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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlog: Catching up on reviewing samples today. I was sent this tea as part of Teavivre’s spring collection and have not yet written them up. This is a shame, because I enjoyed all the teas in the collection. I’ve also just realised that I sampled this tea two years ago. So, how is the 2015 picking?
The leaves are tiny curls that expand a little in the pot to create a grassy bed in the teapot. It’s times like these that I am pleased that I use a glass teapot for these teas.
The dry leaf has a savoury spinach aroma that is evident in the liquor too. The liquor is a lovely yellow-green colour. It has notes of spinach and nuts with that savoury edge to it, but the flavours are delicate rather than strong. The aftertaste has a slight minty note to it, cooling in the mouth. The vegetal notes dominate the aftertaste while the savoury element lurks on the edges. This is a lovely refreshing tea.
Flavors: Nutty, Spinach, Vegetal
I received another parcel of samples from Teavivre yesterday. This is the first one I picked out to write about. Thank you, Teavivre.
The dry leaf is amazing. It is dark green and looks like little twisty shavings of green. It also smells amazing, a really strong and enticing vegetal smell that is a little reduced when it has been steeped. The liquor is a delicate light green colour, again with the vegetal aroma. Perhaps spinach or green beans? It’s certainly something like that. Then comes the real surprise. I was expecting something strong with a hefty kick but the first couple of sips were incredibly delicate instead. It was only as the tea cooled that the flavour developed more towards what I expected. The liquor was heavy but sweet and the nutty element came out as I continued to drink. It was sweet with a lovely slightly spicy aftertaste. Another good one from Teavivre.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Tasting from the first steep, much of my expectations are met. The liquor tastes sweet and creamy, vegetal properties stand out, and the roasted flavour is good and continues to linger on after I’ve finished drinking.
From the second to fifth steeps, the roasting and the bold flavour really peaked. The third seemed a bit heavy, but not overwhealming.
Wrapping up with the sixth and seventh steeps, much of the flavours from the previous cups continued. Unfortunately the seventh had a dry effect on my mouth, but was otherwise enjoyable.
I enjoyed this more than the Qing Xiang Dong Ding oolong. But that’s because I usually prefer roasted oolongs. I intend on trying the samples using a gaiwan and later on with a teapot. If I were to short steep this tea again, I’d probably stop at six, because those were the most satisfying.
Steep parameters (Teavivre’s website suggestion):
100ml gaiwan, 7g sample, rinse and 7 steeps (15s, 15s, 20s, 30s, 40s, 60s, 80s)
Many, many thanks to Angel and Teavivre. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve sampled so far, and this is no exception.
The dry leaf smells very sweet and nutty. Like honey, fresh hay, and a little walnut.
Once steeped the aroma from the leaves, well, I feel like if green had a smell this would be that smell. The liquor itself is light jade and smells spinach vegetal with hints of fresh hay.
The mouthfeel is buttery and smooth, and there is no bitterness or astringency in my cup. It’s a buttered spinach/asparagus green taste that isn’t overly veggie tasting with very subtle hints of floral. There’s a definite nuttiness here as well, and that lingers in my mouth long after the sip has ended.
Even brewing Western style, I was able to get three decent steepings out of this, with both being more floral in flavor and reminding me a lot of a (not too floral) Ti Guan Yin with a thinner body.
This is a really lovely green tea and headed straight to my shopping list.
I knew I had tasted this before but with my hectic schedule I forgot how this tasted. It’s like getting to try it for the first time all over again. I love how the aroma of steeped Chinese green tea leaves often remind me of stew meat. The liquor on this looks green in the press and like white grape juice in the cup. I was expecting a subtle tea. Instead I get BAM! This is a killer tea. It reminds me of a cross between premium Long Jing and Huang Shan Mao Feng. Just an awesome cup!
I stopped putting ratings on teas but this one would be way up there.
I agree with the other reviews – this is good.
What I really want to mention is this is the best example of why I love to use a clear glass vessel when I steep. The leaf is so interesting. It looks like a pile of knotted thread until you spread it out. Then it looks like fine green wood shavings. In the bottom of the press with a mug of 175F water the leaf comes alive and puts on an amazing display. It wiggles, like the blades of grass I watched as a kid when a bug crawled through. Then it intensified until the bottom was shaking and twisting like butterflies trying to free themselves from their cocoons. What a show – and then I get to drink it too! Thank you Teavivre.
