166 Tasting Notes
When I first launched my journey into the world of tea in August of 2011, I was such a babe in the (tea) leaves and so unsuspecting that I actually thought the Flavia teas in our office machine were great! Then, as I began experiencing the finer teas in life, I started having trouble even swallowing the Flavia teas anymore.
Today, while I was in the office breakroom, I noticed that White With Orange Tea injection packets were added to the flavor lineup at the Flavia machine. My last Flavia foray was not a memorable one so I almost didn’t give them another thought…ALMOST.
Curiosity got the better of me. But, like the cat on his ninth life, I feared for my existence, well, at least, for my tastebuds. But, I trudged ahead anyhow since I really did want to know if white tea with orange was anything to drink about.
As I took my first sip from the provided paper cup wrapped in an also provided paper coozie (so THAT’S what happened to my bonuses and raises!), I’m not sure which emotion was stronger, anticipation…or dread. The first flavor sensation that registered was the usual BLAH Flavia tea taste. However, I guess self-preservation kicked in after that because I began to like the pleasant orange/tangerine flavor behind it.
From then on, I directed my brain to filter out the blah and focus on the pleasant. If you can accomplish this feat (you may not want to try this at home), you too can squeeze some pleasure from this tea.
This is only the second flower tea that I’ve tried. The other one also was a great Teavivre sample.
This Two Dragons and a Pearl Flower tea has a mildly sweet and grass-like flavor. The color is light yellow. This tea tastes very similar to one of Teavivre’s green blends.
I don’t go out of my way to sample flower teas. I find the flower brewing method a little bit of an intrusion. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by my one touch tea maker which does just about everything for me except drink the tea.
This tea does have a nice mild flavor without bitterness. And, I did enjoy watching the little rolled up tea bundle open and “bloom” into a flower nestled in leaves during the brewing process. In fact, I think I like WATCHING flower teas more than DRINKING them!
I hate to keep going on about how much I love these Teavivre teas, but I can’t help it! Teavivre has completely eliminated my negative predispositions about flowery and white teas.
On the top of my most shunned list was Jasmine tea. When I tried some other (not to be named) brands, I felt like I was swilling cups of perfume. Not only is this Silver Jasmine Green tea a pleasant sipping blend, but it is also full-flavored and sweet.
The color is a semi-deep amber when steeped for two minutes at 195 degrees. I didn’t expect that hue from a green tea.
The manifestation of jasmine is strong in this tea, but when combined with the sweetness in the flavor and the subtle green tea taste, everything works together peacefully to produce a very palatable experience. Altogether, you are rewarded with a rich sweet jasmine tea without bitterness.
I only have one more Teavivre tea to sample. I am sad because I always look forward to the tasty surprises that these teas spring on me and I will miss them. But, the good news is, my shopping list is loaded and ready to order more of these great teas from China!
There is no doubt about it. I have become a Teavivre groupie. Not only do all of their teas have delicious and outstanding flavors, but they are also fascinating and fun. Some come in little tea cakes that incredibly expand while steeping, others have unusual flat leaves, some are hand rolled into little pellets that unfurl during brewing, and still others appear as flowers that “bloom” during the brewing process. Teavivre also does an expert job with packaging to ensure that your tea arrives from China undamaged and fresh.
The Chun Mei Green Tea carries on this tradition by requiring the shortest brewing time that I’ve experienced so far – less than 30 seconds! If you think that half a minute can’t be enough time to coax satisfactory flavor from this tea, you are as wrong as I was.
This is another splendid green tea. The flavor is somewhat grassy with sweet undertones. The color is a surprisingly vibrant orange-yellow. The taste is extremely steady and full. There is no weakness or bitterness to it. A very pleasant sweet aftertaste remained on my palate after each sip.
A long time ago, whenever a new record album by The Beatles was released, I would just buy it without listening to it, because I knew it would be great. This is now how I feel about Teavivre teas. Any tea that Teavivre wants to throw at me, I will be willing and ANXIOUS to try. I am confident that, just like The Beatles, Teavivre won’t let me down. I love you Teavivre, oh yes I do (yeah, yeah, yeah)!
Teavivre keeps forcing me to re-evaluate my prejudices about my least favorite teas. I’m not a flowery tea fan and, of all the flowery teas, the one that I disliked the most was any with the word “jasmine” remotely connected. However, I am shocked to discover that I like this particular jasmine tea…a lot!
This full-flavored green tea does have a strong jasmine taste. But, there is a wonderful inherent sweetness to the flavor that simultaneously permeates my throat and nostrils with each sip.
After brewing this tea for only two minutes at 175 degrees, I was surprised by the robust flavor that was produced. The total experience is without bitterness of any sort. It’s just a long delightful sweet ride.
Teavivre is also compelling me to change my green tea philosophy. I once believed that green teas were usually weak in taste. This green tea registers just as high on the flavor meter as some of my favorite black teas.
I thoroughly enjoyed the last Teavivre Pu-erh tea that I sampled so I was excited to try the mini tuocha rose injected version. I’m not a flowery tea enthusiast but Teavivre seems to do a great job in keeping the flower from running away with the flavor.
