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Recent Tasting Notes
A friend invited me over for brunch and conversation today. I asked if I couldn’t bring anything and she said no, then changed her mind and told me maybe I could bring some tea since she had heard a lot about it. I chose this and Genteel Lady and thought we could either choose just one or try both.
When I was taking the teas out I asked if she drinks green tea and she said no. She didn’t like green tea. We tried Genteel Lady first but she kept looking at the Jasmine tin. Then she decided to just sniff it. Then she decided perhaps she could just try it.
She could not get her face out of the cup! Sniffing and sipping, over and over. Once again, I find myself placing an order with Teavivre from someone who has fallen in love with their tea! And a green, at that! Hooray! The tea-vangelist strikes again! :D
I always know that a treat is coming when I reach for a Teavivre tea. Even when the tea isn’t of one of my preferred types, I consistently admire Teavivre’s rendition of it.
Oolong is one of those types that I don’t pursue or drink often, but I’m always willing to entertain new attempts to make me a fan.
I love the title of this tea. Is it really picked by monkeys? Do monkeys drink tea or eat it? Those are questions that will have to be answered another time. Now, on to my sampling of this tea…
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for three minutes as Teavivre suggested. The brewed beverage was a light greenish yellow in color.
Brewed and unbrewed, the aroma was grassy and similar to some milder green teas that I tried.
The taste of this tea was sweet, grassy, and fresh. The flavor was very light and smooth, yet full. There was no bitterness and it seemed to go down my throat extremely easily. In fact, I had to restrain myself from chugging it a few times. It is one of those teas that I ENJOYED drinking.
This is simply another perfect tasty tea from Teavivre. I’m not sure if I’m an Oolong fan yet, but I am DEFINITELY a fan of Oolong tea.
In case you are wondering about all of my glowing reviews of Teavivre teas, I need to specify that I am not affiliated with Teavivre in any manner. I am not obligated to write tasting notes (positive or negative) about these teas. I’m also not compensated for my Teavivre tea tasting notes whatsoever, other than the prior receipt of these wonderful samples for which I am extremely grateful.
I personally consider all of Teavivre’s teas to be among the top of the best that I’ve tried during my 10 months as a Steepster. The Monkey Picked (Ma Liu Mie) Tie Guan Yin Oolong Tea has only reinforced my assessment!
Dry Leaf:Has a sweet vegetal smell.
Wet Leaf: Has a warm floral aroma with a sweet aroma.
Liquor: Is a yellowish color.
Taste:Has a sweet floral taste with a vegetal flavor in the background. The broth feels rich and thick in the mouth.
Overall Opinion: I give this a score of 90.I think this is a good tea for someone that likes a lighter tea with a nice floral aroma.
This sample comes thanks to Angel Chen and Teavivre. I haven’t drank a lot of jasmine white teas before. and I wanted to have this one soon after the Jasmine White Yunnan from Verdant yesterday. Of course, this is a Fujian white and that was a Yunnan white, so I’m interested to see the differences.
One thing that’s immediately different is the aroma of the dried leaf. This one is jasminey, but also with almost a savory note to it. Steeped, all the scents kind of mellow a bit, but I still get an almost herbaceous jasmine quality. The flavor on this is bright, crisp. The jasmine is sweet and leaves a slight honeysuckle aftertaste. I get a slight hay-ish note from the white tea, but overall it’s mostly really bright, leaving an almost tingly sensation in my mouth. It’s a light tea, but it doesn’t seem like it’s understeeped as much as just light in character. This is a very tasty tea, but I do think that the white yunnan was more my style. Glad I got the opporunity to try this one, though!
When TeaVivre offered their latest round of very generous samples, I asked for this one specifically. This is the lowest priced level of the 3 Dian Hong black teas they sell. Even at the low cost this is still a quality loose leaf tea with a fair amount of golden tips mixed in with darker leaf. The dry leaf is a bit malty and has some tobacco leaf scent. I used about 3g (a healthy spoon) and just below boiling water, steeping for 3 minutes in my French press. The liquor is a dark and clear caramel. The wet leaf scent reminds me of brownies. Like baked caramelized sugar and chocolate. (yeah, I know – Yum! Right?)
