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Recent Tasting Notes
Here’s another tea that I meant to review on Monday, & I’d like to thank Angel @ Teavivre for her generosity.
The dry leaf is a beautiful irridescent green, with a sweet & buttery aroma. Teavivre does include steeping suggestions of some of their teas on their website, for both western & chinese style steeping. For this session I used 3G in my test tube steeping, 30/60/90/120
The resulting pale yellow liquor had a gentle taste & fragrance of butter & chestnut, plus sunflower sprouts! Delicious!
I have no idea what the count on my tea collection is right now, & I’m not going to do the math today. Sil sent me 38, I got 4 from Verdant, & their bundle box is also en route, so who knows, & really, today who cares?
This lovely green tea is gentle & buttery, with a rich flavor of sunflower sprouts, which I love. Thanks again to Angel & TeaVivre for this sample. :)
I just realized there is a crack in my glass 12 oz little teapot, which I mostly use as a pitcher during gongfu brewings.
…sigh… the crack is by the handle, & it also leaks, a drop at a time. I have really enjoyed this little one. I always feel sad when it’s time to say goodbye to good teaware, but of course this also means I get to look around for a replacement…
This lovely tea is a sample sent to me from Angel @ TeaVivre Thanks so much!
The aroma of the leave is green, of course, but also buttery & rich.
I steeped the whole sample packet in my 12 oz (cracked) glass pot, at 185 for 2 minutes. It’s a delicate, sweet & rich little tea with a light fragrance. It reminds me of eating sunflower sprouts. I haven’t grown those in awhile, & they are just SO good, kind of nutty & buttery & freshly green. This tea reminds me of those, & it is a very nice delicate fresh lightly vegetal cup. Very lovely.
Thanks again Angel :)
Although I like this one better than the lapsang souchong I got from Della Terra Teas, I’m starting to think that smoky teas are not my thing. In comparison the DTT Lapsang this one is more subtle about the smokiness and there is a silky sweetness that was missing in the other. There is no bitter burnt aftertaste either.
It probably doesn’t help my opinion of smoky teas that I associate the taste with the last time I had the stomach flu-I threw up a whole bunch of smoky bbq ribs. Well at least I tried another smoky tea and could taste that it was higher quality even if it’s not my favorite.
Thanks to Angel from Teavivre for this sample.
The leaves (both dry and when initially wet) surprised me with their extremely bright green color, which inevitably led to a highly “green” liquor—very floral and herbaceous taste with pale-green liquor coloration, a crisp mouthfeel, and a general lack of persistent, full aroma. I’ll chalk this one up as another modern “green tea” tieguanyin and move on. The flavors were of the general tieguanyin spectrum, although were more subdued than those of other similar spring tieguanyin*, so I won’t go into much detail there. Instead, I’ll focus on the aromatic and textural qualities that set this one apart (for better or worse).
I generally prefer the autumn harvests of tieguanyin for their more pervasive aromatics and depth, especially with this kind of lightly- or un-roasted tieguanyin. I found the fragrance of this one to be quite lacking, as I alluded to above, which seemed to bring out the highest overall intensity after the wash and then fade quickly throughout the session. The scent on the gaiwan lid was fleeting after each steep, while my tasting cup had little to no lengxiang (lit. cold fragrance; the scent leftover after the liquor has been drained). However, I found there to be dimensions of the wet leaves’ fragrance that were unique, such as a deeply vegetal, “green wood” quality that was somewhere in the earthy spectrum of scents.
I found the mouthfeel and general “form” of the liquor to be quite enjoyable. I noticed almost no astringency whatsoever, and a long smoothness for each sip. Although the textural dimensions remained on the light side during the opening and development of a sip, the finish was sticky and somewhat thick, with a faint cooling sensation in the throat. With more leaf in the gaiwan*, a small tartness in the throat is detectable, although the information Teavivre provides for this tea indicates that it shouldn’t have this quality because of the lack of tuo suan during processing. Again, it didn’t seem to be there with lower quantities of leaf (as in half the sample pack per 100 mL of water), but it wasn’t a negative quality to me regardless.
*Using a bit more than half the bag will result in more intense/full flavors, at the expense of some smoothness, in my experiences. Both produce sessions that are good in their own right, depending on what qualities you desire. Teavivre seems to recommend the entire bag for gaiwan brewing, but for my preferences the cramping of the leaves at that concentration produces a sub-optimum infusion.
About a week ago I was weeding my blackberry bramble, & as I breathed in the aroma of the mulch under the berry canes, it reminded me of Shu: rich, earthy, musty, damp, wonderful. I have 3 Oak trees in my yard, & every year I pile all the leaves in a very large bin, where they are allowed to break down for 18 monthes. I have 2 such bins, for alternating years, & the resulting leaf mulch gets piled under berry bushes, mixed into garden soil, etc, along with compost from my compost piles.
