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Recent Tasting Notes
TeaVivre sent me some samples of their greens from last year.
When I received the package, I was quite impressed with labels. They have marked down production dates and manufacturers! Bag also had some storage and brewing instructions, and it was nice to note that wulongs, greens, white and blacks had distinctive shelf lives. Aluminium bags with TeaVivre’s labels contained smaller, sealed bags used by manufacturers.
This is fairly cheap, and judging be the leaves pricing seems fair. These aren’t strictly Mao Feng, bud and leaf. There are some lower leaves, some leaves have a bit of oxidation, some twigs etc. Leaves are generally whole. Leaves are fairly long, making production date (5/20/2011) seem realistic.
There seems to be two major tastes whirling around here. Weird, little ill-balanced round, almost milky taste, which changes into a light vegetality. I didn’t like the initial milky taste, and the vegetality should have been little stronger to balance that out, methinks. Aftertaste is fairly pleasant, round and soft, if slighly uninteresting.
Overall, I think this is fairly priced, quite decent tea. I have had a couple of casual glasses of this, and those I enjoyed a lot. Now that I sit down and drink this properly with focus, tea feels lacking in many ways. Then again, which green from 2011 isn’t now? This isn’t top tea, but TeaVivre isn’t asking a price of such from this. I would be happy to recommend this for a casual drinking, and I have very positive image of TeaVivre now.
Second tea of the morning…….
I received this sample a several weeks ago from TeaVivre and have been putting off reviewing due to my seasonal allergies. It is hard to taste things very well when your sense of smell is off. I am a little sad it is out of stock, but am hopeful that there will be more for the next season.
This is nutty, and more vegetal than the Premium Dragonwell. There is the slightest hint of bitterness, but it works to cleanse the palate. It is a surprisingly refreshing tea, and there is not a hint of aftertaste. I would never have guessed that the lightest amount of bitterness could work so well in ones favor. It can be a good thing, when in the right amount. I am sure it will be a great resteeper, and I will thoroughly enjoy the sample. I hope to add a few more notes on this one because it is so interesting how flavors I thought were not of interest to me actually are! Thank you, again, to TeaVivre for the opportunity to sample this one.
190 water, about 2 tsp tea in a 15 oz mug. 3 minutes. No additions.
This is a major backlog as I have been SO stressed lately I can’t even handle it.
I still have a lot more left of this from the sample that Teavivre sent me (thanks again!), and so I’m going to have to re-drink this and write a review for it because I honestly don’t remember that much about it.
I remember it being pretty bold with a nice strong base (a little malty and grainy) and a fruity essence (very wine like, more savory fruit) that kind of grew up from it. It also had a nice smoky background to it that kind of lingered in the background.
It was pretty good but I’m going to re-review it with more detail.
So… this is some exciting stuff. This is my first ever Puerh. and i didn’t know rather to be excited or intimidated by it. It is wonderfully malty like the yunnan blacks i have had and so much more dark… almost like a cup of coke. Dry, it smelled a little fishy. Brewed is is a wonderful thing. having said all of that. i’m not even sure if this is the same tea as the teavivre tea. The packaging look identical so i kind of assumed. None the less, amazing.
Thank you Tommy for my new Fixation.
This tea really is a tiny bit of heaven on earth, huh? I almost feel funny drinking it on a mere weekday morning. Perfect amount of jasmine – and a wonderful pastry jasmine — not perfume-y at all. The green tea is excellent. It’s beautiful to behold the pearls when you open the tin. It smells wonderful before, during, and after it is steeped. Again, I don’t do ratings, but this is so, so, so a 100.
Oh my goodness, why did I wait so long to try this tea?!?!!?
I finally had an empty tin, so decided to transfer my generous sample from Teavivre into it, and I was greeted with the most wonderful fragrance imaginable! Sweet jasmine, but not perfumey or overpowering. Nutty isn’t the right word, but sort of a depth to it, too. It made me want to drink some as soon as possible! So this morning I made myself a whole pot of coffee so I wouldn’t have Caffeine Issues and could enjoy a green tea (I wish I was kidding).
This is so. good. It’s floral and rich, but the jasmine is so balanced with the green tea. I taste tea. Good tea! No bitterness, and none of the funny tastes I haven’t learned to appreciate yet in a green tea. More of a creamy taste. I am so impressed!
The pearls are also very beautiful.
I’ve made two steeps so far (the second one even lovelier than the first) and I can see at least two more this afternoon.
Thank you SO MUCH Teavivre. I’m in love!
Tea of the late morning……
If I had to choose one pu’erh to have in my cupboard, this would be it. When deciding how to approach the pu’erh samples sent to me by Teavivre, I decided to save the most expensive for last. Price in tea is usually a pretty good indicator of desirablilty, and in this case for me, it was very true. The price difference is enough that I would want there to be a significant taste improvement over the one with the lower cost, and this tea definitely delivers.
