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Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

89

Last Teavivre tea before I go back and re-try the Pureh! Thanks Angel, and I am sorry it took me so long!!

Smell: Dry, it had a grassy/veggie/earthy smell, if that all makes sense. Steeping it was a bit more smoky/vegetal, all good, of course.

Taste: It was very earthy and smoky, and then a nice, sweet aftertaste popped in, though it wasn’t too sweet, which is good. I also decided to add a small bit of honey, and it went very well with this tea. It has been a long time since I’ve had green tea, though, to be honest, so I don’t have anything else to add right now as I have to build my green tea vocabulary and tasting notes back up to remember what is good/bad about it. But do know that I highly enjoyed this tea!!

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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96

This leaf was still in my press this morning and Bonnie is on my mind – praying you and your home are safe this day.

The jasmine is a bit softer this morning but the milkiness is still very solid. I find it very interesting that no one else commented on this aspect. I did add sweetener. That could be part of the explanation along with our hard water. The water is heated it in a kettle until it starts getting loud (far below boiling) then cooled it until it stops making noise. I use 12oz of water and 2 scoops of leaf in a French press for about 2 minutes. Still loving this.

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90

I used 6 pearls today to see if maybe I just didn’t use enough yesterday. To me it appears like too much leaf after steeping. It does pump the flavor a little. This is a good tea, with hints of smoke, chocolate, and occasional malt. I would never turn a cup of it down. It just doesn’t move me like it has others. I am sticking with my initial score of 85.

Preparation
2 min, 0 sec

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87

Yet another of my free samples from Teavivre… thanks so much for the opportunity to try all these teas! I really consider Teavivre to have greatly contributed to my tea education with all of their samples.

When I opened the sample pouch and sniffed the tea, I was kind of surprised by how super vegetal the leaves smelled. Like, woah spinach and greens. I sniffed some more and started to get roasty scents, and the faintest hint of butteriness. Definitely not like the super green tieguanyins I’m used to drinking. I steeped it up and smelled a super roasted, toasted grains aroma from the liquor. At first it seems like that is the only note, but after smelling it a while I start to detect the slightest hint of sweet florals hiding out. Intriguing.

I have to say I was pretty prepared not to really be a fan of this tea because I don’t tend to like roasted oolongs. But Teavivre proved me wrong. I’m not head over heels or anything, but this is a tasty cup of tea. The roasting is light and doesn’t take over the flavor. It just kind of nicely hangs out there, adding some nice warm, toasty notes. The other main flavors are the slightly floral sweetness of the tieguanyin, with some light vegetal notes, but nothing like it seemed when I smelled the dry leaf. As I’m drinking it the sweetness is growing in my mouth adding to the tastiness of each successive sip. Definitely a tasty tea, and it surprised me by making even this nonfan of roasted oolongs enjoy it.

Preparation
Boiling 2 min, 0 sec
Tabby

Teavivre’s tastings have definitely been a learning experience for me, too.

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94

I am really trying to keep from snacking today and it has just been so cold that I want comfort. This is comfort in a cup. Just enough of a cocoa hint in the black tea to satisfy my chocolate craving.

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Tea Vivre Free Samples Round #3

This Jin Xuan is not entirely unlike a Tie Guanyin, which is perhaps not too surprising as they are both Taiwanese mountain oolongs. By this I mean that there is that slight floral quality to the brew which I used to so often mistake for a scented process but is, in fact, merely the floral bouquet of camellia sinensis itself.

Although, these two teas do grow at very different altitudes, so maybe it isn’t as obvious as one would think.

The “milk flavor” does add an interesting creamy texture to the cup, but if I’m entirely honest, there is a bit of grittiness as a result at the end of my first steep (which I assume is the milk flavor treatment, perhaps it isn’t), and you can get a similarly thick, soft mouth feel simply by purchasing and steeping exceptionally good tea.

Second steeping is more floral and less milky. If you are fond of light, Formosan oolong, this would be a solid choice.

