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956 Tasting Notes

90

Tea of the morning…….

This one is getting close to the bottom of the tin. Too bad I can’t replace it, but there are so many other black teas out there that are also complex and wonderful! In a way, it is a good thing, because it will make room for more tea!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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92

Tea of the afternoon…..

I have been checking out all of the produce markets in my area, and to my surprise, one of them stocks a few Steven Smith teas. Score! I was so hoping this was among their offerings, because I am a sucker for a good Earl. Or, I guess it is a Lord for this blend! It has been on my list because my picks for Earl Grey seem to line up pretty well with what LiberTEAs likes in an Earl, and this was one of her favorites. This is the first I have had with an Assam in the base. I quite like this. I can tell a good amount of effort was put into this blend so that the bergamot does not overpower the base, nor the bergamot get lost in the heartiness of the tea base. Could it be in my favorites? Quite possibly. And I have 14 more sachets to figure it out! I will have to check out the other Steven Smith teas I can get locally. (Mustard Seed Market for those in the area…)

Travel mug method…..boiling water, about 14 oz, one individually wrapped sachet (unwrapped, of course!), 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened. YUM!

Preparation
4 min, 0 sec
Autumn Hearth

Oh, nice! Will have to make a trip to the Mustard Seed next time I visit my sister.

Dylan Oxford

I just went and looked up this guys website. I like the boxes his tea comes in, how sad is that? I guess sometimes it’s all about presentation…

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88

Tea of the afternoon……

From ScottTeaman. (Thank you!)

I notice fruit notes, and an overall brightness. I knew that Darjeelings were brighter tasting teas than your typical blacks. In a way, I kind of liken this as the un-black tea. You know, kind of like Sprite is the un-cola….. It really is its own category even though I do think it is classified as a black tea.

The fruit notes are of apricots and citrus, and there might be slight floral notes of flowers that are sweet like gardenia. I can enjoy drinking this without additions, which makes me want to investigate Darjeelings further. Thank you, Scott!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 45 sec
LadyLondonderry

I have been thinking about making Darjeelings my next black tea to explore, probably during the summer months. Last summer I waded into Ceylons and ended up finding some that I loved, so perhaps there are a few Darjeelings out there with my name on them! (Of course, if I order them from Upton, they’ll definitely have my name on them … ;-))

SimplyJenW

You are so right that Upton is the place for Indian teas. I have heard it is where they really shine. And yes, they can have any name on them that you want! ;)

LadyLondonderry

I read that, too, though I love many of their Chinese teas just as much. Today I received my order with a fresh supply of the organic China Black FOP - I was starting to feel quite deprived without it in my cupboard. Of course, I ordered some Kenilworth Ceylon and Daisajan Assam while I was at it.:)

LadyLondonderry

The system must have done something weird with that last comment, because I certainly didn’t format it with a strike-through in the last sentence!

SimpliciTEA

Surrounding the text with the ‘-’ character does that, as in strikethrough

This post may help http://steepster.com/discuss/1894-how-to-use-text-formatting-symbols-formatting-can-be-fun

LadyLondonderry

Thanks, SimpliciTEA! In this case it was purely accidental, but it’s good to know these formatting tricks. :-)

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88

Tea of the afternoon……

And my last sample to review from Teavivre from my Steepster tasting activity. I do have a few samples of their new teas in my most recent order, so there will be a few more reviews to come. Again, I am very appreciative of this chance, and it has really changed my views on green tea and pu’erh. I was pretty much only a fan of black teas and the occasional oolong prior to this.

I had to try this one a few times before I could really put it into words. The lighter teas are subtle, and they require just a little more time to test. I agree with others that the first scent of the dry leaves is of fresh hay. The leaves are long, very light sage green and covered with a downy fuzz. The brew is a pale yellow. The flavor gives light hints of hay, melon, and cucumber (I agree on this one KS!). I brewed it a second time, and it almost seemed a little bit more intense than the first steep. I did steep a little longer, and I guess the leaves were primed and ready to give up their true flavors. While I am not usually a drinker of white tea, I did like this one enough to order some! Even though it is on the pricey side, the resteepability makes this one within a range I am comfortable spending on a quality tea.

