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Recent Tasting Notes


Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha style.

Dry leaves: smells floral and somewhat like milk

Wet leaves: smells floral, somewhat peachy and milky

Light steep: I taste/smell light minerals, fruit (can’t distinguish), floral and milky.

Medium steep: I taste/smell medium floral, fruit (still cannot distinguish ) and minerals. I also taste strong milk and light metallic. Special note: with green oolongs the leaves allways smell like weed after a few steeps :(

Heavy steep: I taste/smell medium minerals, milk, metallic, fruit (maybe berries or peach?) and floral.

All in all a amazing tea. The first time I tried it (using western style) I did not like it. Gongfucha is best.

bonus photo

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Metallic, Milk, Mineral, Peach

200 °F / 93 °C 7 g 6 OZ / 165 ML

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I don’t think I’m ever going to be a white tea person, but this is probably the best plain white tea I’ve tried. It doesn’t have that unpleasant hay flavor that white teas seem prone to, and it’s not at all astringent.

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 0 sec 3 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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I’ve been bringing this to work each day, and its fantastic! My review won’t be as detailed, for this was done while panicking from one crisis to the next. The leaves are these small delicate little curls, and they have a wonderful aroma. I can spot small gold dusting among the ebony tendrils. They give off a potent scent of dry chocolate and dark wood. The brew is nice and heavy with some decadent tones. The initial sip is thick with warm dark chocolate syrup. The flavor then moves into smooth dark wood with slight malt. This brew isn’t incredibly complex, but it is wonderfully tasty. Also, the brew is pretty durable, so I had no fear of oversteeping (even when I would forget my cup somewhere). I really like this tea, and I’m sad to see it go. I’ll be searching through the stash for another one that makes the “cut” for work tea.

Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Dark Wood, Drying, Malt, Smooth, Sweet

Boiling 2 tsp 12 OZ / 354 ML

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Decaf and Herbal Tea TTB. This is quite good. It’s very mild tasting as chrysanthemum goes. I have had stronger but I like this tea. It has a certain sweetness to it an an earthiness to it that is different from the earthiness of ripe puerh, hard to describe. I had to guess as to the amount of leaf to use. I used about 4.5g leaf for a 16oz teapot. It came out quite tasty.

I brewed 4.5g leaf in a 16oz Teavana Glass Perfect Tea Maker/Gravity Steeper for 7 min with boiling water.

Boiling 7 min, 0 sec 4 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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Sipdown 17 of 2016. Sample. Purchased 2/2015 – Finished 1/2016

This was a sample packet that I bought a while back. This is a really nice tea. It was sweet, not overwhelming with the chamomile and rose. It was a really calming cup. It also gave me an alertness that I really enjoyed. This would be a tea I wouldn’t mind adding to my TeaVivre cart at some point.

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Flavors: Ash, Cedar, Menthol, Pine, Smoke, Wet Wood

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Sipdown (126)!

Another from the lovely Christina!

I was excited to get to add the flavours of this LS to my yixing pot: I have to say that it’s coming along very nicely. I can take it out of the box it’s stored in and immediately smell smoke notes! I’d love to get to a point where I can pour plain water out of the teapot and have it take on a subtle smoke flavour…

I enjoyed this tea Gong Fu out of the yixing, but also paired with a Pineapple Fried Rice which was phenomenal. Pineapple and LS is one of my favourite pairings because you’re basically pairing the sweet, juicy and tangy fruit notes of the pineapple with the more meaty, savory and smoky LS. It’s sort of the same idea as pairing pineapple and ham. Yummy! It certainly elevated the session, as well.

The tea itself was great too; this isn’t an overly strong Lapsang Souchong. More than anything it’s like a sweet, woody LS with a more smoky undertone/finish. Delightful but overall fairly mild, all things considered. Quite smooth though – as far as LS goes.


Ooh! Pineapple upside down cake with LS?

Roswell Strange

Hmm, I think a Pineapple Upside Down Cake COULD work if it had more fruitiness than your run of the mill cake. Or equal fruitiness, at least.

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I got a pair of samples of this tea during the anniversary sale and decided I would do a side by side to see if I could tell the difference between brewing in a gaiwan and brewing in one of my yixing pot. Turns out the differences seem to be quite minor at this point. I guess with more frequent use the pot might take on more of the oolong character and change the flavor more. I’m not sure which method is best for pairing a pot with a tea so I’m trying different kinds in the pot to see which ones do better.

