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Recent Tasting Notes
I saw this when it was brand new on Teavivre’s website and didn’t hesitate to order 100 grams of it. I had never had a Golden Monkey before but have heard good things about them and was curious.
The leaves were not quite as golden as I expected them to be, but the dry leaf put off a pleasant malty aroma not unlike the Bailin Gongfu black also from Teavivre. I’ve tried this hot quite a few times now and I’m not getting much complexity from the tea. I expected sweet potato and honey flavors along with malty qualities but all I’m really getting is malt. Still, it’s a nice and comforting grainy and malty flavor, just not quite what I was expecting.
Last night, I set up a pitcher to cold brew overnight, and today at noon (12 hours later) I gave it a try. The flavor is TOTALLY different cold brewed. It’s a bit hard to describe. I do get a little hint of sweet potato this way but the brew is more astringent, and there’s also a little bit of what I would call a metallic taste and a slight fruity flavor. As strange as that may sound, I’m finding this to be a very refreshing iced tea and in my opinion, this tea shines most cold-brewed.
I returned from my trip to Boston today and I’m glad to be home. It was a cool city with a lot of interesting things, but I have to say that I am NOT a city person. Being in big cities just makes me feel so crowded in…too many people, too many huge buildings towering over me, too much noise, too much traffic. I’ll take a quiet life in a small town instead. :) Still, it was great to experience a new place. I also took a little day trip up to Maine while I was in the New England area and saw some cool beaches and lighthouses. Sadly, I never got the chance to visit the tea stores that Michelle told me about.I’m a little late in logging this as I’m now on the fourth steeping of this, but I’ve been enjoying it very much and I really missed this one. I loved it so much when I ordered it as a sample a couple of months ago that I decided to order 100 grams of it. It’s very earthy but in a mellow and smooth way, lots of what I would call mushroom flavor with a little bit of chocolate and sweetness. It’s still going strong on the fourth steep and I can see it going for at least two more. I missed all of you guys while I was gone :).
One of my samples from Teavivre! It’s so hot out, there was pretty much no way I was going to be drinking this hot this afternoon, but I’ve kind of neglected my teas from them so I was determined to make this one. I cold steeped it for 15 hours or so, maybe for too long—it has an ever so slightly bitter taste that I haven’t encountered in cold brews before. It’s not really unpleasant, just there in the background. I also dumped a whole one of the cute little packets in, so maybe that had something to do with it?
This is a soft, light oolong, with mild floral and fruity notes. The floral taste reminds me a bit of gardenia, the fruit like a faint whiff of fresh peaches. There’s also a bit of palate-cleansing creaminess at the end of the sip, perfect for a hot day! I’m getting some light vegetal notes as well, maybe some grassiness though it’s honestly a bit harder to pick out such subtle things when your glass is ice-cold! I’m definitely enjoying this iced though, very refreshing and summery.
This was the first tea I tried from my recent Teavivre order. At first when I brewed it up, I was too cautious. I only used 1 tsp of leaves and did very short steeps (10s). But it didn’t taste strong enough and there was no bitterness. So today I’m trying it with more leaf and a longer steep time.
Obligatory sniff in the bag: Smells really green and creamy with a hint of fruit (lychee)
First steep: Has a much stronger vegetal scent than taste. Very light, sweet, slightly vegetal and fruity. Aftertaste reminds me of sugar snap peas.
Second steep: Very refreshing, maybe slightly bitter but not too noticeable. It’s becoming quite buttery and vegetal, with the sweetness remaining.
Third steep: Still has a very consistent green and buttery flavour from the previous cup.
I purchased this tea on a whim. My apartment gets really hot in the summer and I was craving some green tea to drink. So I ordered 3 green teas from Teavivre, which themselves also came with some green tea samples. ;) Along with my recent Camellia Sinensis order, I went from having no green tea to 7! LOL
A year ago I wouldn’t even think about buying so much green tea. I’d had so many bad experiences with, what I assume was either old green tea or uhh choppy bagged stuff. (And it doesn’t help if they give you bad steep instructions) So I’m very glad that Teavivre helped turn me onto fresh green tea.
Overall I like this green tea. It’s not my favourite type of tea, but I’ve learned to enjoy it more. What I like most is it’s ease of brewing (it doesn’t come out bitter) and the slight sweetness.
100ml gaiwan, 2 generous tsp (hard to scoop so I had to be generous), 3 steeps (1m, 1m, 1m15)
I have been drinking a lot of Oriental Beauties lately and I generally like – if not – LOVE them! I try and pick out what makes them different. So…going beyond the stereo-typical O.B. notes, here…
I found this to be wonderfully woodsy-sweet with peachy-nutty-floral notes…but also, more importantly, and more-so standing out from the other O.B.‘s – slightly bakey! It’s almost like a danish type hint underneath! Whatever it is…it’s darned tasty! YUM!
Let me start this review by saying that I come into it somewhat prejudiced as I am not fond of jasmine, in tea or otherwise. However, I do not tackle this sample with as much apprehension as I did before the last Teavivre jasmine tea sample I tried because Teavivre really surprised me with that one. I actually liked it! So, here goes…
I steeped this tea for three minutes at 185 degrees as Teavivre prescribed. The unbrewed tea had a very strong jasmine odor that was also present in the steeped liquid, but the brewed jasmine aroma was not as powerful.
As I gingerly inched down the first sip, I could clearly taste the jasmine, but it was not overwhelming. There was a nice sweetness to the flavor followed by a smooth and delicate white tea taste. Each sip thereafter did leave a jasmine aftertaste but it was not offensive or bitter.
This is another Teavivre tea that is so smooth and light that I had no trouble finishing the pot. Once again, Teavivre has amazed me with a product that was much better than I expected.
