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Recent Tasting Notes
First of all, I’m honored to get to try this aged tea. When it was harvested, I was still at my first place away from home, working for Wolf Camera.
Now, onto the details. I gave it just over two minutes and it brewed up very dark. The scent reminds me of leather and the forest floor after a good rain. Now, I’m always a little afraid of puerh because I don’t like fishiness, but this puerh doesn’t taste like that at all. It tastes fresher and smoother than other puerhs I’ve tried, and completely not astringent. It makes me think of a really good yunnan, just… aged, for lack of a better word.
This is yet another delicious sample graciously provided by Teavivre! Thanks so much! I’m really, really liking this flavored variety more than the natural. This has a sweet yet floral aroma and the flavor is of a nice green oolong with a heavy, creamy finish to the sip. This feels decadent to drink, but it is totally guilt free. I haven’t completely decided if I have to have this tea variety in my cupboard – but if I do, this flavored variety will be the one for me!
I was excited to try this after blowing through 100g of Blueberry Fruit Tea. Dry mix smells like almost nothing, to my nose. I brewed 2 heaping tsps in a big mug for 10 mins, and sweetened it after it cooled. The result was a dark peach coloured brew that tasted like a stripped down pina colada. Even though I wish the pineapple were more prevalent, this was still good iced. I could taste a bit of citrus, and I could identify the roselle right away. With sugar or other sweetner it kind of complements the other general fruitiness of this tisane.
This was my commute tea yesterday. I deviated a little from the instructions this time and let it steep for an extra 30 seconds, which deepened the flavor. This time, I used eight pearls for about 10-12 ounces of water and was very pleased with how it turned out. The cocoa was enhanced and stronger. I’m still loving this tea, and will definitely order it next time I place an order with Teavivre.
I let this one steep for perhaps 5 minutes and the result was a gorgeous dark brown-reddish liquid. Very strong yet none of the offensive flavors or odors we sometimes encounter with Shou. I have come to love and appreciate a fine Shou and this is on par with some of the better ones that I have had.
The second steep is lighter yet still full of flavor.
I enjoyed this last week as well and after the third steeping I used the rest for iced tea. I left it sit for maybe a week in the fridge and actually forgot what it was until I tasted it. It was nothing short of wonderful.
Another sample that was generously provided by Teavivre! Thanks! The leaves were so incredibly sticky with honey that I almost just wanted to eat them instead of brew them, but I stuck them in the teapot anyway. The first couple of infusions tasted like a very high quality, smooth medium oolong with a slight sweet, floral aftertaste. This isn’t as overly honey sweet as I expected, but you can tell this is a nice quality oolong. This is only the second tieguanyin I’ve had so I’m not sure if this is a preferred oolong for me – it is good though.
Thankyou so much Angel and Teavivre for this sample. This is the sample that I have been most anxious to try. I think I am falling in love with jasmine teas.
Dry leaf appearance: Beautiful fuzzy long white needles
Aroma: smells like fresh jasmine in a sunny meadow
Taste: Light jasmine, with that wonderful delicate white tea in the background. Sweetness comes through in a silky smooth way. This has a wonderful mouth feel to it, creamy like! I am glad I got such a large sample pack of this because I am certainly enjoying this!
2nd steep: 85degrees, 2minutes, just as delicious as the first with a little stronger jasmine.
I have had a LOT of tea today, so I will have to do the other steepings tomorrow and update!
Not sure how it compares to my beloved pearls, I will have to taste this tea again, and then on another day…have a side-by-side taste comparison.
Edit: 3rd steep, 90degrees, 3minutes, starting to lose flavour and silkiness, I think I would cold brew this steep next time.
Infusions #2 and #3 tonight after my class. This tea really reminds me of my beloved Emperor’s Red from Premium Steep. Although it is similar in taste to Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu Black, I think this is so great for me because the pearls have a tiny bit of smokiness that I absolutely love and crave in a black tea. And the 3rd infusion is still quite flavorful – I may even go for a 4th. So this is a pretty economical tea also! I think I’m going to bump up the rating a bit. Any black tea that is good for this many infusions deserves high ratings from me!
Yay! My samples arrived today. Thank you so much Angel and Teavivre!