Comparing this to Golden Tips or Sun Moon Lake is unfair, but I can’t help it as I just tasted tested the latter. So let me get this out of my system – This does not have the wonderful sweet potato notes of the Golden Tips, and it does not have the amazing honey and mint of the Sun Moon Lake. So in this unfair comparison it starts off sounding a little bland. Yet it is $6.90/100g compared to $16.90 and $29.00 respectively. This is a really good tea on its own strengths. It is smooth and malty. I don’t know how this is processed and fired but I detect a light amount of smoke in the cup. That adds character and depth. The cooler the cup gets the more the flavor pops.
At the price point of this tea, having a nice Dian Hong for everyday would be enough. Yet, I haven’t even gotten to the reason I requested this sample. I had a hunch about this tea that I just had to try. I brewed the second cup and poured it over ice. As I suspected, this made a refreshing light glass of iced tea. Where as the mighty Golden Tips faltered over ice, this frugal version took it in stride. No sweetener or lemon required. There was one problem with it – my glass emptied way too fast :)
One last thing, I steeped this 3 times and it was still going strong. Let’s see Twinings do that.
My rating is higher than the others based on the iced tea option.
I wanted to come back to this tea since it really was pretty much the tea that sparked my interest in unflavored black teas. I’ve tried a lot lately and this one has always been in the back of my mind when trying them, but the memory of it was starting to get muddled.
I love the honeyed, caramelly notes in this tea. It’s a bit grainy, and a tiny bit chocolatey, and a tiny bit sweet, but not nearly as chocolatey and sweet as the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls I had yesterday. Still, I need to boost this way up in my ratings because it remains one of my favorites after I’ve tried quite a few varieties. This one really exhibits the honey notes that I like in Fujian black teas.
What a great oolong. I steeped this in my gaiwan using the small packet it came in for about 3 seconds with 1 more second each steep. This tea is thick sometimes and has great character. On third steeping it got very sweet. Like has already been said, it’s light though. it’s like breathing in the breeze that blows through a garden. Very nice oolong and very affordable. I like teavivre more and more every day.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
The scent of jasmine was very noticeable as soon as I opened the tea sample pouch. I love the scent of this flower (more so than others like rose), so I was excited to brew this up and share with my husband.
With the first sip, my worries of an overly scented tea were washed away. I can taste the familiar delicate aroma of white tea and nice hints of jasmine. When I downed the first cup, the tea liquor also made me think of jasmine paired with fresh fruit (like peaches or apples)
The second cup was still quite nice. Jasmine is more prevalent but tolerable. Still no bad flavours such as bitterness.
Third steep was good, but perhaps maybe I steeped it too long. The floral aroma is still going strong, but the more I sip the more I yearn for just regular white tea.
Fourth, fifth, and sixth steeps I am mostly tasting the jasmine aroma. Which I guess helps prolong the flavour of each steep.
Overall I liked this tea but for white tea I still prefer regular silver needle, and for jasmine; the silver jasmine green tea. (Personal bias: I am not a big fan of white teas. They are enjoyable but not my preferred tea.) Teavivre has graciously mailed me quite a bit of this tea, so I will continue to play around with steep parameters to get the best result.
100ml gaiwan, 2tsp, 6 steeps (1min, +1min each resteep)
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
First steep had a chocolate smell to the liquor. Upon drinking it, I am reminded of other wonderful yunnan black teas I’ve tried. It is smooth, velvety, with a deep body and notes of chocolate, flowers, maltiness, and spices.
The second steep continued to strength in flavour and body. I also started to pick up on some caramel flavour and a “woody” quality to the familiar yunnan earthy body.
As I was moving onto sipping the third cup, I kept thinking about how strong the tea body tasted.
Fourth through sixth steeps were great and only weakened subtly with each steep.
The first noticeably weak cup was the seventh. I kept steeping until the ninth just to see (taste) how long it could last. When I short steep this again, I will probably stop on the sixith steep.
This might be a bold statement, but I think this tea is a clear example of black tea done right. It’s smooth, velvety, has a strong body and is full of character. It’s not the best resteeper, but still worth short steeping for an excellent six cups. Out of the five other Teavivre black teas I have tried this is my second favorite (first being the yunnan dian hong golden tips)
100ml gaiwan, 4 balls, 9 steeps (rinse, 30s, +15s each resteep)
Upping the rating. Third and forth steeping are much better. It’s so soothing and relaxing. I had a mug last night when I couldn’t sleep because I was so anxious and it calmed me right down.
I upped the the steeping time on the later infusion and the flavor really came out. It’s still very mellow but much more enjoyable.
