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Recent Tasting Notes
Brewed 3.5g in a 60ml gaiwan. I followed Teavivre’s steeping instructions. Flash rinse. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 15, 25, 35, 45, 60, 90, 120, 300.
I purchased a sample because of the positive feedback. If it weren’t for that and the fact that it’s a Dian Hong, I wouldn’t be here, but curiosity got the best of me.
I recently learned that certain teas need to air after spending a lot of time in a vacuum-sealed packet, so that I let the dry leaf rest for a few minutes. This year’s batch might be a lot more fragrant than the previous years’ – the rose is quite heavy, even borderline powerful since I could only get a bit of a honey-like aroma from the dry leaf. That changes after I let the leaf sit in the pre-heated gaiwan: the rose is now in the background, with notes of cocoa and gingersnap cookies in the fore. This was especially nice to get a whiff of! After I wash the leaf, the rose and the classic Dian Hong aroma are balanced.
The liquor is bright orange, clear, full-bodied, and rounded. The texture is smooth and a little thick. The first cup tastes lightly of rose, and the Dian Hong begins to show itself in the second cup, in which I taste a variety of classic flavors (order is strongest to weakest): sweet potato, nutmeg, clove, and malt. Balances well with the rose. In the third cup, though, the rose is slightly stronger than the Dian Hong. Chocolate begins to appear in the fourth, and the aftertaste is also now more chocolatey than rose-like. Fifth cup to the end, the rose fades more and more, leaving the sweet potato and chocolate notes from the Dian Hong to become stronger. Now there is more of a balance.
In the end, this isn’t for me. I like flower teas, including rose, but I think if the Dian Hong weren’t fragranced so much, I might take more to this. I may like the rose being present to accompany the Dian Hong more, though it could be that the Dian Hong is fragranced so that the rose would last a lot longer. I enjoyed the last couple steepings since there was more a balance. The rose was too powerful most of the time.
Overall, so-so. But I think it’s worth trying. Shoot for it!
Prepared in a ceramic gaiwan and used my own parameters. Flash rinse. Steeping times: 10 seconds, 5, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30, 30, 90, 180, 360.
You betcha I petted the leaves while I took in the aroma. They’re so small and curly! They smell lightly sweet and fruity, and tannic like a dry red wine way. After I let them sit in the pre-heated gaiwan, they started smelling like honey and blackberry. Once washed with water, the aroma completely changes and smells like a typical hongcha, of cocoa and a hint of malt.
The liquor is ruddy orange, clean, full-bodied, bold with flavor, and smooth in texture. The flavors undergo a couple changes throughout the session. The first three cups taste of dark fruits. There is a sweet aftertaste. Cups four through seven taste of molasses and honey. There is delicate smokey note as well, and just a hint fruit in the background. Cups eight through twelve taste less complex, mostly tasting like molasses. There is also no more smoke.
Another solid hongcha from Teavivre. It doesn’t offer what I exactly love, but I did have a nice session with it and enjoyed the complex aroma and taste. Very nice quality. You might get something different out of this Mao Feng-like Keemun, given the varying experiences other people have had. Recommended for those who like or want to explore hongcha.
Thank you to whoever sent me a sample of this! I don’t remember who sent it to me, but it was at least 6 months ago. I’ve had 8+ cups of this, yet somehow have not logged it.
I don’t like how bitter this can be if you oversteep it or use hot water. As far as jasmine flavour goes, it is a 100/100. Very flavourful and I absolutely adore jasmine teas. I’m really sensitive to bitterness, though, so I find that a bit off putting. However, when mixed with another tea, it is absolutely fantastic. I’ve tried it with 52Teas’ Cotton Candy (white) and David’s Tea’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls (black). Both have been fantastic. I still have a few cups of this left, and I’m going to try it with chamomile, iced with Murchie’s Purple Majesty, and with silver needle white.
TL;DR It goes really well in blends with other teas, gets bitter when steeped too hot or too long
Flavors: Floral, Jasmine, Perfume
Thank you to Teavivre for the free sample!
Loose leaf is beautiful to look at and smells of delicious toasty oolong tea. I love toasty oolongs, so I was very excited to try this. And, I find myself drawn to visually appealing teas |(even if the flavour is lacking).
Brewed western style with 475 mL hot water for 4 minutes. Liquid was light tan-yellow. Liquid smelled very strongly of seaweed, a bit fishy and salty.
