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Recent Tasting Notes
I just finished breakfast: omelettes with Brussels sprouts, leftover crumpled sausage, & garlic. Tony had dilled havarti on top of his, & toast with jelly. I only had the omelette, which was plenty, believe me, but I’m finding myself feeling resentful regarding food today. I want what I cannot have, & it pisses me off. Not at anybody, just really at my food sensitivites & at the consequences of dumb choices on my part recently. There, I’ve vented.
Anyway, breakfast was very tasty, & I’m following it up with this equally tasty smokey tea. It is a sample size, sent to me from Sil, & as a Lapsang, it is the perfect blend of smokiness & sweetness. A little maple syrup would be a wonderful enhancement, but honestly, it’s lovely rich cup as is. Even though I’ve already spent more money on this weekend’s sales than I ever imagined spending, I’m pretty sure I’ll have to stop by Teavivre’s cybermonday sale & get a few things, including some of this!
Another sample from my most recent box from Sil.
If you had told me a few years ago that I would grow to love smokey teas, I’m not sure I would have agreed. They used to kind of freak me out, but now I love them. Sometimes I like to sweeten them, which brings out a deep caramelized flavor. Yum! Right now I’m drinking this one plain, & it is very satisfying. I’d like to try it with Maple…if I could just get myself to get up off the couch & walk to the kitchen…ok, I did it, & OMG this is tasty!
This was my 2nd ‘long hot bath’ tea, because face it, one cup of tea is not enough! Lovely rose black, gentle & soothing. Just the right amount of rose, & yes, there was a sweet full rosebud floating in my steeper basket. I steeped 2 minutes, with a resteep of 3. The 2nd cup features more rose flavor, actually!
I never got around to posting this one yesterday, but it was my final cup of actual tea (not counting tisanes), & it really is a lovely one. I first tried it a month or so ago when Sil sent me a sample that someone had probably sent to her. Flowers are not her thing, & they aren’t always mine, but I enjoy them from time to time in my tea (except lavender, which I love the smell of…in my bubble bath! LOL).
So I actually enjoyed this one enough to purchase some in my recent Teavivre order. It was the perfect tea to come home to after a massage yesterday, with a buttery sweet dian hong base, & the level of roses is just right, very soothing & relaxing.
Now this is a pleasant cup!
It is a sweet mouth filling dian hong, laced gently with rose. What can I say? I enjoy the rich sweet potato taste of DH, & unlike my tea sister Sil, who sent me this Teavivre sample, I love the scent of roses, & I enjoy roses in my tea from time to time, so long as they aren’t overdone, or fake. This one is nicely done! It’s a sipdown, as I used the entire sample (2 minutes), but I only got it a few days ago & never added it to my database, so I don’t really get to count it. Thanks to Sil, Teavivre, & whomever the sample was originally sent to, for this lovely afternoon cup.
TeaVivre arrived today, yes! That was pretty quick from China, I must say. I should also add in a thank you to caile for introducing me to TeaVivre.
Hello Bailin. I’ve been waiting for you. Because the name is so close to “Balin”, this tea will forever be a dwarf from The Hobbit in my mind. Which just endears it more to me.
Now I shall sip away and work on an assignment that’s due at midnight.
Mmm, this one has that natural honey-like sweetness going on. I love that flavour. It’s the very reason straight black teas are my favourite. The scent is intoxicating.
The taste isn’t overwhelming, but still a lovely subtly strong black tea. Subtly strong sounds like an oxymoron, but I’ll have to come up with a better way of illustrating it if something else strikes me.
My one wee pet peeve is when black teas have a lower steeping time (though that isn’t a reflection solely on this tea). It really shouldn’t bother me at all, but I’m so often in a rush and teas that steep at boiling are such a delight in those moments.
Thanks for sharing caile! I’m thrilled I have some of this en route.
Update: The second steep of this is delightful with plenty of flavour. (1.5 tsp/14 oz.)