Had this midday and WHOA 7g is waaaaaay too much leaf for 8oz of water, unless I’ve misunderstood the packaging/site directions somehow. I wondered when I was preparing it as it seemed like double or even beyond that in terms of leaf amount. Turned me jittery as all get out. It did taste nice, but I’m bummed I messed it up as it’s such a fancy dragonwell relatively speaking. Will compare it to the Premium this week hopefully. I have to admit often I’m secretly hoping not to be absolutely blown away by Teavivre’s teas because of the distance and all that (and the fact for some reason USPS requires me to pick Teavivre packages and only Teavivre packages up at the station without fail). Unfortunately sometimes it can’t be avoided (Milk Oolong!).
I found this one to be thick like broth. It is buttery, vegetal, sweet, lightly floral. The aftertaste of the first mug is what I call geranium. Some call it latex. It is that quickly recognizable oolong taste. The second mug was similar with added mineral notes and lose the geranium. This is more of a contemplative cup than something to get you moving in the morning. I seldom want jolted awake so it suits me.
Having tried several oolongs in the last week or so, I think it is a toss up between this one and the Taiwan High Mountain oolong as my personal favorites. However, they were all excellent and all distinctly different.
OOOfffffph! I am so bloated from last night Thanksgiving dinner. Though weirdly, I’m still hungry for it as it tasted so good. Time to oolong it out of me!
Hmmm. I am haunted by an excellent Big Red Robe Oolong I had at the LA tea festival that blew my feathers off. Sadly, this oolong didn’t blow me away like that one did. However, this Teavivre oolong is still pretty good and an interesting round of tea. Great roasty, nutty, oak, golden flavors with later steepings of rocky minerals and cream.
Full review at my teablog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.com/da-hong-pao-oolong-teavivre-tea-review/
This has been a weekend of constant interaction, the extreme introvert that is me is having a bit of burn out and in response to that, probably getting sick. Of course sickness can be alleviated somewhat with copious amounts of tea drinking, long soaks in a hot bath, and not coming out of my room for a few days. Yet another reason I need an electric kettle. Today we are going to look at a soothing tea, one filled with flowers and fuzzies.
Chamomile Rose Silver Needle White Tea by Teavivre is a beautiful tea blending Silver Needle from Fuding, Fujian, the chamomile is Winter picked in Sinkiang, China, and the roses are plucked in France during Autumn. When I saw this blend of tea and flowers I knew I had to try it, I was so glad they sent me a sample to try! The aroma is delightfully delicate and fresh, like flowers drying on a warm Summer day. I am not sure I have ever smelled a tea so evocative of the idea of Summer. The mix of heady rose and straw like aroma from the chamomile mixes very well with the dry, herbaceous aroma from the Silver Needle. Delicious and filled with the beauty of nature, that is a tea I will enjoy.
I love when I steep a tea and the aroma fills up the area I am in, it really heightens the tea experience and seems to make it last even longer than it would usually. The aroma is heavenly floral and herbaceous, the leaves take on notes of sage and thyme and are much stronger than the floral scents from the dry leaves. The liquid has very faint notes if sage mixing with the rose and chamomile aroma giving it a very clean feeling.
Time for the fuzzy trichomes to tickle my mouth, it is my favorite things about drinking Silver Needle tea. The taste is very clean and pure, it is a tea I would recommend drinking on a hot day or when you need a tea that refreshes you. I can certainly see myself putting this tea aside to drink when I feel feverish or too hot on the inside. The taste is also mildly sweet with a hint of the straw like taste of chamomile flowers, the Silver Needle carries on from the aroma and gives the tea a hint of a sage taste which blends well with the other flavors. But where is the rose you are probably asking, it is there at the end leaving a sweet floral aftertaste that will stay in your mouth for a few minutes. As the tea cools it becomes a little more sweet and a touch more floral. A very balanced and enjoyable drink filled with beautiful flowers.
Ahhhhh yeah…it seems like it’s been awhile since I had a dian hong, which is probably my favorite kind of tea. Smells like fruit preserves, maybe a hint of molasses, and sweet potato both pre-steep and after. Taste reminds me mostly of sweet potato and honey. Very smooth drinking, which is no surprise.
Tea #37 from Another Traveling Tea Box
While I’m normally a fan of a strong black tea, this one isn’t for me. I hate to say that since I’m a huge fan of most of the teas from TeaVivre that I’ve tried. Perhaps I’ll have to order a few different types and see if I stumble across one I do enjoy. I hate to completely give up on a style of tea, but so far my experience with Keemun has been rather lackluster.
The tea is very strong, which would generally appeal to me, but the combination of flavors just don’t suit my tastes. There was a hint of bitterness and a subtle smoky flavor that I don’t think went well with the dark chocolate notes I kept picking up. While I didn’t care for it, I do think this makes a great fall tea for someone who likes straight blacks with a hint of smoke.