Of course, we can’t always justify the expense of exceptional tea, and under those circumstances this certainly produces a very pleasant cup.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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73

I wanted something warm and comforting that I could sip on since the day has turned cold and rainy. I knew I still had one more good steep in these leaves, so I made myself a cup of this. My brother likes the smell of jasmine and I am tempted to see if the jasmine plant can grow well where I live. I love the smell.

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Because I messed up my steeping on this last time, I was anxious to get back to it, but I wanted to give Liz a chance to sample it as well. Now that she has, I could come back to it.

Much like the jasmine silver needles, the key word here is “balanced”.

The sweet coating which brings the ginseng to the tea does not produce a cup of candy. The first two or three cups are certainly sweet, but you can still taste the tea well enough.

I’m up to steep five or six now and the leaf is starting to take center stage and there is very little sweetness left. The leaves themselves, once hydrated, are huge, and deep green and they produce a bold, amber cup. This is one of those classic Chinese oolong which is practically a green tea. There is a strong presence of the roasting pan heat beneath the green bell pepper bitterness.

There is a bite that wants to creep in, here, but short steeps are keeping it at bay. This strikes me as a tea that might not do very well with Western steeping.

Again, not a tea that I could see ending up in my daily rotation, but as a medicinal throat soothing tea, I don’t see how you could ask for better than this.

Preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec

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93

Even though I really need about six cups of strong black tea (taken intravenously) to get my motor running this morning, I couldn’t resist opening the sample of another tea from Teavivre. This time it is the Organic Dragon Well Long Jing Green Tea.

I steeped this tea for two minutes at 175 degrees as instructed on the sample packet. The brew that appeared was an extremely light golden green color.

I was worried that the light color, low temperature, and short steeping time would all add up to a wimpy tasting tea. But, as always, Teavivre surprised me again!

This tea does not have a strong flavor but the flavor that it does have is full and complete. The taste is sweet and nutty. There is no grassy attribute to the flavor as I’ve found with a lot of green teas. Instead, it is quite smooth, light, and easy to sip. You also won’t find any bitterness.

Although this would not be my normal morning tea of choice, I will definitely be offering it to guests in the afternoon and evening.

The best word to describe this tea is 亡命徒;喝彩;喝彩声;暴徒 (which I HOPE is Chinese for BRAVO)! This tea deserves that exclamation and much more.

In summary, this is just another wonderful tea from Teavivre. If Teavivre were a baseball team, to me they would still be batting 1,000!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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67

Dry leaves look as if they were freshly cut, they are bright green, they smell of fresh green vegetables and grass and they seem so succulent as if one could soak the fresh juice out of them. Tea soup is light greenish-yellow. After 3 minutes’ steep, the smell is unchanged from the dry leaves, very fresh and inviting. The taste is mild, again it feels as if biting into an incredibly succulent apple or pear. But there is a slightly bitter aftertaste. Steeped leaves haven’t lost the pleasant juicy smell and they have uncurled.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I am still in ecstasies over this tea! I shared several steeps with hubby tonight. Everyone’s tastes are so different. Hubby says he still prefers the Ripened Aged Puerh Mini Tuo Cha from Teavivre, while this one is positively transporting me! I am eager to get my son’s opinion when he comes home this weekend. I hope I can sleep – this is an awful lot of tea at bedtime! O.O

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I just shared steeps two and three of this with hubby. We are using my glass gong fu teapot tonight. This is really good, very civil oolong. No strong toastiness accosting you, just a mild reminder of the heat once applied to the leaves and the beautiful berry and fruit scent it defends itself with when the leaf hoppers attack! This is so going on my next order. I think hubby agrees, and I have a friend whom I know is going to ask for some as well!

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83

This is a really smooth. It just slips down your throat like liquid silk. The flavor is autumnal and reminiscent of leaf littered forest floor. In between sips, I can taste something fruity lingering in my mouth. It’s peachy or somewhat berry like. I don’t really taste the honey that the official description talks about. I’ve had other Bai Hao where the honey flavor is really strong. Here, it is hard to taste. Still, this tea tastes very good. It’s not entirely my style though.