Anyways..the tea. It’s good. It tastes like a Taiwanese oolong and has a creamy background flavor. The “green” oolong flavor (maybe vegetal is the right word?) is very present and strong in the beginning and as the leaves open up they release more sweetness. At $12.90/100g the price seems right for it to be a solid daily drinker!

Flavors: Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal

5 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

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Another day, another interesting Teavivre sample to try. I love their vast array of tea and the inexpensive samples which are a great way to try a lot of different teas on the cheap. Green tea, to me is their strong suit and I’ve enjoyed working my way through their offerings.

The latest one happens to be Bi Luo Chun and is the first of its kind for me. This is a light bodied green tea without any astringency and mellow flavor. The dry leaf has a sweet seaweed aroma and the wet leaf has the aroma of grass and steamed vegetables. The first steep is mild, lightly vegetal and brothy. A nice balance of sweet and savory. Later steeps are decidedly vegetal. There is a hint of seaweed as it goes down. Not a whole lot of flavor though. Increasing steep times leads to a marine flavor which I’m not a big fan of.

This is a mild tea that may appeal to people new to green tea. Unfortunately it didn’t do much for me. To me, this is squarely middle of the road and has a very typical green tea flavor. Nothing really memorable about it. I do however like it better in kahva than the gunpowder tea I normally use and it’s also pretty good cold-steeped for a couple of hours.

Flavors: Seaweed, Vegetable Broth, Vegetal

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 5 OZ / 147 ML

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This is one of the free samples that I chose with my Black Friday order so that you Teavivre! I really enjoy Keemun teas, and this one is no exception. The snails are so pretty, dark and all curled up. I like watching them unfurl in my Steeper. The brewed tea is fairly dark.

The aroma is of baked sweet potatoes and it also translates into the taste as well. The mouthfeel is smooth with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

This tea is fairly expensive and there are other Teavivre Keemuns that I enjoy more than this offering, so it won’t become part of my permanent cupboard but I am happy to have tried it and certainly would not refuse a cuppa.

Resteeped for 5 minutes

Flavors: Sweet Potatoes

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 7 g 16 OZ / 473 ML

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This is the best Keemun out of the 3 I’ve ever tried. It’s pretty smooth and has a nice fruity and sweet flavor. I got a couple samples of this during the teavivre anniversary sales.

Flavors: Fruity, Lychee, Smooth, Sweet

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Sipdown no. 16 of 2016 (no. 227 total).

So this not so happy thing happened.

I was looking forward to trying this sample, which I got when I got my yixing, for days. I even remembered that I’d had peppermint in the Breville last night and did an extra long rinse to get rid of the peppermint aroma so as to be sure it wouldn’t affect the flavor of this sample.

Alas, despite my efforts, I taste peppermint in this. Ugh.

The leaves were so pretty, dark and golden, “superfine” in texture (they weren’t kidding), and smelled so sweet. But I taste peppermint.

I can sort of make out a sweet honey note and a bready note, but mostly I taste peppermint.

And I didn’t win the powerball. Dammit. When I bought my ticket, I asked the woman to sell me the winning ticket, but she didn’t. Fraud!

And then there is the double whammy of David Bowie and Alan Rickman.

Not rating this, because peppermint.

I think I may go back to bed now.

195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 17 OZ / 500 ML
Christina / BooksandTea

Ah, that’s sad. This is one of my favourites. It’s definitely a keeper.

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Jasmine is one of those scents that just goes so well with tea. I love to watch these little pellets unfurl as they steep in hot water. Love the cup overall. Just wish the Jasmine is stronger so I don’t have to use as much tea. The green tea gets bitter easily, especially if you use more tea.

Flavors: Floral, Fruity, Jasmine

180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Apparently, this particular tea is no longer available. I need to stop hoarding! The packaging says it is the 2013 harvest.

About a year ago, a lady was dropping off her son at my house for a young people’s writers’ group that meets here and decided to come in and visit. Naturally, I offered her tea and she stayed until 1 am!

I got a text a few days ago asking if we could do that again. She asked to bring a young friend as well. While the young folks (age 17 to 23) had their meeting, we drank tea. The young lady had never had anything but Celestial Seasonings and Lipton and such. She said she was adventurous, so we started with pu-erh, but I am reviewing this tea first because it was her favorite.

I am glad this tea was in individual sealed packets, then in a foil pouch, then in a zip top pouch! It has stayed fresh, but I will be diligent to finish it soon.

