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.

Flavors: Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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.

N’est-ce pas??!!!!!

Flavors: Chestnut

3 min, 0 sec 4 g 15 OZ / 443 ML

Mais oui, bien sur!

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nighttime suns are stars
light and shadow intersect
dreams are memories


Ooooooh, I really like this haiku!


I agree. Really nice.


Thank you, ashmanra and Cheri!

carol who

Love your haikus!


Thank you, carol who! ;-)


this is the best you’ve done as of yet


Thank you, apt!


I agree with apt :)

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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.

Flavors: Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

I love this tea, and it will be on sale soon. Hooray! For I am presently out of it! I actually prefer this one to the pricier Superfine Downy Jasmine Dragon Pearls.


I do too, ashmanra! I was worried that there was something wrong with me… I guess that we’re just lucky! :-)

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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

165 °F / 73 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 g 8 OZ / 236 ML

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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…

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 4 g 10 OZ / 295 ML

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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!

Flavors: Jasmine

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 15 sec 5 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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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

205 °F / 96 °C 4 min, 0 sec 4 g 17 OZ / 502 ML

ahhh! Bailin Gongfu Black by Teavivre is one i have been dying to try! any sort of dark (or rye) bread notes i love in teas…glad to see u like this one. although the caramel notes of Golden Monkey sound tempting as well. my only experience with GM was Teavana’s (more a matter of convenience), which i found lacking in all the wonderful notes you mention so…i must try from other places. i think the only way to remedy this curiosity is to go on a tea tasting/sampling/buying rampage! ;) in the end we may all float away, but it will have been worth it…


Pyarkaaloo, yes, I heartily enjoin you to step up the sampling! Carpe diem!

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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!

170 °F / 76 °C 3 min, 15 sec 7 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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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.

185 °F / 85 °C 5 min, 0 sec 7 g 20 OZ / 591 ML

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Update: 28 September 2014.

On the above date, I officially went on strike and stopped posting tasting notes at Steepster, having endured more than two months of this site’s complete and utter dysfunctionality.

Today is November 1, 2014. I write now to announce that I’ll be launching my new blog, sherapop’s tea leaves, in the not too distant future…

A long-time tea and perfume lover, I have recently begun to explore the intersections between the two at my blog: http://salondeparfum-sherapop.blogspot.com//

I participate at fragrance community websites, and I care about tea as much as perfume, so why not belong to Steepster as well?

A few words about my ratings. In assessing both teas and perfumes, my evaluation is “all things considered.” Teas do not differ very much in price (relative to perfumes or any luxury items), so I do not usually consider the price when rating a tea.

What I do consider is how the particular tea compares to teas of its own type. So I might give a high rating to a fine herbal infusion even though I would never say that it is my favorite TEA. But if it’s good for what it is, then it deserves a high rating. There is no point in wishing that a chamomile blend was an Assam or a sencha tea!

Any rating below 50 means that I find the liquid less desirable to drink than plain water. I may or may not finish the cup, depending upon how thirsty I am and whether there is another hot beverage or (in summertime) a source of fresh water available.

From 50 to 60 indicates that, while potable, the tea is not one which I would buy or repurchase, if I already made the mistake (I have learned) of purchasing it.

From 60 to 70 means that the tea is drinkable but I have criticisms of some sort, and I probably would not purchase or repurchase the tea as I can think of obvious alternatives which would be better.

From 70 to 80 is a solid brew which I would purchase again.

From 80 to 90 is good stuff, and I probably need to have some ready at hand in my humble abode.

From 90 to 100 is a tea (or infusion) which I have come to depend on and look forward to imbibing again and again—if possible!

If you are interested in perfume, you might like my 2300+ perfume reviews, most of which have been archived at sherapop’s sillage (essentially my perfumelog):



Somerville, Massachusetts, USA



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