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Recent Tasting Notes
Heh heh heh. Hee hee heeeeee. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! ANOTHER CONVERT!
Last night was Writers’ Group night at my house and copious amounts of teas a are always consumed. The writers range in age from 16 to 68. Lots of the young people are getting into good tea and that makes me happy.
One of the college students brought his mother last night. We had met only once before but I knew she was interested in trying some good loose leaf tea. She drinks flavored Lipton and Celestial Seasonings and told me that she is not very adventurous when it comes to food and drink. I let her smell several different puerh teas, which drew a rather deadpan expression and “yes, it really does smell….earthy.”
So what did I do? I gave her the tea that scares a lot of hard core tea drinkers! Puerh!I set up a bamboo tray on the floor by the Christmas tree. We had Jasmine Silver Needle first to get her feet wet, and she liked it. Then I cleared away, got a new pot out and started this.
She liked it best! And says she is bringing a young lady with her next time who is also eager to try new tea. She liked the creaminess and natural sweetness. I have another lady coming Monday who had tea with me a couple of months ago and now she wants her adult daughter to get into it. Loving all these padawans!
Also, every like and comment I have made on Steepster today has disappeared, so maybe I typed this note in vain….
I am feeling particularly blessed this weekend. I don’t know why other than that I have taken time to think about it. I am feeling more energetic now and more like myself since all the surgeries. I have family that I really enjoy being with. I have a miniature farm in my yard, and I always wanted a garden and chickens and a good dog. We have good food to eat, and lots of desserts right now because it was hubby’s birthday over the weekend. I have nice people in my life like K S, whom I have never seen face to face but who sent me some of this tea because he knew I loved it and it is sold out. There is a lot to be thankful for, and that is only the beginning.
I think I really started feeling this way when we had our birthday dinner and had tea afterwards. First, my son’s new-ish girlfriend wanted to try Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, and she loved it. Then I found out that my son, who used to hate ALL tea, has gotten her drinking puerh, and when he asked if we could have some after dessert I was thrilled. It is so peaceful to me to sit around the table or even on the floor with a kettle and make steep after steep of a good puerh, filling and refilling the cups. And this time, we were joined by…YOUNGEST DAUGHTER! Yes! She gave up sugar and milk in her tea a couple of months ago, and is now trying lots of new kinds and broadening her horizons. And she liked it!
This is the puerh I usually gave people who were drinking it for the first time. It has the trademark characteristics found in most shu – horsiness, earthiness – but none of the bad traits like fishy odor or bitterness. The creamy cedar note in this one is what endeared it to me so. You get the rich earthiness with the aroma of horse barn – mmmmmmm! – and then that bright spot that still manages to be mellow.
Something about drinking puerh with family and friends feels like an extra special bond to me.
I have much to be thankful for.
Someone I knew many years ago has been back in touch and had expressed an interest in trying puerh tea. She came today to get some eggs so we sat down for a quick gong fu session before she had to head out of town.
When people tell me they don’t really like tea or that they are afraid of puerh, I like to start them with this one. It is just so good and smooth and sweet! She really liked it and wants to know more. This is probably my all time favorite puerh.
She told me that her son-in-law has a Yixing but she doesn’t know what he drinks, just that he grew up drinking tea and his mother was very much into natural remedies and such, so I got a handful of Teavivre samples together and sent them with her for him to try,an d I am sure he will share a cup or two with his mother-in-law! I can’t wait to hear how he likes the teas I sent. I love introducing people to Teavivre. :) They are amazing!
A dear friend from Charleston is in town and I picked her up to have lunch with me today. She has mentioned in the past that she really only likes sweet iced tea but I knew she has never tried any unusual or high quality loose leaf teas. So I made lemonade to go with lunch but asked if she would like to try something special for after, and she was game.
Guess what? She loved it! I used my small porcelain teapot and resteeped about eight or nine times. She was so surprised that the tea didn’t need sugar. I made it really strong, which is how I like it, because she said she likes her coffee strong. The first steep was pretty dark but I didn’t do a rinse so the leaves were not opened up all the way.
I had added about 1 1/2 teaspoons of loose tea to the pot and just set the Krups pot on the table. Yes, the water is cooling the whole time, but I have never found it to adversely affect the taste of the teas I do this way.
