166 Tasting Notes
Yesterday, while we were out Christmas shopping at the local mall, I was again magnetically drawn to the Teavana store. My tried and true Teavana routine is to let the staff recommend what I should buy next. This time it was the Golden Monkey black tea.
After steeping this tea for three minutes at 195 degrees, a dark golden brew emerged. This tea is said to contain cocoa. I didn’t recognize chocolate in the flavor but this tea does have a nice sweet and malty taste. This is not one of the strongest black teas that I have tried, but there is sufficient flavor to satisfy my preference for the bold and beautiful.
While I enjoyed the milder but sweet and pleasing experience of this blend, I found myself longing for a scone or some tea biscuits to accompany it. This might have just been due to the throbbing of my sweet tooth. Or, maybe it was due to Christmas, the time of the year when sweetness fills our senses and our hearts.
This tea is fascinating before you even brew it. The leaves are flat and green like shards of fresh palm leaves. The pre-brewed leaves also have a fragrant grassy aroma.
After brewing at two minutes (as recommended) using a temperature of 175 degrees, the tea had a pale yellow color. At first taste, I thought I was experiencing some bitterness. After several sips, though, I realized that this was just a floral and reedy aftertaste.
The more I slurped this tea, the better I liked it. The grassy, nutty flavor is light and strong at the same time. If you close your eyes while sipping, you can imagine yourself sitting in a lush green grassy meadow, surrounded by flowers and a thick forest, while a soft breeze swirls around you.
Although I’m not a huge green tea fan (I prefer the bolder black tea blends), I find this Teavivre tea likable and engrossing. For a green tea, it has plenty of flavor to hold my interest.
I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about this tea. I never had white tea before and I shied away from it. My impression was that white tea would be weak and watery and not as robust as I prefer tea to be, particularly in the morning.
When I brewed this tea, I was still suspicious. Teavivre’s instructions to steep it for a maximum of two minutes made me think that I was going to have to really focus my tastebuds to find enough flavor for me to appreciate. I followed their instructions anyhow because the Teavivre black tea samples I tried were perfect after I went along with their recommendations.
After brewing for two minutes, the tea had the color of a nice white wine. When I tasted it, I was very surprised by the sweet floral flavor that flooded my senses. Although I can’t say that the flavor is strong (and this may just be a normal characteristic of white tea), I can say that the tea is delicious. A very pleasant sweet aftertaste was also left on my palate after each sip.
This is another terrific tea from Teavivre. Even though I thought that once I went black (tea), I would never go back, I would definitely select this white tea again for afternoon drinking. I’m also now curious about other white teas.
This is Teavivre sample #3 of 5 for me today. I’m already sad that I only have two more samples remaining.
One word describes the Bailin Gongfu Black Tea: EXQUISITE! This is another exceptional black tea. The flavor is full yet light and airy. A very pleasing fruity and flowery zing is at the forefront. Behind that is the presence of malt and a hint of sweetness.
This tea is a kaleidoscope of great, well-blended flavors. As with the other two samples I have tried so far, there is a terrific freshness to the taste of this tea, as if it were just harvested yesterday.
I continue to be amazed by the fabulous flavors and quality of Teavivre teas. I’ve already added two Teavivre teas to my Christmas Wish List. Bailin Gongfu Black Tea is about to make its appearance!
This morning I was excited to try another sample of Teavivre tea. The Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip did not disappoint me one bit. It has a wonderful, light, flowery, fresh fields taste to it.
So far, Teavivre’s black teas have amazed me with the great amount of flavor they produce at low brewing temperatures and short steeping times. I brewed this one for three minutes at 185 degrees as recommended. The result was plenty of flavor, although I think my worn out tastebuds may need about three and a half minutes of brewing to obtain the full flavor effect. Regardless, this is another excellent tea.
This tea has a bright light amber color like wildflower honey. There is also a hint of sweetness to the flavor that makes this selection refreshing for black tea.
