Recent Tasting Notes

This is the last of my sample from Teavivre, and once again a sample has caught me in its nefarious snare. I will probably be buying this one on my next order.

I got three steeps from this today and possibly could have made more, but I was cooking lunch and needed to get moving. This is so smooth. The leaves are very dark presteep. This is a dark oolong, not a green oolong, but it doesn’t have the mineral punch of a monkey picked (which I love big time, just saying it for comparison) but there is a lot of nutty smooth flavor.

As requested, I am posting a link to the pictures of the newly completed Tom Baker Fourth Doctor season 16-17 scarf, the largest and longest of the entire series. A scarf for Sam the puppy is now underway.




Wonderful! and Long! and oh my Sam grew!!! :)


JacquelineM: I believe it is twenty feet! If not, it will get there quickly as it stretches under its own weight. That is what happened to the original. Sam is about 44 pounds now!


Oh my gosh! They are both great pictures but that first one with the close up of his face is PRICELESS! What a sweet kitty face! I would be smooching him all the time!

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I couldn’t bring myself to dump the rest of the leaves out just yet. I read in a tasting note that somebody had left the leaves steep for too long, but this tea developed a rich, creamy taste. Since I steeped it for three minutes last time, I’m steeping it extra long at 6 minutes this time just to see what this tea will do.

So far, the liquid is this goregous dark mahogany color. Well, maybe a couple shades lighter, but it is this wonderful color. It smells like the earth you dig up when you are out planting flowers in the garden at the beginning of summer. It just screams summer to me.

I really should have let this steep longer. It is just hinting at a nice cream mouthfeel. I love the richer, bolder flavor this brought out. It was nice before, but it now has another deep note to it. sip I want to say almost a cocoa sip but not quite. There is something there that I can’t place but it is dark.

Woah! Aftertaste is hitting the sides of my tongue when I type up my notes. Smooth and pure butter sip no, cream, sip no, heavy cream almost bordering on butter but darker.

♥ I love this! The flavor I am getting out of this right now is just amazing! ♥

It is so mellow but rich and bold at the same time. The heavy cream that is almost butter but not quite lingering taste on the edges of the tongue. I feel like royalty.

Thank you Teavivre for letting me try this amazing pu-erh. I never really liked the pu-erh and always had to tone it down with milk, but this is truly amazing.

Edit: It has now been about three hours and that wonderful creamy taste is still lingering on my tongue. Too bad I have to go to bed soon or else I would have another cup…or five.

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I love this one! So glad you found a way to make it “sing” for you!

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drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
64 tasting notes

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

I have mixed feelings about this one. I really love the flavor spectrum, and this is a lovely desert tea: nice and chocolaty, touches of caramel, a good helping of spices, and hints of honey and malt. Butttt, I’ve tried this tea three separate times gong fu style, using different steeping times, amounts of leaves, and temperatures of water. Every time I get an unpleasant sour and salty texture and taste, especially in the first steeps. After about the fourth, this dies down a great deal, but I can still detect it. It’s not terrible enough for me to discard a steep, but it’s noticeable enough to distract from the yumminess this tea possesses. I will say, however, that my first issues were treating it as a traditional black tea and using near-boiling water. The third time I tasted this one, I treated it more like a dark oolong with much better results. Still, this coppery taste lingered. However, I’ve added milk and sugar to some of the later steeps the last time I brewed it and it came out very chai-like and was quite pleasant. I think I’ll switch over to brewing this one Western style now.

Outside of the flavor world, the dry leaves are a delight to smell. The aroma is like sticking your face into a container of Hershey’s cocoa powder, along with hints of hazelnut and spices. The wet leaves gave off scents of mocha, roasted nuts, honey, and coffee grounds. It was very rich and dark, but didn’t knock your head back—it was smooth and unaggressive.

The mouthfeel felt a bit chalky to me during some steeps. However, for the most part it was soft and smooth, especially when the water used is cooler. The aroma of the liquor doesn’t have much to it. It gets caramely some steeps, others it just smells like average black tea.

Flavor-wise, it is really quite similar to Verdant’s Zhu Rong from August of this year as far as flavors go. This one has a bit more chocolate and the addition of caramel, the Zhu Rong had a lot more spices. During mid-steeps of both teas (around 6 and 7) I would have to depend on mouthfeel (Zhu Rong was smoother) and aroma (Zhu Rong’s liquor’s aroma was more pronounced) to differentiate between the two if drunk side-by-side. I may consider this in the future… Actually, looking back at the raw notes I took while drinking both of these, steeps 6 and 7 look nearly identical, while the rest quite different. Hmmm, something to investigate further…

185 °F / 85 °C

This one is in my top 5 black tea’s.