Will I now add jasmine teas to my collection? No. But, Teavivre makes jasmine digest very pleasantly in this tea. I guess I would probably have the same reaction from castor oil blended in a rich delicious chocolate cake!
This tea is amazing, I haven’t tasted so unusual black tea with such a delicate taste. It is a little bit sweet, a little bit fruity and very pleasant for drinking in the morning to make your day. And it ends so quickly, I should order some more. I think everyone should give it a try.
Thankyou to Angel and Teavivre for this sample
I was a little scared to try this tea, it smells very smoky. And the brew is golden amber.
The taste is suprisingly good. But really, not much from Teavivre suprises me anymore….everything is so good! I was expecting more of a burnt taste, but it is much sweeter than I thought it would be, and more delicate. I am not sure I would drink this everyday, but I think I could get used to this. I think it would be great to use in cooking.
No resteeps today, I got too busy and then it was too late in the day to drink more black tea.
This was the 4th tea in the comparison today. I enjoyed it but it isn’t quite what I was looking for. It would be a pretty nice morning cup if you wanted some thing rich, smooth and sweet. Very well behaved and full bodied but I thought it didn’t have quite the character that the other 3 did. So while I enjoyed it, it won’t be a keeper for me.
This one surprised me. It’s rich and malty. There was a hint of dry hay like I get with Bai Mu Dan. I did find it to be a tad bit smokey. The hay and smoke were totally unexpected but they did work rather well. If I couldn’t find some thing like tarantula tea I would probably pick this one. It’s totally different but it really has a lot of character.
So we had another tea face off. This is my favorite. It’s pretty much what I was hoping to get but just a tad bit better. I wanted some thing to replace tarantula tea since it was discontinued.
This is malty and velvety smooth. The depth of character here calls up the word earthy in my mind. This tea ends so nicely with chocolate and honey like sweet notes. This is truly and enjoyable cup.
As part of our ‘try every black that Teavivre has’ thing, we also were hoping that this Golden Tip was going to be a replacement for the discontinued Teavana tarantula tea that we had picked a couple packs of when they discontinued it.
Side by side, I cannot make a distinguishing difference between this and Teavana’s Golden Imperial Lotus (though, obviously, it’s not held together by a string in a round formation).
The tea is smooth, but with a very rich, malty flavor to it. There is a sweet, caramel undertone that really finishes off the taste. It doesn’t feel quite as thick on the tongue as say the Bailin Gong Fu, but it still has quite a bit of weight to it. It’s a very, very enjoyable black tea.
We’re definitely going to keep this one around, me thinks.
The other side of the coin, yet again my friends!
The full leaf yunnan brews into a notably lighter colored beverage than the ‘standard’ black tea (now referred to as half-full). To match, the flavor is lighter as well. Less bold than the half-full, it still has some of the same maltiness, but where the half-full leaf ends in a very apparent smoky finish, this has a light fruitiness at the end of the sip. A little sweet, somewhat indecipherable flavor that kind of creeps in while you’re drinking.
A little less economical, at about $3/oz, but could be preferable to folks that like more refinement and subtlety from their tea. We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz), so I’m not entirely sure how that would change the character.
I can’t really pick a clear winner between the two, they’re just different.
Continuing on with Teavivre Black Tea today… Yunnan! It’s like we’re taking a tour of Chinese tea, ha!
I did order a sample of basically every black tea they had at the time (they’ve added two since). It’s great of them to offer samples so you can get a good sweeping view of their product line.
This is the Black Tea, the most economically priced yunnan black they have, at a little less than $2 an ounce. The flavor is bold and malty, with a hint of smokiness to it. Not a lapsang, and probably not as strong as the keemun I tried from Teavivre, but there’s definitely smokiness to it (which surprised me a bit).
Compared to the yunnan full leaf that Missy brewed next to this one, there are striking differences. This tea is bold and malty, where the full leaf is refined and mellow. It is definitely an interesting comparison.
We brewed these both a little on the strong side (7g for 16 oz). Made the flavor pop out good and strong for comparison ;)
Oh, the winner? Hrmm… hard to say. They’re just different.
The other end of the epic taste-off between Bailin Gongfu and Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Much like the non-organic version, this tea is very malty, with a decidedly grainy flavor and texture. It has a slightly more pronounced caramel flavor that develops into a little more chocolate-y of a flavor with a teensy bit of sugar added. It’s an absolutely delightful, earthy experience similar to a very stout, dark beer.
Compared to the non-organic BGF, I find the organic version to be a bit bolder and more flavorful, but at the cost of some of the fantastic smoothness. It’s stronger, earthier, and a bit heartier.
So who wins? It’s a very close call, but I’d choose the non-organic for myself. I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.
So, in honor of receiving our Teavivre packages yesterday… we’re having our first taste-off! Bailin Gongfu vs. Organic Bailin Gongfu!
Henceforth, references to this tea will be abbreviated to BGF. Act like you know ;)
This tea is malty and smooth, a very grainy flavor and texture. Beneath it all is a caramelly sweetness, and when you add a little bit of sugar it develops into an almost chocolate kind of flavor. This remarkably interesting flavor combination only reaffirms my association of this to a good, dark beer. It’s earthy, and delightful.
So how does it compare to the Organic BGF? Well, to anyone that has drank this tea before, this isn’t going to make any sense… but the non-organic version is… more subtle. The flavor, as deep and rich as it is, pales a little bit in comparison to the Organic BGF.
However, this strength comes at the price of smoothness. The stronger, earthier organic version lacks a teensy bit of that polished, malty smoothness that the BGF has.
So, I think the blue ribbon goes to the non-organic version. As a daily drinker kind of tea, I’d choose the non-organic for myself. But, I could see how the organic version could easily be someone’s preference.
Either way, you’re looking at a remarkably good cup of tea.