1998 Tasting Notes
This is the very last of a sample sent for review by Teavivre. Thank you, Angel!
I wanted a good black tea after breakfast today and I wanted something that would go well with some Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti Babies that my bestie gave me in a Harney and Sons gift set for Christmas. I really wanted a Keemun but I am almost completely out of Keemuns (gasp!) and thought I would finish this sample.
Sitting here also makes me count my blessings. I am drinking tea that was a gift, eating biscotti that was a gift, and my pot is sitting on a warmer that was a gift, looking at a card by GMathis that was an unexpected surprise bearing a gift of great tea inside!
This is definitely good black tea. I went just over three minutes on steeping even though the directions recommend one to two minutes. They do say to steep longer if you like your tea stronger, I find that hong cha is typically drunk much lighter in Asia than westerners are accustomed to. Indeed, this wasn’t hurt a bit by the extra time, and could have gone longer.
It is everything I needed for it to be this morning. Smooth, fruity, sweetly honeyed. And it does pair nicely with my biscotti! It is mild for a breakfast tea, but I don’t use my breakfast tea that way usually anyway. I drink tea after breakfast.
A friend called this morning on her way to Raleigh and said she needed some Teavivre tea, and were they located in Raleigh? I told her no, they were in China, but if she needed tea I would order it for her. LOL! So now I need to make a decision on which Keemun to buy for my cupboard. This is the only Teavivre one I have had, so I will glance back at Missy and Dylan’s comparisons of all the Teavivre Keemuns and try to make a decision!
This is one of the samples sent to me by Bonnie that I really wanted to wait for a special time to make it, and that time is NOW! My daughter who used to hate all tea, then liked puerh, then white and green, has discovered that she likes chai! She is visiting today so we made this two ways.
First I just steeped it in water, like any black tea. We took it without additions and she liked it very much. I like it, too, and there are a lot of chai blends that really turn me off. This one, Harney and Sons Indian Spice, and Rabbit Hole Chai have been my favorites. For a bagged tea, the Holiday Spice by Stash isn’t bad.
Next I mixed a little water in milk and steeped it that way. I did sweeten it a little, but my daughter didn’t care for it as much. Once she added some additional sugar she liked it, though. Her favorite was and is definitely still the first version, steeped like a regular black tea.
Thank you, Bonnie!
I started out my friend tasting unflavored puerh because I think it is great by itself, and I wanted her to have a good idea of what it is like. I had made two steeps of this already today, and once we had a few steeps of unflavored puerh I resteeped this again.
We drank two steeps of this one in addition to the others we had, and she really liked it. She was very enthusiastic about it, and I am not terribly surprised because she is very adventurous food wise and tries a lot of neat and unusual recipes. So yay! Another person who will drink puerh with me!
Tonight was writers’s group at my house but we had fewer people than usual thanks to colds and work related issues. This meant more time for tea! My partner in culinary crime loves to experiment so I asked her if we had ever tried puerh together and she said no. I gave her a brief history of the drink, let her sniff this cake, and since she didn’t run in fear I started steeping.
Five steeps later, we have a convert. She really liked it. I steeped it for over a minute each time…one steep was quite a bit longer and every steep was good. I used about a teaspoon of leaf pried off the cake into my eight ounce pot and we used a fair cup. Very good, with a nice cedar oil mouthfeel this time!
This was a surprise in the mail from the talented GMathis! First of all, it came in this amazing card!
Second, I really do like puerh. This is a funny thing because I dislike coffee, yet when I have a guest who says they really don’t like tea but love coffee, I serve them puerh and they love it! I was told puerh was an acquired taste, and while the smell of the first fishy Tuocha I bought scared me, I liked the taste from the get-go. Then when I found better quality puerh, I was eager to get to know more.
I like unflavored puerh just fine, but most of the flavored ones I have tried have been good.
This one is more exciting because I have loved everything I have tried from Nature’s Tea Leaf.
I steeped this in boiling water for about two minutes. I don’t mind my puerhs being inky black so that was a short steep for me! But the smell….ah, the smell. Even in the card, it smelled so good and juicy. Last night, I kept it beside me and sniffed and sniffed.
I am not a fan of weird cherry flavor. I don’t care for Cherry Coke. I don’t like rooibos because it tastes like cherry cough syrup to me. I love good cherry flavor and lay in a stash of cherry lollipops at Valentine’s.
This tastes like my Black Cherry Matcha! Well, the cherry part does anyway! And the puerh is a beautiful grounding for it and they have blended it just right. I could have sworn I even got a little natural chocolate-y flavor in the base. There is no fishiness at all – this is an nice earthy puerh. Good golly, this is tasty! I made 16 ounces and swilled it down in no time! This has great balance. If you are afraid of puerh, you should try this first!
