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Recent Tasting Notes
Loved this tea, a good morning start of the day at work type tea, strong but still with a very good flavor, it could easily replace coffee for me, enough caffine to get me through but without that jittery kick.
The leaves are little black needle affairs, when it steeps it looks and smells delicious,
I steeped it a little longer then expected, but at a lesser temp, came out nice and golden brown, mixed it with agave sweetener, which complimented the strong smokey flavor well.
Going to try it at a high temp tomorrow, but I definitely have a new work tea.
I always say I don’t like jasmine but then I drink pearls like this, so nobody can believe me. It isn’t my favorite tea, but it’s nice to have as a sort of wind down for the day.
I’ve only had one other kind, and I can already say that I like this one from Teavivre a lot better. It’s a lot smoother. The green tea base is easy to distinguish, and the floral flavor of jasmine is not artificial tasting or overpowering.
I don’t feel like I just heated up a flower in water and started drinking it. I’m going to steep them again since they didn’t even all unfurl and see how that cup tastes.
Second steep – success! A black tea that resteeps really well is a treasure. This is definitely a treasure!
I’m not huge on unflavored black teas, but I didn’t turn down this one when it was offered as a sample from Teavivre (thanks again!). I do think that Yunnan “golden” teas tend to be some of my favorite blacks to drink plain. When I opened the package on this one my first whiff was definitely the dried sweet potato note others have gotten, and then a malty black tea. I was surprised at the low steep temp for this one, but I stuck with it. The steeped tea smells really malty with a hint of brightness. Like an Assam, which others have mentioned, though that is somewhat disconcerting to me as I tend to not like Assams.
But! I needn’t have worried. What a tea. Those sweet potatoes show up again in the flavor, this time like really good sweet potato french fries… and I love sweet potato fries! The flavor is actually really different than what I expect when I smell the tea. Besides the baked/fried sweet potato, I get caramel notes and some roasty notes as well. All around a really tasty black tea… I think it’s my only unflavored black to crack 90!
JacquelineM hit the nail on the head. Bright sweet potatoes! I could not stop sniffing the pouch of dry leaves. What a delight to the senses! The golden tips are awesome. I have read so much about how special this tea is that I wanted to get it right, so I weighed the leaves instead of just measuring. These are long, light, and fluffy and I didnt trust my teaspoon.
Steeped, this has a lovely deep amber (cup nearly empty) to red (cup full) color. The aroma is now malty sweet potatoes. As a yunnan tea, it should.be an assamica varietal, and it has the malty goodness of both those teas, but without astringency, without pepper. This is an amazing tea, probably my favorite yunnan so far. I am considering making this one of my “conversion” teas – tea that I serve to guests who are not tea drinkers that is guaranteed to make them want more!
Youngest daughter, when asked for comments, replied, “nom nom nom!”
Second infusion. The steeped liquor is the same greenish brown color as the first steep, but is clear rather than opaque like the first steep.
I much prefer the first brewing to this one; I think it’s because the honey note is gone and the floral-ness of the TGY overtakes that wonderful roasted buttery flavor.
I started off my morning with this today and yesterday. I’ve seen Keemun described in many ways. Woody, smokey, piney, winey, earthy, nutty, and leathery. Every time I have a cup of keemun I find myself at a loss for words on how to compare the flavor. I can pickup the keemun in breakfast blends, to some degree in Lapsangs, and in some Pu-Erh. Really I guess when it all boils down the flavor is Chinese black. Of course another great offering from Teavivre. For me the flavor of keemun is old. Not in a bad way mind you. The taste reminds me of antiquity. If that sounds crazy I’m sorry. There is a hint of cedar wood sipping keemun, a little leathery as well. Oddly enough there’s a slight hint of perfume in it. Similar to a very high hopped India Pale Ale. So maybe it’s a little hoppy as well. Overall though a very good tea!
Thanks to Teavivre for providing me with this sample to taste! And a generous sample it was, I’ll be drinking this one for a while (spoilers: luckily that won’t be a hardship!). For someone who loves green oolongs, I haven’t tried very many tie guan yins. It’s basically been the two Verdant pickings and one from Harney that I tried in their tasting room, but I don’t think I really appreciated oolongs when I had that one as much as I do now. So I’m really curious to taste this one! I’ll be trying a lot more oolong varietals over the coming weeks, which I am also excited for.
