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Recent Tasting Notes

I am so mad at my mom right now, she used my desperation and tears about being one week off from seeing my favorite hockey team in Florida on spring break again to book a cruise from Tampa during that week.

Oh no, not for me, for her and my dad. I have to go up there and watch the dog. Never even ran it by me until today telling me that’s what I’m going to be doing.

Never asked. MEH.

So then I decided I had to try this Dragonwell today rather than wait till morning. I’m sure it’s just a matter of it steeping a shorter amount of time, but the other one just seemed so much more creamy and nutty.

This isn’t bad though, 30 more seconds would probably have done it good. It does remind me of peas and a bit like sparkling mineral water. And it smells just so clean! It’s like having spring in a cup, 14 hours before a winter weather watch.

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I got this as a sample from Teavivre. The dry leaves are tightly rolled medium and darker green little pearls. I didn’t pick up much roast-y aroma from the dry leaved, more vegetal to me. I did my first infusion and noticed a definite roasted aroma like roasted Hubbard squash. The infusion is a light yellow green in color and smells similar to the wet leaves but not as intense. The first sip is vegetal and slightly mineral to me with a sweet finish. As the tea cool I pick up more of the sweeter notes.

Boiling 1 min, 0 sec

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This sample was generously provided to me by Angel from Teavivre. Thank you so much!

I love dan congs, but I don’t love how every single one has had different steeping parameters. It’s so strange because theoretically these are all leaves from the same tree, you know?

Anyway, the recommendation for this one was boiling water, and I’ll try that next time, but it just seemed like that would be too tough on these leaves so I went with thePuritea’s recommended parameters, which are below.

Dry leaf was long and spindly, and had that trademark seaweed/salt air scent that I love. Reminds me of Tybee Island – which was where I grew up. My childhood summers were pretty much spent sunburned and water logged, and I loved every second of it. I don’t really miss the community down there, but oh, I miss the ocean. It’s been hard being landlocked these past few years and I hope to eventually have a coastline near me soon!

The main reason I’m going to try the recommended parameters is that the cooler water yielded a surprisingly thin steeping. Not as nectary, or as peachy as my other dan cong experiences. I didn’t get much of the lingering fruity aftertaste, either. It wasn’t overly bitter or astringent, it just…wasn’t what I’ve gotten used to a dan cong being. So I’m going to hold off on rating for now until I try it with boiling water.

But even while it wasn’t in top form, it was still fabulously relaxing and nostalgic…and I bet once I actually follow directions it will be perfect!

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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Thanks once again to Angel & Teavivre for this sample.
I put the entire sample into my testtube steeper, & steeped 15/30/oops! I got distracted & let this one go way too long/back to short steeps…lol

Tart & Tangy in a fresh & green way, with an instantly thick mouth, & an rich & resinous quality. The embodiment of spring, I shared steepings with a few students as the day passed. Delicious!

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We’re having a pajama day, laying around watching Loopers, & I’ve been enjoying this lovely Dragonwell, as an after breakfast cup. The flavor is beautifully vegetal & buttery, with a nice thick mouth.

Thanks again to Angel & TeaVivre for this sample!

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This is a crisp & clean Dragonwell, with a rich taste that makes me think of a dense pottage of split pea soup & leaves the tongue with a thick almost resinous sensation & aftertaste. Delicious!

Thank you to Angel & TeaVivre for the opportunity to sample this tea! It is excellent!

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and the sipdown continues:

This is the remainder of the sample I received from Angel @ TeaVivre. Thanks again, Angel, for this generous sample!
I had thought at one point of steeping several dragonwells, side by side, & comparing them. This never happened, and really, it doesn’t need to happen. Why compare? Why not enjoy each alone, for what they offer? So that’s what I’m doing.

Beautiful flat green leaves, sweet, crisp, & green taste. I used to steep green teas in a cup, but more & more I prefer short steepings in a Gaiwan. The ‘fresh’ taste is like a reminder that spring will come soon. I look out over my garden, & begin to contemplate the season…

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Thank you to Angel & TeaVivre for the excellent sample!

I chose to steep this gongfu style, drinking several steepings while I had a few students (yes, a few actually showed up!). It is a very nice quality Dragonwell, with a creamy vegetal slightly sweet taste, like roasted caramelized green beans. The mouth-feel is very buttery.


Glad to hear some of your students actually DID show up.

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I drank this yesterday & forgot to log it.
I love Big Red Robe types, & this was my last tea of the day…yesterday…


BRR is awesome stuff. Not sure if I like it more or less than OB though.

