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Recent Tasting Notes
Sample provided by Teavivre – muchos gracias
This is a really well-balanced tea. The silver needles are beautiful and large, not many broken pieces in this sample. I am not normally a fan of straight silver needles, but this tea is smooth and delicate with just a hint of jasmine. It really is quite subtle. I like jasmine teas to be strong and sweet with more jasmine than tea, but this makes me appreciate the nuances of both tea and flavoring. I found this to be most enjoyable when brewed gong-fu style with 80-85 degree water.
Ah. Another day, another Teavivre sample to try. Life is good.
This selection was hand rolled into little balls of green leaves. The pre-brewed smell was fresh and aromatic. I was excited to add hot water and see what developed.
I brewed this blend for two minutes at 212 degrees. I always choose the maximum recommended steeping time to get the strongest tea possible without (hopefully) bitterness.
There was just a light and subtle tea smell wafting from the pot. The color of the liquid was golden amber.
At first taste, the flavor was bright and sweet and very smooth. With each subsequent sip, a sweet, honey-like flavor remained on my tongue. Bitterness does not exist anywhere in this tea.
This brew goes down so pleasantly and smoothly that I had to restrain myself from chugging it. All of the sweet and tea flavors are in perfect balance. I could drink this tea all day.
Thanks to Teavivre, my horizons have been broadened. I am rapidly becoming a big fan of other teas besides basic black. This Oolong tea is nothing short of WONDERFUL!
I am a Tea Noob. Yes I admit it, I own no gaiwan, no fancy-pants Zingydoo-Ninja Tea Sets or anything better than a few teapots and some pyrex glassware. My only knowledge of Gung Fu etiquette involves Tai Chi, my main experience with Proper Tea has been a few sample bags, Bancha, and occasional sessions of Yum Cha, and my supply of Tea Superlatives is limited to say the least. So, bearing this in mind, this is a Tea Noob’s take on this fine tea from TeaVivre:
By the way, I also have to mention I’m not really a green tea fan. At least I wasn’t. My previous experiences have been negative ones (except for Bancha) and have left a bad taste in my mouth, so with many such “bitter” memories I haven’t really felt like trying more. I have to say my experience with this tea has changed my mind.
I recently and impulsively deviated from an Oolong hunting expedition on eBay, and bought a sampler (fresh from TeaVivre), in due time receiving a well packed box in the mail, inside which, nestling under the bubble packing, was a classy looking sealed silver bag. Sealed within this were 4 nice little mini silver baggies of leafy goodness – one immediately drew me by its intense and delicious aroma (and no it wasn’t the Dragon Pearl Jasmine) – it was this one (Tian Mu Mao Feng). Upon opening the bag I was seized with the need to repeatedly inhale deeply until I finally sneezed (tea leaf up nostril, oops) and was even tempted by thoughts to keep it as potpourri – an intense grassy warm aroma with lashings of honeysuckle flower scent… yummmmm! It even looks pretty enough to use as potpourri with its deep green leaves so dark they absorb the light and give off an almost blackish hue, might look very good in a blue and white bowl near my chinese painting, I thought.
Anyway, having got over that (somewhat impractical) idea, I decided to go for a chinese style brewing (or at least my uncultured approximated version of one). Heaping what I can only describe as “a good amount” into a tea cup (ok I didn’t measure it), I brewed it 3 times into other cups, straining it with a teapot lid (I am a Barbarian).
The first steeping I’d probably brew next time around for more than a minute (hadn’t read above review yet, tsk), as it was a little bit too weak for my taste at this stage, however some sweet light floral notes skipped daintily alongside a crisp yet mild grassy greenness, making it a pleasant cup. Quite nice, and not a hint of bitterness.
Next one I brewed for 1 min 15 s, and the second cup really did it for me, a buttery, sweet full mouthed flavor burst that left me wanting more. I’m not sure if this is what they meant by “chestnut” flavor (on their website), as I didn’t get any “nuttiness” as I imagine it but it was a little reminiscent of notes of chinese water chestnut (the fresh not the canned variety, and this is not a /nut/, its a /corm/ :p (ok, semantics)).