I haven’t been drinking a lot of puerh lately. I have plenty (believe me…), & I love both Shu & Sheng. I guess I’ve just been busy. Also, I’ve been sampling a lot of teas, & because I like to do long gongfu sessions with Puerhs (and oolongs), I end up just drinking one tea all afternoon, instead of several samples. Also, I’ve been running around on errands &/or gardening a lot lately too, so not a lot of time to sit around pouring gongfu steepings.
So today is the day! Tony & I have been in pajama mode all afternoon, & I’ve been enjoying this generous sample sent to me from Angel @ TeaVivre. Thanks Angel :D
I have a gaiwan at Tony’s, but no scale, so I don’t really know how much tea I put in there, basically the whole sample. It was a beautiful sample: nice dark fragrant chunks of teacake, beautiful brown with golden highlights. I gave it a quick rinse, then started steeping.
1st round, all combined in a cup: 10 sec, 15, 20, 25
2nd round: 30, 40, 50, 60
3rd round: transferred all the leaf to a steeping basket & steeped in the cup for 3 minutes.
I may do another couple of rounds at 4 & 5 minutes.
The resulting brew was a beautiful dark chocolate brown, rich with an earthy grounding flavor, smooth & sweet, with a pleasant qi feeling, & a delightful tongue tingling sensation. A perfect way to spend the afternoon.
I’ve been wanting to try this one for a long time. Pretty much since I discovered milk oolongs by accident with the American Tea Room’s milk oolong. The bar was set crazy high with ATR’s version and this one doesn’t quite match it, although it is very enjoyable. Thanks Alysha for sending it my way. I’ll definitely be finishing off the whole bag!
Sipdown, 120. Woohoo, made it to 120 before my trip! I looked back at the Hiatus discussion thread where I said I wanted to be down to 140 before my trip, but this is way better. And I’m not done with sipdowns yet for the week!
This is pretty nice but I don’t think it’s my favorite dragonwell. In fact I think I like the lower grade “Premium” dragonwell from Teavivre better. This one seems a bit grassier and less buttery. Maybe it needs a bit less leaf for the amount of water, too, because even at one minute this is very potent. Still tasty, though, and I’m happy to have gotten to try this one.
Thanks to Teavivre for this sample for tasting! I am so glad that I my enjoyment for unflavored green teas has gone nowhere, even though I can’t get behind flavored ones so much anymore.
I think I oversteeped/overleafed this one a bit. Looking at steeping cup, I meant to only brew it for 1 minute but got distracted and it got an extra 30 seconds, so it is edging on too bitter-greens for me. Still, this is quite tasty. Very nutty and buttery, with a smooth, silky texture. A bit grassy, though I think that is accentuated by the oversteep. I am enjoying the later steeps as well, though for some reason they are still edging on that bitter grassiness. I’ll probably cut the leaf when I try this again; I’ll wait until then to rate it.
Thanks first to Angel at Teavivre, who graciously sent me this tea as part of the spring harvest offerings.
I’ll start out by saying that I don’t really think I have a well defined palate for distinguishing subtleties in teas, especially greens. I do my best and try to gage what I taste, based on what others are tasting, and if I can connect the two somehow.
The leaves of this one are simply divine…rich green, broad and flat leaves. The scent coming from the newly opened packet was crisp and fresh, with some vegetal presence. I don’t think I could tell you which vegetables though. I used a bamboo tea spoon in my steeper, and used boiled water that had cooled for a few minutes (I lost track of time so I don’t know exactly how long). I also lack a thermometer so I am unsure of the exact temperature at the time of steeping. I did follow the 1 minute time for western style.
The brew, after a minute, was very very pale. I wondered whether I should have steeped longer. I get a mild tasting green tea, which has some presence and body, but not much. It’s still a bit too hot to get a good sip. I did add a small amount of sugar, less than I usually do. It does have that very savory flavour to it, in that brothy sort of way though, with or without sugar.
I am not an expert of green teas, especially Chinese green teas, and I can’t say as I’ve ever had a Dragon Well before. I feel like I have, a long time ago though. Also, I really have a hard time distinguishing varieties of the same tea. Maybe it is my allergies too. I’d like to have a tasting some time, with someone who knows what to look for in the teas to help me develop my palate sensitivity more.
What do I think of this tea then? I think it is a lovely looking tea, and the taste is smooth from what I can tell right now. I suspect more notes will come out stronger as the tea cools some, so I may come back here and add to this note. I can say that I do like what I have tasted thus far, but I can’t say I am in love. It is something that is a nice change of pace for me though.
Sipdown No. 4 today. I’d like to thank Angel @ TeaVivre for this sample.
