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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from yesterday:
These tea leaves are the strangest leaves I’ve ever seen. They look more like those seaweed snacks that are becoming super popular these days. I put them all in my test tube steeper vertically and they went almost all the way to the top. The tea itself was pretty good. I got a few good steeps out of it, but it wasn’t anything too crazy.
this is my favorite so far! i love a nice jasmine tea. this is flavored with peach extract so not overwhelmingly peach but it plays nicely with the jasmine
i steeped for 2 minutes. the pearls werent able to completely unfurl so i will try a second steeping to see how it will affect the flavor
i steeped for 3 minutes which gave it a very light amber color. the leaves were able to unfurl all the way to release the full flavor of the oolong.
the strawberry flavor is from strawberry extract and i think because of this the flavor is very light, secondary, and not overwhelming. the tea has a faint strawberry fragrance also.
overall, i like it. its nice if youre in the mood for a flavored tea that isnt strong.
It is a pleasure to work with Teavivre – their tea is delicious and the customer service is just as good. Today I am enjoying their Taiwan Jin Xuan Milk Oolong. The thick creamy taste is superb. Hard to believe that this rich creamy flavor is natural but it definitely is.
The liquor is a medium gold with a slight vanilla cream aroma. Both the flavor and the mouthfeel suggest sweetened condensed milk. I prepared this according to instructions provided by Teavivre for an 8oz cup Using my test tube steeper, I watched the leaves unfurl and expand and was able to enjoy four flavorful infusions (1m, 2m, 3m, 4m). I was delighted to discover that the flavor had staying power throughout the process.
This is one rich, delicious brew. Certainly one I plan to keep on hand and enjoy regularly.
I am enjoying Teavivre’s Spring 2013 harvest and have taken advantage of their 2nd anniversary sale. The speed with which they deliver their tea is very impressive.
So I have finally tasted the highly regarded Bailin. Though a milder black tea flavor than I prefer, this tea is most enjoyable! The flavor is rich and gentle with a definite sweetness. While the smell of the dry leaf is definitely mild, the aroma of the liquid is strong and very pleasant.
It produces a dark copper brew. The taste is woodsy, sweet, and fruity all in one. Brewed below boiling (I used 190 degree water) and there is no bitterness at all. Added 1 minute to each 8oz infusion (1m, 2m, 3m, 4m).
If you’ve not had the opportunity to try this tea, do yourself a favor and give it a try!
Quite possibly the finest ti guan yin of my life. The scent of the leaves alone was enough to send me into ecstasy. It’s like being in the best most fragrant flower garden. Absolutely amazing.
I had no idea the leaves would unfurl so quickly and at such volume. My basket was almost overflowing.
The taste of this tea is magical. Floral and fresh. Apple aftertaste. Just a bit vegetal, but unlike any vegetable I know. Slight peachiness. This is gently energizing. Perfect for me as I’m feeling pretty tired.
This is a beautiful tea.
Using filtered water with a TDS of 27, I brewed 8 oz. of Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea western style with 10 pearls per TeaVivre’s Brewing guide. Ten pearls equaled 16.8 grams per a My Weigh Durascale D2 660 scale.
Per brewing guide: 3 steeps: rinse, 1m, 2m, 3m at 212*F.
Liquor: Amber brown
Aroma: Cocoa with a caramel-like sweetness
I enjoyed the rich, moderately strong dark cocoa flavor and caramel-like sweetness of this tea medium-bodied tea. All three infusions were enjoyable and very consistent. In fact, with this much leaf, I was also able to produce 4m & 5m infusions for a total of 5 infusions. There was no hint of bitterness or astringency.
Impression: A high-quality, rich, smooth, medium-bodied black tea with a moderately strong dark cocoa flavor and a caramel-like sweetness. I agree with Ashmanra, I consider this to be an excellent afternoon tea.
Thank you to Angel Chen and TeaVivre for their gracious free sample of this high-quality tea.
Correction due to new scale: What I thought was 16.8 grams was actually 168 grains. I was in the incorrect weight mode due to the very small font used for the grain abbreviation (gn). Using a Grains-to-Grams conversion, the actual weight was 10.9 grams.
