150 Tasting Notes

90
drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
150 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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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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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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