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Recent Tasting Notes
I love strawberries and oolong so this just seemed like a perfect fit. However, I’m not sure how i feel about this one. When first steeped it has an amazing fruity smell that jumps right out of the cup into your nostrils. But I feel that the oolong has a bit of a bitterness to it that kicks in to the aftertaste that I’m just not liking too much.
With a touch of honey i like it much more.
This tea has a sweet fruity & exotic aroma that wafts up to your nostrils the moment you open the bag. The tea is almost syrupy in some steeps, bringing to my mind lychee, raspberry, & dried dark fruits, served over a rich pastry.
I’ve been combining 2 steeps at a time in my mug: 15 & 30 sec, 45 & 60…
The 3rd mugful (2 & 3min) was like a creamy rich plum pudding, drizzled with agave syrup.
There is leo a deep dark savory quality coming forward, not sure how to describe it…kind of like a dark cherry pipe tobacco.
The energy of this tea is comparable to drinking a sheng. I feel a lovely clear headed sense of being, & I think I’ll water my house plants now.
When Teavivre offered to send me more samples, I immediately had to request this one. Both because the school I went to had a mascot named Big Red (think McDonald’s Grimace, but red) and because our newest baby, a little redfoot tortoise, is named Da Hong Pao! We have three cats and a tortoise, and after the first cat, we got into the habit of tea names. We’ve an orange cat named Pekoe and a grey cat named Earlie. So, of course, when we decided on a red foot tortie, Da Hong Pao made perfect sense! We call her Pao or Pao Pao for short. For the record, our first cat is a brown tabby who is named Rosabella, but would have been Chai if we had been thinking of tea names back then.
Anyhoo, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a Da Hong Pao before this, and I’m not going back through 1000+ notes to figure out if I have. But dang, I should have! This is roasty, toasty goodness and I think I’m in love. Reminds me of home, with tobacco smoke and an underlying nuttiness that takes this tea to another level. I’m on my second steep of a sample packet in a Bubble Teapot (24 ounces) and, as is my habit, I dumped the leaves into a DT Mason Jar (25 oz) to coldbrew overnight. I want to get every last drop of goodness out of these amazing samples, but I’m way too lazy to gong fu. But I see an order in the near future, once the moneytree comes into bloom.
Clearly it’s not my night. xD After the DTT, it all seemed to go downhill. xD
This one is definitely not for me either. Though better than the last one, this one is super strong too.
The main taste for me is leather. What makes it better than the last one is that it also tastes like sweet potatoes. xD Kinda a weird combo. But the sweet potatoes make it a lot more drinkable for me.
This one wasn’t the worst, but not my favorite either.
Glad I tried it…but still don’t get the hype. This one isn’t for me! XD
Flavors: Leather, Sweet Potatoes
I received this sample in the 3rd Anniversary packet that I picked up from Teavivre.
This is a dark oolong that brews up a light brown to yellowish color. This is a really yummy cup. This is very fruity with strong hints of honey and some slight woody undertones. I am surprised at how much fruit flavor shines through on this cup. I think I saw someone mention a juicy peach in their tasting note and that is exactly what I am getting. I am going to try and resteep this one a few times and add quite a bit of steep time as my first cup was pretty light. I am not sure I could see myself ordering a full 100g of this tea, but I would definitely pick up another sample or two when I place an order.
Got 50g of this one in the big Teavivre sale like a month ago.
Smelled like chocolate when I opened it, which is always good :P
The taste was kinda the same. Chocolate. And raisins too.
Chocolate and raisins….this tea would definitely go well with chocolate covered raisins. And guess what!
I have chocolate covered raisins in my cupboard…
I have a good idea hatching. :O
Flavors: Chocolate, Raisins
I must now confess that the world Sheng Puer remains a mystery to me and I am a mere neophyte. I think my initial idea of what Sheng Puer is was quite misguided, as my first Sheng Puer experience was with Moonlight White from Jingmai, and the next few I had were equally sweet and mellow types. I had heard people mention things about Sheng Puer being bitter and wondered what the fuss was about since all the ones I had had were very sweet.
Fast forward to the Raw Puer sampler from Mandala tea I received the other day and I finally realized what people were talking about, but look for more on that on my other reviews, this one is about the Fengqing 2006 cake from Teavivre.