The second steep was nearly black and had a lovely earthy flavor. No horsey, no fishy, no shrimpy. The cedar oil taste is my favorite part of this tea.
The last steeps were medium dark and the cedar flavor was joined by a pristine mineral taste like primordial dew. Oh my goodness, I love this tea. I keep watching the website because it has been out of stock for a while, but I will positively be ordering more when it comes back.
This is my favorite puerh without a doubt. If I have a new guest coming to tea and they say they already like and drink tea, I often serve Harney’s Paris or some other flavored black that I feel is a sure thing. If they say they drink coffee and don’t really drink tea or know anything about it, they get this!
A few days ago, a lady I haven’t seen in five years posted that she needed feed bags for a project. I offered her mine and told her to stop by when I have time for tea. She said she didn’t really drink it and to surprise her with something unusual and adventurous. I made this!
When she arrived she told me that she normally took her coffee with milk and sugar, and that was how she had tried her grocery store greens that she dumped out. But she tried this puerh with nothing added and nearly swooned. She loved the cedar-y flavor, the smoothness, and the creamy mouthfeel. We had about eight steeps and honestly, I think the last was my favorite. We swished it around and such a sweetness and bright yet mellow flavor was there. It was pure delight.
This is one of the teas that must ALWAYS be on hand.
My son, my godson, and my son’s girlfriend all came to stay for the weekend, and my son asked if he could grill and invite a friend he knew from church. The friend asked to bring several family members and it ended up being a really fun day with some really nice folks.
Hubby does not eat cow because he doesn’t like the texture of beef, so I was pretty happy that my son was grilling portobello mushrooms to serve like burgers. They were delicious!
While we were waiting for the food to be ready, I started talking to the two young ladies, who turned out to be very curious about TEA! Yay! We talked and talked and talked about tea, and when they said they were adventurous and had never heard of puerh, I decided we had time for a gong fu session with this lovely tea.
The first steeps were inky black, because I like my puerh strong! I did not rinse and we started with one minute steeps or perhaps a little longer. They said they could detect the aroma of mushrooms, and had a lot of fun experiencing the changes in color and taste of the tea. We got seven good steeps before the color and flavor had weakened too much to enjoy.
I have invited them back since they were interested in lots of different types of tea. I hope they will take me up on the offer!
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.
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.
I ate way too much from the snackie plate at writers’ group tonight and my tummy was not pleased. I had one guest and her daughter still here and asked if she would like to try some puerh. She likes a lot of different foods – more than I do – and experiments a lot when cooking, so she was game!
We only made two steeps of this, but that was enough to make my overstuffed belly start going again. My guest liked it a lot, said it tasted like leather (good for her!) and noticed the oil in this one. I love that about this puerh – the “cedar beams polished for a hundred years” coating that forms on your lips and in your mouth.
In spite of all this caffeine in all this tea, I am being lulled to sleep by all the L-theanine.
Wheeee! My tea arrived from China! It was rather awkward, too.
We have a digital keypad lock on the front door, but my son forgets since he moved out after we installed the new one and still locks the knob, thereby locking himself out. He told me he was going to his car to get his iPod cord, so when I heard a knock at the door I thought he had locked himself out again. In a silly, high voice, I said, “Who is it?” a male voice said, “Mailman.” I said it again, thinking my son was playing around. Again, “Mailman!”
I opened the door to let my playful, funny son in, and….it was the mailman. I was so embarrassed. He wanted me to sign for my Teavivre package. LOL! I hastily explained as I signed, but he didn’t seem overly amused. :)
So now, I made a big pot of puerh to share with my son this morning because I don’t have to hoard the last of my sample anymore! I can have all the puerh I want.
I put three teaspoons of tea in my 22 ounce Beehouse pot, poured boiling water over, and steeped 4 1/2 minutes. Second steep at five minutes is every bit as good. If anything, the rich, polished cedar beam taste is more prominent. This one is only lightly horsey and not fishy at all. Second pot is almost all gone, and I plan to make a third steep. Excellent tea!
This is a free sample from Angel and Teavivre. Many thanks for sending me this new tea love.
