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Recent Tasting Notes
I finally recieved my beautiful gaiwan tea set from Teavivre yesterday. This morning when I woke up I knew exactly what I was feeling ready for, a pu-erh. Now I haven’t really tried much pu-erh yet so keep that in mind.
I spent lots of time last night pouring with my gaiwan and getting a feel for brewing this style. I feel so important and involved with this process.
I’m not really sure how to review pu-erh tea. I’m not really familiar with the termonology I see other people using to describe pu-erh but I’m going to wing it here. I’m using the suggested gaiwan brewing times from Teavivre.
The first steep is curious. Not as overwhelmingly strange tasting as I was expecting it to be. It’s an interesting flavor, something I’ve never really experienced before. Maybe a tiny bit fishy? But it’s actually not offputting….very weird…
Wow. The second steep looks like a completely different tea. It’s so much darker than the first! The wet leaves smell a little smokey. This steep tastes like the first one, but with a little more oomph.
After a third steep the wet leaves are starting to smell leathery. Now I understand what people mean when they use “leathery” as a description. This steep is surprsingly sweet in a way. Much different than the previous steeps.
By the fourth steep I’m starting to get stuck on the fish smell for some reason. It doesn’t really taste fishy, but it smells just fishy enough to be getting a little weird. I’m having trouble focusing on anything else. One thing I am noticing though is that my tummy is feeling much better than it did when I woke up this morning. It could just be in my head but either way it’s a plus.
I think I’m going to have to stop here. I know I could continue steeping but I think I’ll have to dive into a few more pu-erhs before I take this one all the way. I’m going to hold off on a rating for now.
And I almost forgot to thank LiberTEAS for sending me some of this! What an interesting start to the day =) Oh, I forgot to add I haven’t burnt my fingers once yet! Woohoo!
This sample is yet again thanks to the Teavivre gang:)
This tea is not one I am inclined to have again after I am done with the sample. It’s drinkable, but only just. Frankly I got plenty of fruit teas that I enjoy alot more then this, and can get them locally. I’m thinking I should of stuck to black, greens, oolongs, and whites in my taste test, as I’ve been wanting to expand my horizons beyond the herbal, fruit and rooibos teas that have pretty much taken over my cupboard. That being said however, I am looking forward to trying the last tea of the bunch, the Apple Awakening.
1st smell out of the package: smokey. I have to admit that smell made me nervous given my reaction to the Lapsang Souchong. (Which I have not tried the 2nd steeping idea yet.)
Wet smell: Earthy. Slightly leathery aroma, (Which I’ve been told is a good thing with Pu-erh.)
1st taste without sugar: (Yes the 1st taste was with the 1st steeping. GAG. lol) So I pitched it and started boiling water for the 2nd steeping. I steeped it for 1 minute and roughly 30 seconds. Automatically added 4 packets of Apriva sweetener, (Kroger brand of Splenda.) It worked.
I taste an almost creaminess to the tea, I can see how others have gotten a caramel-ish taste in it. I am not wowed at all in this tea, however not about to judge all pu erh by it. I plan on trying out some other ones, (though not willing to yet try the ones with other flavors mixed in, like from Teavana’s)
I would not refuse a cup of this if offered from a friend, though. And now that I finished my cup, I feel mixed, because even though it didn’t wow me, I liked drinking it. How weird is that?! Maybe my palate is changing. That would be great, because I really would love to enjoy traditional teas, though I do not want to give up on my crazy love for flavored tea combos from stores such as Teavana….I don’t think my budget could afford that anyways. Heh.
My teapot came yesterday! Out of nowhere on Friday it started being tracked on USPS…in inland Massachusetts. I’m just glad it avoided this whole weather mess. It is SO cold here. I think it was windy earlier this week because of Sandy when it was near FL, and now it’s even windier because of this cold front…and it is so so so so cold.
I picked this at random from my bag of flowering teas. I’ve noticed that there are so many people who make their opinion known about how they’re just for show. Pfffttt. I would eat flowers all day long so you better believe I’ll make it and drink it, and also admire it.
This one has some fruity notes to it but obviously the strongest notes are jasmine. It’s very sweet, and the floral notes are actually quite mild. I’m not sure how to explain, it’s like it’s clearly jasmine you’re tasting but it’s not in your face, like you’re drinking perfume. The marigold lends just a bit of a different note, giving the floral taste a bit of complexity.
I love flowering teas. I also love that you can brew them so many times. And then after that’s done, I think I’ll just put room temp water in there and stare at it. And I’ve got 9 more to go!
This tea was my companion in the garden this morning. The task at hand was to water the Northwest Quadrant & dig up the rest of the garlic. While doing so, I came across a burrow of baby bunnies, in a little hollowed out place under the straw. I admire their cuteness, but didn’t touch them, & gently layer the straw back over them & went on with my work.
I grew 6 kinds of garlic this year! My whole house reeks of freshly dug garlic, & that is awesome! There’s lots of hanging & braiding to do, & hopefully I’ll never have to buy garlic again!
Lovely tea, by the way. I’ve reviewed it plenty of times, so that’s all I’m saying.
My box from Sil came today, AND my order from Yunnan Sourcing also came. This is the first tea out of Sil’s box, from a mutual order we placed with TeaVivre. I have long awaited these little pearls. Delicious!
Photos of both boxes: https://www.facebook.com/terri.langerak
Note to self: When ordering from Yunnan Sourcing, don’t go with the cheap shipping unless you want to totally forget about your teas by the time they arrive. Just sayin’
Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this generous sample
First off, I love Teavana’s Black Dragon Pearls. That’s actually one of the only teas I buy from them, & the convenience of being able to zip over to the mall & get some is pretty nice. It’s a yummy malty breakfast tea that I enjoy. SO I thought I would brew a cup of that alongside Teavivre’s Fengqing Dragon Pearls, just to see if there was really any difference.
