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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea #14 from Considering a new TTB
Out of all of the green teas I’ve had an opportunity to sample I’ve somehow manage to mostly bypass dragon well. I’m not sure how that is, but I’ve only had it a small handful of times and none of those times have been particularly recent. Normally when it comes to TeaVivre teas I sit down and enjoy them gongfu style, but this morning I’m suffering from a major lack of sleep and opted for western style since I was in a bit of a hurry for a hit of caffeine. This is a wonderful tea, it’s slightly vegetal and has a slightly buttery texture to it. The only thing that keeps this from my regular rotation of teas is the lack of sweetness, I tend to prefer naturally sweet greens over the more vegetal varieties.
This tea will not be continuing on, there was only a sample size in the box.
Made this one this morning since I had a headache…I do seem to like my straight blacks on such occasions.
The first thing I noticed is how light and fluffy the leaves are, and how lovely they are with the golden tips. Now, perhaps because I have been heavy on the pu erhs lately, this tasted light and sweet. I did use my organic cane sugar, and a little milk.
I can’t really go into too much detail on the intricacies of this steep, as I was in bed with the headache, and this was at my bedside.
This sample was quite tasty though, despite the headache, and I’m glad there is more for me to have. I’m sure I’ll like the rest of the sample, so many thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this.
My very first milk oolong! I’ve got another one from Tealish that I want to try, but I did want to take a look at this one since Teavivre’s got a sale going on now. I’m holding off on giving this a rating until I try the Tealish one for comparison. So here we go:
Dry leaf: I’ve heard others here describe tea as “buttery.” That always seemed to imply a sense of richness and sweetness to me. But no. I was wrong. Because goddamn, this dry leaf smells BUTTERY. As in, like real, honest-to-goodness salted butter that I put on toast. The leaves themselves are dark green little knots.
Steeping parameters: I made 4 steeps of this tea, all with 8 oz of liquid to 1.5 tsp of dry leaf in 80-82°C water. First steep was between 30 seconds and 1 minute, 2nd and 3rd steeps were each approximately 1 minute, and the 4th steep was about 2 minutes. Before the 1st steep, I did a hot water rinse of about 10-20 seconds to wake the leaves up.
Liquor: The taste and colour of the liquor were pretty consistent across all 4 steeps. The first was the strongest and most buttery. The subsequent steeps were all pretty similar in flavour profile: light and nutty. I don’t know whether the fact that the 4 steeps all tasted so similar speaks to the quality of the leaf or the lack of development of my palate. Anyways, I still enjoyed it, even if it hasn’t given me the paroxysms of rapture that it has other drinkers here.
Verdict: I liked it but I’m leaving it unrated for now. Once I try the other milk oolong from Tealish (which I’m sipping right now), I’ll be able to give it a fairer shake.
DISCLAIMER: Cussing ahead.
My husband just got Dark Souls II. So you know what that means…It’s oolong time!! I first discovered green oolongs when my husband was playing Dark Souls. I’d drink tea and blog about it while watching him play. Those were good times. To this day, whenever I smell or taste oolong, it reminds me of my husband and Dark Souls. So in commemoration of those beloved times, I shall drink oolong again as he embarks on his new journey in Drangleic.
Upon hearing an all-too-familiar sound, I glance up to see “YOU DIED” flash across the screen and my husband say, “F***ing thing! I was so careful too.” LOL! The fun has begun! After dying the second time, a mere 30 seconds later, he says, “Wow. That was bullshit. Very well game. Very well.” Cliffs are my husband’s bane. “Well, this is slightly embarrassing,” he laughs upon falling to his doom. “I haven’t even fought anyone yet.”
Finally, he reaches the Emerald Herald and has the chance to level up. At the level up screen, he pauses the cursor over VGR and END and says, “Viagra. Endurance. Gonna’ need both of these.” Then he glances sideways at me and pauses for a reaction. LOL! He’s so crazy. I swear, he could be on his own reality TV show because he’s so entertaining. In any event, the tea is cool enough to drink now!
