1371 Tasting Notes
I’ve no business adding any more Yin Hao to my cupboard, as I have an ample supply of Tazo’s. Nonetheless, I am taking up this sample from Teavivre today to determine whether it’s really possible to have too much jasmine scented tea!
This variety appears to use a higher quality green tea base, hence the silver leaves interspersed with the other dark green spindly ones. I am assuming that those are not jasmine flowers but tea leaves, though I could be wrong.
The liquor brews up pale green, becoming more golden as it sits a bit, and the flavor is quite rich in jasmine. The texture is also good, but I’m not sure that, all things considered, I’d buy this one before the jasmine dragon pearls, which also offer a beautiful unveiling ceremony!
For a simpler, more puritanical jasmine green, this one is certainly good.
I have not really gotten a grip on all of the various Long JIngs available chez Teavivre. This one, the Premium, I brewed up today and am now scratching my head at my last review. Maybe I was having a bad tea day? That happens, of course… It’s also possible that I underleafed or underheated.
Today’s batch was nutty and slightly sweet and very appealing and smooth. It’s time to increase my rating. In order to adjudicate all of these fine Long Jing offerings, I probably need to just break down and order a full bag of each, so that I can do some serious steep-offs chez sherapop.
I was late to the Jasmine Dragon Pearls party (where have you been all my life????), but I’m making up for lost time. These beautiful specimens from Teavivre are very nice indeed. I love the uniform size and the silver striations of the dried pearls, the gorgeous unrolling of the leaves during infusion, and above all the taste! They were already on my “to stock” list, but tonight we are reaffirming our vows.
I’ve been noticing that my fear of oversteeping Japanese teas has been carrying over to China greens, which I seem to be systematically understeeping and underheating. Instead of 73C, I now believe that I should be using closer to 79C, in order to extract all of the goodness, especially in a case such as these tightly rolled dragon pearls. They need a bit of a push in order to unfurl. I suppose that the less they unfurl in the first infusion, the more flavor there will be in the second infusion, but I’m going to try to aim for 79C from now on for China greens, since this temperature is giving me consistently better brews. I still believe that 85C is too high, though it is a frequently prescribed temperature on packaging.
The smooth succulence of this tea is a joy to experience. I do believe that I prefer jasmine green to white because of the flavor imparted by the base tea.
In a side-by-side comparison of this Xin Yang Mao Jian with Teavivre’s Lu Shan Yun Wu, the heartier, more robust and darker green flavor of the Mao Jian really came through. This tea is much closer to Wissotzky Signature Green (in sachets), which I fell for a while back. In contrast, the Lu Shan Yun Wu is like a cross between Long Jing and Bi Luo Chun. Well, sort of… I am quite sure that the profound distinctions between all of these teas would emerge in side-by-side brewings!
The flavors of today’s two teas are certainly very distinct, though the liquors did not differ that much in appearance. The Xin Yang Mao Jian was gold veering more brown than green, which I ascribe to the more cooked quality of the tea. I also noticed that the infused leaves look neat and tidy in the case of Lu Shan Yu Wu, but sort of disheveled and chaotic for the Mao Jian. The dried leaves in both cases looked well-groomed, with the Lu Shan Yu Wu having especially attractive little corkscrew shapes.
Mao Jian is another case, like Bancha in Japan, where the later crop is generally considered to be less desirable than the first flush—Mao Feng in the former and Sencha in the latter case. I find, however, that second flush teas (and this applies equally well to darjeelings in India!) have their own distinctive appeal. I don’t necessarily prefer a tea just because it is harder to come by.
In conclusion, Xin Yang Mao Jian goes on my shopping list, too!
Flavors: Green Beans
I finally realized that I have been underleafing and perhaps also underheating Lu Shan Yun Wu. With the remains of my sample packet, nearly 4 grams, I decided to brew only one glass and at a higher temperature. The result is excellent!
