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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the afternoon……
I bought this one without sampling from TeaVivre in my last order. I love black pearl teas. They are so fun. This one is very similar to my Red Dragon Pearl from thepuriTea, but at a much more reasonable price. If you are buying a pound, they are close, but if you want smaller amounts, thepuriTea charges quite a bit more per ounce and their price per ounce decreases siginificantly with the increase in amount purchased. Also, TeaVivre makes it much easier to get to the level of free shipping which is always a bonus, and usually means I will order more often. It might take a little longer to get a package from China than California for me, but I can usually wait.
The tea is great. I used 6 pearls in my ForLife Tall Tea mug and it came out perfect. The liquid is a dark amber, there are notes of chocolate and malt, and this is just begging for a resteep. Very good, and I am very happy that I just ordered 100 grams, rather than sampling first.
(I did sample a few others, and just to let you know what the packaging looks like….since the samples for sale on the website are 10 grams, they came in 2 small pouches that are well labelled but not resealable. The small pouches are similar to the size of their other samples that come in 5 gram amounts, but the packaging is silver with the TeaVivre logo on it, rather than the individual packs from the tea packer. I also got a free sample of Da Hong Pao.)
Thank you Teavivre for this sample!
This sample came vacume packaged in a purple and gold wrapping and then inside vacume packed again. These little darlings were not moving in transit!
I had volunteered some time removing cobwebs from garage doors this fine Spring Saturday in my community condo complex…and not feeling particularly up to fussing with complex brewing techniques…decided on Western Style (side saddle being that I’m a Colorado lady) steeping of this fine tea. This Oolong is soaked in honey. Interesting.
A 2 minute steep and the removal of the leaves smells wonderfully sweet with a bit of floral vegital glamor. The color is medium deep honey gold and somewhat cloudy…maybe from the honey.
On tasting I am surprised that there is not a heavy honey flavor. There is sweetness which is quite light, but not honey. I taste the light lilac and vegital flavor that my nose picked up from the first introduction. This tea is a bit salty with a tingle of pepper.
Adding some sweetening improves the flavor, bringing to the forefront the beautiful floral lilac expression. I am disappointed in the lack of honey flavor. As an Oolong, this is something I have had before, and it is a nice Oolong but not remarkable.
Also, 3-4 teaspoons tea for 8oz of water is a lot. I used 2TB for 16oz pot good grief! For this tea not to taste great is a shame.
The second steeping (I’m being fair here) is light and clear!
Whatever the honey coating was doing globbed onto the leaves so tightly before and clouding the tea is gone. Now the liquor sunny yellow-gold and shimmering. My second brew is much more illusively scented…as if a breeze lifted the scent of one lilac on a strand past my nose. There is absolutely no honey at all. None. Nada. But, the flavor is pleasant. This second steeping is where you want to be with a nice Oolong (still this is an average-plus one though).
My overall rating will have to be somewhere I don’t want to go, but I must be honest. I get no honey flavor in this tea. I think you have to sacrifice too much product for a good cup. The first 8oz is cloudy and not that good but the second steeping is much better and I expect the 3rd and 4th will be fine also. I have had such good experiences with my Teavivre tea’s that this one is just not spectacular like I’m used to. I may be expecting too much. I do appreciate the experience.
Teavivre sent me a huge sample of this… so exciting!
I opened up the little foil-sealed package, and the leaves on this are HUGE. At least two inches, and fairly wide, and very very thin. I’ve never seen leaves this big! They’re beautiful, and very bright green.
The liquor is one of those radioactive greens – very bright, very light, very yellow. But it tastes delicious. Sweet and a little vegetal, and there’s definitely a lingering smoky aftertaste. I definitely want to drink more of this :)
I had intended to try some of the marvelous tea sent by Missy and Dulan, but hubby and I went to a Chinese buffet for supper and I knew I would be happier with myself if I drank some puerh to tame all that fat in the crab rangoon and spring rolls, and maybe white sauce and lomein and…you get the idea.
I had two tuocha left and so far I have steeped them three times. I did a 30 second rinse first and then each steep has been four minutes because I am making this in a 22 ounce pot. Normally I would use three tuocha but alas I was down to just two.
This is very good even though lighter than usual, and doing the job! Tummy is rumbling away happily as it should. Sharing this pot with hubby, son, and son’s girlfriend.
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
Yesterday I found some scattered tea notes and one of them was Teavivre’s Huang Shan Mao Feng.
Dry leaf is very long with partially twisted first leaf. Apart from its usual green texture I noticed a few leaves with somewhat yellow and brown hue to them. With a deep sniff dryness with hint of sweetness to it is revealed, and when dropped in pre-heated teapot you get some starchiness rising to nostrils. When it comes to visual appearance his tea has hardly any broken leaf and seems to take a bit more volume than my other Mao Fengs I have in cupboard.
