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Recent Tasting Notes
I’ve always been primarily a flavored-tea girl, but the more quality straight black teas I try, the more I find myself craving them. This one is divine! The dry leaf is gorgeous: super thin, twisty leaves in variegated black and gold. The scent is rich and malty. Brewed, it’s a gorgeous reddish brown with a silky smooth mouth feel and so much flavor! I’m definitely tasting sweet potato and honey, but there’s also a bit of a caramel note to the aftertaste. And – just to make a good thing even better – this is one of those teas you can keep re-steeping all day long and still get amazing flavor in each cup. This one is right up there with Whispering Pines’ Golden Snail as the best black tea I’ve ever tasted!
Flavors: Caramel, Honey, Malt, Sweet Potatoes
far too long since i’ve been on here to review a tea!
how good is this tea? how’s this for a measure… last weekend the phone rang interrupting my homework. it was my financial institution. i was impatient. i had dropped a class taught by a difficult instructor late in the game and was playing catch up. i was not in the mood for service calls!
‘sir, i just wanted to check…. did you try to use your credit card at abercrombie and fitch online for 427$?’
‘no… WHAT? NO!!!!’
‘future shop online, sir? um… banana republic?’
‘no, i have a future shop just down the road, and definitely not banana republic!’
she continued, the sum total coming to just shy of 2000$. the conversation, beginning with my impatience ended with sincere gratitude! it was a long conversation- nearly 30 minutes. by the end all i wanted was a cup of tea! this was the blend i chose. it was perfect. depth, complexity, muted fruit tones, tempered malt… perfect.
you could argue i was tasting anxiety and then relief, however everytime i’ve had it since it’s been better. my only criticism? that steepster won’t let me rate it higher… c’mon jason, get on that! =0D
I used about half my 10g sample in my “120” ml easy gaiwan. And I’m pouring it directly into two cups, so one cup is steeped longer than the other. Haha. I’m feeling super lazy tonight. I had two cups out, so two cups it is.
I’m guessing that the taste means it was wet stored. It tastes damp. Like wet forest, but not super fresh with pine and clean air. It’s not resinous either. It’s actually pretty smooth yet quite mild. Not that the flavour isn’t strong, just that it’s well blended together so there’s nothing bringing itself strongly to my attention. So far I’m enjoying it, but I’m not sure that this is a flavour profile I adore. Perhaps I’m learning to like a little more bite in my puerh.
And now I have a cat forcefully cuddling me so I can’t reach the kettle.
This tastes like chicken soup! Soup made with roasted chicken and tender greens – a little smoky, a little umami, a little vegetal. I was a little put off when I dumped out the rest of my sample packet and realized how smoky it smelled, but the smoke is a pleasant accent rather than the main focus. As it cools I get more of a green bean flavor. Not sure if it’s the sort of tea I’d drink every day, but it’s darn tasty!
Additional notes: 2014 harvest. 2.5 g dry leaf, ~8 oz water, steeped until it started smelling nice.
Flavors: Chicken Soup, Green Beans, Roasted Chicken, Smoke, Umami, Vegetal
I enjoy this a lot. I have tried it western style, and it was very intense that way. It was equal parts creamy and floral for the first western steep – next time I will do shorter infusions, it was almost too intense. It was creamier and sweeter and fruitier for the following two. I am enjoying it gongfu style today, practicing with my new gaiwan, and it is a lot more nuanced this way. Which isn’t surprising. It hopped between creamy and floral the first several steeps, and moved to primarily fruity/floral for the latter. I steeped it countless times and it retained flavor well. I could see this being an everyday staple, as it is pretty inexpensive for the quality.
