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Recent Tasting Notes
1 slightly overflowing tsp for 6oz
Still bitter for me. I think it’s going to be difficult to get a lot of flavor out of this but no bitterness unless I brewed Gong Fu style. Not sure I’m willing to make that commitment yet since there are lots of other teas I’m enjoying Western style.
Next time, I’ll try lots of leaf and short steeping just to see what the difference is.
1 1/2 tsp for 8 oz
Beautiful aroma, gorgeous light gold liquor. Medium oxidized and not roasty. It has a lovely, fruity flavor.
Only downside was quite a bit of astringency in the finish. I’m going to try a lower temp next time to see if that goes away. Also, there was quite a bit of dust/fannings in one of my sample packets. It must have been the bottom of the bag. I will infuse just the larger leaves next time.
This is a type of oolong right up my alley! Not too green, not charcoally. Perfect when I want something a bit lighter than a black.
This tea has a beautiful earthy, floral smell.
The tea is crisp and light. I am not sure of the right words but it is not malty, and not roasty. It has a bit of an earthy taste, its sweet and rich, almost creamy.
Very good tea. As always, impressed with the quality of Teavivre teas.
Another one I received from Angel at Teavivre for the free tasting activity!
This is a great black tea. It is complex, dark, roasty. I always seem to get a different taste every time I try it. It is re-steepable. I brewed this one up my usual western style. I actually used the whole sample to make a pot of tea. Which is unusal for me as I usually go cup by cup because I always want to try something else. But I knew I would enjoy drinking this one today.
The dry tea is small leaves, uniform, quite airy. It smells of roasted potatoes. The brewed tea is dark in colour, reminding me of black coffee.
Today I am getting roasted nuts, potatoe-french fry-carb notes in the brewed tea. There is a slight, natural sweetness to the tea. I feel like there is some dark plum or black current notes hiding in the tea somewhere. I know a lot of people get chocolate or cocoa out of this tea, but I don’t. There may be some slight dark cocoa notes in the aftertaste but I think I am just looking really hard for it. Its still good either way. It is thick and bold with no astringency.
This tea is crisp and clean. It smells very strong but actually is nice and light tasting. Not quite malty, but I think if I would have steeped for longer it would be malty. It tastes a bit roasted. There is a floral fragrance smell to the dry tea and taste to the brewed tea. I would say it reminds me of burnt caramel. But not burnt as is scorched, burnt as is when you are cooking caramel, and the longer you cook it the darker it gets.
I brewed this one up my version of western style. But I can taste in the tea how it would be great for drinking gongfu style.
These pearls are smaller than normal pearls I’ve had, but that doesn’t mean they lack flavor. They are small, marbled green and silver, and smell softly of sweet jasmine. The jasmine is not overpowering or perfumey or fake in any way. Brewed, the infusion is a pale golden color with the soft sweet jasmine emitting from the cup.
I did not steep the pearls long enough the first time to let them fully unfurl, I usually don’t otherwise you get a soapy bitter jasmine green tea. So, after letting them sit for about a minute and a half, I removed them only partially unfurled.
The taste was a soft, sweet jasmine with underlying notes of apple, melon, a hint of hay, and a soft buttery/creaminess. It is a very lovely jasmine pearl tea and did fully unfurl after the second infusion. I was able to brew them a solid four times before the flavor started to drop and diminish. I got to six steeps before I declared the pearls done of their flavor.
I did not have any of the premium jasmine pearls to compare these too, so I cannot say how much different they are to each other. All I can say is that these are really nice and really good and that jasmine lovers should at least get a sample of these and try it themselves.
1/2 tsp in 4 oz
Taste test of 4 Keemuns
Harney & Sons: English Breakfast ($1.62/oz)
My favorite of the bunch. Lightest flavor. Kind of fruity with no smokiness or earthiness. Could drink this every day for refreshment. I bet I’d love it iced. Will definitely get a large tin. Very pleased. I have been on the search for an inexpensive tea that I would enjoy as a daily drinker so I can save my favorites for times when I can sit quietly and really savor them. This fits the bill.
Harney & Sons: Hao Ya B ($3.00/oz)
My least favorite. Wow is it ever smoky. If I didn’t know what it was, I’d think it was a Russian Caravan blend with plenty of Lapsang Souchong in it. The smokiness overpowers any other flavor there might be in there.
Teavivre: Organic Superfine Keemun ($5.40/oz)
2nd best to me. Though it does have an earthy or mushroomy quality that I find a bit off-putting.
Adagio: Keemun Concerto ($4/oz)
3rd place. Most similar to the Teavivre but with more of that mushroomy quality that I just wouldn’t want in my tea. (I really dislike Puerhs for example.)
NONE of these teas was the least bit astringent which really pleasantly surprised me. Though I think one factor is that in order to taste each one without the others muddying the flavor, I did take a sip of water in between sips of tea. I find that sometimes tea is not astringent for the first few sips, but gets so as it builds up on your palate.
