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Recent Tasting Notes
caile had another keemun from teavivre the other night and it reminded me that i should have more of this one – i’ve got lots of this one left :) 100g is a little much for me when it comes to tea purchases even if i love the tea but i know i won’t get tired of this one so i had just done it! :) still one of my favourite keemuns
The leaves here are unique, shades of purple, hints of orange. Since Darjeeling is from India, I think this is China’s answer to that type of tea, but of course it can not be called Darjeeling. Everything about it reminds me of a Darjeeling, so I’m not sure why this is called an oolong. I used two teaspoons of these lovely leaves…
Steep #1 // 20 min after boiling // rinse // 1 min
Juicy like a fruit, succulent comes to mind which is a word I don’t usually use, light, honey, sweet, autumn leaves, a hint of muscatel. A lighter Darjeeling type.
Steep #2 // 20 min after boiling // 2 min
Another very smooth cup – honey like! It doesn’t seem as flavorful as the first steep. Not as a tough as a typical Darjeeling but I kind of like if for that. I probably could have used more than two teaspoons. I hate to keep comparing it to Darjeeling, but I imagine most people have tried more Darjeeling than these Beauties.
Steep #3 // 20 min after boiling // 2 1/2 min
Yet another smooth cup – no bitterness. More autumn leaf lite. It’s almost more like one of those Kenya white teas like White Rhino from Butiki. Very nice, but I’ll have to try it with more leaves next time. I’d say the first cup was the most complex.
I’m not sure if I had great expectations for this tea, but I was definitely looking forward to trying it. As soon as I poured the hot water in my mug, the aroma of sweet potatoes filled the air. The taste even surprised me more. There was more honey than I expected. And though it was slightly malty there was that hint of earthiness in the back of your throat when you swallow. I don’t know what to think of the earthiness to be honest. Besides that this tea is a winner!
It’s not a horrible earthy taste…I don’t know what to think just yet. But glad I tried it!
Flavors: Earth, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
Anxiously anticipating Teavivre’s upcoming 3rd Anniversary sale and so, enjoying some of these pearls in their honor! I really need a kick in the pants this morning too, and this tea does not disappoint! Strong, earthy, and dark chocolate-y, they are really hitting the spot! I still have a few left, so probably won’t restock in my upcoming order, but will keep them in mind for next time. Gotta make room for new teas, right?!
The dark green gnarled nuggets of Teavivre Ti Guan Yin Iron Goddess reminded me of a couple of milk oolongs I’ve tried recently—both in appearance and scent, so I was naturally looking forward to a scrumptious pot. The liquor brewed golden yellow, and the taste was much less creamy than Milk Oolong, but still very smooth. Initially I thought that I preferred the Iron Goddess to the Monkey Picked Ma Liu Mie, but then I changed my mind.
I noticed the difference in texture especially in the second infusion. Still, this Iron Goddess tastes good. I probably need to drink some more of these oolongs before I can decide which ones I need to stock…
I brewed these dark green nuggets of Teavivre Anxi Monkey Picked Ma Liu Mie Oolong side-by-side next to the Iron Goddess TGY, using the same water temperature, number of grams, steep time, and volume of water. The nuggets look very similar. I managed to do a blind comparison, because I had poured my 7 gram packets into small clamp jars and affixed the labels to the bottom. Then I shuffled them until I forgot which one was which. After the test, I looked at the labels to see which was which…
The Anxi Monkey Picked oolong nuggets may be a bit smaller and darker, but they are very close in size to the Iron Goddess. The first notable difference emerged upon infusion. The liquor for this tea was quite a bit lighter and more green. I was afraid that I may have understeeped. Then when I tasted the two teas, I immediately found that the Iron Goddess had a more robust flavor. At first I thought that I preferred the Iron Goddess to the Monkey Picked, but then when I took another couple of sips, I changed my mind!
This tea ended up having a slightly richer texture, though I do think that the flavors are quite similar.
I’ve certainly imbibed my share of Keemun tea over the course of my life—but generally in disguise. I do not recall ever seeking out to buy Keemun, but this tea appears to be a major component in many English Breakfast blends. In fact, in memory serves, the current Harney & Son English Breakfast sachet contains only Keemun! That probably explains why the dried leaves looked and smelled so familiar to me. The leaves are quite a bit smaller than the full leaf blacks I’ve tested of late. In fact, by both looks and taste of the dark amber brew, I’d say that this tea—or reasonable facsimile—may also be the base of many a fine flavored blend.
The flavor does not immediately recall English Breakfast tea to my mind, probably because of the absence of Assam, which generally contributes the maltiness in most orthodox English Breakfast blends. (My understanding is that there is also a lot of Assamica out there—not produced in the Assam region of India, but using similar strains and growing and production techniques.) Nonetheless, by force of habit, I ended up splashing this glass with a bit of half and half, and then I felt as though I had reunited with an old friend.
