1879 Tasting Notes
I am not adding this to my cupboard because I have only about one ounce of it. This was a gift from one of my music students today. We have tea together almost every week, as I did with her brother before her.
Their family goes to The Extra Ingredient whenever they visit Greensboro. The story they were given was that the loose teas being sold by the ounce are blended by a British gentleman who used to blend teas in England and asked them to carry his blends here so that he could continue to buy the needed supplies to blend and drink his favorite teas.
I may have under leafed this a bit, but it is very tasty. The dry aroma is really lovely. There are black tea leaves, not too small, and bits of green leaf which I assume to be blackberry leaves, but I suppose it could even be stevia leaf or something. If it is, I will soon have a stomach ache, so I am hoping it is blackberry leaves.
It smells like candy and I have been wracking my brain trying to figure out what is so familiar about it. I think something about it is reminding me of Guava candies or Parma Violets, but without the soapy taste. I like Parma Violets, by the way, in spite of the soap!
The tea isn’t particularly astringent, the berry flavor lingers. I am astonished at the price I was told for this tea and wonder if they were mistaken. I was told it cost 3.99 for four ounces and this was repeated several times, so I don’t think they meant to say that was the price per ounce. My little bag says it is two ounces but I think it was divided, so maybe that is actually the price for two ounces. If it is, this is an amazing deal if you like flavored tea.
I find it very sweet drinking it without additions, but I plan to cool some tomorrow and add simple syrup and try it as an iced tea. If it is good that way, I may have to stop in the store myself soon.
Since I had good luck drinking shu with youngest, I decided it was time to try sheng on her! Hubby joined us.
I used about five grams in my small gong fu pot. The water was boiling, but since we bring it to the table with us, it is cooling all the while. From that five grams of leaf we got two liters, that’s right, TWO LITERS, of tea!
I didn’t read the directions last night when I had this and oversteeped it on the second or third steep, which made it very brisk but also increased the sweet aftertaste quite a bit. The oversteep led to a very lemony taste for a little while before it settled back down.
Tonight I gave it a 20 second rinse, then several 10 second steeps, then several 20 second ones. The steeped tea keeps its deep golden color through many steeps. Steeps 2 through 4 are probably the most brisk, with 5 onward being more mellow. There is a drying affect for the tongue but the throat stays wet. It will be interesting to see what happens as this one ages.
I think this had a moderate chi. I wasn’t dancing on the ceiling, but last night we had introduced youngest to some 20’s music that was new to her – she is a big 40’s fan – so tonight we went to the 70’s with Jefferson Starship and America, and then took her to the 80’s with Al Stewart et al. It was loads of fun, and now how will we ever get to sleep?
This is the same tea AND the same tea sachet, but it deserves another review. These are a new offering from Teavivre, and I want to give it a thorough look.
I saved the sachet after my daughter and I made two or three steeps. I wish I remembered how many! I realize these are sized for a ten ounce mug or pot, but I was using my eight ounce pot so keep that in mind as well.
After the steeps we drank, I made a steep last night for hubby. He liked it, and said the rice flavor is very noticeable. Again this morning, I steeped the sachet and made another eight ounces. The result is much paler, but the rice flavor is still noticeable and the puerh flavor is there. It is fading at this point, though.
So my final verdict is….if I didn’t work at home as I do, and I wanted a GOOD puerh tea that was also very convenient and very economical due to the resteep factor, this is a fantastic choice, and is far and away better than any puerh bags I have had in the past. In fact, there is no comparison between the two. That would be like comparing Twinings tea to a competition grade Ti Guan Yin.
Kudos to Teavivre for getting it right!
I chose this tea purely out of curiosity. I had heard of rice flavored teas but never tried one.
Edited to add: It is important to note that these are sized for ten ounce portions, which is really handy if you are making a mug at work. They were aware that if you are using sachets you are probably not using a gaiwan or a tiny pot for tiny cups! And you get multiple steeps, plus such a long steep time that it becomes even more convenient for work or really busy times.