Once again, shout-out to Teavivre for the tea!
First steep – 15 seconds in a Gaiwan using near boiling water. The aroma is pleasantly floral, doubly so since I have gotten over my brief cold. The initial flavor can have a touch of astringency fading quickly to a smoothness that is unique to high-mountain teas. I put this uniqueness down to the minimal roasting and oxidation used in these tea, which preserves the delicate flavors of the tea. The thing that really makes this tea stand out is how long the slightly-mineral aftertaste lasts. it was lingering for over a minute and half with my tea. That’s almost a record, and the other such tea was a big red robe, which is a much stronger tea. Truly remarkable. The other thing in the palate of the tea is a bit floral, which reminds me of some bushes near my grandmother’s house. I’m not sure what they are, but I’ll call her to see. All in all, this was a great cup of tea, and I’m looking forward to the next one.
Second steep – 5 seconds with near-boiling water. The result is much better, the floral flavors have really matured. Oolongs are almost always better on the second steep, peaking on the third, but improvement this pronounced is pretty rare. It’s like the first steep was a sketch, and the second was the painted final version: There are details and nuances that there not initially present. The aftertaste has also improved, becoming much sweeter. The end result is a much more balanced tea, with the right amount of sweetness to accentuate the other flavors.
Just when I think that I have a break, I find out my roommate is very sick with something that it is actually really serious. This has put a severe damper on my plans for the evening, ans so this will probably be the last note I have time for. Anyways, the third steep was prepared same as the second, and the results were actually a bit less satisfying than the second. It lost enough of the sweetness that the flavor wasn’t as perfect as before, which was a bit surprising. I think that the wash I gave it to begin with was actually detrimental to the flavor, so I probably won’t do that next time I taste the tea. It’s still an exceptional tea, but it lost the perfect balance between smoothness, floral flavors, and sweetness that made it exceptional. Anyway, I wish all of you the best, and hopefully the rest of your weekends will be more relaxed than mine.
Here’s Hoping Traveling Tea Box #10
I snatched this one out of the box to sample later and I am soooooo glad I did. This was such a delicate white tea I love! The dry leaf was so beautiful. The aroma as it steeped worried me a little… It smelled grassy and savory and I’m not a fan of vegetal teas. But the taste is nothing of the sort. It had this creaminess I was not expecting at all and then when I looked it up it says soy milk notes. I get it now! Ha ha. My favorite steeps were definitely the second and third. Was not a huge fan of the first steep but was definitely worth it to get to the further steepings:) I have enough left to try some other time! Yay!
Sample sipdown. Considering I just bought a bunch of oolong samples from Teavivre, this sipdown is somewhat of a relief. While I like the sweet honey and earthy tastes from this oolong, I think there other oolongs out there that fit my tastes better. Anyway, I will definitely be resteeping this throughout the day until it runs out of flavor, but probably not reordering in the future.
I can’t remember what I said in my previous tasting note, and I’m too lazy to look it up right now. Anyway, the dry leaf had a sweet maple-like smell to it that I don’t remember smelling from last time. I also used more leaf than I did last time, though I can’t say exactly how much. The tea came out a nice amber/brown color. This time, the tea strongly reminds me of dried persimmons, which is a total flashback for me because I haven’t had those in several years. Anyway, it’s a very nice tea, but I probably won’t reorder because there are other oolongs that I prefer and I’ve spent waay too much money on tea this past weekend.
Another tasty free sample from Teavivre! This oolong has kind of an intensity similar to a black tea, yet it’s still nutty like an oolong. On my second steep, I accidentally let it steep for a while because I was distracted, but I actually think that steeping it longer and letting it get darker really brought out the flavors in this one without getting bitter. After three or so steeps, it started to mellow out and the flavors were weaker. I really want to get through all of my samples soon because I have my eye on the gongfu teapot on their website, so an order is imminent.