Mug method, 175 water, 2 perfect tsp tea (the entire sample bag), 2 minutes first steep, 3 minutes second steep. No additions.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
K S

makes me nervous to write cucumber notes. It sounds too weird but it tastes sooo good!

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90

Tea of the afternoon…..

I this is the last Teavivre sample I have to taste, but I have one more than this to review. Then I will probably be going through my samples to put an order together. In general, I am thoroughly impressed with the tea I have received from this company. Thank you so much to TeaVivre for the opportunity to try the samples. I know I sound like a broken record, but I greatly appreciate their approach to tea, as well as the quality I can purchase for the price.

Onto the tea. This one is very good. The leaves are green like you would expect with a green oolong. The brew is light yellow with only a hint of green. The vegetal notes are light. There is definitely a hint of butter and a creamy, heavy mouthfeel. Yum. I really like this one. I think I need some soon, but I need to go back to my Tie Guan Yin for a cup just to see how it compares.

Mug method, 2 minutes, 175 degree water. No additions.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
SimplyJenW

Yeah. I caved and ordered it…..

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95

Tea of the afternoon……

And I brewed a whole pot. Yes, I am feeling like I want to hoover any chocolate in the house, so I was trying to think of what would be decadent enough to distract me. A whole pot of this won.

There are notes of caramel, malt, chocolate, and caramelized sweet potatoes. Very complex and very good!

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Azzrian

Okay now that sounds amazing! Another to my shopping list!

ashmanra

Can I have your chocolate?

SimplyJenW

All the chocolate I have is in chip form (for baking) or disc form (for making candy/chocolate covered pretzels), but I was ready to attack it anyway. The tea totally worked, and I did not touch the chocolate! I need to do this more often. (Next time it will be Keemun Mao Feng).

ashmanra

LOL! I have an embarrassing amount of chocolate! When I found out that Tin Roof Teas does a monthly tea flight and pairs the last one with carefully selected chocolate, my eyes went like this O.O

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88

Tea of the late afternoon……

I have not been very good at getting to my samples, lately. There are still issues with my Dad’s health (far away from me) so my mind is a little distracted. I just have to wait for the right time to try something new so that it has my full attention for several minutes, rather than just fixing a stand by when I know my mind is not on the tea.

This one was sent to my by ScottTeaMan. He sent me a very nice sampling of things I am very excited to try. There is this one and a few Darjeelings of which I have not tasted any, really, unless you count Harney’s Viennese Earl Grey. I think it hardly counts as it is not an unflavored variety. Anyway, thanks so much Scott for sharing your tea!

Ahhhh. I really like this. I know there are several kinds of tea in this, and really, not one of them stands out. That is as it should be in a good blend. All of the flavors should work together to make a great cuppa. And this is a great cuppa. You know when you take a sip and you just feel your body relax. To me, this is the power of tea. It has the power to bring me back to a state of balance. I really wish I could tell you what this one tastes like more specifically……maybe on the next cup.

Usual mug method.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
gmathis

Sorry to hear you’re still dealing with dad’s health. Hope the moments of peace and calm start multiplying soon.

SimplyJenW

Thank you, GG! I think what he has now is an infection from the initial hospital stay….. I think he is definitely on the right track, but every once in a while, the distance makes it more confusing than it needs to be. His wife has been great at trying to keep us posted through the whole thing. (my mother passed about 13 years ago..)

CHAroma

I’m so sorry to hear about your father. My prayers go out to you and your family, and I wish him a speedy recovery.

Cheryl

Long distance worrying is the worst. Hoping it all gets better soon!

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96

Tea of the afternoon…….

..with a little change. I almost always drink my black teas with a little Splenda. I know it is not the greatest choice, but I do revisit healthier sweeteners from time to time (honey, stevia, etc.), and they all have a weird taste to me. I am also trying to shift my tastes away from sweet things and eat a more plant based, whole food diet. Fewer chemicals in the diet has to be a good thing. After drinking this tea yesterday, I remembered having it without additions for my first sampling. Today, I decided to try it plain again. I think this will work. I do still get the cocoa notes, but it is a little more malty without adding sweetener.