Excuse my rambling and somewhat disorganized review. I’m very tired. :)

Kashyap

its been years since I had the distinct mingling of liquid spicy honey that was always the blush of the Bai hao…sadly its distinct flavor faded, presumably harvest/rain/seasonal…tired plants….and while I have stumbled upon a few with the distinctive look and sublime aroma…the lush intoxicating taste has yet to break the senses open…I can only wait :)

Mercuryhime

Meaning that the environment is no longer able to produce a nectary bai ho? :(

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92

First of all, a big shout-out to Teavivre for the amazing free sample!

I was really busy packing for vacation, and didn’t have time to do my usual format for reviews, but there’s the highlight reel. The first infusion was steeped in 205 degree water for exactly one minute. The result was an amazing sweet tea, with very tasty licorice flavors dominating the palate. It was just about as sweet as the orchid Oolong from Verdant Tea that I had the other night. The infusions continue, decreasing in potency and sweetness until number five, where only a faint taste of barely-sweet licorice remained. Regardless, it was really, really good, and it was the perfect way to relax after the usual frenzy of packing. And, since my destination is England, all I have to say is jolly good!

EDIT: stupid typos…

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C
Bonnie

Have a blast…Cherio! Pip pip! Bon voyage!

Joshua Smith

Thanks again Bonnie! I’ll remember your bright and cheerful comments while braving the elements (The forecast predicts one day of sun during a 10 day trip…). Also, stay safe! Those fires are really scary to read about in the news.

Bonnie

Thank you! God has always been by my side!

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78

I like this one, its very clean tasting with no fishiness at all it is lightly earthy and very smooth, I think a person who thinks they wouldnt like puerh would like this one. It is excellent after a heavy meal. 2 to 5 minutes steep on this one was perfect for me. This one made me think of one of my first puerh it was very similar to this and it made me fall in love with puerh.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 4 min, 30 sec
Bonnie

I agree it was very smooth and easy to drink.

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73

I am convinced that Jasmine is a tea that you grow to love. It is just what I need right now. Delicate and floral. Smells so delicious. I want to bury my nose in the tea and just inhale. I think I grew to be a jasmine tea lover. This is delicious.

A cup of this and then a shower before I make my second steep so I can wind down with it as well. It will me a lovely and relaxing night.

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96

This came as a sample provided by Teavivre. This tea is so light and fluffy it barely fit in the sample bag – seriously. When I opened the bag I was hit with the jasmine scent. I was a little afraid as it seemed very strong, like many of the jasmines I have tried and not liked in the past. Within moments the scent calmed down and mellowed into that beautiful fragrance I love so dearly in their Jasmine Dragon Pearls (my favorite Teavivre tea).

The leaf itself is gorgeous. So light in color and almost brittle looking. I kept spooning it out until it ‘looked’ like the right amount in the bottom of my French press. Heated 12oz of water until it steamed then let it cool until it stopped making noise and poured. I steeped this for about a minute and a half. The liquor had the faintest yellow tint in the press and looked nearly clear as it poured. The wet leaf gives off an intoxicating aroma somewhere between honeysuckle and grape. Love it.

The sip is jasmine, the good kind – note overwhelming and not medicinal or fake. In addition is something I did not expect. This tastes and feels very milky to me. It’s almost creamy moving across the tongue. Really nice. At first I was having trouble picking out the white tea. Then I realized it was largely in the aftertaste. Though the flavor profile is a bit different, this is every bit as delicious as the beloved jasmine pearls. Seriously good.

Thank you Teavivre for sharing this tea and for showing me again that jasmine (done right) can be a work of art.

Ok, looks like I love this way more than others but I am going to rate this one because I think it deserves it.

Scatterbrain

Can’t wait to try this one.

Bonnie

Nooooo! I loved it tooo!