I was excited when Angel said this one would be in my next round of samples because I’ve never had a black pearl tea before, but (not to sound like a broken record), since I am getting into Chinese black teas lately I really wanted to try them.
The pearls are so big! Compared to jasmine pearls, that is. They dark with lots of golden streaks and they smell kind of molasses-grainy, but also like hay. I kind of used my perfect teaspoon to dish them out (3 per scoop!) and ended up with 5 pearls for my 12 oz mug, which seems to be similar to what others have used and is in the middle of Teavivre’s brewing recommendations.
My pearls pretty much completely unraveled after two minutes, which I didn’t really expect! Brewed, I smell toasted semi-sweet chocolate, like when there are chocolate chips on the bottom or edge of the chocolate chip cookie and they get a tiny bit burnt. And maybe there’s a bit of that hay in the steeped aroma, too. I am sipping it while it is still too hot for me to taste much of the tea itself, but there is an incredible sweet aftertaste to it. Cooling, cooling… I just can’t help but keep coming back to it before it’s cool enough. Now I’m getting definite sweet chocolate flavors, actually incredibly sweet, which is funny because as I have been smelling the steeped tea I have decided it doesn’t smell sweet at all. But it tastes very sweet, and honeyed, which I love. There’s some other note there coming out now that seems familiar but I can’t place. There’s almost a savory note underneath the sweet note, oddly enough, and it works well.
Love it, love it, love it. I also love that I know that Teavivre has such great prices and quality that I don’t need to shop around for other black pearls. In the end this would probably just be my favorite anyway. Thanks so much for the sample, Angel!
Two years ago, I couldn’t really taste white tea. Even a year ago, white tea was pretty much wasted on me. Now that my palate is less jaded from exposure to super sweet sodas and I have learned to seek the nuances in the cup, I enjoy every kind of tea I have encountered.
White tea is still elusive for me, though, and I try to only drink it when I am alone and can concentrate on what I am tasting. But this one was served at tea party yesterday! My guest, a former “coffee only” person, loved it. I loved it, too, and finished the pot later in the day. Then…something strange happened.
The tea that requires concentration to taste because of its subtlety, haunted me all evening long. The memory of the taste tugged at me, but I didn’t think I should make anymore so late. It is no wonder, then, that the first thing I should do today after breakfast was to make a resteep of yesterday’s leaves.
The resteep is even better! I was afraid I had the water a little too hot, but if I did then I need to do that again! I did not lengthen my steep time, yet the liquor is every bit as golden. The jasmine is even more noticeable to me now, it seems. There is a slight, but pleasant, VERY pleasant, astringency now, so perhaps I didn’t cool my water long enough, but I can already tell that when this pot is gone, I will again be haunted by the taste and memory of this tea.
Excellent! Well done! Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample!
Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!
Ya’ll know I love me some Lapsang Souchong…Amen! (left over accent from living in Texas years ago!…long story…)
When I saw everyone receiving the new samples from Teavivre and chattering about this LS I was so excited! I knew this was going to be quality tea!
Sunday, I was in Happy Lucky’s Tea House chatting with Sam (one of the tea Sommeliers) about Lapsangs. I had him smell the Teavivre dry leaf. He could tell this was good quality. We discussed something that many people (including myself) often forget when considering Lapsang Souchongs. We concentrate so much on the smoke that we forget about the tea leaves. Tea changes from year to year (we know that) and LS is no exception. Smoke should not obliterate the flavor of the tea . That being said, strong smoke can be done by a master with the correct tea. This gave me more to consider.
Last night was one of my pain nights. My bones hurt and my dreams were wierd because of it. I woke up with a migraine and nausea. I had to get up. This happens too often to stop me.
Caffeine helps stop a migraine and my anti-seizure meds help block some of the triggers in my brain like light or weather change that set migraines off.
Strong tea was what I needed and fast! I wanted a great tasting tea too, tea that would brighten my morning and make me smile! I just knew this Lapsang could do that for me!
I brewed a whole 24oz pot Western Style…2 minutes! Ummmm!
The liquor was a rich honey color with a medium mellow, smoky scent.
The flavor of this Lapsang is smooth but not too strong. A medium smoky brew that surprised me right away by reveiling a coolness probably derived from gentle contact with pine smoke. I had not experienced that in a Lapsang Souchong before. There was also a dry mouth-feel and burn on the tip of my tongue. I added some sugar after sipping several small cups straight. The sweetened version was the best.