Thanks for the samples from a while ago, Teavivre! I love rice flavored pu-erh, so I had to give this one a try in the convenient teabags. The pu-erh consists of larger, great quality leaves, mixed with little green leaves that I think are the rice flavoring. Personally, the teabag doesn’t look like it contains as many leaves as I would usually steep… but I prefer a LOT of pu-erh sometimes (it’s not like pu-erh ever gets astringent because of too many leaves, so I don’t think it matters how many leaves are steeped). The flavor is a standard pu-erh, none of the offending, unlikeable pu-erh notes from this burgundy cup. Very sweet, smooth. The rice is present but very light… I’d love more rice flavor. This pu-erh is a perfect pairing with the rice. The strength does seem lighter, especially the later steeps, again probably because I usually steep more leaves. To be fair, I didn’t use the recommended (very long) steep time. I’ll try that next time. That’s the only negative thing I could say about this pu-erh — the inability to choose how many teaspoons of leaves to steep. Each teabag is probably the perfect amount of leaves for someone else though.
Steep #1 // 4 minutes after boiling // rinse // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 2 minutes after boiling // 3 min steep
Steep #3 // just boiled // 4-5 min
The scent of this Puer after rinsing is vegetal with heavy hints of damp forest floor. The lotus scent in this is just barely detectable, a slight licorice-like hint.
The infusion is a sort of dusty yellow and it tastes like paper bag, with lingering flavors reminiscent of fallen tree leaves. The lotus flavor is also just barely detectable.
After the second infusion, the lotus smell is still very subtle in the damp leaves, and there is a scent that reminds you of old, cool weathered enclosures, like an old basement or garage. This infusions yeilds more lotus flavor amid a background of raw puer that is still fairly paper-tasting with vegetal notes as well. There’s a sort of spicy sensation and heat that lingers in the mouth, and a bit of tanginess that sticks to the tongue.
Not having any idea on the age of this tea (it was a sample given to me by an acquaintance), I can already tell it’s somewhat young. On the third infusion, there’s a good deal of bitterness in the taste. I can’t speak for others, I’m sure there are those who would enjoy a tea like this, but I’ve had quality raw puer, and this is not what I consider that to be. There’s not much complexity to the flavor. I’m reminded of sticking a Phenylthiocarbamide test strip in my mouth. Those of you who have done the “supertaster” test, know what I’m talking about, though I’m apparently not a supertaster, so I’m not talking about the full brunt of the bitterness you would get from that experience if you were. As the tea cools, the taste I am getting is more pepper with hints of lotus. I can’t say this is bad quality tea, just as much as I can’t say it’s good quality. It’s just not doing much for me. There’s a lingering sweetness in my mouth now that intrigues me, so I’ll push it one more infusion and see where that leads.
On the fourth infusion I’m getting much more spicy and vegetal notes on the scent of the leaves. It’s more pleasant than before. The taste now is a little more rich and vegetal, less like paper, but it is still a bit bitter and the lotus is a very faint aftertaste. When I have to bend my thoughts to try to accept or enjoy a tea, it just isn’t for me.
Flavors: Anise, Bitter, Paper, Vegetal
This is really good – it is creamy and floral. I like it gongfu and western style, but the gongfu is more nuanced. The first steeps begin very creamy and move to a sweeter, floral flavor, becoming almost juicy at the end. The western brew is similar, but more compacted – first steep being creamiest, second and third steeps being fruitier.
Overboard TTB #9
I still have a pile of teas from this box that I really want to try before popping it back into the mail and onto the next lucky taster and I really really need to get this box back out before the end of the weekend regardless of current crazy life having a TTB for two weeks is my limit. Therefore today my aim is to go on a mega sipping adventure and try as many of the teas I have left as possible… Besides overdosing on caffeine should help me tick off all the items on my to do list right?
So it’s 5am and I’m still lying in bed trying to pretend that I have nothing to do today and I’m sipping on a cup of this to help trick my brain into believing it, just for a minute or so…. I probably shouldn’t have drunk this so soon after the mandala milk oolong because all I find myself doing is comparing this to that tea… Steeped western style this tea is quite nice however it’s a little heavier on the floral notes and not so heavy on the cream or milk flavors that I’m really looking for in a milk oolong and additional steeping continue to expand on the floral notes. I would love to throw this in my Gaiwan and see if that makes a difference but alas, I’m out of time and need to get moving… Back to the box you go for someone else to enjoy
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for this lovely sample!
Dry: This pu-erh cake is tightly woven with some golden leaves and smells sweet and earthy, almost syrupy.
