318 Tasting Notes

94

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

I prepared this tea after having 5 steeps of the Superfine Dragon Well in a gaiwan. My palate isn’t the most well trained, but it was quite a difference.

The first steep tasted much more well blended. It’s light, sweet, buttery and vegetal characteristics all harmonize on my palate. They are subtle in flavour, but it has it’s own charming intensity due to none of the flavours standing out.

Second to fourth steeps were wonderful, with the fifth being a bit too weak for my preference. Overall the flavour never developed into anything repellant (no bitterness/astringency)

Truthfully, I’m not well experienced with Dragon Well tea of this quality. It’s usually out of my budget for more than occasional use. That being said, the nonpareil version is very different from any of the other types of Dragon Well offered by Teavivre. If you want a really classy and subtle tea to impress someone, gift, or reward yourself with, you couldn’t do better. The only downside to this (aside from price obviously), is that nonpareil is a subtle mix of flavours whereas the other versions are much bolder and vibrant. The great thing about subtle teas (for me at least) is that they demand your attention. I love sitting down, preparing it in a gaiwan, focusing my senses on it, and not letting any distraction get in the way of me enjoying how wonderful the experience is.

Steep time: rinse, 20s, 40s, 70s, 120s, 150s

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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86

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Looking back over my previous review last year and trying this tea again has
helped develop my opinion on this tea. I’ve tasted 4 different grades of Dragon Well from Teavivre and each them have pros and cons.

The first steep of this tea brought back a sense of familiarity to my taste buds. It’s light, vegetal, buttery and has the typical Dragon Well flavour that I find charming.

Sipping through the second to fifth steeps it remained consistent in flavour. It’s not as well blended on my palate as the Nonpareil version, but the flavour is far from boring or unpleasant. If I were to steep this again I would stop on the fourth, it had a really good flavour and the fifth (while enjoyable) was a bit too watery tasting for me.

The Superfine Dragon Well tea is more subtle and polished on my palate than the premium version. But it doesn’t even compare to the nonpareil version which I found to be most well balanced and refined in taste. When deciding on which type of Dragon Well I’d like to drink or serve, it helps to consider the situation and your budget. If I wanted to impress a guest (with a good palate) or reward myself I’d love to indulge with the nonpareil version. However for a more ordinary situation such as serving tea to someone that just “kinda likes it”, the Superfine Dragon Well offers enough heavy flavour to please people that do not like subtle teas.

Tonight I was able to compare the Superfine and Nonpareil version side by side. Next time I hope to drink some of my own personal Premium Dragon Well with my other sample of this Superfine version to taste how they compare.

Steep time: rinse, 20s, 40s, 70s, 120s, 150s

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Follow up review to my last steeping with Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng.

Adjusting the tea leaf/water/heat I finally wound up with a cup of tea I really liked. The third steep was my favourite. It was a succulent vegetal liquor with fruity and floral notes. The body had a really nice creamy texture without feeling too heavy. Much more flavorful than my previous steepings a few days ago and last year.

Overall a bit more heat and tea leaf really changed my mind on this tea. It’s nice that the tea leaves are not fickle and turn bitter quickly. I think depending on your taste preferences, there are a few ways you can steep this and still be happy with the outcome (subtle flavours or more bold green tea flavour depending on steep variables).

Steep time: rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 tsp 3 OZ / 75 ML

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

First steep brought back a lot of familiar characteristics; light bodied, vegetal, buttery. I didn’t remember it being so grassy, but the same unique aroma (that I’m not a fan of) was still present.

Second and third steeps were similar in taste. The vegetal/grassy, buttery, and unique aroma develop into stronger flavor, but still remained mild and didn’t overpower the tea.

Overall I feel the same about this tea as I did last year. It’s got a lot of good qualities; light body, no bitterness or astringency. But it has a flavour I don’t enjoy, and the body is perhaps a bit too light for my tastes. I’ve still got some samples left so I intend on experimenting a bit to get a better cup of tea.

Steep time: rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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80

Just ordered some new 2014 teas from Camellia Sinensis, this is the first one I decided to try.

First steep struck me as very crisp and refreshing (didn’t expect that). With subtle buttery and vegetal flavours, also a bit of sweetness, spice (cinnamon).

Second steep brought out a floral flavour (jasmine) and a nice velvety texture to the tea liquor.

Finally on the third steep the terroir came out. I expected to taste it a lot sooner, but I might just need to change the tea amount/steep time a bit.

Fourth through sixth steeps were consistent on the flavour. Overall they were a nice balance of the previous cups but still light as opposed to strong/bold on the flavour. I decided to stop on the sixth steep because the dryness was starting to dominate the mouth feel.

My expectations were met with this tea, but I still feel that some changes to the tea parameters (amount and steep time) might yield better results. I’m looking forward to many more short steep sessions to get my perfect cup of tea.

