364 Tasting Notes
Thank you Bonnie for this sample!
A few months ago, I received many generous samples from Bonnie and have only reviewed a few of them, sorry about that…
I was honored to try my first tea from her beloved teashop, Happy Lucky’s, she also included a nice cardboard disk from them that gives you all their brewing instructions and addresses.
She had promised she would send a Lapsang Souchong that she thought I might appreciate, as I had expressed the fact that they kind of scared me, just like pu’erh did…
First and foremost: the smell! Ahhh… sweet fire camp hickory, charcoal broil mixed with floral fragrance from the pretty dried jasmine flower buds and juicy bite from the orange rinds .. People at your teashop are genius for thinking of putting these together…as they say, opposites attracts!
Not to think that this is in any shape or form a jasmine tea cause it’s not! The Jasmine is obviously overpowered by the smoke and it is to be expected, but it’s role here is simply to tone it down an completely blend and vanish to create a perfect balance with it’s sweet flowery perfume.
I’ve had only one souchong previous to this one, and it was so harsh and bitter, I thought I would never have it again!
This is showing me all the possibilities, and I’ll be willing to try more of them… I have to say that as breakfast tea, it’s magnificent!
The best part is that I have enough for a few more cups!
Happy to be back! (Once more, I’ve had to unplug from Steepster for awhile… (My dad was sick again, so I’ve spent most of my time with him at the hospital)
It’s ok, not beign the most active member here, I still greatly enjoy following poeple and their reviews. Even if I have to disappear from time to time, I always come back!
So I’ve had «regular tea» for the last few weeks, not having enough time to indulge in «special tea» such as this one. Tonight is special…I have a date with myself! I’am alone in the backyard, it’s nightfall, and I can hear the owl’s chant, whooo, whooo, very close by…The woods are in my backyard, so I get lots of wild life sounds, and from time to time, wild life visitors. I love all my visitors, they sometimes just pass by, or they stay for a couple of days. Today, we had a red fox sniffing around. It stayed a few hours under the bird feeders, hoping for a snack.It’s been raining a lot, there’s a wonderful vegetation and earthy smell out here tonight, so fresh and warm at the same time.
I have brought the cast iron kettle outside to keep my water hot, along with the gaiwan. I will write this review the old fashion way by the candle light, in my tea notebook. Not kidding, a real paper notebook, with a real pen, with real ink. I realized lately that I barely ever «write» anymore, using the electronic devices all the time. I’ve missed that feeling… See, in French, (my first language) I write a lot! It’s a habit and a necessity for me. I write everything and nothing. I think in one day, I probably write more than I speak! To write on paper just feels like reading a real book after reading a thousand digital ones! It feels right again…
Back to the tea. I’m following Verdant’s instructions. A few seconds only for big flavor. I will not pretend I can review this tea the way others have. Although I can always identify some of the notes, the experience for me is more about the way it makes me feel than about the actual taste. I don’t care much if I can’t get the « cinnamon» or the «avocado». And I’m not saying that in a pejorative way, au contraire, I do admire people for being able to do that so well in their reviews and I thoroughly enjoy reading them, but it’s just not my main concern when I try to describe my tastings. However, I think it’s fun when I find exactly what has been described, I guess sometimes it’s just more obvious than others…
Anyways, I get so many different notes in one sip of this tea, it would take a lifetime for me to identify them all!
The first infusion was a burst of sweetness, yum! Chocolate and honey for sure… it’s so warming, it surprised me in such a pleasant way.
As the other infusions evolved, it got closer to oolong than black tea for me. I find roasted nut along with ripe fruits and light spiciness. Even after many infusions It’s very intense and slightly astringent.
I can’t write anymore than that, sorry… I’m too chocked up by the pure bliss it is giving me, and the night is just too beautiful not to get my full attention…The perfect tea for the perfect moment… I will type that on Steepster later when I get back in…
Thank you for that, Verdant…
Love getting tips from Steepster people!
I like to try different methods and decide afterward if it’s for me or not. After reading Charles T. Draper’s review on having this cold brewed, I had to try it!
( can’t believe I can actually relate to a real life «Draper» guy other than Mad Men Don Draper! What can I say, just can’t get enough of that show!)
Ok back to tea, I’ve been experiencing a lot lately with cold brewing, AmyHo had told me the reason she makes her iced tea this way is mostly cause it’s easy…hey, I like easy too!
