Teavivre

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Recent Tasting Notes

The processing seems to have treated the leaves well—they look nice and the “roasted” aroma is light and adds nicely to the overall scent. The dry leaf aroma is clean, of dried fruits, and slightly floral. This dan cong reminds me a great deal of Jing’s phoenix dan cong, with higher levels of florals and less pronounced peach notes in the liquor’s flavor. Smelling the wet leaves after the first steep takes me back to my early days of drinking loose leaf teas (Jing’s phoenix dan cong was one of my first). Hints of guava mixed with the regular floral and wood-charcoal aromas. At this point, the leaves are still tightly raveled, but reveal that characteristic green/red/brown coloration dan congs tend to have.

The liquor possesses a nice, light amber/peach liquor coloration, becoming progressively darker into the middle steeps. Always very clear, though. Excellent liquor aroma: sweet, floral, hint of inoffensive charcoal. Body is smooth with faint sparkling characteristics.

When it comes to the flavor, I have noticed that fewer leaves treat the brew better with this tea. When I really load up the gaiwan, I have difficulty finding balance between bitterness and flavor, even with cooler water and extremely short steep times. It was either way too bitter, or there was no bitterness paired with no complexity as well.

Anyway, when the parameters were acceptable, the flavor really shined. The first few steeps were sweet and buttery, with nectar and honey flavors and an aftertaste of peach. Astringency was minimal if steep time was in check, and a nice kuwei, or throaty bitterness, was present in the second and third steep. Yet, as with many dan congs, the infusions of this one become dull, flat, but very sweet, after around the fourth or fifth steep. At any rate, this is certainly one of the better “generic” dan congs.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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I have, “A definitely good hongcha, this one is,” written in my tea journal for one session with this Dian hong. While I can’t comment on my Yoda-esque prose I seem to have adopted that day, it adequately sums up this tea. It’s a mid-grade Dian hong, possessing fair amounts of both black leaves and golden budsets, and it certainly shows in the cup. While I prefer the all-buds Dian hongs, I both enjoy and respect the qualities brought out with the blend. That Yunnan “peppery” flavor often becomes lost with the higher grades or mutates uncontrollably with the lower grades, shows up in just the right amounts in this tea to blend nicely with the strong sweetness and dark, fruity aromatics. For the last session, I used the remainder of my sample, which took up between a third and a half of the gaiwan. It produced a far more complex brew, but most notably intensified the pepper-fruit interaction. I was excited about this, because I am usually unable to receive decent results with a large amount of leaf when it comes to Dian hongs. The texture usually ends up being too thick and muddles the more subtle tones somehow.

The aftertaste and mouthfeel are thick and starchy, giving rise to that “yam-like” perception often received from this type of tea. It’s always something I look for with Dian hongs, and this one does it fairly well. The aftertaste in this one, however, often becomes a bit salty and it if overbrewed at all, it is difficult to get past the maltiness, especially in later steeps when many of the initially interesting flavors have considerably declined in intensity. The liquor is also noticeably murky, but seems to clear up after the first few steeps.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C

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Thank you so much to Teavivre for the ridiculously generous sample pack.

I am still a novice to these straight, quality teas, so I have to write my review of this on a comparison basis.

I have recently come to realize I am a fan of oolongs, though as with most teas I prefer the flavored to the unflavored. I did enjoy the milk oolongs I’ve tried so far, which I don’t think were flavored but yet still creamy and buttery and a bit sweet, which is definitely what I want in an oolong.

An example of an oolong I didn’t like was the Tung Ting Vietnam from Davidstea, as it was super spinach tasting to me. I do not like spinachy tea, so that is to say that I prefer the less vegetal teas.

This one was somewhere in between. So far I’ve only had one steep, I followed the directions and went 2 minutes at boiling, I think 1 minute would have been fine to allow for a stronger second steep. I will give that a try later on.

Steep one at 2 minutes was pretty flavorful. This is not a very sweet or creamy oolong, it was a bit vegetal but not so much so that I was turned off. I am not sure I would order it, however.

I did get samples of the milk oolong (both flavored and unflavored) and I am very excited to try them.
As of now I am incredibly impressed with this company just based on their customer service.

