Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

73

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

I’ve been holding off on reviewing this one for a while and give this tea as many tries as I could for the best opinion. It makes a nice cup, but it isn’t really anything I would show off to friends. I fear too much roasting is what did this one in. Charcoal and woody flavors overpower many of the subtler tastes the leaves offer, and tend to cause a fuzzy and drying mouthfeel and a somewhat bitter aftertaste. Thankfully, the leaves have an inherent sweetness to them, and counterbalance this enough to make the overall flavor enjoyable. I have difficulty finding any floral tones throughout steeps, but if I try hard enough I can just pick them out. I find the flavor profile to lean more towards tart fruits than florals, and this is mirrored in both the wet leaf’s aroma and the aftertaste. The first few steeps gong fu style tend to be the most interesting for me. I receive notes of apple, cocoa, and malt in addition to the aforementioned charcoal and wood tastes. Honey flavors creep in into the third or fourth steep, but besides this addition, the complexity goes a bit flat and the flavors fade out quickly for this tea type.

The dry leaves have a nice deep brown appearance and smell of hay, dried fruits, and somewhat biscuity. The wet leaves expand to reveal a very green coloration. They release dark aromas of earth, pure tea, cocoa, and tart berries. They appear in decent shape, although there are a few quite large empty stems. The leaves are, however, very dusty and leave a layer of silt at the bottom of my cup after every steep. Untwisting the the wet leaves, I dragged my thumb across the surface of a leaf and received a fair bit of black specks on the tip.

I suppose my expectations were a bit too high, as this tea just tastes common; there is nothing exciting or unexpected hiding in the leaves. I’m okay with this, though. It’ll give me something to drink when I don’t have time for other complex teas.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C
JC

Feel you on this one. This is very common, now everyone has ‘Da Hong Pao’. Last time I referred to this as ‘Burnt Mi Lan Xiang’ when they have excess of the lower quality stuff and decide to make it in to Da Hong Pao :P

Cody

“Burnt Mi Lan Xiang” is quite an accurate description, JC. Sadly, I’ve had my share of a few teas that seemed to be excess scraps labeled as “Da Hong Pao.”

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I decided it was tea time and I was getting my tea ready when I noticed that my little sampler bag of tea was harder to open. It was the long skinny type and usually there is one serving in there. When I dumped it into my press it really started to look like two servings in there. Maybe it just looked like that because the leaves are so fluffy. I brewed it anyway for one minute and then poured it into my TARDIS mug to take downstairs with me.

The liquor was really yellow. I was expecting it to be pale since my other white tea was water-like in color. It smells like a flower. I’m not sure what a peony smells like but I imagine this is spot on. I could wear the scent as a perfume.

It tastes exactly like it smells. It is not chemically or perfume-like, but it tastes like a flower. I ate a dandelion one time and the way this tastes reminds me of that texture.

I’m not sure if I actually like this or not. I get the mouth feel of chewing a flower and it smells like a flower but it is tea. I can see why people like using it as a base for flavored teas. I bet this would add a lovely texture to other flavors. I can imagine making a really good vanilla cake tea out of this.

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Well, since there’s no way I’m drinking this, I tried cooking with it. I infused butter with some of the leaves and brushed it onto a spaghetti squash to roast. Then I added a bit more in there, and tried it that way. Couldn’t take it.

I ended up making avocado sauce too (lemon juice, garlic, avocado, salt, pepper) and that went along even better, though the raw garlic is pretty strong.

I just don’t like the smokiness. I am going to try it with meat instead, maybe spaghetti squash isn’t savory enough for me to enjoy lapsang (not that it tastes like anything anyway!). I will find a way to make the smokiness enjoyable!

steelhead

I have the same feelings about all the Lapsangs I’ve tried. My alternative is either to pass it on to those who actually like the extreme smokiness or mix with vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup as a BBQ sauce. I’ve also been told that almost all is produced for export. Apparently the Chinese aren’t big fans either.

momo

BBQ sauce sounds like a good use, I’ve seen a lot of people say they use it as a rub. I typically don’t ever make anything that requires one so that may be the way to go instead.

Shmiracles

hah, well, maybe try mixing it with a few other teas? idk. you’ve probably already tried that.
i actually am in love with the adagio Sherlock blend right now, which has Lapsang Souchong in it. but is also mixed with Assam Melody and Oriental Spice teas. I can’t seem to get enough i like it so much!
but ya, a rub does sound yummy.