Donna A

I, like Bonnie, really appreciate this tea.


Yeah, I can understand why this one is loved by so many. I dunno, though, I like it, but to me it just feels like it’s a bit off balance.

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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample

I enjoyed the first steep of this tea the best. It was a tad softer and had a more elegant appeal. The 2nd and 3rd brew brought on a stronger and more bitter taste, which I didn’t mind, but didn’t love either. Subsequent steepings were mellower but maintained the depth of flavor with considerably less bitterness.

I must admit, my palette is a little biased towards Japanese green teas as that is just what I am more familiar with. But having said that, perhaps by time I finish all the generous samples of green tea from Angel and Teavivre, I might acquire a new-found love for the Chinese green tea. As for the number of times I steeped these leaves – I’m on number 5 and the leaves are still going strong.

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I like white tea, but don’t always drink it because of the cost. However, I got a sample from Teavivre and decided to break it open. This tea is so pleasant. I’ve always thought of white tea as very light (almost watery), but maybe I just wasn’t using enough leaf. This tea is rich with so many different notes. I’m getting the melon and butter, as others have mentioned.

Very enjoyable today.

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One of my first tea trades was with the lovely Azzrian, who must have read (or intuited) my bio regarding peach tea, because she sent me the most amazing array of peach blends! When I opened the box, the scent of peach was enough to put me into a blissful coma (not really…lol). So, I secretly open that box just to get a whiff at least once a day cuz it smells so good & relaxing. I’ve also been sipping some of those peach brews…I love peach!

Every morning I start off with a cup or 2 of plain black tea. This was one of the non-peach teas in the box, & I felt that it was time to drink a ‘different’ black tea from all the other ones I’m rotating through.

I couldn’t really smell the dry leaf, the outside of the baggy was permeated in the lovely scent of peach, but the brewed tea is a deep red, no peach flavor. Its a nice black tea with malty notes & a good start for the day. I kind of wish I’d brewed it a little stronger, but thus is life. Thanks Azz!


You are most welcome! :)

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I did end up having this again for breakfast. It is good, but there is nothing to keep me reaching back for it time and time again. It is mellow and slightly earthy, but that is about it. A good pu-erh.

I keep reading the other tasting notes and I’m wondering how I can modify what I am doing to bring more goodness out of this tea. I will have to experiment to see if I can get the tea to jump out at me and make me love it more.

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My friend Michelle and I tried this flavored version again compliments of Michelle on here, after a few steeps of the unimpresive non-flavored version. This tea smells like peaches! And tastes like peaches & cream! It’s kinda intense and unfortunately a wee bit cloying but still tasty. I have more of this to play around with so we’ll see. But neither were as good as Fong Mong’s Milk Oolong, even though I do think highly of Teavivre.

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I apologize for the abbreviated tasting note on this one, but it was two days ago and I wasn’t terribly impressed. It’s a good green oolong mind you, slightly floral (my friend had a hard time placing it, not orchid, not jasmine, oramanthus, I doubt she’s had oramanthus but I have once), a slight cooling note at the end but creamy? no. buttery? no. I’ve had two other unflavored milk oolongs from Taiwan and this I’m afraid just didn’t measure up, which is unfortunate as I had high hopes for this. Now I suppose there could have been brewing factors or that the sample I got passed on from Michelle, was older or something, but it simply didn’t resemble the other milk oolongs in anyway. ::shrug:: Thanks for letting me try it Michelle

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So, I actually put in the correct amount of leaf this time: 3 teaspoons instead of 1.5/2 teaspoons. Right away, I can tell a difference. It brewed up a lot darker in two minutes than it did the last time. The smell is rich, damp earth. I had a big dinner today so I am hoping that this will help settle my stomach. It is close to bedtime so I think I will probably only steep this one time tonight. If it is as good as it was last time, I will probably save the leaves to have with breakfast.

It tastes…smooth. There isn’t anything overwhelmingly amazing about it so far. I mean, it doesn’t taste like dirt and fish so that is a good thing. It is smooth and you can tell it is earthy.

I mean, I like it. It is mellow. The first steep is very mellow and smooth. I can feel my stomach settling down from our overly-sweet dinner (all we had was homemade apple crisp and homemade ice cream; it was delicious and rich).

I’ll end up drinking the rest of my cup tonight and I will probably steep more tomorrow to see if it develops. Then I can see if I really like the tea or not.

Edit: I think it is growing on me. The more I drink my mug, the more of it I want. Good sign!