I continue to be very impressed with Teavivre teas. They have skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. I’m already counting the hours until tomorrow’s new sample!
This is my first taste of tea by Teavivre. Samples of this and four other Teavivre varieties came in the mail yesterday all the way from China.
I have to say, I am blown away by the great complex flavors of this bold yet very gentle tea. It’s one of the best black teas I have ever tasted!
This premium tea has a wonderful woody and smoky taste that is fully realized, but not overpowering, after just three minutes of steeping at 194 degrees. I find that worthy of note because I usually have to brew black tea for five minutes at 212 degrees to wring a level of flavor strength from it that even approaches this fine gem from the East.
The rich flavors of this tea are very clear without any bitterness creeping onto your palate. The bright amber color foreshadows the outstanding tasting experience that awaits you.
I am excited to try another tea offering by Teavivre…TOMORROW!
Yesterday I found myself back at the mall and once again I was drawn to the Teavana store “just to look”. I don’t know if the sales people are very good or I’m just an easy sell. In any event, this time I purchased the Slimful Chocolate Decadence blend. All you have to do is mention chocolate and my wallet seems to pop out of my pocket. This is my first experience with oolong tea. Following Teavana’s instructions, I brewed it at 195 degrees for three minutes. The flavor is an agreeable combination of chocolate and ginger. As Tamm commented, I did not see or taste the presence of rose petals in my selection. Maybe it’s because I’m not used to oolong yet, but the flavor power of this tea is weaker than my preference, particularly early in the morning when I’m trying to slap awake my brain and tastebuds. Am I sorry I purchased it? No. Do I like it? Yes. Will I drink it again? Yes. Next time, though, I will experiment with brewing it a little longer or adding more tea.
UPDATE: I blended Azteca Fire with Matevana yesterday morning. I used 1.5 teaspoonsful of each variety per cup. Wow! After my first sip, I heard music playing, birds singing, and sweet voices! Then, I turned off my radio. Seriously, though, the two varieties go together better than Abbott & Costello. It was like drinking a rich and sweet cup of hot chocolate with a fine tea chaser. The multiple flavors complement each other perfectly! So, I’m raising my rating for Azteca Fire because it is a great friend for other blends.
I’ll make this Tasting Note short and sweet because that is how I feel about this herbal tea blend. The chocolate taste is sweet but the rest of the flavor falls short. It is similar to hot chocolate, with either four times the apppropriate amount of water, or only one-fourth the amount of recommended hot chocolate mix. Take your pick. It smelled so misleadingly wonderful in its unbrewed state in the cannister. I’m disappointed with this one on its own. However, I have a feeling that it will be a great complement to another blend. Next time, I will mix this selection with Teavana’s Matevana blend. Hopefully Azteca Fire will then sigh, turn to Matevana, and whisper seductively, “You complete me.”
I was extremely psyched this weekend when I discovered that the mom and pop peach stand down the road sells Charleston Tea Plantation teas! Now I know how Columbus felt in 1492! I had just learned about these teas during my trip to Charleston last week and I figured I’d have to wait until my next trek to that great city before I could buy more. What made my discovery even sweeter was when I found that I can buy the teas locally for about 25% less than what they cost me in Charleston! So, needless to say, I picked up an additional variety of this wonderful tea.
The Governor Gray tea, like the other selections from this company that I’ve tried so far, has a very smooth and full flavor. The bergamot presence is light, but you know it is there by the citrus undertones that exist in every sip. Perhaps it only seems light to me because I am accustomed to the supercharged double bergamot tea blend produced by Stash. In any case, this is a very nice and tasty tea. I steeped it for four minutes at 212 degrees. This seemed to result in a hint of bitterness, but nothing to detract from my pleasure in drinking this tea. Next time I will lighten up and cut a minute off of the steeping time.
UPDATE: I did diminish the steeping time to three minutes to see if the slight bitterness that I experienced at four minutes would disappear. The results are in. To quote Goldilocks, “This one is just right!”