Then, I remembered some Natural Maple Syrup. I couldn’t help myself…no self control whatever! I poured a small cup and put a teaspoon of syrup in the tea. It was good! (I am imagining several people at Teavivre freaking out at the crazy lady in Colorado who has ruined the LS by putting Maple syrup in it!.. I hope they’re laughing and having a good time with it!…Love you Teavivre!). The maple dripping off my finger…lick, and the smoke of the tea, slurp…I AM CURED!
My own favorite LS from my local tea shop is smokier than this one and has more pine and burn. It is better for cooking because of the extra smoky strength. I made a batch to test side by side at the end of my Teavivre cups and discovered that my local was more layered.
The difference: Teavivre is a refined, lighter and approachable Lapsang Souchong.
My Happy Lucky’s China Lapsang Souchong is stronger with a burnt, smoky sweet pine taste.
You never want to lose the tea in the smoke and Teavivre has achieved that sweet delicious point that you want to come back to.
I continued to drink this tea and nibbled on Whiskey Cheese! I got it at Whole Foods but my local cheese store carries a Whiskey Cheese and you may find others also. IT IS AWESOME with Lapsang Souchong! Sweet and tangy…perfect to pair with the smoke! Any other sweet cheese would go well with a Lapsang too!
Now I want to go camping. Anyone have a tent?
http://youtu.be/57tK6aQS_H0 The Platters, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes ; ) I Feel Better!
Another generous sample from Teavivre!
First, it smells like buttery greens that have been thrown into the oven for a couple of minutes. It tastes very similar with an even more pronounced butter flavor, slightly roasted and slighty vegetal. For a lighter oolong this sure has a lot of heft and body. The second steeping brings out a sweeter fruitier taste. Wonderful oolong and it holds up to many steepings.
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!
I thought I’d start my day by sampling this new player from Teavivre. I have no problem with black and smoky before 9 AM. I could just as easily enjoy a plate of barbecued ribs for breakfast.
When I snipped open the sample package, a wonderful smoky aroma burst forth. I set the tea maker on 195 degrees for two minutes and anxiously awaited the result.
The steeped beverage was a medium gold/orange color. A sweet smoky fragrance wafted from the glass teapot. I would love to find incense in this scent.
Even at my very first sip, the flavor was full, smoky, and slightly sweet. The black tea taste was there but it blended so well with the other attributes that it didn’t draw attention to itself. The overall sensation of this tea is like a cross between a campfire and a delicious plate of barbecued pulled pork.
The smoky flavor is well defined but not so severe that it leaves a prolonged aftertaste. It is a symphony of smoky, smooth, sweet, earthy, and delicious, with no bitterness.
This is another EXCEPTIONAL tea variety from Teavivre. I’ve tried a lot of selections from this company and they have never disappointed me.
HOLY MOLY THIS SMELLS AMAZING!
Dry, the leaves are semi-balled shaped and crumpled, with a rich dark green colour, and it smells soo soo sweet…not cloyingly sickly sweet vanilla or caramel sweet or anything, but a very pleasant sweet.
I followed the directions and used about a tablespoon of leaf which is about 3 teaspoons, and steeped about 2-3 minutes in water that was short of the boil…a little cooler than the suggestion if my meat thermometer was anything to go by.
Wet, the leaves opened up partially, and you can see the little stems, and the leaves are dark green, with a few little red veins in them. Not as sweet smelling as dry, but I’m sure it will be rockin’. I do love me some oolong tea!
It’s still a bit too hot to sip, but I am going to try this one unadulterated first…
See you all Steepsterites in a bit for my follow-up! Thanks to Angel Chen for including this in my current sampler. Two good winners off the bat, I think.
EDIT: I think I’m experiencing “creamy” and “creamy mouthfeel” for the first time with this tea, and I’m still drinking it unsweetened and everything. Joy!!
Ugh, such a stressful day at work…so glad that it’s over…
Anyway, back to the tea, I needed something without too much caffeine, and I have quite a bit of this still sitting around, so why not? I filled up my tea ball a bit more than half way, and let it steep for 45 seconds in 175 degree water. The tea had a wonderful calming flowery aroma, which was just what I needed to unwind. The taste was reminiscent of smooth and delicate flowers, also great for unwinding, and the aftertaste lingered pleasantly on the roof of my mouth for about 40 seconds.
Also, the music I was listening to was a little piece by David Popper I heard on the radio while driving home. It’s called Gnomentanz, or Dance of the Gnomes in English.
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.