I probably won’t be stocking this tea. It’s good, but it’s not new to me, and I’m focusing on broadening my horizons rather than seeking refuge in the comfort and safety of familiarity.
A good tea, though, for black tea lovers, and anyone who drinks flavored blends!
Another new and delicious China black tea for me, the dried leaves of Yun Nan Diang Hong are probably the biggest I’ve ever seen for black tea: long and twisted, with nearly an equal number of tan as dark chocolate brown pieces. The scent is quite rich and seems to be closer to Golden Monkey than, say, to Congou. Also closer to Bailin Gongfu, which I also found to be related to Golden Monkey. Golden Monkey is the sweetest, most caramelly of the three, but they all have a rich and decadent, foody quality.
The liquor brewed up orange amber, and there was so much color to the remaining drops in the glass pot, that I recognized that the apparently spent leaves were still literally oozing with flavor. A second infusion confirmed that this tea, like Golden Monkey, produces an enjoyable second glass—in fact, nearly as good as the first.
I had been focusing mainly on Teavivre’s green tea offerings, but now I see that there is just as much new terrain to be covered among the black teas! I’ll definitely be stocking a supply of this excellent tea. I noticed at the website that there are three different versions. This one is a winner for sure!
Oh my goodness! This one is special! I’m so sad I only have one tiny sample pack!
The front of the sip is malty and sweet and rich, but the back of the sip has a long lingering dark stone fruity aftertaste on the back of my tongue, almost like a Dancong oolong or a sheng puerh. It’s crazy! So good! I wish I had gotten one of the free $10 gift cards so I could order more. Very unique :)
I also remember really liking one of TeaVivre’s Fenqging shengs, so perhaps I’m just in love with teas from there?
Yikes, I just seem to be on a roll of messing up teas. I guess I’m out of practice since it is summertime and I’m drinking less? Anyway, today’s disaster was salty tea. Yes, salty. How did that happen? I’m not quite sure myself if it was the water, the teapot, or the mug, but it definitely threw me off. Not sure if this is related, but this time around, the tea tastes more vegetal than floral. Anyway, I do recall having another sample of this in one of my tea boxes packed up somewhere, so I will make sure not to mess up again next time!
Beautiful dry leaf fragrance of rich dark fruits. Wet leaf also smells lovely and sweetly spicy.
Taste is so good! Smooth and rich, with the earthiness of sweet potatoes accompanied by some fruitiness, and a soft creamy spiciness with nutmeg and cinnamon.
And although I do not taste oranges, this tea very pleasantly reminds me somehow of orange coloured vegetables like yams, pumpkins and peppers, although I can’t really explain why.
I re-steeped this twice after having my first cup, and all three cups were very rich and full of flavor. I really enjoyed this tea and look forward to having it again! Delicious!
Additional notes: Having this one again to think about ordering it for Teavivre’s sale. It’s so so good. I’m just happy this one isn’t tasting like tomato soup like other black teas have been lately. It HAS seemed to adapt that maple syrup like quality I noticed in the red dragon pearls the other day. How nice! It adds a sweetness to that dark. malty, chocolate deliciousness. I love how this one evolves: the first steep is for breakfast: sweet, malty, chocolate. The second steep is much different, almost for lunch or afternoon: a little bit brisker, tougher, bready, hints of cedar. The second steep doesn’t really have the maple or chocolate. Would I like the second steep to be like the first? Yes. But the second cup is really good too. This one will be difficult not to order.
Steep #1 // 2 tsps. // 10 min after boiling // rinse // 2 min
Steep #2 // 2 min after boiling // 3 min
Flavors: Chocolate, Maple Syrup
I received a sample of this from TeaSipper. Thank you!
This tea was slightly fruity, but not as fruity as Ha Ya Black Keemun, it did not have much smoke. It was the middle road between the Ha Ya Black and the Grade 2. It was well rounded and smooth. (As a note for myself. this is probably my least favorite of the 3, I would repurchase the Ha Ya Black and Grade 2).
Another sample from the oolong sample set! I may or may not be trying some more teas from Teavivre this week in advance of the sale. I am definitely getting one those pu-erh cakes before they are gone entirely… it’s my favorite pu-erh! I used an entire sample pouch, two heaping teaspoons. The bright green tightly rolled bundles have the scent of creamed vegetables.
Steep #1 // five minutes after boiling // rinse // 1 min
I was going for boiling on this one, but I was a little late. The flavor here is similar to the Ali Shan I had yesterday from Teavivre. Super milky and creamy. The smoothest oolong ever. It lingers like butter long after taking a sip. There are subtle qualities here that remind me of some of those green teas that have that creamed vegetable flavor, but only hints of that! Another savory oolong, but then there is a sweetness that lingers at the end of the sip. The smoothness with this tea is unbelievable.