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This has been a long day! First I woke up at 5:30, drank a cup of Imperial Breakfast (Verdant), brewed a resteep to go, & left the house at 6:30 to go play the final early morning Harpy HoliDaze gig of the year. When I was setting up to play in the lobby of the building I spilled my tea.
I cleaned up the mess, played for awhile, & one of the catering people offered to fill my go mug with hot water. Great! He filled it, I dropped in some of Mandala’s blooming black, only to discover that the ‘hot’ water was lukewarm.
I finished the gig, came home & brewed a quick cup of Wu Liang Hong Mao Feng (Yunnan Sourcing), drove to Maryville University for my student’s jury. I had a few sips along the way, & was really looking forward to enjoying that tea, only to discover when I arrived that I had somehow spilled the whole cup in my car.
This has been a long, mostly tea-less day..sigh…
This Da Hong Pao is my reward! Such a lovely oolong, peachy, roasty, so satisfying.
Thank you Angel of Teavivre for saving my day! :)


stop drinking the same teas as me! lol

Terri HarpLady

Hey, I can’t help it if we both have good taste!

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This is the last of a sample sent to me quite some time ago from Angel @ Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel!

SO…the dry smell is like sweet dried berries
I preheated the Gaiwan & dropped the leaf in there, & the aroma was even sweeter, like strawberries & dark chocolate, with a floral ‘after’ smell that lingered in my sinuses.
I went with really short steepings 4 secs for starters
The wet leaf smelled of apricots & caramelized brown sugar
The early steepings were lightly peachy, with a perfumey lingering aftertaste, & there was also a camphor. And roastedness.
Later a ‘rock’ flavor predominated.
Sometimes I really enjoy this kind of tea, and I did enjoy it, but I feel unsatisfied.

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Finally! Something with a little substance!
I’ve been sipping through several steepings of this, gongfu style, & it’s quite pleasant. I swear, to me it has a peachy taste, undercurrents of chocolate, cinnamon, & a delightful roastiness.
Also, everything I said in my previous review of this tea still applies!

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This is a sample I got from TeaVivre. Thanks so much to Angel & the TeaVivre team!

Today I officially start teaching again. I’ve been on vacation for the last 2 weeks, mostly laying around in my PJs with Tony at his house. I’m suppose to have students from 10am til 7pm, with a few breaks here & there. The 10am was a no show. I called, they thought we started next week. I get this every year, & purposely took the first week of the month off because of it. Oh well. I should be doing things, but instead, I’m drinking tea.

Dry, this smells interesting. The initial smell was floral, then peachy, & there’s also chocolate liquor in there. Very interesting.

Wet, the aroma changes drastically to hashish (it’s been a long long time, but I smoked a lot of that one year), charcoal, & even a hint of opium (it’s the floral smell…if you’ve ever smoked it, you’ll know).

I brewed the first cup western style, following the instructions I went with 1 heaping T for 1 minute. It was nice, a little fruity, floral, a little charcoal. It did not wow me. It kind of reminds me of a peach oolong. I re-steeped those leaves for 3 minutes, & it was more of the same. It’s nice, but I feel like I’m missing something.Admittedly, I added some stevia to the 2nd half of the cup & it became a sweeter version of itself, bringing out the fruitier flavors. Sacrilege, I know.

I drank a cup of Matcha, to cleanse my palate, I suppose…& some water.

Then I visited the Verdant site, looked up the Da Hong Pao instructions, & started again with 5g of leaf in my 4 oz Gaiwan.
2 quick rinses, combining 2 steeps at a time in my little glass pitcher (no stevia):
1 & 2 (4 sec) – lovely apricot color, delightfully peachy taste with a hint of charcoal.
3 & 4 (8 sec) – more of the same, plus honey, & a little smoke.
(my 11:30 student cancelled)
5 & 6 (12 sec) – more of the same flavor, an interesting sensation under my tongue
7 & 8 (16) This one has a real nice honey aftertaste, & all of my tastebuds are tingling.

My 12:30 student just called & cancelled (sigh). Time to run a few errands… Enjoy the day, Steepsterites!

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drank Golden Monkey Black Tea by Teavivre
1212 tasting notes

Hoooooly cow.

This tea smelled so good before I even drank it that while signing up for a fantasy hockey league (OH MY GOD FINALLY!!!! still), I decided to name my team Golden Monkeys.

It’s like an amazing cake. I don’t even know what to say but I am wondering why I took so long to try this out!

It’s so sweet, definitely like honey. I honestly wish I knew what sweet potatoes tasted like on their own…it’s been so long since I’ve not had any that tasted purely of orange juice in a casserole type dish. May have to fix that myself. Anyway, I’m sure that flavor is in here too. It’s also malty, and it does remind me a bit of red wine.

I have to say….if I finish off my two sample packets I would have to buy 100g…

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Tried this last night. As in, I tried to get this to work. It never opened up, and the tea itself was lacking. It wasn’t fragrant OR sweet. It wasn’t bitter, though…it just wasn’t anything. So odd.

