Recent Tasting Notes


So I took time off to work at home and the internet has been down all morning. oh well, that just means I will have to do it later in the day. It’s still on and off so just posting a quick tea note.

The silver needles have light hairs all over them and are of silver and light green colours. The needles are long and thin with minimal to no breakage in the leaves. Quality overall is very nice. They have a light grassy and floral scent.

Once steeped the tea is very light yellow in colour and has a sweet and slightly floral.

First steep
Flavour is very clean and light, gently floral and sweet.

Second steep
Still light and floral with a sweet and smooth pureness but also with a toasted hint. A little grassy also.

Third steep
Similar to the first steep in that it’s very light and refreshing. Still there is a pure floral flavour.

Overall it’s one of the nicest qualities that I have tried and it’s so very delicious and delicate.

175 °F / 79 °C

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I am always up for trying a new lapsang souchong. I’m one of those people who greatly enjoys the smoked flavour and almost can’t get enough of it. Well, I say almost because I do have a certain ideal balance between the smoke note and the other notes. Many lapsangs are actually very sweet and fruity underneath the smoke, and it’s that note that I want to come out clearly as well. I want that and the smoke more or less in equal measures. That’s my Perfect LS. So of course I would choose lapsang souchong for one of my free samples with my recent order.

The first time I ever noticed that fruity sweet aspect it drove me nearly nuts for months trying to get the brewing conditions right to replicate it. I’ve got that down now. I’ve learned how to make a black tea in exactly the way that suits me best, but the first time I really thought something must have been tampering with my leaf.

Anyway, this particular lapsang smells like it has a very strong note of that fruity sweetness. There isn’t even all that much smoke in the aroma. It seems very mild. I have read that this fruity note is supposed to be reminiscent of longan fruit, but I have no idea what those are, so I couldn’t tell if I agree with that or not. To me, it’s leaning more towards stone fruits and lychee.

The flavour is indeed quite mild on the smoke. At first I almost thought it wasn’t there, but then it showed up and lingered on the aftertaste. The fruity sweetness is there as well, but at this moment the tea is still too hot for me to be able to taste anything properly

After cooling a little bit, the smoke comes forth a little more, but it’s still a very mild LS this. The fruity note is strong in this one and quite sweet. The smoke is mostly there in the aftertaste for me, but it lingers for a long time.

If you are looking to try lapsang souchong for the first time and don’t know if you will care for the smoke or not, I would definitely recommend this one as an introduction because it’s so mild. It won’t overwhelm you with smoke, so even if you find you don’t much care for the smoke, I should think you would still find this at least drinkable.

In completely other news, I’ve noticed that I tend to capitalise tea names. Like writing Keemun instead of keemun and Lapsang Souchong and so on. I’ve made an effort not to do it in this post, but am I actually supposed to do that? What do you guys do?


They aren’t proper names, so I don’t capitalize them :D I do tend to capitalize the name of a tea if I’m referencing it specifically (e.g. “Banana Oolong” by DavidsTea), but oolong as a type of tea doesn’t get such treatment.


Yeah, I would still do it with blend names too, but that’s the thing that started me wondering. I would say Keemun and Assam because they’re place names, so that was fine, but then I noticed as I wrote this post that I kept writing Lapsang, and suddenly thought, “wait, why am I doing that?” It’s not the name of a specific tea after all. I wouldn’t write Strawberry Flavoured Tea either. I wonder if it’s the teas with Chinese names that are confusing me, really. Some of them, I don’t know if part of the name is a place name or not. Seems I should try to un-learn this habit, at least when I know it’s not a place name.

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I can never quite get over how wrong my guesses at what keemuns would taste like before trying any were—I was thinking heavily smoky and sharp, acrid, like knock-you-out generic lapsang souchongs. But no! For me they are more overwhelmingly about the smell of toasted chocolate than anything else, including smoke, and it’s been a rather pleasant surprise to discover this. There’s also a chewy grain quality here, an element I’ve noticed present in all of the Teavivre black teas I’ve tried so far (along with that complex relatively mellow sweetness I tend to associate with Chinese tea). A little bit of bitterness, but noticeably less than in the H&S version I tried earlier this month. There is a woodgrainy mouthfeel, I’m guessing from the tannin, and for some reason it works here with the softness of the flavor.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

This is the tea I currently enjoy every morning.
Have you tried 1.5 tsp. / 8 oz. / 194*F / 2 to 3 minutes?
Have you also tried it Gaiwan style?