I’d like to thank Angel & TeaVivre for their generosity in sending out samples to those of us who love tea, & I’d also like to commend them for the excellent quality of all of their teas (at least all of the ones I’ve tried so far).
I’m gradually getting more accustomed to white teas. I’ve learned to really watch the temperature of the water, as well as the quality of the water, & they don’t seem quite as bland as they used to, & although I’m certain they will never replace black tea as the love of my life, I enjoy a cup here & there. This one is quite tasty, with a thick tongue & a mild malto-meal kind of taste, with a little butter & soymilk. There’s just enough of a vegetal flavor to hint at split pea soup, & today I’m also picking up a hint of citrus. A lovely tea.
It’s the last day of July already? Unbelievable!
A few months ago I started using the last day of the month to update my “Tea Collection” database, re-arrange my cupboards as needed, & kind of review what I drank. I have this insane goal to drink a cup of every single tea in my cupboard once a month, & as my cupboard continues to expand, that goal gets harder & harder to accomplish. I didn’t even come close in July, having started the month with 307 teas (including samples) in my cupboard. I only drank 132 of them (some several times, like Zhu Rong), with 36 sipdowns. That’s ok. There’s always August! :)
In looking through my cupboard, I realized I still had a sample from Angel that I hadn’t tried yet. I guess I’m starting to like white tea, or maybe this is just a really tasty one! It’s hard to describe the flavor of it. It started out almost buttery & malty, but then it took on a kind of soymilk flavor, & near the end it reminds me a little of split pea soup, very savory.
Thank you to Angel @ TeaVivre for sending me generous samples of this, & also for allowing me to be part of the sampling program, as I truly enjoy the quality of your teas!
Thanks again for the samples, Teavivre! I must admit I thought this was the other Tan Yang when I asked to sample it, but that one is missing from Teavivre.com now. I remembered it from a past visit to the site, so then I didn’t realize it was missing now. I have tried this one before, but at least it was another harvest. This harvest calls for two tablespoons, at 194 degrees for 17 ounces with 1-3 minute steep times. I went with three teaspoons. I love the fuzzy dark gold leaves with hints of black and a sweet potato fragrance – that’s always promising. The color of the cup is actually surprisingly dark for such a golden leaf – the color of the brew is slightly lighter than a cup of coffee. The flavor kind of reminds me of an assam, almost brassy with hints of smoky or tobacco notes. Hints of tomato, sweet potato, honey, molasses. Sweet but with more bite than I expect from such a golden leaf. The second steep is more like chocolate, again surprisingly dark for such light leafed tea. I probably could have used two teaspoons rather than three and had a delicious cup anyway.
Steep #1 // 3 tsps. // 15 minutes after boiling // 2 minute steep
Steep #2 // 8 min after boiling // 3 min
Harvest: March 25, 2014
I had been wanting to request more samples from Teavivre but I kind of felt guilty about it and I thought I’d drink up some of my other teas first anyway. BUT Angel from Teavivre sent me a message on Steepster saying she was sending me some samples anyway! Well, if they are offering, I will certainly not say no! So THANK YOU for the amazing generous sample package! I always love Teavivre’s teas, so this will be fantastic. Tan Yang’s are the next tea I HAD to try, thanks to the reviews I’ve seen here on Steepster. The descriptions of Tan Yangs sounded like they’d be my new favorite.
I wanted to follow Teavivre’s steep instructions: This means 185 degrees with FOUR teaspoons of tea for 8 ounces with 1-3 minute steeping times. So I used three teaspoons of these lovely mostly golden yellow wirey leaves (which is probably the most leaves I’ve ever used for any tea).