I wound up leaving the little bulb in water for the entirety of my Law and Order: SVU marathon, and had something else. STILL didn’t open up, so I smashed it open with a spoon. Would have been pretty, if it had worked, lol. Gave the tea to my plant. At least something got to drink it.


did you use boiling water to brew it?


Yup. :(

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So after realizing I didn’t buy any raw puerh earlier in the day on Cyber Monday, I really wanted to try some and so here we are.

This is the first puerh I’ve had off a cake of sorts, this coming from a tightly packed, oversized tuocha. Man, it was hard to get things rolling. I felt like a monkey that’s probably gone along forever like, who needs tools, dudes, and then a scientist thinks it’d be funny to give me a pick.

But I did it! One rinse later, I have my first cup (20 sec steep). It smells so good. Kind of like how white teas have that hay smell, but on tea steroids.

Wow I have no idea what is going on with this tea. My first instinct is to shun it. There’s so much! The hay, woods, fruits, astringency, sweetness, dry mouth, the feeling like I just might have had a sip of juice instead. The flavors are ridiculously cool though but it leaves this weird thick, dry mouth feeling that makes me feel like a dog that just got some peanut butter.

I will probably come back to this later but right now I need water. I assume it’s the small pieces that ended up in there in the process of me figuring this whole separating tea to use from the whole, so eventually they have to all end up out of the gaiwan, right?

2nd steep, 25 sec: it’s a bit better, still astringent to the point of dry mouth feels, but it is so much sweeter and fruitier. I’m taking tea to a friend tomorrow and asked if there is anything she wouldn’t like and she said she’d try anything so I feel like I should give her some of this and see what she thinks. All she’s had so far I think are flavored teas so this is probably a bit mean at this point. I must say the dry mouth is a lot more tolerable, though it reminds me a bit like hay is stuck in my mouth thanks to honey. Oddly this tastes better than it sounds.

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Thank you Angel & Teavivre for another generous sample.

In shades of Sage, sof gray, & cream, this is a delicate tightly rolled tea that opens to beautiful bright green small leaves. The dry aroma is thick & a little tart.
I went with 4 G in the test tube steeper, only filling it a little over halfway, which is maybe 3oz or so, using short steepings of 30/60 etc

Overall, I found it to be refreshing, lightly tangy, & sweet, with a wonderful sense of clarity!
The later steeping tended towards a light astringency & small bitter quality, but not enough to make it unpleasant in anyway. An enjoyable tasty tea, although admittedly, I believe I prefer the Cha Want Tai Ping Hou Kui.

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2nd Sipdown of the day! I think that’s 284 to go…

A lovely nutty green here, a sample from Angel @ TeaVivre, thank you!
It’s like a savory green such as spinach or chard, with butter & a pinch of salt. Very tasty!


i have samples coming from angel…. i am very excited.

Terri HarpLady

TeaVivre’s teas are very nice! :)

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I chose this for the 2nd pot of tea for the Ladies, who are still playing beautiful Harp duets while I wash my dishes. Have I mentioned that I actually live in Heaven?

This was a sample sent to me from TeaVivre awhile back. They are so generous that I actually received 2 sample envelopes of this, one which I drank back then, & the other which we’re enjoying some of now. To me, this is a delicate, savory, buttery green tea. Very pleasurable.
Thanks again, Angel & TeaVivre!


Of course, it is heaven. How else can the be all that harp music? :D


I wish I could join :)

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My thanks to Angel @ TeaVivre for the generous sample, & also for your willingness to send these samples out! Thank you!
This is pretty, delicate, kind of fluffy olive green tea.
2 tsp + 8oz @ 1 min (175) = a very light, pale yellow green infusion with a pleasantly sweet flavor that hints of hot breakfast cereal with butter. I’m seeing a field of newly harvested hay bales, drying in the sun. Sweet, mildly vegetal flavors & a pinch of saltiness make me think of a cup of sweet white miso broth with Kombu floating around.

A very mild & pleasant cup. No astringency or bitterness.

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Something upset my stomach this morning, so I decided to brew up the last of this before work. Just threw in a couple of teaspoons of sugar because I don’t like drinking this straight. The rest is smooth and slightly smoky.

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Why, hello tea! I’ve missed you. In the time I’ve been away, I’ve had a short relapse with an extra large iced coffee drunk in a too short time period and with various sodas.

Hot and sweet in a nice large mug. Yum on the green tea with a hint of smoke. Extra sugar in my cup because it helps control the lion that is the smoke in this tea. I knew I was saving this for a good time. I’ll probably have this brewed more times and maybe have one iced. If I do have it iced, then I will write a tasting note for that one.

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