696 Tasting Notes
Re-visiting this one today as part of the never-ending Herculean effort to diminish my tea stash, or at least the ones I’m not crazy about. I steeped 1.5 teaspoons of this for about five minutes and got an apricotty brew with a hint more cinnamon than I would prefer, but it’s not too bad. I find cinnamon to be a tricky ingredient in tea as it always tries to take over. The blend is still pretty lackluster but decent enough. Maybe this should be a cold brew tea for the beau? Hmm.
I didn’t realize I never posted a review of this one – I bought it probably a year or so ago when I went on a bender of trying all of Davids’ unflavoured teas. Now, of course I know what a typical orange pekoe tastes like from the bag – this takes that to a more refined level. It does remind me a lot of Red Rose or Tetley, but without the gritty bitterness I find typical of those bagged teas. It could stand up to additives, but when steeped carefully you don’t need them. There is a natural sweetness in the tea which is very nice on the sip and helps take this from standard fare to something nicer.
All that said, for a LOOSE tea, this is extremely standard. This is what I would use to convince bagged OP drinkers that there is more in the world – baby steps! It makes a nice base for a chai and is okay on its own but I don’t drink loose leaf for “okay.” : )
I’m revisiting this one today and am a lot more impressed with it than the first time I tried it (May). Since then I have become a lot more comfortable with oolongs and gotten a lot better at knowing how I like to steep them – I gave it less steep temp and time and what I have here is really tasty. MUCH more like a black tea than a green, which is something I appreciate in a roasty oolong.
That said, it’s not the most remarkable tea I’ve ever had. For me, this would be an every day sort of tea, rather than a special occasions, knock-your-socks-off kind of tea. I’m used to the latter with Teavivre, so this one has me a bit flummoxed but I DO like it. I don’t think I’ll keep it in stock as I’d rather deal with a black than an oolong, but this could be a nice one for those who find black teas too harsh or oolongs too green. It hits the spot, that’s for sure!
Had this again today and the cheesecake flavour was completely absent. I was hoping that waiting a few weeks would allow the flavours to meld a bit better (like with other flavoured teas) but it doesn’t seem to have helped. There was something present in the matcha in terms of flavour, but it was mostly a light sweetness and not any identifiable flavours. Kind of a bummer.
I didn’t realize I never posted a longer review! We finished this one up today and it is on my re-buy list, honestly. The oolong is there but very subtle under the sweet pineapple. It puts me in mind of dried pineapple more than fresh, but that’s okay. It is one of the rare cases where a flavoured oolong meshes really well for me. It is a bit cost prohibitive, but it’s also an excellent treat to enjoy once in a while.
I continue to be amazed at how good it is!
Whoops, this is yet another overdue review on a tea from Teavivre. Out of the package, this one has a very bold aroma, roasty and rich with some completely unexpected cocoa notes, but also an earthy, mossy smell. That last note is one which I have grown to appreciate – this is a tricksy oolong, putting me more in mind of a black tea. I love black tea!
I used the whole sample in my perfect tea mug with water that’s probaby around 90ish degrees. The steep was around 3ish minutes, yielding a liquor that is dark for an oolong but would be light for a black – a warm yellow, reminds me of an IPA or similarly styled beer in colour. The steeped aroma is subdued cocoa, with some dark earthy notes – almost reminding me of peat and cocoa. I don’t know why I say peat as I’m not completely sure what that smells like, but that is what comes into my head.
First sips are rich, earthy. I get a fairly bold roasty oolong flavoured, with a hint of spice at the end. Maybe something cinnamon or nutmeg? It’s a little sweet at the finish, unexpected but really nice. I get the sense that there is a bit of bitterness lingering underneath at all, but it isn’t fully developing, so it just gives a sense of complexity. This is a fairly bold tea and could handle additions if you were so inclined but certainly doesn’t need them – the mark of a good tea, in my books.
I have had a couple Big Red Robe oolongs now, and I must say that I really enjoy them. The flavours remind me of black teas more often than not and they’re nicely complex but still drinkable. This one almost has a savoury aspect, it puts me in mind of of a nicely seasoned roast. What is going on in my head today?! IF I can get teavivre.com to finally accept my credit card, this one might get slipped onto the order. Very yum.
EDIT to add that as it cools, I get a smokey note. It explains the sense of tobacco I was getting earlier. This is the second tea I’ve had recently with that slightly smoke that develops late in the game and I am liking it. Maybe I’ll be able to try a Lapsang some day.