This is a lighter, more buttery, less floral oolong than the oolongs I usually drink. It’s good! My mouth waters in between sips, prompting me to drink more. I’m already at the bottom of the cup, so I’m off to make a second infusion for 2.5 minutes. The leaves are fully open, large, green, unbroken leaves, some even still attached to 2-inch long stems. I don’t know how they rolled such a giant, sturdy stem into those tiny little balls that came out of the package. Surprisingly, this cup isn’t more flavorful than the first, as is usually the case with oolongs. I definitely liked that first cup better. I’m going to steep the third cup for a full 5 minutes because it’s getting late and it will likely be my last this evening.
By the way, for anyone who’s interested, video game javelinas are strong as shit. The blood stains on the ground confirm it. Death is a common occurrence in the Dark Souls games. To put this into perspective, there have been 1,905,148 deaths worldwide since this game was released less than 24 hours ago.
Back to the tea. This third cup tastes a little metallic, like licking a penny. Is this what people call mineral notes? It’s not bad, but I don’t think I’m a fan of minerals. I prefer buttery, vegetal, and floral notes. Overall, this is a delicious tea. It’s definitely not like the other oolongs I’ve had, so that’s exciting. I enjoy trying new things. Big thanks to Teavivre for providing this free sample! Y’all are always so generous. There were a surprisingly large number of samples in that deceivingly small box. ;)
I’ll leave you with my husband’s last comment as he waltzed up to the first boss in the game. It was a tree giant with a hole where its face should have been. My husband said, “It’s an asshole monster. He’s gonna’ shit all over me.” Then he proceeded to rape it. Victory achieved on his first try.
Tea #9 from Considering a new TTB
I’ve tried TeaVivre’s Peach Jasmine Dragon Pearls, they’re one of my favorite summertime teas, but haven’t had a chance to try the unflavored variety before. I love floral teas and this tea is no exception, it manages to be heavily floral without edging into the soapy range. As with the other teas from TeaVivre I’ve tried, the quality is exceptional, I’ve already steeped this three times and could likely keep going for several more. This was exactly what I needed after two teas in a row that I didn’t care for.
This tea will not be continuing on, there was only a sample size in the box.
A sample of this was included with my black Friday order. I am just getting around to opening it. I had this a long time ago and recall liking it but not being as wowed by it as others at the time. One thing I notice today is the recommended steep time for western brewing is 5 – 10 minutes. That sounds excessive but maybe it needs it?
I first catch a spicy note like cinnamon that melts into malt. Just past the malt it becomes nutty/woodsy then gets a brisk little bite. The aftertaste has just enough astringent briskness to catch my interest. I can’t think of another Chinese black that has this element. Better than I remember.
And another thank you to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
I really enjoyed the last Pu-erh sample from Teavivre so I was very much looking forward to taking this one around the block. I don’t think I’ve met a Pu-erh that I haven’t liked so far.
When I opened the sample packet, a typical leathery Pu-erh smell materialized. I steeped the dark cakes and pieces at 212 degrees for eight minutes (Teavivre recommends 3 to 10 minutes for the first steeping).
The color of the brewed liquor was a dark chocolate brown. The aroma was surprisingly mild but common for Pu-erh.
The flavor of this tea was quite robust and contained the full-blown leathery Pu-erh taste attributes that I personally find delicious. The taste was smooth, consistent, and vigorous throughout the cup. Although eight minutes of steeping does give you a strong cup of tea, I did not detect any bitterness whatsoever. The aftertaste was also surprisingly mild and cordial.
This is a tasty and very fine Pu-erh selection. It has everything that I look for in my favorite teas:
savory, robust, and consistent flavor
Normally, if I were asked to sum up this beverage in one word, I’d say, “Bravo!” But, since this is Chinese tea, I’ll say 精彩
I let this steep too long cuz there was a shiny thing, but it is still pretty good. The taste is slightly astringent from the oversteep, but the rest of the taste is hard to describe. I’ve never had a persimmon, so I can’t compare.
The sample pouch, provided to me from Teavivre for reviewing, was perplexing. It didn’t seem like individual pieces, but pieces and then stuff…I don’t know how to explain. Like buds and leaves? I thought the packet would be solely filled with that in the image. The description on the website said to use 10-15 of them, whatever they are, flower heads? I found that hard to do, so I just measured into my bamboo spoon and hoped it was ok.
