2013 Tea Urchin Spring Gaoshanzhai

// Published June 2, 2021 by mgualt

After reading Wooju’s post about regions and Puerh terroir, I was inspired to try a sample of a well-known Tea Urchin cake of Spring Gaoshanzhai. This is a relatively high mountain in Yiwu area and is a good candidate for having a specific relatively easily identifiable terroir.

Dry leaf is quite pungent in a good way, honey floral pungency. This is one of my favourite aspects of puerh and so it is quite promising. The wet leaf is quite sweet and has some of the roasty modern processing aroma, which in this case reminds me a lot of the kind of slight tinge of roast you get with Darjeeling.

First steep is very mild, very light orange, clear liquor, quite thick and viscous, some slight sweetness, but mostly there is this pungent aroma that fills the mouth. Frisson. Aftertaste in throat is very present. Like a weight in the throat.

Opens up dramatically from steep 1 to 2, more orange now. More juicy, more flavour, large frisson, and continuing aroma. pungency. More of the slight roasty note, but more sweetness in the aftertaste. Very thick, with juicy and sweet aftertaste. Quite remarkable frisson and heat. Huigan is excellent, with a honey pungency surrounding everything.

Strong qi now. Filling chest and head, face, back, arms, hands. The aftertaste sweetness is quite strong and lingers. Now it has a clear second flush darjeeling black tea note. This is an aspect I consistently get with Tea Urchin teas – a slightly higher oxidation level than I prefer, but which is probably still very acceptable. The roastiness is indeed very similar to that from black tea.

The frisson is starting to transition into a drowsiness now. It has a more standard puerh profile now, less immediately sweet and more complex. Musk on the empty cup.

After five or six steeps, the tea starts to decrease dramatically. Late aftertaste remains sweet. Qi continues for sure, coasting on frisson. Waves of frisson with heat and sweating. I ate very little today, so I am quite sensitive. After the real juice comes out, it goes back to thick water with slight sweetness. The pungent honey floral aroma continues, it is the real star of this production. 6.3


  1. Andrei Stepanov
    July 30, 2021 @ 2:39 pm

    For me this tea is easy 9 out of 10 (according yo your rating chart). I would say this tea is one among a few top teaurchin offers right now.
    6.3 ? – [Has a special something, a positive attribute that stands out and impresses]
    Reading your feedback – is all around super positive and mark only 6.3? Hm…. And it is definitely : is not “decrease dramatically” . This is super durable . This is one where our opinion go differently.

    I am about this tea: https://teaurchin.com/products/gao-shan-zhai-2013-spring

    This is one of a few 5 star teas offered on the market.

    • mgualt
      July 30, 2021 @ 2:57 pm

      OK, that is a bizarrely aggressive comment, but I can respond: I mention that it has a strong black tea darjeeling note, and I view this as a significant processing flaw (the 2012 teas I have tried from TU don’t have this problem). Also the durability depends on how you brew and your water, and so I rate it as low durability compared to all other teas that I brew with my style and my water. You have a right to your opinion, and so do I. 🙂

  2. Andrei
    July 31, 2021 @ 4:12 am


    Part #1

    Where have you found “aggressiveness” in my comment?
    I wrote that: for me this tea is 9 from 10.
    Is this aggressive?
    Do you treat my question: why only 6.3 score?
    Is this aggressive question?
    Or where I said: it is durable?
    Where is aggressiveness?

    Part #2

    You gave this super tea: a middle mark. I respect your opinion. And I am saying, okay: Marco gives here the mark that is definitely doesn’t match my mark (and other people too). This what I said.
    What is it the purpose of comments? Only to agree to your tastes?
    Feedback: your mark doesn’t comply with my mark. Is this aggressiveness?

    Part #3

    “strong black tea darjeeling note” — I am sorry, are you really talking about Gao Shan Zhai 2013 Spring by Tea Urchin ?

    • mgualt
      July 31, 2021 @ 10:46 am

      Why did I find your comment a bit strange?

      your feedback – is all around super positive and mark only 6.3? Hm…. And it is definitely : is not “decrease dramatically” . This is super durable

      You misinterpret two things here: first, that my comments were “super positive” — that is not the case, as I mentioned a few problems I had with the tea. second, 6.3 is not a bad mark. Then, you just tell me I’m wrong — that the tea which lost strength dramatically after six steeps is “super durable”.

      Hopefully that clarifies my comment. I’m not upset, I just find it surprising how passionate people can be when they find opinions which disagree with their own 🙂

      About the black tea notes: I have tried several of the 2013 teas from Tea Urchin that have this issue, but the ones from 2011 and 2012 don’t. Maybe it will age out, I don’t know. If you have a better stored version, maybe yours aged out already. In any case, 6.3 is not bad, I think I gave another tea urchin tea significantly higher marks.

      • Andrei
        July 31, 2021 @ 11:03 am

        Thank you for the reply.

  3. Andrei
    July 31, 2021 @ 4:37 am

    I wonder why my photos of this match photos to teaurchin site photos, and do not match your photos of this tea. Completely different texture.




    • mgualt
      July 31, 2021 @ 10:48 am

      The sample that I tried was bought more than 5 years ago, it has different storage, and it looks very similar — I’m not sure why you believe the tea is different.


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