This is a lovely, lightly vegetal green tea with a heavenly peach aroma. The jasmine is present, but only slightly. The peach flavor is very subtle, although from past experience I can say that if you add a slight amount of sweetener, it moves the peach forward a few notches. What I really like about this is the true peach flavor. So many peach teas taste (& are) artificial. This one is nice.
I drank a cup of this earlier in the day. It’s a very delicate tea, almost more like a white tea, lightly flavored with Jasmine & juicy peach. I’m usually not a big fan of flavored greens, but this is a really gentle brew with an authentic peach taste, very enjoyable.
Thanks again to Angel @ TeaVivre for this generous sample!
I received the next round of samples from TeaVivre. Thank you Angel for this generous parcel of teas! Admittedly, I’m not as into green tea as I used to be, & most of the samples are of that genre, but I do enjoy a good cup of green here & there, so I’m looking forward to sampling all of these. I’m enjoying this while watching Cardinals baseball.
This is a very mild cup. The peach flavor is lightly sweet & very subtle, a natural peach essence, not some phony flavoring agent. The green tea is a very gentle one, not grassy or particularly vegetal, but more of a creamy cooked cereal flavor, almost more like a white tea, actually. I’m not really picking up much of a jasmine flavor. Kind of reminds me of when I used to cook steel cut oats in the crockpot over night & serve them topped with peaches that had been sauteed in a buttery skillet. There’s a little astringency, but not enough to take away from the pleasantness of this cup. I already know which of my students I will enjoy sharing this with.
I normally don’t read the reviews before I post on a new tea. I did for this one. I did not get the same consistently amazing results others reported. I believe it was my own fault. I insisted on using my standard western big mug approach with half the sample. Do not try this at home! The result was generally an overly weak mug. Go ahead use all the sample and a smaller cup.
Even though I kind of blew this one, the second mug was fabulous. Here are my notes on that one:
For the second mug I steeped about 2 1/2 minutes. This cup fills your mouth with delicious combination of floral and fruit. The first sip was one of those Mmmmm moments, you know when the world goes into momentary freeze frame and you get lost in the cup. Yeah, its that good. It still has that wonderful thick creamy feel and I notice a fair amount of cooling sensation on my breath. The aftertaste hangs around with kind of a melon taste.
Tie Guan Yin normally has a distinctive floral taste, well except this one. I mean it is there, but it is just different. This is so much fresher, lighter, more defined but harder to describe. Normally I think of Tie Guan Yin as tasting like a geranium plant smells. This is closer to something like rose petals with citrus (peach and melon?), and warm spices. It is just Wow!
Not rating until I brew this one correctly. The second cup was easily a 90+.
Made this one this morning since I had a headache…I do seem to like my straight blacks on such occasions.
The first thing I noticed is how light and fluffy the leaves are, and how lovely they are with the golden tips. Now, perhaps because I have been heavy on the pu erhs lately, this tasted light and sweet. I did use my organic cane sugar, and a little milk.
I can’t really go into too much detail on the intricacies of this steep, as I was in bed with the headache, and this was at my bedside.
This sample was quite tasty though, despite the headache, and I’m glad there is more for me to have. I’m sure I’ll like the rest of the sample, so many thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this.
Ok, so this is one of two black teas I got from Angel at Teavivre in this round of teas. I have liked most of the blacks I have received from her, so I picked either Golden Monkey or Super Fine Tan Yang Gong Fu to replace the Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea. I was worried about the fragrant part of the tea. So Angel ended up sending me both of the alternate teas, instead of picking one, so that was too kind of her.
I realized I have not properly reviewed the first black tea, the Tan Yang, aside from saying it is yummy, though I have had a few cups of it. And it is indeed yummy. The leaves on the Golden Monkey are much darker than those of the Tan Yang. The brew of the Golden Monkey turned dark red within a few minutes of the steep.
I did add milk and sugar, as always, to this tea, though I did try a sip without first. Anyhow, the first thing I noticed was the juicy mouthfeel—that saliva inducing feeling. I can’t recall if I noticed that with the Tan Yang. This brew also seems to have more body to it than the Tan Yang also, but that is neither good nor bad.
I get the same malty, bready, yammy taste with this as I do the Tan Yang. I am reminded of the carrot muffins I had recently. I don’t really notice much smokey tones at all in this tea, nor can I detect any cocoa, but I don’t really pride myself on having a refined palate when it comes to picking out the more subtle tones. Also, since I westernize the tea by my additions, I probably loose some of the more subtle tastes that are more present in a straight tea like this by itself.
I can say that, like the Super Fine Tan Yang Gong Fu black tea, this one is equally delicious. I am brewing my second steep right now. I will enjoy the rest of this sample. Many thanks go to Angel at Teavivre again, for including this one in my latest round of samples for review. Teavivre has some excellent straight black teas in their line-up.