195 Tasting Notes

93

Even though I really need about six cups of strong black tea (taken intravenously) to get my motor running this morning, I couldn’t resist opening the sample of another tea from Teavivre. This time it is the Organic Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea.

I steeped this tea for two minutes at 175 degrees as instructed on the sample packet. The brew that appeared was an extremely light golden green color.

I was worried that the light color, low temperature, and short steeping time would all add up to a wimpy tasting tea. But, as always, Teavivre surprised me again!

This tea does not have a strong flavor but the flavor that it does have is full and complete. The taste is sweet and nutty. There is no grassy attribute to the flavor as I’ve found with a lot of green teas. Instead, it is quite smooth, light, and easy to sip. You also won’t find any bitterness.

Although this would not be my normal morning tea of choice, I will definitely be offering it to guests in the afternoon and evening.

The best word to describe this tea is 亡命徒;喝彩;喝彩声;暴徒 (which I HOPE is Chinese for BRAVO)! This tea deserves that exclamation and much more.

In summary, this is just another wonderful tea from Teavivre. If Teavivre were a baseball team, to me they would still be batting 1,000!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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88

I think it is really cool to be able to drink tea that is commercially grown and produced in my home state. For a long time, we South Carolinians were the only folks in the country who had that priviledge (see the IMPORTANT UPDATE!!! below). What has made the honor even sweeter is that the Charleston Tea Plantation teas are also very good.

Since South Carolina is also the #1 peach mecca in the country, I was looking forward to tasting this blend. When I opened the container, the pre-brewed tea leaves had a very nice fresh peaches aroma. There was no physical evidence of peach chunks among the leaves, however.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for five minutes. The result was a reddish gold brew.

With the first one or two sips, my tastebuds could not locate the peaches. After the third and fourth sips, though, a subtle peach taste began to emerge. Sip #5 and on continued the very light and unassuming peach taste with a full Charleston Plantation tea flavor alongside it. There was no bitterness and I have no complaint about the flavor, except that I prefer strong flavors in everything I eat and drink.

If you crave robust fruity taste in your flavored teas, you may be disappointed by this blend. However, if subtlety is your desire, this tea is tasty, even, and pleasant. The discernible peach taste is fresh and natural, just not particularly hearty.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!!!
Many thanks to Steepster Bonnie, who just made me aware of another tea producer in the lower 48 states (besides South Carolina)! About five years ago, Sakuma Brothers Farms Market Stand in Burlington, Washington began selling teas grown and produced there. Here is more information about that: http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20070911/BIZ/109110041/-1/headlines

Also, Steepster Bonnie put me on the trail of a collective of small growers in Hawaii who started a pilot project producing and marketing tea several years ago. I will do some research on that too.

I can see that I still have a lot to learn about the world of teas, but it’s a fun adventure!

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Not so Stoo but I understand you might be the oldest tea growers, not sure. There is a tea farm in the Skagit Valley in Washington State, and the of course you can’t forget Hawaii! But noone does sweet tea and peaches like the South!

Stoo

Thanks for educating me, Bonnie. I was not aware of the tea farm in Washington State. I didn’t know they were growing and processing tea up there. The Charleston Tea Plantation would probably be older. Hawaii I was aware of, but I should have clarified that I was talking about the lower 48 states. :-) I will correct my claim in my tasting note.

Bonnie

Don’t. change anything! I doubt many people know about Washington but I have family that lives in the area. The farm has an online store.

Stoo

No problem, Bonnie. Being a former journalist, it is pounded into me to strive to keep my writing accurate. Feel free to correct me anytime I say something that isn’t factual. I greatly appreciate it! Plus, there is no discord or competition between the two states that I am aware of. The Civil War ended a long time ago. :-) I plan to order some tea from the Skagit Valley. I’d love to try it!

ScottTeaMan

Many years ago I bout their Raspberry Black (loose), and it was quite delicious. I did find that the raspberry was more subtle, much like your description of the peach. I remember liking the more subtle flavoring of the tea.

ashmanra

I know Charleston Tea Plantation touts themselves as America’s only tea garden. Could it be that they once were and they just haven’t changed it on their logo, or is there some part of the definition of tea garden that would still make that statement apply? The fact that it is open to the public for tours? But I think most tea plantations are! So I don’t know!

Stoo: I knew I liked you! You remind me a little of my godfather, and he was a journalist, too! You are younger, though.