I did 1.5 tsp/8oz/205F/3min western style. Haven’t used my gaiwan yet; only got it about a week ago. Looking forward to getting the hang of using it soon though!


" A little bit of bitterness, …"
A lower temp. should help western or gaiwan style.
With 1.5 tsp. you may find that less time is needed too.


Yeah, when I tried the Harney Keemun Hao Ya A I definitely decided I’d have to steep for less time. This wasn’t too bitter for me at all though, it was just right. I don’t mind a little depending on context, and here I thought it went nicely with the rich toasted chocolate and grain flavor. It helps that there’s some sweetness to it too. Thanks for your guidance! I appreciate it.


Happy to help. Hope you enjoy it.

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My work for today is done, I managed to get everything made and sent out which is a miracle and deserves a reward. That’s why I got my husband to cook dinner (for once lol). I prepared it all but told him how to cook it and made it easy so it was like he served me a very nice meal that he made himself. :)

Then I thought I would make myself pro active during the wait for dinner and have a quick clean up of my tea cupboard. I have a new spare tub for my Unbridled Love Fruit Tea which should help me remember it’s their and drink it more often. Which is then when I remembered I haven’t reviewed this tea despite having had it for almost a year.

The raw blends ingredients are rather large and if I’m honest they are duller than shown in the picture. It has a sweet yet sour fruity scent of orange but darker than expected. Perhaps the darkness is from the raisins. In a way it reminds me of a few Christmas based teas I sampled not so long ago.

Once steeped this tea is dark red/purple in colour and has a herbal and fruity aroma. It also smells a little tart and sour.

Flavour is strong and very tart but also with a light sweet and fruity taste. The orange is the most noticeable fruit but the rose hip dominates above all else. The flavours lighten quickly to leave a gentle sour and fruity after taste.

Overall it’s quite nice but perhaps a little too sour for my taste. It has to be something that I crave before I can drink it. A bit of sweetener can help.

Boiling 8 min or more

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This is my first tea in over 24 hrs :)
I had minor surgery yesterday so was not allowed to eat or drink all day :(
I chose this nice roasty tasting tea for my first tea in the morning because I didn’t want anything that I was tempted to add milk to (had post anesthetic nausea and surgery was late so this is my first liquid since coming out from surgery) I am off for the week so I will have plenty of time to drink lots of tea.
Sorry getting totally off on a tangent so back to this tea. Toasty oolongs are one of my favourite teas and this is no different. Just sipping on my first infusion now…so good!


wishing you a speedy recovery!

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Mmm… followed the directions on the package for my first taste of this tea:
Boiling water 1 tbsp of leaves to 8oz, quick rinse of leaves, 1 min steep. Nice lightly toasted scent and flavour with oolong “notes” then I did a second infusion with 2 min steep. A little less of the toasty and more of the greener oolong notes. All in all so far an excellent oolong, great price and amazing service! Can’t wait to try the others I bought!

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With a liquor as dark as wine, you’d think that the tea would have a similarly intense presence. As it turns out, not so much. It’s an understated fellow, this one. You get a mouth full of smoke that sits even more heavily on the tongue than the Lapsang Souchong, leaving an ashy residue feeling, however it’s not overpowering. This tea could be the shy guy at the corner of the D&D table. His character’s stats aren’t amazing, but he’s got steady luck on the dice, and you aren’t creeped out by his silence–in fact, you’re a little curious if he’s got more to say. For the tea, this means trying out further infusions and seeing how the underlying flavors develop. Admittedly the fishiness is still there on the initial sip, but it doesn’t leave an aftertaste; only the smoke does. This gives us a slow-to-show richness and depth to the tea–meaty, even.

Alright, it’s a steak in a cup. Carnivores, full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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Lapsangs have a predisposition to fishy odor. This one is true to form; in the bag, there’s definitely a pescetatious* smell. I’m a New Yorker with hard-earned Jew cred, which involved its fair share of lox and cream cheese. As a result, I can get into the mood for this tea, but if you don’t like fish, then this ain’t the brew for you. If you’re brave and try it anyway, you’ll be relieved to find that it loses most of that aroma once steeped, getting more into the coppery zone, and subsequent infusions rub it out altogether.