I wasn’t very keen on this one with my first sample sachet, a few months ago. I’m loving it as much as my Yunnan White Jasmine today, however. My list of variables include: season change, longer steep time, older age of the batch, and potential mug and steeper contamination from yesterday’s Butiki’s “With Open Eyes”.
The flavour is sweet and saturated, like a banana, with some gentle melon notes. The jasmine isn’t overpowering to taste, although the aroma gives my nose a good kick as per usual. It’s floral and smooth, complimenting the cheese scone I just ate, in a surprisingly flattering way.
When I removed the steep basket from the mug I got some fizzy little bubbles for a few seconds. Hm, maybe I should clean my mug more thoroughly, or give the rest of the unused leaves in the sample a quick rinse before first steep next time!
Edit: bubbles were only on first steep, so quick rinse it is! I think I may like the second steep better, anyways. There’s a little citrus lemon to it.
This will be quick, since I didn’t particularly care for this tea and only steeped it twice. I used 7 g of tea in a 200 ml glass teapot.
The dry leaves smell like fruit roll-ups (I’m not kidding). The dry leaves are a darkish green, and they’re rolled up. They unfurl to reveal high-quality full leaves. I steeped it at 190-195 for 1’ and then 1:45.
The tea flavor itself is acceptable but not particularly impressive. It improves dramatically on the second steep, becoming more buttery. There’s an overlaid floral-fruity flavor which is somewhat pleasant but not very well-integrated with the oolong flavors. This is a problem that many jasmine teas have, and this tea shares it. The scent of the osmanthus is very perfume-like, and it is a pleasant smell, but it is not all that pleasant in a drink, in my opinion. (And please note that I love floral-smelling teas such as light Tie Guan Yins.)
I won’t be ordering a full-size batch of this tea.
Received this one from Teavivre’s Autumn tea contest.
This is a very pleasant oolong. It is lightly floral. There is definitely a naturally fruity taste. Reminds me of stone fruits, apricots, peaches.
I brewed this one 1tsp for about 2 minutes, it was quite thick. Still good, but I think I would prefer it for less steep time.
Edit: Made this one at a 1 min steep. I think the flavours are much better at the lesser steep time. The flavours are much lighter, and subtle, but I find I am better able to distinguish the flavours. Whereas at a 2 minute steep, it still tasted good, but I think some flavours were overpowering others.
I wanted to write a note for this tea because I was very impressed by it, and I’m shocked that it has such a low rating (76 at the time of writing). This is an excellent example of a Taiwan High Mountain Oolong.
The leaves are nicely dark and green with minimal oxidation, and they produce a light golden liquid. The leaves smell much like green tea leaves, which makes sense given the very minimal oxidation.
I brewed them gongfu style, 7g leaves with 7 oz of water, starting at 50s and working up. I’d start with 1 min next time or use slightly less water or more leaves. I used temperatures between 185 and 195 F.
Anyway, the flavor was excellent – vegetal notes are very present but not in your face or like you’re drinking asparagus juice. (The slight oxidation smoothes out the vegetality.) They’re complemented by a little bit of florality – there’s not enough oxidation to maximize florality. There’s a nice subtle sweetness. There’s also a buttery-milky flavor and a light-to-moderate mouthfeel. This tea has much of what I like in green tea without any overbearing vegetality, plus the smooth, complex buttery flavors of oolongs.
The second steep was really impressive – more buttery and milky with a wonderfully long finish and some notes of artificial popcorn butter (trust me, they were pleasant!) The third steep was somewhat weaker, but there were still complex herbaceous (kale-like) notes with good sweetness. The final steep was quite weak but still pleasant.
As you can tell, I really enjoyed this sample, and I’ll be ordering some despite it being a bit expensive (but still more than fair relative to other high-quality high mountain oolongs).
I drank 36oz of this yesterday – and will probably continue on with it later today. I was a bit surprised when I opened the packet. I’ve had a dong ding before and had my mind set on what I was about to experience. Except this is Qing Xiang and I did not know that means it is not roasted. The charcoal scent I was expecting was not there (and I am ok with that – I actually prefer the green oolongs.
I prepared it with boiling water and a two minute steep. There is a lot of leaf. I mean A LOT. The brew aroma is my next surprise. It is floral and spicy. Spicy? My second surprise.
I made the mistake of reading Teavivre’s description at this point. A mistake because I will never know if I would have made the osmanthus association on my own. It is definitely there once I know it but I was leaning more towards cinnamon and possibly ginger. I read Stoo’s review and notice he also made a cinnamon connection. Of course he had to run to the store and buy cookies afterwards. :)
I am liking this one a lot. It is floral, spicy, sweet, and has a long lasting aftertaste.