Steeped: My husband wanted to try it and I only have 1 gaiwan, so I brewed it Western method using bottled Spring water. The brewed tea is very dark with a gentle sweet fragrance, though it reminds me of black coffee by the way it looks.
Taste: Full-disclosure: I don’t think I am a pu-erh lady. I’ve had 3 well-liked ones recently and none of them would be something I would reach for over my usual favorites (certain straight blacks, flavored blacks, straight greens). That said, this is a bold and flavorful tea. I get notes of leather, earth, smooth wood, and that background syrup sweetness that I smelled in the dry cake. It almost reminds me of brown sugar.. if it was wet and mixed with woodsy things. I’m giving this a good rating because it is exactly what it is supposed to be except I don’t detect much in the way of nuttiness, but my personal flavor preference is for TeaVivre’s other lovely black and green teas. Hope everyone is having a lovely week!
Flavors: Autumn Leaf Pile, Brown Sugar, Earth, Leather, Maple Syrup, Wet Wood, Wood
Here I go with another sample from Teavivre. I believe I only have one more left to try after this one. It is a happy/sad moment. I like having new possibly delicious teas on the horizon but I also like having sampled them all so I know what is the best for me. The dry leaf on this one is similar to yesterday’s (nonpareil yunnan dian hong chinese red black tea) but has more of a malt and molasses note. Maybe sweet potatoes, but I actually don’t like sweet potatoes so I rarely let my brain smell it in a tea.
I steeped this one about 2 minutes, as it had a shorter recommended steep time on the package. Again, I used nearly boiling water, and half the sample packet. The steeped aroma is very much like a classic bagged tea. It smells strong and bitter, like builder’s tea. I assume this is one of those aroma tricks that tea does.
First sips more closely match the dry leaf aroma. I am getting some molasses type sweetness, some rich cocoa, richer than anticipated. It is also malty, and boldly flavoured but not bitter or astringent. It is really bold, and if it weren’t for the lack of bitterness, I would actually think this wasn’t a Chinese tea!
I do like it well enough, but it isn’t especially remarkable to me. A good Chinese black tea to sip on, but not one that makes me sit up and take notice. If you are considering between this and the the Nonpareil Yunnan Dian Hong Chinese Red Black Tea, I say go with the other. If you’re looking for a generally solid cuppa that you don’t have to think about, go for this one. Still yummy, just not as impressive as some other Teavivre offerings.
Half a sample packet in about 75 ml water. Several rinses of which I tasted. Steeps of about 10-15 seconds.
Initial sips were bitter with astringency, especially when hot, and even more so when tasting the first few steeps. Once the cup cooled, the bitter notes were still present but enjoyable.
Taste is a bit fruity and hay-like with a bit of smoke, and a peppery tingle which lingers. It sort of gives the impression of warmth and coolness at the same time but not sure how to describe that well.
This could go many more steeps I think but I only drank a few for now, and although this wouldn’t be my favorite tea, am happy to have tried it and do look forward to trying it again another time.
Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for sending this sample to try!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
This is the final sample out of five I was given recently to try. Like with the other ripe puerh sample, I decided to short steep this 10 times as suggested on Teavivre’s website.
In comparison with the Menghai Palace Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2008 that I tried last time, the first steep of this tea is actually quite different. It’s less earthy, more roasted/smoky and has a nice floral (rose) flavour.
Much of the sample had unraveled by the second steep, but it didn’t become overly bold or earthy. There was a nice bitterness and umami flavour that consisted through the ten steeps. I didn’t expect to like the bitterness, but it actually paired well with the earthy and umami. Towards the last couple of steeps, I mostly tasted tasted the bitterness, floral and roasted flavours.
Overall this sample impressed me a lot more than the other ripe puerh one. And out of all the riped puerh sold by Teavivre, this would be one of my favourite alongside their Aged Chenpi Ripened Tangerine Pu-erh 2009 (which I’ve yet to review, oops!). Even though there is a bitterness to the tea, it is palatable and enjoyable. I quite liked the characteristics of this tea, because most of the riped puerh I have tried are very samey and this one is more memorable.
