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Recent Tasting Notes
I’m not going to remember which of the few samples I ordered and which of the few Teavivre sent along, so thanks for all of them, Teavivre! The leaves of this sheng pu-erh cake are huge – probably because they are wild. I was expecting a tough pu-erh since the leaves are ‘wild’, but the result is nothing of the kind! (Maybe the ancient trees are tougher than the wild anyway.) But I’ve also been sipping many wild black teas lately and also assumed this one might have a bit of the tangy characteristic that wild black teas have. But this pu-erh doesn’t meet anything I was expecting. After a thirty second steep, the flavor is very sweet and syrupy for a raw pu-erh, with a starchy texture somehow. The flavor is like creamy lemon and apricot if you can stretch the imagination a bit. All three steeps somehow manage to maintain that very flavor profile and doesn’t get bitter or oversteeped at all. The third steep is still light and sweet and could probably continue for many steeps past the third. I think I’ve managed to perfect how I like my sheng to brew. Very mellow and perfect for someone just starting out with raw pu-erh, to get an idea of the flavor. I think this is a very nice raw pu-erh, though I would prefer it to have a little something special about the flavor for it to really stand out. But I’m happy with the consistency to the steeps that I rarely see with raw pu-erh, especially if the tea is from wild leaves. I’ll be interested to see how this one ages.
Steep #1 // half sample for a full mug (about 5 grams) // 20 minutes after boiling // rinse // 35 second steep
Steep #2 // 25 minutes after boiling // 40 second steep
Steep #3 // 23 min after boiling // 40 second steep
First off.. Thank you to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a generous sample of this tea.
Dragon Well greens have always been a favorite and I thought I’d have a pot while I study. The leaves are gorgeous. Deep forest green. The flavor of the tea is nice. It has a nice thick buttered veggies taste to it.
Trying to expand my repertoire. I picked this one because it has chamomile and I could definitely de-stress but also because I haven’t really developed the taste for chamomile. I was hoping the silver needle and rose would save me. I really need to include more types and ingredients with my general tea consumption but overall I stick with whites because let’s not forget why I got into this business.
In preparation, I was already using a chamomile hair mask from Lush (the “Marilyn” for us blonde types), and a Klorane eye mask with cornflower, so it was a theme. There was also pound cake and a Netflix marathon of The Vicar of Dibley which wasn’t on theme I think but there’s your stage set anyway. FUN STORY Peter Capaldi just showed up in the second episode and he looks like he could play young Tom Baker. The episode is from 1994.
This pot (30oz) was made from both a sample and a regular bag. Interestingly, the sample was all fuzzy silver needle with what I think was a fragment of a chamomile whereas the bag was a good mix with a lot of large buds.
I used about 1.5 teaspoons per 8 oz, the bag says 1-2 so I tried to be midrange. 194F, 2 minutes.
It’s a light color and smells strongly of honeysuckle. In taste, a delicate white with lots of sweet rose. I like rose so I like this a lot. There’s a slight, very slightly tart or sour aftertaste that I bet is the chamomile.
I know tiny cute teacup is the standard for the fancy loose leaf but I used a big Pinocchio mug. The flavor stays standard even as it cools, which I like. It’s very sweet and floral. I do feel less stressed but it is a holiday weekend, after all. Perhaps I should install this as my official post-work tea.
A sample from a recent tiny order! Thanks again for everything, Teavivre! This tea was intriguing, with the leaves of the silky, dark black, curly type. The fragrance of the dry leaves is just like the flavor: like a sweet, smooth molasses with hints of honey. Also with hints of tanginess that I have been loving in teas lately. One of my favorite types of tea! The unraveled leaves in the infuser are very big. The flavor strength is medium, neither too strong or light. Definitely not as strong flavored as most ‘snail’ types of tea that I’ve tried before. And definitely not smoky like I’d expect keemun to be. The second steep was more mild flavored. I wish there had been more levels or detail or depth to the flavor, but maybe steeping it differently would result in the way I wanted it.
Steep #1 // 1 1/2 teaspoons for a full mug// 17 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // few minutes after boiling // 3 minute steep
Flavors: Honey, Molasses
This sample must be nearly 3 years old..
In the dry leaf I smell tobacco, leather, smoke, red wine, cocoa and sweet potato. Underleafed by accident so the brew is a bit light but all the scents translate into the liquid quite harmoniously. The texture is smooth, the finish is very clean.
Enjoying this very much.
I’m still working on Lion’s Week of tea. I love black tea so decided to give myself a treat and open a sample I got with my last Teavivre order. Keemun is one of my favorite blacks, so I was looking forward to trying this.