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Thank you Angel and Teavivre for the very generous samples

Ahhh…smooth luxury. This tea has absolutely no bitterness or artificial taste, it’s just simple, light, silky satisfaction. First, let me say that I love that this tea came individually packaged. I’m sure the intent is to ensure freshness, but I must admit, tearing into the pretty white packaging made me feel like I was opening a wee gift made especially for me. Perhaps that sounds delusional, but it’s the little things that can make a girl like me feel special : ) And what a gift this tea proved to be! My first brew had a faint natural aroma and flavor, somewhat akin to straw, which I surprisingly enjoyed. The second steeping was my favorite: absolutely flawless, smooth deliciousness, with no bitter aftertaste. The sheer number of infusions I get with this tea with more of maturation in flavor, rather than a loss of taste is astonishing. This is only the first of several teas sent to me from the generous Angel and Teavivre, but if the rest of the samples are even half as impressive, I will be placing my order with them by next week.

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I’m emotionally and physically exhausted. It’s time to sit back and relax with a nice cup of tea. Lots of people have given these dragon pearls high marks, so I thought it would be an easy winner.

I used 5 pearls instead of the recommended 3-4 because I prefer strong tea to weak tea. Last thing I want is to brew up a new tea and then find that it tastes like barely flavored water. I’m really glad I added that extra pearl! The first cup was pretty calm. Light cocoa notes playing in a sunny field of Yunnan. Anything lighter than this and it probably would be barely flavored water.

The second steep was for 2 minutes, and it has a much richer and more developed flavor. There’s an added component of spiciness to this cup too. This is a much better tasting cuppa than the first. Let’s go for a third steep for 3 minutes. The spiciness has dissipated, but the Yunnan flavor is still going strong.

This is truly an excellent tea. It’s not bitter or astringent, and it’s put me in a better mood. The world just doesn’t seem as dreary when you’ve got a nice cup of tea in your hand.

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I can’t be all poetic about the flavor, because I had a cold when I tried this tea. But it’s a keeper. To me, it was just a good solid black tea. Kind of like the Chinese Folgers of the tea world. I’m keeping it to drink straight and also to mix with other teas to stretch them out or if they have too much flavoring.

205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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All I can tell you about my impressions of this tea is that it smelled just like asparagus to me, and it tasted like sweet asparagus when I drank it. I imagine if I hadn’t sweetened it, it would have had an entirely different flavor profile (unsweetened asparagus) but I don’t really think I’ll be experimenting. This will go on the swap list.

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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OK, second time around I had to admit that I didn’t like this as much as I thought. I was trying too hard to like it because everyone on Steepster said how great it was and I thought I was missing something. But, well, it’s just OK to me, to be honest. Onto the swap list she goes!

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Let me start by saying Lapsang Souchong was my first experience with loose tea and it quickly became my favorite. I felt like I was drinking the whiskey of tea, it seemed to me the most masculine tea you could possibly drink (my friends would disagree with me). Over the last few years though I’ve been trying every new tea I can get my hands on and I haven’t had a lapsang souchong in about three years, which is a total crime.

First off the leaves are great quality with nice golden tips and there is a wonderful smokey smell that isn’t overpowering. Upon first taste I remember why I drank this tea so much in high school. This particular Lapsang blends the perfect amount of smoke with the high quality black tea, which lends it a slight dark chocolate taste. I’ve had a lot of Lapsang Souchong and most are smoked so heavily you feel like a 6am fireplace at the end of the cup but this tea is different. The smoke plays upon your tongue for a little bit but it doesn’t coat your mouth in a nasty ashy taste. A really wonderful tea and the perfect way to end the day.

Also want to add that this came in my gigantic sampler bag from Teavivre, thanks again!


Love this review. The whiskey of teas :)

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Hello Steepster!

I need your help. I know that Lapsang Souchong is the name of this tea. I also know that a lot of people refer to it as Lapsang. I’m writing a poem about lapsang… is it okay if I refer only to it as Lapsang, or should the Souchong fit its way into the beginning somewhere? I want to be correct.


Tea! Drinking this for a poem. I was SO glad I still had a bit of the sample so generously provided by Teavivre left – I needed the inspiration!

It’s a sweet lapsang. The smoke is mostly in the smell, whereas the tea itself tastes like sweet pine tar, especially as it cools. Steeped in tasting cup – rinse, 15, 25, added a pinch more leaves and then 45, 1 min and 1 min 30. The last three steeps were combined into a travel mug because I didn’t have the time to sit. It produced a wonderfully multilayered brew.


I frequently refer to it as just Lapsang!


Excellent! I was hoping so. Thank you!


