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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the morning……
Even though this is the end of my sample, there is no SRP* count on this because I bought some for my stash. This one has become my smokey tea of choice over the version I had from Upton. It is a little smokier and maybe brothier…..I kind of want to call it slightly bacony. The version from Upton was a great starter Lapsang for me. I would call this a little more in the medium smoke range and could be a little more long term for me…..or at least for 100 grams worth!
Usual teapot method.
*my Sample/Stash Reduction Plan
Now on my third infusion of this late at night, just how I like it. Taking in its smooth, rich earthiness. I love it.
I doubt anyone’s up right now (at least in this time zone) but I’m just so excited about this that I had to share…
This is what I plan on getting as my first gaiwan
I think it’s BEAUTIFUL, what do you guys think?
Free sample provided by Teavivre, thanks again to them. This is my first Keemun, hooray! I always love when I get to try something completely new to me. As far as aroma goes, I noticed similarities to my previous experiences with Chinese black teas, such as a malty aroma with hints of cocoa and a slight bit of honey. While the leaf was steeping, the cocoa aroma intensified and a small amount of smoke presented itself. Every tea has a tone or a feeling to it, and the tone that this tea was presenting was dark and haunting.
The taste followed suit with the aromas. Dark chocolate, lots of malt and a little smokiness. This tea has some real heft to it. It’s not bitter, but it’s intense. It’s not astringent, but it’s robust. It reminds me of some really high quality coffee in its intensity, but it lacks the acidity of coffee. The smokiness is almost like an illusion to me, you can’t smell it or taste it on nearly the same level as a lapsang souchong, you just kind of feel like it’s there.
This tea would make a great wake up cup as well as an awesome late night tea.
First site of the leaves: they seem to be very well rolled with a great mineral aroma. First steeping is pretty much what I expected. It’s definitely recognizable as an oolong because even though it’s got a lot of flavor, it’s never overpowering. Very good, clean rocky aftertaste and I’ve found that after a while it tends to dry your mouth out. My first Da Hong Pao, but I doubt my last. Thank you Teavivre!
Thanks so much to Angel and Teavivre for these samples! They took a little while to get here, but in perfect condition. Teavivre is, in my opinion, well worth the wait.
I’ve never had a black pearl tea – the only pearls I’ve ever had are the small jasmine ones. I went for that little sample packet first. Upon opening it, I was surprised by how large the pearls are, and how tightly packed. They’re mostly a dark mahogany color with little striations of a lighter yellow, sort of like pine. I suppose trees are on my mind today – it was Red Pine Forest day with my preschoolers at camp. They very much enjoyed building “mouse houses” in the dips between the tree roots!
Tea! The dry leaf smell immediately conjures up something musty and dark. There’s almost a hazelnut to it, but there’s something more than that. It sort of reminds me of walking through a darkened barn, with the scents of hay and leather hanging thickly in the air, the rustle of horses and cows as they shift about and flick their tails to ward off the flies.
Never having had a black dragon pearl this big before, I think I overdid it – I put three pearls in my little tasting cup and steeped for around 15 seconds the first time. The wet leaves have such a distinctive smell – it’s the same scent as of the dry leaf, but sharper, finer, more present. It’s not as muted. I read recently that the human nose works best in warm, damp conditions… I can definitely see that here! I don’t smell so much of the hazelnut connection as I do something burnt… not badly burnt, but deliberately charred. I can’t think of what, though. Chestnuts at Christmas? Macadamia nuts? There’s more than a little bit of dark chocolate in here too, and some notes of currant. Chocolate covered nuts? It’s bothering me that I can’t put my finger on it, especially because it’s so distinctive and I just know that there’s a name for it.
The liquor of the first steep is a warm golden-red in the white porcelain tasting bowl. I notice immediately how smooth the mouthfeel is. There’s almost no astringency or drying, and it leaves a sweet aftertaste on the tongue. The scent I identified in the scent is extraordinarily present in the taste. Usually I have a hard time distinguishing exactly what something is going to taste like based on the smell, especially straight teas (It’s much easier for me to approximate the flavors of spicy chais or fruity herbals) but there’s a direct link to the taste of the tea all the way back to the smell of the dry leaf.
Second steep, and as I pour the water into the cup it immediately blossoms a deep red. The pearls have mostly unrolled and are like spider legs climbing up the side of the cup. The liquor is a deep red-brown color. Definitely overdid it with the pearls – the first thing that hits my tongue is a strong astringency. It actually helps define the flavors I was missing earlier – it almost reminds me of a graham cracker. That coupled with the chocolate notes and the astringency in this steep – it’s like a warm summer night, all your friends sitting around a firepit, roasting marshmallows on sticks, the smoke blowing through the breeze and stinging your eyes when it’s aimed in your direction.