This is a very good tea. The nose gives a strong chocolate aroma with a bit of leafiness underneath. The taste is similar, and the finish is really good: long and luscious. One result of such a long finish is that the tea seemed to improve as I drank it: each sip was reinforced by all the earlier sips. It has strong keemun character: a good example of the type. On an absolute basis, then, this is a very good tea. My only complaint is that on a comparative basis, the tea is only slightly better than keemun #1, which is a fraction of the price, and not IMHO as good as their Hao Ya, at about half the price. So, my real recommendation would probably be to try these other teas at lower price points unless you don’t really have to worry about price.
I used 1.5 g in 6 oz water for 3 minutes (4 min for resteep)
Received as a free sample from Angel at Teavivre. Thanks!
Tastes roast-y, wheat-y, and a little sweet. The aroma while brewing is mouthwatering and had I known that the tea was edible after steeping, I’d have eaten it.
Like what the other review mentioned, it’s a great evening tea, especially for anyone who’s caffeine-sensitive. The roastiness is very soothing and the touch of sweetness is refreshing after dinner.
Flavors: Roasted, Wheat
I requested that this tea be swapped for another that I already owned when I was first offered the sample flight, all for which I’m grateful. Thank you, Angel!
Taken grandpa-style in a glass.
This tea fits the tone of mid/late-spring. I like the appearance of the dry leaf: short, dark green curls. The aroma of the dry leaf is buttery and savory, like a deeply steamed sencha. Of the wet leaf and the liquor, there are sweet notes of sugar snap peas and beans. The liquor is clear, pale green with a creamy texture. Flavorful, tastes briskly fresh, has sweetly vegetal notes, notably beany. Heavy feeling for a green tea.
This is the first time I’ve had a Lu Shan Yun Wu and it’s a good first experience. The heavy/buttery quality in green teas isn’t to my liking, but it’s not exactly repulsive. This is of good quality, one to enjoy every day.
First off.. I have to say thank you to Angel and Teavivre for sending me a generous sample of this. After smelling the dry leaf I’m excited to try it!
The dry leaf has a sweet leafy aroma to it. It’s somewhere between a wet sweet hay smell (like a pumpkin patch in the fall) or bee pollen. It’s fantastic.
The aroma of the tea still has that sweet note like wet hay. The flavor of the tea is awesome. It’s sweet, vegetal, has that sweet hay note. It has a slight bitterness to it but I may have oversteeped and it honestly kind of adds to the flavor. It’s bold for a green tea but it’s quite possibly one of my new favorite green teas.
Thank you, Angel, for the sample!
Brewed in a ceramic gaiwan, prepared in a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15 seconds, 8, 10, 15, 20, 40, 60, 120, 300.
The dry leaf smells mostly of honey with a little bit of malt. After resting in the heated gaiwan bowl, the leaf smells pleasantly of light smoke and caramel. The wet leaf aroma is very different: chocolate and honey are dominant notes, and there is a hint of malt.
The liquor color is a beautiful burned orange. Just lovely in a white fine porcelain cup. Very clear and very clean.
As expected, this Lapsang Souchong has a full body and flavors which fill the mouth. Unexpectedly, it barely has any smoke – it’s very sweet. The session begins with the first infusion being chocolately, slightly malty, and smooth. There is a dominant smoke in the second infusion, but it disappears completely afterward. Third infusion and onward, the liquor is smoother and sweeter, having notes of chocolate and molasses and honey. The aftertaste lingers for minutes. There is absolutely no malt – a first for me with a chocolate-like hongcha.
Positively delightful. I enjoyed every drop and every aspect of this tea. Very glad to have this on a beautiful day off from work!
This is a free sample. Thanks to Angel at Teavivre!
Just to get it out of the way: I tried finding info one what “embryo” , means to but had no luck.
Frankly, based on the name, I’m surprised I like this more than I thought I would. I can’t say anything more about the taste other than it tastes like buckwheat, but it has a clean and full, roasted wheat-y flavor. It makes a good evening ‘herbal’ cup, and it sits well in the stomach after a big meal. The kernels, after steeping in the tea pot, smell so good.
Generously given as a free sample. Many thanks to Angel!
Brewed in ceramic gaiwan, had a gongfu session. No rinse. Steeping times: 15, 10, 15, 20, 30, 45, 60; 2 min, 5.
Nearly all of the leaf is dark, dark brown, save for a few golden leaves. They’re short and curly, like black bi luo chun, but thin and without hairs. The dry leaf smells of sweet potato and a hint of chocolate. After the leaf spent a little time in the heated gaiwan bowl, the chocolate note strengthened, and a graham crackers note also appeared. The wet leaf aroma is malty at first; as the session went on, it smelled more like sweet potato.