The dry leaf on this one smells lovely, with nice floral notes and a good “greenish” base. I normally wouldn’t steep an oolong (especially a green oolong) at boiling, but that’s what the package said, so I did it. The liquor is a nice medium greenish yellow, and it has a great scent. I feel like it’s getting harder for me to describe that scent over time as I come to associate it with green oolongs because it ceases to smell like anything but a nice green oolong to me. But it’s that fresh floral/buttery/creamy/sweet aroma.
I have to wait longer than usual for this one to come down to drinking temp, but early hot sips yield a pleasant leafy flavor with a light sweetness and some magnolia-ish notes in the aftertaste. As it cools this flavor profile continues, with the leafiness growing in intensity. The florals are pretty prevalent as well, while the sweetness just kind of lingers lightly at the back. I don’t get a lot of buttery or nutty notes with this one, but I do love a very floral oolong so I’m willing to forgive it those characters. Definitely a pleasant TGY that I really enjoy drinking.
Second cup of first infusion.
Luckily I was wrong about any honey sinking to the bottom of the cup and making the last few sips cloyingly sweet. The honey essence stays consistent throughout and really does compliment the TGY flavor nicely. I really, really like this!
This generous sample provided to me by Teavivre.
This is the best Monday ever, followed up by the longest weekend ever – I had clinicals of two 12 hours shifts that resulted in me having to get up at 5:30 AM both days. The wake up was the worst part by far – I suspect I would not have minded so much if I could have just done nights instead of days. As it was, I had no time for anything except sleep and shoveling in food that I can’t even really remember the taste of. Certainly it was not a weekend to brew tea.
But on this Monday (the best Monday ever since I have a day all to myself to relax), I can finally sit down and have a minute to myself. I had picked this tea ahead of time as the first brew of the day – I’ve never tried an oolong with any degree of sweetener and this piqued my curiosity.
The balls of TGY were stuck together with honey, as I assumed they would be, but it’s not as messy as you might think – they were stuck to a waxy paper insert and easily peeled off into my Breville basket. I could smell both the honey and the TGY on the dry leaf, and it was fantastic. The two enclosed vaccuum packed samples were brewed in my Breville in 500 ml. of water at the below temperatures.
This brewed up a cloudy greenish brown due to the honey, I suspect. First taste is surprisingly not very sweet – I still taste honey, but not the sweetness of it, if that makes any sense. I was worried about brewing the TGY at that high of a temperature but it is not bitter and astringent in the slightest. I get more of a roasted buttery flavor than floral from this particular TGY, which I like. The other TGY I tried from Teavivre was heavier on the floral and less so on the butter, so maybe it is the temperature difference?
Anyway, I really like this one. It is such a cleansing tea to be drinking as I appreciate the calm and quiet. I haven’t gotten to the 2nd cup in my Breville yet, but I’m wondering if the honey sweetness might be waiting for me there – I will update when I get there, and when I do a second steep. But for right now – it has been just what I needed today.
Yum, yum, yum!
I have been waiting to get a miss from TeaVivre, but I really don’t think it’s going to happen. I opened up the package on this one to be met with an alfalfa-like scent. Every time this happens with a green, I’m sorely disappointed, so I was expecting not to care for this tea much.
I was very surprised when it turned out to be absolutely delicious! It’s got a very, very tiny hint of grass to it, but not the awful mowed-grass flavor I was expecting. No, this one is crisp and fresh tasting, with some butter to it. It’s wonderful! And it’s so nice and light, and such a pretty color. I’m off to make some more!
(Sample provided by TeaVivre for review.)
Another great but subtle white tea from Teavivre.
The leaves for this tea are beautiful — narrow and complete, silver and fuzzy, with just a bit of green. They look very fresh, and there is practically no leaf dust in the bottom. The taste is very clean and satisfying, light and springlike. Something reminds me of the way grass seems after the frost melts. Fragrant and fragile. I don’t know why I hesitated to try this tea. I should have expected excellence before I cut open the pretty white pouch.
That said, I think I prefer the Bai Mu Dan over this. It seemed like it had more going on…
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
This is the companion review for the Premium grade Dragon Well.
Smelling the dry leaves, I am picking up on some familiar notes of the premium one plus a tobacco like smell. My husband found the scent of these leaves more favourable than the premium one.
Then we smelled the lid of the tasting set after the tea was brewed. Here, it reminded me of bitter greens.
Onto drinking the liquor, there is a strong flavour that hit me right away. Followed by slight bitterness, buttery (less than premium), vegetal (less than premium). The taste reminds me of the type DAVIDsTEA offers, or at least the one I tried from their sample pack.