Taste: nutty and slightly sweet with a slight floral note. The aftertaste is a little sour some how. This is a very different oolong than others I have tried.
2nd steep: 2.5 minutes, much like the second one, maybe a little less nutty
3rd steep: 3 minutes, a little more sour aftertaste.
Overall, I like this oolong, but not my favourite
Sip down :( I spent the day with this most marvelous of teas. I remember when Angel first offered it to me. I almost turned it down. In fact I did turn down another jasmine green she offered. I hate jasmine. Or I did. Or I still do, if it is that over-perfumed icky stuff in a bag from the grocery store. Its even been true of the few other loose leaf jasmines by other companies I have sniffed. But this, oh this, is so different. It is flowers and sunshine. Its’ taste reminds me of grapes. It is nectar. No it is Ambrosia. It is light and refreshing with a lovely green aftertaste. It is multiple steeps of delight. Oh sadness. After today it will be gone….. sigh. I must have more. The shelf life is three years. Jubilation! So what if I have 50 other open samples.
Many thanks to the Teavivre team for another generous round of samples. I added 5 of these pretty pearls to my 12 oz teapot and steeped for 2 minutes. Wow! This is really super good. There is a bit of cocoa, possibly hay, a good amount of malt and a smooth finish. This is amazing without anything added. While everything I’ve tried from Teavivre has been really good – this is most definitely going on my shopping list.
New samples! Thanks TeaVivre team.
First up is the flavored milk oolong. The dry leaves smell like buttery milky oolong sweetness! Exciting. This is the second ali shan I’ve tried. At this point in my life they are my favorite oolongs. First steep, 30 secs in a gaiwan at about 85 C. This cup isn’t overly milky, as I assumed the flavored milk oolong would be. This is actually more vegetal and buttery than milky, but the milk flavor pops up in the middle of the sip. It’s interesting, and I imagine this would be more milky with a longer steep. Second steep, 45 secs: milk flavor is almost gone, which is quicker than I predicted. I still really like the quality of this oolong though.
Until I discovered loose tea, I never particularly liked black tea, finding it bitter and too astringent. I have probably tried 50 loose teas in the last couple years, and finally decided to give black tea another try. Thanks to Teavivre, I got a generous sample of their Bailin Gongfu and I just love it! I have tried only about 5 unflavored blacks from a few different companies, but this is my favorite. I steep it for 2 min. at 185, and add 15 seconds for each additional steeping. I got a total of 3 good steepings, but didn’t try for a 4th. To me, it is perfection, without any bitterness or astringency to spoil it, so I’m getting ready to re-order it.
I am starting to write this note as I’m waiting for tea to cool down a bit.
The smell of dry leaves is great, some earthy, roasted and really warm elements blend together in a rich and strong aroma. It is very tempting to take a sip now, but I know I will just burn my tongue if I do it.
I made this tea for my family at my birthday dinner 2 days ago, but unfortunately I only took a little bit with me, so I actually didn’t get any :( Ohh, just a couple more minutes and I will be able to enjoy this one!
- a little bit of impatient waiting later *
Delicious! Truly great. At first I thought it was just a very usual black tea, but then a wave of yumminess blasted my taste buds :) Really nice rich aftertaste leaves me trying to concentrate on my mouth after every sip. This is one of the best black teas I’ve tried. Will definitely look forward to buying more.
This tea was really quite excellent. It has a sweetness to it that overlays the light vegetable flavor to it very, very well. Absolutely delicious.
Once this tea cools down, it’s downright undrinkable. I had given a little cup of this to Sandy at work, and she really didn’t like it. I’m guessing that has something to do with the fact that she let it cool down… because it’s really taking on an unpleasant, rubbery taste. So yeah, absolutely fantastic tea when drank warm.
My Teavivre samples arrived today! This will be my third round of tasting from this generous company, and as usual, I am like a kid on Christmas. This tea was the one I was most excited about. I read everyone else’s reviews on it and it got me quite excited for my turn. I am in love with Teavivre’s black teas, and when I smelled the pearls, I knew it was not going to disappoint.
As far as preparation goes, I used two pearls in about 10 ounces of water with a steel infuser. It unrolled rather quickly into long, whole, pointed leaves much like their yunnans. I let it go for the whole two minutes because I was a little worried by how pale amber the tea was. But the scent of it as it cooled reassured me that it would be flavorful.