The liquor is greenish gold and the flavor rich and succulent. It is less green tasting and closer to chestnuts and artichoke hearts. The flavor is slightly sweet, so perfect for nonsavory meals. I ate a pedestrian midday meal of shredded wheat drowned in almond-coconut milk, and this worked tea well as a follow-up. (I typically drink my green tea right after, not during, a meal.) I’ll probably be restocking this tea at the imminent Teavivre sale…
The clock is ticking away to the Teavivre 3rd Anniversary Sale. My mission: to evaluate every tea on the list which also happens to be in my possession (I have received two generous gift sample sets and purchased a few more…) before the sale begins. Easier said than done, I realize, having espied the resplendent festivities to come. So many beautiful teas, which ones to buy????
Of course, the easiest solution to this “problem” would be to fill my shopping cart with … well … everything on the list! Instead, I am opting for a more moderate, rational approach. I’m definitely buying a jasmine tea. But which one will it be?
In contention for sherapop’s first full bag purchase of a jasmine tea from Teavivre is this lovely Jasmine Silver Needle White Tea. The dried tea is very attractive, with fuzzy silver haired buds and some full-on flowers thrown into the mix, though it is clear that the tea has been imbued with jasmine scent by the traditional technique.
The liquor is pale green, and I enjoyed watching the infusion in a glass pot. The buds float and bob about so peacefully. The flavor is naturally jasmine, through two essentially equal infusions (so far). For a pure jasmine experience, this tea may be the best choice. But I believe that I prefer the green tea base in the two jasmine pearl varieties, which I have already tried. This is good though, no doubt about that. Can I manage somehow to squeeze into my schedule a few steep-offs chez sherapop??
So many splendid teas to choose from, so little time!
Am I imagining this, or is Teavivre Bailin Gongfu Black Tea related in some way to Golden Monkey? Upon opening my sample packet and catching a whiff, I thought immediately of Golden Monkey. The dried leaves do not have as many golden tips, and the tea seems to be less powdery, but the scent is definitely close.
The liquor brews up dark amber and also tastes similar to Golden Monkey. It’s a bit less sweet, and does not remind me so much of unsweetened caramel, but there is definitely overlap. To me, this Bailin Gongfu evokes memories of the dark crust of a light bread. So no rye, but a darker cooked wheat flavor.
The second infusion was just as good as the first. I usually do not reinfuse black teas, but it works with Golden Monkey, so I figured that I’d try it with this tea as well—especially given its name!
This tea is a winner. I drank it au naturel and am already craving another glass! On my wishlist…
Flavors: Baked Bread
This was my second batch of Teavivre Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng, and today I decided to up the leafage to see what effect that would have on the flavor.
Predictably, the liquor was darker in color—albeit still light golden yellow—and the flavor was richer and had more texture, too. I noticed that many reviewers have found this tea to be too subtle, and my hunch is that they may have underleafed a bit, which is easy to do in this case if one measures by volume not weight. With more dried tea in the pot, the flavor does seem more robust to me. However, it is still fairly delicate and probably best suited to true connoisseurs. Which makes sense, of course, since this is the nonpareil…
The lovely infused leaves are a bright and cheery shade of light green!
Well, it turns out that I don’t have an oolong sensitivity after all. But it’s nice that I was given hope many months ago by this Adagio Zodiac Series blend, Leo. The base tea is oolong—it looks to be TQY, but it is buttressed with loads of other stuff. Not like the Teavana foody “trail mix” blends, but herbal infusion stuff, such as chamomile, safflower, orange peel, and what not.
It’s a nice and vibrant oolong blend. My tin was somewhat faulty—and I also happen to feel that this particular design precludes a hermetic seal even when fully functional—so I transferred what remains of my supply into a small (half pint) clamp jar. It presents a sort of kaleidoscopic image when one rotates the jar, what with all of the shapes and sizes and colors of leaves.
The liquor is orange, orange, orange! That’s the safflower talking there. This is one of only two safflower-heavy blends I’ve tried. In both cases, I find the flavor of the safflower to be very detectable and likable, in addition to unique. Really nothing else tastes like safflower.
I drank this two-cup glass pot (glass so that I could watch the oolong striptease), right after dinner. I had been wanting to brew up some oolong but was afraid that there would be too much caffeine, so I decided to go for this half herbal/half oolong blend. It’s good. I know of nothing else that tastes like this. The orange and the safflower are dominant flavors on top of the oolong, but if I concentrate, I also can perceive the chamomile.