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Recent Tasting Notes
I decided that it was time for tea. I have been feeling better today which means I have been drinking less water, juice, and tea overall. I still need to drink more liquids though.
This is just what I was looking for. Slightly buttery and a tiny bit fruity at the end of the swallow. Nice and light and refreshing, but I can still taste what it is supposed to taste like.
Well, look what I found!
I wanted a pure black tea for breakfast this morning, and going through my Teavivre samples there was a small red packet hiding down at the bottom. Hooray for surprises!
Steep notes: entire packet into 8 oz. tea at below parameters. No additives.
Guh – the dry leaf! Malty black teas are my favorite – they are so heavy and rich to smell. They are also among my favorite to look at once steeped – the brown liquor is the color of polished mahogany.
The taste is malted honey, and the texture is thick – almost like nectar. Even as it cools nothing is overly tannic or astringent with this. Just a perfectly well executed black tea, that I’ll be taking through a few more infusions since I’m not ready to stop drinking yet!
This is my last sample from Angel at Teavivre, and it is a good one!
The dry leaves are beautiful. Long and slender with lots of warm yellows mixed in among the black. As soon as the tea started stepping I knew there would be no need for sugar. The honey fragrance is strong. Not overwhelming, but very easy to pick up. And the taste… yum. It’s malty, sweet, and velvety. This is good. I mean really, really good. I don’t usually stick with one tea all day, but I can easily see myself steadily sipping on this while I get an order finished and in the mail today.
My thanks to Angel @ TeaVivre for the generous sample, & also for your willingness to send these samples out! Thank you!
This is pretty, delicate, kind of fluffy olive green tea.
2 tsp + 8oz @ 1 min (175) = a very light, pale yellow green infusion with a pleasantly sweet flavor that hints of hot breakfast cereal with butter. I’m seeing a field of newly harvested hay bales, drying in the sun. Sweet, mildly vegetal flavors & a pinch of saltiness make me think of a cup of sweet white miso broth with Kombu floating around.
A very mild & pleasant cup. No astringency or bitterness.
My first gig of the day is done. It was 4 hours long, but it was fun.
I’ve been sitting here, eating a little leftovers, & sipping this yummy tea. Essence of sweet potatoes & rose petals, it really is nice. I’ve been drinking a lot of Yunnan lately, but I like Keemun too. It’s different, especially in the mouth-feel, but wonderfully tasty.
Now I’m off to play the church gig for the 2nd night, which will be easy. Then I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep!
I broke into this one a couple of days ago to drink with my fiance. I brewed it for a minute and then poured out a glass for each of us.
I was expecting this to be overwhelmingly smokey, but this surprised me. There is a little hint of smoke and a slight sharp astringent quality. But there is this nice light sweet taste to it that was just calling to me. The taste is nice and grassy. Almost a little spinachy. It just tastes green.
I brewed another steep today for about a minute and a half and added sugar. Oh my! This is going to replace my hot chocolate cravings for a while with that extra sugar. It brings out the natural sweetness of the tea and the smoke takes on an extra quality to it. It reminds me of fresh vegetables. I bet this would be wonderful brewed up, sweetened, and then iced. Yum.
Okay, finally trying my puerh sample from Teavivre. Thank you Angel! I have only encountered puerh a few times before and I didn’t like it – the aroma was always fishy and I couldn’t get over it. I understand that to mean that the puerh was of low quality and lately I’ve been wanting to try some better stuff, so here I am. I also have one from Peony Tea that I hope to try soon. The tuocha (henceforth to be known as the bird’s nest) is adorable and has an aroma that reminds me of hamster cages – not pee or poo but sawdust and maybe the grains that I used to feed Jake. (We had a hamster who died a few years ago, he has a very fond place in my heart. The smell of this actually makes me miss him).
I did a thirty second rinse to awaken the leaves, and hopefully rinse away anything that I might find particularly yucky. :) Surprisingly, the bird’s nest basically crumbled. My gaiwan is full of small pieces of tea leaves, it almost looks like ground coffee. I didn’t really expect that.
