947 Tasting Notes
Tea of the late morning……
If I had to choose one pu’erh to have in my cupboard, this would be it. When deciding how to approach the pu’erh samples sent to me by Teavivre, I decided to save the most expensive for last. Price in tea is usually a pretty good indicator of desirablilty, and in this case for me, it was very true. The price difference is enough that I would want there to be a significant taste improvement over the one with the lower cost, and this tea definitely delivers.
The smell of the dried leaf is less earthy than all of the pu’erhs I have tried (we are only talking about 7 or 8 total…), but only slightly different than the Teavivre 2007 ripened cake. I can see the golden buds in this one. The liquor is only slightly reddish, golden reddish like the 2007 cake. The taste is like you would expect from a pu’erh. Mellow, rich, slightly earthy, and this one is sweet. I am sure that is the first time I have used the word sweet in a review for a pu’erh. Kind of a note of honey which is surprising to me. I do love the mellowness and….I am going to call it the clean-ness of the 2005 Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake as well as the same from the 2007 Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-Erh Cake. Very little debris from these two even on the first rinse. Nice high quality full leaves. The liquor still has a clear quality to it rather than a murkiness I have experienced with others. And it is the sweetness of this one that has won me over.
Thank you to Teavivre for the generous samples of their pu’erh cakes. I may become a real pu’erh drinker, yet! It is good to know there are pu’erhs out there that I would enjoy. One just has to know where to shop and who to ask. Thank you for your guidance in choosing these for me to try!
Gaiwan, boiling water, roughly 1 tsp cake, 30 second rinse, 1 minute for steep #1, 1 minute for steep #2…and I am sure it will go much longer!
Tea of the morning……
I really should just call this my Franken-BreakfastBlend. It started with a little Harney & Son’s English Breakfast and Teavivre Keemun #2. Then some Upton China Panyang Congou. Then a little of my Mystery Golden Tip Assam. Then a little of Adagio’s Assam Harmony and the end of my tin of Florence (which was only about 2tsp added to about 3 oz total tea). I am almost to the place where I can’t remember what all has been added.
But….it is really good. I should probably stop adding teas and just enjoy this while I have some. Then I can start all over on a new monster….. ;)
Tea of the evening……
I have forgotten how good this is. It really is the perfect evening tea. I did have to shorten the brew time due to the fact it is a decaf and a little more finicky than a regular black tea….too long of a steep and it tends to go a little bitter,just like most decaf blacks. The vanilla and the decaf base seem to work together so well that you hardly know it is a decaf. Bliss, and part of that is knowing that this tea won’t keep me up later than need be.
Teapot method with a 3 minute steep.
Tea of the afternoon……
And courtesy of KS! (Thank you! I have been waiting to try this for a time when I no longer had a cold! It has taken a little longer than I would have liked to be on the mend, but I am mostly back to normal!)
This is really good. My first green Earl Grey. I really think the bergamot goes better with a green tea base than it does a black. And the bergamot in this one is the bright kind….so rather strong, but it works! This is great hot, but I think it would be very good iced in the summer. So refreshing. And so missing summer right about now…. I think I need some of this! Thanks again for the sample!
Second tea of the morning……
I tried this one as an afternoon tea yesterday, but it just did not go as well as it does when I have it in the morning. It must be the smokey notes of bacon! Definitely smokier than the Wild Wuyi Black I just had, and very good. I will just have to make sure I keep it as a morning tea! I am not really wanting to rehome this one, because I think it is different enough from others that I have to keep it on the shelf.
Tea of the morning……
Oh, yum! I forgot how wonderful this tea is. It is definitely a little darker and more mysterious than the gong fu blacks I have been drinking. So sad I have only about an ounce left, which is why it is not in my Steepster cupboard. I was very indulgent and made a whole pot of this! I do hope it comes back in stock at Harney some day.
I am also going though my cupboard. I have so many teas that are close, especially in the Chinese black tea category. It is time to resample and hopefully edit! I am getting close to having my flavored blacks under control, but the traditional blacks are another matter. Time to start working on another list for swap!
Backlogging tea of yesterday evening…..
I have a new batch of this! Ovation has gone to a more coarse and organic honeybush base. It is just as good as I remember, but there are not as many bits escaping my infuser basket. Chocolate notes are light, the caramel is a little more prevalent. There are also pecan pieces in the tea along with the cocoa nibs and caramel pieces. Nice and cozy on a cold winter night.
I do have to comment on Ovation’s customer service. I had a mixup in tea base, and they were very prompt in answering my email, and sending out a corrected batch. Very friendly and helpful, as well as taking care of the issue very quickly. Thank you, Melanie!
Now…..is there anyone who wants some Chocolate Pecan Rooibos? I have several ounces to spare and it is not for sale on Ovation’s website….it is a very limited offering. ;)
Tea of the evening…..
First of all, thank you to Teavivre for this sample. I have really appreciated the way their tasting activity has made me expand my comfort zone for tea.
Now that I have a gaiwan, it is much easier to test this kind of tea. I am definitely still new to pu’erh, but I have to say this has been my favorite so far. It could be that I am finally getting better at preparing it, too. Leaf smell is very earthy, but more like the garden smells when you are planting, rather than a barn! I used what roughly looked like a tsp of leaves. I rinsed them. First steep was 1 minute, second was about a minute and a half. The liquor is more golden brown that I would have expected. The other few pu’erhs I have tried definitely had more of a dark reddishness to the tea. First steep smells of hay, but tastes earthy and very mellow. Really, the taste is somewhere between strong black tea and a porter beer. My very first pu’erh tasted of dirt, but this is not anywhere near the same. Earthy and warm. It has a heavy mouthfeel, and there are no small bits of debris like I have had from lower quality tuo chas from other companies (maybe I did not rinse them very well in the beginning…like I said, my preparation has improved, too). I am drinking this after a not so healthy dinner, so it is definitely helping calm my stomach. Second steep is a little stronger due tot he longer steep, but just tastes a little more intense than the first cup.
I do find it interesting that this one seems so much more mellow than the 2010 pu’erh that I recently had from another company. I did ask Teavivre for a beginner’s pu’erh, and I do think this is a good place to start.
Tea of the afternoon…..
Yes, I am a Hot Cinnamon Junkie. I finally figured out that I would probably love this green as I am quite enamored with the black and herbal versions. Yes, this is good. The tea base is lighter than the black, a hint less rich tasting than the herbal version, but still oh so good. I am not sure how they get this to taste so sweet without adding anything, but I don’t really care. I just know I love my Hot Cinnamon Teas! There will be a pound of this one in my future. I had a friend over who tried a sample, and she loved it, too. (I sent home some of the Hot Cinnamon Spice black tea with her!)
Teapot method with about 180 water and 3 minutes.
Back logging a tea of the afternoon….
Since I am going for the stronger flavors, I decided to give this one a try. I would not say it is heavily minty, but just enough. Definitely helps with the congestion. I definitely need to try it again when I am feeling better, but this works for when I am feeling a little under the weather. Warm and refreshing.
Usual teapot method, about 185 water, 3 minutes.