I steeped this tea in glass 250 ml teapot three times (and I could have gone for more if I wasn’t full) with 80 Celsius water, and 60 – 60 – 90 seconds steep.
First infusion came out clear and really pale jade. During steeping barely any leaves sunk since I added them on top. Light bodied and sweet with lingering
fruity note (apricot, peach… not quite sure) that completes at tongue root after wallowing (peach). Every sip seems so thirst quenching, refreshing and amazingly good. As I empty pitcher I don’t see any kind of residue.
Second infusion is still clear like first but with more of jade tone to it. With slightly augmented peach notes comes a faint Tie Guan Yin-like note in background with just a hint of astringency. Few seeps in and I start to notice how my throat is getting a bit dry, almost sore-like, starchy…
The appearance of third infusion is identical to that of second. As I’m not intending to steep it further I removed wet leaves that filled my room with light Tie Guan Yin-like aroma. When it comes to tasting this infusion reminds me of 4th steep of Teavivre’s Tie Guan Yin (look it up in my previous notes) with grassy-vegetal body. At this point I thought that I might squeezed a bit too much out of the leaves and that I should’ve steep it just over a minute.
Although I can’t recall much of the experience with this particular tea I can, however, tell that this is the best Mao Feng I’ve had so far. I guess I should write more in-detail impression just after finishing my cup in future.
I love the subtle aroma of the dried leaf. I brewed this with ample leaf for 2 minutes and the first impression I got was asparagus. This faded as it cooled. The color is a lovely yellow green hue with a slight bitterness. I may have used too much leaf. Either way I am thoroughly enjoying this tea. Fellow Steepsterites have commented on drinking greens later in the day because of the lower caffeine. For me, there is a certain something in greens that I do not get in any other tea. A soaring energy. I think this a wonderful tea. Another winner from Teavivre.
As with many other Steepsters, I’m playing catch-up, as I’ve been enjoying this tea for a while, but life has dragged me away from my tea writing for a bit. I’ve enjoyed this tea, but I think after comparing it to a Keemun ‘A’ grade I had before I had this sample of what is labeled as ‘premium’ that I prefer keemun a bit more toward the floral side, with less smoke.
Nonetheless, it’s very balanced and clean in the cup, great for nursing a soar throat if you’re drinking it by itself or pairing it with sweet/spicy foods.
A couple of pics of the dry leaf and added thoughts (including the tea wand I first used to infuse it with) are at my blog. http://bit.ly/JHFW00
Overall, a good quality keemun, but I will probably reach for my local shop’s ‘A’ for my regular cup simply because I like the orchid notes over the smoky notes.
Many thanks to Teavivre for the generously sized free sample!
The leaves on this are tightly rolled and shiny; they smell vegetal and a little bit dry. On a first steep, the leaves opened up and released the smoky scent characteristic of gunpowders. It’s not as delicate as I previously thought these teas were – I thought I had to be much more careful with them in order to keep them happy. But I think next time I’ll try a first steep on 2 minutes instead of 1, because it was a very light scent.
It was, however, delicious. I really enjoy the smoke, and the sweetness that washes over the palate afterwards. There’s a little bite to it which I really enjoy. Delicious!
Thank you to Teavivre for this tea sample which I requested!
I noticed that there were no tasting notes for this loose Pu-erh on Steepster. So, when Angel contacted me about sending a second round of samples, I requested this one and I received a nice amount for several large pots of tea.
Where has this Pu-erh been? Why has noone reviewed it before? In my opinion, it is one of the best…if not THE BEST loose leaf pu-erhs I’ve had to date!
The instructions for brewing recommend 1-2 minute steep…but I went longer to 4 minutes which was delightfully dark. The broth (not liquor at this point) was not dirty but um yum…lightly salty with the flavor of slowly sauteed, buttery crimini mushrooms. Splendid! Marvelous! Delicious!
I can sip this and not need to snack on anything all day if I want to. It is just that good and savory!
Hiding underneath the broth is a natural sweetness trickling along in the big juicy flavor until POW! you get a sparkling WAM! of pepper on your tongue. (More sparkle than bite!).
Being an experimenter with flavor, I sweetened the pu-erh just a little which was a real enhancement to the savory quality of the tea.
This is fine loose Pu-erh!
Then, my power went out! I put on my Kindle Fire music and listened to this by Tchiakovsky (it lets you skip past the youtube ad):
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample!
