458 Tasting Notes
This is really an excellent Yiwu blend. Definitely delivers the quality I’ve come to expect from Tea Urchin. Thick and pretty leaves with an enticingly sweet aroma before water even touched them.
Like most good Yiwu I have had, the flavors of this were sweet and reminiscent of pastry/dessert. Cakey is how I would describe a lot of the really nice Yiwu teas I’ve tried, including this one. Creamy, vanilla, sometimes creme brulee or custard sort of notes. Also a lot of floral notes to it as well – later steeps become more intensely floral, bordering on soapy without getting unpleasant at all. There is a slight bitterness to the tea reminding you that you are in fact sipping a young sheng. The texture is very thick and leaves you wanting more after each sip. Qi is relaxing.
An excellent few sessions from this sample has me wanting a full cake. I think it would be good for many years, judging by other Yiwu cakes I have. I think Tea Urchin may be the source of my next Doomcart!!
Flavors: Cake, Custard, Floral, Sweet, Vanilla
This tea is a good example of dry storage done right. I have had plenty of unpleasant experiences with dry-stored teas in this age range (sour, astringent, etc.), so I was a bit dubious when I saw the color of the leaves and the lack of dank aroma. Thankfully, this one is smooth and very drinkable. Good sweetness, decent body, no off-flavors. A solid mid-aged tea.
The liquor is still pretty light in color, so this one could still age a long way. I would love to try something that’s been skillfully dry-stored for even longer. Does anybody know if leaves/liquor will turn as dark as something like HK storage given enough time in dry storage?
Thanks to the teafriend who sent me this sample :)
This one has some backbone to it for sure. Scent off the wet leaves clued me in that it would be decently bitter. Sure enough, got a good dose of vegetal bitterness, especially in the early steeps – I kind of thought it was a one trick pony until around steep 3 or 4, the huigan kicked in. It isn’t a big fruity huigan like some of the other ones I’ve had from Chawang – this was a more creamy sweetness, a bit nutty maybe. I really liked how it slowly made itself known. When/if I get around to making a Chawang order, I’ll almost certainly get a cake of this to toss in the pumidor.
Picked up some of this one in a recent smaller W2T order. Compression is pretty tight, but comes apart without much of any fussing – so definitely not on the scale of an iron cake or some of the peskier tuocha/fangcha that are out there.
This one had a bit of a dry woodiness to the aroma that may be imparted by the bamboo, or may just be part of the flavor profile. It is definitely young sheng, and being slightly smaller material, it can definitely go astringent if you don’t brew it with a proper touch. Definitely some sweetness and thickness, to the tea. To me, this one is drinkable now, but would certainly benefit from some age. Wasn’t smoky or funky at all – pretty clean taste.
Finished off a small Taobao sample of a 2004 Xiaguan FT brick – recommended to me by James of TeaDB. It was a pretty enjoyable session once I got past the first two steeps which, 14 years later, retain plenty of that distinctive smoky/burly quality that young Xiaguan teas often possess. The material was chopped to hell, but excessive compression wasn’t really an issue.
Flavor in the later steeps was nice and woody with some sweetness and a hint of smokiness. Definitely one of the nicer examples of Xiaguan tea that I’ve tried – this and a few others allow me to believe that Xiaguan can age into something pleasant and very drinkable. I don’t think this had particularly humid storage – not enough to come through in the flavor or aroma certainly.
Sampled this one among a few other Hai Lang Haos. Good value semi-aged cake. Seems to have been stored relatively dryly, but doesn’t have some of the sour off-notes that can sometimes be associated with that – good dry storage in other words. Still has some of its youthful bulang bitter punchiness, but tempered by a honey-sweet, woody finish. A good value buy for people looking for a daily drinker with some age on it.
Sample from my Secret Santea this year – and very thankful for it :)
I’ve come to expect a certain “cleanliness” from Tea Urchin sheng – I haven’t had a whole ton of their teas, but just about all of them have had that clean feeling going for them. I don’t know if that’s really the right word, but that’s how my brain/taster/body process it. It manifests itself in both taste and body feeling. No off flavors strange sourness that can be common in puerh and no crummy feelings or roughness in the gut. It’s sort of become what I associate TU’s teas with – not that all others seem grubby in comparison, just that these are particularly…pristine?
This one is no different – it has a pretty heavy bitterness which I fully expected going into a Lao Man E tea. That kind of clean bitterness though – not really astringent and didn’t make my mouth feel funny or anything. That bitterness is followed by a nice sweetness, though the bitterness is what leaves the lasting impression in my mouth. Great thickness to the liquid of this tea. I didn’t really pick up on a lot of qi in this session.
Definitely one I would like to order at some point. I really ought to try to pick up more TU this year. Or maybe I should focus on drinking some of the tea I already have. What a crazy idea.
Wow, this one was good. I heard a lot of hype in my tea-circles about it, so I gave it a try a little while ago. I don’t know if it’s just my brain making associations based on the name or what, but it really does have a flavor which reminds me of buttered waffles with a small amount of maple syrup on them. Very tasty, thick, sweet. Just about all you could want in a shou. I’ll almost certainly nab a cake when I make my next W2T order if they’re still in stock.