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956 Tasting Notes

93

Second tea of the morning……

After my first tea of Queen Catherine from H&S, and before my third tea of Ceylon #1 from thepuriTea. Let’s face it, the kind of no-buy I need to be on relates to black teas. I needed to do one last check on the Malachi Blend to see if it truly had an edge over some of the other teas in my cupboard as a breakfast tea. The conclusion….oh, yes, at some point I need this.

The more and more I drink black tea blends, I appreciate why certain teas are put together. The parts definitely make the whole better. I do love Keemun, but there is something about the addition of the Assam in the Malachi blend that keeps it smooth while adding heartiness and a richness. I would not at all call this a brisk tea. There is no astringency. Since I am not one who likes to add milk to tea all that often, this really works for me. The Queen Catherine is more subtle, somehow, and a bit sweeter. More of an afternoon type tea for me, even though I will gladly drink it in the morning, too. There is more of a cocoa note in the Queen, and much less heartiness. As for the Ceylon #1, this tea has a bready taste. It is not what I would call hearty, either, and it has just a hint of briskness where the Malachi is all smooth. I definitely have my mind made up on the Malachi, but I seriously need to spend some time drinking the black tea I have on hand before adding to the stash. I am thinking Malachi is poundworthy for me.

Usual mug method.

Thank you, ashmanra for the sample. Alas, it is gone, but I will be buying this……

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

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82

Tea of the evening……

After my trials with the Tower of London this afternoon, I decided it was time to start testing a few of the other teas in my cupboard that have the flavors of things I am sensitive/allergic to…. For some reason this one is all right. Maybe because I do eat canned peaches every now and again? It amazes me how there are times when you think you have things figured out, and then, ‘whammy’, you really don’t.

I do remember in past steepings of this one that it helps to have a shorter and cooler steeping than I usually do with black teas. It works pretty well. I have mostly switched to honeybush or a select few rooibos blends for my evening teas as I can usually taste something off in decaf blacks. This is definitely one of the better versions of decaf black, though. Sweet peach flavor and a decent decaf black base.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Tea of the afternoon…..

For some reason this does not taste as good to me as it has in the past. The thing is, it should be a good one for me. The base is, (I think) Keemun and Yunnan. I am thinking, though, it is the stone fruit flavors. I have a weird sensitivity/allergy to fresh plums, peaches, and apricots….any of your basic stone fruits. I just did not make the connection before. It is not like I am actually reacting (the tea uses essences that have likely been heated. This pretty much denatures the proteins to which I do have an allergy, into something I can consume without issue), but the flavor is leaving me uneasy in my head. It is a feeling like I should be reacting to it, but I am not. I know. Strange. The same thing happened with a black tea with notes of walnuts because I react to raw walnuts is a very similar manner. So sad. I loved this one. I need to rehome it.

Who needs Tower of London, about 4 ounces? (US only, please…the recent international mail rate increase was kind of big…)

gmathis

Interested…(sent a PM).

SimplyJenW

The Tower has a home! :D

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91

Tea of the morning……

And the end of this sample. I think I have kind of figured out where this falls….. I think the Grade 2 is the smokiest of the three, slightly more earthy in taste, and the most astringent at the end. The Premium really has very little in the way of astringency, and is slightly smoother and more complex in that there are a few different flavor notes than Grade 1. Grade 1 and Premium are both very light on the smokiness…there is just enough so that you know you are drinking Keemun. The astringency can mostly be controlled by the amount of leaf, steep time, and steep temperature, but in similar steeping parameters, the astringency is greatest in Grade 2 and gets less as you go up in quality. Obviously, more leaf, longer time, and hotter temperature make the tea stronger, too. When I say smokey, of course the notes are light and nothing near that of a true smokey tea. In summary, the Grade 2 is essentially smokier and the Premium is smoother and more complex when compared to this one. I do think the difference in price on this one is worth it. Once my Grade 2 is gone, I am not sure if I will get this one or the Premium.