Charles had recommended brewing it for 3 days…ummm, It got me thinking that patience not being one of my strongest attribute, it would be a tad too long for me so I had to try it after 1 day… it was OK, but I got some kind of metallic after taste along with bitterness that I wasn’t fond of.
So I waited…NOT patiently! but it was well worth the wait! This stuff is really good, and I can appreciate all the different nuances a lot more. For me, the crisp cold temperature amplified the nuttiness I usually get from the hot brew. Strangely, the bitterness was gone and replaced by some refreshing citrus notes that I thought complemented very well that nuttiness and oolong’s natural creaminess. I was very sad to see my jar empty and made another one right away! Now, I want to try more oolongs and greens this way, I have couple of jars waiting in the fridge!
To TEAVIVRE, I must say I have yet to try one of your tea that I don’t like, they never let me down!
Ooh-la-la, this tea,
Treasure of scented pearls, the caviar of tea…
Open the jar…
Close my eyes…inhale…
In another era, from the luxuriant gardens of Forbidden City,
a world where I have never set foot, but that I recognize from the many books I have flirted with …
Am I having this tea as the Emperor’s favorite concubine? No! As the Empress of Imperial China herself!!! (Why settle for less?)
Well, I know that the Emperor’s entourage probably never drank jasmine pearls, as I think floral teas were not the most prized ones, but I still like to imagine they would!
The texture of this tea is just like its shape: surprisingly round, full and velvety on the palate.
NO TRACE of astringency, even after several minutes of infusion (I accidentally steeped it for 5 min. the first time)
2nd and 3rd steep: still that velvety roundness.
The floral note of jasmine is both rich and fresh, but absolutely not overpowering, the sap of green tea is very present in the background.
Contrary to other jasmine teas I have tried, the floral note doesn’t linger and leave a perfumed imprint in the mouth.
Conclusion: This tea is noble, of exceptional quality and commands respect for the history and craftsmanship it bears.
(And I should mention, TEAVIVRE, you are offering it at an exceptional low price, I thank you for that!)
Oh, have I missed Steepster and all your great reviews lately, extremely busy at work for the past 3 weeks , and at home with my godchild (babysitting the little angel while my sister is on a well-deserved vacation!) I’m catching up today by reading all of you…
Not only am I Canadian, I’m French Canadian, a proud «Québecoise» to be more precise. That explains why my choice of words or the way I phrase things might be a little incorrect form time to time. I hate using translators, good old fashion Merriam-Webster dictionary is what I go for. Aside from a few English lessons in high school, I learned English by myself. When I was a teenager, I decided I would become bilingual and read tons of English books. I also spoke English as often as I could, to all my friends who didn’t understand a thing and thought I was a little weird. It paid off, by the time I was 18, I was almost perfectly bilingual.
Now in my adult life, I do speak the language every day (I work in the financial world), but from time to time, I just can’t find the perfect word to illustrate to the fullest what I really want to say, the way I could in French.
So today, how do I love this tea??? INCOMMENSURABLEMENT! (google it! ha! ha! I just wanted to show off!!)
This tea, oh my, this tea… I have to thank Teavivre for the sample I got about 3 weeks ago. After drinking the life out of it, I ordered a large supply and decided to wait and drink it again before writing my review. (I wanted to make sure it was for real and that I wasn’t a victim of some kind of tea rush hallucinations).
I finally received it this week. So many of you have already said many good things about it and they’re all true.
This tea is a symphony for the taste buds and for the soul… Bold and delicate at the same time. It does have a natural cocoa feel to it, paired with a distinct caramel sweetness very hard to describe.
It does remind me of Teavivre Yun Nan Golden Tip, in a more complex way.
Haaa, sip, sip, I am having it right now, sooo freakin’ goood!!
This tea is simply a marvel of refinement and sophistication. First infusion and I am captivated by its rich aroma and its multiple flavors which interlace. Some milk, yes, subtly creamy and sweet. Comparatively to Teavivre’s milk oolong which I also greatly appreciated, I detect no floral note so far. It might come through in the next several infusions I’m about to have today… I know that the milk aroma is natural in Teavivre. I wonder if it’s the same for this one, does anybody know if the milk is manualy added? If it’s all natural goodness, then this tea is a miracle to be so naturally creamy!!
