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Recent Tasting Notes
I recently received another round of free samples from Teavivre… Angel Chen and the folks at Teavivre are really too generous! And with such great tea. Anyway I’ve had their unflavored Jin Xuan before and loved it, but I was wondering how this one would taste. It’s not often a tea company specifies about milk oolong flavoring, and I am excited to try this one.
In the pouch the dry leaf smells incredibly milky, buttery, a bit fruity, as expected. Even milk oolongs that brew up pretty un-milky start out smelling milky, but this one is more amped up than usual. The steeped tea smells more floral, almost magnolia-ish, with a nice sweet creamy background note. If I smell really deeply I get a cooked-greens note in the lingering about as well. It doesn’t have a really rich baked-buttery aroma to it, it’s a bit fresher scented.
Early sips of this yield a nicely sweet-cream, slightly peachy flavor. You know, for all the flavoring it’s pretty light, and it tastes much like some of the other milk oolongs I’ve tried in the past. It’s pretty tasty, but I’m also pretty sure I prefer their unflavored variety. I will have to try that one again now (I still have some sample packs left from my sample of it) to compare because I am curious. I can’t say exactly why except this one seems less creamy which is surprising because it’s the flavored one! But it just kind of seems like the creaminess is on the surface, not melding with the flavor of the tea itself. I’m unsure because it’s been a while since I’ve had the unflavored.
Thanks so much for the opporunity to try this one, Angel and Teavivre!
(Free sample provided by Teavivre. Thank you!)
This will be the first tea from sample pack I’ve received from Teavivre some month ago or so. I’m not a big fan of jasmine scented teas, I’m OK with mild jasmine aroma but when there’s a tea scented with perfumy and overpowering impression it makes me run for the hills.
With a sample pack weighing 5,5 grams I managed to distribute it for traditional western and gaiwan gong fu brewing method, so I’ll be doing western method now and gaiwan gong fu some other time.
This tea was chosen for me to review by one fan from my Facebook page, so if you’re from ex-Yugoslavia area I encourage you to check it, just search – Dobri čajevi.
Glass teapot (250 ml)
Leaf – 2,5 gram (2 tsp.)
Water – 80 Celsius 200 ml
Time – 1 min, 1 min, 2 min
Leaf & infusion:
Dry leaf – Leaf is somewhat broken (most likely due to handling and tight packaging) revealing its flakey leaf texture, but it retains a lot of whole buds with white-grayish color texture and almost completely covered with fine white hair. In complete sample pack there’s only few yellow jasmine flowers. Jasmine scent is mild, pleasant and natural.
Wet leaf – While brewing this tea almost no buds sank, with few standing upright as heavier stalks free of air get soaked up. Once drained, buds air with cucumber-like aroma and appear more fat with emerald green color and accent on veins.
Infusion (1st) – First infusion is clear with light gray-yellow hue and on the bottom there are some leaf parts that have managed to pass through the strainer. While jasmine aroma seems to be gentle but firm, and almost sweet-like.
Taste is soft, fruity (peach) with jasmine finish that lingers for short time. On first sip, the tea makes a strong impression, as with additional sips that stretch out sweetness even more and introduce smooth, silky flow across the tongue and light tingling sensation in throat. With last sips minty freshness appears and one can enjoy lingering fruity peach and jasmine notes in between.
Infusion (2nd) – Second infusion is more intense in taste, and even savory. As jasmine aroma shifts to almost an undertone, for best enjoyment it’s better to drink it when it gets almost lukewarm as sweetness and smoothness get accentuated. With last sips some dryness on tongue can be noted.
Infusion (3rd) – Third infusion reveals less delicate but still pleasant aspect of this tea as it gets more dry and even with a touch of astringency.
Conclusion – As I’m not a fan of jasmine scented teas I was actually surprised how much pleasant sips I got from this one. This tea is both delicate and delicious even if I got this session a bit of the balance with steeping time, but I’m sure that I would get it even better provided that I have more leaf. Anyways, I’m expecting some good results with the rest sample and gaiwan brewing method.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
When I received my new samples in the mail today, this tea caught my attention. It’s been raining the past few days, and there is just something about drinking either Lapsang Souchong or ripe puerh that feels “right” when it rains.
