1692 Tasting Notes
I finally got to Raleigh today to go to my favorite local (well, a little over an hour but close enough!) tea shop. I was supposed to go in and just buy some Fuzzy Navel to compare to Madame Butterfly, but my bestie mentioned that she wanted some greens for her cupboard so I had to look for a green I thought she would like, and the owner is evil evil evil – no, wait, he was just trying to make me happy – and made me smell the Ti Kuan Yin and I had to buy that, and I finally caved and bought this one! I really HAD to because one of my daughters is named Anna.
They were gracious enough to sell me the tea split into two bags so I can send half of it to her boyfriend in N. Ireland. AND they offered to do a special blend for me to replicate a tea I can’t get anymore, so I am pretty excited about that!
Isn’t it great when you buy something for a silly reason and discover that you love it? I steeped this for 3 minutes, right in the middle of their recommended steep time, and it is delicious. It is not bitter at all, there is no astringency, you can taste the black tea base just fine, and the raspberries are so sweet and fruity, with the yogurt lending a creaminess so the raspberries are never tart. This is quite a winner!
Want to save a fortune on buying Marco Polo? Try this. It is smoother. It is less fussy to make. You won’t be missing a thing, and the price is great – about half the price of Marco. And it is absolutely perfect without sugar or milk. If you were inclined to add those, I think this could probably handle it just fine.
This is still part of the free sample sent by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
After lunch today, I swallowed and winced. Uh-oh! What is happening? A sore throat? And I have a voice student coming in an hour!
I cast about ideas for about two seconds when the lightbulb popped on. Make a pot of tea! I liked this one last time, and I just got an email from a friend requesting that I recommend some green teas for her cupboard since she is a converted coffee drinker who mostly has black and puerh tea now.
The dry leaves pulled a fast one on me. I remembered how good they smelled the first time, so I gave a big sniff to the pouch before pinching out my leaves. What is this? CHOCOLATE? I must be wrong. Sniff again. No, this smells very strongly of chocolate now! I guess I need to check the pouch again and make sure there is a bit of chocolate from someone’s hands (who would do that?) on the pouch but I swear I didn’t see any!
I used more leaf this time as I felt my last brew was a little weak. The leaves are so very long and thin that a teaspoon is pretty useless for measuring it. I think I got it right this time because my pot was fantastic. Smooth, buttery, vegetal but not grassy, and a little nutty. Maybe the chocolate scent manifests as a nutty taste? Very good tea, my throat is a little better, and I definitely plan to resteep this and have another pot tonight!
Thank you, Teavivre!
This is part of the free sample from Russel at Harney and Sons. I made this for tea party today.
This was the third and final tea we served. It amazes me to see how light the liquor for this tea is, because the flavor and body are certainly not light! I really enjoyed this. In fact, I have found myself lately craving Ti Kuan Yins and drinking copious amounts of them.
This one is very good, and I meant to order it last time I placed an order but forgot. Good news!
Harney and Sons is offering free shipping, I think through Saturday, on orders over $25 with coupon code Ambessa. The first email said the shipping was free if there was at least one tin of Ambessa purchased. Two more have come in saying that you don’t have to buy Ambessa to use the code and get free shipping. If they had Lingonberry already in, I would be all over that! I am out of Cherry Blossom Green, too, so another Harney order is already starting to fill the notepad.
The first time this was served at tea party, it was so oversteeped and bitter that it got poured out – probably the only time we poured out a whole pot, though once or twice there has been a tea that someone just didn’t care for at all and chose another. We did have three new puppies in the house and I think my little teameister got distracted by the cuteness!
This time I made it myself, and scaled back the water temp a little, as well as the steep time. Wow! This tea transformed itself into a Darjeeling! This is delicious and nutty, but there is a strong muscatel tart little bite to it that made it really interesting. Great tea, just baby it if you have any left. It will be worth it! This one is no longer available from H&S.
Back logging from yesterday: it was tea party day and I didn’t get our teas logged because we stayed over our teacups for an extra hour. I guess we were catching up on all we missed because of missing tea party the week before.
This was the first tea I served. I had tried it earlier in the day using cooler water and a short steep time. For tea party, I made it by more customary western parameters for a black tea.
We were thrilled with this tea. The extra steep time increased the flavor and sweetness and did not add even a hint of bitterness to it. My guest gasped and ooh-ed and ah-ed and said that it was a thumbs up and a winner for her. The sweet potato goodness won her heart, and it was her favorite tea of the day.
This is not as caramel-y as the recent Harney and Sons version, so it has a slightly lighter body, though I had one harvest batch from H&S that was almost identical to this. I think the sweet potato flavor may be more pronounced in the Teavivre one and both are probably equally sweet, with the H&S tea leaning toward a honeyed sweetness.It is an excellent tea, and half the price, so it is a good choice if you want to save money or drink it more often. This will be going on a future order for me.