First official steep went for 1 minute and yielded a DARK liquor. It truly puts me in mind of coffee, that is not something I’ve had in tea before. I am predominantly a black tea drinker and puerh seemed like the next step for me. My tea pet (a pair of feet) are getting a really good bath today! Anyway, the first steep smells like a barn to me, old wet wood and damp hay/sawdust. It smells like cows and horses coming in from the rain with damp hides – while this description may sound unappealing, there is something comforting about it too. I don’t necessarily want to drink it, but the aroma is very familiar. There is no fish at all, but just damp nature – wood, earth, animals, cloth. Interesting. The taste matches the smell astonishingly closely. Still no fish, but strong earthiness, very natural and organic. Strong without being bitter, and not like any tea I have had before. I like this, but it’s way out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t even taste like tea as I know it. I would like a bit of sweetness here, a honey note to offset the earthiness. I don’t even know if puerh HAS honey notes!
Second steep went for 1.5 minutes, yielding an even darker brew than the first time. it’s almost black! Are we sure this isn’t coffee? The leaves are so small that a bunch escaped the lid of my gaiwan. It may be silly, but I hate leaves in my cup. The aroma this time is very similar than the first. Initially it seemed a bit muted but then I got a strong hit of leather, like I’m in a shop filled with freshly worked boots. While I LOVE the smell of leather (I was a biker baby, I had leather jacket, chaps, all that good stuff) I feel a little weird about drinking it. Bravely, I persevere and am rewarded with a better brew than before. The taste is very similar to the first steep but more palatable. The edga has been taken off the earthiness and I am getting something more like the tea I know and love. There is some sweetness here that I appreciate, though there is also a hint of bitterness. It’s strange that both of those notes can be present where they weren’t before. I’ll finish this one quickly, I fear it may be becoming bitter because of the leaves that slipped into my cup. I almost expect a bit of spice, cinnamon or nutmeg but I get nothing like that. This remains very organic, tasting entirely of the earth. This is definitely better than the first, for me.
Third steep went for 2.5 minutes (whoops!) and yielded a much lighter cup. This time I am enjoying a deep amber. maybe the extra time was a wise accident. The aroma has gone back to hamster cage, wet sawdust and maybe even garden mulch. As I’ve said before, very earthy. The taste is a muted version of the aroma, no bitterness but not any sweetness either. I think I am getting close to the end of my run with this bird’s nest. The beau says this one is by far the best, while I am not sure. The boldness of the second steep was remarkable, but this one comes across as drinkable. I am starting to get a cumulative hint of bitterness which is clouding my judgment of this one.
I’m going for a fourth steep of 3 minutes. I’m too lazy to get up and re-heat the water so it has probably cooled quite a bit at this point, but the extra time seems to balance that out. This liquor is considerably lighter than the others and has very little aroma. There is a whiff of barn animals, but that’s about it. The flavour is similarly weakened. I’ve reached the end, I think. I do prefer my pu a little lighter (for now) so the second and third steeps were the best for me, but they were all enjoyable.
All in all, puerh is definitely not an everyday tea for me, but this bird’s nest has taken away a lot of my fear. There is hope for me in the world of pu! : ) As for the rating, since I have little experience with puerh, I will just go with how drinkable it is for me and perhaps adjust up or down as I try more. Since previous puerh blends were undrinkable for me, this rating is actually really high!
Good morning Steepsterites!
I’m enjoying the 2nd steeping of this lovely Golden Monkey, with its malty sweet potato profile, a nice start to a busy day. I drank the first steeping while I fixed my breakfast. There is also a buttery texture, it’s the ‘sparkly’ sensation I get from some teas, it’s like my taste buds take turns twinkling like stars. I don’t really know how else to describe it, but I like it!