Drinking from the first steep after the rinse; it tastes really mellow, earthy, and slightly smoky. Then it made me think of moss and mushrooms.
Second steep became bolder in flavour, but not to the point that it became offensive to my taste buds.
Wrapping up this review on the third steep, the flavour is staying consistent. No bad flavours during the initial sipping or aftertaste. (I’ll probably resteep this a few more times throughout the day and edit the final steep count later.)
Overall it tastes like a decent ripe puerh. The product is sold as loose leaf, so it’s a bit easier to brew at home (no prying leaves off).
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp, 6 steeps (rinse, 15s, 20, 30, 40, 50, 1m15s)
Note: I tend to always like ripe puerh. If you’re unsure about puerh or find it’s taste offensive, I’d buy a sample or avoid it all together. :)
Thank you Teavivre for this sample!
This is my first time with a milk oolong and I’m very glad I get to try it after reading so many good reviews about it. I like green oolongs and was afraid of following the directions by using boiling water on this tea, but I did and the results were surprising good!
Little green balls that smell creamy and floral. Wet they smell very very rich and creamy. The infusion was pale yellow-gold with hints of creamy vegetables. I brewed this gaiwan style. I was too afraid to do it western style with boiling water.
Taste: Cream, creamy, creamy! Creamy taste with a nice creamy texture with some sweetness. Hints of floral notes of orchid taking a backseat to the creaminess but letting themselves be known. There was a slight hint of juiciness, of what I couldn’t pinpoint. The aftertaste was creamy at first then had a sort of drying effect in the mouth.
In later steepings the creamy notes waned a little, and vegetal notes started appearing. The drying effect became a little stronger in the aftertaste as well. It reminds me of a tiequanyin without the heavy mouthfeel and lasting aftertaste. I prefer this over tiequanyin simple because this lacks that super thick, heavy mouthfeel and aftertaste.
Backlogging from last month.
Thank you Teavivre for this sample.
The dry leaves are dark green, long and thing, and smell like dried out seaweed…not the nasty smelling stuff you find on the beach, more like the kind you use for making sushi. The infusion smells of asparagus lightly cooked in salt and butter.
The taste reflects the smell of the infusion: steamed asparagus coated lightly in salt and butter. There are some notes of corn bread with a sweetish aftertaste. This tea I found to be a bit more bold than most green teas I drink yet it contained no bitterness. Thank you Teavivre for letting me try this yummy green tea!
Second tea of the morning….. (SRP #41)
My computer hates me today. I just lost my review.. Anyway, the short version of my intro is that I appreciate the new way they are packaging free samples. Less waste is always good in my book. Also, I appreciate that they have moved toward putting labels on the small manufacturer packages of samples, too.
This sample was provided by TeaVivre for review. I think I am on my last round of these. This has been so fun! Thank you so much to Angel and her team for introducing me to teas beyond my favorite China black teas.
The leaves are a tight ball and dark green. The liquor is an amber yellow rather than golden like greener oolong varieties. I am pretty sure the leaves are slightly roasted in this tea. It could just be the variety, but there is a light roasty or baked scent as well as flavor. It really reminds me of roasted green vegetables. The notes of butter with the heavy mouthfeel are there, but the roasted flavor is the most prevalent. I generally prefer greener oolongs, but this is good. It lies somewhere between the green and dark oolongs as far as flavor.
Mug method, 2 minutes, 185 water. No additions. Getting ready for a resteep.
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!
I’ve been very fortunate to be able to sample some great pu’erh teas lately. I’m becoming a huge fan of the variety and would now place pu’erh as one of my favorite classifications. At the top of my pu’erh tea list (so far) is Teavivre’s Ripened Aged Pu-erh Mini Tuocha. I was anxious to see how the Mengku Palace Ripened Golden Buds Loose Pu-erh Tea measured up.