Now, the body: so dense and silky, it is a creme caramel transformed into beverage! Adding anything to it would be a crime, to all the milk and sugar addicts (Seinfeld quote: not that there’s anything wrong with that! ) please have this one “au naturel” first, then decide if you need to pimp your tea :o)
I’m now having my second steep, the leaves have almost fully unfolded, and the taste is just as wonderful and milky as the first infusion, and I can now detect the orchid slowly emerging.
This is a favourite of mine, definitely!
I fully accept the fact that I’m a real girly girl. I know it sounds a bit lame, but when tea is «pretty» I’m predisposed to love it, its appearance adds a little «je ne sais quoi» to the experiment.
This tea is very pretty. Its thin tentacles shaped as little golden spirals are really unique.
The scent of the dry mix is just as special. It smells like hay warmed up by the summer sun…
The liquid is a beautiful amber color, and the taste has sweet natural maple feel good deliciousness to it. I could not describe the taste of sweet potato, but I understand the reference that others have made.
Until recently, I drank a ratio of 75% flavored tea for 25% plain tea. The ratio is now up to 60/40 in favor of plain tea! Who would have thought?
I find myself longing for Teavivre teas every day. They are of exceptional quality for the price. In addition, the personalized service, I mean REAL personalized service, makes the experience that much more enjoyable.
Ok, now I sound like an Info commercial, but this is how impressed I am!
A couple of years ago, I ordered a mint tea in a Thai restaurant. To my enchantment, the waiter brought a glass full of fresh spearmint and poured hot water directly on the leaves.
The leaves being still attached to the stem, you don’t have to remove them, you just drink and watch those big vibrant green leaves twirl in the water. But the most amazing thing is the taste. Never had I tasted a mint tea so sweet in my life. That summer, I started growing my own spearmint. Iced or hot, that’s the only way I now drink my mint tea in the summer.
For the rest of the year, as a mint lover, I do enjoy pretty much any dry tea with mint in it.
However, I could never find that sweet fresh spearmint taste in any of the dry teas I have tried. But his one from DT is by far the closest! What a treat, I tell you, all mint lovers, you MUST get some-o-that!
And must I say, its angel breath benefits make it the perfect Valentine’s tea!
Love, love, love
No work today, I have the whole day just to myself, and I chose to spend time on Steepster. Oh! how I wish I could spend more time to read reviews, and write more often myself! But life has other plans for me right now …
So I seize every opportunity that presents itself to take a break from my crazy schedule and sip a good cup of tea. I tell you, tea protects me from insanity! People around me know, tea is my religion, a sacred temple, an escape, a source of inspiration and meditation. For an over achiever like me, it means a lot.
I look out the window, I enjoy watching birds, trying to find seeds that fell from the feeder in the snow. I live in the countryside, not too far from the big city. Nature, just like tea, brings a much needed balance to my life.
Today, the sky is gray. February can be depressing around here, winter taking its toll I guess… But I like this kind of atmosphere, it leaves lots of room for melancholy to set in and take its rightful place. I put on the music of ELLIOTT SMITH, Miss Misery is playing and I realize how much I have missed him since his death. I really need his music today.
I want to honor this moment with something special. I recently received my order from Teavivre, it’s the perfect time to try this white Peony. I am a bit skeptical but positive feedback from some of you gives me confidence. I don’t know much about whites, and the ones I have tried so far never fully seduced me…until now!
First of all, as many others, I am impressed with the quality packaging that Teavivre offers, it’s the best I’ve seen. From the get go, you know that what’s in there was treated with all the respect it deserves. I open the bag and I discover long leaves of a pretty green color, the pouch is full as the weight of this tea is very light.My first steep is one minute. The infused leaves have a strong smell of hay and spinach. The liquid is a light golden color. The taste is sweet and slightly grassy, with hints of freshly cut hay and a flowers. Everything is very subtle, but far from being boring!
The 2nd infusion (2 min) is completely different! Not as sweet and grassy, but with distinct notes of apricot (is this possible?) It’s fading, but the hay is still present. Not much flower notes this time around. I really love the experience so far. I now realize that I had never drank a white tea worthy of the name before.
Teavivre, thank you for introducing me to this new standard of quality.
I will from now on refer to this tea as my ELLIOTT SMITH tea, the one I drank in honor of his beautiful music legacy …
Note: the 3rd infusion is lighter, the apricot is gone, but the floral is back. Still tasty, but I’m not sure it can stand a fourth time…