163 Tasting Notes
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!
This loose leaf English Breakfast selection was in my New English Teas gift pack that Santa brought me this year. I am sipping it now as I speak…uh…type.
I am enjoying this tea. It has a bold and full flavor. My tastebuds are reading malt and a hint of spice. I am not detecting any bitterness.
I brewed the tea for three minutes at 212 degrees. This method produced lots of flavor, even in the first cup.
All in all, this has the rich, complete, and signature flavor for which fine British teas are known. It’s still too soon to know how the caffeine content will revive my metabolism, but I do believe I feel my eyes starting to open wider.
Santa must have stopped off in London before he got to my house this year and picked up a New English Teas gift pack for me. I really like the cute little tins that are shaped like a British double-decker bus, phone booth, and royal guard station.
This London Tea has a nice mellow flavor. There is a taste of malt, as well as the familiar full black tea flavor that seems to be standard with most of the British blends. The tea has a light mahogany color after brewing for three minutes at 212 degrees.
This variety was phenomenal with the addition of a few cakes of genuine Scottish shortbread. Tea and shortbread are obviously made for each other. Like all of the British varieties I have tried so far, this tea is best described as pleasant and tasty.
Santa Claus was very good to me again this year (even though I wasn’t always a good boy). He brought me some Partridges English Breakfast Loose Tea.
I love powerful bold black teas in the morning to knock me out of my post-slumber stupor; the stronger the better. However, I may have found a black tea that is potentially too strong even for me. This is not a criticism of the tea, but rather, my brewing method. I steeped the tea for five minutes at 212 degrees. I think this tea would have a more mellow flavor with three minutes of brewing. I will try that next time.
This selection has a prominent malty taste. The flavor is full and enduring, providing a big bang with every sip. Even with my over-steeping, the flavor is not bitter, just very rich and strong. The color is like maple syrup.
I do like this tea. It reminds me of other robust UK black teas that I was offered when I visited Scotland years ago. This is the kind of tea that will slap you awake in the morning. I will definitely keep it in my daybreak rotation for those mornings when I need an extra shove to reunite with the land of the living.