Maybe next time I will use three pearls, but this is still a delicious cup. Malty cocoa is the strongest flavor, I agree. It reminds me a bit of their bailin gongfu, but a little more astringent. Also, there is just the barest hint of smokiness that makes it very satisfying. It is by no means your average black tea, and I can’t wait to get through this cup so I can make another. It’s great.
Thank you TeaVivre for the sample!
I would have to agree with most tasting notes on a few aspects; the leaves are quite dark and thinly rolled, and smelled slightly of nori. I found that even with short steeps, this is a bold and mildly smokey green tea. Tasted like steamed asparagus/spinach combo. Quite nice, a little bitter on the end of the sip but nothing unpleasant.
Sip down. For my last time with this sample I thought I would play a little by adding lemon balm and orange mint. I have to say I am not crazy about what I did to this cup. The lemon balm is kind of a Lemon Pledge scent. It isn’t horrible. It just isn’t exactly lemon. The orange mint adds something that I can’t identify. It isn’t orange and it isn’t mint – other than a slight cooling feeling in the aftersip. The Keemun kind of got lost in the mix except for the hints of chocolate in the aroma.
After the first cup I removed the herbs and gave this wonderful tea the proper goodbye it deserved :)
This is a sample graciously sent to me from Teavivre – I am very inexperienced with green teas so I figured I would go for this one to broaden my horizons. It tends to be universally well reviewed, so I figured I couldn’t go wrong, right? The dry smell is quite appealing, actually. i get a great deal of sweetness and almost honey notes. the beau proclaims it is earthy and vegetal, but I don’t get either of those smells. Honestly, I hide from vegetal and earthy – I’m glad this seems to have neither.
Out of fear, I steeped this approximately 1 minute 45 seconds in 80 degree water – we are each having a smallish cup of this so I used one heaping “perfect” teaspoon of leaves for the pot. The liquor is a warm yellow, darker than I would have guessed for the temp/time combo but as I said, I rarely brew greens. The beau likes them though, so he is the “authority” in our house.
First impressions are quite nice. The flavour closely matches the aroma and is quite nice. I get sweetness, and I am reminded of oolongs. I am not getting anything in terms of vegetal but I’m really liking it. This is the sort of green tea that I can appreciate – I think it is a little under-steeped in terms of temp, time or leaf but it’s still a good infusion. Will give a second shot tomorrow morning. Thanks again, Teavivre!
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
After Angel sent me a PM requesting I review a group of selected tea samples she was willing to send me, I requested this particular spring green tea to try out as well (along with one other), and she willingly sent it along with the rest. Thank you Angel and Teavivre!
Just this weekend I received a package with all ten samples of the teas she said she would send (yay!), each weighing roughly 15 grams. This particular spring green tea is advertized as being harvested on March 6, 2012. I brewed this up the morning after I received the package, and I am excited to try the other green teas soon (there are two others). I am writing this review from my notes and from my very recent memory of drinking it just yesterday (I don’t post reviews on Sundays).
Right away the appearance and aroma of the dry leaf blew me away, as it was a dark vibrant-green color, with a unbelievably strong vegetal aroma that seems to be characteristic of any fresh green tea. It was composed of very thin, wire-y looking leaves the shape of which reminded my somewhat of the roots of a tiny tree; it was unusual in appearance and I really liked that. So, we both got off to a great start. I used all but a tablespoon or so of the sample, estimating I had at least 10 grams of tea waiting patiently in my pot (and likely more like 12), and so I used only about five cups of water rather than my standard six cups in my glass Bodum teapot, such that the leaf was free to roam, and I added my standard amount of Stevia. I held a few grams back in case I feel the need to brew it up later in my new gaiwan.
Wet the leaf smelled like what I imagine fresh cut spinach would smell like: a fresh, strong, vegetal aroma. I believe the color of the tea liquor was light green. The leaves were mostly on the bottom for most steepings, but on the second I remember some of the leaf moving to the top while steeping. It has a good smelling, fresh aroma (although I was sniffing it while steeping, I basically went by the timer). I decided to start the first steeping at a little higher temperature than I normally do (180F), and a little longer (1.5 minutes), rather than my standard 170F, one minute, because I am finding hotter and longer tends to be better for most of the green tea I have been brewing up lately.