I had a guest today who I don’t know terribly well. It is someone I knew briefly when I was young and have only seen once more in the past thirty years. This gentleman and I have become Facebook friends over our love of dogs and he asked if we would be willing to dogsit his new puppy on Tuesdays. Today was a test run to see if the puppy and my Sam would get along (they did) and he said in advance that he wanted to try some of that tea I talk about on Facebook!
He has only had Lipton tea and said he drinks it with milk and sugar. I have found puerh to be a safe bet with people who love coffee, as long as you give them GOOD puerh. We pulled out the gongfu set and began.
He listened to my spiel about puerh, then sipped. His surprise was undisguisable. Right away he told me he liked it, and it didn’t need any milk or sugar. He loved how smooth it was, saying that he thought tea was drying, and this one wasn’t! We drank cup after cup, and made steep after steep. Several times he stopped talking about other things to comment on the tea. I must say it seemed uncommonly good today.
I don’t have a lot of this left, so I really need to finalize my order so I can get a big bag of this in. I have been waiting for my new samples before I place the order because as sure as I go ahead and order I will find more in this new box that I have to have some more of!
Right now, this is my “puerh I must have on hand.” Delicious, polished ancient cedar beams, thick mouthfeel, wonderment!
I am still in ecstasies over this tea! I shared several steeps with hubby tonight. Everyone’s tastes are so different. Hubby says he still prefers the Ripened Aged Puerh Mini Tuo Cha from Teavivre, while this one is positively transporting me! I am eager to get my son’s opinion when he comes home this weekend. I hope I can sleep – this is an awful lot of tea at bedtime! O.O
I saved this sample from Teavivre so I could share it with a friend who loves puerh.
Oh my goodness. I think this may be my favorite puerh to date. I didn’t know anything could unseat their Ripened Aged Mini TuoCha, but I think it just happened.
The first sip of tea transported me to a cathedral built of stout wooden beams that have been polished lovingly with Murphy’s Oil Soap. There is the scent of clean wood mixed with a sense of antiquity here. And after the sip my mouth is cool and tingling! The warmth of the dark puerh flavor transforms into sunshine in the mouth!
Because we were conversing, I didn’t get to give this all the attention I could have, but I have enough to drink again, and again, so I can try to be even more detailed. This is indeed a puerh fit for an emperor in my book. Definitely ordering this one.
Thank you, Teavivre and Angel!
This is the last of my teavivre samples, and unfortunately my least favourite. I am a tisane fan most of the time, and I love me some good fruit blends, but there was something in this tea that I did not like at all. I’m guessing it was the roselle. I found this tea to be almost unbearably bitter. I brewed it as per the package instructions for about 10 mins, and am thinking that was probably too long. I found the bitterness really overwhelmed the other fruit flavours, so I can’t comment on the rest of the blend. I will have to try again and brew for less time, but my first impression is not great, as I couldn’t finish it (a first for me…). I will try again before giving it a numbered rating, and I hope that it was just a brewing error. If not, then I guess I shall stick to what teavivre does so well, its greens, whites and oolongs!
Uh-huh! Did you see what I just did there? I clicked “Add to Cupboard!” Because I got my Teavivre order! (Well, actually there is another one already on the way, and on Saturday I am ordering that Silver Jasmine Green tea that will be on sale but let’s not talk about that, shall we?)
I have had three monkey picked oolongs – one from thinkgeek, one from Teavana, and this one. This one is the best. Nuff said.
Back logging: This is – oops, make that WAS – a sample provided by Angel and Teavivre. I finished it today but the full pouch is on its way and I intend to drink the heck out of it!
I have had three Monkey Picked Oolongs and this is my favorite. The others were Teavana’s and thinkgeek’s, both of which were very good. Teavivre’s has a little something extra, though. That deep baked flavor of fruit, sugared by Maillard reaction is front and center and just makes this such a rich, warm tea.
I am very glad I will be clicking Add to Cupboard very soon!
I think this was my favorite tea of all the ones we drank today. I was still eating my peach dumplings when this one was poured and my first sip made me grrrrowl with happy tea pleasure. Wow, this was extra good today. Sigh. Another one for the next order.
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre for the generous sample. It was ah-maz-ing!
It was hard to move onto another tea after enjoying Teavivre’s Jasmine Silver Needle so much yesterday, but I am glad I tried this today.
