drank Dark Forest 2015 Spring by Tea Urchin
1255 tasting notes

Wild Yiwu region sheng from the area between Wangong and Bohetang.

Soft honeyed aroma. First steep has a sweetness that spans honey-caramel-brown sugar. Creamy with hints of white chocolate-vanilla, fruity peach-apricot, spicy, bark tannins, mossy-mineral, all supported by a deep and balanced bitterness. Becomes beautifully floral and fruity later with the most vibrant and ringing apricot. Aftertaste presents late with what to me is now a characteristic Yiwu flavor: violet. Warming in the throat, quite drying and that feeling persists and eventually gives way to a dark returning sweetness. Some oily texture in final steeps. Clear mind and very comfortable.

This tea seems simple at first but has a nice depth and longevity to it. It’s very balanced for a young tea. At this time, I find the drying quality the most noticeable detractor but nothing some sips of water in between cups can’t remedy.

Swoon <3

Flavors: Apricot, Bark, Bitter, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Creamy, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Honey, Mineral, Moss, Peach, Spicy, Tannin, Vanilla, Violet, White Chocolate

Boiling 6 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” I also picked up 2 older plants from a a local nursery. They were grown from seed supposedly acquired from a tea farm in Washington. To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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