161 Tasting Notes
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.
Dry: Lovely short black tea. Unfortunately, the dry leaf smells artificial. More like medicinal fake cranberry and almond than the rich strong dark fruit or nut notes I associate with some of the other blends. I was really excited to try it when I ordered samples, but from the dry scent I am already not so sure..
Steeped: I have had good luck going for longer steep times with Harney black flavored blends. I started this one at five minutes and I think it would have been fine with six at least. Clear brown liquor. The steeped aroma is more appetizing than the dry scent to me as I can smell a little bit of tea at least in the hot tea pot.
Taste: This one tastes better than I expected, but is not a reorder for sure. The black tea is mild and smooth with no bitterness whatsoever. The main flavor though is still that fake (to me) medicinal cranberry with almond. The almond is fine, the black tea is good.. I just don’t like the cranberry in this at all I think. I associate cranberries with rich, tart, potent flavors and this one is too sweet and artificial. I don’t hate it, but it reminds me more of cough syrup than of any of my other favorite Harney tea blends. Pass!
This is the best rose tea that I’ve had so far, though I must admit that I am not an overall floral fan in food and drink. The grassy green notes blend nicely with the fragrant flower petals, though there is a touch of bite at the end of each steep. The bag states 3-4 minutes, but it might do better with 2. David’s must want me to like it as I get a sample with every order recently, but I’m okay with seeing it go. Sipdown!
Dry: Pretty black tea with what appears to be flower petals, orange peels, and whole cloves. Smells spicy and winter-like. I’m surprised this was a Fall tea instead of being released later in the year!
Steeped: Mostly clear medium brown liquor. I read after I brewed it that it can withstand seven minutes, but I only did four minutes and thirty seconds and I only had the one sample to work with. It smells very strongly of cloves fresh from the teapot and is reminded me more of a spicy chai brew than of cake.
Taste: I first tasted this with nothing added and all I was getting was orange and cloves while hot. I’m pretty sure I’ve had something very similar from the grocery store bagged teas and my husband wouldn’t even try it. I added sugar and 2% milk and it is much more enjoyable. Getting more of the other flavors like cinnamon and perhaps a hint of carrot? I am not getting any vanilla or apple at all. I wish I had enough to try it with sweetened condensed milk or something with more vanilla power, but I’m glad I was able to sample this tea because I would have been tempted to buy a 50g bag otherwise from the name alone. Alas, I don’t think this will be a purchase for me this year, but Pumpkin Chai sure will be!
Dry: The loose leaf is a mix of a few different teas. Short + shorter black leaves are apparent in the tin with some random golden tips. From the website, I am looking at Tippy Assam and Kenyan both blended Kenilworth Ceylon. The smells of the dry leaves threw both my husband and I both off quite a bit. I was expecting something a bit earthy and malty with a hint of honey, but the aroma is very potent floral bee pollen type-honey notes to where I thought maybe I had the wrong tea at first in the sample bag. It is described as “smells slightly of honey,” which I would disagree with.
Steeped: Medium red-brown clear liquor. Smells very similar to the dry leaf- strong floral wild honey notes with an Assam aroma.
Taste: I didn’t really love the smell, but this tastes a bit more rounded out than the initial dry leaf scent. I definitely get Assam and floral honeyed notes. Although it is less potent steeped, I would still describe this one as pretty flowery overall. As it turns out, I would much rather just add my preferred honey to a favorite black tea base. Glad I was able to try it though and the next pot will be a sipdown! Happy Monday, ya’ll. :)
I discovered today that this tea really shines with a dash of honey. Now that’s a good cuppa!
I also found golden tips towards the lower part of the 50g bag. I shook it up and it looks much more like the sample pictured on the website than my initial trials did. Happy weekend! :)