Steep#2// just boiled // 1 1/2 to 2 min
As I was sipping the first cup, I was thinking how perfectly brewed it was, or maybe it was just a perfect oolong. Sadly, this cup steeped closer to two minutes and was a little on the tangy side. I really don’t like when a good oolong gets tangy/oversteeped! I think even maybe a minute steep would have been better for this cup, almost because the leaves are already unraveled. I don’t think two teaspoons is too many leaves because the first cup was absolutely delicious.
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min
I didn’t really think to shorten the steep time more by this steep, sadly. Another cup of slightly too astringent. I can’t really taste anything past that but dream of the deliciousness of the first steep. That is too bad. By the first steep, this one might have been my favorite of the Teavivre oolongs that I’ve tried lately (other than the Iron Goddess anyway) but it is a very sensitive oolong. Hopefully I remember that for the next steep session. It’s odd it went from the smoothest oolong to the most sensitive about steep times. I have certainly been oolong spoiled lately though!
Note to self: a minute steep for each steep, first steep was perfect
A free sample with my last order! I love that all of Teavivre’s oolongs are distinctly different. The bright green leaves here have a floral yet milky scent. I used the entire sample pouch for my mug which turned out to be two heaping teaspoons:
Steep #1 // just boiled // rinse // 1 min steep
The fragrance of the mug is the same as the dry leaves – milky with hints of floral and the flavor is the same! If you want another milk oolong option than the two that are actually called milk oolongs over at Teavivre, this is the one. It almost has a buttermilk quality..so creamy it almost translates to the texture. The floral isn’t incredibly noticeable in the flavor. Hints of vegetables, but I can’t tell what type. It has almost a savory quality – salty, brothy, soupy. Much less sweet than some of Teavivre’s other oolongs.
Steep #2 // just boiled // 1 1/2 min
This cup is very different than the first, but I do love when these oolongs change flavors. This cup doesn’t have the milky/creamy quality and even loses some of the savory qualities. Now it’s more fresh, crisp, fruity and floral. Just all the flavors I think about when I think of a great oolong. Very flavorful and perfectly steeped. I think I have steeping these oolongs perfectly now!
Steep #3 // just boiled // 2 min steep
This cup is very smooth and it seems to have something unique about it, though I couldn’t say what. FULL of that delicious oolong flavor though! Also, there was a twig sticking out of the infuser, I pulled it out and it was actually a tiny branch with a few leaves attached! Now how in the heck did it go from being tiny oolong bundles to that?!? I was a gushing tea nerd for a couple minutes. It’s so amazing all of these oolongs can be so different!
I received this today in my long-awaited Teavivre order as a sample. It’s my first time tasting lapsang souchong.
This is truly tasty, and it reminds me of Islay scotch. Mmm… Word to the bartenders out there… This would make a nice tea cocktail.
It’s smoky as described, smooth and fragrant. Like a campfire in the woods. Yummy!
Tea of the morning……
Well, I moved onto another tea in preparation of my Teavivre order. I have a little homework to do before the weekend, so this one is up next, and to be followed by the Golden Monkey and Superfine Tanyang.
So far, I am thinking of skipping this one. I think my love of basic Keemuns has waned a little since I tend not to sweeten as much. But obviously, that is just me. This is a great tea. All the great characteristics of a good Keemun, plus a little smoke, a little mystery, and a little bit of a bite at the end of the sip. It is missing the earthiness that lower grades of Keemun tend to offer, which is nice. Dark, mysterious, and reasonable!
Usual teapot method.
cavocorax provide me with this sample which i’m willing to bed was the second package from samples she would have picked up from Angel heh. teavivre really is generous when it comes to their samples. I’d be happy with ONE package as a sample and they nearly always send at least 2!
This reminds me of Wild Monk from Mandala but without the smoke that i adore. this is more of a green sort of puerh than an earthy one – leaning towards coming across as vegetal. It reminds me a little of some of the green teas that i’ve had recently from teavivre but without the juiciness. Instead this is more subdued..bordering on almost nut like versus snap peas or something similar. Over all, quite lovely through a few steepings!
This “melon seed” tea is one of the top ten famous teas of China. As expected, Teavivre’s version has a pleasant smooth green taste. Yellow-green tea soup with a distinctly vegetal aroma. Mixed taste of grass and green beans. The smoky, floral and sweet notes add to the complexity of the tea. A tiny bit of spice was detected in the second and third steeps. For those of us who appreciate green teas, this is a fascinating tea and one to enjoy.
So I had enough of this tea left to make one strong cuppa or two weaker ones. I wussed out and made myself a weak cup to try to make this one last even just a little longer, but I do regret that decision now. It still has that malty goodness, but is much more gentle (aka weak) than I’d have liked. I might take what’s left of the leaves and blend it with something else to avoid this problem again. Anyway, it’s still nice to find the time (and weather) to enjoy a hot cup of tea in the midst of a humid summer.