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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog from Thursday night, since my computer was Down With the Sickness.
THIS is the oolong I effed up the first time I tried it! So I attempted it once more the other night after I got home from work. Recently, I found this article that’s actually from Verdant Tea’s website, written by David Duckler. It’s about how to best enjoy tasting a tea, and I found it so enlightening that I’ll leave it here if you haven’t seen it: http://verdanttea.com/how-to-taste-tea/ What hit home the most with me is that, rather than being the Tea Critic who jumps to figure out what I’m tasting, how it compares to what I’m told is in it, and how highly I would rate the tea, the most important thing is just being present in the experience of the tea and enjoying what I’m drinking.
With that article in mind, I took a bit of time to do some gaiwan brewings and tastings of this oolong. This time, I used a thermometer to gauge the water temperature so that I was sure I did not burn it.
I’m not sure I liked the tea itself, it reminds me too much of other oolongs I’m not crazy about, but it was a very enjoyable experience. I did four steepings. The first two had a roasty, slightly “burnt” flavor, but I did find that on the third steeping, the roastiness had subsided and I was getting more of the fruity/floral tone. I’ve rarely had luck with multiple steepings, so I enjoyed finally being able to discern a difference. I also enjoyed smelling the flavor of the wet tea leaves in the nose cup, if that’s what you call it.
But my favorite part about doing gaiwan steepings, honestly, is the auditory experience. Working in a music store, I relish the lack of background noise that I get in a quiet room (we live in what I’d call a rural suburb, so it is possible to achieve complete silence.) There’s something about the sequence of pouring water and the little clacking of the lid on the cup that’s exquisitely soothing, in this way I can’t really describe. I think I would quite enjoy having a whole gongfu set, which I plan on putting on either a birthday or Christmas wish list.
So the tea? Eh. The tasting? Mmm!
Thank you Teavivre for sending me a sample of this! The aroma is delicious. Warm, buttery, and slightly nutty. Like browned butter..(that makes me crave browned butter and myzithra noodles…) It has a soft buttery flavor with nutty notes… There is a hint of something… like sweet potato… but it’s SUPER light.. It’s a really nice oolong :)
Flavors: Butter, Nutty, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetal
Thank you to the lovely Angel for sending me some oolong samples :)
The dry tea looks like clusters of darker green tea. The scent it a bit cabbage-y. It very much reminds me of a long jing green tea scent.
I have had this tea before, and looking at my review, I feel like this is a totally different tea. To be honest it probably is a different tea as it would be from a different years harvest. I also brewed it differently.
The tea brewed up quite nice. The clusters did not fully unfurl which indicates to me there are many more steeps to come.
This tea is very lightly floral, but there is that nice vegetal flavour similar to the long jing. It is smooth, slightly buttery. I am not getting any astringency that I picked up on the first time I had this tea.
Again, very impressed with Teavivre as usual :)
This is a very light and smooth oolong. It is very floral, but not too strong, its light. Mid and end sip there is an almost woody taste. It is slightly sweet. Just a tad astringent after the sip. Green oolongs are not my favorite, but this one is pretty good. I think because it is floral but not overly floral.
Fiance and I finally finished off the tea soda mixture today (yay!) It was probably good for 16 or so 14 oz cups, so it definitely lasted a good bit.
This is a sample I got from TeaVivre. Thanks so much to Angel and the TeaVivre team!
Dry, this leaf has such a wonderful cocoa smell, with a small amount of autumnal notes, like wet leaves and moss. This is the perfect tea for the kind of brisk weather we’re having now!
I brewed this western style (mostly because Fiance insisted on a cup too!) so, I popped two heaping tablespoons for 16 oz and went just over two minutes at 212F.
Steeped like this, there are very strong notes of cocoa and a rich earthiness. A toasty, nutty note pops up when the tea hits the roof of my mouth and then lingers through the sip. There’s a slight sweet fruit flavor (kind of peachy, with floral highlights) that hangs on the throat and becomes the aftertase. There’s a slight drying feeling but it’s not distracting.
Fiance said this cup had a really comforting, pleasant taste.
Second Steep (~3 min 30 sec):
This cup is more floral and sweeter, like carmelized sugar sweetness. The highlights are brighter, and the flavor is more nuanced in general. The cocoa is slightly less defined, and gives way to a more mossy earthy flavor. Such a smooth cup! The astringency is also less here.
Fiance has now decided that it’s the toastiness he likes.
