11 Tasting Notes
I received a few ounces of this from the lovely Tabby, and after nearly a week with no earl grey in my house it was one of the best packages I’ve ever opened.
Hah, Admittedly bergamot withdrawal might of skewed my opinion of that first cup, so I’m reviewing my second, freshly steeped at boiling and five, sweetened with a very light agave nectar.
I normally try to refrain from comparing directly to other tea’s, in such cases if you’ve never had the other tea you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, but… This reminds me alot of Harny and Sons Paris, it has that same gounding in the vanilla with the bergamot ontop, there errily similar, although without a cup of harny next to this I couldn’t render an opinion on which was better, if you’ve had Paris by H&S you have a very good idea of this tea.
If you havn’t though… I’ll do my best to describe, the black tea itself is very good, if you focus past the citrus and vanilla there’s this warm base of fine European style black tea, earthy and warm and in the background, the bass guitar of this tea if you will, the main event or…center stage if you will is the bergamot and the vanilla and its interesting how they work together, the bergamot is immediate like any good earl grey but instead of it lingering its almost washed away by a wave of warm sweet vanilla, and lingers for a while just above the last notes of the tea itself. I love the one two, the three piece band thing this tea has going for it.
My only concern is actually the vanilla, its a little too powerful, and this is of course my preference, but I love bergamot in my earl grey (LOTS of it), I can’t tell if there’s just too little, or if the vanilla is so powerful that it drowns the citrus notes out, but again preference there.
When it comes down to it one of the better Earl Grey’s I’ve had, certainly surprising, and while if I had free choice of anything I might pick something from H&S, This tea gave me a very pleasant morning at work, and a more pleasant hour before bed writing this, and I love it for that.
This isn’t my first pu-erh but it might be my favorite, I’ve had the mini aged tuocha from Teavivre as well, which was far darker and of course more condensed then this loose leaf.
The first thing you’ll notice about this tea is how fragrant it is, and the light golden leaves, I steeped my first batch in an cast iron teapot; at about boiling for three minutes, its kinda neat how black those lightly colored leaves turn, the hot water seems to release something in them, its by far and again the blackest tea I’ve ever seen. (Including the Pu-erh toucha’s) the leaves come out of the steep pitch black/brown.
The tea itself when piping hot has a sweet aroma with a little hint of iodine, which gives it a slightly fishy taste, not in a bad way, just sort of like really good sushi, as it cools down this taste seems to disappear, replaced by something like burnt molasses and hay, at the very end there’s a copper aftertaste, again not strong, as long as you don’t mind the odd flavor at the start and end, which in fact I enjoy, its an amazing tea, with that earth warm body that I’ve grown to love with all the dark teas from Teavivre.
It might be a little strong or a little scary as someone’s first pu-erh, a flavored would be better suited, but if your feeling adventurous, or like a tea that’s black enough to put most coffee to shame, then I recommend getting this, or at least just a sampler, its amazing.
This tea is about equal in my opinion with my other experiences with Harney & Sons; which to say its pretty damn fantastic; its a very contradictory tea, the leaves them selves are well shredded and a deep shade of black brown with little bits of lemon, and bergamot mixed in, the smell of it is amazing, of fresh lemon and something sweet and implacable.
As it steeps that smell becomes permeable and doesn’t quite go away, I’ve actually taken to leaving the tea ball drying on my desk at work simply because it smells so good.
The tea it self steeps into the very dark chocolate brown; its very resistant to oversteep so you can very yourself from 4-8 minutes with little chance of bitterness at the end, the taste itself, especially if its brewed longer is nice and heavy almost English breakfast black with the notes of the lemon and bergamot floating nicely on top. It makes for a fantastic first tea of the day, its certainly replaced my English brekfest junk tea I usually drink.
I’ve noticed that Harney & Sons its very very good at mixing fruit and black tea, there cranberry autumn is probably my favorite evening tea, and now they’ve got me in the mornings too.
tl;dr – a good solid morning tea with some nice hints of lemon and bergamot; that easily as nice to steep as it is to drink. Best morning tea I’ve had.
This was my first attempt at a Pu-Erh, to start I love black tea’s and the idea of a fermented aged black tea more then appealed to me, I went into this thinking it was just an…extra-black black tea, and while it is by far the darkest tea I have ever seen, extra-black certainly dose it no justice.
The little brick itself is certainly a bit intimidating even if its only the size of a nickel, the leaves a very compressed of course and pitch black, it has a very earthy smell, like old hay, I dropped it into a flush in-mug infuser with boiling water over the top and it quickly started to break apart.