Bonnie

Stoo, what’s with the 22 likes in a row? Are we going steady? Your sweetheart better not get wind of this!

Stoo

Hi ScottTeaMan!

Raspberry Black is the only Charleston Tea Plantation tea that I haven’t tried. I hope to cross that one off of my tea bucket list soon! There is nothing wrong with subtle flavor. I’m just a little taste-challenged with my constant sinus allergies. Therefore, flavors have to be sand-blasted into my tastebuds in order for me to fully appreciate them. :-)

Stoo

Hi ashmanra!

From what I’ve been able to learn so far, it does appear that the Charleston Tea Plantation was the only and oldest still working U.S. tea plantation until recently. That’s ok. The more the merrier! :-)

And thanks…I like you too! ;-)

Stoo

Hey Bonnie.

SSSHHH! Our clandestine and steamy (or is it steepy?) tea affair is supposed to be a secret! ;-)
But, besides that, I’ve been feeling guilty about not getting out to Steepster as much as I should to review other people’s tasting notes. I love reading them all and I always learn something about teas in general and new teas for me to try. You just happened to be one of the first Steepster friends that I got to today. :-)

Bonnie

Shhhhh! Ok…won’t tell a soul! ; )

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97

I always know that a treat is coming when I reach for a Teavivre tea. Even when the tea isn’t of one of my preferred types, I consistently admire Teavivre’s rendition of it.

Oolong is one of those types that I don’t pursue or drink often, but I’m always willing to entertain new attempts to make me a fan.

I love the title of this tea. Is it really picked by monkeys? Do monkeys drink tea or eat it? Those are questions that will have to be answered another time. Now, on to my sampling of this tea…

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for three minutes as Teavivre suggested. The brewed beverage was a light greenish yellow in color.

Brewed and unbrewed, the aroma was grassy and similar to some milder green teas that I tried.

The taste of this tea was sweet, grassy, and fresh. The flavor was very light and smooth, yet full. There was no bitterness and it seemed to go down my throat extremely easily. In fact, I had to restrain myself from chugging it a few times. It is one of those teas that I ENJOYED drinking.

This is simply another perfect tasty tea from Teavivre. I’m not sure if I’m an Oolong fan yet, but I am DEFINITELY a fan of THIS Oolong tea.

In case you are wondering about all of my glowing reviews of Teavivre teas, I need to specify that I am not affiliated with Teavivre in any manner. I am not obligated to write tasting notes (positive or negative) about these teas. I’m also not compensated for my Teavivre tea tasting notes whatsoever, other than the prior receipt of these wonderful samples for which I am extremely grateful.

I personally consider all of Teavivre’s teas to be among the top of the best that I’ve tried during my 10 months as a Steepster. The Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea has only reinforced my assessment!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
tigress_al

Enjoying their wonderful teas is compensation enough! Lol

Stoo

You’ve got that right, tigress_al! All of their teas are incredible!

Bonnie

Stoo, don’t stress, we all are getting the tea from them and love their tea. It is good. We are honest about our reviews and you are honest too! You can tell a phony!

Stoo

Thanks, Bonnie. You are right. All of my reviews come from the heart…or is it the mouth? ;-)

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87

MANY THANKS again to Steepster Bonnie for sharing her very interesting teas with me!!!

The title of this tea is fascinating. I didn’t know what to expect from an Organic Cream of Earl Grey tea. When I opened the packet, I couldn’t detect the familiar aroma of bergamot that I was accustomed to in other Earl Grey selections. Instead, the scent was more like pipe tobacco or cough syrup.

I steeped this tea for six minutes at 212 degrees. A golden orange colored brew was produced.

The flavor of this tea is a cornucopia of fruity, flowery, sweet, and almost perfume-like taste. Ironically, the only attribute I don’t recognize is bergamot. However, it must just be a consequence of my allergy-plagued tastebuds because my fiancee commented on the bergamot scent when she walked into the house! There is no bitterness and nothing that I would describe as unpleasant.

This is a likable tea. It’s a little more flowery and fruity than I prefer but that isn’t stopping me from enjoying this sample.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

It’s fine not to love a tea! That’s why I send variety! You’d feel worse if you bought it!

Stoo

I’m very grateful to you for the opportunity to try it, Bonnie. I didn’t hate it. I re-steeped it twice and drank it all! :-) Thanks again so much!