A quick note to say that this is an excellent resteeper! The flavor is mostly sweet potato. This is reminding of a tea I had a while back called Yunnan Royal Gold which had long, soft leaves and when steeped was just a nice, light sweet potato cup of goodness!
How do you taste a new company’s rendition of a favorite tea? One hopes to keep an open mind! I hope I did here! I will be tasting this twice today and it may be very different each time.
Harney and Sons Golden Monkey has been a tea party staple for a long time. I first tried it on someone’s recommendation back when I still took milk and sugar and I was disappointed in it. When I tried it plain, I was amazed at how delicious it was. The additions really hurt the tea in my opinion.
Then hubby picked up some from Teavana, and while it smelled just like H&S it lacked the body and satisfying maltiness, and I only enjoyed it as a breakfast tea with milk and sugar.
The question now was…where will Teavivre GM fall in the scale? And that question may not be fully answered until after tea party today!
For this morning, I am making this tea according to Teavivre’s recommendations. They use steeling parameters more common to Asian methods than to western steeping, so their black teas are lighter and more delicate, unlike the rough treatment we barbarians give to our hearty breakfast teas and British legacy teas, to steal a phrase from Michael Harney.
The verdict on this method of brewing: it’s all here! The sweet, smooth liquor with sweet potato flavor and a nice touch of malt is refined, medium-bodied, and smooth. No astringency. With the lower temperature and shorter steep time it is not as strong as my H&S cup made western style would be, but it is delicious nevertheless.
This afternoon I will be making a large pot using western steeping parameters to serve at tea party. I am looking forward to my guest’s and youngest daughter’s reactions and thoughts.
Edited to add: VERY IMPORTANT NOTE! I just looked up both of these teas and Teavivre’s is almost exactly half the price of H&S. This is an important factor to consider if money is an object.
Both are less expensive than Teavana’s, which is my least favorite of the three.
Back logging: This is – oops, make that WAS – a sample provided by Angel and Teavivre. I finished it today but the full pouch is on its way and I intend to drink the heck out of it!
I have had three Monkey Picked Oolongs and this is my favorite. The others were Teavana’s and thinkgeek’s, both of which were very good. Teavivre’s has a little something extra, though. That deep baked flavor of fruit, sugared by Maillard reaction is front and center and just makes this such a rich, warm tea.
I am very glad I will be clicking Add to Cupboard very soon!
Angel and Teavivre were very kind to include a sample of this tea in my last sample box that arrived from them! They noticed I had mentioned in one review wanting to try an unflavored since their flavored sample was my first mik oolong.
I had my bestie over today for Japanese Lettuce Wraps. I was really in the mood for some Teavivre Monkey Picked Oolong, but only had enough of my sample left for a small pot. I ordered a full pouch but it hasn’t arrived yet, so I went ahead and made a small pot of Monkey Picked and a bigger pot of this. It is a great opportunity to compare both.
Sniffing both of these made me giddy. The Monkey Picked was just what I was looking forward to – baked, rich aroma and ultra smooth. I sniffed this one and was surprised at the great difference! It smelled so green, so floral, and the baked aroma was very much in the background, not right in front like Monkey Picked.
I sipped this one first and wondered if I was losing my mind. This unflavored milk oolong has more of a milky taste and feel to me than I remember the flavored one having! Oh so smooth, lightly floral, deliciously milky. My guest loved it and drank a lot more tea today than she usually has at my house!
Both of these were excellent teas! We finished both pots, and I am so glad I have a Teavivre order on the way! Thank you, Teavivre, for expanding my horizons and letting me try this, I think between the unflavored and flavored milk oolong, I would buy the unflavored!
I bought this based on the reviews here on Steepster and because the teas I have tried from 52teas have been great. This is no exception.
The smell of the dry leaf is fantastic, so rich! So full of berries! There are dried berries in the pouch making this a very pretty tea to look at, as well.
I made the first cup conservatively based on other reviews. I used water just below boiling and about a 3 1/2 minute steep. The steeped tea is very well balanced for the tea lover. Though this has flavors added, the black tea base isn’t covered up and it isn’t shy, but it isn’t biting me either! It is a solid foundation for the flavors.
I thought I might want to add milk and/or sugar to it to make it a super ecadent dessert treat, but after one sip I changed my mind. There is such a creaminess to this that it is as if you have already added cream…not milk, but cream. And the fruity strawberries are just the right balance of sweet and tart, not sour. I guess if you are used to sugar in your tea, you would love this with it, but I think it is great without.
This reminds me a little of Marco Polo, but totally food oriented where MP has floral notes added and isn’t as creamy.
This is my preview cup for tea party day. I need to come up with something special to serve with this! I wish I could make a real strawberry zabaglione. Who knows? Maybe I can. :)