Sometimes Tie Guan Yins are a little….harsh…in the aroma to me. This one is much smoother than some I have had. The first impression is of a dark, baked scent, not smokey, not ashy, not harsh, but comforting, like your grandmother’s iron skillet has some slow roasted delicacy in it, an exotic vegetable that has been cooked low and slow to develop wonderful dark tasting sugars and caramelize. The taste is growing more fruity as I sip, with a hint of the frosty note I find in some white teas. This is a monkey picked to love!
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre for this wonderful sample!
After my last tasting of this wonderful brew I iced the remainder for the next day. As I looked at the beautiful color through the Mason Jar I thought this tea would be a perfect candidate for cold-brewing. I put the two jars side by side as I watched the slow process of cold brewing. The darker iced and the lighter cold-brewed. I brewed this for several days and the result is stunning. The aroma and flavor are on par with some of the finest teas I have ever had. Period. Flavors of citrus and pineapple and, ahem, cannabis. I beg you to try this one. One teaspoon and let it brew for 3 days and wham. A sensory delight.
This is my first tea other than Lipton in many days. All through Memorial Day weekend I was feeling fluish. Sick. I had know idea how sick I could get. Finally on Wednesday I called my Mother and she took me to a doctor. When he took my blood pressure and it was 50 over 35 it was off to the emergency room. After explaining my pains, the nurse asked me if I was bit by a tick. I said yes. According to my symptoms they treated me for Ehrlichiosis. The IVs went in and it was 5 days of intense fever, coughing and body aches from hell. This is my first good tea since then. I am sipping it slowing. I will comment more in depth later when my sense of taste returns. In the meantime, this tea has made me feel so much better.
This was the second tea I served to my guest yesterday, a lady I met about 25 years ago but never really got to know as we saw each other only rarely, and briefly.
She liked it very much and said she liked the puerh better, which really surprised me. Then she explained that this tea was delicious, but she knew she would only drink it when she felt very stressed and needed something to help her calm down. She wouldn’t consider it an every day tea, and I understand because I use it in just that way.
So she liked it very much, liked the ouerh more for regular consumption, and here is a spoiler….The tea she really flipped over was Yunnan Dian Hong – Golden Tips.
She said she did not consider herself a foodie and felt that she is an old fashioned cook, using just a few spices that her mother used and not exploring new things. Yet she was spot on with all of her descriptions of what each tea smelled like, how it tasted, what it would be good with. I think we have a potential hardcore tea addict in the making!
Pretty big surgery yesterday. Morphine button a bust – turns out morphine just makes me violently ill. Went painkiller free other than essential oils on my feet and this tea, sent up in a JoeMo by youngest daughter. This tea takes me to my happy place. It really helped me relax and soothed my throat which was irritated by the throat tube. Best of all, having a familiar and beloved tea made me relax, which means hurting a little less. Two containers were sent up, and eldest daughter drank one and loved it. This was her first time having it but I have a feeling it wasn’t the last.
This is one of my favorite teas, and it has only been a few years since I thought I would never be a let o detect flavor in white tea. This one is full bodied and creamy, and the jasmine is absolutely perfect. My best friend tried it and had to have it so she has been buying it for a while and I just gave her a pouch of it for Christmas, and a lady who only just discovered a love of tea here at my house just had to have it and had me order two pouches – one for her and one for her mother for Christmas.
Try this tea at your own risk. You will want to keep it on shelf at all times.
The lady I had not seen in about five years who came for tea last month wanted to come again. She was picking up feed bags for a Pinterest project. Of course, I wanted to serve tea again because she was so stunned at how good the high quality tea tastes last time! I chose this one for today because she mentioned that she and her mother were interested in tea for the health benefits.
Twice now I have had trouble getting people to understand that white tea is higher in antioxidants than green. They keep insisting on green because of all the articles they have read. As I served this one I read the description and details from the Teavivre website. She was very excited when she heard the part about antioxidants.
We tasted the tea and she declared it to be the best tea she has ever tasted in her entire life, and asked me to order one bag for her and one for her mom. She even stayed for a resteep of the pot and we finished that one, too.
This is one of those teas that would be in my shelf if I ever had to have just five teas. (Gasp!)