What amuses me is that the cheapest one is my favorite. Perhaps that means that Keemuns are not for me. The ones with more intense flavors pretty much turned me off. I liked the one with the lightest, sweetest taste.
1 heaping tsp for 8 oz
I am going to be sampling a few different Keemuns over the next few days. In my last tea phase, I drank Keemun almost daily. It was my favorite breakfast tea.
This Keemun is much smoother and lighter than the Keemuns I remember. It will be interesting to try others I have from Adagio, Harney, etc. This one doesn’t really scream Keemun to me. It is a very pleasant, smooth black tea but doesn’t have too much personality as far as I’m concerned. The Bailin Gongfu had a thick maltiness going for it, and this is just lighter all around. I’ll try a longer steep maybe next time though I do want to avoid any bitterness or astringency.
First introduced to this tea by Nuvola, I became an instant fan. At a value price, this incarnation by Teavivre carries over a lot of the same characteristics I shared in my tasting note on Nuvola’s tea:
I brewed the entire sample about 1 min, per the instructions, in my Finum at approximately 185ºF. Blew threw multiple infusions, much like I’d expect.
Differences to note that have me favoring Nuvola:
• Overall uniformity, quality and balance of leaf color somewhat inferior (see photo reference on Steepster. I think it’s pretty accurate)
• Tendency towards a dryer mouthfeel than Nuvola. Where Nuvola complimented, here it’s more pronounced overshadowing the complexities of this tea.
• Sweet notes are present, in line with Nuvola
• Bitter undertone noticeable, not all pleasant but fades after a few steepings
I don’t think my observations of this tea would be corrected by less tea or a shorter steeping time, as I feel I was fairly conservative. However, I did NOT do a rinse this time. I drink mostly green and honestly just forgot. Had I tried this tea before Nuvola, I wonder what I would have thought.
Either way it’s a good value versus the pricing at Nuvola, and now that I think about and read Teavivre’s online gaiwan brewing instructions, I could have gone with an even shorter brew time than was on their packaging. Wish their brew guide on the sample was the same as is on their web site. I might have had a more positive experience.
I’d encourage a sample of this tea, but I’m not as knocked out by it as I was by Nuvola. This is just a bit baser of an experience, while Nuvola more refined.
Again, I have to point out how much this tea reminds me of Verdant’s Golden Fleece.
2 rounded tsp in 16 oz
Enjoying this tea today. It’s smooth and dark with a quality that I think is what people call “malty” though I’m personally not too sure what that is. I notice than it doesn’t have nearly as many golden tips as the Superfine Tan Yang and so is lacking that sweet Dian Hong – like characteristic. It’s what I’d classify as a very good basic breakfast tea.
2 rounded tsp for 16 oz
Brewed it a little stronger this time. Still rounded, smooth, silky. Drinking it first thing in the morning without milk and sugar which is a big deal for me. I am eating toast between sips which helps my stomach handle the straight tea first thing. But, this tea is so smooth, it is going down easy.
Rounded tsp in 8 oz
Worked great as a breakfast tea with no additions! Towards the end of the cup, it was cooling off and I was feeling the astringency. I took a tip from Stacy of Butiki and added some more hot water, and that really worked to smooth it out enough to keep drinking it without adding sugar or milk!
1 rounded tsp for 8 oz
This is a full-bodied, malty black that is smooth as silk with no astringency or bitterness. It’s doesn’t have a particular flavor that jumps out at me, but it is just a really good strong tea that I could actually drink first thing in the morning without milk and sugar.
1 heaping tbsp for 16 oz
Possibly overleafed and water too hot. It was astringent for my taste this time. When I watered it down and added a little touch of sugar, it was better. Definitely has a characteristic Yunnan dian hong flavor. I just have to be careful of of my brewing parameters.
1 tsp even for 5 oz
OK, trying this side by side with Adagio Yunnan Gold.
It’s obvious which is the better quality. The dry leaves have the same colors, but the Teavivre is slightly more neatly rolled. The Teavivre has more aroma, and the Teavivre liquor is clear and coppery red while the Adagio liquor is cloudy and orange.
Teavivre is more flavorful and smoother. Enough said.
1 heaping tsp in 6oz. (This was about 1/3 of my 7g sample, so approx 2.3g)
The dry leaf wasn’t as golden as the Adagio Yunnan Gold that I used to drink like crazy, but the taste was very similar. That classic Yunnan flavor. Very nice version… smooth with barely any astringency. A great morning cup!
I have a sample from Adagio coming, since that was the tea I used to drink so much, I want to try it side-by-side and see what I discover.
(I did a 2nd steeping which was good too although less flavorful.)
I really enjoyed this offering from Teavivre. I loved the pollen-y quality to it. I find myself wondering how drinking something like this will help reduce seasonal allergies … but probably not so much unless one happens to be surrounded by tea plants since it is camellia sinensis. This time of year is hell on me with my allergies. Fortunately, they have gotten considerably better after a couple of years of consuming quite a bit of locally harvested raw honey. Still have the allergies, but they aren’t nearly as severe.