Now to the flavor. Overall, although it was on the mild side, my wife and I both enjoyed drinking it (and she can be a hard one to please when it comes to green tea, in my judgement, anyway). It had good flavor through three steepings and mild flavor on the forth. I used near-boiling water for a fifth (I like to push limits the first time I brew up a tea) and it was definitely flat tasting (my guess is I scorched the leaves). Still, three good steepings and a decent forth is more than I expect out of a tea at this price range ($10.90 / 3.5 OZ = a little over $3 / OZ). Very generally, the number of good steepings I expect to get out of a green tea is relative to its price: I expect at least one good steeping for $1 /OZ, two for $2 / OZ, etc. Maybe a little silly, but I am very cost conscious, and that’s an easy ‘value scale’ for me to remember and use.
Finally, the wet leaf. Again, the first time I brew up a whole-leaf Tea (not necessarily flavor-added ones), I like to do what I call a ‘leaf analysis’. I spread out the leaf on the counter, preferably where there is good light, give it a little time to dry, then pick through it, looking for patterns and oddities. I literally used to sort the parts into piles (by whole leaves, buds, bud-sets, stems, broken pieces, etc.); I know, talk about anal! But I found that was taking just a bit more time that I though was really necessary (it was sometimes taking more than fifteen minutes, and I even started taking photos of the sorted piles), so now I simply take a few minutes at most to sift through the wet leaf and look at the big picture: are there lots of torn/shriveled-looking pieces? Is the color and size of the leaves/buds generally uniform? Are there many stems? What really stands out the most?
So, in this particular tea I noticed right away that there were a surprising number of stems, and I mean long stems, some were even thick (not many), and there were a number of torn leaves, with few buds (or bud-sets). It reminded me of a lower-grade HSMF from an e-bay seller (China Cha Dao). I consider this leaf to be of a lower grade than most green teas I seen (practically none of Seven Cups, Jing Tea Shop, Verdant Tea, Life in Teacup or Tea Trekker Teas have had this many stems and torn pieces). Interesting and all (to me, anyway), but when it comes down to it flavor still matters the most. The wet leaf was at least uniform in color, and vibrant looking (which to me is a verification that it was indeed fresh), and still not unreasonable considering its price.
I liked just about everything about this tea, and I hope to purchase some later on this year. This is easily a tea I could drink everyday, and it turns out I can afford to drink it often at it’s very reasonable price. This is one of the best values for a fresh spring green tea I have ever come across (having looked at many dozens of green teas). I have been looking for an affordable, quality, fresh spring green tea from Teavivre, and as it turns out, this one fits the bill.
I slept in today…had to…stayed up with the other late night Steepsters until 2am chatting away. It happens sometimes.
The luxury for me is that I don’t have to work ever again! Tap dance!
My idea of spoiling myself in the A.M. is a fantastic Black Tea or Puerh by the Pot. Not a cup full of tea…a WHOLE POT all to myself on a tray.
I take my tray to the couch and have a paper and pen ready to jot my tasting notes. That is how my morning begins. What could be better?
(I can think of some better things too…but this is dang good!) ;)
The last time I enjoyed this Puerh I had a different experience compared to today. It goes to show that it is important to revisit and retaste tea. You never know what can change due to mood, awareness, brewing method,etc.
This time I steeped 5 minutes (shorter than last time) after a quick 20 second rinse. The liquor was dark brown and smelled bready.
The flavor was salty and had the taste of a Trisket Cracker but without the rough mouthfeel. This was not an earthy, dirty Puerh. It was smooth and mild but still rich and full bodied.
On my first review, I was not inclined to add sugar and cream for a latte. Now, since I could taste saltiness I thought it would be worth a try.
These additions were wonderful. The Puerh became a salted caramel delight that had depth of flavor. The caramel and salt with the classic (though mild) Puerh flavor reaching well into the nose at the finish.
My first review was not incorrect but based on that day and a different steeping time and method.
This second review using a Western brew method and shorter steeping time produced a completely different experience.
Up goes my rating from 87….to 93!