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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a nice Chinese green—mildly savory and vegetal with a little nuttiness. I’m not sure I would pick this to order over some of the other similar Teavivre greens I’ve sampled, as it’s not super distinctive—but I’m not sure that I wouldn’t, either. It’s very mellow and drinkable. Thanks for the sample, Teavivre!
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for sending this my way as this is a lovely tea, both aesthetically and flavor wise. The leaves have been steeping for over a half hour and yet there is no astringency or bitterness whatsoever. Just smooth black tea with a hint of rose. Malty and floral with a hint of honey and a dash of pepper. It’s mellow and would be nice for those days when you just want something simple that you don’t need to really think about.
Yunnan Rose Dragon Ball Black Tea. By Teavivre.
Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.
Dry leaf: sweet, musty.
Wet leaf: sweet, roses, spices, Beer (?)
1x short rinse.
Light steep; I taste/smell: (smell) slight spices. (Taste) light
-> spices, pepper, toasty.
Medium steep; I taste/smell: (smell) slight
-> spices, roses. (Taste) light -> roses, spices, toasty, pepper.
Heavy steep; I taste/smell: (smell) light
-> pepper, roses, beer (?). (Taste) light roses. Medium to strong -> pepper, spices, toasty, beer (?).
All in all an amazing tea! Nice aromas/tastes, decent cha qi. i rate a 100 even though i’m not much for black teas.
Where to buy: http://www.teavivre.com/rose-dragon-ball-black-tea/
Flavors: Musty, Pepper, Rose, Spices, Sweet, Toasty
Soon, on the Xbone, Ark will be getting some new creatures, including a favorite of mine, the Megalosaurus! In Ark they are adorable nocturnal death machines that you find sleeping curled up like a cat into a little ball during the day, and that is cool and all, but missing one of the best things about Megalosaurus, and that is how it shaped Paleontology! If you are not familiar with the history of Paleontology, Victorian Paleontologist had a really…unique…way of thinking that dinosaurs worked. Megalosaurus was one of the first non-avian dinosaurs named and became an early poster child for bringing awareness to the general public, problem was the was it was presented was so unbelievably wrong that it was hilarious. Originally thought to be a quadrupedal hunch-backed amphibian who were only carnivorous to old and ill animals. Obviously, we have advanced our understanding of dinosaurs, each year some new advancement seems to completely change the way we think they looked or behaved, but in part we have the incredibly derpy early depiction of Megalosaurus to thank for a lot of advancement.
You all know me, I could go on about dinosaurs all day (I have done this a few times to people foolish enough to get me started talking about them) but this is a tea blog and not a dinosaur blog, so it is on to today’s tea! Teavivre’s Yunnan Chrysanthemum Dragon Ball Tea, a hand-rolled ball of Dianhong with an addition of a yellow chrysanthemum flower, combining two of my tea loves into one. I have had several blends of Shou and chrysanthemum and it has never really worked for me, I often thought that blending with a Hongcha would be amazing, so when I saw Teavivre had just that, I knew I needed to try it. Sniffing the tightly rolled ball I was greeted with the sweet pollen, aster, and peppery aroma of chrysanthemum flowers along with malt, chocolate, yams, and honey. Oddly the blend of chrysanthemum and Dianhong give a slightly savory finish, though not necessarily like a specific savory food, just a savory quality, which is pretty neat.
Steeping time! My large engagement gaiwan got some love with this tea since it is a big ball that needs to expand. The aroma after the first steep is very strong, notes of chocolate and white pepper, malt and yams, and of course, chrysanthemum flowers. It, like the dry ball, is surprisingly savory, almost herbaceous. Similar to a white pepper and, well, the herb savory blended together, it is a surprising thing to smell with the more familiar Dianhong but it really works. The liquid lacks the savory quality, instead, it is sweet honey, peppery chrysanthemums, cocoa, and a rich malt, more what I expected this tea to smell like so no surprises there!
Oooh this tea is fun! First off, that mouthfeel, combining the usual thick and smooth texture of the Dianhong with the thick and cooling texture of the chrysanthemum makes for quite the thick treat, almost like a high mountain Oolong with how thick it is. The taste is pretty unique too, mixing familiar notes of malt, cocoa, and molasses with undertones of yam sweetness with the peppery and pollen note of the chrysanthemum blend together into something unlike anything I have had before. It was so unique that it took my brain a moment to really process it, but it is not a surprise that I ended up really enjoying it. Especially with the pollen and honey aftertaste that lingers.
