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It is so warm! The high temperature today was almost eighty degrees, it has gone from early spring to early summer. Hopefully it was just a nice warm spell and we get back to nice spring weather, or this is Midwest spring weather and I am still clinging to my days in the Northeast. One good thing about this warmth is the promise of storms tonight, I have been stalking the radar and have seen some massive Supercells out in the plains. Also, it seems overnight all the plants have exploded into full green and bloom. Spring is such an exciting season.

Today’s Teavivre tea is Fengqing Paddy Flavor Raw Pu-erh Cake Tea 2006, a Pu-erh who is coming up on its tenth birthday! Produced in Fengqing, Yunnan from 30-40 year old Arbor Trees, made from Spring (Ming Qian or Chun Jian) harvested leaves and Autumn (Gu Hua or Paddy Flower) Leaves. Each season’s leaves bringing its own unique aroma to the mix. And what an aroma it is! The aroma is strong, like old hay and a slight smoky aroma that fades to old flowers. It has an aroma that reminds me of late summer heat and the sweetness of decaying vegetation.

After the initial rinse and short steep time, the aroma of the wet leaves retains their old flowers and old hay aroma with a hint of barnyard. The liquid, however, smells very sweet and floral, to the point of being heady. There is a finish of smokiness. It seems like the leaves are autumn and the liquid is spring time, a very fascinating transition.

Teavivre says this tea can hold out for fourteen steeps, and I decided to make a day of it. The first steep starts off a bit smoky and a bit metallic, a bit of old hay and a bit of flowers. There are certainly flavors presents but they are faint with a promise of future strength. The mouthfeel is sharp and certainly the most distinct thing about the first steep.

The aroma of the second steep has one of the most complex blend of notes I have ever encountered in a tea. There are notes of anise, faint smoke, spicebush, copper, and crepe myrtle…and all of the notes work really well together. So, this is fascinating, the initial taste is at first metallic and faintly floral, this fades to a sharply bitter taste similar to when you swallow a pill poorly and get that residue in your mouth. This immediately causes a salivary response causing my mouth to flood with sweetness, just like a mouthful of honeysuckle nectar. As the tea cools (like really cools, I left the room and came back to a tiny cup of cold tea) the bitterness has vanished completely and replaced by a pine resin taste. It is really a fascinating experience.

For the third steeping the aroma is very faint pine smoke with anise and Sweet Annie and spicebush. The aroma of this tea keeps transitioning between different flowers and I love it! The taste starts out sweet, like sucking on a piece straw, like the previous steep there is (this time much subdued) bitterness then an explosion of sweetness that lingers for quite a while.

The fourth steep does not have much of a story, the aroma is identical to the previous steep. The taste is all flowers and sweetness, starting with spring time flowers and flowing into honey with a finish of hay. The mouthfeel is not at all sharp anymore, just smoothness.

Steep number six had a pungent surprise for me, the barnyard aroma from the wet leaves has finally showed up in the aroma of the liquid. The taste is a touch bitter with the barnyard aspect, think old hay and the faintest hint of manure. It is like mouth-breathing in farm country, not the most unpleasant experience but certainly not a favorite one.

For steep number seven and eight, I noticed no difference so they are getting lumped together. The aroma has only a barest hint of the pungent at the finish, the rest is all hay and flowers, specifically crepe myrtles, it is quite sweet. The taste is very sweet, blending flower nectar and honey with strong floral qualities. The finish has a bit of a fermented taste, similar to Grecian Honeyed Wine (basically white wine mixed with honey and left to sit for a week) leaving a honey aftertaste.

Steeps nine through fourteen are a fascinating journey of dwindling tea presence. The aroma starts off much like the previous steep, but slowly fades in intensity until there is none left. The taste is much the same, starting out with honey, hay, and flowers and slowly fading to honey and finally a ghost of flowers. This tea was really fascinating, I will not say it is my favorite ever (I am still pretty new to Raw Pu-erh in general) but I loved the journey I went on with this tea, especially with the aroma of some of my favorite flowers. It was like spring flowers and autumn hay and pastoral things.

For LOTS of photos and blog: http://ramblingbutterflythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/04/teavivre-fengqing-paddy-flavor-raw-pu.html

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My Rating Guide, This is a personal rating and not necessarily a reflection of the tea’s quality
100-Must have on hand, it is one of my favorite teas
85-99-Really good teas, like exquisitely good
65-84-Not bad, they can be good but generic, or just teas that I found enjoyably ok.
40-64-Not a favorite, but not terrible. I would drink it if it was in front of me but I doubt I would seek it out on my own.
20-40-Not the best tea ever, either it was not to my liking or it was really bland. Chances are I would turn this one down unless I was really thirsty.
0-19-No, just no. Either there was something wrong with this tea or it was utterly undrinkable by me.

I am a nerdy, obsessive, crafty, tea blogging, gaming nut. Yeah, that about sums me up! Ok, you want something more informative….

I am a Geek, hardcore fan-girl Geek. It shapes my life. I spend a lot of time making things out of perler beads and I bet you can guess what inspires them. Other than the obsessive pixelizing of things I spend a large portion of my time doing origami (especially Lucky Stars and modular geometric designs) it is an equal obsession. I hoard dice, get obsessed with games, and will talk about whatever fandom, game, etc that I am obsessed over until I am blue in the face. I am not just a gamer girl type Geek, I also fit in the collecting knowledge and spending way too much time reading, category of Geek.

But there is more to me than just being a giant nerd. I love tea, always have and have just gotten more and more obsessed as I get older. I love trying new teas and then writing lengthy descriptions about them on my blog, I love reading and researching the history and culture of tea, I love collecting tea pots and fancy tea tools.

When the weather allows it, I love to go mushroom hunting. I don’t eat them, instead I use them for photography and spore prints. It is my dream to one day become a Mycologist studying slime molds.

I have Fibromyalgia, it sucks, but I feel people who are going to interact with me should know since I tend to vanish because of it. So fair warning!!

I also have cats, love the ocean and all aquatic life, love cheese, and collect hats.

My favorite tea is definitely Oolong, but I also love Japanese greens and…ok I just love tea actually :P I am not a huge fan of lemony teas or tart fruit teas. I also loathe hibiscus (usually)

This is my actual tea wishlist, you know that I actually update and keep track of…I tend to forget Steepster’s https://www.facebook.com/notes/amanda-wilson/tea-wishlishtshopping-list-perpetually-in-progress/10152336515414411 I use my steepster WL to keep track of teas I have had and really want more of :P

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