This tea did not disappoint me. It has a very deep, woodsy, earthen taste. The color is a dark rich brown, like molasses.
I had salmon for lunch yesterday and I guess it is still very much on my brain and tastebuds. With my first sip, I thought I detected a salmon-like flavor within this tea. Then, I came to my (tasting) senses and realized that this was just the subtle rose attribute peeking out from the other strong and dominant musky flavors.
It is fascinating to me that the flavors of this tea seem to contradict each other yet are in perfect harmony. The light and delicate rose flavor blends exquisitely with the rugged and powerful earthy taste.
This is a pleasing complex tea. Teavivre has once again proven to me that flowery teas do not have to taste like perfume.
After visiting the dentist yesterday, I started bleaching my choppers last night. If I had known in advance that this process requires a temporary halt to tea drinking (two weeks! – yeah, right, like that is gonna happen!), I would have postponed the bleaching indefinitely. The rebel in me was not about to let the dentist’s sadistic demands prevent me from trying this Teavana tea. Necessi-tea is the mother of invention, so today’s tasting note comes to you while I suck this Nine Dragon Golden Needle tea through a straw.
I steeped this tea at 195 degrees for three minutes. A nice nutty aroma emerged while brewing. The color was a bright amber.
The flavor of this tea (even through a straw) is nutty and woodsy. The taste also has the underlying earthy characteristics that I’ve begun to recognize in other Chinese teas from the Yunnan Province. I haven’t encountered any bitterness. In addition, there is a slight sweet honey quality to the flavor.
I wouldn’t call this a strong blend. There is plenty of steady flavor, though, to never question its identity as a solid black tea.
This is an enjoyable black tea. I’m looking forward to experiencing it again. I know it will be even better without a plastic tube middle man between the cup and my lips.
NOTE (Addendum): This marks my 50th (golden?) Tasting Note since I joined Steepsters in August of 2011! I’m ready to celebrate! Break out the party tea! Pass me another straw!
I’m a Keemun tea newbie but I really enjoyed the only other sample that I had of this Chinese tea. I was therefore excited to experience Teavana’s take on Keemun.
After steeping this tea for three minutes at 195 degrees, a rich golden brew was produced. The aroma was rather earthy like peat moss.
The taste of this nice blend is earthy, woodsy, smokey, and slightly spicy. I did notice a tad of astringency with my first cup, but nothing to keep me from drinking this tea on a regular basis. Perhaps brewing for two minutes (instead of three) would have reduced or eliminated this minor grumble.
Of the two Keemum teas that I have tried so far, I prefer Teavivre’s
Premium Keemun Hao Ya black tea selection. To me, that tea has a bolder, richer, and more complex flavor. However, if I were stranded on a desert island with no tea except Teavana’s Capital of Heaven Keemun black tea, I’m sure Wilson and I would still consider ourselves quite blessed.
My fiancee decided to take advantage of the great post-new year’s sales yesterday. As my reward for trudging through the women’s sections of several department stores, and helping her critique her potential new wardrobe, she offered to take me to the nearby Teavana store and buy me some more tea! No wonder I’m marrying her!
Teavana also had some great sales and I left the store with three new teas to help kick off the new year! This morning I reached for the Amandine Rose.
This tea has a rich sweet almond aroma while brewing. It is almost like almond biscotti. I’m not sure but I think I started to drool as I waited for my one-touch Breville tea maker to beep its completion.
Brewing this tea at 195 degrees for three minutes (as recommended) resulted in a dark honey-like color. The hue is similar to orange pekoe tea.
When I took my first sip, my throat was filled with the sweet taste of an almond cookie. (My fiancee is a pastry chef and her professionally trained palate discerned the taste of Cap’n Crunch cereal!) The flavor is steady and well-defined but not strong.
I don’t go out of my way to buy or try flowery tasting teas, but the rose flavor in this blend seems to just make this selection a little sweeter without drawing a lot of attention to itself. My greedy sweet tooth hungrily lapped it all up.
Like Teavivre’s fine products, Teavana teas have yet to disappoint me. If you like sweet, medium-strength black teas without astringency, you may enjoy this tea as much as I (and my sweet fiancee) do.
Today, as my exciting tea adventures continued, I was introduced to Rooibos tea. I wasn’t sure if this unstimulated herbal experience would be good for me since I prefer the caffeine kick of bold black teas.
I brewed this loose leaf tea for five minutes at 212 degrees as Adagio recommended. While brewing, its aroma gave me flashbacks to the wonderful smells of my mother’s kitchen, when she would make sweet and delicious vanilla cake frosting from scratch using fine vanilla extract.
The brewed color of the tea is a rich, reddish gold. Having an insatiable sweet tooth, I enjoyed the very robust vanilla taste. Again, I would compare the flavor more to vanilla extract than to vanilla ice cream.
This tea has an extremely savory and sweet taste that lingers on your palate after each sip. There also is a twinge of spice. The vanilla flavor is so full that any bitterness would be well hidden if it did exist.
For the first time, I am starting an afternoon tea rotation list to accompany my morning lineup. This tea is currently numero uno on the new list!