Dry, the difference was noticeable. The Fengqings were smaller, but more aromatic, with a little more of a malty smell. I used 6 of the teavana pearls in one 8 oz cup, and 8 of the Teavivre in another. The main difference I noticed in taste was that the Fengqing had a bit of a berry flavor, & then I realized that I had ruined the taste test. Damn!
You see, last night I made a cup of decaf blackberry vanilla black from some local tea company. It was a gift from one of my students a few years ago, & I was really just trying to use it up to get it out of my cupboard. I ended up dumping it out, it just wasn’t really a tea that I enjoyed. I swear I washed my tea strainer well! But somehow that flavor stuck, & ended up in the morning’s cup.
SO…the taste comparison was ruined! Luckily, there was enough tea left for another sample, & although I’m not doing another comparison test, I will say that this is a very tasty, malty, satisfying cup of tea, with chocolate croissant undertones, just the way I like it. It is delicious & smooth plain, & also quite tasty with stevia! Yum!
KS posted about this a little while ago, & I realized I still had one Tuocha left, and with the damp & cool weather we are having (which I’m not complaining about, my garden loves it, even if my body doesn’t), this seemed like the perfect choice for my next cup.
Thanks KS for bringing it to mind, and thanks again to Angel @ TeaVivre for the sample. As soon as my finances allow, I am planning a TeaVivre order, & I’d like to get some of this I think.
It’s a very soothing, earthy, grounding cup. The flavor is of a really well aged compost, tobacco, a hint of vanilla. I wish the rose flavor was more prominent, as I do like my roses!
It’s a sipdown. I’ll resteep a few times, of course.
*Thanks to Angel & Teavivre for this lovely sample!
There are 2 of this adorable mini tuochas in the sample bag. They are wrapped in white paper, and opening one, I find a little birdnest, with a rose petals pressed into the bottom of it. The smell is similar to the other shu puerh’s I’ve tried thus far: earth, mineral, ocean.
I’m brewing the first tuocha americano style, in my cute little glass pot, so I can watch the tea fall apart & swim around, & really see the color. The disintegration is spectacular, with particles almost exploding in all directions! The tea was finely chopped before being tightly compressed, or so it seems, as the pieces are very small.
This made for a very dark & potent cup, & although I was hoping for a little more rose flavor & aroma (as I do like that), it isn’t really there. What is there is a deep, satisfying puerh that brings to mind an old, old forest with ancient trees & layer upon layer of decomposed leaves, acorns, wood, & moss. I have to leave the house for the afternoon, but when I return, I shall re-steep!
That means NO students for 2 weeks, no getting up at 5am either.
Of course, I have hundreds of things to do to get caught up over the next couple of weeks, & I already know I won’t get to most of them, but Ms Theresa is making her lists & checking them twice. To be honest, my main goal is to enjoy drinking tea, to catch up on sleep, & try to organize my office so that it is once again functional. The highest priority on my list is practicing for a recording with a vocalist. We were gonna try to go into the studio today, but I think Friday will be a better day for it, so that’s what I’ll be doing all week. And a late night xmas eve gig.
This is a solid & delicious Yunnan, a perfect start to my day. I brewed a cup that went with me to physical therapy, & although the resteep isn’t as good as the first cup, it’s still solid & was great with breakfast.
Yesterday I started the day with Teavivre’s YunNan Dian Hong Golden tip, today I’m starting off this one. They are both delicious & satisfying, & maybe eventually I’ll compare them side by side, but for now, I enjoy them both.
Today is my Daughter Jessica’s 31st birthday! She is my oldest child, lives a block away with her hubby & 2 kids, is a paralegal, & I’m super proud of her. She’s really more like a best friend, & I’d better start cooking, cuz she’s coming over for a Mom-made breakfast!
I think the next time I drink this tea, it will be a sipdown probably. I originally tried this several months ago when Angel sent me some samples. I enjoyed it so much that I purchase 100 G of it, along with some of TeaVivre’s other tasty teas, & I haven’t regretted that purchase, not one bit! This is a gentle, sweet & somewhat malty tea, with a nice clean & thick linen mouth, & a little bit of a sweet potato taste to it as well. Very tasty!
First cup of the day!
This is a lovely Dian Hong, not too bold, but sweetly smooth, & a nice wakeup to enjoy whilst fixing my breakfast. The flavor is full & rich, but mellow, with a caramel & sweet potato essence, & a linen thick mouthfeel. I steeped the 1st cup for 2 minutes, 2nd cup for 3. Both are delicious & satisfying (I guess that’s my word of the week!).
Recently I cataloged all of my teas (including samples & trades), & am checking them off as I drink them, in an effort to work my way through everything on a regular basis. I have 18 straight unflavored black teas, with 4 more on the way. Here’s the analysis of my drinking habit over the past week (probably really just 5 days), just for fun. The number represents either a cup of that tea, or in the case of teas that were brewed in a gaiwan, a session:
White – 0
Green – 2
Oolong (any style, flavored or plain) – 1
Black (plain) – 14 (on some I cheated & drank them more than once, but I’m not counting the cheats)
Black (flavored) – 12
Puer (shu) – 1 (I really like shu, & I have plenty, just been busy)
Puer (Sheng) – 2 (same as above)
Puer (flavored)- 3
TOMC samples that don’t fit: 3
Samples from friends: 8
So we can see where my true allegiances lie, where teas are concerned.