K S

Bonnie I noticed several of you loved it. The difference is I LOVED it. I am a little out of sync with the crowd today.

Bonnie

Ok I LOOOOOVVVVEDDDD IT! I just don’t know if this or Puripan is my most beloved!

tigress_al

Wow, a creamy jasmine, can’t wait to try it, looking forward to LOVING it too!

K S

Bonnie, you crack me up.

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90

Opening the package and viewing the contents is kind of like journeying to another world and trying to figure it out. The closest comparison I have experienced to these pearls is jasmine pearls but these are much larger. They look like miniature flowering tea pods. I am looking at them and trying to figure out how many do I use? I went with 5 as that seems to be the starting point I have read in other reviews. While I am pondering, I notice these smell like unsweetened chocolate.

This is pleasant but not as full bodied as I was expecting. The amount of expanded chocolate brown leaf in the bottom of my press tells me I used a sufficient amount. So, either this is a very light bodied tea, or I need to increase the steep time.

I think the novelty of brewing this amazed me far more than the actual tasting. Don’t misunderstand, this is quite good. It just didn’t knock my socks off like almost everything else I have tried from Teavivre. Since others liked this way more than me, I am going to hold off rating (I was thinking 85) until I try it again.

Generous sample provided by Teavivre.

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86

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this delicious Sample!

This morning I was relieved to find that the wind had scooped out the low fog-like smoke from the ground and I could breathe easier. I really wanted some tea in a big way! I felt so sick last night, nauseated from inhaling the dense soupy smoke out by my daughters house that ended up dropping down on my place 10 miles from her less than a half hour later.

I steeped these gorgeous Bronze Onyx Tea Pearls Western Style in a glass pot so that I could watch them unfurl. I wanted several cups of tea to cleanse my body from the soot I had inhaled last night from the Larimer County Fire.

This was THE perfect tea choice for this morning!

I had no idea that these little pearls would produce the most delightfully cocoa nib flavored tea of any tea I’ve ever had.
Other tea’s I’ve enjoyed had cocoa or chocolate flavor coupled with malt, yam, cinnamon. But this, was pure cocoa. Try as I would, I didn’t find malt, yam, potato or any distractor lurking in the shadows waiting to sneak out of hiding with an “aha, gotcha”.

I have a treasured little French Bakery as big as a shoebox in Oldtown Fort Collins. The sign outside the shop says ‘Only One Person at a Time Enter Please’ posted there because the shop is so small. Inside there is a glass case lined with pastries that are works of art. Buttery beauties and sugered sweeties. Best of all are the Macarons. Ohhhh the Chocolate Macarons (French spelling)…so light they would float on air. My Black Dragon Pearl Tea was like the Chocolate Macarons. So very Parisian. Smooth, light and cocoalicious.

I’ll buy some of this tea…it is really the best black cocoa tasting tea I’ve had. Now I have 2 Verdant favorite Black Tea’s and 2 Teavivre’s.

The Today Show was on while I was enjoying my cup and was showing the Larimer County Fire…right here. I saw a helicopter picking up some water. Hum, it looked like the little lake about 3 miles from my house.
I picked up my camera and walked to the end of the complex and was shocked to see the fire was right up my hill from me behind Horsetooth Reservoir. Yikes! My daughter called me and we set up a plan in case I have to get out of here. I walked to the end of the complex and took a picture.

http://flic.kr/p/cdCuDm

Azzrian

Be SAFE! Don’t try staying too long if they say to get out!
On another note – those lawns are VERY well manicured! :)

Bonnie

Glad I don’t have to do yardwork!Or plow snow or maintain the pool or anything! My association includes water and security and garbage too…all building maint, wiring, paint etc. $125 a month so not bad. Yes I was going to go look down the street again. I hear the planes.

Joshua Smith

I hope you’re okay! Hopefully the wind blows away from your town.

Bonnie

Unfortunately, it’s right behind my house…praying the wind does not shift but it’s supposed to bringing the whole thing downhill. But, that is man’s opinion…the wind does what the wind wants to do.