I know they have quality teas, and if I rate my samples in a mediocre way it has nothing to do with the tea and everything to do with my own tastes at this point on my little tea journey. I like that I am slowly broadening my horizons – baby steps!

Glad to try this and looking forward to steeps 2 and maybe 3 :)

I decided to not bother with a numerical rating as I don’t want to bring down the score, as I said I don’t feel I am qualified at this point given my own tastes. Teavivre has a great rep so when I want some good straight teas I know where to go! Thanks again!

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Sample sipdown! YAY!

The leaves on this black tea are really neat. Black with gold tips (it is in the name, so I don’t know why I was surprised) and wiry looking. Really cool.

Dry, this one had honey notes, bakey/croissant notes, a malty aspect, and possibly sweet potato? Yam? Something like that.
Once brewed, it picked up a slight spicy note (cinnamon, but not quite…) which is very interesting. The honey notes have calmed down, and the sweet potato/yam aspect has increased. The maltiness has also increased some. The bakey notes are still present (hooray!) and there is a slight earthiness to it.

Taste – Honestly, I think I screwed this up a bit (doesn’t taste bad, but it is a bit bitter). I forgot about the water in the kettle until it was at a boil, and then thinking “Black tea, boiling water”, I started to pour the piping hot water on the leaves…before realizing it called for a lower temp! Oops. I drained the water out and started over, but I think it had already affected the leaves. That being said, I will share with you what I’m getting from the cup.
So, other than the bitterness, I’m picking up some bakey notes, the sweet potato/yam aspect I found in the smell (it also happens to describe the mouthfeel – this one is almost potato-ish feeling), and a slight spicy aspect that is NOT attributed to the bitterness. I’m also picking up some earthiness and maltiness in the sip.

Luckily I have another sample of this one, so I can try again and hope for better results. This brew isn’t undrinkable, but I fear the bitterness is masking the full flavor profile of it. Holding the rating until I get this right.

Preparation
1 min, 15 sec

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Today, was my first foray into Chinese Gongfu brewing. Thus, it was also the first time I used a gaiwan http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39240-butiki-flower-gaiwan and TeaVivre’s Double-wall Glass Tea Cups http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39708-teavivre-double-wall-glass-tea-cups.

Recommended Brewing Instructions:

Mehtod:
RO water re-mineralized with an Aptera filter http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39532-puregen-aptera-alkamag-water-filter

I selected this tea as I’m very familiar with how it tastes brewing western-style conveniently in a tea mug with a Finum brew basket http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/29177-finum-brewing-basket. This is my regular breakfast tea. I wanted to see how changing the brewing method would affect the flavor.

As this was my first my Gongfu brewing, I had to make do with what we had on hand. We don’t yet have a water boiler http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39783-zojirushi-ve-r-hybrid-water-boiler-and-warmer-cv-dsc40-4-liters or a variable-temp electric kettle http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39130-bonavita-1-liter-variable-temperature-digital-electric-gooseneck-kettle. I used a classic Revere Ware SS Copper-bottom stove-top kettle to boil water, which was then poured into a tea mug with a DAVIDsTEA Thermometer/Timer http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/36677-davidstea-thermometer-and-timer in the thermometer mode. A meat cutting board served as a tea tray/desk for collecting water.

Even though all the teaware used was first rinsed with boiling water, 3oz. of boiling water when first poured into the tea mug with the thermometer immediately cooled to 190℉. (3oz. was simply not a large enough quantity of water to overcome the ambient temperature of the tea mug. Normally, 8oz of boiling water poured into a room-temperature mug will immediately cool to 197-199℉.) Thus, a 10 sec. reheat in the microwave was needed. The water was allowed to cool to 194℉, then added to the gaiwan.

A Teavana Perfect Preset Tea Timer http://steepster.com/teas/teaware/39312-teavana-perfect-preset-tea-timer was used in the count-up mode to control the brewing time. In lieu of a tea pitcher & a matching tea strainer, a heavy Pyrex measuring cup and a small fine kitchen strainer were used.