I expected a hint of rice flavor mixed with shu puerh, but even the dry sachet smelled strongly of rice – the steeped tea even more so! And there is lots of the glutinous rice flavor in the cup. This tea is the essence of what you smell when your rice boils over a little and the sticky rice water slides down the side of your saucepan and you can smell it all through the house. I am amazed at how much rice flavor is in this. I really want a bowl of rice now!
The puerh aspect is an earthy one rather than a horse-y one. The first steep was quite dark, which isn’t surprising since they recommend a 9 to 12 minute steep for this. By the third steep we didn’t even time it, we just poured it up after finishing one of our school lessons and it was fine. Even my youngest daughter, who just started drinking puerh teas a couple of weeks ago, liked it!
Drumroll, please! There is another puerh convert in my house! Hooray!!!!!!
My youngest daughter has become obsessed, obsessed I say!, with cooking and with trying new things. What a wonderful time when kids hit that ultra adventurous stage. Up to now her favorite teas were Vanilla Black by Harney, any Lapsang but especially Black Dragon from Upton, Baker Street Afternoon Blend from Upton, and Yunnan Golden Tips.
A couple of months ago she cut back on sugar in her tea and finally weaned herself off of it entirely. Then she started cooking and was wanting to try lots of new foods. She discovered that she liked nearly everything she tried. She started trying new teas, and re-tasting ones that she had not cared for long ago.
I nearly fell over last week when I made puerh at my son’s request last week and she asked if there was enough for her, too. Then twice this week she has asked if the two of us could share a pot together.
Today’s choice was Purple Rhyme. I made it western style in my 22 ounce pot and poured it into a larger pot. I used boiling water and steeped for about four minutes, until it was almost inky black! I made a second steep right away which is as dark as the first and combined them. There was no rinse.
This is so good, very smooth and full bodied. This is earthy with a high tang. We drank about 35 ounces of it today. I saved the leaves and expect to get at least another two western steeps out of it tomorrow. I am so happy to have another puerh drinker in the house.
Ooooooh boy. I shouldn’t have had this. First of all, it is a single packet my son found in his apartment. It was left behind by a Chinese roommate who went back to China several years ago, so this is undoubtedly expired. It is instant, and has way too many ingredients.
The surprising thing is that is you like really sweet things, this is quite good. My youngest daughter said it tasted like Land O’ Lakes Warm Oatmeal Cookie mix from the hot chocolate assortment pack. I can see that. It smelled like Red Leaf Matchaccino mix when I opened it.
Something – either the vast amount of sugar or one of the emulsifiers or stabilizers – has given me indigestion and my esophagus is rebelling, even though I only had a few sips before giving it away to the kids, who also didn’t want it. Youngest said too sugary, and middle daughter who is ultra picky said it tastes funny.
The texture is thinner than a matchaccino, but I make those with milk and this probably would have been pretty good made with milk instead of water. When we used to buy hot cocoa mix in pouches we always used milk instead of water and it was infinitely better, though still not as good as homemade.
As a rare dessert treat, this would be nice. If you love sugar, this would be nice. If I could make it fresh and have it all natural instead of full of chemicals this would be nice.
The indigestion isn’t nice. If you want something like this and you can get it, get Red Leaf’s Matchaccino. No indigestion and no mile long list of ingredients.
I was arranging some of my more decorative tea tins in a secretary tonight and noticed that this one still had the deal around the top. Oh my! How in the world did this happen? I was sure I had added it to my cupboard on here long ago but it wasn’t there. My daughter, Superanna, bought this for me on her last trip to London.
To make it up to this Earl, I decided to open the tin and treat myself tonight since I have been really good and…well, I haven’t really done anything but eat peanut M&Ms and make a pitcher of iced tea for tomorrow so I guess I haven’t been all that good. Still, I want tea.
I was afraid from the dry aroma that I was in for a HUGE blast of bergamot. I wasn’t sure of the base so I used water a little below the boil and only gave it a three minute steep.
What I have is a very civilized cup of Earl Grey. Contrary to the aroma upon opening the tin, the bergamot is at a very moderate level. Perhaps I would change my mind if I made this with boiling water and gave it a longer steep, but this is a wonderful afternoon or evening treat to me, not a bracing, kick you out the door, breakfast tea, which I think of as being more along the lines of a builder’s tea. This is more genteel.
