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Recent Tasting Notes
This is a sample provided by Teavivre for review! I already reviewed this one today but I felt that the resteep deserved a review as well because of the circumstances.
I had a late student tonight so I decided to make a resteep of the leaves from this afternoon. The mom of the young lady is not a big tea drinker and has really only had sweet iced black tea and maybe a flavored and sweetened Christmas tea.
I offered her a cup of the resteep and she accepted. She sniffed it and said it smelled like perfume. She sipped. She loved the aroma and the taste, and refilled her cup.
I love when someone enjoys new teas – I don’t think she had even heard of white tea before tonight. She told me that I should tell Teavivre that a tea “imbecile” – her words not mine – loved their tea!
What impressed me was how much color this white tea still had on the resteep, and the flavor was virtually the same as the first steep. And now I have one more friend who is a tea friend as well!
This is the last of a free sample sent by Teavivre. Thank you, Mary, Angel, and Teavivre!
I chose this as the final tea of tea party. Normally a white tea would have been served first and we would progress to darker, stronger, or more flavored teas. But today I wanted hefty black tea to go with our food, and I used this as a “wind down” tea for relaxing and chatting after eating.
If any jasmine tea can compete with Teavivre’s Jasmine Dragon Pearls for the top spot in my heart, this would be it. The jasmine is sweet and not soapy, the tea has great body and color, and everything about it whispers, “quality.” I say it whispers because those two jasmine teas are the ultimate relaxation to me and neither would ever scream. You might even say it purrs.
Aaaahh! Very good, my guest loved it, I loved it. I am thinking this will probably be on my next Teavivre order, which I will be making very soon because I have to order for a couple of friends who came to tea and can’t live without Jasmine and Taiwanese Ginseng Oolong.
Two years ago, I couldn’t really taste white tea. Even a year ago, white tea was pretty much wasted on me. Now that my palate is less jaded from exposure to super sweet sodas and I have learned to seek the nuances in the cup, I enjoy every kind of tea I have encountered.
White tea is still elusive for me, though, and I try to only drink it when I am alone and can concentrate on what I am tasting. But this one was served at tea party yesterday! My guest, a former “coffee only” person, loved it. I loved it, too, and finished the pot later in the day. Then…something strange happened.
The tea that requires concentration to taste because of its subtlety, haunted me all evening long. The memory of the taste tugged at me, but I didn’t think I should make anymore so late. It is no wonder, then, that the first thing I should do today after breakfast was to make a resteep of yesterday’s leaves.
The resteep is even better! I was afraid I had the water a little too hot, but if I did then I need to do that again! I did not lengthen my steep time, yet the liquor is every bit as golden. The jasmine is even more noticeable to me now, it seems. There is a slight, but pleasant, VERY pleasant, astringency now, so perhaps I didn’t cool my water long enough, but I can already tell that when this pot is gone, I will again be haunted by the taste and memory of this tea.
Excellent! Well done! Thank you, Teavivre, for this sample!
Oh wow. Wow oh wow oh wow. I love the smell that hit me when I opened this package. It was almost too rich to be true. The jasmine was muted, the white tea magnificent! This is a sample from Angel and Teavivre.
We made this western style for tea party day. The liquor is a pale golden color, with perhaps the barest tinge of peach color. The aroma is now light, somewhat frosty/fruity, very subtle. The jasmine is there, but it is almost just a sweet high note, not strong like in my beloved Jasmine Dragon Pearls.
This is a lovely white tea and clearly an excellent tea base. You could never accuse this tea of being perfume-y or soapy, or of having too much jasmine. Because I find GOOD jasmine so relaxing and it is a real stress reliever for me, I love the Jasmine Dragon Pearls. I dislike fakey jasmine very much. This is great white tea with a hint of jasmine giving sweetness and interest. The sweet taste lingers and makes me keep reaching for my cup and drinking this much more quickly than I intended!
Thank you, Teavivre, for the opportunity to try this lovely tea!
Backlogging from last month.
I’ve been a little slow to updating my notes. This was a sample I had received from Teavivre, thank you. Now, I’ve only had one other Pi Lo Chun before and I didn’t care for it so I decided to try another from a better vendor, so here we are.
The dry leaves are a curled mix of darker green leaves and fuzzy white ones and smell vaguely of the sea. When brewed up the wet leaves have a sweet, smokey vegetal scent to them. The infusion was light and had a hint of smoke to it.
Upon tasting the first infusion I got notes of sweetness, smoke, salt, and vegetal. Kind of reminded me of a savory miso soup, fascinating. As it started to cool a little I started to get roasted/grilled corn notes. As the infusions went on, I got to 5, the corn notes came out a little more but it didn’t really change, but I wasn’t expecting it to either.
