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Recent Tasting Notes
First of all, thanks to Angel for the sample! I have been absent from tea for a while now, but with the cold coming in and a much needed stress release from finals, this hit the spot very nicely to say the least.
This tea is really yummy and goes well with reading. I steeped it for 2 minutes at 205. The taste is light and florally sweet, much like how I like an oolong. I kinda want to say it’s what I think a standard oolong is like, but a good quality. This tea would probably sit well with people who do not normally drink oolong or who do not like overly strong oolong.
I am very patiently waiting for the timer in the kitchen to go ding, yes it goes ding when there is stuff. Today’s stuff is Sushi rice, and by patiently I mean HURRY UP I AM HUNGRY!! While waiting I thought to myself, this is a perfect time for day 2 of Pu Erh week to come into existence.
Today I am reviewing Teavivre’s Ripened Rose Pu-Erh Mini Tuocha. Initially I reviewed this tea about a month ago and stored it in my notebook, but I decided to toss that review out the window (I actually did tear the page out of my notebook) and taste it again using my new Gaiwan. I want to be fancy while waiting for food! The aroma of this little Tuocha is fairly sweet, mixing faint roses with an underlying yeastiness. There are also notes of leather, earthiness, and a touch metallic. It has that slightly fishy ‘Asian Market’ aroma that I associate with Pu Erh (and really is my favorite thing about them) and makes me feel all tingly with anticipation. Time for some fancy Gaiwan action!
The steeped leaves look a lot less like a Tuocha now, as expected, with a little rosebud resting on the top of them, it is quite pretty. The aroma is intense! Rich earthy and mineral notes mixing with leather and heady rose. The liquid (in my little bubble cup, no less) is rosy, earthy, and a touch of that market aroma.
The first steep is a bit bitter, kinda like chewing on leather. It is earthy and rich with delicate notes of rose that smooth out the edges as an aftertaste. The bitterness is not unpleasant, it is not the ‘too many tannins, turn your mouth inside out’ bitter, but the same kind of bitter you find in certain wood. Yes I have chewed on wood, I like tasting random things. It specifically reminds me of oak. As it cools it gets much smoother, almost becoming buttery with a mildly metallic aftertaste.
The aroma on the second steeping is less like leather and more oak and rose, it is very mild and smooth. The taste is also much more oaky and sharp, this tea certainly lets you know it is there in your mouth. There is a slightly mushroom taste as well as a loamy note. The second steep has transported me to an oak forest and that is wonderful.
The third steep’s aroma is bringing in more of the market smell with a touch of underlying sweetness, like pipe tobacco. The taste is a touch milder, still very oaky but with more sweetness, like baked bread and pipe tobacco. Oddly this steep transports me to a Victorian Gentleman’s library, though oddly he has a few roses in his library. The rose sneaks in as an aftertaste and is very subtle.
The fourth is oak and roses and not much else in its aroma. The same can be said of the taste, mostly oak wood with just a hint of roses. There is a slightly metallic aftertaste and a hint of leather as well when it cools.
The fifth and final steep, only final because my kettle is on empty and my rice is almost ready. I am almost positive this tea has quite a few steeps left in it. The aroma is heady roses and sweet tobacco. The taste is very mild, subtle roses, oak, and a hint of loam. As an aftertaste there is a honey sweetness with a hint of roses. I noticed as I was sipping this tea that I started feeling kinda odd, like sitting in a sauna or the like. I am pretty sure this tea is making me sweat out all impurities (does Pu Erh do that?) and it is making me feel refreshed. This was an awesome tasting experience, I certainly must do it again!
It’s been way too long since I had time for a proper tea tasting. After my last note, where I mentioned that a fried was seriously sick, I cough either the mother of all colds, a mild flu, or some combination of the two. I had terrible cold symptoms for over a week, and it only cleared up on the 29th. I couldn’t smell or taste tea properly because of the disease, and the decongestants and fever meds certainly didn’t help me stay awake.
