256 Tasting Notes
This was yet another generous free sample from Teavivre.
I’ve spent the day drinking this and really enjoying it. Upon opening the packet I was hit by a waft of hay and spice. The dry leaf looked to be in large pieces if not whole leaves. Upon steeping the leaves turned green and it became clear that my initial impression was correct. The liquor was a light amber colour and gave off a floral aroma, like orchids. The taste was light and yet full, being peppery with fruity rum and raisin notes. I got little in the way of astringency, except when the cats distracted me by demanding attention and I steeped it for a tad too long. Even that was pleasant and left a peppery aftertaste on the tongue. It has lasted me all day, amounting to about twelve steeps, so the tea has pretty good legs. Overall, this is a good tea that I would be happy to drink more of. Good job I have a second sample pack, eh? I might try the next packet at a higher temperature and with a longer steeping time to see how that fares, given that Teavivre recommends 100 degrees C and a steep time of 5 to 10 minutes. Yes, 5 to 10 minutes! That seems like an awfully long time when I am in the habit of brewing shengs for 10-15 seconds at a time.
Flavors: Black Pepper, Hay, Orchid, Raisins, Rum, Spices
I’ve been drinking the Meng Ba Na after a long break from it. These days I find myself less enamoured of shupu but this is a solid drink that I got at a decent price. It is round in flavour and full-bodied in texture. The dominant notes are wood and peach, giving it an earthy taste that is quite filling. I am quite pleased that I bought several bricks of it when I had the chance, because it seems to be developing nicely in storage, despite my lack of careful curation.
Flavors: Peach, Wet Wood
I bought a large packet of this ages ago and it has lasted well. The jasmine scent is not as strong as it was when I bought the tea, but it still makes a great light drink for after my morning coffee on a Sunday. It’s light, delicately scented, slightly sweet and generally good. I still think this is the best jasmine tea I have had, and I love that I can brew it in a mug by just dropping pearls into it and drinking as I go along. I guess it’s a variant on grandpa-ing the tea.
This was another free sample from Teavivre for which I must thank the lovely Angel.
I broke the first tuo in half to use it and it broke down into teeny tiny pieces. Based on this experience, I left the second one whole. One of the things I like about these tuos is that they come wrapped individually in paper wrappers. The designs on these wrappers (and indeed for most puerhs) have a strong aesthetic appeal for me.
As mentioned, the tuo broke down into teeny tiny pieces when I picked it apart. As it brewed, it became clear that it was largely chopped leaf and that there were quite a few sticks in there too. I did not expect any whole leaf really, because it is a mini tuo.
The dry leaf is honey-sweet and woody. As it brews, a smokiness in the aroma comes to the fore, and the leaf proves to be green. The liquor is yellow-ish green. I found it a tad milky instead of being completely clear, even after a couple of washings.
I liked the lightness and creaminess of this tea. It has floral and vegetal notes to it with a slight astringency that could be ameliorated by shorter steeps. This gives it a thick mouthfeel that is refreshing at the same time. There’s honey in the aftertaste with a wee nip at the end of it. The empty cup smells strongly of honey after drinking too.
For a tuo this is pretty good, although not top of my list of shengs, but then I have been spoilt by tasting some really good shengs in the past!
Flavors: Floral, Honey, Smoke, Vegetal, Wood
This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you and sorry for taking so long to write it up.
So, hello, Steepster. Remember me? I stopped coming around over the past few months. I’ve still been drinking tea, but I have not written up any of the notes I made. Time to rectify that problem.
This is a really fresh smelling leaf with a smell of warm hay. The leaves are soft and fuzzy. The liquor is almost clear. There is a fresh sweetness to it that is really lovely, like a cucumber sandwich on a hot summer’s day, or a good melon. The warmth of the hay comes through in the liquor too, with a balanced savoury sweetness that makes the tea both refreshing and moreish. This is a tea that belongs in my cupboard.
Flavors: Creamy, Cucumber, Hot hay, Melon
This was a free sample from Teavivre. Thank you.
I opened the sample packet and tipped out a pile of autumn leaves. Honestly, I have never seen tea that looked so natural and unprocessed, well, apart from the obvious compression on bits of it. The leaves were brown, dry and very light in my hands. The only difference from the stuff in my garden is that these smell of honey and possibly apricots. Something fruity like that. I looked at the brewing guidelines and paused. White tea at 100C? That can’t be right. And brew it for 6-10 minutes? Surely some mistake. I checked the website. No, it was right. I had better try it at that temperature and steeping time in the first instance. I opted for a mid-range 8 minutes and watched with concern as the liquor got darker and darker. When the timer went off, the tea was a dark amber colour, more like a black tea than a white one. The honey aroma was still there though along with the fruitiness. I really need to sort out a reference collection for fruit and veg so that I can compare the teas with the collection. I’ll add it to the to-do list, right alongside getting a round to-it. I’m rambling now. Back to the tea.
I sipped with trepidation. My concerns were quickly allayed and I thought to myself “Crikey, that’s really jolly good.” It is sweet and honeyed with a touch of cinnamon and a side order of grapes. Unlike some white teas I have had, it is not cloying or too thick. Instead it is clean and smooth with a creamy consistency. The aftertaste is sweet and tingling and I can feel a slight cha qi present that is slightly relaxing. All these good things continue through the next couple of steeps too. I’ll struggle to work today between the relaxing nature of this tea and the loudly purring kitten next to me just begging to be petted.
Top job, Teavivre. Yet another good tea that I have enjoyed.
Flavors: Cinnamon, Grapes, Honey
The leaves on this tea are huge. I had to ram them hard into my pot, a but like getting the spaghetti into the pan of boiling water. The liquor brews up a dark peach colour with a lightly fruity, mellow flavour. There’s something floral in the aftertaste and slight astringency develops shortly after swallowing. It’s a nice tea and quite relaxing. I’m on steep eight now and only up to 30 second steeps, so it seems to have decent endurance too.
Yay, I’m back on Steepster. For some reason Chrome seems to hate it these days and it is causing me problems. Hey ho! So, for today’s tea I am drinking this 2012 Qiu Yun. It’s good. The leaf smells of sweet, fresh hay and the leaves are big. I had to jam them into my pot! The taste is fruity, rounded and sweet. The aftertaste is tingly with apricot or peach notes. It leaves me salivating and citrussy for ages afterwards. Yes, this tea literally makes me drool! ;) I certainly recommend it.
Flavors: Apricot, Hay, Sweet
I’m drinking the 2007 You Le Shan today and finding it rather disappointing. I bought this as part of a package of samples from Zhi Zheng when they still had a webshop and I have quite enjoyed the previous samples. This one, unfortunately, does not impress. The light hay aroma of the dry leaf is pleasant and encouraging although perhaps a touch faded. Is this the warning I should have heeded? The liquor is dark straw coloured and the first sips have the promised pleasing bitterness to them but when that fades, there is a light sweetness and little more left to the tea. I have used most of the sample pack now and experimented with duration and temperature, but to no avail. This is not a bad tea by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t find myself wanting to spit it out and cremate its remains to avenge my offended taste buds. Instead I just find myself drinking it and going “yes, it’s smooth and mellow but also watery and insipid.” It has no body and I cannot feel the promised cha qi. Basically, I find it bland and unexciting. Perhaps it is something in me and my brewing set up, or perhaps this sample was past its best. Who knows? Ah well, I can at least grandpa the rest and move on to pastures new . I shall step out on the pu path with this new awareness secured in my mind and face the next tea tomorrow.