Results:
Using the Gong-fu method produced a more nuanced flavor profile with enhanced aroma c/w Teavivre’s recommend Western brewing instructions. Steeps 4-6 were a little lighter than the first three. However, they still had more flavor than the 3rd steep using their Western method.

The obvious disadvantage to this method is the time necessary for 6 steeps each of which only produces 3oz. Additionally, since this was my first endeavor with Gong-fu brewing, I was focusing on the procedure and my technique, which somewhat distracted me from discerning the aroma & flavor differences between these two techniques.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 5 g 3 OZ / 88 ML
looseTman

Not having an electric water boiler or kettle with a variable temperature control or presets has definitely limited my exposure to the joys of gongfu brewing. I would welcome any recommendations. Thanks!

AnnaEA

I use an inexpensive electric water like this one http://www.target.com/p/sunbeam-hot-pot-express-32-oz/-/A-14029777#prodSlot=medium_1_10&term=Kettle

It doesn’t have very precise temperature control, but it’s easy to open the lid and look at the boiling plate and see the size and shape of the water bubbles, and if it’s at a full boil or not. It fits nicely on my little side table with my tea stuff, and is easy to refill (I bring a liter of water in a pitcher to the table, and top off my electric pot every few pours, to keep the water from getting flat with being boiled).

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Package label:
“Ingredients: Pure tea buds and leaves
Original Place: Qimen, Anhui, China
Distributor: Teas and Thes (China) Ltd.
Room 3-241, Hui Zhan Nan Wu Road
Xiamen, Fujian, China
www.teavivre.com
Production date: 5/15/2012
Storage Instruction: Store in Airtight, opaque container in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Shelf life: 24 months
Net Wt.: 3.5 oz. (100 g)

Brew Guide:
1-2 teaspoons for 8 oz. of water
Brew at 194*F (90*C) for 2-3 minutes”

Per their website: http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-hao-ya/ this Keemun is a handmade Gongfu process tea that also has EU Organic Certification.

Introduction: Since I thoroughly enjoyed the sample of this Keemun Hao Ya, I ordered 500 g. (See my initial review.)

4/18/13 Western Teapot Technique: 32-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 19 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 194*F (90*C) – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
6 Tevanna teaspoons (1.5 tsp/cup), without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a wonderful mild smoky fragrance as well as a fruity fragrance that reminds me of red wine.

Vibrant copper hue

3-min Infusion: It’s a creamy smooth, well-balanced, full-bodied breakfast tea with a natural caramel-like sweetness, a fruity / wine-like flavor, and a finish that leaves you with a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for an extended period of time. It’s truly outstanding!

2nd Infusion:
4-min: Initial taste – another minute was needed
5-min: Yes, the 2nd 32-oz. steep was as enjoyable as the first! Just a tad lighter.

Impression: This premium-grade Keemun, clearly sets itself apart from “Keemun Panda #1” in that it is certified organic, provides a natural caramel-like sweetness, and a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for such an extended period of time.

Congratulations to Mr. Jiang, the tea farmer responsible for this superb Keemun!
“He and his workers are well known to produce some of China’s most sought after Keemun teas, illustrated by their Keemun winning gold medal for best tea at the Shanghai World Expo.”

This is our first TeaVivre black tea and it’s provided a wonderful first-impression. Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea should not be missed! – A truly exceptional Keemun! Very well done!

Thanks to TeaVivre and Angel for providing the original free sample.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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Sample package label:
“Ingredients: Pure tea buds and leaves
Original Place: Qimen, Anhui, China

Distributor: Teas and Thes (China) Ltd.
Room 3-241, Hui Zhan Nan Wu Road
Xiamen, Fujian, China
www.teavivre.com

Brew Guide:
Brew at 194*F (90*C) for 2-3 minutes
Free sample not for sale

Per their website: http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-hao-ya/ this Keemun is a handmade Gongfu process tea that also has EU Organic Certification.

Introduction: Kevin @ The Whistling Kettle first introduced me to Keemun tea: http://steepster.com/looseTman/posts/152917#likes I’ve purchased several pounds from him and have thoroughly enjoyed it. When I saw TeaVivre has four Keemun teas from which to choose, I knew I would have to sample at least one of them. But which one should I choose?