The liquor has a dark orange color. It is clear and clean-tasting, with a full body but light mouthfeel. The first infusion tastes of sweet potato and malt with clove in the background. Second infusion and onward, the liquor sweetens more and more, consistently tasting of sweet potato. Its texture feels thick and smooth, almost creamy.
Being hongcha, this is a delight to drink on colder, overcast days. Unfortunately, this is only my second keemun – and my first keemun from Teavivre – so I can’t evaluate it fully. I wasn’t wowed by the aroma or the taste, though I did enjoy the full session. I also liked its hug-in-a-cup effect. It reminds me of dian hong. I imagine this would also taste good Western style.
Premium dragon well long Jing green tea from teavivre review.
Ru Yao dragon teapot gongfucha.
Dry leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.
Wet leaf: green, sweet, grass, freshly cut grass.
1x short rinse
Medium steep: I taste/smell medium hay. Strong
-> grass, sweetness, honey, freshly cut grass. Slight bitterness.
Heavy steep: I taste/smell; medium
-> hay, sweetness, grass, freshly cut grass, honey. Little to no bitterness
All in all an amazing tea! The tastes, smells, the cha qi! Lovely!
I rate a 100
Thanks teavivre, for giving me this since you ran out of the other kind :)
Flavors: Freshly Cut Grass, Grass, Green, Hay, Honey, Sweet
I love Tie Guan Yin. Sometimes I crave the greener types and decide they are my favorite, and then I start craving a nice roasty one. Charcoal baked in the title promises this to be roasty, but I was pretty taken aback at the instructions. Six minutes for a oolong? I was chicken and gave it five.
This was served as the first tea of tea party today. We had cream cheese cucumber sandwiches first, followed by fudge pie with homemade vanilla ice cream. The tea was good with the sandwiches but OH MY GOSH it was awesome with the sweets. We make our own vanilla and it seemed really strong in the ice cream today, and when I sipped the tea the floral taste exploded. This is definitely a baked oolong, but it isn’t quite as dark and smokey as some I have had. The sweets really brought a lot of personality out in this. I know how I will be serving it henceforth.
Fragrant is right on for this tea’s description. Fine tobacconist’s shop springs to mind first. I tried it gong fu and Western and got a whole afternoon’s worth of tea out of one sample packet.
Gong fu – the first steep was mild and pleasant. It had the flavors you expect in a Yunnan Dian Hong – sweet potato, a little walnut. Maybe light molasses. Second steep went a couple of seconds too long. WOW. Dark and rich, slightly astringent but good. Third steep – more careful with time but the leaves are now saturated and it steeps up very quickly. There is that definite aged sheng taste and feel.
Next I tried Western with the same leaves. Yes, got a whole pot that was rich in flavor from those same leaves. This is milder and sweeter. I had the gong fu tea by itself and the Western with a meal. It was great with food. At this price point, this is a fun tea to get to experiment with and try something new and different.
This is consistently a very nice tea from Teavivre. The value for the price is always amazing. I did prefer last year’s harvest (2015) to this year (2016), but this is a minor distinction. It really is consistently good. Last year the tea had a bit more spiciness to it, and a bit more complexity. But this year it is quite fresh and pure – a very good buy for quality LongJing. I rate the 2015 harvest 95, and this year 90.
Happily, the 2016 harvest is an improvement over last year. Last year it was a pretty good tea, but the packages I had from 2015 seemed overly toasted.
This year, the tea is fresh and balanced and very, very good. It is mildly nutty, sweet and smooth, with a hint of spice.
2016 harvest is recommended. My rating is very high because the quality to price ratio is fantastic.
Flavors: Roasted nuts, Spices, Umami
The 2014 harvest of this tea was MIND BLOWING – fantastic! I have been drinking from a half gallon to a gallon of green tea a day, every day, for the past six years and this was one of my all time favorites. It was a lovely, intense green with a rich, almost meaty complexity, with an amazing aroma – smooth and sweet.
That said, the 2015 and 2016 harvests have been disappointing. The Lu Shan Yun Wu from these last two harvests lacks depth and complexity of the former years, the color is not very green, and the only flavor I really get now is smoke. Kind of tastes like a Gunpowder tea in that regard.
Sadly, I cannot recommend the 2015/2016 versions of this tea. I am now going to Amazing Green Tea to get it, but it costs so much more there I cannot get very much.
This is one of the samples of the new harvest that Teavivre sent me this week. I have had a Tai Ping before but I can’t find my review of it.
I have had a lot of tea lately, but it has been at breakfast or iced at a meal or with lots of company. I looked forward to having a quiet tea time with my best friend, steeping and resteeping and really having a chance to experience our tea.