Joshua Smith

Ain’t that the truth. Weather prediction is hard, and accuracy is just too computationally intensive to be commonplace. Regardless, I’m keeping you in my thoughts.

Jim Marks

Sadly, Liz’s aunt and uncle had to evacuate (in a real hurry) and near as anyone can tell, they’ve lost everything that didn’t fit into the two pick-ups.

Bonnie

Oh no! Lord have Mercy! Do they need help?

Jim Marks

Family is engaged. Liz and I live closer than anyone else, but she leaves for Tokyo on Friday morning. I am waiting for word from mom-in-law that I should mobilize. They do have alternative housing as a short term solution, I think the real issue will be whether or not insurance coverage will allow them to re-build, or what.

I was touring NM and CO this time last year and it was horrible to see how much smoke was blowing over from AZ. We were at the top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque and you’re supposed to be able to see all the way to AZ from up there and we couldn’t even see downtown Albuquerque. At another point, we were more or less racing the fires in southern CO trying to make an end run around them so we could get home.

Y’all need to move out of the desert and get near some water!

Bonnie

The smoke is low this morning woke me up at 5am sick! Went outside and couldn’t see the hills at all behind my house. The pictures on the Today Show etc of the copters picking up water is behind my place so I think your family must have had a home up by Horsetooth.

Bonnie

Lightning and people start fires too. We had fires in the hills around Silicon Valley that were huge and in the Sierras. At least where I live, no tornados! (Too close to the mountain!) The only safe place though is heaven!

TeaBrat

Sorry to hear that, Jim. I hope they are ok.

Bonnie

If you need to come here and need a place to stay let me know! Reader John Timby is a great friend and lives close by. I’ve known him 18years and a good contact (St.Lukes Erie)
You are welcome to my home. I can stay at my daughter’s house.

Jim Marks

New England is close enough to heaven for this yankee boy. No wild fires, no tornados, no hurricanes, no earthquakes, no fire ants, no kudzu, no heat waves, no 10 year droughts… of course we do get nor’easters and blizzards. Oh well.

Bonnie

I really do love it here in Northern Colorado! Not humid or crowded, not a desert, sunny beautiful ….some lightning struck and pow! Fire! (Natural but it’s been extra dry!)

Jim Marks

Unfortunately, the extra dry is going to just keep getting worse. As humid as it is in Houston, we even had a wild fire scare last Summer because of the exceptional drought conditions.

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90

This tea actually tasted much better in my sample pouch. That was why I ordered 100g of this tea, but the floral and fruity qualities have quite diminished in this large portion. The leaves are tightly curled and they smell of smoke with a pinch of floral scent. The sample tea was actually pretty sweet, but that too has diminished. So after a first disappointment, right now I’m drinking this tea on the rocks and with honey and it is fine. It reminds me of the original taste. I have steeped 3 mins with 100 Celsius water and then poured it in a cup half-full of ice cubes and a small spoon of honey. Now it’s a dessert. It has the milky aroma, it’s not bitter, and it feels like honeydew on the palate. I shall continue experimenting with hot vs. cold steeping and brewing.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
kOmpir

Mine has diminished a bit in flavor and fragrance as well. It was more enjoyable when I just got it some two months ago. BTW, how much leaf did you use? I used 3 grams (1 tsp) at first, and it was really good while it was fresh, but then I moved to minimum of 2 tsp according to instruction for the sake of tasting note the other day.

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98

It’s safe to say that this is my favorite green tea, and it never ceases to amaze me. There’s nothing more relaxing to me than a properly prepared mug of this stuff. Soon I’ll be trying Teavivre’s Superfine Pre-Ming Dragonwell and I really look forward to it.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec
K S

This and jasmine dragon pearls are amazing. A year ago I would have sworn I wouldn’t like either.

Scatterbrain

I haven’t had Teavivre’s pearls yet but I’m sure they’re good. I think my favorite greens overall are still Japanese but all I’ve had are a few senchas and banchas, I really need to try a gyokuro and some matcha.