This TeaVivre article http://www.teavivre.com/info/guide-to-choose-high-quality-keemun-black-tea/ explains the differences about three different grades of Keemun teas in great detail. Additionally, TeaVivre also offers an Organic Superfine Keemun Fragrant Black Tea http://www.teavivre.com/keemun-fragrant-black-tea/.

Technique: 8-oz water with total dissolved solids (TDS) of 19 ppm, heated to 212*F and allowed to cool to 194*F (90*C) – verified with DAVIDsTEA digital thermometer.
2 Tevanna teaspoons, without sweeteners, milk or cream.

Results:
This tea has a pleasing mild smoky fragrance as well as a fruity fragrance that reminds me of red wine.

Vibrant copper hue

2-min Infusion Initial Impression: The taste is rich and creamy smooth. It’s not at all bitter or astringent. (I then let it steep for an additional minute.)
3-min Infusion: It’s a creamy smooth, well-balanced, full-bodied breakfast tea with a natural caramel-like sweetness, a fruity / wine-like flavor, and a finish that leaves you with a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for an extended period of time. It’s truly outstanding!

2nd Infusion:
3-min: Initial taste – a longer infusion was needed
4-min: Improving
5-min: It’s a creamy smooth tea with a natural sweet flavor and a finish that leaves you with a wonderful full mouth feel that lingers long on the tongue. – Yes, the 2nd steep was as enjoyable as the first!

Impression: This premium-grade Keemun, clearly sets itself apart from “Keemun Panda #1” in that it is certified organic, provides a natural caramel-like sweetness, and a wonderful full mouth feel, which lingers on the tongue for such an extended period of time.

Congratulations to Mr. Jiang, the tea farmer responsible for this superb Keemun!
“He and his workers are well known to produce some of China’s most sought after Keemun teas, illustrated by their Keemun winning gold medal for best tea at the Shanghai World Expo.”

This is our first TeaVivre black tea and it’s provided a wonderful first-impression. Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea should not be missed! – A truly exceptional Keemun! Very well done!

Thanks to TeaVivre and Angel for providing this free sample.

Preparation
3 min, 0 sec

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After a weekend of overindulgence in Easter goodies, a straight green just seemed like the right thing to do. I like green tea, but still haven’t found my “go-to.” I’ve tried a few different Dragonwells and although everyone seems to love it, it hasn’t grown on me. So I really wanted to give it another chance and brewed this top-of-the-line sample.

And it tastes…salty? I’m getting a chicken broth-like flavor that makes me feel like I’m drinking soup. As it cools the vegetal flavor comes through, but it’s still quite savory. I can tell this is a quality tea, but sadly I have to face the fact that I must be the exception and Dragonwell is just not for me. Ah well…no use mourning when there are so many teas out there waiting to be discovered. The search continues!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec
TheTeaFairy

Thank goodness there is tea to make tummies feel better :-)

Alysha

Yes, I love that there is a tea for almost everything!

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I have had this tea for awhile now, I must have swapped it to someone too? I don’t know. I think everyone’s notes about it threw me off. I do recall one about how we Americans probably have palates more suited for stronger tastes than the nuances of this. Anyway, first I made sure I didn’t touch the leaves and just popped them from their inner bag into the infuser.

I definitely smell honey in the liquor, the color of this tea is even reminiscent of honey.

It tastes slightly sweet, not too sweet for something coated in honey though. There’s a lot of minerality to this TGY. And then in the middle of drinking it I left to meet up with JoonSusanna so now it’s cold, and it still tastes good.

Decided to give it another steep because how can you not with an oolong….but I oversteeped badly so maybe next time.

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drank Blueberry Fruit Tea by Teavivre
6 tasting notes

Love this tea. It does not disappoint.

1st steep: I used the recommended 3-4tsp/ 8oz, but only steeped for about 1-1.5 minutes. It had plenty of flavor. Stopped the steep short because the color was so intense. Taste: lots of grape and black currant, a little less blueberry. Just a tiny bit of tartness- perfect. I too was expecting it to be a lot more tart (and I generally do not like very tart tastes).