Usual teapot method…..a little light on the leaf, but for the full 4 minutes. (And it was still a little less astringent than the Grade 2 at 3 minutes….)

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
gmathis

I love your very well-thought-out and sensible comparisons. (I think I’d prefer to fill-er-up with Premium.)

looseTman

Jen, Thank you for your comprehensive TeaVivre Keemun comparison! I truly enjoy waking up with Keemun tea – something to look forward to in the morning. How long after harvesting should the Premium Keemun be consumed? Thanks!

SimplyJenW

I am no tea expert, but I generally go with 2 or three years from harvest. The great thing about TeaVivre is that they put expiration dates on everything they sell (maybe not pu’erh, but that is different.)

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89

Tea of the late afternoon…..

First of all, “Happy Friday”! I am so thankful the weekend is here. Secondly, thank you to Teavivre for sending this sample along with my first order. (I will just let you know, that I am becoming a huge fan of this company!)

The tea: I have had white teas in the past, but they have mostly been flavored versions. And I probably sweetened them, too. This is a good one because it is good all on its own, no added flavors, no need to add sweetness. It is light and has notes that are both floral and slightly vegetal. It is lighter than my favorite green tea (Premium Dragon Well), and really reminds me of Spring. A very good offering, and since I need some white tea in my life, I will order this at some point. Definitely my favorite white to date. (I have had at least 2 unflavored whites, but they did not impress me much.)

Right about now, I should be asking what Teavivre puts in their tea to make it so good! I think it is excellent, fresh tea, and excellent service.

About 3 tsp tea (it is fluffy!) in a 15 oz mug, about 180 water for 2 minutes. No additions. (I love teas that are great plain!)

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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ChOTD………

I will admit to pulling the trigger just a little too early on this one. Darn it, Teavana. The allure of the free spoon and sample, plus the super low price on the tea itself sucked me in even with the flat rate shipping tagged on. Luckily, I did not have issues with my shipment like some have recently.

I was hoping it was Mercuryhime’s beloved Spicy Chocolate from Specialteas, but I have since learned it is not. Since I ordered 8 oz of it, I have been trying to decide what to do with it. Once I took a whiff, I had my answer. Chai spice mix. I have some tea that my friends brought back from India that is pretty finely ground. The tea really reminded me of the texture of the Tipu’s Chai I had in my cupboard at one time. So, here is where my 3 Roses tea from India and Zocolatte Spice meet…..to make the perfect chocolatey and somewhat mocha-ish (from the chicory, probably) chai.

For two cups of chai, I used almost a perfect teaspoon of Brooke Bond 3 Roses Tea and 2 perfect teaspoons of Zocolatte Spice. Simmered for 3 minutes in 1 1/2 cups filtered water, added just over a half cup of skim milk and simmered for another minute and a half. Strained and then sweetened. Very tasty….and I am going to try a caffeine free version using Herbal Hot Cinnamon from Harney in place of the 3 Roses.

As a chai spice blend, I rate this as at least an 85…..

Mercuryhime

I’m rather flattered that you bought so much of it on my recommendation. But I’m also feeling kinda bad now since it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. :( I’m glad you enjoyed it though. If I had any Spicy Chocolate left, I’d share some with you so you’d know what it’s supposed to taste like.

SimplyJenW

Don’t worry about it! It really does make a great chai spice blend (have you seen the price of just the green cardamom pods?). Stay tuned for how it turns out with the Herbal Hot Cinnamon!

Mercuryhime

It was a pretty good sale. The main reason I couldnt blend it up myself was because I had a heck of a time finding food grade cocoa shells that didn’t cost a small fortune. It’s a byproduct for Pete’s sake! At least we have this to fiddle around with. :) I was thinking it might work with 52teas’ Cinnamon Roll with some chicory picked out of the mix.

SimplyJenW

The Cinnamon Roll Honeybush does sound good. I might even try it with a Vanilla Rooibos that could use a pick me up…. Really, I don’t see it as a loss at all. I love chai and the chicory was not an issue for me.

