286 Tasting Notes
Another Tuochatea offering I tried, rounding out my tour of some of their teas this weekend. This one is a sheng from Guyi. Not nearly as good as the ripe I tried yesterday. It’s not terrible, but it definitely falls flat. Kind of that bad dull dirt type flavor, with some overtones of fruit and citrus.
Another nice tea and great bargain from Tuochatea. This one is $8.50 for 250 g. It’s not out of this world, but it is a clean mellow ripe cake, with some age behind it. No off flavors, medium body, a cleaner shu, not earthy or musty. Again, another one worth sampling if you are placing an order with Tuochatea.
I decided to take a chance with my last order fro Tuochatea, and try two cakes I never heard of. Their prices are so cheap, it is worth the risk! Some of their cakes have not gone up in price since 2009! These days, with pu erh prices so inflated, that is saying a lot. This tea is only $16 (plus shipping). It’s my first tea from the Kunming Guyi factory. The wrapper is pretty (hey, you know you look!), though the sticker seal is impossible to undo without busting up the wrapper. This is a wonderful tea, and an amazing bargain. It is dark, rich and deep, clean and smooth. No off tastes, except for what I think is a little travel aftertaste from being in a box and on transports for 6 weeks (just got this a few days ago; I hope it is not something more serious). There is no earthiness or mustiness, this is one of those cleaner shus. It held up to a lot of steepings. This is a real keeper and I will have to get another with my next order!
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Just received my second Tea Urchin order, what a great company. They put their cakes into individual little boxes. Everything was packed with care. This tea is a blend. It was pretty good, as usual from Tea Urchin. It had some interesting flavors, a moderate amount of bitterness for a Lao Man E, and strong cha qi. My wife and I got a little tea drunk. It lacked somewhat in zip and strength, which are my top preferences. But it was very nice nonetheless.
I think the last rating of this tea was a few years ago by another person, so this is somewhat of an update, though of course we are different reviewers. This is now 5 years old. It is a nice gentle and interesting tea with good staying power. Somewhat fruity, especially in later steepings. It has probably mellowed out since it’s youth. It lacks a little on body and punch, but is a nice tea nonetheless.
I think I’ll call this one the coffee experience. Or perhaps the Guinness experience. This is my first tea from the Bo You factory. It is now my current favorite. I am steeping it quite strong, and get a brew that is like coffee – slightly bitter, though smooth underneath, strong, and with chocolate undertones. It is a real keeper, and a bargain at just $20 from Yunnan Sourcing, though it is only available at their China site. I’m going to try the 2011 version as well to see how it stacks up. As mrmopar noted in a review of another Bo You tea, this coffee type flavor may be typical of this factory.
I’ve been more interested in shu’s as of late, so I ordered a bunch of samples from Yunnan Souring. The first one I tried from this batch was the Man Tang Hong Te Ji. It is a perfectly nice everyday drinker. It’s got medium body and a well fermented dark flavor, definitely no off (fishy) taste, kind of the typical middle-range roasty bitter chocolate shu. Because of the bitterness, it’s not super smooth, and one wonders whether that will change with age or not. But it’s an OK type of astringency. At just $22, I think this one is quite a bargain, so for those of you looking for shus in this price range, I think it is a good one.