I went for another steep of course, the aroma has a stronger cocoa note with a slightly stronger chrysanthemum note as well, which is not surprising since the ball has unfurled a great bit more. The taste is very similar to the first steep, just more! Stronger cocoa and yam, sweeter honey and molasses, and blooming chrysanthemum coat my mouth with soothing cooling tea.
This tea has longevity, getting many steeps out of with strong chrysanthemum until the fifth steep, at that point the chrysanthemum has mostly faded and what you are left with is a rich chocolate and yam heavy Dianhong. Since I frequently turn to chrysanthemum when I am unwell, I brewed up one of these balls when Ben recently had that nasty sickness, he found it very soothing and the two of us happily spent the day drinking this tea.
What I found surprising about this tea was that it didn’t fit the flavor-profile that I typically associate with Keemun—there’s no smokey aftertaste. Instead I found it to be rich, full-flavored, and sweet with a slight floralness that hangs on the tongue. It was really unexpected and before I knew it my cup was gone. Before today if you had asked me if I enjoyed Keemun I’d likely have told you that it wasn’t one of my favorites, even though I do occasionally fix a cup, but this tea really has changed my opinion about what a good-quality Keemun should be.
You can read the full review on my blog:
Another of my older Teavivre samples. I’m not sure why it’s sat neglected for so long, because all of Teavivre’s black teas are absolutely amazing, and this one’s no exception. I gave 1 tsp of leaf (very long and fine, with beautiful golden tips) 4 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk.
To taste, it’s pretty much everything I’d want in a black tea. There’s a strong chocolate note up front, very reminiscent of dark chocolate (rich, strong) but not in a drying, cocoa kind of way. The mid-sip has a more yam-like flavour, along with baked bread towards the tail end. It’s very smooth and creamy, very easy to drink.
I’m enjoying this one. It’s one of the sweeter black teas I’ve tried from Teavivre, but wonderful just the same. I’ll be repurchasing this one in a hurry!
I was super super excited about this tea! The look of it is nothing like any other tea I’ve seen. I saw other reviewers say notes of butter and vegetal, and I was SOLD.
I didn’t get that with my sample. I used 15 leaves for 6 oz of water, brewed at 175ishF for 3 minutes. I wasn’t blown away, the flavor was just one note green tea. I don’t know if the 2016 harvest is different, but I didn’t get what others here reviewed about. I will change my review after I attempt to brew the rest of my sample. I just wasn’t impressed, and was left disappointed. I do love almost all of what I have ordered from Teavivre….just spent $90 yesterday. But this tea just wasn’t my favorite, maybe I have to adjust brewing time or more leaves?
A yellow tea offered from Teavivre! I’m not sure why this specifically is a yellow tea, as it very much shares many elements of Teavivre’s awesome green teas. The dry leaves are equally scented sweet and nutty. I suppose the leaves do look more yellow in color than most green teas, but the flavor is much the same: very mild and light, sweet, and nutty. Fresh, fragrant, and delicious. As usual, an exceptional cup of tea from Teavivre but I think some of their green teas are more to my tastes because of their stronger flavor. But if you’re looking for light flavor, give this one a try.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug// 32 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steeped 5 grams of this in the gaiwan this morning, but drank while multitasking, so no detailed notes. That being said, I don’t think I would have /too/ much to say about it, as it’s not really anything special. It’s good, drinkable and a good value for a daily drinker. Doesn’t really have anything about it that stands out much. Smooth, sweet and mellow, as teavivre and other describe, and the taste remains pretty nice and consistent throughout steeps. Nice, calming cha qi, as well.
Flavors: Earth, Smooth, Sweet
This is a sample from Angel who is always super generous with her samples. I haven’t had this keemun before so it was great to try it out. this has no smoke and is a light brew. there’s some astringency here but it’s still a good cup of tea. I prefer the keemun snail aromatic but this was an interesting experience.
Thanks again, Teavivre! I always appreciate the samples! This is a BIG individually wrapped dragon ball of black tea with whole jasmine blossoms embedded in the tea. When I was infusing the tea ball, I saw at least EIGHT whole jasmine blossoms floating! Unfortunately, the usual intoxicating amazing jasmine scent and flavor that Teavivre’s teas usually have is not with this one. I tried tasting hints of jasmine, but I can’t taste it at all. However, there is a TON of tea leaves here, almost completely filling up the infuser basket when steeped, though it never gets too astringent or bitter. The flavor is a lovely black tea — very dark and deep, with notes of dark chocolate and wine. So as a jasmine tea, this is a fail but as a black tea, this is delicious. If only it had the jasmine flavor like the other Teavivre jasmine teas.