This is a decent green tea, unfortunately I don’t care for smokey teas…I’m a wimp when it comes to that and I’m sure Bonnie is going to say something! I’m glad I got to try this and broaden my horizons a bit, but I’m going to refrain from rating this one because of my dislike of smokey teas. Thank you Teavivre for letting me try this!
This is a sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you, Angel and Teavivre! This is my first milk oolong ever!
As soon as I opened the package, a buttery scent rushed out. I love this aroma in tea! I want to sit outside to drink it, so I decided to go with western style steeping. I made one pot with boiling water and steeped for two minutes. I sampled a tiny bit of that steep and immediately poured the water over for a second steep at just over two and a half minutes. I also sampled the second steep separately before pouring both steeps together in a tetsubin to sit on the warmer.
The first steep was light and buttery. The liquor was a light yellow color. It reminds me of a much milder version of Premium Silky Green by Bird Pick.
The second steep went a little longer and I used less water because my kettle didn’t have enough to fill the pot completely. This second steep was stronger, more assertive. The oolong flavor came through a bit more. I like that! I think next time I make this western style I will go with the longer steep time. This second steep is milliner, also.
I am now drinking the combined steeps with hubby. Now I have the milky flavor and a creaminess is coating my mouth. I noticed when I went in to refill my cup that a sweetness rose up from my throat and lingered. Love teas that do that!
This is very good, and I am eager to try someday the unflavored milk oolong as well!
Thank you, again, Teavivre!
I woke up very bleary this morning, unexpectedly, and actually drank coffee for the first time in a long time.
But as late morning begins to drag on towards lunch, it is time to settle into something softer, so here I am with the last of this free sample and it is just right.
Hopefully it will settle my stomach a bit before it is time to eat.
I am surprised I like this tea as much as I do, but I really do.
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.
I have finally discovered the right treatment to masque the floral notes of green oolongs.
On the one hand, this is sweet. Not a leaf with a sweetness to it, but actually sweet. I assume part of the ginseng treatment involves a sugar of some kind. This is not just on the tongue, but there is a burnt caramel sugar aroma both in the cup and from the liqueur.
Alas, I radically over steeped my second cup. :-(
Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn’t tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, “Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that smoky tea!”
This is the last of my free sample from Angel and Teavivre. Thanks, guys, you are making me break my tea buying ban, but I am hoping this doesn’t count because it is really for my child! (yeh, right!)
We started back to school yesterday and this morning as soon as we opened the geometry book I said, “I am going to HAVE to have some tea! Smoky?” And daughter said, “Oh, yes, please!”
Middle daughter said she couldn’t have made it through Algebra II and Advanced Math without her London Cuppa. I think youngest and I will be swilling through quite a few pots of Lapsang to get through geometry. She has only had it for two days, but already says it isn’t nearly as fun as Algebra. Sigh. I hope this doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a loooong year!
The most remarkable thing is that I asked her if she wanted me to order this or her beloved Baker Street that is almost all gone. She wants this one! Wow! Teavivre, that is amazing, in case you didn’t know! So, oh well, I guess I have to order some tea tonight! It’s for school….
This is a free sample provided for review by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
Breakfast is a simple affair in my house. A piece of whole wheat toast or an English muffin for me, toast or waffles for the girls. Sometimes we just have grits. With waffles we drink milk, but everything else is accompanied by milk with Nesquik.
Today, we are out of our homemade whole wheat bread, out of English muffins, and almost out of grits. I opted for waffles and when I thought of the maple syrup somehow I couldn’t get Lapsang out of my head as a great go-with.
I did drink milk with the waffles, but this wonderful tea was waiting for us and I could hardly wait to get to it. Just as sweet and salty go together well, I have been enjoying sweet and smokey together.
Youngest and I are the only ones drinking tea on this rainy morning because middle daughter started community college today. I am really excited for her! I think she is excited, too, because she has been handling all the details without being asked; getting her ID card made, picking up her parking sticker, going to the bookstore, seeing her guidance counsellor, going to bed on time to adjust to the new schedule, buying an extended alarm clock app to guarantee that she won’t be late. Sniff, sniff! We plan to have a nice, hot pot of her favorite, London Cuppa, waiting for her when she pulls up at lunch time!
I did not look at the instructions BEFORE making this. It says to use 2 teaspoons per cup, and I only used one per cup.This is still very good and certainly strong enough to enjoy, perhaps because I gave it the extended 2 minute steep instead of cutting it short to one. I still have a bit left so perhaps I will make a cup of it with 2 teaspoons and see how it changes the taste.
As is, the body is light, the smoke is medium, the tea is sweet, smooth, and delicious!
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
This is a free sample that was provided by Angel at Teavivre.
