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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Another sample from Teavivre – i’m trying to get to these sooner rather than later since Angel is generous about sharing her teas with us. This is one i’d order again. I’ve been sipping it on and off this morning in between other teas and it’s really nice. It’s got a creamy sort of feel like it – almost like a creamy cocoa except it’s not really cocoa like at all. it’s a smooth puerh…not really earthy.
Later steeps are giving me a much more dark chocolate sort of vibe while retaining that initial creaminess. A little like chocolate and coffee…with hints of leather like..i am a fan.
this one is a generous sample from teavivre. It was on my wishlist to try so i was super happy to get this one as part of the teas angel sent on. This one tastes familiar. I can’t seem to place it this morning but it reminds me of another tea that i’ve had….while also reminding me of more of a oolong type tea. there’s a sweetness here that’s nice, but there’s also an underlying almost mineral like taste to me. On the whole, while it’s nice…it’ s not a tea for me.
I’m back after taking a trip to Ottawa with my husband for our long-overdue honeymoon. We didn’t anticipate that our trip would coincide with some of the coldest weather experienced in that city in over 30 years, though – what timing!
So yes, our trip, while lovely, was cold. We’d return to the B&B after days spent tromping around museums and side streets, and I’d curl up with some tea in the evening.
This tea was one of the ones I brought with me. The leaf is very light and fluffy, and it was so nice to see whole jasmine flowers mixed in. A sign of quality!
The tea was equally light. However, I feel that I didn’t drink it under the best of circumstances – to really enjoy my tea and feel that I’m getting the most out of it, brewing it away from home where I have no thermometer and the water tastes different is not ideal.
I look forward to finishing up my sample under better circumstances. But I will most likely enjoy it, as I’m a big fan of jasmine.
Backlog from a few days ago.
I got this as a free sample from Angel a few weeks ago – Teavivre is so generous and I really appreciate them for it!
Now, I have a confession to make: I’ve never tried Keemun before this tea. The impression that I got was that it was a really “grainy” tasting tea, and that left me a bit trepidatious. A lot of my teas end up tasting really alkaline, like pretzels, for some reason, even when I use filtered water (I think I may need to seriously descale my kettle). So having a tea that was going to deliberately taste like that left me wary.
I needn’t have worried: although I did get a tiny touch of that pretzel/alkaline note at the back, the strongest notes I got from this tea (steeped at 90C for 3-4 mins, 1 tsp/8 oz) was a sweet note very similar to spiced plums.
I ended up brewing this again the next day, and I experimented by using 100C water instead of 90C water. That was not the best idea – the flavour is much nicer and more complex at the lower temperature.
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for this sample. It took me a while to get around to this tea because I am always watching my caffeine at night and rarely have much time in the morning. This tea was worth the wait. I am glad I have another sample of this tea to try gongfu style. I brewed this western style this morning. There are strong notes of chocolate or cocoa in this tea, with a mild backing of malt. Notes of caramel seem present too. I would venture to say that this is backed by notes of baked bread. This is a really good black tea. I will definitely have to buy some the next time I put in an order with Teavivre.
I brewed this once in an 18oz teapot with 3 tsp leaf and 195 degree water for 2 min.
Flavors: Baked Bread, Chocolate, Malt
Thank you to Angel at TeaVivre for this sample!
I used about 6g of leaf in my 100ml Gaiwan. This was a light roasted green oolong. It was nice for the cold afternoon. Even though this was a roasted oolong there were still hints of fruit and floral that seeped through the roasty flavor. I haven’t had too many oolongs that were moderately roasted. This was enjoyable tea, but not my favorite flavor profile.
This was a very strange tasting for me. I previously brewed this and I remember it being a delicious experience. This time around it wasn’t as enticing. The dry leaves have a beautiful appearance. With full twisted stems and leaves, this forest green tea had me hooked. It was speckled with blonde tips and silver hairs. With its aging it had deepened and became a darker colour. I was very excited to steep this in my sheng Yixing. I used less grams because of the size of the leaves. Upon being steeped, the aroma of spinach and wet sage filled the air. There were undertones of lychee and artichoke inside the pot. I began my first round and the flavor was very nulled. The only consistent prominence with this brew was the sheng mouth feel. It had a very dominant menthol sheng flavor each steep. Other than that flavor though, it was mostly a faint grassy taste. I could hint at a light earth taste but otherwise it was nill. This brew was flat and I had no more success each steep. The qi was rather weakened. The soup was still pleasurable but the flavor was very lacking.
Flavors: Artichoke, Eucalyptus, Lychee, Menthol, Sage, Spinach, Wet Rocks