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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Teavivre just might make a non-flavoured tea person out of me yet! Up until their samples, I had been firmly in the fun flavours camp, without fully appreciating tea for itself! This tea has certainly changed that!
1st Steep: This tea smells rather earthy and bitter, but it is really very sweet (I was quite surprised). It is smooth, mild, still earthy but nice and sweet. It is a pale green colour, with very few stray pieces, indicating the quality of the leaves.
My teapot makes about a cup and a half (Its one of teaopia’s tea for one sets), so I left the half a cup steeping for about 5 minutes, and the result was quite bitter (still decent, but too strong for my taste) so I would advise paying attention to steeping instructions and only steeping for a minute or two.
2nd Steep: And this tea just got a whole lot sweeter! Most of the earthiness is gone, now I just taste yum. This is much better the second time around! I can’t believe how sweet it is (and its still healthy for me to boot). From the tastes of things, these leave would probably hold out for 4 or so steeps, I may just have to try it!
Overall, my favourite pure green that i’ve tried (although its the only), but still, the bar has been set high!
I have finally discovered the right treatment to masque the floral notes of green oolongs.
On the one hand, this is sweet. Not a leaf with a sweetness to it, but actually sweet. I assume part of the ginseng treatment involves a sugar of some kind. This is not just on the tongue, but there is a burnt caramel sugar aroma both in the cup and from the liqueur.
Alas, I radically over steeped my second cup. :-(
Another tea from my second round of samples provided by Teavivre. This is my first time trying a bi luo chun and the reason I chose it was honestly just that I thought the leaves looked cool, hehe. It’s definitely a beautiful looking tea. I wasn’t a HUGE fan of the taste, but that’s not to say that it’s not a good tea, I’m more casual with my reviews and usually rate based on whether or not I personally liked it. This tea was just a little flat tasting for me.
I definitely agree with what Ian said about the “saltiness”. There’s a definite alkaline taste to it, and other than that all I’m getting is your typical vegetal green flavor. All in all, I’ll happily drink it every now and then…it just didn’t captivate me in any way. Still a big fan of Teavivre, many thanks to them for the samples.
The early decades of my tea journey were filled with flavored grocery store bagged black teas. I didn’t know there was anything else and I liked them. Then I met green Earl Grey. This changed my direction and led to loose leaf. Now I can say, generally speaking, black teas are my least favorite type. There are rare exceptions. This is one of them. It is an amazing tea. I don’t find it invigorating. To me it makes a relaxing introspective cup. Assam makes me flinch. This melts the world away with sweet malty goodness.
Whenever I get out my loose leaf I get people hovering around my french press. Then they pretend not to want to try the tea even when I offer. This time it was my brother and after it was done steeping, I told him for the last time that if he wanted to try it then to get out a mug. He got out the mug. Lol.
I keep expecting this to be rich like a black tea but it isn’t. If anything it is more like a green tea. Very delicate with a slight mineral taste that is drying out my mouth. But it has a faint sweet creaminess that keeps me coming back for more. I still have more steeps left to this (I’m only on the second steep) and I have a feeling I will be sharing the other steeps with my brother. I don’t mind though.
3rd Steep: It has gotten smoother and an understated sweetness and creaminess that kept me sipping it until it was gone. Yum.
Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this lovely Pu-erh Sample!
I wrote a complete review and then…Steepster crashed…and it was lost…so here I go again!
Last night I was up until the wee hours..1:45am just not ready to go to bed! Fortunately for me I could sleep in and like a lazy feline take my time in choosing a morning tea from the new box of samples that arrived from Teavivre. Such a delight!
The shipment contained one large sample of Pu-erh my favorite tea! Not wanting to fuss this morning with Gaiwan’s and such, I decided to brew a whole 24oz pot Western Style so that I could lounge back on the couch, down pillows around me, tea tray set in front and gaze out the window at a pending cloudburst. Could a day be more perfect for Pu-erh?!
A quick rinse of the loose leaves and then the 2 minute steeping began.
Don’t you love smelling the leaves? I first noticed how dark the liquor was after such a short steep time all chocolate brown. The leaves small, deep and smelling more than lightly of leather, but intensly sweet! There was something else.I could hardly believe it! I smelled mint! No way, I told myself, there could not be mint in these wet leaves. I got up and walked away, smelled around the room, smelled my hands, and no mint! When I went back to the leaves. Leathery, sweet mint again. Curious!