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96

I thought I’d start my day by sampling this new player from Teavivre. I have no problem with black and smoky before 9 AM. I could just as easily enjoy a plate of barbecued ribs for breakfast.

When I snipped open the sample package, a wonderful smoky aroma burst forth. I set the tea maker on 195 degrees for two minutes and anxiously awaited the result.

The steeped beverage was a medium gold/orange color. A sweet smoky fragrance wafted from the glass teapot. I would love to find incense in this scent.

Even at my very first sip, the flavor was full, smoky, and slightly sweet. The black tea taste was there but it blended so well with the other attributes that it didn’t draw attention to itself. The overall sensation of this tea is like a cross between a campfire and a delicious plate of barbecued pulled pork.

The smoky flavor is well defined but not so severe that it leaves a prolonged aftertaste. It is a symphony of smoky, smooth, sweet, earthy, and delicious, with no bitterness.

This is another EXCEPTIONAL tea variety from Teavivre. I’ve tried a lot of selections from this company and they have never disappointed me.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Stoo try this with a whiskey cheese which is sweet and strong (sweeter cheese and nutty would be good but not smoked!) . Sweet unsmoked meat too! Yum!

Stoo

That sounds like a great combo, Bonnie! Thanks for the tip!

ScottTeaMan

Bonnie…….what about Jalepeno cheese?!?

Bonnie

Sure just not smoky with smoky…although this LS is delicate in a way. I think I would add a little sugar and then yes. The sweet with the spicy would be better…but that’s me. I like the counter-balance of flavors and textures.

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93
drank Laoshan Black by Verdant Tea
195 tasting notes

Another BIG THANKS to Steepster Bonnie for this sample!

About the only tea that I enjoy more than black tea is flavored black tea. I love them all- fruity, sweet, nutty, chocolate, coconut, you name it! So, this was another variety that I was excited to try when it arrived in the mail.

When I opened the packet, a wonderful sweet, chocolatey, coffee-like smell emerged (I don’t like the taste of coffee but I love its aroma) from the packet. I had a feeling immediately that this was going to be good!

I followed Steepster Bonnie’s recommendation and steeped this tea for three minutes at 212 degrees. The color was a light amber. I thought that was interesting for black tea.

At first sip, my palate was instantly pummeled with a terrific sweet taste. I could also detect a slight fruity attribute. Altogether, the flavor is evenly spread with sweetness, tea, and fruit, in perfect harmony. One sensation does not overpower another and there is no bitterness. This tea is extemely pleasant and tasty.

On the packet, with the instructions, Steepster Bonnie summed up this tea in one word: “YUMMY!” I couldn’t have described it any better myself so I’ll leave it at that.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Glad you enjoyed the yummy tea (which you can infuse 4 times from each brewing if I failed to mention that) .

Stoo

You were very thorough. You mentioned that too. I’m on infusion #3 as we speak…uh…type. ;-)

Bonnie

Slosh!

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89

I’ve been very fortunate to be able to sample some great pu’erh teas lately. I’m becoming a huge fan of the variety and would now place pu’erh as one of my favorite classifications. At the top of my pu’erh tea list (so far) is Teavivre’s Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha. I was anxious to see how the Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea measured up.

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for two minutes as instructed on the sample package. A rich molasses-colored brew developed.

The flavor of this tea is earthy, woodsy, and leathery. This follows the pattern of the other pu’erh teas that I’ve tried. The taste is somewhat milder than the Mini Tuocha blend. I also found the flavor to have a nice twinge of sweetness to it. As with all of the Teavivre teas that I’ve sampled to date, there is no bitterness.

This is another solid tea entry in the Teavivre family. If I were forced to choose between Mengku Palace and Mini Tuocha, I would have to go with the more robust Mini Tuocha. That does not diminish the quality of Mengku Palace. I’m just a strong tea kind of guy.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

I like the bold pu-erh’s too!

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94
drank Chocolate Orange by DAVIDsTEA
195 tasting notes

Another special THANKS to Steepster Bonnie for sending me this sample! The title of this tea had my name written all over it. Chocolate Orange Pu’erh! Well, that’s not really my name…though…Stoo C. O. Pu’erh…hhmm…it does have a bit of class!

Anyhow, this tea sounded like it had all of the ingredients that I love, in tea, or anything! Chocolate and orange are a great combination. I was extremely psyched to brew this baby.