This is my first time serving this tea at tea party day. I wasn’t sure how it would go over. My guest likes coffee, dislikes puerh and ginseng teas. Where would smoke fall in that? She had a Hunan Golden Tip that I thought was pretty smokey once but she said she didn’t pick up the smoke.
I served this as a companion to more peach dumplings today. We were experimenting with Vietnamese and Chinese cinnamons to see if we liked them better than the Ceylon Cinnamon of last week. I needed a tea that was bold enough to sip beside the sweet dumplings in the syrup without getting lost, yet would hopefully pair well and play nicely.
I must say this did very well. My guest liked it, and youngest daughter, she with the great love of Baker Street Afternoon, said enthusiastically, “That was GOOOOOOD!” She is contemplating making another pot of it right now, so I guess I have found one more tea that needs to go on my next Teavivre order! I think this is the first time I have really noticed a Lapsang leaving the smokey taste alongside the sweet tea base, and it was very good. My guest and I agreed that this would be heavenly to drink while sitting by a crackling fire on a rainy, cold night.
Thank you for the opportunity to try yet another of your great teas, Teavivre!
When I first started getting into loose leaf tea, there were two types of tea that frightened me. One was Lapsang and the other puerh. I am pleased to say that I conquered my fear, got past the smell, and like both very much now!
This was one of the samples in my latest box from them, and since my youngest daughter loves smokey tea I thought it would be nice to try it together on the patio with some Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.
One or two lapsangs have really turned me off because they smell like an ashtray. Having grown up with smoking parents and keeping a cough most of my young life, that is a bad association, plus cleaning the ashtrays was one of my chores. O.o
This Lapsang reminds me a bit of Upton’s Baker Street Afternoon Blend in the aroma. This is a sweet, bacon-y smoke, like maple bacon perhaps. It was an excellent match for the Dubliner cheese. But where I find Baker Street to be almost chewy because of its taste texture, this one is lightr bodied.
I don’t like biting, astringent tea, not even to get me going in the mornings. When I want a tea that asserts itself enough to get my attention even while foggy headed, or just because I want something more bold, I think Lapsang is an excellent choice. This one has the right kind of smoke for me, a sweet, food-y smoke. The tea base is sweet, mild, and tasty. No sugar or milk is needed to mask astringency or to add flavor and I can enjoy it plain. My youngest daughter takes all of her tea with milk and sugar, and she enjoyed it that way, so it can handle additions if you want them.
Thank you, Teavivre! This made a lovely start to our day! I am resteeping it now to sip on for the rest of the morning.
I am going to preface this review with two facts
1) Black tea and I aren’t the best of friends
2) I brewed this with boiling water, for a long time and with an ordinary travel mug and a drawstring tea bag, so not ideal brewing conditions for a high quality tea, and I will try again once I have time to do it properly!
Now to the reviewing… I found it to be too strong for my liking (although it wasn’t bitter, which is my number one put-off for black tea). I may have brewed it for too long, I often get distracted at work and forget about my tea just waiting for me on my desk! Anyways, I didn’t get any of the caramel flavours that others did, it was just strongly vegetal for me, and not my favourite flavour. I am going to hold off on the numerical rating until I have a chance to brew it properly and mindfully and then record right away, as this rating is coming from my morning cup yesterday.
It is taking me a while to get everything logged this week, but this was the first tea served at tea party on Wednesday. It was the Queen of the tea party, too. This is delicious stuff.
We made it western style. I think we used about fourteen pearls in a 22 ounce pot. I served it first because I felt that its rich, cocoa notes would cut the sweetness of the baked peaches and ice cream. This is not astringent nor is it in any way sour, but I have trouble describing the rough, tongue scraping quality of unsweetened cocoa that I get from this. It is a highly desirable trait to me in this tea, and I find it in some Keemuns as well. This type of tea has the body and taste to stand next to pretty much any food, and is especially good with sweet things to me. Some green teas cleanse the palate with an astringency that turns to sweetness after the sip, but this clears the palate without astringency. It is so…..present! I don’t think I could absentmindedly drink this tea. It became a cupboard staple from the first taste of the sample Teavivre sent.
My guest and I agreed that this was the best tea of the day.
After having Loaded Baked Potato Soup, I served Italian Cream Cake. I didn’t make it! A friend sent it to me and it came from Sam’s club and was delicious! The frosting tastes a lot like the Bavarian Cream matcha from Red Leaf, but there is also coconut and that adds a lot to this cake.
It is extremely rich, however, too rich for me unless I scrape off a lot of the frosting. I felt that it required a black tea with a lot of presence to pair with it.