The third cup (brewed about 1 min 30 s) was a slightly woodier (but not bitter) flavor and errrmm I’m running out of descriptors here, so I’ll just say it wasn’t as full, sweet or “interesting” as the second but still pleasant.
I don’t think I’d go for a 4th brewing myself but thats because the possiblity of something bitter puts me off the idea thus far, but I may become more adventurous as the journey goes on.
Oh I definitely could vouch for the “spinach” description of the flavor of the leaves as in the above review, at least the leaf I accidentally ate in one cup was very “spinachy” (crisp and not too chewy either, add to stir fry after steeping perhaps? ;) ). I didn’t seem to get much in the way of twigs in mine though, and my leaves were mostly intact – different harvest or random chance? Not sure.
I wrote this down shortly after drinking the last cup as to retain the full memory of the experience. I think my tea-describing superlatives could use some work (I’m better at describing wine I think). Looking forward to trying the next 3 samples (I’ll not be so spontaneous and read the reviews first for handy hints this time) but I’ll leave that until tomorrow as its near bedtime, and aside from too much caffiene making me go “Whee!”, green tea has certain physiological effects on me that may be indelicate to mention, at least 3 cups does :-)
P.S. My thanks go out to all the “pro” types who review on this site, such as the above (probably more helpful) one, its great to get tips from the more experienced “teaphiles” (is there a proper word for this that isn’t Chinese?). Cheers!
Free sample from Teavivre
Opening the packet I am met with a milky. slightly floral aroma and the sight of beautiful dark green nuggets of tea highlighted by lighter yellowish green elements and some browns. Already I am excited by this tea. It looks great and the aroma is intriguing.
The first cup is creamy and smooth with a strong milky flavour, which seemed to dominate the cup. I’m not sure what else there was in there because I was distracted by the strength of the milkiness.
The second cup has a less overpowering milkiness to it. It is there in the background more as a silky, smooth highlighter for the more vegetal taste that is now coming forward.
I don’t really have enough reference points to describe this tea, I think, but I can say that I have really enjoyed it. I doubt I would drink it every day though. It seems more like a tea to be enjoyed when the mood comes upon me. Thank you, Teavivre, for another great and different tea.
My thanks to Teavivre for the sample!
The dry leaves look green, freshly cut and smell faintly nutty. I’m really looking forward to steeping this – hurry up kettle!
This tastes a little like toasted nuts to me. I’m also getting a light freshly cut hay note followed by the vegetal wallop. Somewhat-light with a buttery texture.
I’m on the fence about this one. I’ll have to see what other steepings and cups are like – thanks to Angel for the generous size that allows me to do so!
Edit: Revisited this one and steeped for just over a minute. Beautiful light flavour – like an elegant vegetable broth, if there is such a thing. Flavour present to the 4 steep, where it starts to diminish.
Edit 2: Found out that I really enjoy this cold or cooling. No astringency present like I thought there would be.
This is the first sample I’ve tried from Teavivre (who I have to thank for being so amazingly generous, especially Angel) and it’s hands down the best white tea I’ve ever tasted. It was light and refreshing, absolutely gorgeous! It’s definitely hooked me from the first sip. The second steeping was just as good as the first as well. A definite keeper.
Let it begin.
Today marks the day I received my first samplings from Teavivre. And quite healthy samples they are. Much thanks to Angel & Teavivre! From the postmark it appears they took 10 days to arrive in Southern California from China.
Preparation Method: Glass tea infuser following Teavivre recommended amounts, times and temp. 5 steepings, no rinse. Increased brewing time for 3rd-5th steeping.
Impressions: The dry leaves were quite attractive and bunched up in the package, appearing almost sticky, though they were not. The aroma was quite pleasant, lively, green and gardeny. Am I smelling cocoa as well?
Brewing resulted in a pale yellow liquor with a hint of green, kind of the color I’d imagine steeping green apple skins would make if they didn’t oxidize and turn brown. As the leaves opened I noticed quite a bit of broken leaf, but that’s no surprise with small samples like this.
Immediately I got the smoke that others have reported, like lightly smoked steamed vegetables, both in smell and taste. Smoke carried through to the 2nd steeping but was absent from the 3rd on.