I steeped this tea at 212 degrees for two minutes as instructed on the sample package. A rich molasses-colored brew developed.
The flavor of this tea is earthy, woodsy, and leathery. This follows the pattern of the other pu’erh teas that I’ve tried. The taste is somewhat milder than the Mini Tuocha blend. I also found the flavor to have a nice twinge of sweetness to it. As with all of the Teavivre teas that I’ve sampled to date, there is no bitterness.
This is another solid tea entry in the Teavivre family. If I were forced to choose between Mengku Palace and Mini Tuocha, I would have to go with the more robust Mini Tuocha. That does not diminish the quality of Mengku Palace. I’m just a strong tea kind of guy.
I really like this tea!! Thank you Angel for this sample!
I’m actually on my second cup of this and it is sooo good! I have had pearls in other types of tea before (like jasmine green pearls), but never black. These ones seem maybe a bit larger than the other ones, but it’s been a while since the last time I had any tea pearls. I like my tea a bit strong so I used 5 pearls the first time, and 4 the second. Either amount is fine.
They smell very malty and chocolatey, and the taste is very rich and warming. I always add milk and sugar, so that added to the sweetness and creamy chocolateness. But for me, that’s fine. This is an excellent tea and I think it would be good iced…I might look into cold brewing this one over the summer.
I just want to add that I just love watching the pearls unfold in the hot water in my steeper.
Man, a little jasmine tea is good for the soul. Nice and smooth with that fragrant and relaxing sweetness that only jasmine possesses. Not quite as sweet as other jasmines I’ve had, but it’s very good. The leaves are beautiful (albeit not quite as beautiful as pearls) and have little pieces of jasmine petals scattered throughout.
Another sample from Teavivre.
I let this steep for three minutes, enduring the enticing aroma until the tea was done. The end result is a very nice Tie Guan yin: Fruity, buttery, a hint of saffron. I don’t taste any grassiness, but the taste lingers for two whole minutes in the hard palate of my mouth, which definitely marks this as a really good quality Tie Guan yin. I can’t wait to see how it develops.
All right, after several false starts and a few interruptiuons, here is the second steeping for this Tie Guan Yin. It retained most of the flavor from the previous infusion, with the creaminess actually being a bit more prominent, along with nice development of the saffron flavor. A hint of grassiness might have developed, but it’s really faint, and I might be tasting it because I’m looking for it. Anyway, the aftertaste still lingers for a minute 45, which is pretty impressive. I’m liking this tea more and more.
Third infusion, still no grass. The taste has lost a bit of the creaminess it had, and is starting to get a bit weaker. It also only lingers for a minute now, but other than that, it’s still very good. I also want to note here that this tea is MUCH better if you drink it when it’s warmer. If it get’s cold, it isn’t as vibrant. Unfortunately, this is my last cup of the day, since I need to be able to get up for my internship tomorrow, but needless to say I’m going tosavor the rest of this cup.
I was looking through my sample box, looking for a green tea this morning, and I stumbled across this one. I can’t believe I forgot I had it!
The dry leaf is a dark-scented, almost like a light Darjeeling. The pieces are small and fairly broken, and although I’m drinking it out of my TARDIS mug (I can’t get over it. It’s fantastic.) it’s a mid-range light yellow.
It tastes the way it smells, sort of a darker green with hints of pepper and cucumber. It’s a bit bitter, but as my tea kettle only does 180 and 212 with accuracy, I had to guess for the 195. It’s good, though. It’s a hearty green.
A big shout out to Teavivre for the free sample of this tea!
It’s been several years since I last had a Lapsang Souchong, and it’s actually better than I remember. I used about 5 grams, and steeped it in 205 degree water for about a minute (I was being a bit conservative). The first impression you get of the tea is aroma: It’s pleasantly smokey, but overwhelmingly so. The tea is also a lot sweeter than I remember, and was really the perfect way to start my morning.