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Tea Vivre Samples Round #3

The best word for this tea is balanced.

Long running readers of my reviews will know that I am not a fan of floral things, least of all in tea.

For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, Houston’s Chinese restaurants all seem to serve jasmine tea rather than green or oolong as their “default” tea. I’ve never come across that in any other city. Unfortunately, most of it is bad, bagged, or low quality tea, besides.

Which is part of why I opted to taste this sample in spite of my biases.

Now, I freely admit that my biases against flavored, scented and spiced teas derives largely from my book knowledge of why teas began to be processed this way in the first place. But, I am learning to accept that many of these techniques have become a tradition and that there are those who are trying to elevate them to an art in their own right and not simply as a way of selling mediocre tea across vast distances and time.

This silver needle scented tea points the way to beginning to understand this. The floral notes are absolutely heady, almost cloying, the moment the leaves are first struck by hot water. I freely admit I was terrified that I was about to drink the equivalent of a cup of rose water. But amazingly, after this initial offering of intensity, the jasmine has quickly settled into place side by side, perhaps even a step behind, the tea itself.

I’m several extremely short steepings into these leaves and I’m only just now thinking that longer steeps are in order and so far there is no bite, no hard edge, nothing unpleasant in these cups. A soft, but present tea being supported by unassertive, but present flowers.

These teas will never be my first choice. Never be my ‘go to’ cup. But if more people served tea like this one that Tea Vivre is offering, I’d wrinkle my nose far less when dining out.

Thank you very much to our tea Angel for putting me on the right path.

Preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec
ScottTeaMan

I have come across a few Chinese restaurants which seve cheap Jasine tea instead of Oolong, but only a few.

Bonnie

I agree Jim that this is a very nice Jasmine. I have another favorite from Puripan that is what I look for. Delicate non-perfumy jasmine and a forest pine needle tea essense that is cooling in the mouth and tingles. Sometimes I am in the mood for this type of tea.

ashmanra

A friend said they all sell jasmine tea where she lives. Unfortunately, ours here serve cheap, black tea in bags. PLLLLLLLL! :P

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Before I start on my new samples, I knew I completely forgot this one from the last round. Thank you for all the samples once again, Teavivre!

I’m supposed to be in class right now but I just feel sick and I don’t know why. It probably more has to do with the weather…while I appreciate getting rain it’s just so annoying when it’s just overcast for days. At least more lilies have bloomed since yesterday

This tea is really pretty to look at, with its thin leaves. It has a bit of a smoky, spicy scent to it.

Brewed for 90 seconds for the first steep. This has everything. Seaweed, veggies, sweetness, smokiness. I’m thinking I need to at least try asparagus, because all these teas I like that have the flavor according to other notes, I’d like to confirm that with my own taste buds and that’s kind of hard when you don’t eat the stuff. Of course I am probably like a month too late for any, but if that’s what the taste is here, I’m willing to try. I mean, I drank a foie gras milkshake last week just to find out what it tastes like. Probably not the best way to find out (you know, those weeks in France would have been a better time) but still I had to try it once.

I can’t figure out if I want to describe the last note as smoky or spicy because it’s like it changes with each sip. It’s not very smoky, or very spicy, almost just like a roasted mild pepper.

I prefer sweeter greens most of the time, but right now I really could go for a savory, vegetal one like this. I will give it another steep soon.

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This is a sample shared by Liberteas. Thank you!

I believe this is my first ever Oriental Beauty. If this is indicative of others, then I have really been missing out, because this is FANTASTIC! The roasty taste I normally associate with oolongs is much more muted here, and this is FRUITY! I gave it the longer steep time, so there is a little bit of astringency, just a tiny drying and maybe a slight tart berry flavor with the stone fruit taste. Doggone it! I am going to have to place another big Teavivre order! Oh well, I was ordering tea for a friend anyway!

Thank you, Liberteas! I love it!

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