It may well be that one of the primary appeals of Sheng Puer is that the sip starts subtle, becomes somewhat bitter (or quite a bit), then recedes to a sweet finish. I don’t personally enjoy bitter flavors, so I would typically not choose to drink a bitter tea more than one time to evaluate it. With Sheng Puer, though, it is not all bitter, so the bitterness presence adds some interesting contrast with the rest of the flavors. Maybe the finish wouldn’t be so sweet if not for that bitterness mid-sip? Perhaps there is a benefit to having that contrast. It makes for a more dynamic experience as opposed to teas that are just naturally sweet throughout (though you won’t hear me complain about those). ;3
This Fengqing Puer has a sweet start, and if you brew it light enough, the bitterness mid-sip is not all that detectable, if at all, but you have to use very quick infusions to achieve this. The sweetness is a syrupy kind of sweetness, but not a thick one, something like light agave nectar. There are little notes of camphor and spice in the aroma, especially as it cools. There’s a hint of smokiness at the end of a sip, but it is subtle. I really enjoyed this tea in later steepings, where it became more more sweet with delicate notes of bamboo and hardly any trace of earthy or bitter flavors, but to achieve this I did flash infusions in my gaiwan, only steeping it for 5-10 seconds each time. I only used 3 grams of leaf for a 100ml gaiwan, which is less than some puer drinkers like to use, but I find if I use more it is quite bitter to me.
Flavors: Bamboo, Camphor, Nectar, Smoke, Sweet
A quarter of the way through WoT book thirteen (so close to splurging on tea purchases!), my kobo file went glitchy and I had to switch to my dad’s hardcover edition. It’s the worst development this series has taken so far- this 800 page behemoth has already tried to maim me twice today! Lots of respect for the people who followed this series as it was released, with the hardcover editions.
This smokey sample from Amariel made up for my failings with physical book copies today. I drank about eight cups this evening and now it’s gone. It has some rough elements (smoke, leather, bitter cocoa) , but this tea presents them in a smooth and easily drinkable way.
Flavors: Cocoa, Leather, Malt, Smoke
I received this sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thank you!
I am just starting to try a few Pu-erh’s so I was excited when Angel said this would be included in the pack that was being sent. Since I am so new to Pu-erh’s I am going to leave this tea unrated. I have only had one other raw pu-erh so I don’t have enough knowledge to give a fair comparison.
I started by giving this a few quick rinses until the mini toucha began to break up a bit. The first steep was a light green/yellow color. The taste was a slight sour/sweet taste that I remember liking from the previous raw pu-erh. It was sweet and tasted slightly of hay. I didn’t get much floral taste, but at the end of the sip there was a bit of a fruitiness. The second steep was much of the same. On the third steep I started to get almost a spicyness at the end of the sip.
This was a very cup. It makes me want to continue to try raw pu-erh. Thank you to Angel for the opportunity to try this pu-erh!
A big thanks to the lovely Angel at Teavivre for this free sample! I am slowly but surely getting through all these samples.. :D
The dry smell of this one is quite lovely. Honey, with a hay note I find in quite a few white teas. Sweet and soft for this lazy Sunday morning (massively cleaned the house yesterday, maybe today I can devote some time to tea reviews haha). I am steeping for 3 minutes for this first cup at around 194 degrees as per Teavivre’s directions (1-5 mins recommended). The leaves were a bit broken up, mostly flat leaves, but a lot of them in each packet! I am using approximately 1/3 to 1/4 of the first packet. The steeped scent is a light honey/crystal sugar smell, not as much hay. It is quite pleasing and light, I like the smell for a first Sunday cup!
As for the flavor, this is a very light white tea, with notes of mild hay and a slightly sweet, honeyed taste. I detected a slightly cooling flavor as well, almost a mint-like sensation, but no mint flavor, more of a grass note.
Overall, this is a pretty mild and inoffensive tea. It isn’t wowing me per say, but it’s a pretty standard white tea that I will have no trouble drinking, as it tastes like a solid, dependable choice for a white tea. It is light and refreshing, and the hint of sweet is quite nice. I actually am drinking it quite fast as it’s easy to drink and satisfying. Not a bad little tea! Thanks again Teavivre for the opportunity to try this tea! Might keep it in my cupboard as a standard, reliable white tea for when I just want to relax with a simple cup, not too complicated, but still quite good :)
Flavors: Grass, Hay, Honey
This tea is so pretty, lots and lots of golden tips, probably 2:1 or 3:1 ratio. And the smell from the dry leaf, sweet potato, malt, and lots of cocoa. Wet leaf smells like molasses sweet potato and malt.
2 teaspoons, 8oz water, 185F, 2.5,4,4, minute steeps.
The first steep is like someone took some sweet potato fries, drizzled some caramel sauce on, and sprinkled with golden raisins. Like dessert fries or something? Is that a thing? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a thing. The second steep is still the dessert fries, but maybe a dusting if cocoa powder as well. Faint, but tickling at the edge of my senses every once in a while.
This steep is very similar to the last steeps, similar flavor and disappears way faster than it should. After this mug I went to a little party at a friends house. But I’ll cold steep the leaves and see how that fares for a 4th steep.
Thank you, Angel, for providing me a sample!
