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145 Tasting Notes

90
drank English Breakfast by Harney & Sons
145 tasting notes

Aaaah. This is my kind of Monday! I’ve finally got a new tea to taste and review. I’ve been so busy getting married and keeping up with work tasks that I’ve had to push new teas down on my priority (and financial) list. It’s been a while since my last tasting note so my typing fingers and brain are a little rusty. But, here we go anyhow…

I’ve wanted to try Harney & Sons teas for quite some time. I’ve heard and read great things about their products. But, until this weekend, we didn’t have a local outlet from which to purchase them. I thought their on-line shipping charges were a little steep (no pun intended) so I didn’t buy any from their website either. Now, thanks to our local Fresh Market, we can purchase Harney & Sons English Breakfast and Earl Grey teas at discount prices.

When I opened the big black tin, the aroma that burst forth was like that of pipe tobacco in a tobacco shop. It was sweet and rich.

I steeped the short black leaves for five minutes at 212 degrees as recommended on the tin. I didn’t notice any particular smells wafting from the teapot during this process. The color of the liquor was a bright golden amber.

At first sip, the flavor was sweet and a tad earthy. The taste intensity was medium. The flavor remained mostly consistent after subsequent sips, but I did notice slight twinges of malt and the tell-tale woody and leathery flavors of keemun later on. There was no bitterness present in this brew.

Although this tea does not have bold flavors, it is, nevertheless, a smooth and pleasant beverage for those mornings when you don’t need something shouting at you to wake you up. There is still plenty of good flavor to get your morning off on the right foot.

Preparation
Boiling 5 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

Congratulations on your recent nuptials! I wanted to drink this tea today, but my water is turned off while hubby moves our washing machine and that means no tea! Please look at my cupboard and see if there are any Harney teas you would like to try. It can be my wedding gift to you! I think I have forty or fifty on shelf right now,

Stoo

Wow! Thanks, ashmanra! That is extremely kind of you! I will check out your cupboard! I hope you get your water and tea operation back up and running again soon!

Stoo

Bonnie

Happy Wedding Stoo, I didn’t know that’s why you disappeared. I thought WE were going to elope…oh well. I’ll just have to keep looking!

Stoo

Thanks, Bonnie! I guess I never got the memo about you and I eloping. :-) I hope you find a great one like I did!

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90

I have come to my last sample in this round of Teavivre’s latest offerings. Let’s see if Teavivre has batted 1,000 again like they have with samples in previous rounds…

When I opened the sample packet, a very strong grassy aroma escaped into the air. It was not unpleasant. It was like the smell of a freshly mowed putting green after a Summer sun shower.

I steeped the long green leaves for two minutes at 195 degrees. A pale green liquid emerged at the end of the brewing cycle.

The taste of this tea was light, fresh, and grassy. There also was a slight hint of sweetness beneath the leafy flavor. There was no bitterness to the taste and a light and fresh aftertaste lingered on my palate.

Like the several other Teavivre green teas that I have tasted, one word best describes the flavor of this selection: FRESH. All of Teavivre’s green tea offerings have a just picked taste that makes you think the leaves were harvested this morning.

This is yet another exceptional tea from Teavivre. I can’t wait to see (and taste) what they come up with next!

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

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89

My only chance to sample more new tea today is in the morning. Green tea doesn’t give me the caffeine burst that I need to kick my brain into motion, but I will go ahead and take one for the team anyway.

When I first opened the sample package of Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng Green Tea (I’m glad I only have to type it and not say it), the strongest pre-brewed smell that I ever experienced launched from within. I’m not sure how to identify it. Fresh cut asparagus on steroids is the best descripion that my sputtering brain can come up with (without my morning cups of turbocharged black tea).

I brewed the long thin black leaves for two minutes at 195 degrees. A greenish gold liquid became the final product.

The flavor of this tea is very light. There are twinges of sweetness and grassy or vegetable attributes, but nothing that takes charge. That is not to say this is a weak tea, because it is not. The flavor is full but not overbearing. I found it very easy to guzzle down four cups of this brew. I also enjoyed the light sweet aftertaste after each sip.

Teavivre has created another tasty and distinct tea with characteristics all its own. This would be a terrific selection to enjoy in the afternoon, at dinner, or for dessert.

I wish my favorite local Chinese buffet restaurant would offer this product. I would gladly switch back from their water to hot tea to wash down the mass quantities of peking duck and sushi!

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

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90

Jasmine tea is not a selection that I pursue. Many of the different brands that I tried were like drinking a bottle of perfume. However, Teavivre surprised me with their last jasmine offering. I actually enjoyed it. So, I wasn’t filled with dread this time.

Immediately upon opening the sample package, a strong jasmine smell flooded my nostrils. Uh-oh, I thought. But, I remained positive and kept reminding myself that I did like Teavivre’s other jasmine tea.