Steep #1 // 1 piece for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // rinse // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 4 minute steep
I hope everyone who celebrates is having a great Thanksgiving!
Flavors: Dark Chocolate, Red Wine
Thanks so much for the new set of samples, Teavivre! I’m very excited to try the new teas! I’m thrilled that Teavivre is carrying a new type of black dragon ball. I’ve been looking for a black dragon ball to stock up on! To my tastes, the other one, the Fengqing was not my favorite, only for the reason that the flavor was too light. The flavor with these, is much darker and deeper and much more to my tastes. Six pieces results in a very dark and luxurious brew. Somehow, the main flavor profile of this tea, other than being an excellent black tea flavor, is a mysterious flavor of cinnamon! I love that these pearls have a much darker flavor. They could be steeped for many more than two steeps. These are the dragon pearls for me!
Steep #1 // 6 pieces for a full mug// 12 minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Steep #2 // just boiled // 4 minute steep
Got this from tea-sipper’s stash. The dry leaves smell nice and fresh, and as soon as I pour water over them, I wonder if I’ll regret having only gotten 20g…
Followed Teavivre’s steeping recommendations for gongfu.
The wash smells so good that I taste a sip of it. Nice, light and creamy. The first steep itself is a nice, light, golden-yellow and smells fragrant and milky. The texture is very smooth, creamy but not heavy, and the taste is creamy and lightly floral. The aroma that clings to the empty cup smells just like mango to me.
Second steeps tastes pretty similar, and the third steep comes out creamier to me. With each successive steeps, more vegetal notes start to creep through, which I appreciate greatly, and chestnut starts to shine through later on, as well, with an almost sugary sweetness. This tea carried me right on up to lunch and I enjoyed every steep. I love the fact that it’s fragrant, but not overly floral, and each evolution of the flavor is delicious and satisfying. Definitely enjoyed this one!
Flavors: Chestnut, Creamy, Floral, Sweet, Vegetal
Sample from Angel
This oolong had hit the spot tonight. I’ve been really craving a good oolong, but only seemed to have low quality stuff lying around instead. However, I was grateful to have received this oolong sample, among others, from Angel.
I noted that there were floral, mineral, and nutty notes. There was one point that I verbally stated to the wife that I thought I had smelled cinnamon, but hadn’t tasted it in the tea itself. This tea was complex and layered with many notes that I have either forgotten or couldn’t describe exactly what I was tasting. It was very pleasant, and I’m humbly grateful to have tried this tea. I’m definitely adding this on the to get more of this one list.
Flavors: Floral, Mineral, Nutty
First review! I haven’t been the first review in a while! Then again, I haven’t written a review in a while haha :) well no time like the present! A huge thank you to Angel at Teavivre for so kindly sending me a bunch of new tea samples!! This is the first of the bunch that I am trying out, and it is a perfect day for a roasty oolong, lightly snowing, miserably cold wind, and very grey out. Time for hot tea!
The dry smell of this tea is lovely, man I haven’t had an oolong in a while, and this one is definitely orchid-like and toasty. I steeped it for roughly 3 mins Western style with boiling water. The steeped aroma is SO LOVELY! It reminds me of my favorite roasted oolong from Verdant that I haven’t had in ages..what was it even called..Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix oolong. This one is a bit different though, the toasted smell is a bit stronger, and the rocky mineral notes are also there. It smells so yummy, like I should be in a tranquil waterfall cave drinking this tea :). Oh, the color is a light orange color too, very pleasing.
As for the flavor, mmmm is this ever good. It’s so very light, the mineral notes are there but quite faint, it is floral and delicious, with a sweetness that lingers almost like a mild ginseng. It’s juicy and a bit toasty. It’s really good! Wow it’s been a while since I’ve had a toasted oolong, I missed it. I was reading that this is kind of like a Tie Guan Yin like rock oolong, and I can definitely see that, it is lighter and creamier than previous ones I’ve had, and the orchid floral notes much more pronounced as in a Tie guan yin. I bet I could even convince my boyfriend to try this toasted oolong, and he really only drinks tie guan yin haha.
Overall, a very relaxing, lightly creamy, and deliciously floral tea. Smooth and serene, I am transported to a waterfall cascading down rocks with spring flowers blooming amongst the moss above. I am feeling poetic today :D
Here’s my favorite link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tk5Uturacx8&t=482s
I love this rendition, because everyone is so animated, they all play so well, and the Conductor is so awesome and uninhibited. :)
Note: the above link is NOT the orchestra I’m playing with!
