288 Tasting Notes
I bought some samples from Zhi Zheng a month or so ago, as a result of the ongoing discussion on the puerh of the day thread. Fortunately, I was able to sneak them into the house without comment on the part of my better half. This is the first one that I have opened, because I have had a cold for the past seven or eight weeks, so my palate has been rather poor. I wanted to save them for when I could taste them, and decided that today was the day. So, into the pot with the leaves.
The leaves are quite loose in the block that the sample came in. They are also large and there is a slight tobacco smell to them when dry. The wet leaf has a dark, slightly earthy aroma. The liquor is amber in colour and I struggle to pin down what the aroma is. I think my nose is still not at its best! The tea itself is smooth and calming. It has a rounded mouthfeel with a slight edge of bitterness/astringency that only briefly makes itself felt, settling down to a very relaxing brew. I’m on my sixth cup now and it is still going strong. I think I may be drinking this for the rest of the day.
I bought some of these because mrmopar wrote about them and I thought they looked just too cool for words. The price was pretty reasonable too. Anyway, they arrived this morning and I am now sipping one.
The blurb says to steep on plait in a cup of boiling water for a minute. I opted to set my kettle to just below boiling and threw one plait into a 200ml pot. I left it for two minutes because the liquor was so pale and I thought it should have time to develop a bit. Then I started to worry that I had overdone it, so I poured and sipped. The liquor is actually a very pale green. The wet leaf smells strongly of honey. The tea itself hits me with a smoky edge first followed by the citrus flavour. It’s good. It does not scream puerh to me, but it is a very drinkable tea. I shall now have to experiment with this one a bit more to see what else I can get from it.
More nuggets of oolongy goodness from Teavivre. Thank you for the free sample.
My first thought on opening this was that it had a really thick heady floral aroma, like a tropical garden heavy with scent. The wet leaf was not as strong, but the liquor carried this aroma through big time. It’s a thick brew too, sweet and light but strongly floral. There are notes of peach in there, trying to make themselves felt, and the sweetness of the whole tea lasts well on the tongue. The oolong is also there in the background, but I felt it was drowned too much by the osmanthus. I can certainly see why people would like this tea, but it is not really to my taste. I could imagine drinking it when the mood was on me, but not on a regular basis. That does not mean this is a bad tea. Far from it. As usual, you can taste the quality from Teavivre, but alas my palate prefers the unflavoured oolongs.
Another free sample from the ever generous Teavivre. Thank you once more.
Like the others I have written notes on, this oolong is curled up into dark green balls that open up to become dark green whole leaves in the pot. There is something really quite lovely about the appearance of all these unfurled leaves filling my glass teapot. You would think there was no room for water with the way they unfurl.
The aroma is immediately floral and slightly milky. The liquor is dark yellow with a hint of green. It is sweet-tasting, like honeysuckle but thicker and with a creamy mouthfeel and that floral aroma emerges in the tasting too. This is a very refreshing tea and not too demanding. It sits comfortably with you in silence rather than requiring you to pay constant attention to it (yes, Tibetan Flame, I am thinking of you). I find it quite relaxing too, as my body takes it on board and decides that the stresses of the day are not equal to the stressbusting powers of this tea. This could be an everyday tea for me. I enjoy the sweetness and I do not feel compelled to try to get to the bottom of every flavour in the cup. Good stuff.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you once more.
I love the look of the olive green tea nuggets in this sample. They look great and smell a bit milky when dry, then they unfurl in the pot as I steep them. It makes me happy that I mainly use a glass teapot, not that that stops me wanting a lovely celadon teapot and more Yixing teapots, of course!
The milky aroma turns to cream when I steep the leaves with strong floral overtones. All this promises something good, and the tea does not disappoint. The roasted flavour is there, but delicate and not overdone. It complements the floral undertones that are present, but you need to search for them. This is a very full, thick tea that is less sweet than I thought it might be. This is good. Too much sweetness alongside the other flavours would probably just be too much. I like this tea.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
I like Alishan, so I was really pleased to be sent this for review. I had a friend round for games last night (yes, I am a gamer), so I made a pot for both of us to see how he, a non-tea drinker, enjoyed it.