First steep // A minute thirty seconds. I let the water cool a while after boiling. Sadly, I have no way to tell what temp my water is. The flavor is divine, but it seems like the water was cooled too long for a black tea. But I will certainly follow Teavivre’s instructions at least for the first batch of leaves since they kindly sent me the samples. This is so good, but I wish I knew why this was called a Tan Yang. I’m going to take a guess that it’s because this tea is from Tanyang Village? It seems like a lighter Yunnan tea. I know Yunnans come from Yunnan. But this is a Fujian tea (and from the few teas I’ve had that I’ve known are from there, they seem like they have charcoal accents.) Anyway, the flavors here: a bit of smoke somehow (is that the Fujian?), sweet potato, honey, molasses… but on a lighter scale, probably because the steep temp is so low.
Second steep // Hotter & two minutes. This one had a deeper flavor, but still very similar to the first cup. I must have steeped it just the right way with the increase in time & temp to get it that way. I definitely suggest using three teaspoons for this one since I can see how it would be way too light tasting with only one teaspoon. Very good!
Third steep // Just boiled for 4 minutes. Cup number three had a slight flavor that reminded me of what I would call the Fujian flavor: something like charcoal. But it is just enough to be intriguing… not overpowering. The cup color is now a deep red rather than orange. More malty goodness!
I always thought that the few Fujian teas I’ve tried were so charcoal-like that they were my least favorites. But I’ve learned that not all Fujian teas are the same. I guess every tea IS my cup of tea! Oh no!
I brewed 8 oz. of Bailin Gongfu Black Tea western style with 2 tsp. exactly as recommended: 3 steeps: rise, 1m, 2m, 3m at 185*F. While I enjoyed the rich light chocolate / cocoa flavor, this tea was light-bodied. All three infusions were enjoyable and very consistent in body. I also tried a 2m first-infusion and it too was light-bodied. There was no hint of bitterness or astringency.
The following day, I received our new digital scale. I then brewed some Bailin Gongfu Black Tea using a full 8 grams of tea. Out of curiosity, I then measured the 8 grams with a teaspoon and found that it equaled 3 teaspoons. Even with this much tea leaf, I still found this black tea to be light-bodied.
Impression: A high-quality rich silky smooth black tea with a light chocolaty flavor and a caramel-like sweetness for those who enjoy lighter-bodied black teas.
Thank you to Angel Chen and TeaVivre for their gracious free sample of this high-quality tea.
Correction due to new scale: What I thought was 8.0 grams was actually 80 grains. I was in the incorrect weight mode due to the very small font used for the grain abbreviation (gn). Using a Grains-to-Grams conversion, the actual weight was 5.2 grams.
I did not care for this Dragon Well. A friend gave me a sample and it did not taste like the Dragon Wells I’m familiar with. This Dragon Well seemed vegetal/floral. All the Dragon Wells I’ve had have had more of a vegetal/chestnut flavor which is what I look for in a good Dragon Well. Other than that, I feel like the look and quality of flavor was there, just not my type so I won’t rate this tea.
My window is open and there’s a cool breeze trickling over the music that softly plays in the background (City and Colour). The sun has set and the darkness is like a worn-in hoodie or sweatshirt you wear because you like the way it feels as it hugs you when no one else will. There is a couple walking down the street. I can hear their sneakers scrape on the pavement and the occasional laugh and murmurs of conversation. A man and an woman. Just taking a walk together at night. So beautiful. It’s one of those nights you take for granted. The simplicity of it. The pureness of it.
It’s over between us. It hurts. We’re trying to be friends but I think it’s harder for me than it is for her. “This too shall pass” and all that but. Man. It just hurts sometimes.
So. That’s where I am drinking this tea. I said on my first ever Steepster review that SN is a tea to be enjoyed alone and thought about. I still stand by that. There’s something intimate about Silver Needle, isn’t there? The untouched, unaltered, pure state of the leaves. White tea, more than any other, to me, is the best friend of the tea world. Like a shoulder to cry on or a friend to listen to you complain or to just sit in silence with you, SN is the solitary tea drinker’s tea. A rainy day tea. A blanket and book tea. A contemplate existence tea. A write tea reviews at night with City and Colour playing in the background trying to get your mind off her tea.
Sigh. Tea me.