This is a wonderful tea to relax with, hanging around in my ‘roadie’ outfit (jeans & T shirt) before I head out for a very busy day. I have an Electric Harp gig at Whole Foods Grocery from noon til 3:00, where I’ll be dressed in a long red xmasy outfit with what I call Angel Sleeves (the kind that drape down), playing a mix of Holiday music (xmas, Chanukah, classical, peace & snowy weather related), along with my usual mix of Jazz, Rock, Originals, & Blues with vocals. Hopefully I’ll sell a bunch of xmas CD’s so I can buy more tea! (you can get yours at www.harpsinger.net)
After that gig, I’ll grab a bite to eat, change to a long black velvet outfit with draping chiffon sleeves, & go play a church service gig with the choir & orchestra. I’ll be done around 9pm, I think. Just in time to drive to Tony’s & watch SNL!
Thank you, Angel & TeaVivre for this delicious sample!
Thank you Angel for this generous sample. :)
I’m in a fruity mood today during my lazy Saturday afternoon and I’m hoping that this will quench my fruit thirst.
The tea itself smells sweet and fruity in a way that reminds me of jelly babies. Yum Yum. The hardest part is to leave this brewing for the whole 9 minutes. The tea soup is a very dark purple in colour with a berry fragrance.
The tea itself is heavy berry without being too tart and fruity whilst remaining quite light and refreshing. Usually with fruit tea’s I am reminded of cordial with hot water but this tea is different, the fruit tastes natural which brings that fresh and slightly sweet characteristics alive. It picks up strength a little the more I drink but it still remains with the same balance of flavours.
Overall I think this is surprisingly tasty and pleasing. I would recommend this tea to any fan of Teavivre or fruit tea, perhaps even to someone who just wants to wash their pallet between other tea steeps.
I got this tea and my colleagues were all super excited about trying it out. I mean, who wouldn’t want to get a taste of some Da Hong Pao, the tea of the imperial courts which cured an emperor?
With that expectation, this tea fell flat – don’t get me wrong, the tea was not bad. It just wasn’t great. The liquor was a bright reddish, and the taste was earthly and mellow. The aftertaste was not sweet and very mild.
Brewed gongfu style in yixing pot. Brew times: 30s, 1m, 2m, 3m.
Just a few brief thoughts, as I sadly ran out of this tea. This was part of a large sampler purchase from Teavivre. We are making our way through our selections. I must say this tea stands out. It is tastes almost honey-like with a dark coppery look to it. Delicious through at least two steeps. Needs no sweetener but is very good with a little honey. So good my husband pilfered into my sample!! We will certainly be buying this tea, likely in bulk. My new favorite black.
Thank you to Angel @ TeaVivre for this sample!
It’s been a busy day, running around doing the things self-employed musicians have to do when they aren’t performing or practicing. I’ve drank a fair share of black teas, but didn’t really have time to comment on them, & I’m not in the mood for backtracking, so onward…
This is a really pleasant Shu! I steeped for 1 minute, 2nd steeping for 2 minutes, & will probably try for a few more before I release the leaves to my compost pile.
It’s very dark! I like that in a tea!
It’s ultra smooth, creamy even, & sweet with a raisin bread-like taste & a hint of vanilla.
I needed this…(sigh)…
This tea was a sample from Teavivre that I have taken forever to get around to. :( I did make this tea once with a scoop of spearmint, but I didn’t feel it would be fair to rate this without trying it first on it’s own. Firstly, it did mix very well with the mint. Sweet and refreshing with a vegetal and malty background.
The tea on it’s own tastes very good as well. I love the shiny little pellets of dry leaf. It reminds me a bit of how green oolong looks, only oolongs aren’t usually so shiny. The brewed liquor is a bit darker than other green teas I’m used to. Darker than some oolongs even. The taste is sweet and slightly toasty. To be honest, it’s not a very memorable flavor. The quality is, as always, top notch. This is exactly what a gunpowder tea should be, but not the tea itself is not extraordinary or unique. I do love that it is smooth and without a hint of astringency. I think I will probably continue to add mint to this tea.
On an unrelated note, holiday cookies are making me fat. It doesn’t help that it’s so cold I don’t feel like going out to run lately. argh.