The smell of the dried leaf is less earthy than all of the pu’erhs I have tried (we are only talking about 7 or 8 total…), but only slightly different than the Teavivre 2007 ripened cake. I can see the golden buds in this one. The liquor is only slightly reddish, golden reddish like the 2007 cake. The taste is like you would expect from a pu’erh. Mellow, rich, slightly earthy, and this one is sweet. I am sure that is the first time I have used the word sweet in a review for a pu’erh. Kind of a note of honey which is surprising to me. I do love the mellowness and….I am going to call it the clean-ness of the 2005 Fengqing Golden Buds Ripened Pu-erh Cake as well as the same from the 2007 Fengqing Ripened Tribute Pu-Erh Cake. Very little debris from these two even on the first rinse. Nice high quality full leaves. The liquor still has a clear quality to it rather than a murkiness I have experienced with others. And it is the sweetness of this one that has won me over.
Thank you to Teavivre for the generous samples of their pu’erh cakes. I may become a real pu’erh drinker, yet! It is good to know there are pu’erhs out there that I would enjoy. One just has to know where to shop and who to ask. Thank you for your guidance in choosing these for me to try!
Gaiwan, boiling water, roughly 1 tsp cake, 30 second rinse, 1 minute for steep #1, 1 minute for steep #2…and I am sure it will go much longer!
Tea of the evening…..
First of all, thank you to Teavivre for this sample. I have really appreciated the way their tasting activity has made me expand my comfort zone for tea.
Now that I have a gaiwan, it is much easier to test this kind of tea. I am definitely still new to pu’erh, but I have to say this has been my favorite so far. It could be that I am finally getting better at preparing it, too. Leaf smell is very earthy, but more like the garden smells when you are planting, rather than a barn! I used what roughly looked like a tsp of leaves. I rinsed them. First steep was 1 minute, second was about a minute and a half. The liquor is more golden brown that I would have expected. The other few pu’erhs I have tried definitely had more of a dark reddishness to the tea. First steep smells of hay, but tastes earthy and very mellow. Really, the taste is somewhere between strong black tea and a porter beer. My very first pu’erh tasted of dirt, but this is not anywhere near the same. Earthy and warm. It has a heavy mouthfeel, and there are no small bits of debris like I have had from lower quality tuo chas from other companies (maybe I did not rinse them very well in the beginning…like I said, my preparation has improved, too). I am drinking this after a not so healthy dinner, so it is definitely helping calm my stomach. Second steep is a little stronger due tot he longer steep, but just tastes a little more intense than the first cup.
I do find it interesting that this one seems so much more mellow than the 2010 pu’erh that I recently had from another company. I did ask Teavivre for a beginner’s pu’erh, and I do think this is a good place to start.
I have been feeling a little bit “off” for a couple of weeks now. I am pretty sure it is from too much holiday food combined with getting off of my exercise schedule during the holidays and now trying to put it all back together. After meals I feel especially strange, so I think my digestion needs some TLC.
I turn to puerh tonight to see if that will help. This is the my very last tuo cha from Teavivre, but I do have two kinds of their loose puerh left as well as the beeng Cha I got from Mandala in December. This was actually sent to me by AmyOh way back, but since it is puerh it has only been getting better!
I gave this a 30 second rinse, then a one minute steep. It is nice and dark. I immediately made another one minute steep and combine the two in my fair cup. It is still quite dark. The flavor is rich and the floral aspect muted. The taste is not fishy at all, and very horsey. I think of piles of leaves and mushrooms, nice and earthy.
I will probably go three more steeps on this tonight.
Edited to add: final steeps were so good. The tea seemed to get a thicker mouthfeel, that thing I call a cedar oil coating. It feels so smooth.
I still have a few of these left, sent so generously by AmyOh. My daughter and hubby wanted to drink some puerh last night and so far Teavivre has been hubby’s fave, though he had not tried this yet that I can recall. I made three eight ounce steeps and poured them all together in the larger pot. Both liked it very well, and I am reaching that point where I had better order soon because the night time pot of tea is becoming a ritual and I am getting really low on puerh!
Maybe my palate is not very sensitive, but I do not taste anything floral, and I don’t taste chrysanthemum. I do taste a shu puerh that I like a lot and really enjoy. This one is earthy and horsey with nary a hint of fish.
This tea came from AmyOh and is definitely the chrysanthemum one this time! I think last time I had gotten a rose tuo cha mixed in with the ones Amy sent, but there is no doubt I am looking at a chrysanthemum now.
I did a quick rinse, then made two steeps in rapid succession and poured both into my fairness cup. (During the rinse I left the lid off the pot. The sepals of the chrysanthemum started to unfurl and wave and it was truly creepy and looked like a scene from a horror movie. I guess I have been watching too much Doctor Who.)I immediately resteeped again and carried it all to the tea table, so the different steeps were mixed together.
This was a good puerh. I did not expect to find it very different from the other two from Teavivre, but I do believe it may be just a touch milder. The third steep was especially dark, very inky. We continued steeping to about six I think, and by the end it was getting lighter. The flavor brings to mind earth and leather horse tack, my favorite.