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90

Tea of the afternoon…..

This is my favorite green tea. I must have some for my cupboard. It is so smooth, the taste reminds me of very fresh roasted asparagus in a high quality olive oil. Not a hint of bitterness or astringency, just smoooooth, lightly buttery goodness. Thank you so much to Teavivre for the sample. I am hooked!

(And thank you to ashmanra for the recent review that suggested I should be drinking this one right now!)

Mug method with about 180 water. 2minutes first steep, three minutes for the second.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

I did not get a sample of this from Teavivre, it does sound good though!

ashmanra

I loved it, too! So much that I already sent a sample to a friend who said she had never had dragon well tea. And I can’t wait for my oldest daughter to try it. I must order this one ASAP!

SimplyJenW

Yes, I broke my no buy and bought some. My reasoning…..this does not have the shelf life of black teas. If I wait until March, I have only 7 months to drink this particular year’s harvest in its prime. This way I have a little longer. The 10% off code from TeaDeals might have played a role, too. ;) I guess I am waiting until April, now, for more tea!

K S

On my list to sip tomorrow.

ashmanra

Share the code? :)

SimplyJenW

Expires Jan 31. chinanewyear

ashmanra

Thanks! I found another also. Teavivre10 . It worked!

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91

Second tea of the morning……

And this is the end of my sample! I do think this is the first sample sent from Teavivre that I have finished if that is any indication how good it is for a drinker of black teas. (My samples of the Balin Gongfu and the Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip are close behind, though…) While I am sad to see this go, I know their Keemun Grade 1 and Keemun Grade 2 teas are also very good. I do think I might spring for this one once I get through my sample of the Grade 1 and purchase of the Grade 2. It really is just a little extra special when compared to the other two.

Usual teapot method, light on the leaf and 3 minute steep.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Glad you said that, Jen. I am finishing my sample at tea time today, and I noticed that this one from Teavivre is cheaper than what I paid for a lesser tea from Southern Season. Well, the one from SS is stronger, but not in a way I like. I need to try steeping it differently I guess. Still, I save over a dollar an ounce with Teavivre!

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Tea of the morning……

Thank you to Amy Oh for this one! I had really been wanting to try this one in my recent quest for a new breakfast tea!

Well, I cannot seem to drink this one without milk! Hello, robust tea! It has a very strong malty flavor, and this one is a bit too strong and brisk for my tastes (I seem to be kind of a wimp when it comes to hearty teas…who knew?) Since I like adding milk to my tea only on occasion, I am pretty sure this is not the breakfast tea for me. However, for those of you who enjoy a good hearty, malty, brisk tea that stands up very well to milk, this is a good one for you to try. I do have some more left and might try a light on leaf cuppa to see how it goes.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

you do need milk, this is true! I normally drink it with soymilk

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Tea of the afternoon…..

I actually bought this tea to give to a friend, but I know she won’t mind if I sample it! I brewed this for a minute and threw out the first steep as kind of a rinsing phase. I can tell you that the smell was not great the first steep. I stuck with it and steeped for a minute the second time around. This time, I got something I actually did not mind the smell, and it was kind of chocolatey and tasted quite a bit like coffee. I am pleasantly surprised! I do see that I could be a real pu’erh drinker someday. While I did enjoy this cup, I don’t see myself drinking this kind of tea very often for now. However, a seed has been planted for sure. It is miles away from my first experiences with tuo cha from another vendor. Definitely an enlightening experience for me.

12 oz boiling water, second steep at 1 minute, 1 tuocha.

Preparation
Boiling 1 min, 0 sec
TeaBrat

If you want the rest of mine I will send them to you. :)

SimplyJenW

Nope…..I am keeping one more and giving the rest away to my friend who loves pu’erh! Thanks for the offer, though.

ashmanra

Oh, Amy Oh! I would take them off your hands if you don’t want them!

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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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