Possibly the best black tea I’ve ever tried!
I’m steeping three pearls now, Western Style for three minutes. It’s just as good, and I’m even getting notes of butter in the middle of it. Incredible! This tea just keeps on giving!
Oh, jasmine. I’m not sure there’s a more intoxicating smell on this earth. It envelops you, comforts you and lets you know you’re in for a treat…it’s truly something special.
This one tastes very pure and natural. The jasmine does not smell or taste perfumey or over-the-top at all. As I sat and contemplated the imagery this tea was presenting to me, I noticed some of the same things that Bonnie identified. Pine forests and blue glacial water like in the Canadian wilderness. Then to a moonlit forest late at night, seeing the precious jasmine flower bloom before me. Wonderful. I absolutely love the imagery that tea can give me.
This is a very smooth and very sweet tea, probably the sweetest jasmine tea I’ve had. Absolutely marvelous, thank you for the sample Teavivre.
The last but not least from the samples given, its best described in my opinion as the cu de gra of tea itself! Comfort. The richness of natural oolong flavors just coincides with an addition of a milky flavor that’s naturally harmonious altogether, and gives the said drinker a little more comfort (think of hot milk in cold day). The milky flavor is not at all too overwhelming but as to complement a slight vegetal and nutty flavor of the oolong itself. High quality in taste, even the raw leaves are still attached to its stems! Decent and rewarding, recommended to all! Drink on Steepsterites!
This is my first Milk Oolong type tea. Thanks to Teavivre for allowing me to sample this tea. I already love Oolongs for their nutty and buttery characteristic. So I was excited to try this one. I have a pouch of Verde au Lait that I acquired in a trade and it fell short of the goal. I made it at work and shared with my co-worker who I am making a tea lover as well. A pale yellow liquor typical with most green oolongs. I’ve been going nuts a bit with getting a week ahead on music logs since the baby will be here any day, and I’ve been re-inventing our broadcast clocks…tea is much needed. This is great! Milky? I am not really getting a milky flavor from this tea. Buttery? Absolutely! I feel like I’m in the theater enjoying a huge bucket of popcorn with double butter. For dinner last night I made garlic lime shrimp in a butter sauce. I think this would make a great butter substitute in cooking. Four tasty pots were made with the leaves.
This sample was sent to me by Angel and the wonderful Teavivre team. And many thanks to them!
This herbal tea has an amazing aroma and a beautiful color when brewed. It has a sweet pineapple/citrus flavor. I love the tart taste so I didn’t sweeten it.. But it almost reminds me of an unsweetened fruit punch. It is absolutely delicious! And I could only imagine it would be even more so iced! Definitely going to be ordering more.
First of all.. A huge thank you to Angel and the Teavivre team :] The samples they sent me were very generous.
This is a wonderful white tea. It has a floral taste to it and finishes with a fruity after taste. It is sweet and finishes a bit astringent. Such a beautiful light amber colored liquor as well.
Wowza – I guess I didn’t log this yesterday but I had this lol. Today I am re-steeping it and it is so interesting but after being allowed to sit out on the counter all night and all day today it is peachy, VERY peachy and jasminey of course.
I had to do a double take when the peach flavors hit my mouth. For a moment I was not sure I was drinking what I thought I was but then the jasmine came through – of course still not totally convinced I had to check my leaves. Still uncurling too! So many more steeps to go with this one! Upping the rating because it is so yummy AND very resilient!
Dry Leaf: I get more of a rich woody aroma.
Wet Leaf: I get a sweet malty or even a raisin aroma and just a slight touch of wood.
Liquor:I get a dark reddish color.
Taste: I get a malty or even a raisin flavor with a slight sweetness and I also get a slight astringency.I also get a faint wood flavor too.
Overall Option: I give this tea a 89. I think this is a mid-grade tea that taste nice and is very affordable for daily drinking. I also think Dan Cong drinkers would like this type of tea just my humble opinion.
Another day and another review of samples from Teavivre! This time around its Organic superfine Keemun that found its way in my cuppa this morning to much of my delight! The tea has much of the usual Keemun qualities of a slightly smoky plum flavor but with characteristics of Assam in the starchy department. The brew itself at near boiling water yielded a smooth liquor, non astringent without much bitterness on the palate. An excellent quality tea made with buds, great taste and makes a fine cuppa! Drink on Steepsterites!