The Fort Collins Power Company was going to shut off power in the area for 3 hours this morning so I got up early enough to have a hearty pot of tea to stave off withdrawl symptoms! Not being familiar with Keemun, and reading about the smokey character (which I like), I chose this from my new package of Teavivre samples.
The dry tea is very dark and fine, which proved to brew a very dark liquor, fragrant with medium smokiness and malt.
This is not a tea party tea! It has Huevos like a shot of taquilla! The smoke is not like a Lapsang Souchong…but assertive somewhere in the middle range of smoke and quite astringent. The astringency creates lots of juice and tannin bites your tongue. No malt. This tea had too many rough edges to start my day by drinking it straight up. After all, my hair is messed up and I’m on the couch with a tea tray watching the news with a BIG MUG of tea American Style! I DO NOT want an intellectual interlude with my cuppa at this hour of the morning! My brain cells are still asleep! So, I added some cream and sugar and it knocked those rough edges right off the Keemun…oh yeh!
If you like a more tobacco, acidic and less yammy morning brew, this may be for you. If you do not like malt, again you may prefer this tea. I prefer the other black tea’s from Teavivre which are so wonderful! Try for yourself and see which is for you!
I’ve been meaning to get to this tea for some time, but this is the first time I have remembered I have it, and it is the right time to have it, since it is later in the evening and I don’t want any caffeine before bed.
I wasn’t sure how much to use as it wasn’t printed on the package like the other teas, so I just used 2 (heaping) teaspoons and let it steep about 5-6 minutes. Coming here, I see the instructions say to use more, but I think I used the right amount for my tastes.
There is definitely a smell of pineapple with the dry mixture. Once brewed, I can’t really taste anything beyond the tartness. I’ve never been a hibiscus fan, and while roselle is milder, it is still tart. Much more tolerable tart, but more for iced than hot tart.
The colour is beautiful, and the taste is a little lighter than the Blueberry tea, though I think the Blueberry tea is a bit more complex in flavours. I do prefer the Blueberry over this one…though this one will probably be made iced, and possibly blended with sparkling water or juice as a summer treat.
My thanks to Angel at Teavivre for sending this generous sample my way!
Thanks to Teavivre for another stunning package of Samples!
I’ve had a fun day! First I was off to post some samples to TeaFairy, and then to Happy Lucky’s Tea House to purchase a small wooden gongfu tray that can handle my little water spills. (It only cost $24.95!) Andy always serves me free tea too! I ended up purchasing a little Yixing Gai Wan with a handle and strainer (turns out I’m not much good at pouring and straining from my other gai wan…clumsy me). Now I’m ready to rock and roll!
With all the caffeine during the morning and afternoon, I was in the mood for a gentle evening without caffeine. I finished some brown rice California rolls…(WASABI !) and decided on one of the new Teavivre tea’s I had requested (yes you can ask for items you are interested in trying!).
The steep time listed is 8-9 minutes. Nice and long…and fragrant! It was hard to wait those last few minutes as the room filled with bold berry scent. The liquor was very dark purple blue. Had I gone too far and steeped this too long? I hate bitter infusions!
Taking a tentative sip, whew! there wasn’t any bitterness.
This fruity tea was full bodied and juicy like Knudsons Real Fruit Juice. The juice that’s 100% non- reconstituted, not mixed with anything else and coats your whole mouth. There was one element I could not identify so I looked at the wet mash in the basket. Blueberries, currents, grape and woody stuff that’s redish. What’s this red stuff? I read the packet…Roselle and Googled it. OK. This is a variety of Hibiscus…a more fibrous, woody variety with very small flowers that is grown in China. Evidently, you can steep it longer without it being as tangy as the Western Hibiscus I’m used to or Australian Hibiscus. Whatever the case, this Roselle addition mellows the flavors so that the tea becomes a blended fruit tea but not a distinctly blueberry tea.
I drank 24 oz. pot of tea hot this evening and then put a bit on ice to see what the flavor would be like. Very good. I’ll do an iced version for the next tasting since I received a generous portion from Teavivre.
Of all the caffeine free tea’s, every berry type satisfies me. The fruit used in this blend is big and bold. No tiny blueberries but large round fruit mixed with plenty of currents and grapes. I finally found a tea that I rummaged through after steeping. You can see the rehydrated fruit all plumped and I couldn’t resist popping the berries in my mouth.
Tomorrow night my tea shop is having a free tea ‘Happy Hour’ Near East Dance Performance to raise awareness to stop human trafficking. This shop supports this and other causes with 10% of store profits. I like that. One nice thing about small towns.