I steeped it at 212 degrees for six minutes. The instructions said 98 degrees celsius (208.4 degrees fahrenheit) but my one-touch tea maker isn’t quite that versatile. No matter, what’s 3.6 degrees between friends?

The aroma that emerged from the steeping brew was interesting. I could detect the somewhat fishy aroma of the pu’erh mixed in with a sweet orange attribute.

The color of the steeped blend was light brown with orange hues. This is what I would expect if I put orange juice and pu’erh tea in a blender.

At first taste, the pu’erh flavor comes roaring through like a freight train. Then, the orange caboose begins to bring up the rear. As I guzzled more and more, I could discern the orange/pu’erh hybrid qualities of the flavor. The taste is smooth, sweet, and fruity, with the pu’erh presence complementing it perfectly. Bitterness is completely absent.

This is a fantastic tea. I’ve already enjoyed pu’erh with coconut. I now know that orange also is a great mate for it. I am looking forward to trying more pu’erh combinations in the future!

These two flavors are actually a great match. Besides tea, this would be a great selection in a box of chocolates. Are there any mad scientist chocolatiers out there? :-)

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec

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92

I was excited to try this new tea from Teavivre. Teavivre’s products are consistently great in taste and value. The little unbrewed leaf balls, which I assume are hand-rolled, are also a fun concept.

I followed the recommendations on the package and brewed it for two minutes. There was no suggested tea amount listed so I filled my official tea spoon as I normally do with loose leaf. This came out to about four balls per eight-ounce cup. When the steeping process had completed, a brew with a rich amber color appeared.

At first sip, I could detect a little sweetness and the familiar woodsy taste that accompanies most of Teavivre’s black teas. In the beginning I was a little disappointed with the flavor power. However, the taste seemed to amplify and become more pronounced with each sip. By my sixth swig, I was really enjoying the blend and thinking that THIS is what I’ve come to love and expect from Teavivre.

I can’t say that I noticed a chocolate taste as some reviewers noted. To me, the sweetness was more like honey. Of course, you can’t go wrong with either flavor.

This tea is a great new addition to the Teavivre collection. It most likely will be on my order list the next time my Teavivre supply diminishes…soon!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Stop, I didn’t get chocolate, either! Just like you’ I associated this with honey. It was DELISH!

Stoo

Hi Ashmanra! I guess great tastebuds taste alike! ;-)

ashmanra

LOL! And I had typed Stoo and autocorrect changed it to stop but I didn’t notice until just now! Sorry about that! :)

Stoo

No problem, Ashmanra. I’ve been called worse. :-)

ScottTeaMan

Hehehehe…….me too.

Bonnie

Ya’ll are trippin

Bonnie

To tell the truth I use 5 for 8oz and use sweetening and cream to bring out the cocoa chocolate.

Stoo

That sounds great too! I used 5 for each cup today and it did seem to provide a somewhat richer flavor. This is really wonderful tea. I have it on my shopping list for my next order!

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90
drank Pistachio Ice Cream by Butiki Teas
195 tasting notes

A very HUGE THANKS to fellow Steepster, Bonnie, for sending this sample to me! I LOVE ice cream! If I could keep my weight and cholesterol down, I would a la mode everything, maybe even Brussels sprouts. So, I knew that ice cream flavored tea would be no stretch for me.

When I opened the little package, a wonderful sweet and nutty pistachio aroma emerged. I couldn’t wait to plop the sample into the tea maker!

I steeped this tea at 180 degrees for 2 1/2 minutes as recommended. A pale green brew was the result. I didn’t notice any distinctive pistachio smell but that could be because it’s allergy season.

The flavor of this blend is amazing! It is sweet and nutty. The pistachio taste lingered on my tongue after each sip. The flavor is smooth and totally absent of bitterness. There is also more than a hint of vanilla in the taste and a slight milky quality.

Although I prefer black tea over green tea, primarily due to the shock therapy that black teas give me in the morning, I could easily make this tea an afternoon habit!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

Happy adventures!

Stoo

Thanks, Bonnie! I can’t wait to try the next sample!

Bonnie

Me too. The next best thing to drinking tea is other people drinking tea and writing about it….which brings us all here!

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Bio

I ventured into the world of serious tea drinking in the Summer of 2011. I started out slowly and gently with bagged tea but climbed to the incredible flavorful heights of loose leaf teas in October of that year. Once you go leaf, you never go bag (except when you get free samples)!

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South Carolina, USA

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