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20 Tasting Notes

89

Received from Teavivre as a sample, Golden Monkey brightened my drab winter afternoon.
The narrow dark threads of the dry leaf (with a few brown mixed in) smelled of chocolate and malt, with a slight hint of tobacco. After steeping yielded a gold-red liquor, which tasted of honey, malt, sweet potato and mellowed fruit, silky on the tongue, not bitter in any way.
While not as favored as Teavivre’s Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip (which I rate at 100), this is still an excellent fine-bodied, warming black.

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97

Thanks for this fine sample Teavivre!
I’m generally a green tea drinker, straying into black, but also a lover of the whites (Silver Needles and Bai Mu Dan)
ALL for their distinct personalities.
This Xin Yang Mao Jian Green is a stronger green falling somewhere between a good Dragon Well and the quieter Bi Luo Chun. Next to The Dragon Well, It’s a hair more smoky than toasty, still brightly vegetal, with sweet hay notes, with some astringency but no bitterness.
This is definitely a green I want to keep in my larder as a nice counterpoint to the (always favorite) Dragon Well.

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100

My second rating for this tea because yes, IT IS THAT GOOD! Well-named gorgeous dry leaf of mixed blacks and golden browns steeps to a beautiful red-brown liquor that is delightfully rich, honeyed and smooth with caramel and sweet potato overtones. You don’t have to use much to get a flavorful cup and it’s not so overwhelming that it’s a tea to tire of. No. I can drink cup after cup of this fine tea. Teavivre has outdone itself here and my larder will never be without. Please note, I am generally an ‘unflavored’ green tea drinker, but strayed into this bewitching brew via a sample. Bravo Teavivre! Excellent offering!

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95
drank Kukicha by Rishi Tea
20 tasting notes

I was looking for another green with distinct personality and a friend suggested Rishi’s, Kukicha. Beautiful bright green mix of chopped leaves and pale green stems yields a crystalline, emerald green cup. Clean and vegetal, much like a good dragon well, but toasty like a good genmaicha, without the rice. A lovely tea if you want a refreshing, sprightly green, with a fine and distinct character.

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95
drank Kukicha by Rishi Tea
20 tasting notes

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96

The pretty, multi-toned dry leaves,smell sweetly fruity and floral. Not a ‘high’ sweetness but deeper almost licorice.
The steeped leaves create a beautiful straw-colored brew, which is a beautiful sweet melon and honeyed floral. Distinct, but not overpoweringly so. I bought this economically-priced white as a foil to my favorite (but more expensive) Silver Needle White. Both are decidedly different and if you like or want to try white tea, you owe it to yourself to try both. This is a lovely choice for an afternoon tea party. Perfect to share with friends in the garden, or on a rainy afternoon!

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86

I received this fresh Dragonwell as a sample from Verdant. The dry leaf in the bag has a strong chocolate scent (not at all expected from a Dragonwell.)
The steeped leaves lose the chocolate, and the liquor has a sweet, caramel & rice-pudding taste, very mellow and smooth.
I did not find this Dragonwell vegetal or grassy (except as a light background note), which for me isn’t a plus.
Personally, I like the strong toasted almond & grass flavor of a fresh and assertive Dragonwell. This tea is assertive but in a softer, sweeter caramel fashion. More rice pudding than green or seaweed. To many, I’m sure that’s what will make this Dragonwell stand out from another. There is no bitterness or floral to the steeped tea, which dances lightly in it’s green/gold liquor. A very nice selection!

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91

Slightly twisted, long, slender olive and silver dry leaves. Very fresh and vegetal in the bag, like a really good dragonwell.
The steeped tea deepens to richer, sweetgrass and fruit notes with a hint of creamy nuttiness. The liquor is a lovely green-gold.
Being a big Dragonwell fan, this tea is bold and bright enough to hold its own against it. (Although quieter in its assertiveness, still very distinct from other greens.)
Not floral, but decidedly sweet. Green, but not as strongly so as Dragonwell. If you’re looking for an alternative green which isn’t overly flora, nor overly green or grassy, this one’s for you.

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100

I’ve reviewed this tea before, but this is an update on the Spring 2013 batch:
The long flattened dry Dragonwell leaf is a beautiful bright green color, with a strong, fresh toasted vegetal scent.
The steeped leaves open full and fast, clearly displaying their paired tip leaf & 1st leaf. The smell of the tea’s steam is vegetal, roasted, nutty almost porridge-like. The spring 2013 batch doesn’t disappoint. Teavivre’s is still the best dragonwell I’ve tasted. Nutty, slightly roasted, slightly vegetal, but deliciously smooth. Last year I ordered three 100g bags late in the year and finished all. It’s my everday/all day and never tire of it tea. I’ve found the leaves very forgiving of temperature and steep time (It wonn’t burn or taste off.) A tasty affordable tea for everyday use. A very distinct, bold green, satisfying even to those lovers of stronger more oxidized teas.

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100

Okay I bought this on steepster reviews alone. The warm honeyed tones of the long, fluffy, dry leaves reflect the delicious flavor of the steeped tea. A dark gold liquor with a smooth, satiny honey flavor that fills the mouth and remains on the tongue. Truly a memorable tea. Full-bodied with no bitterness. Definitely no sugar or milk needed. Some reviewers mention sweet-potato or maple references (which I get), but without smokiness or chocolate tones. Overall a lovely ‘black’ to always have in the larder. I’m glad I took a chance with this one. It’s definitely one not to miss.

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I’m a professional landscape painter living in New
York (dividing my year between rural Central NY and New York City) I also write & publish Japanese short form poetry (largely haiku & tanka) You may view both paintings and examples of my poetry online and on my website

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