Errrr…. Steepsterites? Do I owe someone a package that hasn’t been sent? I have a strange feeling that I do, but I can’t for the life of me think who it must be for. I just have a feeling that I’ve promised a sample to someone…
Anyway, and so we hit the forties. I don’t think I’ve quite halved the stash yet, but we’re definitely getting there. I kinda wish I had paid attention to how much was in the cupboard when I started on this drinking it down project. I think I’ve pruned it just about as much as I can. Removed all the things that I know realistically I’ll just never get used. Some went in the bin (age), and some went in the box for re-homing. I’ve already forgotten who gave me the idea to do that, but it was a great idea! Everything that’s left now are things it should be possible to finish up or things that I haven’t tried yet and so can’t form an opinion on.
There is always something awesome about decupboarding a tea, even when it’s a beloved favourite. Even when I also cry a little tear of despair for the loss. I just feel so… accomplished when I can finish something off. (I also like starting by writing a list when doing house cleaning and such. There is awesome motivation in ticking things off the list)
So it is with mixed feelings that I removed this one today. Never did I think that I would ever meet a tea that could be such a rival to the Tan Yang for my affections.
It also means that I’m completely OUT of Fujian black. I can feel the tremors starting already, how am I going to cope until after the wedding and all that?
Another sample from my box from LiberTEAS! I’ve been wanting to try this one for a while so I was thrilled when I saw it in there. I have a sample of the flavored version of this in the mail because I wanted to try something extra milky, so it will be fun to compare it to this once it comes.
The dry leaves are a lovely green and smell so creamy, and they open beautifully—tons of whole, undamaged leaves unfurled! This tea is also a water hog, and the first steep sucked up nearly half of the water I put in there. I was a bit conflicted on what temp I should brew it at, some instructions say boiling but my sample said 170 so that’s what I did for the first steep! It was creamy, silky heaven—floral, sweet, and buttery. It’s a bit apricoty but not really fruity at all if that makes sense, and it’s floral without having a specific flower taste. Very mildly floral, but it’s there. There’s also a bit of grassiness going on, which I love! It’s not milky in an overt sense, but there’s a distinct smoothness here that I associate with milk oolongs. I think the milk part is more mouthfeel than taste.
For the second steep I tried hotter water (190) which I don’t think is ideal for this tea. There was no bitterness or astringency, but the creamy flavors fell away and the grassiness was pushed to the forefront. I liked it, but it didn’t seem much like a milk oolong—in fact this steep read as more of a green (i.e. less complex).
Steep 3 at 170 again was back to creamy goodness, with a more pronounced and distinct floral note than the first steep. It’s similar to the Mermaid’s Kiss, so it’s maybe magnolia? So far this is the most refreshing steep, and the grassy-milky-creamy-floral-apricoty notes seem the most balanced.
For the 4th steep I decided to get a bit crazy—you might have guessed from some of my previous notes that I like to experiment with my tea, and I certainly did something a bit risky with this cup! I wanted a bit more milky flavor, and I have these chewy milk candies from Japan sitting on my counter, so I chopped half of one up and put it in my IngenuiTEA as it brewed. It certainly looks milky now, and tastes more… well, milky! And sweet too, since there’s sugar in it now. It’s surprisingly natural tasting, probably because they are pretty small candies and I only used half of one.
I’m sure there are more steeps left in this so I’ll probably play around with it later tonight. Either way, given the reasonable pricing and how tasty this is I’ll definitely be adding it to the next order I place at Teavivre!
I love silver needles and love jasmine, and this is just the cup of mellow I’ve been needing lately. The jasmine scenting is really well done, and doesn’t dominate the cup excessively; despite how muted white tea can be, I can still tell it’s here beneath the jasmine. The result is delicious; definitely a different caliber than the bagged jasmine tea I’ve been downing at local restaurants lately. This is the kind of jasmine tea I can see myself sipping in a shady tea shop, seated at a low tea table, relaxing as the cicadas hum outside. It’s really refreshing, as a good white tea ought to be, and the jasmine reminds me of a sultry hot summer day. I love this kind of tea in the warmer months; it makes a good iced tea too.