Luckily the brew tasted nothing of fish, was not salty, but was VERY seaweedy. Very buttery, savoury/umami, quite sweet in a toasted oolong way. The sweetness + toasty flavours are actually very nice with how buttery this is. However, I’m put off by just how seaweedy the brew is, but I will try it gong fu method and use cooler water with multiple steeps.
Flavors: Butter, Marine, Seaweed, Sweet, Toasted Rice, Toasty, Umami
This was another free sample from Angel at Teavivre thank you!! As it’s a Saturday, I figure it’s early enough for me to have a black tea. This is my pick, I brewed it Western Style for 3 mins with 195 degree water.
The smell is honeyed and reminiscent of a golden tip tea, which is good. It smells pretty light, not overly rich which is good. Wanted something warming yet not too heavy as it’s the first tea of the day.
As for flavor; this is good! It’s different – the honey notes of other golden tip teas is there but it’s overall lighter in effect. There is a fruitiness, some type of dried fruit, with a light astringency enhancing that flavor. Just what I wanted this morning- a lighter textured Chinese black tea :)
Overall, I like this, it’s just different enough from my other black teas that it’s a refreshing change. It reminds me of warmer days, something like spring. It is also melding spectacularly with my breakfast of steel cut oats, which I sweetened with honey, it’s not overpowering but a good match. Thanks again for the sample Angel!
Thank you Teavivire for the free samples!
This is a very vegetal herbal (because of the lotus leaf) with flavours of lemon/citrus, licorice root, herbs, and roses/flowers mixed in. I’d describe it as a very interesting combination of young spinach, celery leaves, rose petals, dry and woody licorice root, and peppery/lemony chamomile flowers. The dried chamomile also gives it that dry meadow or straw flavour that I really enjoy. Lotus leaf tastes like vegetables (but not in a grassy way, more like a young plant bud or waxy succulent leaf) and I find it makes the blend a bit savoury. I’m not big into savoury and vegetable flavours, but I think I would have liked this tea more if it was lighter on the lotus leaf and heavier on the chamomile and orange peel. Speaking of which, I can’t taste the orange peel. It might be my sample package, though, because I don’t see any pieces of orange peel and it might just be that I happened not to get any large pieces.
Flavors: Bamboo, Celery, Citrus, Dry Grass, Floral, Flowers, Green Bell Peppers, Herbaceous, Lemon, Licorice, Rose, Spinach, Taro Root, Vegetable Broth, Vegetables, Vegetal, Wood
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Flavors: Floral, Flowers, Green Beans, Herbaceous, Herbs, Leeks, Plant Stems, Rose, Vegetables, Vegetal
Thank you very much Teavivre for the generous free samples!
This is a slightly vegetal yellow tea, not toasty, tastes a bit like a white tea with some greener notes. I will probably buy a bunch of this, because I love the mellow flavours that yellows have.
Steep 1: 3 minutes hot water
Slightly vegetal, but no specific vegetable. Smells sweet and slightly fruity. Liqour is pale yellow.
Steep 2: 3 minutes at lukewarm water
Sweeter, smells and tastes a little bit like peeled green grapes. There is a strong “tea” flavour with plenty of tannins, but I wouldn’t say this is a robust tea. It would definitely be enjoyed by those who enjoy a lighter cup. Tasting a lot like a steamed black, but has the distinctive yellow tea taste.
Steep 3: 5 minutes at lukewarm water
The vegetal notes are reminding me of snow peas and green grapes. It is different from my other yellows, and I like variety.
Flavors: Dry Grass, Fruity, Garden Peas, Tannin, Tea, Thick, Vegetal, White Grapes
I guess I never knew what honeysuckle smelled/tasted like until I tried it as a tea. I suppose I was expecting dried flowers and honey, but I would describe this mostly as very vegetal. Because I do not like vegetal, I’m not going to give this a number rating. The flowers taste very fresh and look beautiful, I have no doubt this is high quality honeysuckle, but as I found out, I don’t actually like the flavour of honeysuckle flowers.
This smells/tastes exactly like ocra, the same vegal flavours you find in zucchini peel and green beans. No floral notes, but tastes like ocra buds. Slight sweetness.
Liquor brews a pale yellow. I left the leaf in for about 10 minutes and it did not oversteep, which is excellent. I think I will try this iced with cucumber and lemon for when I work out. The vegetal flavour will combine well with the cucumber + citrus.