When I drink tea like this, I wonder why I drink anything else. I just want to buy the really good stuff and keep less around, but have it super fresh. That would be the right thing to do, but we need our daily drinkers and adventure teas as well, I suppose.

This was her favorite of all the teas we drank that night. They remarked on how pale it was. Maybe they expected it not to have much flavor since we had started with a puerh. The young lady loved it and drank cup after cup.

The first sips are sweet and smooth, and as you drink a light creaminess builds and the floral aroma becomes a prominent floral taste and this, too, builds and builds. I did a quick rinse and the first steep was good, but the second was even better. It continued making great tea for several more steeps.

I have four little pouches left and I plan to finish them soon so I can have an excuse to buy the new harvest.

We drank tea from 6:30 pm until 12:30 am! Served with lemon iced cookie bars and cream cheese chocolate chip squares.


Late night tea drinkers! Sounds like a nice party with fancy desserts.


Ha, in the space of a week recently, I ended up almost exclusively reviewing teas by companies that no longer exist.

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Thank you so much for the sample, ashmanra! This tea was sweet and light, with absolutely no smokiness whatsoever. Very good choice for the afternoon, just as ashmanra recommended! This is only my third Keemun, but I’m amazed by how different they were from each other. It seems like there’s a Keemun for every occasion!

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I love how this is sweet and cake like with the vanilla but4 fresh and tart with the fruit. Awesome hot and cold.

Boiling 4 min, 15 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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Every tea goes through what I call a break in period. This is where you experiment with water, temperature, steep time, and leaf quantity to find the optimal brewing parameters for the tea. In my experience, green teas are more finicky than other kinds of tea. Finally hitting that elusive sweet spot is one of the greatest thrills of green tea for me. The downside though is by the time you’ve figured out how to steep it, your stash is almost gone.

This one took me quite a few tries, but I was rewarded with a marvelous cup of tea. It’s sweet and crisp without the typical grassiness found in most green teas. It has a light body with a flavor resembling white tea. The wiry dry leaves smell of seaweed, although that doesn’t come through in the liquor. The wet leaf smells floral and has a rich aroma of fresh spring vegetables.

I tried brewing it many different ways (grandpa style, test tube, cold steeped, etc.) and found it tasted best in a plain old gaiwan, steeped at the standard 175 F with the lid closed.

First infusion is smooth, crisp, and refreshing. Tastes like a bouquet of spring vegetables.
Second infusion is sweet and clean tasting. Some of the nuances of the 1st infusion are lost but still very delicious.
Third steeping was for 90s. The needle like leaves opened fully and the tea broth became lighter and had a flavor reminiscent of sweet mountain spring water.
Fourth steeping. Upped both the time and temperature to 2minutes at 180 F. Much lighter, maybe I should have steeped longer? Still, it had a lot of flavor and evoked crisp salad greens and snow peas.
Fifth steep was for a long 3 minutes. At this point the tea was done, enjoyable but flat.

I was pretty impressed by the quality of this tea. After Dragonwell this is my favorite of all the green teas I’ve had from Teavivre so far. It resembled Verdant’s Laoshan Pine Needle tea a lot, both in its physical appearance and taste. A great tea for when you want something fresh tasting but that’s not too grassy or vegetal.

Flavors: Lettuce, Mineral, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 1 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this before. Is Steepster eating tasting notes again?

My husband bought me these adorable cups with a fish molded in the bottom from an eBay seller and they sent a sample pack of a Lapsang. It was the unsmoked type, and it was super delicious. I realized I had bought some from Teavivre and had not been drinking it as much as I ought so I made a pot this morning.

There are strong notes of chocolate – not cocoa, milk chocolate. The taste is reminiscent of Da Hong Pao. Although not astringent, I do not find it to be a terribly “wet” tea. But it isn’t drying and puckering my mouth.

And remember how hubby used to drink all black tea with lots of milk and sugar, and started only drinking green and white and puerh because he likes them plain and wants to be healthier? He drank this one plain! He had a cup at breakfast with me and I suggested that since it was so mild he might like it just as it was, and he did like it!

I have known for a long time that Souchong means the larger leaves about five leaves in on a branch, not those cherished two leaves and a bud that we so often crave. So I assumed that Lapsang meant smoked, and wondered how we could have Lapsang tea that had no smoke at all. I looked it up and found that Lapsang is an English equivalence for a place name, not for a method of production. Lapsang is so commonly smoked that most people associate it irrevocably with smoked tea.

