906 Tasting Notes
Tea of the afternoon……
I have been waiting almost a year to order one of Lupicia’s famous Fukubukuro bags that they offer annually at 12:01 on New Year’s Day. It is a Japanese tradition, a lucky bag, or mystery bag that offers items usually at a 50% discount. I missed out on the $50 bags, but was able to snag the $30 version. I was definitely pleased overall with my January tea purchase, and I got a few things that will be interesting to try. This was one of the teas in that bag….. I got a bag of 10 teabags.
I am not usually a fan of genmaichas, but I do appreciate them from time to time. This one has a grassy, bready, roasty flavor that you would expect from this type of tea. I am sure I can drink it 9 more times! I do like that it is such a unique flavor profile from the teas I usually drink. This one is certainly fresh and tasty. I do not require additions on this one.
I followed the steeping parameters on the bag…..1 minute with about 12 oz. boiling water (which I thought the water temp recommendation seemed a little high for a green…might try lower next time.)
Tea of the afternoon……
I have a ton of purchased and “gift with purchase” samples. I really think I could go for a few months trying something new every day, so I am going to try and knock my sample stash down a few notches. I also have to curtail my tea buying a bit, so I think my shopping list will be getting longer for a while, and I am going to try and order only once a month (you cannot imagine how hard this will be! :D I have a serious tea buying problem…….and have bought for January and February-this one comes for overseas so it will be here close to Feb…or at least that is my story for now……)
This is very good. It has a bright, kind of orangey note. The leaves are huge! I am not usually a drinker of Ceylon tea, but this one tastes very good to me. It is very smooth with no bitterness or aftertaste. Lovely…..and on the list it goes.
Tea of the morning…….
I have some new tea from friends who were recently on a trip to India. Thank you Kanuk and Neha! They brought back three varieties for me to try, and I am very excited to try them. This is a bagged variety (the others are loose). I can tell the leaves are of the granular type that I have seen in some authentic Indian chais. I am guessing it is a blend of many teas, and is more of an every day tea.
The brew is very dark and rich in color, almost nearing the color of coffee. The aroma is malty and warm (I know this is kind of a blah word since the tea is hot, but I am more referring to the fact that the smell just makes you feel relaxed and cozy, if that makes sense.) I was expecting the bite you get from an Assam tea, but this is very smooth. It is a little stronger than the English Breakfasts I usually drink in the morning, but I really like it. I am sure the entire pot will be gone in no time. I wonder if those not in India could find this in their local Asian market. I would consider buying it again as I am always looking for good bagged tea for travel, or when I am out.
I did a short 1 minute brew because the box showed brew times of 30 seconds to 90 seconds and the actually recommended dunking the teabags to get it to the strength you preferred! I used three tea bags in my 24 oz pot, and think I could probably get by with two next time. It is really good!
Tea of the late afternoon……
The last of my samples from TeaVivre. I did end up placing an order, so it will be interesting to try the new samples they send along with my order.
We had an odd break in the cold weather today, so it was a great day for lighter teas than I normally drink. This was my first Tie Guan Yin. I really liked it. It was buttery like the milk oolongs I have tried, and lightly floral. One thing I find very interesting about the greener oolong varieties is how the liquor almost feels heavy in the mouth. I am sure it is part of the magic of tea, and it something that draws me to oolongs, or maybe more vegetal teas in that you feel you are drinking much more than water. The other thing I really like about greener oolongs and the jasmine green I had earlier today is that I really enjoy them without additions. This one was not an exception. The leaves brewed up huge and bright green. The liquor was pale yellow with a hint of green. Really a great tea. It is going on the shopping list!
Tea of the afternoon…..
The sample was sent for review by TeaVivre. Thank you so much, Angel, for arranging this tea tasting with Steepster members. It has been wonderful to see how others experienced the tea you are currently drinking.
I have about four versions of this tea in my house. I do have to say, that I do enjoy a good jasmine green. In looking at the price points of the versions I have on hand, it runs all across the board from just over $5per ounce when purchased in around a 4 oz amount to this one which is just over $3.50. One of the close to $5 versions is organic, but the other is not. The one that I have that is close in price to this one, I have relatively zero information on it as I purchased it from a glass jar at my local Asian Market. I think the offering from TeaVivre is the one I will stick with…I have much more information on it, and it definitely smells fresher than the one I bought locally. I know green teas have a shorter shelf life than black, so it being very fresh is important. (I wish I had known that about my local purchase….while it is good, it is not nearly as bright tasting as some of the others I have tried, and who knows how long it was sitting in that glass jar?!) They all look very similar, but the two that are closest in smell are this one and the version from Harney & Son’s. My local one, and the organic one from the Summer Steepster box both smell kind of flat, although the local one is slightly floral, while being flat, and closer to what would be expected in a jasmine tea. (I am not even sure I want to try the organic one. It just doesn’t smell right, and I just opened the package…)
Onto the tea. It makes a pale, golden-green liquor and has such a lovely, relaxing, light floral scent. More of a refreshing scent than you would find in rose scented teas. The flavor has a slight butteryness and I definitely taste a light floral note as well as smelling it. I find this very good and I think jasmine tea would be more of a Spring/Summer choice for myself, but I am trying to push myself to drink more green tea. I always forget jasmine pearls are green, though! This is a very good and reasonably priced version of this tea in my opinion, especially since it is a good resteeper.
