drank Oolong Hairy Crab by Tea Trekker
64 tasting notes

When I first learned about this tea, I was instantly intrigued. I just had to try some. The name and lore behind the tea was so different. So, when I visited Tea Trekker a few weeks ago, this oolong was the first on my list. I’ve had it a few times so far gong fu style, experimenting with the amount of leaves. About 3.5 to 4 grams in a 100ml gaiwan seems to grant the best results.

The leaves give off a scent of fresh hay and minerals, with a very subtle dried fruit aroma when dry, and a fresh and clean organic green scent with hints of flowers and what I finally came to describe as a sweet, mossy smell when wet. First inhaling the dried leaves, I didn’t think I was going to get any floral qualities at all from this tea. I was almost correct. This tea is certainly not like a tieguanyin with its intensely floral qualities, although it does possess some. No, what Mao Xie brings to the cup is something I can only describe as “briney.” Now, I may be getting carried away by the name of “hairy crab,” but I think this is a perfect example of the influence of terroir on taste. Mao Xie is grown on the Fujian Province’s coast throughout a long growing season, which probably has something to do with the slight mineral taste that blends oh so well with the relaxed floral tones and and humble sweetness that sometimes reminds me of saltwater taffy. Whenever I drink this tea, images of the beach and ocean mist always waft through my mind. Upon cooling though, the liquor does assume a thicker, salty/sour taste that can be somewhat unpalatable, but this is probably my only real complaint.

The liquor has a nice golden-green color and a soft, medium body. After a sip, the flavor rolls through the mouth in small, long waves. There isn’t really any “burst” of flavor, but with this tea there doesn’t need to be. It’s strength is that it has depth of flavor (instead of strong flavors) which spreads wide, lingers pleasantly, and fades slowly. Definitely a unique tea.

185 °F / 85 °C

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I’m fanatic about all things tea-related. Lately, I’ve been fascinated with Wuyi yancha, aged Taiwanese oolongs, and sheng pu’ercha. Nearly all of my sessions as of late are performed gong fu, with pu’er tastings comprising probably eighty percent of them. My collection of pu’ercha is small, but growing steadily. Much of the specimens I drink daily are various samples, although I dig into a cake every so often.

I love trying new teas and I am always learning all I can about the world of tea. Hence, I spend a majority of the time I devote to tea either drinking, writing notes in my journal, or reading. But mostly drinking, as I think it should be. Since I have handwritten logs of everything I drink, I cannot usually find the extra time to log my notes here, and unfortunately my online log is underrepresented.

When drinking, I look for a tea that presents a unique experience, something that involves every sense and provides intrigue in every aspect throughout steeps. I search for teas with balanced complexity and something that makes me keep reaching for my cup. I yearn to find all the positives a tea possesses and every subtle nuance hiding among the leaves. I try to be detailed in my notes and deliver a more comprehensive view of the tea, paying attention to things other than simply flavors and qualitative aspects of aroma, such as the form of the liquor and its development in the mouth. Things like this are much easier to compare between teas, as I find them to be more consistent between sessions, and also make distinctions between a good and mediocre tea easier to make.

Adagio UtiliTEA electric kettle.
For gong fu, a 100 mL porcelain gaiwan and a 100mL Yixing di cao qing xi shi pot dedicated to mostly young sheng pu’er.
I drink all green teas in small (maybe 450mL) glass tumblers in the traditional style, with off-boiling water.


Fort Myers, Florida

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