Third Steep (5 min):
This one is more caramelized sugar and mineral than nutty or chocolatey. There’s stil a lovely subtle floral aspect to it, the fruit is more apple than peach now. The aftertaste is like a lightly toasted wet rock.
A delightfully warming cup and a great floral oolong when I want something less green tasting. Yum!
I admit, I hated this at first. I told a fellow Steepster in a PM that the taste reminded me of chewing tobacco. This is my last sample bag of it and I decided to give it one more try, just to make sure I still hated it. I am glad I did. This time, instead of beet sugar crystals, I used regular table sugar and added cream until it was the color that I prefer my coffee. OMG, it is really good. I taste some hints of chocolate and the background of what I thought tasted like chewing tobacco accents it very well. I would have never thought I would have 3.5 oz of this in my cart, but I do. I just don’t know if I am going to pull the trigger or buy Fengqing Dragon Pearl Black Tea instead.
Backlog! I sipped the rest of this one today while getting my little ferret ready for a play date! I know… It sounds ridiculous but it’s quite entertaining to watch them run around together :3
Archie and Nibbles playing:
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for a very generous sample of this. I was excited to try this because I love, love silver needle. The aroma of the dry leaf is amazing and filled with jasmine. Oh this is heavenly. The sweetness of the silver needle mix perfectly with the sweet floral notes of the jasmine. For some reason the two together almost remind me of grapes. Like a really light, natural grape flavor. This is such a beautiful tea. Thank you again Angel!
This is really good.
I love how I drink my light spring teas now that it’s Autumn. And I think I was drinking Pumpkin Chai in the Spring.
Anyway, this is very light and floral but.. not in a bad way? Sometimes I think Jasmine = YUCK, but it’s good. It’s not in your face, and it’s also nice and sweet too. I would definitely drink more of this, and I think that this would help promote more enjoyment of teas that aren’t just black. I should drink at least one tea per day that isn’t black… I have so much of it. :P
Thank you Angel for the sample!
I received this as a free sample from Teavivre and have to say I am very impressed with their business ethics. They are very helpful and stayed in contact with me until my free samples arrived. The E-Mails sent were real and not automated which is very important to me. My next purchases I make will defiantly be from them.
Now for my review of the tea itself. Upon opening the tea it smelled GREAT and I was very excited to try it. 1st steep was for 2 and was 5 minutes in an Adagio Teas 32-Ounce Iced Ingenuitea Teapot and there was absolutely no taste what so ever and my daughter agreed. 2nd steep was for 10 minutes, thats right, 10 minutes. It was much better and somewhat enjoyable. The strawberry was subtle and not generic in taste. Though I do not think I would purchase this tea, I am enjoying the free sample. I have one more sample of the tea left and I will give it another chance. As of right now I think about 60 is where I stand on this one. I will update my review if that changes with the other sample.
I am a roasty kind of girl. So I was excited to receive a sample from Teavivre of the heavily roasted Iron Goddess. I also have the “regular” Iron Goddess, so I decided to compare the two. I have previously tried the regular version.
The dry tea of both varieties look very similar to each other. The heavily roasted is a bit darker green colour. They both smell very similar with the roasted being a slightly stronger smell.
After brewing, the regular version is a light greenish yellow colour, the roasted is more of a brown green colour. They both smell the same with the roasted being a stronger smell. Both very floral.
But that’s where the similarities end. While I find the regular version to be quite floral, light, slightly sweet grass type flavour. The roasted is a stronger, woody type flavour. Only slightly floral. Less sweet. Reminds me more of butter. There is definitely a roasty flavour, like roasted nuts.
Both varieties are good, but I think I would always go for the roasted version if available.
I went to fix myself this tea this morning and realized I had TWO cups’ worth left, not just one like I thought. This morning I put the tea through my accidental “steep it way longer than 5 minutes” test that seems to be becoming a trend…
It’s still great, and if anything, the longer steep time brings out the rose flavor. I’m upping the numbers on this. Anywhere below 95 is just not accurate anymore.
If I get one Teavivre tea in my splurge, it’ll be this. This is one of the rare teas I can’t get over my awe of.
…I did place my first Butiki order last night too.