Tea of the morning……right after a cup of Gong Fu Black from Zhi Tea.
I decided that these two teas were incredibly similar, and needed to check them out together. They have an incredibly similar look as dry leaf. Some golden leaves among long, twisted darker leaves with a bit of a sheen. The color is pretty much the same, if not exact. I did not brew them up in a side by side comparison, but I did brew one cup right after the other. They taste incredibly similar, again, if not the same. As far as my senses can tell, the only differences are vendor, price, and packaging _(and one is the organic version…). I know the tea from Zhi is not a great resteeper as I usually add just a little more leaf to sweeten the pot, and I will try resteeping this one to see if the results are similar. (Resteep info is in the comments section….)
Edit to add: I am not really comparing apple to apples, here….it is more like apples to organic apples, so if the product being organic is of importance to you, Zhi Gong Fu Black would be a similar priced option with the Organic Bailin Gongfu from TeaVivre. The Zhi is a better price in amounts around 1 lb, but similar in amounts of around 100 grams. I am not really concerned with the tea being organic, though.
This makes me wonder if Zhi might source from a similar place as TeaVivre for their Gong Fu Black. I am not that concerned about it, but will probably purchase mine from TeaVivre in the future as it is closer to the source, they offer more information on origins, and the price is considerably less. Other things that weigh in, I prefer the packaging from TeaVivre as I feel the tins from Zhi, while pretty, are not very functional. I would rather spend my money on tea than fancy packaging. It might be possible to get the prices similar if there is a sale at Zhi, but I know I can order this tea (as well as a few others that pique my interest!) for a good price any day at TeaVivre. I know it is always good to support your local tea vendor, so those in the Austin, TX area might want to consider shopping at Zhi.
EDIT TO ADD (March 30, 2012): Zhi’s price has gone up considerably since I reviewed this….
Tea of the afternoon…..
And it was a resteep of the pot I had this morning….. Still fabulous! I love a black that resteeps well! It has become just a matter of when I am ordering……. ;)
Tea of the morning…….
This is the last black in the teas sent for review by TeaVivre. Thank you so much for the opportunity to try your teas. (A green and an oolong to go!)
This is a beautiful tea. It has long golden fingers with a bit of a sheen and downy fuzz. It appears to be the very tenderest part of the plant. The smell is rich and slightly earthy. I do think Yunnans are a coffee drinker’s tea in that the flavor is full, slightly malty, and roasty. This one is a very smooth example. I did initially think I might have gone a little light on the leaf in my teapot, but the richness of this tea easily overcame that. This is definitely going on my shopping list. It is probably the best Yunnan I have had to date.
I did follow the steeping recommendations on the package.
I was contacted by the company to offer free samples and since others had been reviewing free samples from them, I decided it would be a good way to see what the company was about. Part of what made me pause in thinking of placing an order is that there really is no option on their website to purchase samples, so you really cannot know what you are getting, and then there is the meeting of the free shipping…(which I now know they ship to the US for around $6 for orders below$30). I have to be quite frank in that I do prefer to purchase my samples rather than getting them free as I think it lends more credibility to my review. I do think samples along with an order is another great inroad for reviews, but I know it is hard to break through for that first sale. I have tried to be as unbaised as possible in my reviews of the teas sent, but it is really hard to know for sure. I do feel a need to make sure I try all of them sent in a timely manner, which is not how I usually approach tea. I usually let my mood guide me rather than I ‘have to try these first’ as a courtesy for TeaVivre’s sending them to me. All I can say is that I will defintely be ordering in the near future if that is any indication. The sample offering worked to make me want to be a customer, because the tea does speak for itself.
Tea of the afternoon……
This was a sample sent courtesy of TeaVivre. Thank you! This is a really good one! I am pretty much in love with Keemun tea of all varieties, and this one is very satisfying. There is a little bit of smoke, a little bit of maltiness, a little bit of a cocoa note, and lots of satisfying flavor. It is probably the quickest I have sipped down a pot of tea in some time. I find it similar to the Hao Ya A from Harney, although the leaves on that one are a little finer. I also find it similar to Keemun Heng Ru from Upton, but this one is a little more complex. This is definitely something I would consider purchasing in the future and am grateful to TeaVivre for the chance to sample it.
Usual teapot method.
Tea of the afternoon……
First of all,
Happy New Year to all my Steepster Peeps! I hope you have a lovely time with your nearest and dearest, and please, be safe tonight!
I have been rushing around my kitchen getting a few things ready for our festivities this evening, and I needed a tea that was more like an old friend than one I would have to pay close attention to looking for nuances and intricacies. This one fit the bill since I love a good basic Keemun. I am actually low on my tin and am working to make some space in my cupboard, but I know this will be purchased again at some point. Then, in my haste and the preoccupation of my timer for baking (yes, the travesty!) I steeped this one for about 7 minutes. I was certain it would be a bitter cuppa, but man was I wrong. It was as good and reliable as ever.
I think once my basic Keemun is gone from Fortnum & Mason (and if my refill order ever arrives…..need to make a review on F&M under Steepster’s places tab because I have never experienced such a horrid, appaling online shopping experience, but, alas, my experience is not yet over….) I will definitely be returning to this one. Good tea can easily be great from a reliable source.
Usual teapot method with a ‘mistakenly’ long 7 minute steep. Still delicious!