But both of these that I just tried, the sample and the Teavivre one, were excellent and not smokey at all. So the Souchong leaves are not as inferior as one might think if it brews something this good.


Wow, I totally thought it meant smoked too. Thanks for this educational review.

Evol Ving Ness

Yes, very helpful.

Is there some sort of way of distinguishing the smoked from unsmoked varieties by name or what-have-you?


Weird, I figured Lapsang would be a place name but still figured that the term in its entirety belonged to smoked varieties. Interesting!

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Sipdown 1 of 2016. A Sample. Purchased 11/2015 – Finished 1/2016.

Happy New Year! 2015 was a pretty amazing year. I am looking forward to 2016.

This tea was surprisingly amazing. I could smell the rose and the chamomile in this tea but they were very light in taste. This was floral and sweet. It was a very calming and relaxing tea. I really like this one.

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Expectations. Quite high, this is a famous tea after all.

Steeping. 65ml gaiwan and 75-80C water. I tried to steep this tea also with a champagne glass, but the leaves floated on the surface.

Appearance. The leaves were smaller than I thought, about the size of my finger tip (or 0,5cm to be precise.) They were all covered in white fur.

Aroma. Sweet and straw-ish. There was quite a lot of dust (probably loose fur) so I had to sneeze a couple times while appreciating the aroma. Spent leaves have greenish-gray hue. The tea is pale yellow in color.

Tasting. Really light and sweet. I thought this would have more tartness, but the flavor is so delicate. It has only light note of straw and hay, maybe cucumber or melon too. Longer infusions have that nice little kick in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is pleasantly astringent.

Comments. The Silver Needle is really good tea, but to me it doesn’t give that ‘wow!’-feeling. Still, I will see this one again when it’s freshly picked, my sample is 9 months old after all so I’m intrigued to try this one again.

PS. Happy New Year 2016 everyone!

Flavors: Cantaloupe, Cucumber, Hay, Honey, Honeydew, Melon, Straw, Sweet

175 °F / 79 °C 4 g 2 OZ / 65 ML

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Water: 17oz

Leaves: rose petals, chamomile & more

Steep: 5m

Aroma: Floral

Color: dark yellow

Clarity: Great

Taste: The first thing i noticed about this tea is how pretty the colors are the the magenta colored rose petals with a splash of yellow due to the chrysanthemum & chamomile followed by a background of pale green. The aroma was difficult to distinguish dry leaf maybe a floral w/something extra? The wet leaf made the aroma come out even more. For the steep i went with 17oz for a whole sample tea packet. As for the taste i was surprised as the first sip was followed by a slight sweetness which faintly remained as i continued to drink which went nicely w/ the floral taste. Overall I can say i enjoyed this tea quite different from others in my collection.

As for a music pairing I’m listing to Cherry Pie by Lotus it a favorite track of mine to listen to these days for when i want to unwind. Created by my friend I highly recommend listing to it as you go for your next cup of tea.

This brings me to my last review of 2015! I hope all of you have a wonderful NYE!

Lotus – Cherry Pie

200 °F / 93 °C 5 min, 0 sec 17 OZ / 502 ML

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I’ve been really wanting to get into straight pu-erh after having fallen in love with more than a few flavoured pu-erhs. Apologies to the gong-fu aficionados out there, I brewed this lazy-style with my new teapot*, as outlined on the bag. Plus a 30ish second rinse to begin with.

Which maybe explains why my experience with this tea is so very very out of line with what I’m reading from other reviews…? This isn’t a bad thing, but it’s going to sound like a bad thing, but steeped this smelt like… a barn. Like hay, leather, dust, and, yes, vaguely of manure, which might be more to do with association after thinking it smells like a barn. Sipped it still evokes hay and leather, and oddly enough, I really enjoyed this. It was a very relaxing cup, quite unlike anything I’ve had before in my thus far short relationship with tea. It reminded me of playing in the hay loft at a neighbour’s house in the summer, watching the same goat get his head stuck in the same section of fence repeatedly and requiring constant human intervention.

*new teapot is a 15oz Bee House that I absolutely adore! It’s weird how having a teapot you love makes preparation all the more enjoyable. Teaware hoarders are making more and more sense to me by the day….

Boiling 4 min, 0 sec

The 15 oz. is so cute! I have several of the 22 oz.


It is! I love it. I’m definitely coveting some of the larger ones now … so hard to pick a colour though!

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