Anyway, today is mostly free, so I’m going to try to work my way through this and maybe another of Angel’s samples today. Thanks again Angle!
I opened the tea and steeped it in my gaiwan for 15 seconds with near-boiling water. The aroma immediately started to fill the room, even though the gaiwan was still covered. It’s a bit overwhelming for me, I’m not used to tea smelling quite that strongly. Regardless, the taste and mouth-feel are both very pleasant. While the flavor of osmanthus is very prominent the vegetal base green oolong is still present to help balance the flavor out. Also, it’s amazingly sweet, much more so than I expect even from a green oolong. The mouth-feel is a nice balance between buttery and the classic high mountain smooth feeling, which works very well with the flavors of the tea to make the experience very relaxing. The whole experience is very delightful, especially after I got used to the aroma. IT wil be very interesting to see how the flavor develops and how long the Osmanthus flavor will remain prominent.
After Action Report
The next two steeps (Because it was really weak after three) were basically characterized by the osmanthus flavor predictably fading faster than the base oolong. By the third cup the flavor was very generic, but most green oolongs aren’t that great beyond 3 anyways, so I guess that can’t be held against it. It’s a very nice tea, it’s just not great.
I’m thinking that I used water that was too hot—at the forefront of the sip there’s a slightly astringent, bold fruitiness. It mellows out until I’m left with a sweet, smooth, malty caramel coating on my tongue. There’s a light floral undertone beneath the sweet that’s quite nice. I’ll lower my brew temp next time to see if I can lessen the acidity. (:
EDIT: Second steep was MUCH better, with the flavors described above, a bit sweeter, and no astringency/bitterness. This would make a wonderful evening tea!
This is another tea from my swap with stephanie
I’ve been in a green oolong mood these days and I have become particular about what I like and don’t like. This oolong is heavy on the creamy texture side, but lacking in complexity of flavor. It was a pleasure to drink nonetheless.
More backlogging! I woke up the other morning and just knew what I wanted to have after breakfast, this tea. It’s the last of my sample for now but I’ll definitely be putting in an order for more, it’s just that good. Dark warm sweet and yet a bit grassy/earthy, it was a wonderful tea to help me on my way to feeling better.
I particularly enjoyed how the natural honey tones progressed from a dark, almost malt like flavor to a lighter floral tone (I think I termed it clover honey in my initial tasting note.) And the slight bit of astringency is a nice touch to cut through the sweet and creaminess of this tea.
First off, thank you to Angel from Teavivre for the free sample. I got this one as part of the Fall give away that Teavivre did back in September and only now have had the chance to actually sit down and try it at home.
Dry this tea smells slightly floral, but it’s more of a fruit flower scent, with definite hits of honey. There is also a slight vegetal aroma but not so much as to make this tea seem astringent. Overall it’s quite a refreshing scent profile with very little bite.
After a quick rinse I steeped this tea for about a minute, and it gave me a clear orange liquor which smelled like sweet cut alfalfa. This first infusion had a rich, creamy and oh so smooth mouth-feel with a complex flavor profile. Earthy and yet sweet with honey notes. Sweet and yet high fruit notes help bring it all together.
The second steep was 2 minutes long and gave off a pale orange liquor. The aroma profile has become subtle with the honey notes now coming though clearer; it almost reminds me of a clover flower. This infusion has the same rich mouth-feel and creaminess as the previous steeping. Flavor wise I taste honey but it’s not as sweet as before, while the fruit notes have turned citrusy; brighter but still earthy.
My last steeping was 3.5 min long and I ended up with a gold-orange liquor that had very subtle, sweet grass aroma. This last infusion had a lighter mouth-feel but was still creamy and smooth. The flavor profile this time was of subtle honey notes mixed in with a bit of grassiness.
I was really very impressed with this oolong, it was so complex but yet so smooth; a wonderful change from other oolongs that I’ve had in the past.