As far as taste goes, well, first impression is that even if the smell is muffled, we’re back to the fish. Really heavily smoked fish. Lapsangs take a certain finesse to prepare in such a way that the first infusion is pure smokey goodness without the salty friend, and this particular cup didn’t reach that ideal state. (Experienced lapsang and pu-erh drinkers, you have my envy and admiration.) But back to the tea: gotta say, it really sits in your mouth trying to convince you that it’s a piece of salmon. Want to talk about mouthfeel? Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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The smell in the bag is closer to a green tea, vegetal and seaweedy. Once in the cup though, that is some floral right there! It’s a burst of jasmine into your nose hole.

Dry tea is full of lies.

This tricky goddess was just pretending to resemble a green tea, but her charade ended as soon as the hot water hit. Another example of misleading liquors; the delicate, pale yellow color of this tea hides an abundance of flower power. Now we know how the goddess likes to be worshiped: her altar must be strung with pungent garlands and sweet-smelling candles. Luckily… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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The smell of the dry leaves brings to mind the deepest, darkest of woods, the kind you’d find in Redwall when Brian Jacques is really trying to send shivers up your spines. Once steeped, you get more of that sweet loam, but without the dustiness.

Steeping this tea in a large, transparent infuser will show you exactly why they’re called dragon pearls. Each one opens up like a dragon uncurling from its slumber, yawning and stretching and making the same creaky pterodactyl noises that you do in the morning. It;s got the sesame bronziness of most Chinese blacks, with a really sweet aftertaste. The longer it sits, the more profoundly sweet it gets. That’s the beauty of tea–it’s a transient experience. The flavor changes with every sip. This one’s immediate, fresh-poured taste was just a pregame… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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In the bag, you get a blueberry muffin at your service, or better yet, a blueberry granola bar. The cup takes this and mellows the aroma out even more, bringing in an undertone of raspberry and maybe apple as well, for an earthy kind of fruit tea.

Berry teas especially can be a flavor blast to the mouth, some verging on jam-ish sweetness. This one, however, does well in maintaining its distance. The currant in here serves to hold all the other berries in check, cooling off any tartness that could otherwise show up. You’d probably hit sour if it was oversteeped, of course, but who knows… Full review here: http://snooteablog.com/2013/05/25/snooty-tea-review-teavivre/

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Sipdown! This is number 3 for today! (As I finish writing this in the morning, oops!)

This is a really lovely green tea. The tea itself is gorgeous. Little curly, downy leaves that smell delicious! The liquor is a very very light green, a bit vegetal and a bit sweet, and very smooth. As far as particular notes go I’m actually kind of forget because I didn’t get that far in my notes while sipping. I guess I’ll have to just get some more the next time I order from Teavivre!

Tea: ~2 tsp
Water: ~2 cups
Additives: none
Brewing method: A lovely DT teapot

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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A day with my wife and kids, games, and hot dogs. Also a day in America when we remember those who served that we might enjoy freedom and opportunity to prosper.

I added more leaf and steeped this again. Much more and bolder flavor this time. This is such an interesting juxtaposing of flavors. The smooth and mild side of a highly oxidized though lightly roasted oolong, meets the throat scratching and lingering floral aftertaste of a TGY. Very good and interesting cup.

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I did not know what to expect with this one. The dry leaf looks more like black tea than oolong. The dry scent is kind of grape/malt/cocoa with very mild roasted hints. When I put the leaf in my freshly washed and still wet press, the aroma became like the leaves of a tomato plant. Brewed up the golden liquor scent was mildly roasted tomato leaves.

I was apparently not awake enough to leaf this properly so I added a bit of sweetener to compensate. The front of the sip reminds me of the Formosa oolong I had a couple days ago. The late sip and aftertaste are tiguanyin. While floral it is not overly so. It is fruity and sweet (not just from my additive). This is much more subdued than I expected. By the look of the leaf I thought it would be very strong. I am going to add more leaf now that I am awake and see what happens.

Boiling 2 min, 0 sec

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A full review will be posted soon on http://sororiteasisters.com/ but here are my snippets:

The flavor of this tea is like none other. Seriously this is not your average green tea! Yes there is a note of vegetation and unlike my SororiTea Sister I do get a bit of a grassy note, but it is so much more complex than that and I am in agreement with my SororiTea Sister Anne, that it is a stellar green tea to covet! Like her, I think my new favorite.