It’s been a while since I had this tea, and as I decided to work my way through my remaining samples, I picked this one. It’s pretty good, and it’s certainly a lot better than most Jasmine teas that I get at restaurants, but it’s not great. It’s sweeter than some jasmine, but I still prefer my Japanese greens.
I haven’t been posting much lately because I had a slight case of the flu toward the end of last week, and my taste buds just haven’t been up to snuff. But I’m much better now, and I think my taste buds are in check too, as I can taste the wonderful complexity of this Keemun. Bold and smoky, but I don’t find the smokiness to be too aggressive. A hint of dark cocoa in the background, and a layer of sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste.
A very pleasant cuppa, one I’m glad to have in my stash again. Here is my full-length review: http://sororiteasisters.com/2011/12/06/premium-keemun-hao-ya-black-tea-from-teavivre-2/
This is a nice, light, refreshing tea. It’s unfair that I am drinking this after the Mao Feng from earlier. On its own this one carrys its weight. I think for my next tasting I will add more leaf and a longer than 1 minute steep. It does seem to pack some energy I might add. I can only wonder what a stronger brew would yield. Is this one grown among the peach trees? The flavor is very subtle. The energy is not.
I bought a sample sized pouch of this and made a quart of iced tea with it last night. It was probably only enough for really half that, but I let it sit for a nice long time so I think it all worked out in the end.
I feel like this is what that “blueberry merlot” tea from TeaForte should be. This definitely reminds me of a red wine. I was worried I was going to need to add sugar, which I completely forgot and wanted to do while it was hot, but it’s perfect. It’s tart, but not mouthpuckering tart. It could probably use being a little sweeter, but I like it how it is. Definitely tastes like it’s been sweetened by blueberries.
I needed more fruit after having some peach Pinkberry for lunch (SO GOOD.) and now I think I’ve had enough for at least now. I’ll go have my fruit and added sugar to yogurt sugar high somewhere outside!
I’m trying out my first milk oolong thanks to the most generous staff at Teavivre. Thanks! I have actually had this a couple of times now and I keep coming back to it – there is just something special about it. I feel very lucky to be able to play with the steeping times with this tea – thanks to the generous sized samples that were sent. I have to say that Teavivre has great customer service in my experience.
On to the tea! The dry leaf is tightly rolled and smells both sweet, floral, and just a tiny bit vegetal.
1st infusion (1.5 minutes)- The tea is a medium golden color and smells lightly floral. The taste is also light and slightly sweet. There is just a hint of vegetation, but to me it isn’t actual vegetables – more like a lush plant. The taste is very smooth and the tea itself feels as thick as a broth. There is a heavy feeling on the tongue – almost like the feeling of drinking something creamy but without the flavor. The aftertaste is clean and neutral.
2nd infusion (2.5 minutes) – The tea is still light, slightly more on the vegetation side of things, but it isn’t off-putting. The tea still feels very smooth and the texture of a creamy drink is a bit more prominent. I’m still not actually tasting a creamy flavor, but that may be because this is the first unflavored green oolong I’ve had and my mouth is a bit overwhelmed at the novelty.
I’m looking forward to trying more infusions with this tea! I’ll be updating this later. Thanks again to the very generous staff at Teavivre! I’m so looking forward to trying the other samples that I received.
I’m surprised nobody has logged this one yet. I should probably start with the one without flavoring, but I was more curious to know if all the other milk oolongs I’ve had are definitely flavored. This is the first that has actually been upfront about it.
When I took the steeper basket out, all I could smell was the milky scent. I can definitely say that I’ve never had that happen before.
So then I was worried it was going to be SUPER strongly flavored but it’s not. It does though taste like a couple milk oolongs I’ve had, namely the first one I ever bought from a local shop.
Not really a problem, because I bought 100g of this tea. I like to have the milk flavor last for a couple infusions, as I’m sure it will given the smell of the leaves. First one was very creamy and buttery, with a floral aftertaste.
Second one coming up after I finally call my mom to wish her a happy birthday. Although I may not return because the person who has just moved in above me is extremely obnoxious after two days. So, if I kill him, bail me out with tea.
Oddly this empty threat made him and his buddies go inside. I was getting really mad last night because he dropped something RIGHT above where I was sitting while working on my paper and I nearly had heart failure since I was really into the paper at that point.
Anyway. Second steep. I was distracted on the phone while drinking it, but it really tasted very similar to the first steep. A bit more floral, for sure, but still good on the creamy taste. I can’t help but go with one more for the night now…
Still creamy on the third steep! I think all my other oolongs have probably been flavored just a tiny bit judging by this and what others have said about the unflavored version of this tea.
Though I must say, I love that Teavivre even puts the name of the flavoring company on the product page for the tea. Cool to know!