My first big sip was fresh with a good amount of earthy Pu-erh flavor and juice. There was no astringency, no malt or yam or pepper or cinnamon or any or the other adjectives used so frequently by me in discribing Pu-erhs. I had to think awhile about this one. I added milk and didn’t like it. I added sweetening which was ok but didn’t have any affect. It was pleasing sweet.
By the third mug of tea, I began to settle on the flavors that came closest to what I could describe for this tea.
The Pu-erh was refreshing and elegant, smooth with the flavor of rye bread when you can taste the seeds in the bite. The feeling was full enough in the mouth but deceptively simple at the same time in an almost palate cleansing way.
I had used more of the morning tea leaves for making iced Pu-erh in the afternoon but the clock had been creeping up on me and now it was time to cook dinner!
Tonight I made a stir fry of Organic Chicken, Vietnamese Sweet Lemon Curry, Shallots, Garlic, Tamari Soy Sauce and Meyer Lemon Vinegar (on high heat in grape seed oil) Then I turned the heat down lower and at the end I added some (1/4 cup) of the Pu-erh which I had steeped for 4 minutes. The Pu-erh magically thickened the broth. I took the pan off the heat, tossed in a few handfuls of organic spinach and…it was soooo delicious! The Pu-erh added a richness that was like adding Shiitake Mushrooms! Life is grand!
Backlogging, and based entirely on my notes
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
Age of leaf/Date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011; received November 2011, brewed up days later (11/14/2011).
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: small wiry leaves and buds; smells fresh, slightly smoky.
Brewing guidelines_: loose in glass six-cup Bodum teapot; stevia added; two complete steeping sessions < first / second >
……….1st: 170/180, 1’
……….2nd: 175/175. 1.5
……….3rd: 180/185, 2’
……….4th: 185/< not attempted >, 2.5
Color and aroma of tea liquor: very light green color, very mild vegetal aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor: Mild, but good vegetal green tea taste, with mild smoky undertones; flavor held up well through three steepings: “3rd (steeping): surprisingly tasty!” < this note applied to the second steeping session, steeped at generally higher temperatures than the first >; slight astringency in third cup < from the first steeping session >.
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: some decent-looking whole leaves, with a number of buds and a few bud sets, yet there were more torn leaves that could be accounted for due to handling; fresh, vegetal aroma which was stronger than the aroma of the liquor itself.
Value: Pretty good as compared with other fresh green teas in its price range: the current price (as of 6/1/12) for the 2012 harvested tea is $11.50 / 100g (3.5oz).
Overall: This review is based entirely on my notes, and I didn’t write much beyond what I have already provided above other than, “A decent tea for the price”. I also noted that my wife preferred this tea when hot (I have personally found that some green teas taste a little better when cooled a bit). I will be trying a sample of the 2012 lot soon, so I am interested to see if there will be any notable differences.
Eventually it had to happen. I just poured the last of this wonderfully sweet hay scented leaf into my press. Verily, verily, I say unto you; my heart is heavy with sadness. Yet, will I rejoice in the goodness of the cup that awaits. I shall lift up my cup in song and celebration. Yes, in remembrance of the time we have shared old friend, will I sip. Forgetting now the sorrow of our parting I shall carry the joy of our time together in my heart until the day we once again are united.
Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
Age of leaf/date of brewing: advertised as spring 2011. Received fall 2011, brewed up days later.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: < No notes here >
Brewing guidelines: 3 small TSP, 2 cups H2O (from my notes it looks like I did two completely separate brewing ‘sessions’ with this tea, one day apart); < I have no notes on what teapot I brewed this in, but I likely used my glass Bodum >; stevia added; standard Chinese green tea steeping times and temperatures; four steepings for the first session, three for the second.
Color of tea liquor: yellowish (“like a lite beer”).
Flavor of tea liquor (by steeping): (based on both sessions) 1st: mild, but good, standard vegetal flavor (no weird or off flavors); 2nd: decent; 3rd: good (notes say “Definitely good: better, sweeter, reminds me of a Dragon Well”); 4th: mild flavor.
Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: looks and smells like any quality, fresh, standard mid-grade green tea: “lots of good buds, many leaves (some torn), and a few stems (no bud-sets).”
Value: again, great value for a decent green tea at Teavivre (my notes show $2.27 / OZ)!
Overall: I don’t have many notes on this tea, but overall I remember (and based on my notes) that this was a decent tasting green tea (I drank it about six months after it’s harvest). I should be getting a sample of a similarly named green tea (Organic Tian Mu Mao Feng) from the 2012 spring harvest, soon, so I’ll be curious to see if I like it any better (they currently list this tea as out of stock, so I don’t know if they plan to get a new harvest of this exact green tea or not).