Tea steeped: rinse, 30s, 45s, 1m, 1m 30s, 2m, 2m 30s.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 90 ML

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85

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Smelling the dry leaf to get a sense of what to expect, I picked up on a sweet, grassy, fragrance with a hint of melon.

The Initial sip was nice but not too flavorful aside from a hint of musky (?) green tea flavor. Until the sweet and grassy notes appeared during the aftertaste. A nice vegetal buttery flavor lingers during the aftertaste as well. Finishing off my first steep, the initial steeps always seem nice; no bitterness, bad flavor, clear liquor. But much of the flavor I like takes time to develop in my mouth.

Second steep brought more flavor to my initial sips. The sweet, grassy, vegetal characteristics come together and their fragrance from the tea cup is enjoyable.

Third steep had a refined, well balanced blend of the previous flavours. Everything I excepted from the after taste was present during the initial sipping. It was a bit dry, but otherwise nothing negative stood out.

I haven’t tried Lu Shan Wu before but I like it. It’s fairly easy for me to steep (sometimes I have to experiment to get a good cup, and this wasn’t fussy), and the tea has a nice balance between being flavorful but not in an overly obnoxious way. It’s more relaxing than refreshing, and has a heavier body than what I might expect.

Tea steeps: rise, 25s, 45s, 55s

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Tasting this again today (after my review 2 years ago) brought back a lot of pleasant memories. It’s just as wonderful as my first encounter. Smooth, vibrant and vegetal flavour that is associate with Dragon Well.

Overall my preference on this tea hasn’t changed. It’s a big step up in flavour from their cheapest Dragon Well, and a fair compromise to the more expensive ones. I think it makes a great gift, because for some reason a lot of Dragon Well I’ve had in Canada is of poor quality. But it’s not so expensive that I feel that it will be wasted or too extravagant a gift.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Previously I tried this sample gong-fu style and was a bit disappointed. Today I tried it with a longer steep in a glass mug and it turned out better.
I found the astringency too off-putting with many short steeps, but it isn’t too noticeable with a single longer steep.

The floral and vegetal flavours have a nice balance, and the body is more subtle than it is bold. There are also some nice hints of cinnamon, spice, and honey.

Overall it’s a decent oolong with a good price. However (if I had to choose) I prefer Teavivre’s Jin Xuan (unflavoured) over this.

Steep parameters:
400ml water in a glass mug, 7g sample, 1 steep (2m)

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Osmanthus dominates the flavour of this tea, I had a hard time tasting/enjoying the oolong. The osmanthus isn’t an unpleasant or bold flavour, but it’s the primary flavour.

Overall I have mixed feelings about this tea because I don’t enjoy overly floral teas. My husband liked it and said it reminded him of ginseng flavour (I agree). So it’s not something I’d buy, but I know a lot of other people enjoy floral teas. I’d recommend it for people that love floral tea with a mild and unobtrusive tea base.

Steep parameters:
400ml water, sample (7g), 1 steep (2m)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

First steep had a nice honey-sweetness and a strong floral flavour.

The floral flavour became stronger with each steep, and the liquor also became increasingly astringent. By the fifth steep, the astringency became a bit distracting.

Ending on the sixth steep, there is still some flavour I tasted at the beginning, but the floral aroma and the astringency are off-putting to me.

Overall, it’s a very flavourful oolong with a nice price. I found it a bit too floral, but I know others find that flavour appealing. Not sure if I’d short steep this again, I’ll have to try the western method sometime to see if I like that better.

Steep parameters (as suggested by Teavivre)
85ml water in a gaiwan, sample (7g?), rinse and 6 steeps (25s, 25s, 30s, 60s, 70s, 80s)

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C

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Bio

Feel free to add me on Steepster, I’ll probably add you back. :)

I don’t log tea every time I drink it. Tasting notes tend to be about either one style of brewing or a new experience. It is helpful for me to look back on my notes and see what a tea tasted like or which steeping parameter worked best for me. I try to mostly short steep tea unless it only tastes better with a long steep. I’d rather experience what a tea tastes like over 3 or 12 steeps than just 1 to 3 long steeps.

When I write “tsp”, the measurement I use is a regular western teaspoon. Not a tea scoop

How I rate tea:

99-100: Teas that blow my mind! An unforgettable experience. Savoured to the last drop. I felt privileged to drink this.

90-98: Extraordinary, highly recommended, try it and you won’t be disappointed (and if you are, mail me the tea!)

85-89: Wonderful, couldn’t expect more but not a favourite.

80-84: Excellent, a treasured experience but not a favourite.

70-79: Good but could be better. Above average.

60-69: Average, unexceptional, not something I would buy again. Slightly disappointed. I’d rather drink water.

50-0: Varying degrees of sadness

No rating: Mixed feelings, can’t decide whether I like it or not, not enough experience with that sort of tea to rate it. A dramatic change of heart.

Location

Ontario, Canada

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