Anyway, back to the tea. Or tisane. I enjoyed this. I brewed it a bit strong but I’m glad I did, because I really enjoyed it the way it was brewed. Sweet, honey-esque and floral. Pleasant. I like!
My full-length review is here: http://sororiteasisters.com/2013/02/01/organic-dehydrated-camellia-from-teavivre/
This tea is just about perfect as far as I’m concerned! This is one of several Teavivre teas that I NEVER want to be without.
The dry leaves are beautiful. The liquor is deceptively pale for a beverage that packs so much flavor! It smells and tastes wonderful, and has a pleasingly buttery mouthfeel. Smooth and slightly sweet, with facets of chestnut and toasted cereal and a subtly grassy, vegetal side. It’s a friendly tea – comforting and uplifting – and holds up well to a second steep to boot.
1 1/2 tsp in 8 oz
Had to raise my rating on this. When I tried it side by side with Adagio’s Bai Hao, I thought I preferred the Adagio. But, yesterday I had some of the Adagio, and today the Teavivre, and now I think I prefer the Teavivre or at least it is very close. This one is lacking the honey-like aftertaste that I notice in the Adagio, but it is a very subtle difference.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this today. It is smooth and flavorful with a natural sweetness. I tell you, I just love this style of oolong… pretty highly oxidized and not heavily roasted. It’s fantastic.
1tsp in 4oz
Comparison of 3 Bai Hao (Oriental Beauty) oolongs — Adagio’s Formosa Bai Hao, Harney’s Fanciest Formosa Oolong, and Teavivre’s Taiwan Oriental Beauty
My favorite (surprisingly)! Darkest liquor, most flavor, sweetest, least astringency. Really nice honey flavor in the finish.
Least flavor, lightest body, lightest liquor
In between in terms of flavor and body, but the most astringent.
So, I guess I’m buying more of the Adagio. Really surprised at this result. Was hoping Teavivre’s would be my fave since it is the least expensive, but I’ll have to go with the one I like best. Luckily it’s not the most expensive. Harney’s is almost double the price of the Adagio.
2 tsp in 8 oz
This is obviously the style of oolong that I’ve been looking for. Quite oxidized, but no “roasted” flavor. It is a finer version of the basic “Formosa Oolong” teas I used to drink. This is what I love to drink in the afternoon!
It is slightly more astringent than I like, but in every other way, I love this tea… A great, comforting flavor.
I will have to experiment with brewing and also try some more steeps. I went with 2 tsp for 8 oz this time (that was exactly half of my 7g sample, so 3.5g) and the longer brewing time. Next time, I will try the same amount but at just 2 minutes.
A sample that came with my recent order of Longjing. I was curious what one of Teavivire’s most expensive greens tasted like. I was struck by the long spear-like vibrant green leaves, uncharacteristic in comparison to the other greens I’m used to.
Overall I’m pleased, but wasn’t knocked out. I initially steeped for about 30-45 seconds, and I’m imaging I should have let it be, but I was hoping for something more overt and allowed it to brew another 30-40 secs. I think that was a mistake. I ended up introducing a bitter note to what had been a smooth, lightly sweet, mellow vegetal, milky brightness. I think what I was hoping for would have been better corrected with more leaf and less time.
2nd stepping, I backed off and played it safe at about 40 secs.. Not quite enough flavor for me and I introduce a bit more steeping time (10-25 more secs). I’m playing on the edge of bitter, but I like where this tea is going. My tastebuds don’t appear to be so dialed in today, but I’m getting the continued sweet notes and a dry mouth feel. That bitter is just hanging there…. I’m not sure I’d make an investment, but if I had some more of this, I’d certain enjoy and afternoon of playing with quantity, steeping times and temps, getting to know it. But alas, it’s price and with my first impressions, I’m not inspired. But let’s see where this tea continues to go.
My 3rd steep and I think my impatience with this tea has stripped it of what it has to offer. Flavor is weak. There’s not much left to this. I’m tempted to request another sample next time I order from Teavivre.
This tea comes in a 5 gram sample, unlike most of their other teas which are usually 7 grams. I think they’re doing themselves a disservice. Brewing in a my little Finum, which is like a 5 oz cup, I think I would have had a better experience with 7 grams of tea. But then the nature of the size of these leaves would have made it difficult to fit them all and get an even steep.
I’m going for it with the 4th steep leaving it in for a solid 2 mins as recommended by Teavivre’s gaiwan instructions. There is certainly a long-lasting sweet aftertaste, bordering on saccharine. Even as I have abused this tea, there’s still a distinct vegetal smell. Bitter is gone, and surprisingly enough, I find this steep somewhat satisfying. What a weird little trip.
From a caffeine/theanine standpoint, I’m honestly a bit jacked from this tea. But then that might have been all the dark chocolate nibs I had earlier…. Or it might be that these leaves are considered more mature. Who knows. Interesting experiment overall, results inconclusive.