I generally turn up my nose at the bitter and nondescript jasmine tea served at Chinese restaurants, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tea. I opened the pouch and was immediately greeted by the potent perfume of sweet jasmine blossoms. The floral scent is no less striking when steeping and drinking the tea. The jasmine flavour does not overwhelm the palate, not even after a few cups. The tea is neither bitter nor astringent, but sweetly perfumed. It is truly a bouquet in a cup. The second steeping is lighter, but still decidedly jasmine. This is the finest jasmine tea I have ever tried.
One of the main reasons I love Steepster is because when I haven’t had a tea in a while I can pull up old notes to get those steeping parameters. The other one is my virtual cupboard – I’ve pulled up many teas I’ve forgotten (!!) thanks to keeping track of my inventory online. Of course, part of the reason that my tea collection has gotten out of control might be Steepster related, too….but I digress. :)
This green is more roasted than seaweedy now, but I’m willing to bet that has a lot to do with it being about a year old. Regardless, it’s a nice hot drink on a cold night, and it balanced out a very heavy, warm dinner.
Brewed gongfu style in a yixing pot.
Brew times: 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 1m, 2m, 3m
Dark brown liquor with a tint of golden. The aroma is gently earthly, but the taste is smooth and sweet aftertaste. I have not drank much loose pu-erh yet, but I do find the taste to be more mellow than pu-erh in cake form. Overall, I enjoyed this tea, but I am left wanting a more robust flavor towards the later steepings.
Thank you to Angel @ TeaVivre for this generous sample!
My daughter Arianna is here for breakfast & tea. We started with this wonderful sample of Golden Tip Yun Nan. Yunnan teas are one of my most favorites, with their thick maltiness & sweet caramel undertones. This one does not disappoint in the least! Malty & sweet, with a bit of sweet potato in there as well. A lovely start to my morning!
Long slender olive green dry leaves. They look yellow green when steeped. The scent of the wet leaves is meat and vegetables. How does it do that? Buttery, creamy, and green is how this speaks to my senses today. Slightly mineral at the end with just enough of that good kind of bitter in the aftertaste to make you want another sip. This was an excellent choice! Yum!
Additional notes: My original notes for this were in June? Wow.. it seems like it was forever ago. I must have wrote a billion tasting notes since then. Anyway, I’m sipping this again while reading my second favorite internet thingy about books: The Millions Year of Reading: http://www.themillions.com/2012/12/a-year-in-reading-2012.html (My first favorite internet book thingy is the Tournament of Books, but that isn’t until March ( http://www.themorningnews.org/tob ).
Anyway, the second steep seems better than the first this time. But I think I remember liking it better back in June (maybe because my sample package was just opened.. or because I have been spoiled with even more teas since June.. is that even possible? This tea is pretty high up there.) I steeped for four minutes after letting it cool a while. Second steep was just boiled and for five minutes. There doesn’t seem to be any smoke this time, just a solid black tea with malty lingering medium flavor.
I’m finally sampling Bailin Gongfu, thanks to our dear friend Angel, @ TeaVivre.
I’ve read various peoples reviews of this tea over the last few months, & as I recall, it is a bit temperamental. I was careful to make sure the water temp was 185, meanwhile wafting the addictive smell of cocoa tinged maltiness emanating from the leaves as I painstakingly weighed them, first all in one cup, 7oz, & then taking away leaves until I was down to 3.5 oz. The other half of the sample got tucked back into my black tea sample bag for another day.
I got a massage this morning. I’m feeling very ‘open’, my breakfast is sitting here waiting to be eaten. This tea is luscious, mouthwatering, and delicious: Malt, chocolate, & bit of caramel sprinkled with a pinch of sea salt. My mouth is watering, my qi is flowing, & I’m smiling. Good start for my day!
Thank you Angel of Teavivre for this sample.
I admit I was wary to try this tea. It is one of those teas that people either love or hate, and I wasn’t sure where I’d fall in the mix. Turns out I am a fan. There is a wonderful smokiness that is present in smell and taste, but it does not dominate the tea. There are also sweet notes (honey maybe?) and hints of fruit. Wow, this it’s really good!
This is the fourth Teavivre sample I’ve tried, and I can see myself purchasing each one. I can’t say this makes me sad. :)