PS – This reminds me a lot of the Teavivre Dragon Pearls. What’s up with that? : )
Now THIS has a smell – strawberry matcha is bold and in your face once opened. It reminds me of strawberry lollipops and other strawberry candies. Definitely doesn’t smell like a fresh strawberry, but that’s okay since it isn’t one. I am thinking right off the bat that I will like this one better cold as the idea of hot strawberry is a little iffy, but I try everything hot first cuz that’s how I like my tea.
Sifted and whisked up 1/2 teaspoon of this bad boy, the steeped smell puts me in mind of a strawberry bath bomb. Unfortunately that means it smells good in theory but is not at all something you would want to ingest. I feel like I am about to eat playdough or something else equally ill prepared for human consumption.
The taste does not match the aroma (thank God!) but the aroma is there in my nostrils and not going away. I don’t get a taste of chemicals, but neither do I get the sweet strawberry I hoped for. Actually, I don’t get a lot of anything. There is that light bitterness I seem to find in all matchas but not a whole lot else. As I continue to drink, I get more of a buildup of flavour, unfortunately what is building up puts me in mind of chemicals. Ugh.
I’m going to add a drop of honey and see if that makes any drastic changes. With honey, the smell is the same but the taste has improved marginally. Now it tastes like slightly honey flavoured chemical waeter. With the foam I actually feel a bit like I’m drinking the suds in a bubble bath. Okay, this will be one to try cold, or as an addition to a smoothie. After having tried 4 flavoured matchas and 1 unflavoured, I am coming to the conclusion that matcha isn’t for me. Luckily, the beau likes it and will use it all up but I wish I hadn’t invested in it. It upsets my tummy sometimes too, which is annoying. I don’t know why green teas hate me, but it’s disappointing.
Finishing up this sample today (in almost record time!) and wanted to share that I am getting a cuppa peaches and cream corn today. That is the smell and that is the taste – the dry smell actually makes my tummy a little upset (some greens and oolongs don’t agree with me) but the taste isn’t having that effect. It’s interesting how vanilla can lean so many ways in terms of flavouring – thankfully this isn’t coconutty vanilla, but more baked goods style. And apparently corn. : )
Full disclosure: I won this as a prize from Red Leaf Tea for helping to rename their Sugar Destroyer tea so I am not sure what the flavour strength is on this one. Thanks RLT! I would guess it’s not very strong as I didn’t get much aroma from the bag. There was some definite sweetness, but it smelled sort of generic, much like I found the cookie and cream matcha to smell. Actually, they both sort of smelled like the caramel matcha. For a non-green tea drinker, I think I need really high levels of flavouring in my matcha to make it palatable. Otherwise, what’s the point in flavour, eh? : )
The taste is..something else altogether. It is sweet. Not sugar sweet, but naturally sweet, rather than an addition. Sort of like how fruit is sweet but candy is cloying? Anyway, it’s yummy. Smooth with a sense of richness. I wouldn’t call it cheesecake if I hadn’t seen that on the label but it IS nice. Once again, a stronger flavour level would probably help distinguish the taste for me but that’s a personal weakness. I do get a bit of bitterness that lingers on the tongue – I’m not loving that. I think I will add a hint of honey to nix that.
Okay, honey may have turned into grapefruit agave. So sure me, it’s delicious. With the sweetener, the bitterness is muted and barely noticeable, which I prefer. I think this mixed with the caramel matcha would be super delicious – though it’s good on it’s own, it needs a little something to take it up a notch for me. It would be super yummy as an additive to a smoothie or cookies or something like that.
I tend to forget that I like Keemun. I recently finished off a tin of a low grade Keemun from a local tea store, and turned to this one today to try something I hadn’t tasted before. Teavivre graciously sent me this in my first batch of samples months and months ago – and though I thought I tried it, apparently not. Actually, I owe Teavivre half a dozen reviews. I feel miserable about it, but a lot of times I just want to drink a tea and enjoy it, rather than thinking about the review I owe. Anyway, on to the tea.
We did a steep with boiling water for around 3 minutes, the liquor was rich and surprisingly brown in our new glass bubble tea cups. If you want smallish double walled cups, the Bubble ones at Davids Tea are super cute. I love them. Anyway, the tea was rich in flavour, I remember lots of strong notes, reminiscent of chocolate. Why do so many of my favourite black teas remind me of chocolate?! I REALLY enjoyed this one and would consider adding it to the Teavivre order I am trying to make (for some reason their site is refusing our credit card as payment. I’m a little bummed). The flavour was bold but not harsh and it was very smooth with no bitterness. (all good points in my book!) See my note on Persian Apple for how the second steep went, heheh.
This is a keemun win, for sure. Now to get my order to process…