I love the unique shape of these leaves and the pleasure of steeping them in a glass so you can see them dance and then soften and bend. The long, flat leaves stand straight up at first, and then begin to sag as the leaves saturate. It is really nice to watch in a tall, thin glass. Let yourself go and really lift and turn the glass and enjoy the movement, letting your hands join in the dance of the leaves.
The liquor is pale yellow to medium yellow (second steep). The overall taste is smooth and sweet. The second steep was stronger but never astringent. We kept all steeps at three minutes or less. You can go to five if you like it stronger. I think it would be a great introduction to green tea for people who have been turned off but bitter or sour grocery store, and the beauty of steeping it adds so much.
Then hubby and I had it again for supper tonight, made differently. Instead of drinking three individual steeps I placed the leaves in my large Kamjove that I bought from Teavivre. I made three consecutive steeps and let them combine in the pitcher before pouring any. It made a lovely, smooth green tea with buttery notes to drink along with our Asian takeout.
If I were introducing a tea “scaredy-cat” to green tea, I think this would be a great choice, even over Dragonwell. For those who love the bite of astringency with or after a meal, I am not sure if this would be your best choice unless you give it a full five minutes, which the label says can be done, by the way.
Thank you, Teavivre, for the samples. This is a really good one!
I get to be first to review this one!
First I have to tell you, when I originally came to Steepster I was drinking all Twinings and Ahmad. Shortly after, Angel sent the first set of samples to me and I was absolutely blown away. Everything I tried was a new eye opening experience. Now several years have passed and I have tried literally hundreds of teas. Teavivre remains the yardstick by which I compare all natural unflavored teas. It is rare when I taste something I enjoy more.
On to this one provided by Teavivre – a simple sniff of the bag was enough to convince me I loved this. It is like sticking your nose in an ear of sweet corn without getting butter all over your nose.
The leaf is cool. Looks for all the world like a white tea. Lots of downy white needles and deep green leaf.
Once steeped the leaf smells of corn and creamy vegetables. The liquor is bright clear yellow with golden highlights. The liquor scent is corn and a comforting spicy/floral mix.
The taste is sweet corn (see a pattern here?) and a stone like mineral spring water. I think Teavivre mentions chestnut, but since I have never tasted one I can only offer from a reference point I know. It feels smooth and kind of thick but not syrupy.
I prepared this western mug style with a 3 minute steep, so I am getting a green briskness late in the sip. It is not bitter or drying. This fades into a leafy plant green aftertaste. I pretty sure short gaiwan steeps would be absent of the briskness.
This is plenty sweet on its own. Any addition of sweetener would ruin a beautiful cup in my opinion. As a former Splenda junkie trust me.
I wrote on my blog this is “Complex enough to entertain but not so much as to demand concentration.” It is more than a comfort tea but not necessarily a deep meditation tea.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a TGY. Having grown accustomed to Taiwanese tea lately, I found the taste of this tea to be distinctively different from other green oolongs. This is a very flower packed tea, orchid to be precise, with a heady floral aroma. There’s little to no fruitiness or mineral notes. The flavor is like the essence of orchid with buttery tones and a hint of vanilla. I recommend short steeps because the flavor can quickly become overbearing if steeped too long.
While I enjoyed this tea, it’s not one I’d go out of my way for again. The flavor doesn’t change much from steep to steep and it’s floral aspect, though powerful, is one-dimensional. I prefer the more complex and subtle flowery notes of Wenshan Bao Zhong.
Flavors: Butter, Orchid, Vanilla
My first taste of this year’s crop of this wonderful tea. It has lived up to my expectations!
My first impression of this tea reminds me of a mild dragonwell. It has a very light liquor (almost clear) while somehow still having a full mouth of flavor and a wonderfully pleasant aroma. The taste is very vegetal, and reminds me of cut grass with perhaps a hint of spinach. The taste is light, refreshing, and cooling. It’s a great summertime tea. The taste starts off sweet and ends with a slight astringency in the finish. There is also some undertones of savoriness throughout the cup. Excellent overall.
Flavors: Grass, Metallic, Sweet
This is my second dragon well from Teavivre. I tried this side by side with their other nonpareil dragon well, She Qian, for comparison. It wasn’t even close. The She Qian, a delicate and sublime green tea, is clearly superior in every regard. The Ming Qian’s leaves have a nutty, chestnut aroma and taste. They aren’t quite as pristine as She Qian nor as tasty. The tea has a basic dragon well flavor and it’s not particularly remarkable. I would describe the flavor as a light vegetable broth. It’s not as sweet nor as refined as the other one. A pretty lackluster tea overall.