LiberTEAS

I could not handle the smokiness the first time I tried it too. I couldn’t even handle having the tea in my house, it was so strong. I’ve since learned a better way to infuse it – it does help lighten the smokiness somewhat, maybe if you infuse it this way, it will work for you when you cook? When you brew it, use a method that makes it easy to discard the first infusion … in other words, you’re going to do a “rinse” of the leaves for 15 seconds. I use my gaiwan, but, for cooking purposes this might prove to be a lot of effort since the gaiwan is small. You could also use one of those “smart brewer” type of devices, brew for 15 seconds, discard the liquid, and then brew for 2 1/2 minutes. A lot of the smokiness – especially that dusty smokiness – gets rinsed away with this method.

MegWesley

I’m going to try using this tea in my turkey gravy tonight since I still have my sampler pouch on me too. I will report back to see how that works.

Bonnie

I make a rub by grinding a little with sea salt, black peppercorn, urfa hot pepper (you can use something else). Don’t overdo the tea. I’ve added granulated brown sugar or granulated maple sugar to the rub mix and used both on chicken and fish.

Lynxiebrat

I’ve thought about making the last of the sample I have of the LS and putting vanilla or raspberry syrup in it. Which might make it totally gross, but….it might not.

Terri HarpLady

Momo, I have a recipe Tea Brined 5 spice Chicken. It uses Lapsang, & it was pretty tasty, as I recall. Let me know if you want the recipe.
I’ve been thinking of cooking a pork roast in the crock pot, and using a cup of Brewed lapsang instead of water…

Teavangelical

Or, i can send you some Oh Canada and you can mix them together and drink bacon

Shmiracles

Hahaha bacon!! like like like!

momo

Haha, that sounds good but I know I won’t like it. I just cannot drink this stuff!

Teavangelical

Yeah it’s not for me either. The smell brings back some cozy memories from my childhood but it also is super offputting for me.

Lynxiebrat

I like the smell of smoke from campfires, but the smokeness of this tea…..found it hard to deal with.

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In spite of the fact that I have a gig this morning (I have to leave by 10:30, which is way better than yesterday when I had to leave around 6:00), I stayed up kind of late (“how late?” you ask. “I’m not telling”)
So Little Terri, Theresa, and I were jammin’ with the AX, and IT IS SO MUCH FUN!! We’re already fantasizing about Youtube videos with Little Terri playing Bass on the AX, Theresa playing some percussion toys (yes, I have quite a few of those too), and me playing my electric harp & singing a Janis Joplin number. We’re all gonna dress up to express our personalities, and it will be awesome. Oh, the possibilities!!

I originally got this tea as a sample from Angel@TeaVivre. It was quite tasty, and she was sending me some more samples, so I ordered some more of this lovely tea (along with several other items), and had her package them together. No point wasting shipping costs!

I steeped one T in 8oz @ 195 for 2min. It’s a very gentle Keemun, essence of malt, sweet potato, and roses. It makes me wonder if there are rose bushes planted around the tea plants, but probably not. The re-steep was 3 minutes, and that’s a pleasant cup as well.
It’s not particularly smokey, like some of the Keemun’s I’ve tried, but it is tasty, and that’s the most important thing!

gmathis

Have fun with your new toy!

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87

An interesting tea. Baked, sweetness, with each successive steep providing a stronger and stronger honey flavor. Greener oolongs are still preferred, but I’ll definitely be keeping this around for when I want something different.

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98

Chocolate, honey, sweet potato.. This is good tea.

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83

I prefer Keemuns to be a bit smokier but this is still quite good. Nothing extraordinary, but it hits the spot.

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100

Wow. Tied with Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu for being my favorite tea ever. Strong sweet potato taste. Resteeps well.

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85

Very, very good. Sweet and slightly floral, with each steep becoming more and more floral. I prefer Teavivre’s Milk Oolong, but this really is quite good.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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87

I’ve been away for a bit. However, if anyone cares, I am now a tandem reviewer. With great pleasure and endless frustration, my dear father-in-law is visiting for a few months and will be teaching me how to properly evaluate tea!! He is a fairly well recognized actor who starred in the highest grossing Malaysian movie to date. Nonetheless, he is a kind old man who has tolerated a white devil son-in-law, therefore I hold him in fairly high esteem. He has (of course) been drinking Chinese tea for his entire life (>7 decades). I’ll try to be a good student. Anyway, onto the tea!

I humbly express a huge “thank you” to Angel for the generous samples.