That being said, this type of tea is an acquired taste. If you’re interested in trying ripened puerh, this is certainly one of the more interesting ones you can sample from Teavivre.
Flavors: Bitter, Earth, Roasted, Rose, Smoked, Umami
After several weeks of illness, I feel well enough to actually review this tea. It is one of the five that Teavivre sent me for free, and I really wanted to get to it (and the other two I haven’t had yet). Unfortunately, I got back-to-back colds and have not been at peak tasting performance. Even today I still have some symptoms, but I don’t care! I need good tea!
The dry leaf is skinny black wires, not very broken up but maybe 1 to 2 cm long…hard to measure curly things. :) There is the odd leaf that is much lighter, but this isn’t a golden tea. It smells very strongly of chocolate, maybe like a dark hot chocolate or a chocolate cake batter before it hits the oven. There is some sweetness, so it isn’t all dark and bitter in aroma. Really nice smell!
I used water slightly cooled after the boil and steeped half the sample packet for approximately 3 minutes. Hard to say, really. I’m at work, so it’s harder to be sure. The steeped aroma reflects the dry aroma strongly but also has a brisk almost bitter smell. I don’t know if other people get that too, but I sometimes smell that a tea is or will be bitter. It’s not a guarantee but that is what I have found it to most often represent. The Teavivre brewing suggestions were 1 to 5 minutes, so I went with my usual time.
This has cooled for about 15 minutes now as I was called away to actually work. Funny how they ask that. Despite that, it is still warm and drinkable, sipping in more gently than I expected. I do get cocoa right off the bat, and some sweetness on the tongue after the sip. It builds up with every sip, increasing the flavour and the depth. This is definitely a tea that is improved by drinking continuously, and maybe a little consciously. I was definitely typing away all happy and then realized that the sweet and the cocoa linger deliciously. It sort of forced me to pay attention and be friends. I like that in a tea.
Remember how last time I mentioned I was on a trip? This was another one of the teas I had on my trip, though I’ve had it since I returned.
What I really like about this is that I can taste the smoke, but I can also taste the sweetness of the base tea underneath. It’s not quite a fruity sweetness…but more like when you let some bread or crackers break down in your mouth, and the starch converts into sugar.
This is a really lovely tea. I can’t wait to see how it tastes when I have it some morning with bacon.
I received one of these cute mini tuochas from Stephanie. Thank you!
I logged onto TeaVivre’s site before brewing this and didn’t find any brewing instructions. I didn’t think to check Steepster as half the time folks do not add steeping paramters, at least I know I don’t. I brewed the first infusion of this up at 212. It was wonderful. It was light hints of Jasmine, mixed with a slight tang. The next cup I did the same and let it steep a bit longer and the cup really had a bite to it. Oops! I then got onto Steepster and saw that some folks were using 180 degree water. The rest of the infusions were done with this temperature. It offered some lovely tangy Jasmine. This was so nice. It wasn’t the heavy scented Jasmine that I am use to. The Jasmine really blended with the tea. I really enjoyed this one!
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for this amazing sample!
First off, I don’t think I have ever opened a tea packaged up so nicely. It was in vacuumed sealed pouch inside of another vacuum sealed pouch. I brewed the entire 7g in my gaiwan. I did 2 rinses to open up the leaves and then shamelessly neglected the TeaVivre steeping instructions for the first steep but quickly corrected my wrong doing.
I under steeped this a bit for the first infusion. It was a bit on the light side, but still wonderful. It is a very smooth floral oolong. Others have mentioned peach notes, but I did not get too many fruity notes to this cup, it is mostly just smooth flowers. The smoothness of this tea is what amazes me the most. With a lot of TieGuanYin teas I get a bit of a bitterness, with this tea there was absolutely none. Another wonderful offering from TeaVivre!
Oh no, it’s happened :( :( I have found a tea sample from a lovely Steepster, and I have no clue who it’s from. Well, that’s slightly untrue – it’s probably from Sil, and might be via Raritea, but I’m not sure. That’s my best guess though, since I don’t think I’ve received any of this from Teavivre previously.
