On the third day of tea-mas Angel gave to me, three Yun Nan Dian Hongs, two Bai Lin Gong Fu’s and a 75th tasting note! So yesterday my Verdant spring greens arrived, Monday the husband’s Upton samples came and today, quite unexpectedly the post man knocked and I signed for a box I wasn’t sure if I should be looking at, then I saw my name and all the stickers from customs and realized what it must be, my free TeaVivre samples!

Thank you so much to Angel and all the folks at TeaVivre for such a generous offer try new tea in exchange for reviewing them. Any company that offers samples, be they included with an order or offered at a very affordable price gets points in customer service in my book, this is the first I’ve come across that has offered them completely free (I understand this would be very impractical for smaller companies in the States). I will definitely be placing an order soon!

So this tea! This tea that is all the buzz on Steepster. This tea that has been on my shopping list for so long. Was it worth the wait? Absolutely! I am grateful for the four tiny serving packets, it makes things less intimidating. I feel comfortable diving into this tea knowing I have a serving that I can make for my husband strong, one that I can save for my gaiwan and for my guests (okay maybe two for guests).

Today though I semi-gongfu-ed this in the tea maker. I did a rinse, but was too curious and took a sip (or three) before pouring an offering into my cast iron cups, it was sweet and delicious and very promising. I wasn’t able to pinpoint the scents of the dried leaves though they were dark rich and lovely, the wet leaves though are unmistakeably dark rye, more salty smelling than sweet, but still very inticing.

Oh this tea is very well mannered, but not at all dull. This is a black tea that could convert coffee drinkers and white tea drinkers alike, it even reminds me a bit of coffee in this steep, but in the best and most gentle of ways. It is not the least bit rough, astringent or sour. It has cocoa and caramel, a hint of butter and yes bread-yness, something I don’t believe I’ve experienced before.

I’m on my second steep well and very pleased as second steeps haven’t been working out for me lately. This tea sings, it reminds me a bit of a Ceylon in that respect, there is a bit of spice but it is so velvety that reads more as cider (yes another Ceylon association for me). I really do think the husband will like this one and he couldn’t possibly tell me these short steeps taste like boiled rocks, or could he? I don’t understand how his tongue and brain work together.

Third infusion could have been a bit longer, but it is still very nice and there is promise in the bottom of the cup. Update: enjoying these later steeps this evening, these last two cups (steeps 5 and 6? at around 1 min each) are a bit more sweet and mineral and remind me of Verdant’s Yanxin’s Reserve ’04 Shu Nuggets in its angel food cake feel. Yum!

I look forward to introducing it to the husband, brother-in-law and possibly old co-workers, to comparing it the organic sample (I also think this would be interesting to compare to the newer harvest of Laoshan Black as it is a bit grainy) and some epic Yunnan sampling ahead. Thank you again Angel and TeaVivre, it is truly delicious!

185 °F / 85 °C 0 min, 15 sec

It’s always fun to get packages! ;-D

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It’s always fun to get packages! ;-D

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Druid, artist, poet, mum, lover of tea, ritual and myth. I grew up on Celestial Seasons herbals but fell in love with straight loose leaf tea working at my local Teavana for a year. I am grateful for the introduction and the experience, but have moved on.

I see tea as an experience for the senses, I like to imagine tasting the land and the weather as well as the effect of sun, air, fire and the human hand. I have a soft spot for shu pu’er, yabao, scented oolongs, wuyi oolongs, taiwanese tea as well as smooth naturally sweet blacks, creamy greens and surprisingly complex whites.

I began ordering lots of samples from Upton to educate myself on different varieties of tea we didn’t have at work and have fallen head over heels for the unique offerings from Verdant Tea. I am learning things I like: buttery mouthfeel, surprising sweet or spice notes, woodiness, mineral notes, depth and complexity and things I don’t: astringency, dry and sour notes.

I collect tea tins and am in danger of collecting pots, though I am trying to restrain the urge due to current lack of space. I brew mostly in a glass infuser mug or a tea maker, only using cast-iron for company now (still need to get a gaiwan) and tend not to sweeten my teas unless they are British or fruity and iced, which is not often.

As far as ratings, I lack a definite system and haven’t been assigning numbers lately, wanting to spend multiple sessions with a tea first. I usually only log a tea once, unless it is a new harvest or I have significantly different observations, but will go back and edit or comment if I find something interesting or new.


Baker Street, Berea, Ohio

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