I love this tea! I don’t know how to describe it accurately because there is an unusual texture or something that I only know how to describe as…cocoa powdery, and I don’t mean just the flavor of cocoa powder but even a dryness at the same time it was wet. It is not, however, the dryness associated with astringency. I do not find this tea to be astringent at all!
When I drink it, it FEELS dark and rich. Imagine if you put a tiny bit of cocoa powder on your tongue, unsweetened, and it wasn’t bitter at all. It is not a heavy bodied tea, but rather it seems to hang on to my tongue for a moment before I swallow. This is what made me feel it would go well with that rich cake. Again, it needs no milk or sugar, which was critical since this cake is so rich and sweet.
I think it paired very nicely, but it is also wonderful on its own and is great for gong fu sessions, too.
Oh la la! It is still chilly (okay, it is about 52F outside but compared to the eighty degree temps we were having, that is chilly!) and it is completely overcast and drizzly. We have lots of geometry to do and it is puppy sitting day and I had Mountain Dew at supper last night (stupid, stupid, stupid) and hardly slept a wink last night. Time for fortification!
Most of the time when I set out to make tea, I know exactly what sort of thing I want. Today it took a few minutes to figure it out, but I sure picked a winner. I had five pearls remaining from my free sample and that is what I am finishing here, though I did get my own order of it last week, thus I get to click “Add to Cupboard.” :D
These five pearls have given me four eight ounce pots of tea. It is cocoa-y, smooth, and…manly. I don’t know how else to put it. It isn’t strong as in astringent, biting, or drying, yet it has a lot of presence. I am taking it plain, but I think it would hold up well to milk and sugar if such was your wont. It is very good with sweets.
I saved my little pot of leaves from yesterday because I believed with all my heart that there were a few more steeps in those last five little pearls. I was right. This is still delicious.
I used my little 8 ounce pot and made steeps three and four back-to-back, pouring them into my fair cup. Every since we started back to school, I get so soooo hungry in the afternoon, so I sat down to some teas and Lindt Spring Truffles. The rugged cocoa and malt flavor of this tea is excellent with chocolates. By rugged, I don’t mean rough or brash, think of a ruggedly handsome man who kisses like silk. Swoon! As soon as I can justify it, I need to some of these. But it will have to wait until my stash of black tea goes down a little.
This is the end of the very generous sample sent by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
This was the first tea served at tea party today! And it was the winner! I made two steeps of eight ounces each using five pearls. The liquor very quickly filled the air with a rich chocolate aroma – dark chocolate, to be specific.
The taste is tea and natural dark chocolate with a deep roasty-toasty flavor, perhaps malty. It is so rich! This is definitely going on the purchase list. My guest gave this one a big thumbs up! I may go for a third steep later! I did steep longer than recommended, giving it three minutes because I was in the mood for a hearty cup!
My oldest daughter came over this morning and we usually drink green tea together. She has never liked tea but started drinking green tea for health benefits a few months ago. I have not been able to get her to take more than a sip of black tea until today.
I made this one just like last night – four pearls in a tiny glass pot, two minutes steeping. Resteeped four times. She drank some of every steep and kept filling her cup. She said it wasn’t her favorite tea ever but wasn’t bad. That is pretty amazing considering that she normally won’t take but one sip!
This is a gentle tea with complex flavor ranging from unsweetened cocoa to honey, I think a bit less malty when prepared this way. It is wonderful, and will probably be on my next order to Teavivre.
We had a trip to the big city of Raleigh today (they are filming Iron Man 3 there right now by the way!) to help oldest daughter look at apartments. Yes, another child of mine is moving to Tea Land! LOL!
I bought some new cheeses to try at Whole Foods there and wanted a nice tea to go with them. The cheese I purchased was the 1833 Aged Cheddar and an Emmentaler. I wanted a black to accompany them and couldn’t decide what to have until I remembered that I still have a good amount of this sample left. I started to make a big pot, and then decided I needed to treat myself to a real tea event and make this in my tiny glass teapot. I am so glad I did!
I took the teapot to let hubby watch the pearls unfurl with me. My perfect teaspoon had scooped out four pearls, my glass teapot is eight ounces, so I didn’t fill it all the way. The pearls would release little bubbles of air, then one or two slightly larger ones as they began to unfurl. The water slowly turned a medium amber color. Already the aroma is…complicated. This is hard to describe for me. The tea has a dominant cocoa note, but then I think, no, it has a dominant honey note. This is sweet, and at the same time reminds me of unsweetened cocoa. This is a tea with a lot of personality. You may WANT to just drink tea, but if this is the tea, it will arrest your attention. Yet it is not a strong tea, but a gentle one.
I think I will be clicking “In My Cupboard” soon. I have steeped these four little pearls three times now and will do one or two more tonight. This is another winner from Teavivre, and will be making appearances at tea party regularly in the future.