Sorry for being away for a while. I had a nice boat trip, enrolled in the University and got some small jobs for music composition. Overall, a great few summer weeks.
I just came home and drank this Lapsang. It is amazing. This time I accidentally added more sugar than always but it didn’t ruin it even a small bit. A lovely smell, makes everyone in the house wonder if I’m smoking meat in the kitchen :D
Hope you all are having a great summer!
This is a sample provided by Teavivre for review! I already reviewed this one today but I felt that the resteep deserved a review as well because of the circumstances.
I had a late student tonight so I decided to make a resteep of the leaves from this afternoon. The mom of the young lady is not a big tea drinker and has really only had sweet iced black tea and maybe a flavored and sweetened Christmas tea.
I offered her a cup of the resteep and she accepted. She sniffed it and said it smelled like perfume. She sipped. She loved the aroma and the taste, and refilled her cup.
I love when someone enjoys new teas – I don’t think she had even heard of white tea before tonight. She told me that I should tell Teavivre that a tea “imbecile” – her words not mine – loved their tea!
What impressed me was how much color this white tea still had on the resteep, and the flavor was virtually the same as the first steep. And now I have one more friend who is a tea friend as well!
This is the last of a free sample sent by Teavivre. Thank you, Mary, Angel, and Teavivre!
I chose this as the final tea of tea party. Normally a white tea would have been served first and we would progress to darker, stronger, or more flavored teas. But today I wanted hefty black tea to go with our food, and I used this as a “wind down” tea for relaxing and chatting after eating.
If any jasmine tea can compete with Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls for the top spot in my heart, this would be it. The jasmine is sweet and not soapy, the tea has great body and color, and everything about it whispers, “quality.” I say it whispers because those two jasmine teas are the ultimate relaxation to me and neither would ever scream. You might even say it purrs.
Aaaahh! Very good, my guest loved it, I loved it. I am thinking this will probably be on my next Teavivre order, which I will be making very soon because I have to order for a couple of friends who came to tea and can’t live without Jasmine and Taiwanese Ginseng Oolong.
I was so absolutely excited the day the lovely samples from Teavivre arrived. I had just finished the final exam for my long, drawn out genetics course and it was finally a beautiful sunny day! I knew these little gems were in there so I was actually giddy with joy when I picked them up.
I haven’t had very good timing lately to try this tea as I wanted to pay very good attention to it, as well.. the sample bag is larger than an individual packet, and therefore I needed to be somewhere where I could repackage them immediately. So here I am.
Dry: I get that same strong umami flavour smell as I do with the Bailin Gongfu Black (BGB)…. but then I huff the bag a little more and float to a dark 80% chocolate cloud. Malty too. Yum I-am-so-excited!
Liquor 1 min: Amber liquor tastes like cream..then the flavour builds to the umami that I get which is slightly salty and sweet. Soy sauce like… it then melts into some 60% chocolate. Delicious
2 min: I’m excited because the balls are still 75% intact.. This steep is much darker. Closer to a blonde coffee. It tastes like cream still and umami with the salty sweet. Similar to the BGB. Interesting.. I just had a red berry flavour pop up and then disappear. If anything.. the chocolate flavour in this is minimal to the creamy umami to me. If it were chocolate it would definitely be 60%.. therefore more sweet malt than cocoa punch. I think perhaps if I used 5 pearls instead of 4, I would be picking up on more of the chocolate? I dont know. All I know is that I am in love with the umami sweet salty I get from some blacks. This being a big one.
2.5 min: I was putting on some sun screen when I waited for this next cup to cool and found I was getting a fishy aftertaste. Odd.. I haven’t eaten anything yet. I’m not apposed to it, but my taste buds are so weird. Did anyone else get a slightly fishy aftertaste? I kinda like it with the whole umami theme. Reminded me of fish sauce. Back to the tea. A sweeter, more malty side has come out. With a cocoa edge and still some saltiness that I am loving on. No big umami presence anymore.. it’s like they switched roles. Delightful!
I am going to stop posting now as the tea is inspiring me to paint for a bit before I go biking. Such a lovely day here! I hope it is for everyone else too =)
Another great tea and helping cup, this time its Golden Monkey! Its very much like Yunnan type black teas with a complex and layered flavors that seem best to come out during multiple steeps and playing around with temperature. It has a distinct flavor almost near to Assam which explains the sweet potato flavor with the amount of slight sweetness without it being to brisk on the palate. I can taste however the Yunnan qualities that works well with this tea, it gives a soily, maybe woody body, with smooth almost chocolaty on the back end of the palate. Just perfect!