157 Tasting Notes
This tea somehow works beautifully for a chilly grey Fall day. Coconut meets cocoa and while it sounds summery, it is warming and delicious. If you haven’t tried it with a dash of 2% milk, it adds depth in the form of a lovely creamy note. I’m really glad a bought a larger tin of this because it is a keeper in our house for sure and is a very tasty tea overall.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this fantastic sample!
Dry: Twisty longer black tea leaves with tons of lovely golden tips. This is not one of those teas that is supposed to have tips that has a few lighter bits sprinkled into the black leaves. It looks at least half gold in the infuser. The dry aroma is very fragrant, thick and bready.
Steeped: Dark orange-brown clear liquor. Smells earthy and almost a touch smoky-sweet from the tea pot, like roasting sweet potatoes with natural burnt sugar bubbling on the potato skin. The leaves expand and unfurl quite a bit in the infuser, so they need a little extra room to breathe.
Taste: This is my first Golden Monkey black and it is quite lovely! I brewed it with the Western method and it came out as an enjoyable cup. Very mildly fruity with nothing added and there are still those roasty, malty sweet potato notes. In the aftertaste, there is an earthy, almost bready lingering flavor that lasts far beyond each sip. I would agree that this is a distinctive leaf, completely different from the other I’ve tried before and I am looking forward to steeping it again!
Dry: This tea is confusing me a bit. I almost wonder if I have the right one in the sample bag because the description and the tea itself doesn’t seem to match up so great. On the Harney site, it says the dry leaf is small broken brown Assam leaves. My dry loose leaf looks like small broken Assam with tons of bright golden tips instead with dark brown CTC (cut, tear, curl) pellets mixed in. The picture of the tea on the site and what is in my infuser doesn’t match, but it smells nice and malty like Irish Breakfast should. When I pour water into the infuser, the obvious CTC pellets (that the Harney description indicates are not included) rise to the top. If this is the right tea, it smells nice and strong for what it is worth. :)
Steeped: Dark brown clear liquor. I added milk and it looked almost like a coffee latte sitting on the counter this morning. Nice rich breakfast blend malty aroma.
Taste: This tastes like a pleasant Irish Breakfast even after I added milk, so maybe it is the correct sample and they modified the ingredients? A touch roasty, nice malt flavor, and overall a decent strong tea. I think this sample is more delicious than the English Breakfast, but my favorite of the Harney breakfast teas is Scottish Morn. This is a nice back-up though. Sipdown!
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
Dry: Short and twisty black loose leaf tea with a few golden tips mixed in. Has a pleasant notably sweet and lightly malted fragrance. I really like Teavivre’s Keemuns apparently because this one is another winner!
Steeped: Medium coppery-brown clear liquor. I didn’t add anything to this and the brewed aroma (Western method) retains a bit of that sweet note from the loose leaf. There is also a touch of smoke and of course that lovely malt.
Taste: I really like this tea, just as much as I enjoyed the Grade 1 I tried recently. They are very similar, but this one seems to be a bit more flavorful perhaps. I may need to do a side-to-side comparison soon so I know which one to order a larger bag of. I love the feeling when you taste a tea and just know you need to keep it around.
Anyhow, this is a wonderful breakfast choice for a Sunday morning. Thick mouthfeel added to a rich, fruity, mellow base. There is a slight pleasant mellow floral and smoke aftertaste. The complexity makes me think of a lower cacao percentage dark chocolate with that sweet aroma and taste dancing around on my tongue. I might need to have a nibble of the hazelnut and currant dark chocolate I have stashed with this tea for just such an occasion. :)
Apparently I forgot to review this tea until the last cup as I’ve been drinking it off and on for months. So, this is a sipdown and I have mixed feelings about this matcha blend. It is quite tasty as a stand alone flavored matcha, but in comparison to the French Vanilla, it is missing something. It has the tangy notes that I associate with cheesecake, but even as a chilled latte, I would not have guessed cheesecake unless I read it on the label. I don’t think it is the flavor level itself as it was ordered as robust, but rather that it just lacks the buttery creaminess that I associate with cheesecake. I think the caramel matchaccino may have also spoiled me to some extent. While I wanted to love this one, but I am not sure it will be a reorder unfortunately.
Dry: I was really excited to try this one because.. Dorchester! Anyhow, it is a basic CTC (cut, tear, curl) in appearance with all brown chopped tea leaf bits. It smells like a nice strong black blend, malty and sharp straight from the bag.
Steeped: When steeped, this one smells like a traditional English Breakfast with stronger malt character to me. It has a clear dark brown liquor and loses some of the sharp dry notes. Almost looks like a cup of coffee with a dash of milk added.