I steeped the little green pellets at 175 degrees for two minutes. A gold colored liquid was the result.

The brewed version of this tea also had a powerful jasmine odor. I still trudged on and took my first sip. Yes, I could taste the jasmine, but the flavor was light and sweet. I was able to swallow it very easily. After several more swigs, a very nice honey-like aftertaste lingered on my palate.

I have to admit, Teavivre has done it again! This is another jasmine tea that I like!

It is a very sweet, light, and pleasant blend. I still won’t run out and stock the house with jasmine tea, but I will enjoy using up this entire sample. And, if someone were to offer me another cup of this selection in the future, I won’t turn it down!

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

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90

My allergies have been particularly rough during the last several days. This morning I planned ahead. I steamed out my sinuses in the shower so I’d be ready to accurately review this tea from Teavivre without any blockages.

When I first opened the sample package of this tea, the aroma that burst forth from the fine dry leaves was almost a little pungent. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the brewed version if this aroma carried into the flavor.

I steeped the tea for three minutes at 195 degrees as recommended (actually, 194 degrees was recommended, but what’s one degree between friends?). The brew that resulted can be best described as a muddy honey color.

I was happy to learn that there was no pungent aroma to the brewed tea. The smell was light and rather nondescript.

I was pleased to find that the taste was sweet and amiable. There also was a flavor attribute present similar to oatmeal. Bitterness did not exist.

I enjoyed two cups of this tea very much. It is a tasty black brew with a full sweet but gentle flavor.

Shame on me for doubting Teavivre EVEN for one second! This selection is another winner in Teavivre’s constantly growing array of fine teas.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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90
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
145 tasting notes

I just received this tea in the mail from Angel of Teavivre on Saturday. It was hard to wait until today (Monday) to take it for a spin. I saved the tea for this day for two reasons, to:

1. Make Monday something to look forward to for a change.
2. Start the new week on the right foot with a new tea.

The unbrewed tea leaves have the familiar rich leather-like aroma similar to other black teas from the Fujian Province. The leaves are black with golden tips.

I steeped the leaves, as instructed, for two minutes at 195 degrees (actually 194 degrees is the recommended temperature but my one touch tea maker is not that flexible). When the steeping process finished, a golden amber liquid was the result.

My first sip didn’t quite register with my tastebuds. It is allergy season here in the Carolinas so that might have been a contributing factor. I thought my first taste had an astringent attribute but this dissipated quickly with subsequent sips.

Even with my sixth, seventh, and eighth sips, I was not able to detect a recognizable flavor. Incredibly, I was at the beginning of my second cup when a sweet potato flavor started to penetrate my allergy-tortured tastebuds.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I contemplated that drinking tea without tastebuds would be like listening to music without ears. Fortunately, the flavor had arrived and I liked it.

The taste has a unique veggie/malt quality that is smooth and full without bitterness. The leather taste of the Fujian Province teas also accompanies the other flavors. If you like sweet potatoes, you will find this tea especially enjoyable.

In summary, after a slow and rocky start (not the fault of the tea), I found this selection to be another fine brew from the folks at Teavivre. I am looking forward to drinking it in the middle of the winter when my allergies settle down. Maybe I’ll discover new flavor dimensions that I missed today.

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

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98

An ENORMOUS thanks to Steepster Bonnie for this sample! I was looking forward to trying this blend since my last two experiences with smoky teas were delicious ones!

When I opened the sample packet, my nostrils were bombarded with a powerful campfire aroma. In addition to the campfire effect, I also detected a smell reminiscent of one of my favorite snacking treats when I was a kid – Slim Jims!!!

I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for four minutes as recommended by Steepster Bonnie. The smoky aroma continued to waft from the pot while brewing. The color of the steeped liquid was an inviting amber.

The flavor of this tea is OUTRAGEOUSLY GREAT! It is rich, smoky, smooth, and steady. My tastebuds seemed to detect a hint of bacon in the flavor. There is also a subtle sweetness to this blend that reminds me of my favorite barbecue sauce. The smoky-themed aftertaste of this tea is light, sweet, and easy.

As I’ve said before, smoky foods are in our blood as well as our stomachs down here in the Sunny South. I can’t think of a better way to wash down a big plate of barbecued ribs than with this incredibly tasty tea!

Preparation
Boiling 4 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Ya’ll had better pass them ribs Stoo!

Stoo

Sure thing, Bonnie! I happen to be very blessed to live down the road from the #1 BBQ restaurant in the country (according to BBQ Magazine). Let me know if you ever decide to visit South Carolina. I’ll treat you to a plate of ribs so good that you’ll start whistling Dixie!!! :-)

Bonnie

I won a cooking contest for Black History Month (long story) and got first place for my pecan pie young man! I know Soulful cooking! We could kill ourselves slathered with such goodness! (I’ve never been able to whistle but I can sing!)