Sheng Ancient tree Puerh

Dry aroma: puerh, not remarkable
Wet aroma: sweet, honey, freshly cut cherry or maple…Pleasant and exciting

Yixing small pot…208F 30-45 sec after two washes (substantial discussions with Chinese grandfather as to the reason, but OK)

First steep: (I’m going to go narrative from here on because the flow, as the tea demand it). The pre-drink aroma was pleasant if unremarkable, but the first sip was oddly delicious and a bit scary. My mind thought, “strange brew”, but I must have more. This is definately Puerh, but Puerh with a funny, not unpleasant twist. I couldn’t put a finger on the curiosity….therefore I had to wake my wife to translate for Mr Lim (my FIL) He did a lot of gesturing and loud talking to express himself. Turns out, he was saying “cats should be grass” “Mao Xu Cao” which translates into Orthosiphonius (Chinese herb). He was quite excited at this point.

The second steep was for three. My wife joined us in the evaluation. This tea is getting stronger and smoother. The partakers are becoming happier. An interesting thing happened at this point. My esteemed Father-in-law began speaking about the goodness, tastiness of the bitterness. I hadn’t noticed much if any bitterness, except for a little bite at the end. What I might have thought as a detriment, my father knew as an attribute…. New way of thinking and tasting….
He is correct. He has experience. I could explain the taste in terms of barkyness or mossiness, but I will simply say that this tea has everything you might expect from a sheng puerh, but it has a significance that appeals to the novice and is noticed by the expert.

This is a tea that should be tasted because it has some uncommon attributes that are exceedingly pleasant.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Bonnie

How lovely to have people at home to drink tea with and who know what to look for. I drink alone most of the time which isn’t best. I hope your FIL has a wonderful visit!

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83

Drinking this straight after a cold third steep of Verdant’s Mi Lan Xiang Honey Phoenix.

I’m noticing that this tastes much softer. The flavors blend and meld into each other. The autumnal taste is more like leaf litter while the other is more like the crisp air of a forest. Yet, in both the honeyed note is clear. Clear but so different. Fascinating.

Today’s been an oolong-y day. Had three different teas, all dark oolongs. I suppose it’s just what I’m in the mood for. I hope it helps my tummy because I feel kinda crappy there. Must sleep soon. Tired. blargh. Long day.

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88

What can I say, another home run from Teavivre. Yet again I am more impressed with the sample than I ever expected to be from the tea I actually ordered. This tea tastes right away of fruit. Peach and apricot making way to a cherry finish with just a touch of fresh cut grass. One thing that stands out when tasting this tea tho is the gushingly wet mouth feel. This tea has no dryness at all making it extremely refreshing as a for a hot tea and I’m planning on trying it iced to see if that wetness carries over. All said its a great cuppa

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 45 sec

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This is a wonderful tea with a creamy smooth textures, hints of butter and chocolate. Really, there is so much more depth to it than that, but I’m not always the best at describing these things. Let’s just say that it is incredibly satisfying today!

I’ve already had a long day. I got up At 5, left the house at 6 for a Gig, armed with a 12 oz cup of this & a 16oz of Shagadelic English Breakfast (tea spot). When I arrived at the Gig, which was the lobby of an office building, I immediately noticed a Starbucks just off the lobby. Now, I’m not a real frequenter of that place, as I don’t drink coffee, although they do have some decent gear for hauling your beverages around. I once had a Tazo iced Chai habit that required me to either stock cartons of the stuff, or visit starbucks often, and as we say in 12 step programs, addiction runs deep. My 12 oz cup was empty and was miraculously immediately filled with a hot soy Chai. It had been awhile, and let me tell you, that was a serious sip down, because in the 10 minutes it took to tune my harp, I had already drank it and started on another one. I nursed that one, and the Shagadelic, throughout the gig. Now I’m home, and just polished off a re-steep of the Yun Nan, & it held up well for a 2nd cup!

Now off to get a massage…I love being self-employed!

Bonnie

Lucky you!!!

Terri HarpLady

Yes, lucky me! But those massages I get are important. Because I play so many gigs, & some of them are pretty long (4 hours), I have to treat my body as if I were a professional athlete. That means yoga, massages, chiropractor, taichi/qigong, free weights. I need to start swimming laps again, I keep planning on it, cuz it’s so good for my shoulders, but it seems like I can never find the time…

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83

Finishing this sample off, and I think this is actually my first Note on it. I’ve been neglectful.

This was my free sample with order. I’m not usually big on jasmine, but I’ve actually been enjoying this one. It’s not as strong and floral. The jasmine scent is pleasant, there but not overpowering, the green tea light and savoury, and mixes well with the floral.