The mouthfeel was light and bright with a mild astringency. This held through the 4th steeping, becoming more prevalent in the the final two steepings. The 5th steeping was essentially a bust, more of a palate cleansing than anything.
Overall it had a pleasant sweet afterglow but was fading on the 3rd and 4th steep. I was more attracted to those latter steepings, though they were a bit two dimensional.
I picked this tea primarily because I’ve read Pi Lo Chun has a healthy theanine content. From a caffeine/theanine standpoint I was neither up nor down with this tea, nor did I feel particularly calm or alert. It was much more about the taste experience for me than the effect the tea had on my nervous system.
I would be pleased to be served this tea while out at a restaurant, impressed that they’d offered a more interesting tea, but for home brewing it’s not enticing enough for me to pursue more quantity.
My daughter and I continued drinking green tea when she and her dad got home from the movie theater. She had never had this one before, so we made a pot and broke out the Milka bars. We never eat a whole one at one sitting, but just off a few squares to enjoy.
The leaves are long, thin, wiry, and therefore impossible to measure in a teaspoon! I put four big pinches in my Stump pot, which makes about 20 ounces of tea, and steeped for two minutes. This gave us a light yellow liquor with mild creamy scent.
The tea is incredibly smooth, and the flavor is very good, but I want a little more oomph. I think I will try increasing the leaves. This is a great tea to go with a meal. It really does have a creamy texture and a very pleasing flavor profile. At times, I taste a mineral/frost quality. My daughter seemed to enjoy it.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 7 grams (2 tsp.)
Water – 100 Celsius 250 ml
Time – 1 min, 2 min, 3 min
Leaf & Infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is tightly rolled with distinctive, fat stalks with medium to dark emerald green tone and an impression of oversized Dong Ding oolong. Aroma is similar to TGY with its orchid-flower notes. Aside that, there can be sensed some subtle buttery aroma in the background.
Wet leaf – Wet leaf is big and fat, airing with flowery freshness. There are up to three leafs on a stalk with various thickness ranging up to the wooden texture. Some of the leaves are slightly oxidized on the edges and there are some that are wrinkled.
Infusion(1st) – First steep results in clear light golden liquor that airs of condensed milk with flowery notes in the background. With light body and refreshing mouthfeel it has an initial dash of astringency that quickly disperses under the adaptation of palate. Buttery and milky notes appear after swallowing in upper palate, moving through the nostrils. Halfway in the cup some vegetal and grassy aspect starts to appear. Milky profile settles down and entwines with refreshing orchid notes as the liquor cools , making it more enjoyable.
Infusion(2nd) – Liquor color shifts to a green hue with consistent milky and less notable flowery notes. At this point vegetal note shifts to grassy aspect.
Infusion(3rd) – With third steep milky notes seem to have already reached their climax in previous steep and leaving space for grassy aspect to take the lead. Aside that, there’s some bitterness involved, but still in the pleasant range, with a hint of astringency that lingers for a short time
Conclusion – I got this tea some three months ago and drank it in slow progression. It reminds me of other Taiwanese rolled oolongs with similar buttery notes and less stable liquor output when compared to Jin Xuan. I could complain that it’s instructed to use 7 grams of tea per 8 Oz pot, which is too much for my routine (and pocket), but then I can use 3 grams and enjoy two consistent brews (3 min, 5 min).
All in all I’m satisfied with this tea, but I don’t drink it often and keep it for my occasional undesired rice pudding craves.
Here is a blog review for two of Teavivre’s Jin Xuan Milk Oolongs. Just copy-paste the link on Google Translate using Croatian to English setting.
Free sample from Teavivre
I thought I would try this one yesterday and have been trying to find the right words to describe it ever since. Reading through the tasting notes of others, I find little that really describes what I got from this tea. To be honest, I find describing this tea very difficult. Still, here goes.
The tea arrives in the pot as little solid nuggets of green. The remind me of space rocks or some other similar sweets. The aroma is strong and sweet, not like the dry woody smell that I associate with ginseng. It has a toasty quality to it that is not unpleasant and a warm feel to it.