So, I’m not 100% sure how to describe this, or what to make of it, but it is tasty, and I may try mixing it with a white or green as suggested.
This is the second time I had this tea. I didn’t leave a tasting note the first time because I was not sure how I felt about it.
This is definitely a tasty tea. The green base is slightly vegetal, but while a few months ago that would have caused me to dump out my cup, I’m finding I don’t hate vegetal greens anymore. I was having a hard time detecting the peach, but I found it. It wasn’t a distinct peach flavour, and not that of a fresh peach, more of canned peaches. I didn’t really detect any jasmine either. I read in another review that steeps 2 and 3 produce the most flavour so I will have to resteep next time. Usually i’m not a resteeper because I get bored easily and can’t stand to have the same kind of tea twice in a row.
Many thanks to Angel for sending me a monster amount of samples, including this one. I’ve had limited experience with keemuns up until now, but I’m sure many here know that I’m kind of whiny when it comes to anything smoky and/or earthy. It’s amazing how our senses of smell and taste are interconnected, because I feel the exact same way about earthy fragrances.
This one isn’t too smoky, but I’ll admit that I was anticipating something maltier based on the fragrance of the delicate, wispy dry leaves. This particular keemun yields a muted, sweetened smoke, more akin with a (very distant) campfire rather than tobacco, though. There’s very minimal astringency. As the cup cools, I’m getting a bit of malt in the background but the smoke is the prominent note for me.
I greatly appreciate having the chance to try another keemun. It’s helping me verify what my stance is on them.
Nice and rich flavour, even after a short-ish steep of a minute or so. There is the classic pu erh earthy flavour, but also a chocolate like note like you might find in a yunnan. I did not rinse, but I did sweeten and add milk. Pu erh, to me, is the coffee of tea. Aside from sheng pu erh, or a white pu erh, I pretty much always add milk and sugar to mine.
I find it to be tasty, and I’m off to make a second cup soon, though, I might like Special Dark from Mandala just a little more. I’m going to share my other packet with a friend who likes coffee and see what she thinks.
This sample was provided from Angel at Teavivre. So I thank her much for allowing me to try it.
EDIT: Second steep, this time, sans milk, but still with sugar.
I think I did somewhere between 1-2 minutes…I was stirring a little basmati rice in oil, prior to adding the water to cook it.
Even this way, it’s rich, but not overpowering.
Overall, my impression is that this is a good starter pu erh, when prepared with a short steep. I tend to like the heavy rich pu erhs and can handle most at a good 3+ minute steep, so I can probably do this one that way too, but someone not used to this type of tea, might be ok with this one, in short steeps.
I am allowing myself to drink more of this one because I just ordered another sample pack with my Teavivre points (can’t afford a whole cake, much less have anywhere to store it! boo!) I also picked up some more jasmine peach pearls, and a sample of tangerine ripe puerh which is exciting!
I love the energy and wildness of this young sheng. Perfect pick me up for an EXTRA EARLY Monday morning. Not a big fan of daylight savings time, heh.
Starting the day off right! Thanks to Courtney for sending me some of this tea to try out! We had such lovely weather this weekend. The sun was shining and for a brief moment I thought that spring was coming. I woke up this morning to snow falling outside my window. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful and wonderful to watch, but I’m tired of being cold!
Anyway, on to the tea. The tea had a nice, malty black tea taste that I’ve come to love and expect in my morning teas. What I wasn’t expecting was the smooth, honey flavor that came along with it. As it cooled, I think I also tasted something like bread. What a wonderfully complex, but robust black tea to help wake me up! I will say that the tea became a bit bitter as it cooled down and had a note of astringency, but nothing I couldn’t handle.
I compared this tea yesterday to the grade 1 version of Keemun.
I find this tea to be maltier (if that’s even a word) and smoother than the grade 1 version. I think it is a little bit less sweet. I do get more notes of the peppercorn.
Hmmm, I am not sure which one I like better because I like each one for a little different reasons.