Taste: I did not try this straight as it is meant to have additions. It tastes hearty and full-bodied with 2% milk added and I imagine sugar would contribute to a pleasant cup as well. I am not sure what the blend is made up of (and I couldn’t find it on the website), but it reminds me of a more robust version of the Harney’s English Breakfast. This is a smooth, non-astringent, and with a thick mouthfeel that all contributes to a lovely morning wake-up. That said, I like Scottish Morn better. That is just personal preference though- this is a lovely breakfast tea.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
Dry: Lovely short and twisty black loose leaf tea. Has a pleasant lightly malty and mellow dry aroma.
Steeped: Medium brown clear liquor. I didn’t add anything to this and the brewed fragrance is a little bit sweet and vaguely fruity with that nice malty note from the dry leaves.
Taste: I really like this tea! It is so well balanced- probably more so than any other straight black I’ve tried so far. It is also really good for a breakfast selection. Smooth, mellow, naturally on the sweeter side without being overly so, and has a nice malt character without being too earthy or heavy. There are very subtle fruit and smoke notes in the aftertaste that linger on the tongue. This is a tea I can just sit and enjoy while contemplating the activities of the day ahead. It makes me look at my Assam tin sideways and don’t even get me started on some of my less favorite flavored teas. Yes, Keemun- Grade 1, I like you quite a bit! I am excited to try the others that Teavivre sent, but this one has started my day in a lovely and flavorful way.
Dry: This one caught my husband and I from first sniff in a curious way. It smells fairly unique and difficult to separate the notes, but in a good way if that makes any sense. In some teas, that can be described as muddy, but in this one it is just warm and appealing. Vague nutty aroma with cozy spices- a good holiday scent! I understand the base is Mutan White, but it almost looks CTC with shredded dark green leaves with a few silvery tips mixed in, so maybe not the highest quality base. It looks like this tea is served primary in sachets, but I purchased it as a loose leaf sample.
Steeped: Olive green clear liquor. I steeped this at 175 for barely 2 minutes. I think it would have been fine for a little bit longer. It smells primarily of cardamom with a hint of vanilla and almond.
Taste: When I first sipped this one hot, I didn’t get much in the way of flavor other than subtle warm spices, but as it starts to cool it really blooms into something lovely! Delicate white tea meets creamy cardamom. Almond is not a primary note, but shows up in a soft marzipan-type aftertaste. This is not an in-your-face holiday tea, but rather a gentle and warming one, like being wrapped in a soft blanket. If you like lightly spiced teas, this one would be a good choice and I like that it isn’t loaded with the other typical holiday additions like apples, cranberries, cinnamon, etc. Unfortunately it looks like this only comes loose in a 1 pound bag and it is sold out, but maybe they will add more options once back in stock?
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for the lovely samples of this tea!
Dry: Tightly rolled army green buds and leaves that smell very pleasant. The dry scent is difficult to describe because it is subtle and very enjoyable. I would say soft and mild, a bit creamy and sweet, very faintly floral.
Steeped: Sunshine yellow clear liquor. I brewed this with the Western method at 212 degrees for two minutes. Like with most oolongs, this one needs room to expand. The lovely rolled bits unfurled in the infuser into large army green leaves. The aroma is a bit green, a bit milky, and a bit sweet. Holds up to multiple resteeps.
Taste: I agree that this is a good one to start with for those wanting to experience the nuances of mountain oolongs. Naturally sweet, smooth, and brightly floral (I keep thinking of white flowers- maybe subtle gardenia?) without being heavy or overwhelming. This is not roasty at all for those that favor that side of oolongs. There is a very faint almost spice note in the aftertaste that is green and interesting along with a pleasant thick mouthfeel with each sip.
Dry: This is my first time trying a Teavivre black (I have enjoyed all of the greens and oolongs I’ve tried so far). Right from the first sniff of the loose leaf, I am liking this tea. When I open the bag, lovely long and feathery twisted golden orange variegated tips/buds greet me with an aromatic sweet and malty fragrance.
Steeped: I just worked all night at the hospital so I was wanting to try one of the blacks with a little bit more caffeine. The instructions recommend 2-5 minutes with the Western method, so I went with 3 minutes at 194 for the first steep. I did not overleaf or add anything to the tea and the result was a deep and dark red-brown clear liquor that smells slightly honeyed and earthy at the same time.
Taste: I had no expectations for the flavor as it looked like different people all enjoyed different aspects of this tea. I saw some said maple, earth, sweet potato, caramel, various bakery items, chocolate or cocoa, and more. I personally get smooth and velvet malty notes as the primary (and maybe a touch bready and earthy secondary) with a subtle sweetness along the tongue in aftertaste. This is a lovely breakfast-type tea and one that I find both comforting and a nice way to start the day.