Anyhow! I need to brew up the second half of the sample more carefully, but YUM! What a delicious tea. I just love roasty oolongs so incredibly much, and this is a great example. Makes me want to grab all my Verdant ones and start brewing them up soon, too (that’s not a half-bad idea, actually. I’ve been craving straight tea recently, more than flavoured.) Can’t write much detail here, other than this was amazingly delicious and I want more :D I’m sure the resteep was good too, though I’ve been brewing up so many things lately that I can’t tell one from another, and mix re-steeps together if they smell compatible enough. Haha.
I had a little trouble with this tea; I usually brew with less leaves. When I brewed this I had to add more in the pot after a few steepings. I opened the pack to be greeted with the scent of plums, dates and slight undertone of early morning grass. The leaves are very large and range from a dark muddy green to silver and citrine colored. I also spotted several large dark red stems. I brewed this sheng in my yixing with boiling water. The aroma of tobacco, shale and bamboo creeped from my pot. The taste at first was very bland and had a slight menthol tinge. I realized I would be needing more leaves, so I filled my pot up. After I added my leaves the taste was much better! I achieved an explosive sharp sheng! I especially love sheng that makes you shudder and coats your mouth with a cooling intake. I could note the taste of bitter greens, light smoke and bok choy. These bitter flavors were replaced with an aftertaste of apricot, maple and pepper. After each steeping, the sweet flavors took over and shrouded the sharp. It had a consistent sheng menthol sip every steep. The qi of this brew was very strange. The entire drinking process I noted no presence and could not feel any overtaking of qi. After I finished drinking and was cleaning up then the qi took over and was very powerful. This was a very interesting and educational tea session.
Flavors: Apricot, Bok Choy, Dates, Menthol, Tobacco
ugh i hate steepster somedays. and my computer. lost my notes on this one…suffice it to say that again, angel is awesome. However, i prefer the other teavivre puerh that i had today over this one, while this one is still a decent enough tea…it’s just not what i would prefer given the choice between the two :)
Final Count: 167
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Trying the fourth out of five samples Teavivre sent me to try. At first I wasn’t sure which one I wanted to save for Chinese New Year. But considering how bitterly cold it has been lately, I put off trying the two ripe puerh teas. Having black tea is nice in the winter, but ripe pureh is so earthy, dark and heavy that it uplifts any thoughts of bad winter day I have.
There were no steep suggestions on the website, so I chose the gongfu steeping from another ripe puerh and steeped Menghai Palace Ripened Pu-erh Cake Tea 2008, 10 times.
First steep brought out all the flavours I expected; deep earthy, mellow, woodsy. The cake piece hasn’t completely unraveled yet.
Second steep really cranked up bold flavours. And the cake finally unraveled on the third steep. It was a bit stronger than I anticipated. Not in a bad way, but it’s a very bold ripe puerh flavour. It maintained a really bold flavour up until the seventh steep. Then flavour of the tea weakened a bit, and I could taste some more subtleties; licorice, anise, pepper, leather, herby. And finishing on the tenth steep, it had a bit of a nice sweet aftertaste.
Overall it met my expectations. Ripe puerh is always a good pick for resteeping gongfu style. It maintains its flavour over many resteeps, and it’s a very strong flavour.
There’s nothing that impressed me about the tea, but it didn’t have any negative or unwanted flavours either (aside from being really bold, which could be a pro or a con for another person).
Flavors: Anise, Earth, Herbs, Leather, Licorice, Menthol, Pepper, Wood
I have been committing tea sacrilege with this wonderful tea…but you know, it really works for me. I’m so busy at work that I can’t make myself a proper cup, so decided to start doing ‘grandpa style’ until I find my new work groove.
I have discovered that I really like grandpa style with roasted oolongs, and will probably continue to drink them in this manner. I really like the mineral, salty notes that seem to come through when I brew in this manner. And when the flavour starts to become weak I just add a few more leaves.
I expected to find some strong bitter notes with grandpa style and oolong, but I didn’t get that. This tea holds up really well to this style of brewing. When i’m out, I will definitely see if my other roasted oolongs do as well.
Now that I’ve gone grandpa style, I probably won’t go back (at least with this tea)….so easy, convenient and ridiculously delicious.