Anyway, I’m taking break from practicing to enjoy multiple steepings of this tea.
Sweet stone fruits, honey, hops, bee pollen, and a little eucalyptus. It’s very sweet. The energy of it reminds me of a Sheng, and the mouthfeel is smooth, thick, & tangy like grapes. The aroma is rich & fruity, and lingers in my sinuses like a primo incense.
Very satisfying! Something about this tea reminds me of those alcohol drenched fruitcakes my mom used to make during the HoliDaze (back in the 60’s). They were loaded with dried fruits, soaked in Brandy, and then allowed to ‘cure’ for a few weeks.
I got a sample of this tea from the GCTTB and I’m always eager to try flavoured oolongs. This one is on the milder end of the flavour spectrum, with the strawberry flavour only really coming out when the tea has cooled off. For the most part it is the buttered-greens flavour of the oolong that takes center stage. The resteep at 4 min had very little strawberry flavour left at all, although the oolong base itself has decent staying power.
Of course I have no idea the age of this sample so my review could be flawed in that sense. But while I was glad I had a chance to try this tea it isn’t one I’d consider purchasing.
How is it that I’ve not tried this one yet? I literally have no idea how that happened. Anyway, better late than never. I’ve also kind of come to the conclusion that I really need to work on reducing my cupboard to a more manageable level before I buy any more tea (how many times have I said that before…) because there’s some good stuff getting neglected and it’s not right. At least I’m back under 200. I’d like to get down to 50 before I really consider stocking up again. That would be a much more comfortable place for me.
I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup. It’s kinda hard to measure because the leaves are so big they won’t fit happily in my measuring spoon. To be expected, I guess, given that this is the full leaf version. The leaves themselves are a variagated brown-black-gold-cream, some more than an inch long, most with beautiful downy tips. I gave it 3 minutes in boiling water, and added a splash of milk because it brewed up so dark. That in itself was unexpected.
To taste, this has all the malty, sweet potato wonderfulness I was hoping for. It’s quite robust in terms of flavour – no watery black tea here! The initial sip is sweet and thick-tasting, there are some chocolate/cocoa notes (albeit fairly fleeting), and then in the mid-sip it’s really all about the yam/sweet potato, and that’s a flavour that lingers well.
I’m enjoying this one. When I next place a Teavivre order (which may not be for a while, but it’ll happen…) I’ll doubtless repurchase this one. I’d happily have a large bag in my cupboard as a staple black – it’s that good.
So, I’ve already had too much caffeine today, but the SO decided she wanted to try a green tea today and this is the one she chose. We couldn’t agree on this one from the get-go. She kept smelling things like rotisserie chicken and other dinner smells, I was getting roasted chestnuts more than anything else, which gave me high hopes for the flavor itself.
I followed Teavivre’s preparation recommendations for this one. She says it tastes like dinner. To me, it tastes like slightly bitter roastiness. Not getting the chestnut or nutty flavors the aroma had me expecting. Neither of us wants another cup at the moment, so I wait an hour to resteep.
The second steep is better, which leads me to believe I didn’t wash this quite long enough the first time around. Smooth in texture, lightly nutty in flavor and lightly vegetal. I guess I’m not used to the concept of the second steep being best applying to green tea. I now take the time to admire the very light golden liquor in my clear cha hai.
The third steep is also light and pleasant, and the leaves seem to have expanded nicely. I’m getting some buttery notes in this steep. Fourth steep is super light and what flavor is there is mostly buttery.
This tea taught me that it needs to be washed in order for me to enjoy it, and for longer than the recommended five seconds. It was a good learning experience, and I’ll finish up the rest of the sample, but I don’t think it’s quite up my alley enough to ever put in a full order of it.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Butter, Chestnut, Nutty, Roasted
When I smell this tea, I smell hot water from a bathhouse in India. Steaming hot water with scents of the earth that stew in a water tank before being heated through some pipes and being collected in a giant plastic bucket, which you carry off with you to the shower room to use how you please. A slight scent of Dettol soap. A scrubbed clean feeling, this how clean water can get, that you may find bubbling in a volcanic spring on the top of a mountain.
This is 90% an odorful tea, the 10% is in the taste. The taste is slightly bitter, that is all. Sometimes teas are for smelling, and the drinking is an afterthought, and that is okay. It was nice to be reminisced about the olden days, days of rajahs and ecumenical times.
Notes of scotch, only because the cup had scotch in it prior to the pouring of the tea.
Flavors: Asparagus, Butterscotch, Compost, Custard, Earth, Moss, Peat, Scotch, Vegetable Broth