It’s been a bit since I’ve had this one! (Mostly because I couldn’t find it, and when I did, I put it in a tin then forgotten I’d put it in the tin.) This is my breakfast tea while watching Family Ties on Netflix (ahh so good!!!) As I think I say every time I drink a dian hong, I have to remember to drink this slowly to get the flavor progression. Otherwise there’s still the tasteful rose flavoring. I feel like I’m just repeating what I’ve already said about this one. But it’s the kind of tea that we get obsessed with tea for. Definitely restocking on my impending tea splurge…
Backlog from yesterday. Had a cup at home, then drank another cup throughout my work day.
And now, a summary of my weekend.
FRIDAY: Went for a pretty awesome bike ride with my parents. We did… 8 or 9 miles? Which is longer than my normal trip, but it felt like I got a lot of exercise without being killed. Doc says I need more regular exercise to up my good cholesterol, so there ya go…
SATURDAY: Worked. And while I was at work, I sprained the CRAP out of my ankle when I tried to do a running vault over merchandise to answer the phone, only to land entirely the wrong way. It even made me cry. And then I left work 1 hour early to drive to Indianapolis (I tried to leave earlier, but the part-timer made this slightly judgmental comment and then we got really busy anyway) to visit a friend. It rained all the way from the state border on, of course right after it got dark.
SUNDAY: Friend and I went with her parents to see a dinner theater matinee of Les Miserables. It wound up being actually really cool, since it was a much smaller production than that show normally gets, and once I got over that and the mostly-synthesized orchestra, we got really into it and raved about it all the way back to her place. And then I drove home, and as soon as I crossed the state border, it got dark and rained.
And now I am sitting at home, going back and forth between Epsom salts and an ice pack on the ankle, which is not a pretty sight right now. I’m considering making tea, but I’m not sure. I did have three cups of coffee during the show, anyway. Ah well!
This is a backlog from Friday because Cup 2 proved my review of Cup 1 to be a boldfaced lie. :P And 1) my computer was Down With the Sickness and 2) I was busy helping my parents last-minute clean the house for a rare visitor. For the longest time, my parents were self-conscious about the house, but since we’ve gotten a lot of things redone, it’s a much nicer-looking place.
You know how I said I couldn’t taste the Dian Hong flavor progression? Lies! Once the tea had the chance to cool and mellow a bit, I realized the brightness I was getting at the beginning of the sip was partly due to that Bailin Bongfu-esque earthiness, which tastes slightly citrusy or something when you have rose flavoring. As it stays on the tongue, it does darken and malten (it’s a real word now!), you just still have that floral overtone. And even that mellows out a bit as it cools. It’s really quite a pleasant cup. I’m considering it for a restock once the sample’s gone.
But my favorite part? The wet leaves with the rosebuds. They really do smell like roses!
Writing this on my phone because my computer is Down With The Sickness. Oh nooooo…
There are little rose buds in the tea! Not just leaves, but full-on rose buds. It’s precious! I even had to show my mom. Apparently rose hips are a source of Vitamin C?
The dry leaves definitely smell sweet and rose like; the tea smells like a sweet Dian Hong. The flavor of the rose is unexpectedly bright. It’s kind of perfume-like, but there’s also some vegetable it’s reminding me of. There is maltiness late in the sip, but besides that I really don’t get the Dian Hong chameleon-flavor in this tea, although I can tell it’s a black base.
No numbers for now. This may be one to get used to.
Dry leaf smells of fresh sweet hay – so comforting somehow.
Brewed, the first sip is a bit brisk but smooths as the cup cools. Flavour is bright with earthy sweet potato, and then a lingering orange citrus aftertaste which develops more as the tea cools.
Second and third steeps do not have the astringency of the initial cup and tastes even more of orange and sweet potato.
That bit of briskness is leaving a dryness in my mouth and throat- although it could just be due to how I feel today.
This is a very good, flavourful and tasty tea, and I will try it again another day when the bright citrus note won’t bother me so much.
wow….am I really the first to rate this??
ok…. no pressure or anything…
Ok well hot….it’s pretty strong in flavor…little spinach…vegetal?…but def smooth. Sort of a thick mouthfeel if that makes sense. It smells slightly sweet and floral. The main taste is that strong spinach leafy taste…but then it develops into more of a floral….
Letting it cool a bit more…
hmm….it’s allright…nothing too special. Maybe I’m just expecting more for some reason. It IS brisk tho.
Second steep. Less spinach taste but now it seems almost bitter. It’s odd.
It’s not a bad tea…but nothing I think I HAVE to have.
I’ll have to give it a couple more tries before I can rate it