The tea seems to steep very quickly, you can actually watch it bleed into the water as if you dropped in a slow dye (If you have a glass pot or mug to steep in do it), boiling water for three minutes seemed to be more then adequate, I’d say it actually might have been a bit too much but there was not bitterness at all, I’ve read the fermentation process makes pu-erh very resistant to oversteeping, which is good because I’m pretty negligent about my timing in the morning. The little brick seems to contain an extraordinary amount of leaves, easily five or six times its volume in heavy wet earthy smelling happiness comes out.
The flavor itself is distinct, no pu-erh fishiness at all, the taste is far smoother, far more distinct and delicate then the very dark color would suggest, most of the reviews say that there is a leather taste, and I agree although I think I lack the words to describe it properly it’s a very earthy taste.
Tl;dr: The Pu-erh Mini Toucha from Teavivre is a distinctly delicious, easy to make Pu-erh tea, that from my first experience doing a Pu-Erh is as amusing to steep as it is to taste.
Loved this tea, a good morning start of the day at work type tea, strong but still with a very good flavor, it could easily replace coffee for me, enough caffine to get me through but without that jittery kick.
The leaves are little black needle affairs, when it steeps it looks and smells delicious,
I steeped it a little longer then expected, but at a lesser temp, came out nice and golden brown, mixed it with agave sweetener, which complimented the strong smokey flavor well.
Going to try it at a high temp tomorrow, but I definitely have a new work tea.
Well, this certainly tastes like tea…ummm, let me clarify that, I love this tea, not because its sweet or exotic or complicated, I’ve had plenty of teas that are amazing, white/black mixes, oolongs with fruit or edible flowers, ,y last two reviews here spring to mind, tea’s that I love none the less but are so complex they lose that one fantastic aspect of tasting like… well tea.
Yun Nan Dian Hong from Teavivre is probably the best tea I’ve had in a long time, and its all due to the simple fact its uncomplicated, delicious, and amazingly unrefined, its simply good black tea. Simply good if not simple, there is a lot of flavor to this tea, a subtle taste, that’s neither as heavy as my other favorite (second favorite now?) black, Yunnan noir by adagio, a little more delicate, a light smoky almost burn sugar taste, but is still well in the confines of a delicious morning black. I struggle to describe it honestly. One of those things that’s better experienced in the first person rather then the third.
As for the technical I followed the advice of the lovely Strayer (Who also sent me this tea in the first place, and therefore will be loved forever) and steeped for less then four minutes at a nice high temp of 180-185, it steeps into this rich golden brown, amber color that is nearly as pretty as it is delicious, and the aroma of the drained leaves is amazing as well, definitely a good morning tea something to take your mind off the fact you had to roll out of bed before noon.
You do need to watch your time and temp though, this is actually my second attempt at the tea and its well, sensitive, my first attempt was only about a minute or two longer, and ten or 15 degrees less and it didn’t quite ruin the tea, but it wasn’t nearly as good, it may be a black but it behaves like a green, a few misplaced seconds or degrees here or there, steeping it in glass instead of insulated ceramic, this all seems to make an actual difference, its more then worth the effort, but don’t be surprised if your first attempt isn’t exactly prefect, on that note I’m going to toy with the time and temp a bit, and see if I can get even more out of this tea.
In short, because I might of over cooked this review, if you want a pure strait forward, but none the less uncompromisingly delicious black tea, you need to do yourself a service and at least try this, it really is amazing.
I almost feel bad drinking this tea down, its certainly a guilty pleasure, being as I understand it a tea thats slowwwwly going extinct, I might also feel a little bad for shunning the name and drinking it right before bed, probably not the best move as its full of caffeine.
On to the tea though, its quite simply put one of the best black teas I ever had, I might of under steeped it just a little but it still came out strong and sweet, with just a little honey it was amazing, the rose petal blooming as they steeped was excellent, I was a little apprehensive about it being to…. flowery but the cinnamon dominates any inkling of that, the cinnamon mixed with the vanilla (Which I didn’t get much of I think but still…) gives the tea a nice warm curled up in bed taste, far to relaxing to drink in the morning to be honest if I had this in bed I’d probably die of respiratory depression.
Right before bed though, seems to be a fantastic idea, as I write this and finish off the mug caffeine or not I just wanna curl up in bed for a good 8-12 hours. Its too bad this tea will never be blended again, I suppose like in nature, the best things go extinct, or at least the most delicious.