Stoo

Singing is fine. I tend to be a hummer myself. I’ll bet your pecan pie is out of this world! That’s also one of my faves! Hmmm…maybe we can work out a swap deal. ;-)

Bonnie

Cool! I won first place for apple pie at the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Paradise California if you like that better (French Apple Pie with Apple Schnopps in it somewhere secret)…and Stoo…I hate making crust! Joke is on me! Hum hum hum!

ashmanra

Stop, I came there in less than four hours…I won’t eat anything til I get there! LOL!

Bonnie

Girl you are so funny! We need some serious meet-ups with food and drink! Some of these big tea companies need to sponsor events like that for us to come to don’t you think? HINT HINT!

Stoo

I’ll gladly accept frozen crust too, Bonnie. I’m not fussy. Apple pie, pecan pie. Either is fine. IT’S ALL GREAT!!!

Stoo

Ashmanra…please pick me up on your way! :-)

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89

Let me start this review by saying that I come into it somewhat prejudiced as I am not fond of jasmine, in tea or otherwise. However, I do not tackle this sample with as much apprehension as I did before the last Teavivre jasmine tea sample I tried because Teavivre really surprised me with that one. I actually liked it! So, here goes…

I steeped this tea for three minutes at 185 degrees as Teavivre prescribed. The unbrewed tea had a very strong jasmine odor that was also present in the steeped liquid, but the brewed jasmine aroma was not as powerful.

As I gingerly inched down the first sip, I could clearly taste the jasmine, but it was not overwhelming. There was a nice sweetness to the flavor followed by a smooth and delicate white tea taste. Each sip thereafter did leave a jasmine aftertaste but it was not offensive or bitter.

This is another Teavivre tea that is so smooth and light that I had no trouble finishing the pot. Once again, Teavivre has amazed me with a product that was much better than I expected.

Will I now add jasmine teas to my collection? No. But, Teavivre makes jasmine digest very pleasantly in this tea. I guess I would probably have the same reaction from castor oil blended in a rich delicious chocolate cake!

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

Uh no Stoo …your reaction would be far different and come later as you run for the loo!

Stoo

Good point, Bonnie! I just finished the pot of tea. I’ll keep you posted… ;-)

Bonnie

No caster oil chocolate cake!

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97

Ah. Another day, another Teavivre sample to try. Life is good.

This selection was hand rolled into little balls of green leaves. The pre-brewed smell was fresh and aromatic. I was excited to add hot water and see what developed.

I brewed this blend for two minutes at 212 degrees. I always choose the maximum recommended steeping time to get the strongest tea possible without (hopefully) bitterness.

There was just a light and subtle tea smell wafting from the pot. The color of the liquid was golden amber.

At first taste, the flavor was bright and sweet and very smooth. With each subsequent sip, a sweet, honey-like flavor remained on my tongue. Bitterness does not exist anywhere in this tea.

This brew goes down so pleasantly and smoothly that I had to restrain myself from chugging it. All of the sweet and tea flavors are in perfect balance. I could drink this tea all day.

Thanks to Teavivre, my horizons have been broadened. I am rapidly becoming a big fan of other teas besides basic black. This Oolong tea is nothing short of WONDERFUL!

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
DaisyChubb

Great review, sounds lovely! I’ll have to order a sample of this one some day

Stoo

You won’t be sorry! :-)

Stoo

Thanks! I’m glad you liked my review!

ashmanra

I checked with Teavivre and they say the ginseng is added during roasting and that there is no sugar solution or licorice root added to this to make it sweet. I love it! It has two personalities…that first floral burst that is super sweet, followed by the roasted good oolong, and I guess some of that strength of character is coming from the ginseng. I don’t know since I have never had ginseng until this.

Stoo

Very eloquently said, ashmanra! It is very sweet but not in a sickening or overwhelming way!

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90

I’m starting to have black tea withdrawal symptoms but they are not severe enough to keep me from trying another non-black sample from Teavivre. Oolong is not my favorite but Teavivre always seems to make it interesting.

When I opened the sample packet, a somewhat sweet and milky or malted aroma spewed forth. The green and yellow tea leaves had been rolled into tight little nodules.

I steeped this blend for three minutes at 212 degrees. The brewed color was a light yellowish green.

The flavor of this tea is rather sweet, malty, and tangy. There is also a light tea taste reminiscent of Teavivre’s green teas. I didn’t find any bitterness. A soft and sweet aftertaste was left on my tongue.

I noticed, in the description of the tea, that it is recommended to use three to four teaspoons of tea per cup. I didn’t see that in time and scooped my usual one teaspoon per cup. I still thought the flavor was full and ample enough to enjoy.

Oolong (any Oolong) wouldn’t be my morning beverage of choice, but I would really appreciate this one at the end of the work day or as part of my dinner dessert.

This is yet another very nice tea from Teavivre. If Oolong is your preference, you will probably like this tea even more than I did!

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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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)!

Location

South Carolina, USA

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