Upon opening the packet I was faced with little dark green nuggets of tea leaf. They had a slightly milky aroma to them. Upon steeping they opened up to fill the pot with huge leaves, some with large bits of stalk still attached. It’s a wonder there was still space in the pot for water! Did I mention that the leaves are huge and whole? Beautiful.
As the hot water hit the leaves, a waft of honeysuckle sweet oolong smell filled the room. The tasting notes from Teavivre mention gardenia scent. I’m going to have to sniff some gardenias for comparison. Whatever, the scent is brilliant. It’s sweet and floral and brings to mind all the good things about a springtime garden.
Drinking the tea, I was most struck by the creaminess of it all. It was smooth, sweet and clean, but also round and creamy. It brought to mind sipping nectar from honeysuckle, when I was a child. The sweetness extended into the aftertaste, which was great while it lasted, although I did not find it endured as much as other teas. The tea itself was also very relaxing. I felt very much at peace after drinking it. If you like floral, full-bodied teas, then I think this one is for you. Well, it’s for me, anyway.
Oh, and my friend? He said that I had spoiled him with a really great tea. Job done, I think.
I received another parcel of samples from Teavivre yesterday. This is the first one I picked out to write about. Thank you, Teavivre.
The dry leaf is amazing. It is dark green and looks like little twisty shavings of green. It also smells amazing, a really strong and enticing vegetal smell that is a little reduced when it has been steeped. The liquor is a delicate light green colour, again with the vegetal aroma. Perhaps spinach or green beans? It’s certainly something like that. Then comes the real surprise. I was expecting something strong with a hefty kick but the first couple of sips were incredibly delicate instead. It was only as the tea cooled that the flavour developed more towards what I expected. The liquor was heavy but sweet and the nutty element came out as I continued to drink. It was sweet with a lovely slightly spicy aftertaste. Another good one from Teavivre.
There’s no mistaking this beeng cha for anything but a sheng. It has that familiar aroma that I no longer associate with anything but sheng puerh. This carries over into the wet leaf and the liquor. The leaves are large and the beeng is quite loose, making it easy to pick apart, while retaining whole leaves. The liquor is a lovely rich golden yellow colour that really reminds me of nothing so much as a sample! Still, it is one worth drinking!!
The tea itself is quite mild. I suspect I should have brewed it for longer, and I shall try that with the next steeping. It is smooth and sweet with only a slight bitterness, and the real flavour develops on the tongue after swallowing. There is an edge of camphor to the aftertaste, a slightly prickly dryness on the tongue, and an enduring sweetness on my breath. It is really jolly good. I can feel my body cooling and relaxing as I drink it, and the enduring aftertaste enhances that experience. There is a lot going on with this tea and I am really enjoying it.
The last of my free samples from Teavivre. Thank you.
I have high expectations of Teavivre, because the quality of their teas always seems high, even when it is teas that are not to my personal taste, so I approached this tea with pleasure.
The silver and dark green leaves are a pleasant aesthetic change from the flat leaves of the Long Jings that I have had recently. They smell vegetal, or of beans perhaps. There seems to be a bit of hay in there too. When steeped the wet leaf has a slightly savoury aroma, and the liquor, which is a dark yellow, transmutes that aroma to a thick, buttery, beany one.
Tasting the tea, I am struck by the thickness of the liquor too. It feels more like eating than drinking the tea. It is definitely buttery, the beans disappear from the taste and a new fruitiness emerges with a spicy aftertaste that lingers on the tongue. The sweetness lasts for a good while and I can feel myself calming down and de-stressing as I drink it. This is a ‘whole body’ tea. I just wish I could place what type of fruit it is. My expectations have been met and this is another splendid tea from Teavivre.
Free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
The bright green, flat leaves instantly tell me this is a Long Jing. The aroma of the dry leaf is grassy and pleasant like a spring meadow. Upon steeping, the aroma becomes savoury, as I would expect. It sets my taste buds tingling. The liquor is a lovely greenish yellow colour with a delicate savoury aroma. It is not as robust as others that I have tried, promising a delicate, more gentle experience. Sipping the tea I notice the nuttiness first and the warmth on my tongue. The aftertaste sparkles, for want of a better word. It is sweet and tingly. I think I prefer this to the other Long Jings that I have had. It is less ‘in ya face’ and has greater depth. The non-pareil label is definitely well-deserved.