Flavors: Green, Green Beans, Green Wood, Herbaceous, Nectar, Sweet, Vegetables, Vegetal, Zucchini
I’m not a huge fan of the bitterness than comes from the deep roasting in this tisane, but I also like the complex grainy malt flavour. There are interesting (and expected) flavours of toasty sweetness, dried grain/corn husk, and chestnuts. Very interesting to try, but maybe not something I would keep around all the time.
Flavors: Bitter, Chestnut, Corn Husk, Dry Grass, Grain, Oak wood, Roasted, Rye, Sweet, Toasted, Toasty, Wheat
I had a late session with this tea last night because I was in the mood for an oolong.
I’ve started recording my sessions on a little MP3 recorder so that I don’t have the possibility of skipping anything during the session. I usually jot a brief note on the flavor profile, color, aroma; which can get quite perplex while writing a review (or in my case avoiding the reviewing part via Steepster due to incomprehensible notes).
However, this session ran short due to time/battery life in the device. I noted that there were nutty, floral, & mineral flavors. I also noted that this is a good TGY because it reminds me of other quality TGY that I’ve had int he past, so rated on the scale of “uniqueness” it’s pretty average. It’s a good TGY, but it’s something that I’ve had before.
Thank you for the sample Angel
My goal this year is to write one review per day. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to keep on this, but we shall see….I wanted to drink 4-5 teas yesterday (and I had); however, I cannot recall anything from the sessions had with the exception of this and another tea.
As I read through my notes on this session, I noted that I hadn’t followed the brewing instructions (194 F for 3-5 minutes). I’m assuming this would’ve been more excellent brewed western style (?); however, I threw the entire sample into my 150 ml Gaiwan at 195 F water w/quick steeps.
I had notes of cocoa, dried plum (?), raisins, malt, and the tea having a thick body.
I’m usually skeptical with brewing black tea and/or having a black tea. 90% of the flavors out there are usually rated at an average 0-60 for me; however, the 10% that remains is usually on the higher scale from 80-95%. It really has to be good for me to consider it, or to truly enjoy it. And despite the ratings of this tea, I think I’m one of the few that likes it as much as I do. There are notes beyond the maltiness (which I must say malt is what turns me off from black tea—cough Assam cough) that gives this tea a unique balance within the black tea spectrum. However, it isn’t as highly favorited as say, Laoshan Black, but it is on the higher end of my rating scale (75%; average). Overall, I like it. I’d drink it from time to time, but it’s neither a daily drinker nor a ‘never have again’ tea.
I’ve had a sample of this sitting around for a few weeks, so I decided to use the opportunity to drink it alongside the sample of W2T’s Fuding that Roswell Strange sent me.
This came from a smaller sample, so upon washing I can tell this one is a bit more broken up, and I get a good bit of fannings and dust that come off during the session. But, as a result, I get a lot more up front flavor, and a darker liquor to start with this one.
This tea tastes of fruit, hay and spices, and has a very smooth mouthfeel with an appreciable thickness that persists throughout the session. I find this one more enjoyable from the first steep, but also perhaps a bit simpler and less complex, and it gives out sooner since it was quicker to open up.
I still find this to be quite good, and I’d be interested in seeing how different steeping parameters would affect the flavor overall. What I enjoy most about it is the immediate flavor and the persistent smoothness and thickness, and I wonder what condition I would find the leaves to be in if I were able to break this one apart myself.
I have a bit more of my sample left, so I’ll be able to play around with it some more.
Flavors: Fruity, Hay, Smooth, Thick
Thank you for the samples, Teavivre! Another solid black tea from Teavivre. The dry leaves are very unique — they look like wild tea with HUGE, wiry leaves, tangled together in shades of black and gold. The scent of the dry leaves have a hay-in-the-field quality. The flavor is a little like that as well, with a medium flavor strength and starchiness (like sweet potatoes!) I’ve been really enjoying the sweet starchy aftertaste of black teas lately! The first time I had this tea, I didn’t think I used enough leaves. But I think because the leaves are so huge (the biggest leaves I’ve ever seen in a tea) the tea has a lighter flavor from the big leaves, just like a CTC tea has a stronger flavor because of the tiny leaves. But stronger does not mean better. Since I probably used a teaspoon more on the second steep session, the steeps were richer in flavor, though still tough to pick out individual flavor notes each time. Simply a satisfying black tea. I think I used close to Teavivre’s parameters minus a teaspoon. I wouldn’t say this is the best black tea from Teavivre, but it is VERY hard to decide which is the worst.
Steep #1 // half of a sample for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
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Flavors: Medicinal, Sweet, Vegetal