I too get that kick of a spicy note and a deep earthiness for a green. Something like peat moss perhaps. This is easily a tea that I could get all flowery with the words about but rather I want to just sit back and relax into this sublime cup. It is sweet, a tiny bit tangy and tart, a kick of spicy, a whole lot of grounding earthiness, vegetal, subtly grassy, with a touch of fruit flavor very much like that of a melon yet I also detect something perhaps like lychee with a light floral undertone to it.

An absolute MUST try!!


Azz, I know you’re now a sororitea sister but we miss you here !!! :)


Wow has it really been a year since you posted?? Miss you babe!

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In raw form this tea is incredibly sticky and the honey glaze is very noticeable. The Oolong balls are dark and medium green in colour and they have a sweet and toasted but also floral scent.

Using my Gongfu teapot for this Tie Guan Yin with the hope to bring out the honey flavour in full.

Once steeped this tea is brown/yellow in colour and has a sweet and toasted honey aroma. Like a slice of honey loaf cake or honeyed cereal (been eating a lot of that recently and it reminds me very much of it).

Flavour is green and floral at first before the sweet honey melts everything into one super smooth and silky tone. It isn’t over the top sweet but compared to the average Tie Guan Yin it’s much sweeter and smoother and less thick and floral/woody. It’s honeyed without being pure honey is what I was trying to say. For a first steep it’s very nice.

The second steep shows a thicker toasted scent and more floral flavour. Honey is still present but not as sweet as the previous steep, partly because the thickness of the other Oolong flavours has grown. Still very nice, not sure if I prefer the first or second steep the most so far.

Side Note – The Oolong has now fully opened, from being what looked like a small 7g lot of balls to filling half my Gongfu teapot with large pieces of broken down leaves. The leaves themselves look very good quality ie no stems, discolouration.

My third steep is more floral then previously but less toasted so the sweetness is once again more noticeable. It still has a fair amount of flavour which is very pleasing and if you really wanted you could probably get another steep or two quite easily.

Overall I really enjoyed this tea, it was my first time trying any form of honey soaked tea and I can now say that in this case it worked very well. I browsed the Teavivre website in the interest of adding some to my ongoing cart but unfortunately it doesn’t look as if they sell this one any more. :(


That’s too bad. I remember these honey oolongs being really good.

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Life has been going on overdrive lately. When was the last time I posted anything here? Oh my.

Let me do a quick recap: (in case anyone is wondering. :))
-Week long trip to Yosemite/California vineyards turned into nursing husband back to health. It was still fun and his doctor says he’s fine now.
-Husband’s friends from Germany came to visit for about 2 weeks straight after we returned home. Entertaining guests is very time consuming! But they were great and I’m glad they came.
-Lost our dog, Mr. Snuggles. It was 24 hours of frantic searching, calling, flyer printing/posting, etc. Finally someone called to say she had our pup. (flyers worked!) Right after we came home with Snugs, I became violently ill. Vomiting, light headed, pounding headache. I had literally worried myself sick. But I’m ecstatic and relieved that he’s home.
-New project at work is escalating. I was informed it would entail 15 – 25% of my work time. More like 60-70%. I can’t believe I volunteered for this.
-My MIL’s 10 peach trees are exploding with fruit. It’s been non-stop canning over here. Help!

Thank goodness for Labor Day! And now, I’m having a cup of tea before starting a batch of peach jam. Sigh, first world problems. This tea is as delicious as I remember. The quality especially shows now that I’ve overbrewed it and it still tastes fantastic. Smooth, hint of milk chocolate, delicious toasted grain. Mmmm… Just the boost I need for peach overload.


I’m sorry to hear that you have undergone many unlucky things. Fortunately, everything is ok now. Hope our tea will take you away the pressure, bring you a good mood.

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Mmm, oh my. This is good. I knew the quality would be good, but I didn’t expect to enjoy it this much. The mouthfeel of this is almost syrupy smooth. And speaking of smooth…the taste of this tea! Super smooth. Just a bare hint of astringency so that you know this is tea. And the flavors! Creamy and malty. Not very malty, but discernibly malty and mouthwatering. Faint aftertaste of milk chocolate. All tied together with a sense of savoriness so common in Chinese teas.