Steeping the tea brings out the warmth and the toasty quality more. The first sip is odd. I had not been sure what to expect and the roasted, toasty quality of the flavour is unusual for me, different from other teas with that roasted flavour. I warm to the taste as I sip the tea more. Once I get past my lack of familiarity with the taste, I begin to notice the ginseng flavour, but sweeter and less woody than I would have expected. The roasting is present still, but I think I can detect aniseed underneath it all and a bit of camphor or eucalyptus. It is really very pleasant but the real strength of the tea hits me only a few minutes after I have finished the first cup. Suddenly my tongue is coated with a warmth and flavour that I can only describe as like a Fisherman’s Friend, a type of menthol lozenge. My tongue is toasty warm in a good way, with the camphor/eucalyptus and aniseed flavours dancing around on it. There is a hint of capsicum to it too that enhances all the other flavours. This aftertaste was awesome and it went on for ages, a good 45 minutes or more. It was really quite incredible. Thank you, Teavivre, for letting me try such a brilliant tea.
Many thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this exciting sample!
1tsp of dry leaf
dry smell is very overwhelmingly ginseng
wet leaf smells lightly of ginseng along with some sweetness
taste: ginseng in the forefront, and then a bit of floral oolong in the background. As some other reviewers have mentioned, there is a sweet flavour that coats the throat
2nd steep: 2 minutes, the leaves still haven’t fully openend. Less ginseng flavour. That sweetness that coats the back of your throat is still there though. The oolong flavour comes out a little more in this steep as well. I like this steep just as much or more than the first one.
3rd steep: 3 minutes, the leaves are almost fully opened, so as expected, more oolong flavour shines through the ginseng. The ginseng is starting to be in the background now, as well as the sweetness.
Each steep is so different, and this tea is so different than anything I have had before, it is growing on me for sure.
Dry Leaf: Has a earthy smell.
Wet Leaf: Has a rich wood aroma with some earthiness.
Liquor: Dark amber color
Taste: This tea has a smooth woody or earthy taste with a faint sweetness. As you continue to steep this tea it becomes more of a smooth leathery flavored tea that gets lighter and lighter with each steeping.
Overall Opinion: I give this a 90. I liked this tea for a loose puerh. I have found this is one of the better loose puerh from my experiences.
Many thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample!
I was really apprehensive about this sample because I am not the biggest fan of greens, especially straight greens, but this was really good! Colour me shocked.
The dry leaf is curly, soft, and downy. It smells really vegetal which has me worried.
Taste: delicious, slightly vegetal, slightly sweet and kind of nutty. I get the “savory” flavour almost like salted butter. It is a little drying on the mouth.
2nd steep: 80degrees, 1.5minutes, a little more vegetal, but still nutty
3rd steep: 85degrees, 2.5minutes, less vegetal with some sweetness remaining.
I think I liked this so much because it just tastes so fresh. I always get excellent quality from Teavivre’s teas and so many of them have surprised me. I didn’t think that I would ever enjoy straight tea so much!
Free sample from Teavivre
The dry leaf has the heady aroma of a high quality florist’s shop (like my wife’s shop! :-) ). The jasmine aroma is strong with an element of hay behind it. The leaves are, well, silvery and very pleasing to look at. They are soft to the touch.
Brewing the tea in my small glass teapot I am rewarded with a jasmine aroma wafting off the leaves and a little forest of needles balanced delicately in the hot water. The liquor is almost clear, the jasmine smell is, how best to describe it, round. Yes, it has a roundedness (is that a word?) to it that transfers to the flavour. The tea is light. It makes my tongue tingle even after the tea has been swallowed. Yet still it has a strong, round flavour that is very pleasant. The jasmine is at the forefront of that flavour and I now feel like I am breathing out delicate jasmine aroma all around me. This is another great tea from Teavivre.
This was the most disappointing part of my order. I guess I am not sure what I expected, I know they are not a puer specialty store, and they offer quite a limited selection.
The leaves were fine visually, but the tea was lifeless. I loaded up my yixing with about 10g (usually I am more near 5 or 6, as it is a small pot) and still couldn’t get much flavor out of it. Overall I was pretty disappointed.
Steepings were between 20-45 seconds. I was trying anything to breathe life into this tea, but to no avail