This is great puerh and is the first real rival for position with Lupicia’s Chocolate Strawberry Puerh. I will be serving this tonight for Writers’s Group. (We really should name ourselves. Maybe it should have something to do with tea!)
I have been trying to whittle down my stash but every time I try a NTL tea I think, “Well, this has to go on the list for my first order.” Same for this one – it is definitely on the list and is probably also going to be the birthday gift for my puerh loving friend.
This was a free sample included in my Christmas order from Mandala Tea. Thank you, Garret!
It is tea party day! We didn’t have a tea party last week since it was the day after Christmas, and I wanted today to keep the holiday festivity vibe going! My middle daughter made a pan of brownies with freshly ground whole wheat, which makes really yummy fudge brownies, and we served it with homemade vanilla ice cream.
I also served Bonne Maman Fig Preserves. Ysaurella said she liked it best with goat cheese but I have none at this time so I served it with my warm homemade cheese spread that has a bit of onion in it.
I told youngest I would make this pot personally because I couldn’t believe we were going to get enough strength in a black tea in just one minute, but at one minute the color was nice and dark and the aroma was strong, so I did pull the basket.
I think this was the favorite tea of my guest today. She said it left behind a creamy feeling and had the most enduring aftertaste of our teas today. There is something rather unique about the aroma and flavor of this one that I couldn’t quite pin down and I hope someone more experienced will be able to describe accurately. This is fruity without being sharp, not a Darjeeling type of fruitiness but rather a baked fruit that has been mellowed and sweetened by the heat of baking.
It paired nicely with our food. We drank it without additions and it was sweet and smooth.
I look forward to trying further steeps of this!
I saved my leaves yesterday because I suspected that this one was a good resteeper. I was right! The second pot is still going strong and makes me wonder if this might even go three steeps western style.
The brew is light/medium orange and the flavor is roasted walnut with some sweet notes. Very nice!
Thank you, Nuvola Tea, for letting me try this!
This tea intrigues me most out of the new samples sent by Nuvola Tea for review.
I have never heard of a black oolong. I read their description that it is black tea made from oolong tea but I am still a bit in the dark. Is it black tea produced from a varietal that is normally used for oolong? Were the leaves first subjected to the processing for oolong tea, then for black tea?
I decided to go middle of the road with this one, using 194F water and giving it a little less than four minutes to steep.
The aroma is very fruity, the tea a medium orange color. The taste is a bit befuddling, but good. It mixes the flavor of a light black tea having fruity notes with the flavor of a dark roasted oolong. The sides of the tongue really sense that roasted oolong aspect. There is a nice sweet aftertaste.
I decided to see how it goes with food – snack, actually, and specifically pumpkin roll. I am pleased to say it went well, and now I notice that there is a smoky bottom to this tea, the roasted aspect becoming more obvious when pitted against the sweetness of my dessert. Nice pairing! Thank you, Nuvola Tea, for the opportunity to taste this!
My tin is getting dangerously low, and I bought the one pound bag! It is almost gone…
It is finally a really cold morning here. I needed some warmth to look forward to after breakfast. Tea is almost always after, rather than with. This one is especially yummy today.
There is a taste and texture I get from some Keemuns and from Teavivre’s Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls. It is almost as if a dark cocoa powder is being dragged across your tongue, and that is a good thing! I guess it doesn’t sound that way, but it is, because it is a chocolate-y but dry but not an astringent feel that is going on. It catches your attention if you are distracted by other things and says, “Hey, appreciate me here!”
This is really hitting the spot this morning.
Today for lunch I made turkey panini with sautéed onions, lettuce, Raspberry Enlightenment from Penzey’s, and mozzarella cheese. As a side dish I had rotini noodles with Double Devon Cream, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. To me, that meal screams for a good, stout Chinese black tea, like Keemun Hao Ya or Fengqing Dragon Pearls. But hubby doesn’t go for many black teas…yet. His favorite black tea is Ceylon, and even then only certain Ceylons will do.
He liked this one very well, and drank three cups to my one. I really wanted some tea after lunch so I tried resteeping the leaves, something I don’t do with just any black tea because so many come out weak. This was definitely weaker, but still very enjoyable.
Side note: the puppy we are fostering because she was hit by a car is doing well and should be ready to go up for adoption in a month or less. The puppy I keep on Tuesdays is staying with us indefinitely now since his owner is in the hospital having tests run. So every bite I eat, every sip I drink, is watched by three pairs of eager eyes…