This is nearly good enough to make me forget how dreadful the weather has been of late. Thankfully, my nasturtium sprouts seem to have survived the flash flooding we had a couple nights ago. In fact, a new sprout showed up this morning! Yay! I can’t wait for the beautiful/tasty flowers and mini lily pad leaves.
In other plant news, my indoor succulent garden has a case of mealy bugs. :( My poor little plant babies. Will it get better once I move it outdoors in the warmer weather?


Oh no, my mom always worries about buggy plants in the house. Moving it outside when it warms up sounds like a good idea.


My MIL gave me some insecticidal soap to spray on it. Hopefully that will help.

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Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Sniffing the tea liquor, I got the impression this would be too sweet. But with the first sip, it’s much more toned down. There are a lot of enjoyable flavours here; malty, honey, spices, marzipan, grains, raisin, chocolate. They’re all very mellow and underwhelming though.

The following second through seventh steeps didn’t really impress me either.

To try and get more flavour out of my cups, I did both a western steep and another short steep (with more leaves). Both attempts were unsuccessful. To be truthful, I just couldn’t get into this tea at all.
And overall I while enjoyed the sample, it couldn’t compare with some other Oriental Beauty teas I have tried.

Steep parameters:
100ml gaiwan, 4g, 7 steeps and rinse (30s, 45s, 1m, 1m10s, 1m20s, 1m30s, 1m40s)

185 °F / 85 °C

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In raw form this tea is dark brown, thin, very long and has a leather, dried fruit scent. Sweet but with dark under tones. I can see quite a few leaf stems.

Once steeped the tea soup is light brown in colour and has a sweet but dark, fruity, wooden aroma.

Flavour is similar to it’s scent. Fruity highs of currant and thick, strong lows of wood and leather. So far it’s very smooth and honeyed.

The second steep is musky but still very wooden and sweet. Thicker this time and more robust but not enough to be bitter.

Third steep is still sweet and wooden and stronger in flavour than I expected. Also still curranty and smooth.

Overall it’s a nice, wooden and sweet Oolong with dark fruit tones. I usually prefer greener Oolongs personally but my husband really enjoyed this. It wouldn’t be something I would stock again for myself but may get the odd sample for my husband. :)


Sounds delicious. I think I may have a sample for when I have the time.


i think i’ll have to try this one. beautiful description…


This is one of my favorite oolongs. Great review!

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This was very good! I didn’t use nearly the amount of dry tea suggested in the description — I used 2-1/2 tsp for a 16-oz mug, and steeped for almost 10 minutes. A really nice blend of sweet, and slightly tart or tangy, fruits. (Thanks to Starfevre for this sample.) Great for when I’m in the mood for a fruit tea.
(And I, umm, ate most of the fruit afterwards. Hehe.)

Boiling 8 min or more

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I have tried the non Organic version of this tea from Teavivre a while ago and remember it being a nice black tea but not one of my personal favourites. When it comes to black tea I love malty and fruity teas such as Dian Hong and while the original Bailin Gongfu came half way towards the perfect tea it left out a few things. Perhaps the Organic version will be more to my taste.

Raw leaves are dark brown with a few golden tips mixed in for colour. In form they are long and thin with a slight curl. They have a sweet but wooden scent.

Once steeped the tea is dark red in colour and has a malted, wooden aroma. It has sweetness and depth but also smells like cocoa nib.

Flavour is mild in comparison to it’s aroma. Fresh and sweet like caramel and cocoa with wooden and malted clean tasting tones. Very smooth and silky in texture and light in the after taste.

The second steep sweeter and more wooden. Much lighter altogether in tone but still showing caramel smoothness.

Overall it’s smoother than I remember and much sweeter. Not something I would stock ahead of my Yunnan Gold Tips but still pretty darn tasty.

185 °F / 85 °C

To which Yunnan Gold Tips are you referring? Thanks!


Oops my bad, meant to say Yunnan and Gold Tips. The Yunnan reference was nothing particular but my favourite Gold Tips are from Teavivre called in full Yun Nan Dian Hong Black Tea – Golden Tip.


Thanks for the 3-way Teavivre black tea comparison:
Bailin Gongfu vs. Organic Bailin Gongfu vs. Yun Nan Dian Hong – Golden Tip.

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Is it annyoing if I say I agree with ALL the good comments. haha. It is a great tea. I bought about 5 Ooolongs this month and this was my favorite. 100% for me.

Write me if you have any questions. SO GOOD.

Also tried this iced. Mmmmmm. Didnt need long to open up and bring out the flavor. 30-60 seconds was plenty

190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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