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre, for offering to send me their wonderful teas to sample. This is the 2011 version, but the 2012 version is in transit. I used the max recommended (2 tsp. and did a quick rinse for 1st steeping).
Having tried other dragonwell greens before, I really wasn’t expecting to like this. But with the first sip, I absolutely fell in love with this version. Very pale yellow in color when brewed, the first sips are very vegetal … sort of like celery, without any sign of bitterness whatsoever. Even a year old by now, this tastes fresh. And it was that part that really impressed me. I consider myself a newbie, but this speaks quality.
2nd steep (increasing 10 degrees, adding 1 minute) produces a slightly stronger brew. The 3rd steeping is still flavorful, and for the first time, the floral aspect comes through.
Thanks to SimpliciTEA for mentioning the 16 oz. glass “cafe mug” at Target (for 2.99 each here). They are made by Anchor and really add to the green tea “experience”. Btw, they also carry Anchor’s 2 quart “Bistro” pitcher, for 5.99, which I picked up to store iced tea (if I ever get that just right).
Highly recommend Teavivre for great service and (so far) very quality teas.
All right, first sample from the new batch from Teavivre. Thanks again, Angel!
This is also my first Dragonwell, so I’m a bit excited to finally get to try it out. I put about four grams of tea in my tea ball. The instructions said to use more, but that was also to make 8 oz. of tea, whereas my mug only holds 6. Anyway, I steeped the leaves for one minute in 175 degree water, and the results were great. It has a very smooth texture, like the aftertaste of a Wuyi Oolong, which seems to coat the tongue and hard palate. The tea also has a delightfully nutty flavor which reminds me a bit of Hojicha, but it’s not as strong and taste more refined. Definitely a great way to start off the weekend.
Alright, second infusion, same preparation as before. The only real difference is that it has lost a bit of the mineral smoothness, which, while disappointing, does not really affect the taste too much. It is, however, a bit unfortunate, because it seems that I won’t get all that many infusions out of this tea.
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!
Tea of the morning……
This sample was provided by TeaVivre for review. (Thank you!)
I decided morning was a great time to try this one. We are in the midst of a slight cold spell…or maybe I just feel like it is a cold spell because it was a sweltering weekend last week. Anyway, a sweet smokey tea was a good match for the weather today.
Leaf is actually kind of fluffy for a black tea. There are even some golden pieces in there! The smell is of smoke and earthiness. I brewed it is with a little hotter water then they recommended (I used boiling, they recommended 195) but I still had a fabulous tea. I get notes of malt, cocoa, and smoke with a sweetness. Since I usually sweeten my hot tea, I ended up with a smokey sweet liquor. Once the tea got in the temperature range for drinking, I noticed that my cup was empty in a flash. That means it is incredibly good. I think I will try a resteep, too. Yes, this goes on the shopping list! I think I will replacing my Lapsang Souchong Black Dragon with this. I do think it is a sweeter tea than the Lapsang from Mountian Rose herbs, too, plus their shipping is cost prohibitive.
Usual teapot method with a 2 minute steep. Lightly sweetened.
This is still the same bunch of leaves, but I felt like it needed a new tasting note. My brother just graduated from high school! Yay. He is disabled and we are very proud of him. Even better, he is going to be able to go to college too! I am very proud of him.
We had a big celebration dinner at Moes and this steep of tea is just the thing to finish the meal. It is nice and light with a slight fruity taste now. The sip ends with a creamy sweetness. I think I might have found my new favorite type of tea to compete with Earl Grey.
I left the leaves in the french press. I’m going to check them in the morning and if they still look fresh then I might try to steep it one more time to see if I can get any last drops of flavor out. We are leaving tomorrow for our vacation in Ohio so I probably won’t be on for a week unless I break and bring my computer with me. We will see. If I don’t post for a week then you know what happened.