This was very good, and I look forward to drinking them all, but I think I will order the plain Ripened Aged Tuo Cha puerh rather than one of the florals. I really don’t taste the flower and I think the plain puerh is just a bit stronger.
As usually happens, I had probably only had one or two ounces of this tea when my stomach started sounding like the singing of whales, apparently whales with questions, as the musical phrases usually ended with an upward lilt. Puerh makes my tummy feel better when I have been bad, and I was bad twice today – lunch pizza with youngest, and Five Guys with hubby for supper. Oof. But now all is well and tummy will not keep me up tonight!
Thank you, AmyOh, for gifting these to me! I will most likely be drinking this again with my son tomorrow. He liked Teavivre’s puerh well enough to have me order seven ounces for him.
I set up my bamboo tray on the floor in the living room last night, lit candles, and brought in the electric kettle. Hubby and I had seven steeps in my eight ounce glass pot. I love using the tiny double walled glass cups I bought from Teavivre with my glass pot! The tea looks so beautiful in glass and you don’t burn your fingers. A friend had tea with me using these once and made me order a set for her before she left.
This is a good TGY. I don’t taste the honey and I noticed Bliss said it added texture to her tea. Perhaps that is what I should look for next time but nothing about honey stood out to me. I don’t add any sweetener to oolongs (or hardly anything, for that matter) so I don’t need the honey, but it is fun knowing that the honey came from hives all around the tea fields.
I did notice a remarkable difference between the very hot, freshly steeped tea and the tea that sat for a little while in the fair cup. Henceforth, I will most definitely be cooling this tea a bit before drinking, because the flavors really blossom and swell as it cools.
It was a lovely tea experience, very peaceful.
My friend who is trying to learn to like tea other than black tea and puerh came over today to try this. She loved Silky Green from Bird Pick and asked me to order some for her but she wants to try even more. This one was on her list to try because she loves to buy organic and the honey is supposed to come from bees kept around the tea plantation.
I used one pouch of leaves in a six ounce gong fu pot. We probably made six steeps before we stopped. The first steep tasted strongly of oats to me, like Cheerios. Each steep became sweeter until I was getting that plum aftertaste I had with their Chun Mee. And the best part is that my friend really enjoyed it and is expanding her horizons! We have agreed that we want to protect our arteries so we will still know each other’s names when we get old!
I recently placed my first official order with Teavivre. I got free shipping but it arrived quickly. Of the teas I ordered, this was the only I had never tried, and I was especially excited about it. Of course, I could just add a bit of honey to my tea. One of my former music students became an organic farmer and sells honey as well, but I never add it to my tea, though I used to add it to herbals.
There was something special about hearing that this tea is SOAKED in honey produced by bees kept around this tea plantation. Wow! And wow, again!
I made this gong fu style. First steep – very good. Nice TGY and the honey really doesn’t mask the flavor. In fact, if I didn’t already know it was there I might not know it was there, you know? :)
Second steep – darker, more flavor. The leaves have really unfurled now and are quite large. What started as a thin layer of pellets on the bottom of the pot is now a pot bursting with leaves. I am now eating my salad for lunch, and I must say this tea is an amazing pairing for it: baby spring mix, tomatoes, celery, Swiss cheese, and Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing. The TGY just turned my salad into a feast.
Third and fourth steeps – the tea is a little tiny bit astringent now and doing just what the Chinese like for it to do…cleanse the palate after the meal. Perfect timing since my salad is now gone!
Delicious, and oh yes, I would definitely order this again.
I made two steeps of this to go with lunch today. Hubby is either getting used to green tea and wants to drink for health reasons, or his tastes are changing and he is actually enjoying it. As he was working on the kitchen re-do he kept coming in the living room and getting more.
This is a delicious green that goes well with food but is also wonderful as a contemplative cup. Buttery, lightly brothy, fresh.
I had to run errands for hubby and it is about 100 degrees outside. Youngest and I stopped at Taco Bell for takeout and she got a Baja Blast. Soda. Soda. Soda. Cold and bubbly.
But I don’t want to want soda! I got home and I opened the fridge and there was this pitcher of perfectly clear, glowing golden liquid. I made it the regular way for hot but poured it in a glass pitcher and put it in the fridge on Wednesday. I can’t get over how clean and fresh and clear this looks. Not clear as in colorless, clear as in there is no sediment, no particles at all. Beautiful. And satisfying! I don’t want soda anymore. And I believe I owe replacing sugary drinks with tea a lot of the credit for dropping my triglycerides by 103 points in 3 months, without medication. Go, tea!
This was the final tea of tea party today. I saved the green for last. Because I love this one so much, I really wanted to share it with my guest even though she is not a big fan of green teas.
How could she resist? She was very I impressed with this tea and really, truly loved it. It is an excellent green. We even brought out the big bag (that’s right, this one isn’t a free sample, it is the big bag I couldn’t resist after trying my free sample! Woot! Woot!) and poured out some leaves to show her how different they look, how the long, thin leaves have a sheen and an almost silky feel as you run your fingers down the shiny, wok toasted leaf.