I received a small amount of this one from Heather. :)
This is the best green oolong I’ve had (So far! I have more on my counter!). It is SO lovely. They say there are orchid notes, but I’m smelling freesias. And maybe some vanilla. The tea tastes very green, a tiny bit minty, and extremely floral. The balance is definitely tipped towards the floral, but it’s just wonderful.
It’s currently out of stock on their website, but I have to say I’d never buy more than a sample. This just isn’t a tea that I could drink every day. It’s extremely lovely to try, and I’ll probably re-visit it in the future.
Just started a session of this one. The dry leaf smells like fresh hay. The liquor is a light amber colour and the taste, so far, is sweet with a slight bitter, but not unpleasant, edge to it. It’s smooth and slightly sweet, and I can feel the after-taste prickling on my tongue, a bit like space-dust.
This is another sample received from either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin at one of the NYC meetups. This is quite sweet and floral, but not offputtingly so – I find that some very green oolongs are just too strong on the honeysuckle front, but this one had enough savory and vegetal notes going on to keep things balanced in a way I was able to enjoy. Green TGYs aren’t my favorites, but this is certainly one of the nicest I’ve tried.
This is a nice delicate green – it’s a little bit floral and a little bit vegetal (spinach, more than grass or seaweed) and maybe just very faintly nutty. And I got four solid steeps out of the leaves – the later steeps were more vegetal, but without even approaching the point where I start feeling like I’m drinking leftover spinach-cooking water. I’ve really been enjoying Chinese greens lately, and this is no exception. Thanks to whoever gave me this sample – I’m 99% sure it was either Nicole_Martin or Fuzzy_Peachkin.
This is less mineral and more vegetal than other oolongs I have tasted. I find that it doesn’t taste a lot like milk, but the mouthfeel and aftertaste are kind of creamy. I haven’t had any other milk oolongs so I can’t compare. It is very good but I don’t think I will find myself craving it just because right now I am not liking oolongs as much as I did. I don’t know what happened, when I started drinking them I was amazed that tea could taste like this, but now they are all kind of meh for me. I need something that will knock my socks off!
Another free sample from Teavivre. Thank you. This is the last of the most recent batch of samples I was sent.
I bought a sample of this tea some time back and really enjoyed it, although I did not remember this until I came to write a note about this new sample. Last time I found it to be a powerful, full body experience. So, how does it fare this time around? The initial impression is woodsy and smoky with a strong, pleasing kuwei after a 5 second steep. Further perusal and steeping suggest prunes or muscatel, and hay notes in the aroma, but less so in the tasting. The aftertaste is sweet with a little smoke and a mild astringency. Like last time, I can feel this tea in my legs first and then the relaxation spreads throughout the rest of my body. I avoid getting tea drunk, but the possibility is definitely there. This is still a powerful tea. I reckon it will really help me through the working day.
Flavors: Hay, Smoke, Wood
I bought a sample of this with my last Teavivre order. It’s powerful and I am getting quite the buzz from it. I can really feel the tea’s energy in my extremities. The tea is sweet with some astringency that probably arises because I oversteeped it first off, but I don’t find that to be a problem. There’s a smidgin of smoke at the back of my throat when I swallow too. Overall, it’s jolly nice and just the ticket for an evening’s editing.
This is the last of my free samples from Teavivre. Thank you.
As usual, this tea comprises nuggets of green leaf, ranging from a fairly light green through to dark. They look great. The dry leaf smells slightly milky. When steeped the nuggets unfurl into buds with large leaves attached. The aroma is still slightly milky but with more osmanthus aroma. It is a sweet smell. The liquor is yellow and clear. It looks light and inviting, and smells sweet like the leaves. Tasting it confirms this. It has body (perhaps a light butteriness?) but still remains light and sweet, and the enduring aftertaste is sweet and pleasant. This is a refreshing tea that feels like it belongs in my cup on a hot summer’s day. Shame it is siling it down here now. Given the grey and miserable weather, this tea adds a little ray of sunshine to my day.
Thank you Angel at Teavivre for this sample! My last selection from this bunch of samples.