I’ll just go out and say it: this is one of the best Silver Needles I’ve ever had. And I’m not saying that based off limited experience with SN’s. I may have acquired 30+ teas on my shelf but I drink SN the most. Its my second favorite tea of all-time (Dragonwell holds that honor).
The liquor is pale and clean. A quiet, golden tint; a flawless hue of simplicity. There’s a calm cedar-like woodiness, almost like whole-grain bread that peaks its head through the light veil of sweetness. There’s the hay-like taste. There’s the tangy deepness. There’s even a little spark of spice on the second infusion. There’s the smile on my face.
I have found my definitive Silver Needle. If you want to experience what white tea truly is and can be in it’s purest form, buy Teavivre’s Organic Silver Needle. This is absolutely fantastic.
This is one that I have been excited to try. The smell of the leaves is of beautiful fresh strawberry. They produce a gold liquid that has much the same wonderful smell with more strawberry than oolong.
The taste is an amazing mix of sweet vegetal oolong and strawberry. The oolong is strong enough to add to the mixture without overpowering it while still showing that it is a tea with a great taste by itself. It reminds me of strawberry Hi-Chew candy, delicious.
Dan cong oolong. Yum. I’ve missed tea. I admit I’ve been distracted by a shiny new hobby. I was gifted with water kefir grains so I’ve been making refreshing probiotic sodas instead of tea. Latest batch is a ginger wineberry concoction. From foraged wineberries! But tea! You have been missed.
This particular tea is a fine specimen of a Dan Cong. There’s definitely some citrus rind and honey. And quince. Theres the typical roasted autumnal flavor of a darker oolong. Pleasingly astringent. Tasty and warming on an oddly chilly summer day.
This was a very balanced Oolong – slightly floral, slightly sweet, slightly mineral, slightly green with medium-light oolong flavour. Due to trying another Bai Hao that I fell head over heels with, I naturally wanted to try Teavivre’s version. While it was good, it failed to meet admittedly high expectations sadly.
This green tea was impressive. The dried leaves are delicate, smell of fresh-cut grass, and open elegantly in my teacup.
I had to drink three cups before I felt I could write a review. The flavor is so light and clean, and I drank it all too quickly, for me to have done it justice with just one tasting. The tea is fresh, simple, cleansing to the palette. There is absolutely no bitterness to be found, even when steeping a tad longer than recommended. The lack of bitterness in aftertaste, just before the sweet bit, may make it seem like less of a green tea experience, but I assure that it is not.
I personally believe that sugar and even honey could ruin the delicate essence of the drink. Maybe a smidge of a light honey would be okay.
Overall, this is the smoothest and lightest green tea I have had the opportunity to enjoy. I will certainly be drinking this for years to come.
Cold Brewed: 7 gr and 750ml in the refrigerator for about 7 hours
Initially has an intensive peach aroma that fades out after few sips and rest on the palate in subtle manner. It has a medium body with strong vegetable notes (peas mostly) with a refreshing dry and bitter edge.
Adding German rock sugar (brown)
When sweetened, peach component is pronounced more and strong vegetable body is mellowed out while the dry edge persists. A good impression of bottled peach flavored iced tea (minus the bad stuff you get with it)… I like it.
I’m not going to rate this tea until I taste it in a classic way.
Backlog – I tried this tea in my gaiwan last night. Eeep, first review too! Thanks to Angel at Teavivre for this free sample! The dry smell is wonderfully jasmine, so yummy smelling! I am pretty sure I overleafed a bit lol, as I put in my whole sample package when I probably should have only used half.
I did a quick rinse, then made the first cup for 30s and the second for 50s. I had the second, and it was wayyyy tooo strong. Probably from overleafing though! My boyfriend got the first cup, and he said it was one of the best teas he’s had!! So for the next cups, I further reduced steep times to around 15-20s, and they were much better. Still a bit on the bitter side from overleafing, but next time I will be wiser.
Overall, this is a nice tea if steeped correctly. I wish I had had a sip of the first cup, because I’m sure it was perfect! Ah well, I have two more sample packs to try and find the sweet spot :) I will probably try around 10s steeps as well.