting notes

As a passionate tea drinker, I’m always looking to expand my horizons. One of my growing interests has been green teas from places other than China and Japan, specifically those from Ceylon and Mainland India. I find them to be more robust and fruitier with a pronounced peach/plum taste. This one from Butiki deserves a wide audience; it’s quite complex and hearty but still fruity and clean. An excellent selection.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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drank Puerh Tuo Cha by Butiki Teas
100 tasting notes

Usually, when the term “pond scum” is mentioned, it is done derisively. But this ripe pu-erh is reminiscent of pond scum in a positive way. Unlike pu-erhs that make me think of a piney forest floor, this one has an aquatic herbalness that reminds me of swimming in the pond at my childhood home that was fed by a cool spring and was ringed with watercress.

Add to that a leathery aroma and a sweet finish and you have a satisfying tea.

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

Interesting description…well stated.

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drank Mi Xian Black by Butiki Teas
100 tasting notes

I’m used to teas within a certain broad category having similar taste profiles: teas from Yunnan can be placed along a continuum that includes honey, malt, a little spice, chocolate; darjeelings taste like darjeelings; Keemuns—leather, red wine, tobacco. I rarely have a cup of tea and think, “Wow. I’ve never tasted anything like this before.” You know where this is going. My first sip of the Mi Xian was truly distinctive. There was a pleasant perfume taste/smell, but what lingers is . . . how can I describe it, the smell of a summer garden in the hot sun, specifically, the way mature tomato plants smell. This earthiness was entirely different from that of a ripe pu-erh, which evokes mustiness and decay. This tea suggests the fullness of the late-summer harvest, the lazy drone of dragonflies, corn and tomatoes on the table. A really original and intriguing tea.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec
June's Flame

A lovely description! This sounds amazing!

MissLena

Awesome description!! I am having a cup of this right now too and after reading this I am enjoying it even more! :)

Doug F

Thank you! I can’t wait for my next cup so I can explore some more.

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89

Dry. Dark Chocolate. Roasted grains. A little bitter, but not offensively so. Definitely on the stronger end of Chinese black teas, with good energy—it slapped me out of my Monday morning lethargy.

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

We all need a good slap now and then!

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98
drank Shincha Kunpu by Den's Tea
100 tasting notes

One of those indecisive mornings, so I finally chose a tea that never disappoints. Like dipping fresh tea leaves in hot salty brine and sucking down the juice.

TheTeaFairy

Yeah, nothing like salty brine mouthwash in the morning, very manly :-) No kidding, I think I know what you mean with this tea, it’s like a miso-seaweed type of thing.

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I continue to have great results with this tea. Drink it straight, don’t be shy with the leaf, and enjoy a tea that seamlessly melds a wide range of flavors.

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drank Zhen Qu by Butiki Teas
100 tasting notes

I might have been too dismissive of this tea in the past, maybe because it isn’t as bold as some dian hongs I love. But it is a smooth and delicious tea with honey notes taking the lead. I’m glad I revisited this tea after letting it languish in my cupboard for a while.

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

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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

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