This is a lovely, floral, green oolong with a hint if creaminess. There is a sweet aftertaste which I am fond of. Overall, very enjoyable
3 tsp of leaf, boiling water, 1 minute
I didn’t get around to a resteep unfortunately
This was a sample sent to me from the lovely folks at Teavivre. Dong Ding (sometimes Tung Ting or “Frozen Summit”) is a very beautiful tea mountain in Nantou county near the west coast of Taiwan. They produce a lot of rolled oolongs in the Taiwan/Fujian style. “Qing Xiang” (清香) means “Fragrant” or “Aromatic”.
The dry leaves lived up to their name with a very pleasant sweet aroma. As expected for a Dong Ding, the leaves are rolled into balls, but somewhat unexpectedly they are many different sizes. Some are quite a lot larger than my usual Dong Ding (indicating a lot of stems, which doesn’t mean anything in itself), while some balls were more like fine gunpowder green tea in size. The variation in leaf size had me on my guard, as such inconsistency can make infusing a tea difficult. The color was a mix of bright green mixed with gunpowder gray, like an evergreen forest in the spring.
The first three infusions did not impress me too much, having a little too green and sharp a taste for my palette. However, as the flavor that was present hadn’t become noticeably weaker I tried a fourth and was very surprised at the improvement. A hint of saltiness crept into the flavor, which changed everything. There was still the bright spring quality, but it became subdued and gentle. The aroma was delicate but unmistakably that of the wonderful sweetness you will find in an oolong withering room. Somehow a bit of cream entered the texture, mellowing the sharpness of the previous infusions. The effect was still there but now it manifested as a dryness on the front of the tongue in the aftertaste, not marring the mouthfeel. My mind wandered away to a green mountainside in Lugu, looking across the lake at the tea fields of Dong Ding. It’s really a reminder that, particularly with a rolled oolong, there can be layers of flavor that lie hidden away behind the initial taste.
A hot rinse of the leaves at the start or possibly beginning with a cooler temperature water might have made for a different beginning entirely for this tasting. Tea is a living creation, and while I love to find a Dong Ding that really wows on the first sip, I very much enjoy a tea that makes me taste and experiment to find its beauty. I’m glad to have had this chance!
(Read the full review here: http://someteawith.me/2013/11/27/teavivre-2013-qing-xiang-dong-ding/)
Thank you Teavivre for this tea sample!
Almost every evening, the sky at the end of my street where the plains meet the bottom of the Rocky Mountains turns radiant! I wander outside regularly with my camera to capture the Cathedral-like stained-glass window array of colors.
Cold winds tumble and dip down to 5000 ft. creating odd shaped clouds that can hover all day in one spot. They catch the setting sun appearing to be an alien spaceship or flat pancakes.
Of all the places I’ve been (Alaska, Greece, Italy, California, Peru and so on) these sky-scapes are the best!
I drank a little tea…this one in particular…and enjoyed the menthol coolness of the leaves when I put my nose close to the gaiwan after a 2 minute steep.
I tasted sweet corn.
Then cool airy menthol with the corn which was refreshing.
The fragrance was floral and corn which I didn’t taste up front, but on my palate as an aftertaste with slight bitterness (not unpleasant), reminding me of lilies.
The term moderately-roasted shouldn’t scare off those who don’t like roasty tea’s. There’s nothing ‘roasty’ tasting about this tea!
What the roast does is bring this Oolong out of the ‘very floral’ tasting Oolong variety but stopping before becoming roasty. (My opinion)
I wouldn’t steep this a long time. 2 minutes after a rinse was very good to my taste.
The reason I wrote about the sky in my neighborhood and this tea is this: When I drink tea, it always makes me a better person in some way if I let it do so.
Before I began drinking tea, I never carried a camera or went out of my way to notice how beautiful nature was unless on vacation.
Tea put my life in the present moment where I have the opportunity to notice what’s around me. Now I notice the sky and so much more!