In comparison to the premium Dragon Well, I don’t like this one as much. But I cannot say it is a bad tasting tea. The major difference is that it tastes slightly more bitter, less “fresh”, and is not as refined. However I would still feel comfortable drinking this at home or sharing with friends. I’ve had much worse green tea than this. Next time I will try this gongfu style in a gaiwan.
120ml tasting cup, 2 tsp, no rinse, 1 steep
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
I’m not very experienced with Dragon Well teas, so along with this premium one I asked Angel for the regular version. Tonight I will be preparing both side by side, in my tasting sets. See the regular Dragon Well tea for the companion review.
Smelling the dry leaves, I’m picking up on cocoa, mild veg, “fresh”, moss, something sweet. My husband said it smells like KFC (weird!)
Then I smelled the lid of the tasting set after the tea was brewed. Here I picked up on the familiar notes, plus my husband remarked that he thought it smelled like candy.
Onto drinking the liquor, I tasted cocoa, floral notes, strong buttery flavour, fresh greens (asparagus). My husband said it reminded him of buttery tarts.
That’s it for today’s tasting session. In comparison I can see why this is the premium stuff. Next time I will be preparing this gongfu style in a gaiwan.
120ml tasting cup, 2 tsp, no rinse, 1 steep
One word. Outstanding! This is another sample from Angel brewed in my Yixing clay cup. This is very smooth, dark, and lovely. This is very comparable to my favorite Imperial Pu-Erh from Dr. Tea just in the Tuocha format. You know when you have a good pu-erh when it does not taste fishy. Some lower quality pu-erhs that I have had are good…but you get a little fishyness to the taste. I’m starting off my day with this one going on my third steep. The first two have been great. I’m anxious to see how well this tea holds up to extra steepage. I am finding that with most pu-erh tea it’s helping after a few drinks last night while DJing. I’m not the connoisseur that I used to be of fine beer. Two Great Lakes Christmas ales…and I was feeling it. I’m such a lightweight. Truly though a great tea. I am continually being impressed by the quality of tea from Teavivre.
I’m playing Skyrim today, which means I’ve forgotten to eat or drink anything. I had a light lunch, so now it’s time for some tea!
I’m very excited to try this one! I was digging through my tea stash trying to figure out what I wanted. As I reached for the Teavivre boxes, I could have sworn that I had another plain green tea and here it is! The aroma of the dry leaves is heavenly. I know I’m going to love this one. Just sniffing the leaves is the confirmation that green tea was what I was craving.
The leaves are very interesting. Green curly little things with white tips. As others have mentioned, this tea reminds me of silver needle as well. There’s just a hint of dry hay and sunshine in the aroma that lingers like white tea.
I followed the steeping instructions on the package. The aroma of the brewed tea is…strange. It’s a subtle aroma, but it reminds me of something. Squash maybe? Or perhaps zucchini. Not what I was expecting from the dry leaf smell. EDIT: After 6 months more experience tasting teas, it turns out that subtle aroma is smoke! I usually detest smokey teas, but this one is subtle enough that it doesn’t bother me.
Mmmm, the taste is really good! It does taste remarkably similar to a white tea. In fact, I’m hard pressed to find much of a difference. I’m not detecting any green grassiness. That strange quality in the aroma (i.e. the smoke) has made its way into the taste. But it’s not off-putting, just unexpected. This is a complex cup of tea with layered, subtle flavors.
Long after the sip, there’s a hint of green tea grassiness. But not much, only a hint to remind me that this is a green tea and not a white. How interesting! This tea is just full of surprises. I highly recommend.
This is my favourite of the samples TeaVivre has sent me so far. The leaves are quite small, so like someone else has suggested on here, Western brewing might be the way to go.
2 tsp, 500ml, 2 mins: the taste is smokey and sweet! I couldn’t believe how much I liked it considering the smokey smell and taste. Not like the smokeyness I’ve tried in a couple pu’erhs, but a really mellow, [b]sweet[/b] smokey taste. For me this was a pleasant surprise!
Well, this certainly tastes like tea…ummm, let me clarify that, I love this tea, not because its sweet or exotic or complicated, I’ve had plenty of teas that are amazing, white/black mixes, oolongs with fruit or edible flowers, ,y last two reviews here spring to mind, tea’s that I love none the less but are so complex they lose that one fantastic aspect of tasting like… well tea.
Yun Nan Dian Hong from Teavivre is probably the best tea I’ve had in a long time, and its all due to the simple fact its uncomplicated, delicious, and amazingly unrefined, its simply good black tea. Simply good if not simple, there is a lot of flavor to this tea, a subtle taste, that’s neither as heavy as my other favorite (second favorite now?) black, Yunnan noir by adagio, a little more delicate, a light smoky almost burn sugar taste, but is still well in the confines of a delicious morning black. I struggle to describe it honestly. One of those things that’s better experienced in the first person rather then the third.