The Ceylon contributes a tiny lemon tang, the Assam rounds it, and the Kenyan tea is what puts the breakfast bit in.
I am feeling particularly blessed this weekend. I don’t know why other than that I have taken time to think about it. I am feeling more energetic now and more like myself since all the surgeries. I have family that I really enjoy being with. I have a miniature farm in my yard, and I always wanted a garden and chickens and a good dog. We have good food to eat, and lots of desserts right now because it was hubby’s birthday over the weekend. I have nice people in my life like K S, whom I have never seen face to face but who sent me some of this tea because he knew I loved it and it is sold out. There is a lot to be thankful for, and that is only the beginning.
I think I really started feeling this way when we had our birthday dinner and had tea afterwards. First, my son’s new-ish girlfriend wanted to try Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, and she loved it. Then I found out that my son, who used to hate ALL tea, has gotten her drinking puerh, and when he asked if we could have some after dessert I was thrilled. It is so peaceful to me to sit around the table or even on the floor with a kettle and make steep after steep of a good puerh, filling and refilling the cups. And this time, we were joined by…YOUNGEST DAUGHTER! Yes! She gave up sugar and milk in her tea a couple of months ago, and is now trying lots of new kinds and broadening her horizons. And she liked it!
This is the puerh I usually gave people who were drinking it for the first time. It has the trademark characteristics found in most shu – horsiness, earthiness – but none of the bad traits like fishy odor or bitterness. The creamy cedar note in this one is what endeared it to me so. You get the rich earthiness with the aroma of horse barn – mmmmmmm! – and then that bright spot that still manages to be mellow.
Something about drinking puerh with family and friends feels like an extra special bond to me.
I have much to be thankful for.
Backlogging: I have had this twice but didn’t want to review until I had a chance to really pay attention to it. K S sent a very generous sample to me and we had it for tea time Wednesday as the final tea and again on Thursday with a friend and her two little girls. I finally had a quiet cup by myself so I could write a decent note!
This was smooth and sweet and my guest mentioned that every tea we had last week was very good. With all the chatting and food, I didn’t pick up enough detail to say why. The same thing happened Thursday.
Drinking it alone, I have to agree with K S. This is a smooth and pleasant base. The Rose and berry flavors are well balanced. The rose flavor doesn’t club you over the head. It swirls around and you say, “What was that?” Then you swish it around and say, “Ah yes, of course, rose!” It adds such a lovely sweet taste, and doesn’t taste like granny’s hand lotion. The berry taste is at a similar level – pleasant but not overpowering.
The little girls drank it readily. In fact, I have determined that in future I will have a pot twice this size when we have tea again as they drink hot tea so enthusiastically.
All in all, I give this tea a big thumbs up. It would be great to keep around for guests who aren’t sure what they like in flavored teas. Many thanks, K S!
Hubby and I have not had a quiet evening gong fu session in a while so I asked him if he was game for it tonight. He hasn’t had a lot of raw puerh, and this may be only the second one he has tried, so I didn’t know how it would go for him, especially since this one is SO young.
Raw puerh didn’t do much for me way back when, but I enjoy it much more now than I used to. And with this being a 2014, I was halfway expecting to walk away after a few steeps.
I used about 5 grams in an eight ounce pot with water that was 212F but the kettle sat beside us, so it was cooling with each steep.
I feel like I am in a strange mood tonight – I may be tea drunk – but the aroma that hit me smelled like….optimism. Bright lights ahead. Hope. Lightness of being. The initial steeps were zingy with youth, a little grassy with sunshine on top. Definitely feeling the chi with this one.
The liquor was deep, rich yellow in the little white cups. It stayed that way until about steep seven, when the color lightened considerably and the flavor became a little more milky.
I asked hubby how he felt, and he said he felt like he was winding down and felt ready for bed. This from a man who often can’t sleep and is restless for far too long considering how early he has to get up. While the tea was mellowing him, it was invigorating me. But now after two more steeps drunk alone, I am also ready to wind down and go to sleep. Happy and giddy, but sleepy.
This session has convinced me that I need to add more raw puerh to my tea stash. It is a good thing I am placing a combined Teavivre order for myself and a friend tomorrow.
Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample from your birthday pack!