Never thought that a white tea could be pressed into a cake. I studied the chunk of cake included in my packet. An aesthetic pleasure. Varying shapes and sizes of the leaves, short twigs, earth tones mixed with silver – an instant of the big picture vs the small picture, how both are beautiful individually and as a whole. I bet the cake is something else to behold.
The dry aroma is one of those you can’t stop smelling. Rich, yet gentle. First, honey, then grapes, and, lastly, a pile of autumn leaves. Hay and cucumber dominate the wet aroma.
The liquor is the color of raw honey. Clear. Thick- and full-bodied. I taste notes of cinnamon, apples, maple syrup, honey, and influential challah bread (’tis the season for New Year). Juicy – the sweetness sticks to the roof of my mouth. Refreshing feel. This tea implores you to “stop in your tracks” and to really sense it.
I wouldn’t have thought to buy this tea on my own, thinking that it’s not “my cup of tea”. I am sure glad of these kinds of surprises. Truly enjoyable! It’s the first of its kind for me, so no rating. It’d be in the low 90s.
I picked 100g on awesome July Anniversary sale.
I suspect this tea didnt have enough rest and develop the flavors, its kinda one dimensional. it is nice but not wow. based on all raving reviews i had high expectations. ok, i’ll wait. i will revisit it in a 6 months. thankfully i got a lot to experiment.
6g 100ml gaiwan 195F
rinse/ short steeps
This is the tea I chose this morning before going to the crêperie for brunch. It’s one of the many teas that boychik sent in our swap. I really loved the Keemun Mao Feng from TeaVivre, so I was excited to try this one as well. The leaves are small and thin and jet black in color. Dry scent is sweet and very bready. I steeped a level teaspoon for 3 minutes at 200 degrees.
Once infused, the tea smells like toast and honey! Yum. And the taste is very similar. It tastes just like a nice crisp toasted baguette with honey and perhaps a touch of butter smeared over the top. There are some raw grain notes here as well, perhaps oats, and just a touch of fruit preserves.
Entertainingly enough, I asked my boyfriend what he thought it tasted like and he said grass or toasted seaweed… Uh… what? :P
Flavors: Baked Bread, Dried Fruit, Honey, Oats, Toast
The first infusion tastes light and creamy with hints of vanilla and raisin, and the second is similar but with a subtle tanginess to accompany, a bit like ginseng. The predominant flavor is of dried fruit, particularly raisin or dried apple. The third infusion I may have overbrewed a bit; it had a lot of that tanginess. By the fourth, the flavor is more mild again with some hints of vanilla and raisin, much like the first but more full and round. As the infusions go on, they continue to be full and rich and slightly tangy… a little more earthy as you go with some notes of hops popping up late in the session. I was able to push more than 10 very flavorful infusions out of this tea. If you are adventurous enough to make it that far, the 10th steeping or so tastes like onion rings from Sonic Drive-In… slightly sweet, fried, and every so slightly oniony. I’m not joking. I love it. 12+ infusions it has taken on a chamomile fragrance. Very interesting progression with this tea.
Flavors: Dried Fruit, Raisins, Tangy, Vanilla
The dry leaf is a mix of malt, molasses, smoke, sweet potato, and dried fruit. The leaf is a beautiful mix of twisty dark brown and golden tips. Looks like there might even be more gold than dark brown. And there’s golden dust inside the packet, usually a good sign.
1.5 teaspoons, 8oz water, boiling, 2,2,2,3 minute steeps. Sweetened with stevia.
The first two steeps I had while taking my quiz, and didn’t quite pay as much mind to the cup as I should have. I did notice that it was malty, sweet potato, raisin, and sort of caramel. I also noticed that the two cups were gone much too quick.
Third steep, so much caramel and honey. There’s also sweet potato or yam, malty and almost yeasty. Reminds me of sweet potato casserole during the holidays. I always saw it as dessert, but I think it’s supposed to be a side dish. Similarly this tea, when lightly sweetened, is almost dessert like. Perfect cuppa to keep me out of the ice cream in the freezer.
Forth steep is similar to the third, but overall a little darker and more muted. I’m getting some chocolate as this cools. Yum!
This is so good. I’m hoping Teavivre has some good Black Friday sales because if the rest of my samples are as good as this, I’m going to be needing to place a pretty big order!
Been saving this one back. I can’t remember if I added it in with an order or if this was one Angel sent for review, so I thought I better get to it. This stuff is amazing. When you read the flavors listed on the Steepster page for this tea, that is just what you get. The dry leaf is fruity. Steeped this is cucumber and melon, hay and grass. I have had Silver Needle from several vendors and to my tastes Teavivre is right at the top of the list. I can see if you drink mostly big bold black teas or highly flavored ones, this might be too subtle for you. As for me, I love complex quieter teas that invite you in. This does that beautifully.