As for the technical I followed the advice of the lovely Strayer (Who also sent me this tea in the first place, and therefore will be loved forever) and steeped for less then four minutes at a nice high temp of 180-185, it steeps into this rich golden brown, amber color that is nearly as pretty as it is delicious, and the aroma of the drained leaves is amazing as well, definitely a good morning tea something to take your mind off the fact you had to roll out of bed before noon.
You do need to watch your time and temp though, this is actually my second attempt at the tea and its well, sensitive, my first attempt was only about a minute or two longer, and ten or 15 degrees less and it didn’t quite ruin the tea, but it wasn’t nearly as good, it may be a black but it behaves like a green, a few misplaced seconds or degrees here or there, steeping it in glass instead of insulated ceramic, this all seems to make an actual difference, its more then worth the effort, but don’t be surprised if your first attempt isn’t exactly prefect, on that note I’m going to toy with the time and temp a bit, and see if I can get even more out of this tea.
In short, because I might of over cooked this review, if you want a pure strait forward, but none the less uncompromisingly delicious black tea, you need to do yourself a service and at least try this, it really is amazing.
My morning cup as I open the shop and get ready for tomorrows big day. I just love this tea. It has everything I like in a morning tea. A nice malty flavor, natural sweetness, no bitter taste. Not to mention being able to get at least three steeps out of it. I’m still not picking up the sweet potatoes, but maybe that’s the sweet I’m getting, further tasting is required. :) Nothing but love for this tea! (Upping the rating too)
This was another generous sample from Teavivre!
Preparation notes: I used 4 tsp. of this (about 1.5 of the enclosed red packages) to 500 ml. water and steeped at the below parameters in my Breville.
The smell of the dry leaf is malty and rich – it smells kind of bready, too. It’s a characteristic black tea smell for me and I love it! The scent carries over into the steeped leaves, with the addition of a slightly smoky note. The steeped liquor turned a mahogany brown.
At first the taste is mildly smoky – not my favorite. But there’s a lot of complexity to it as well – a cocoa kind of smoky. Once it cools down a bit more the smoky taste goes away and just the malty, cocoa taste remains. The mouthfeel is quite thick and chewy in this, too, an added bonus and a quality I love in black teas. I’m enjoying this without sweetener, but I think this would lend itself well to honey over sugar if you must add something – I think because there’s a light honey accent in the steeped tea.
This is a very good complex tea with alot of layers, and despite the smoke I will have no problem polishing off the 2 cups. I think it is the more tolerable of smoky teas I’ve tried, and it is definitely worth drinking through til it cools to get some of the chewy cocoa flavors.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Smelling the tea leaves and then liquor, nothing bad jumps out at me. Seems like typical stuff for Keemun.
Taking in the first few sips, I get that pungent malty flavour and something floral, but it’s a mellow flavour. Then I taste “tea” flavour, followed by something nutty and smoky.
Overall I feel that this is a nice Keemun without too many bold flavours. I tend to like it a bit more bold, but I can see this as a nice Keemun to get into. I’ve always enjoyed this type of tea, so it did not have to try hard to impress me. :)
Teavivre has instructions on their website for this prepared gongfu style, and I might try that. However due to the broken leaves (which are typical, not saying it is bad) I think this tea is best suited for long steeps in a teapot (western style).
200ml glass teapot (filled mostly), 1 1/2 teaspoons, 1 steep
Finishing up this sample before I dive into the next set. When I poured the water in I thought I was making a baked potato from the aroma wafting up. Today this is very smooth almost a comforting flavor. Which is a bit of a contrast from my first review. I don’t know what it is but there is something that reminds me of going to my grandparents when they lived near Erie, Pa. My grandfather was a master craftsman in woodworking so there were a lot of things that he made in the places. I can’t really tell you why drinking this tea is taking me on a trip in nostalgia, but I’m kinda liking it. Not to mention a good tea break before I start afternoon traffic reports.
This is probably the fourth sample from Teavivre and I again find myself in love with this tea (ok there was that moment where it went down the wrong pipe – but that was all my fault). It is very delicate and the leaves are light and fuzzy. I used my clear tumbler/infuser to watch the magic happen. It was a good show. ;) The first steep was more vegetal, while the second steep brought out more of the flowery taste. But I enjoyed both. I’m going to try for one last steep. I sense another order to Teavivre coming after the holidays! Many thanks to them for this sample!