Usual teapot method. No additions.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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96

Tea of the morning……

Just a double check that this one is as good as Gong Fu Black (which is organic) from Zhi Tea. Yes, this works as a substitute for me! I have not tried TeaVivre’s organic version of this tea, but I am guessing it is very similar. Yum. The tea I love at a cost I can live with drinking it everyday.

Usual teapot method.

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
teawing

I had to get my Teavivre sample of this out thanks to you…
I like it too, I steeped mine in a gaiwan. It actually re-steeps well for a black tea…

LadyLondonderry

Thanks for doing the comparison, Jen!

Dinosara

Hoping to get some gong fu black(s) here in China, though of course they won’t be easily replaceable. :)

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86

Tea of late yesterday morning…….

This one I have had to think on a bit. The leaves are very interesting looking with the green that you would expect from a green tea, and a little bit of white fluffiness thrown in that makes it very pretty to look at. I brewed it up at about 175 for just a minute, even though I usually steep greens for at least two. I must have been worried about this one being a little strong. One should not worry so much, as the tea was light and refreshing. It brewed up a lightly vegetal green, but there were definitely floral notes. It is lighter than an oolong like tie gwan yin, but kind of along those lines. It also is not near the amount of floral you would get in something with a jasmine scent, but it is definitely there.

I am not usually a drinker of green beyond Dragonwell or flavored senchas. However, this was good. I definitely see some in my future at some point, as I am really trying to explore green things in my life, even beyond tea. Thank you to TeaVivre for this sample, and again, opening my eyes to how wonderful green tea can be!

ashmanra

Did you try the Chun Mee? I thought I wasn’t really going to like it, and now I miss it so badly! I really need to place another order soon!

SimplyJenW

I did not get a sample of the Chun Mee. I still have Dong Ding and the Silver Tip White to go….. I am also swimming in Dragonwell at the moment (over 100 grams left), and I am kind of waiting for the new crop….

ashmanra

Ooo, let me now how the Dong Ding is! I am loving my Tung Ting…just finished a whole pot!

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Profile

Bio

Tea enthusiast, trying to keep up my cardio for the zombie apocalypse. I have come to accept that I am a western brewing black tea drinker as that is where my ‘tea heart’ lies. I started on loose leaf as a way to have my dessert and not suffer the caloric issues. Once I tried it, I was hooked.

I drink what I like, which is mostly China blacks, a few traditionally scented blacks and Earl Greys, plus a flavored tea here and there. I don’t mind spending a bit on premium varieties on occasion, but an expensive tea has to deliver. My favorite places to order are Harney & Sons and Upton Tea Imports. TeaVivre is great for Chinese tea.

My ratings are pretty subjective. If it falls under 70, I may not take the time to post about it unless I had something specific to say. If it is 70-80 I like it, but I will probably not rebuy. Favorites are over 80 and up, but sometimes the less expensive or more easily obtainable version of a similar taste will win out for my cupboard space.

Usual teapot steeping method: 24 oz teapot, 3 perfect scoops of tea (4 1/2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual mug steeping method: 15 oz mug, 1.5 perfect scoops of tea (just over 2 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, 4 minutes. Lightly sweetened.

Usual pan method: 1 1/2 cups water, 2 perfect tsp chai (3 actual tsp). Simmer for 3 minutes. Add 2/3 cup skim milk. Simmer for 2 more minutes. Strain and sweeten.

Usual pitcher method:
5 or 6 Perfect Spoons of tea (this means about 7-9 actual tsp), freshly boiled water, brewed essentially double-strong in my 24 oz teapot for 4 minutes. Fill my Fiestaware Disc pitcher (about 60 oz.) halfway with ice. Add brewed double-strong tea to the pitcher. Stir it a little and enjoy. No additions.

(*SRP is my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan starting on April 12, 2012. I got so far, but just decided it was too fussy to keep track.)

Location

Ohio

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