Thank you to Angel at Teavivre for this sample
I wasn’t sure what osmanthus was but I imagined it being something like jasmine. Well, it isn’t. It is sweeter but also more bitter at the same time. I don’t know if I am the only one getting that note.
The oolong is very green an vegetal.
Resteep 5 minutes
I enjoyed this sample, but I think I will keep jasmine as my number one floral choice.
I wanted to compare this to Teavivre’s Premium version so brewed a cup of each and re-steeped both.
For some reason it’s difficult to compare them today, and am unable to decide which I prefer. I feel that this one is fruitier and a bit more floral, but I can’t describe the difference more accurately. Both are really good!
Thank you Angel from Teavivre for this sample!
It’s delicious. The first osmanthus oolong I have ever tried. I talked to my friend about this before when he found out I had a tea addiction. He said it was very popular in China. I had been wanting to get my hands on some so I’m so glad I get this opportunity.
The first steep is delightful. Peachy notes with a nice green floral oolong. They balance each other nicely.
As I get into the second steep, a creaminess develops and it changes to a creamy peach. I really am adoring the floral but brothy oolong as a nice counterbalance.
The third and fourth steeps are lesser versions of the second steep. The fourth steep got to be a little unexciting, but that’s to be expected.
Overall – this is a delicious oolong!
Sipdown, 115. Thanks to Teavivre for sending along this sample.
This one totally surprised me. I think the only other Li Shan oolong I’ve had was a pretty typical super green, super fresh variety without any roasting. This one wasn’t quite roasty, but it did have a bakey, nutty flavor that was unexpected. Floral and buttery as well, this was a very tasty oolong. I didn’t fall in love with it but I would happily drink this one again.
First of all, thank you Teavivre for another round of samples. I don’t have that much experience with Taiwanese oolongs, so these samples will be a bit of a learning expereince for me.
First steep – Quick wash with hot water, followed by a 10 second steep. The result is pleasant, the color reminiscent of a fine Tieguanyin. My roommate commented that the aroma was really floral, but I’m a bit under the weather and can’t confirm that. The mouth-feel is buttery smooth, and the flavor of the tea is a nice subdued floral flavor. The really nice thing about this tea is that despite the brightness of the flavors it still retains a great deal of complexity, with some vegetable flavors sneaking in as the flavor develops. As the tea transitions to the aftertaste, it sweetens (again, much like a Tieguanyin) to round off the experience and end on a high note. This is definitely a tea to drink slowly and savor.
Second Steep – I lost track of time, I had sudden inspiration for my AI homework, and rushed out type it out before I forgot. As such, the tea was a bit over steeped, and was actually a bit unpleasant when hot. There was a lot of astringency because it was over steeped, but after the tea cooled down the sweet aftertaste was able to assert itself, making the tea a bit like a Gyrokuro. Other than that, it’s a bit more floral this time, but the flavors are …jumbled, for lack of a better term. Honestly, given how badly I botched the steep, it’s amazing that it turned out this well.
I got a random free sample of this with my BF Teavivre order, because apparently I forgot to choose my free samples on that order. I’ve had this before but I’m glad to try it again because looking at my tasting notes I was confused about my samples of this one (namely whether this was light and floral or roasted).
This cup is smelling very sweet and very floral. I do think that the last sample pouch of this one that I had (that I actually logged) might have been mis-packaged, because I found that one to be roasty. The first two were not roasty (that I could remember), and this one fits that profile. It is green, it is floral. It is quite lovely, although dong dings aren’t my favorite green oolong (I prefer the buttery florals of a tieguanyin).
Also even though I have been trying to be less number- and sipdown-focused when it comes to my cupboard (it’s why I haven’t been calling sipdowns and posting my number in posts), I feel myself getting a little bit twitchy about it’s increasing, so I am trying to drink up samples. But then I feel like I am neglecting my other teas in larger amounts. Maybe after my cupboard stabilizes (after my swap from MissB comes in and I know it won’t be growing anymore), I will try to drink everything in my cupboard once before cycling back around! That would definitely be interesting.