I’d probably keep some of this on-hand for those days that I’m in the mood for something floral, since I already know I like it.

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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Last night I steeped these leaves for one pot of hot tea. Then, thinking about Bonnie’s puerh reviews, I put the leaves in my Bodum iced tea pitcher, filled it with filtered water, and out it in the refrigerator. By the time I was ready for bed, the water in the pitcher was as black as cola and even had bubbles along the sides that made it look carbonated. I decanted the first cold steep and put in more water to see what would happen.

When I got up this morning, the second steep was still pretty pale so I poured a bit in a glass and it was very weak though good. I added a bit of it to that ultra dark first steep.

I tried a glass of that mix, and Oh. My. Goodness. This is the most refreshing thing I think I have ever had to drink in my life. Sometimes a fine white or green tea will have a taste of snow melt to me. This is a whole glass of icy cold fresh pure snow melt with the loveliest aftertaste. Pristine. I really really want to do this some more. This is going to be amazing in summer heat.

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Has anyone else tried this in a gaiwan? I forgot I had it, and so I got it out for some gaiwan steeping.

I also paid no attention to how long it was going. I’m gonna guess 10 seconds for the first steep, because I counted to 15 for the second.

It’s so sweet! I don’t really taste anything other than sweetness in this, but it’s soooo good. Like sparkling sugar.

I ended up steeping this a total of 7 times in the gaiwan. None of the steeps were as good as the first two. I am not sure I like gaiwan steeping for this tea because it loses out on that baked sweet potato taste. I could smell it in the 4th steep at least, although it was very citrusy/orange. But it didn’t translate into the taste at all.

Oh well. I also got a sample of more of this in my last Teavivre order because I wasn’t paying attention at all. But I’ve had this one for a long time so maybe I’ll try that one out with this style of steeping.

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71

So I’ve been hearing so much about gongfu I couldn’t resist trying it for myself. Also, this gives me an excuse to buy more tea hardware. I saw this “easy gaiwan” and just had to have it (http://www.yunnansourcing.us/store/product.php?id_product=128). It’s the same one Daniel Scott has in his icon. I don’t know if I’m ready for the “big girl” gaiwans, so I liked how it had handles and a built in strainer. I’m also using a strainer basket (also from Yunnansourcing) and a random 4 oz cup I found in the cupboard. One day I’ll get a fancy tea cup, but not yet.

Also, to keep the water warm but accessible, I brewed some hot water and put it all into a cast iron pot for me to pour in segments as I type. As you’ll see over the course of my “steepings”, the water got cooler more quickly than I thought. So this is why people get a Zojirushi.

I chose this tea because everyone has raved about it, and I was just “meh” about it. I thought brewing it gongfu style might help “bring it out” more and make me see what all the fuss was about. Also, it has gongfu in the name. How can you not love it??

I wanted to be part of the cool kids so I wrote down my thoughts of each steeping. But since this is my first time, you’ll see my notes aren’t quite so refined. Oh well, it was an experience.

1st steep – I was supposed to throw this steep out as a rinse, but I just don’t have the heart, so I thought I would try it. I got some light chocolatey notes. Also, this strainer basket is great, but where the heck do I put it when I’m done with it? Right now I’m just putting it over my gaiwan upside down, but next time I should bring along a plate of some sort. Oh geez, more hardware. This gong fu stuff sure requires a lot of room. This is what I get for not using a “serving pitcher”.

2nd steep (20 sec) – Used more tea this time. Definitely stronger and maltier. I’m getting notes of toast in here, as well. And I noticed the tea mentioned caramel, so yeah, I can see that. This is very different than the first steeping. Except I didn’t remember to swirl the leaves around in the gaiwain. Should I have? Maybe I’ll do that next steep and see how it goes. Also, I should use less water since this first true steeping spilled a little bit because I’m trying to get it just right.

3rd steep – (40 sec) My water has cooled down a bit. Boo. Don’t fail me now cast iron. This is a little bit smoother – not quite as maltier. I wonder if my water isn’t hot enough. Ah well.. Also, I noticed this was supposed to be 30 sec NOT 40 sec. Whoops.

4th steep (50 sec) – Now my water has cooled down quite a lot, even though my cast iron still feels hot. Why have you neglected me, cast iron? Also, I had my first pouring fail. I thought the lid was on properly, but I went to pour and it wasn’t and I spilled some water. Oh well, cleaning it up wasn’t too bad. The tea isn’t bad, but now it’s starting to have this metallic taste to it. Hmm.. I better drink my water fast so I can do another steeping before my water gets too cold.