NP! The wiki article even refers to it as just Lapsang, and souchong is just a word designating the larger older leaves of the branch, as opposed to the tips, usually I think it refers to the fifth through seventh leaves.

Terri HarpLady

Michelle, I hope you’ll share your poem with us when you’re ready!
I love that the tea is your muse!

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This was the final tea of tea party today, but I am posting it first because it is the easiest! One of the teas was a blend from two different companies that I put together, the first drink wasn’t a tea at all, but a spiced cider!

This was very good, and my guest enjoyed the jasmine flavor even though initially she was afraid it would be too floral for her from the aroma. I taste the green base in this one more than I do in the Dragon Pearls, and it is a more assertive base.

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I was in the mood for a green tea this evening and I picked a good one. The dried leaf has a nice aroma but my spider senses tell me it’s the 2011 harvest. I have a Liu An Gua Pian that was sent from Anhui that looks much fresher. That tea is definitely this years harvest. This is still a very vibrant tea with a nice full flavor. This tea is also making me perspire on my forehead. I can feel the purifying effects of this lovely tea upon my body and mind.


You’ve been enjoying good tea lately…


Love when a tea really makes you feel its benefits! I find greens in particular have that purifying power…

Charles Thomas Draper

I agree TeaFairy

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I normally wouldn’t get a straight black tea but this got such great reviews i thought I would step out of my comfort zone.

And….it’s not bad, but it’s not great. I wonder if I used too much leaf. The site said 7g but maybe that was too much? My steepings were short but I’m still getting some astrigency. Getting some smokey flavor which is turn off for me.

I think people who really love black tea will like this, but as more of a green tea fiend, this is just so-so.

James R

Try less leaf, I’ve never had that tea taste astringent. Also I brew it at about 180


Oy – that might be the problem. I’m brewing this at boiling since it’s a black. I’ll have to try it again next time.

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I had a bad first experience with Lapsang Souchong. It smelled like bacon and tasted like watered down burned bacon grease. That being said, I am a little nervous over this tea because the smell of the dried leaf came back to me very quickly. I brewed this for two minutes and it smells smokey. More like grillhouse smoker type of smoke and less campfire this time.

It isn’t bad. It isn’t what I was expecting either. Yes, it does taste like smoke but it also has a mild and barely detectable sweetness. But I mostly taste smoke and I’m not the biggest fan of that taste. It makes me feel better about Lapsang Souchong now and I know that the tea itself isn’t bad.

If you like lapsang souchong, I believe that you would really love this one. I’m not rating this one because it isn’t a bad tea. I’m just not overly fond of it.

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I hadn’t tried a Bai Mu Dan before so this was interesting. To me this is light, strong hay note, medium floral, slightly sweet. Not an everyday tea for me, but still a nice drop/

195 °F / 90 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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I guess because of having to read about silver needle so much lately, I really started wanting some again. And like I said last time I broke out the Teavivre samples I need to a) drink the latest ones I got already and b) finish these already.

I still can’t get over how flavorful this tea is even after a minute. It’s so sweet, with notes of hay and flowers. It feels bright and fresh.

I have been feeling pretty meh lately about white teas, so I definitely needed this one back in my life. I’ve been having flavored ones of course but there’s just something about the pure flavor of silver needle that trumps them all when you drink one.

Also I just learned of the end-all of Gangnam Style parodies. Mitt Romney style: http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6830834/mitt-romney-style-gangnam-style-parody I think the shark has been jumped now.. (note I think there’s at least one f-bomb in there so just in case, here’s a warning, but it’s HILARIOUS)


OMG!!! How have I not heard of this parody yet?? It’s hilarious!!!!

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Ohhh yessss. This is what I’ve been waiting for. It’s taken quite a bit of will power for me to wait making this again until I received my glass teapot from Teavivre. Well, it’s here now (came only yesterday) and I can wait no longer.

I can’t get over how much this makes me think of chocolate croissants with all the yeast, dark cocoa and buttery flavors I find in this tea from its dry state to the wet leaves and all the way into my cup.

On a whim I’ve decided to sweeten the second steep with a Splenda tablet to see how it goes. The tablets are supposed to be equal to 1tsp of sugar, and that’s half a sachet. I think it’s over-sweetened now, so if I want to sweeten it at all in the future I’ll have to try it with a half tsp of actual sugar. Not that it needs it. Just sometimes I feel like I want a little treat and sweet tea can often do the trick, know what I mean?


This tea is great for traveling if you don’t have a scale because you can just count out how many pearls per ounce. I bring it everywhere if I want gongfu black tea

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