Second steep: went a bit longer (maybe 3 minutes), and added a lot more water. Still had a lot of flavor. Slightly less grape, blueberry coming through more. Still really good.

I think I could have easily gone for a 3rd steep, as there was still a lot of flavor in there. I may try to do so tomorrow.

Without having tried it yet, I do think this would taste good either hot or iced. Also, due to its fruitiness, I think this would be an excellent introduction to tea/tisanes for the younger crowd.

I was surprised that the grape and blueberry worked so well together. Grapes are such a strong flavor, I expected them to be overwhelming. But they were not. Perhaps it was the addition of the black currant?

If I has any kind of skill in the kitchen, I would probably try to incorporate this into baking somehow. We are so used to the same old regular flavors like blueberry, and this is definitely different, in a good way :)

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(Received this in a swap 5 months ago, but for the life of me I can’t remember who sent it! For that, I apologise, generous giver.)

I like to call this the “hippopotamus phase” of pregnancy—I’m 38.5 weeks pregnant which means that baby could arrive at any time… so they tell me, I’m not going to hold my breath though, considering my daughter was born 3 days after her due date (I was in false labour though for 2 days, fun times!)—since I’m very large and cumbersome and everything seems to annoy me, especially my 2-year-old. If I could, I would spend all my time at a swimming pool or spa, just floating my girth in weightlessness (I can see why it appeals to hippos). Instead, I’m stuck indoors with my tot, who is at the “Why, Mamma?” stage wherein everything I ask her to do requires an explanation. Also, here in Regina, SK, Canada we’ve received a record amount of snow… more than 6.5 feet. It’s supposed to be “spring” but the snow just keeps on falling and not melting, also not conducive to diminishing my grumpiness.

So, I drink tea… a) in order to appease my doctor and get more fluids in my system and b) because it’s still #$@*ing snowy outside and I crave comfort. Tea = liquid comfort.

This tea reminds me a lot of DAVIDsTEA’s Nepal Black, in almost every way: malty, easy-drinking without anything added, slight honey undertones. The only difference would be it seems to be slightly more astringent, but then again I brewed it with slightly too hot water, so that might have something to do with it! It’s delicious though. Delicious in a pure, unadulterated kind of way… plus, when I drink it without milk or sugar my daughter doesn’t feel the need to down my entire cup when I’m not looking. Because sometimes… you don’t want to share.

Preparation
195 °F / 90 °C 3 min, 0 sec
Kittenna

Ooooh, hopefully new baby arrives soon, so you can feel less hippo-like! (And instead, get no sleep?) Haha :)

Lala

I hear you on the snow part. Lousy smarch weather! Hope your baby comes soon!

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Another puerh sample that my husband go into when I wasn’t around. He reports that it was very good. Being a 2012, it would be fun to get some more to age awhile. Fortunately, I have one more sample, so will report later.

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Sipdown!
This is lovely Jasmine white. Some jasmines have a soapy flavor, probably because they are artificial, but this one is very nice, not too heavy on the jasmine, with a sweet & clean flavor. I shared it with a student, & she loved it so much that I gave her the last bit of it, enough for another cup, to enjoy at home.

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This is a beautifully fragrance white tea. The flavor is delicate, as white teas are, & the Jasmine scenting of the leaves is quite aromatic, but in the flavor it is not overpowering, but rather balanced. I’ve been working in my office all morning, (I can actually see part of the floor!), the this tea provided a nice relaxing break.

Thank you to Angel & TeaVivre for this sample, which was very generous! I’ve drank it a few times, & still have enough for at least one more session!

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I’ve been rummaging through my samples, & realized I still had this one from TeaVivre that I hadn’t tried! Thank you Angel!

I’ve been working at my desk, I’m really trying to get caught up on so many things: phone calls, bill payments, organizing crap, etc blah blah. I booked a gig while I was sitting here, I also booked a gig for one of my advanced students. I’m looking for a cellist & flute player to do a wedding with me, etc.

Throughout all this, I’ve been sipping this delightful tea. It’s delicate, but not flavorless. The heady aroma of Jasmine, the sweetness of silver needle white, and a certain buttery quality. A very soothing & gentle tea to help me relax while I play the entrepreneur/office manager.

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