5th steep – (1 min, 10 sec) – Need to figure out an efficient way to time these things because looking at my watch and hoping for the best probably isn’t going to cut it. So uh.. I guess the steeping time is right. We’ll hope so. Also, this tea is luke-warm and I’m not really tasting anything besides metallic-ness. I guess I need to break down and go make some warm water from the kettle, which is in the other room #firstworldteaproblems.

6th steep – (1 min, 30 sec) – Okay, so I went back and actually got hot water from the kettle. I steeped this the time allotted, and now it’s kinda bitter and extra metalic. Bleh. I wonder if I messed things up by using luke warm water the last few times. Should that really matter? As it cools though it’s not THAT bitter, but it’s that exciting, either.

Okay, I think I’m done with this tea. I gave it 6 good steepings, but I’m just not going to love it, especially near the end. The gongfu experience was fun, but it’s a lot more work than my traditional western style. I’ll definitely try it on some more teas to try and see what fun I can extract out of them.

Bonnie

I’ve never tried this one gongfu style, just western. I actually think this isn’t one that I’d want to do that way either. Now that you did it, seals the deal.

JC

I would get a regular Gaiwan, easy gaiwan has the preset holes and will let smaller leaves and buds just go out. It was really hard for me to get used to it but now is the easiest way to steep.

As for the tea, I’ve had it for a while. I have this one and the organic version. I’m ‘meh’ about it, It becomes astringent fairly easily in my experience.

Cody

This reminds me a good deal about the first time I tried gong fu! I agree with JC, though, a regular gaiwan becomes really easy and convenient with a bit of practice. Also, when I do more “laid back” gong fu tea, I use a gaiwan, a cup to drink from, and a thermos. I also use another cup to pour the first wash in and if I use a strainer I just place it in the “wash cup” between steeps. You really don’t need all that many items to accomplish a convenient gong fu session.

As for the tea, I agree with the “meh” opinions. I prefer this one gong fu style, but I use far shorter steeps. The metallic flavor tends to be wiped out after the first three or four that way and it becomes quite palatable. It certainly is picky, however. Too long/short of steeps and too cool/warm of water tends to produce poor results.

Terri HarpLady

Ahhh, yes, I remember my first gongfu steepings (they weren’t really very long ago). Thanks for this trip down memory lane, Rachel. I still make messes & burn myself regularly, and I often feel like a mad scientist with multiple gaiwan’s on the counter, alternating between various brews. But it is fun, and it’s TEA!

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95

I am finally off of the chai train. I decided to brew up the last of this tea before breaking into my new samples. It is yummy and I have missed pu-erh. I will probably be nursing these steeps throughout the entire day today.

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97

I woke up craving this. I’ve been slowly sipping on it throughout the morning, and it has been great. This pot seems slightly sweeter than the previous one. Definitely no need for sugar. If I have any complaint with this tea it’s that my sample is gone and I haven’t reordered yet.

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92
Lynxiebrat

Glad some people like it….I did like it at 1st, and thought it might grow on me more….Alas, it didn’t pouts

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My best friend really loves puerh tea and I wanted to have some more today to keep trying to counteract all the holiday food, so I invited her over. Of course, I made apple dumplings to go with it, so how much did it help? LOL!

The instructions on the bag call for a great deal of tea and a rather short steep of 1-2 minutes. I put a bit less tea than called for and steeped it just over two minutes. The resulting tea is rich and dark dark dark – as dark as coffee. But it is oh so good. There is a cedar oil aftertaste to this one that I love.

Bonnie mentions cold steeping her puerh, so I only made one pot with these leaves and then put them in cold water in the refrigerator. It is already so dark! I can’t wait to see how I like it.

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78

Very good green tea, slightly vegetal very little astringency that was very it was also slightly smokey but very pleasant and refreshing, This would be a tea that I would serve to friends who ask for a good Green tea.

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86

Lance tried this one with me because Lapsang is one of his favs he loves the smoky Lapsangs. Lance has had many more Lapsangs than I have and he says this is one of the better ones that he has had.
This one smells nice and smokey when dry and just as good when wet.
The smoky flavor is slightly subtle so its not very over powering but it’s remains for a few steeps, there is little to no astringency to this one which to me personally is awesome because a lot of Lance’s Lapsangs ae stringent to me. This is perfect for a person who wants to try a smoky tea but thinks that Lapsang would be too smokey, It’d Subtly and sweet and a very nice tea :)
2 or 3 good steeps with this one, and thats not bad :)

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