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Recent Tasting Notes
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!
My previous experiences with white tea have been few and far between, and not particularly exciting. It’s not that I dislike white tea, I just like a less subtle tea experience most of the time.
Anyway, this tea is beautiful to look at. The leaves are very complete, dark green with silver, and fuzzy. They smell a little on the sweet side, and fresh. Previously, I’ve gotten all sorts of weird aftertastes with white teas, particularly Adagio’s. This just tastes delicious. I guess this is what white tea is supposed to taste like! It reminds me of spring, of being out in the grass and sunlight. There is a hint of vegetal green tea flavor, but I like it.
I don’t know if this was just a Georgia thing, but when I was a kid, there was this sort of wild grass that if you pulled the longest piece, there would be a tip on the blunt end that was white and edible. It tasted just like this.
This is what a satisfying white tea is like. Now I think I understand. I’ve just had bad white teas in the past!
Finished off my sample of this today. I made it for my commute cup of tea, and then again when I got home. I’m sad to see it go, but not too sad, because I know I’ll be ordering more. And I’ll also be ordering Teavivre’s keemun and bai lin gong fu as well, because after sampling, I’m addicted.
I have to admit, I did not have high hopes for this tea. After googling roselle and learning that it’s hibiscus, I was ready to hate this drink. Then my husband requested an iced tea for dinner. So I brewed this up sort of light hoping to mitigate the overwhelming tartness I was expecting, poured it over ice and sugared it up. Wow. This is good. Is that really hibiscus? Is it because I made a light brew? Is it the sugar? Whatever it is, it’s good. It’s softly tart. But mostly, it’s fruity and delicious. Lightly blueberry and more grapey. The juiciest fruit tea of all time.
I ate the berries after brewing. They were tasty and very sweet. I would have eaten more of them, maybe saved them for oatmeal the next day, but they were full of seeds. I probably could have made a second steep. I have enough for a cupful another time. More experimentation laaater. I usually don’t buy fruit teas because they tend to disappoint, but this is certainly one I will consider.
First of all I have to say thank you so much to Angel Chen and Teavivre for providing me with so many samples for tasting. Along with a few samples of teas I know I like—Tie Guan Yin and jasmine pearls—I requested a few of the green teas I’m not familiar with but was intrigued by their descriptions. Up to this point I have generally only drank flavored green teas. So I guess this review comes with a helping of ignorance about green teas, but you have to start somewhere, right?
The dry leaves smell a bit grassy, like I tend to associate with green teas. The leaves are very long and spindly, which means I was unsure about my portioning, but I forged ahead since the directions actually used a teaspoon measurement. The steeped tea is very light, a hint of mint green color. The aroma is surprising to me: buttery, a bit floral, almost like a green oolong, but lighter and fresher. It really doesn’t smell much like the dried leaf. The flavor is a bit vegetal and grassy (green tea-ish, really), but it’s also buttery, floral and a hint sweet. I do think I didn’t use enough leaf for this cup, but I’ll remedy that next time. I’m really enjoying this one even slightly weak, so I’m really interested to see how it brews up with more leaf. I could definitely see myself exploring more of this type of green tea.
Between taking up my range during an ill-planned cooking extravaganza and just general busy-ness, I have been sticking to tried and true teas and chugging apple cider. But I have a new mug from my favorite hockey team (go Stockton Thunder!) and I just received a new bunch of samples from TeaVivre, so I figured it was time to get adventurous again.
I’m not really sure how to describe the smell of this one. It sort of reminds me of roasted nuts, but without any hint of nut, if that makes any sense. Roasted tea? I don’t know, but it’s nice.
I went with the water a little hotter than recommended because I am impatient. The aroma turned very slightly sweet or maybe a little malty once the water hit the leaves. Again, having trouble placing the scent, but it’s still very nice.
The tea is fantastic. I think I’ve said that about everything I’ve tried from TeaVivre, but I have been really impressed with all of their teas and this is no exception. It’s not malty at all, but it does come through with a smooth, strong black tea flavor that turns very slightly sweet and nutty as it hits the back of your tongue. I’m getting maybe some chocolatey hints, too.
Overall, this is one of those teas I could drink all day (and one of these days, I’m going to pick up those empty sachets and start bringing good tea to work with me so I can do just that).
(Sample provided gratis by TeaVivre for review.)
Water: 750ml 195°F
Tool: Breville One-Touch Tea Maker BTM800XL
Steep Time: 2 minutes
Dry Leaf Smell: fresh, vegetal
Steeped Tea Smell: vegtal, light, floral
Flavor: smooth (but not silky) vegetal, sweet
Liquor: translucent yellow-green
Resteep: 195°F 2 min
same quality, slightly darker, odd stronger on steep two, i guess the leaves being open made a difference
Resteep: 195°F 2 min
same quality as the second
Resteep: 195°F 2 min
same quality, touch weaker
refrigerated – BLEH not good cold
At this point I gave up
The leaves could have probably done another cup
Not the best I’ve had but a good iron goddess, slight nuttiness, smooth vegetal, just keep it hot.
Rating: 3/4 leaves
I included this in my order with Teavivre after trying a few of the samples they sent (I still have a few more to try/review). I’m always looking for a good herbal…this could be a contender. There are nice big fruit pieces in the bag. (Their packaging is awesome – love that they double package their teas.) This tea smelled amazing when I opened the inside pouch. It smelled equally awesome as I let it steep too. I can really taste the black currants (a new favorite). This is very relaxing and I suspect would be awesome iced too. Shame its getting really chilly here or I would be tempted to try it.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
Scent from the dry leaves reminds me of straw (in a good way). The liquid aroma brings out some melon and cucumber notes.
Onto drinking it, I taste very subtle flavours; melon, cucumber, essence of spring, straw, something sweet, “tea” flavour. It goes down very smooth, the texture is kind of fuzzy and velvety. I’d say this is more comforting than it is refreshing.
The second steep yielded much of the same flavours. My husband liked it, but felt this was too subtle for him.
Overall this is very similar to Bai Mu Dan, but here the leaves are all buds. The buds make for a very smooth tea, with no obvious faults poking your mouth as you drink. I think trying “plain” white tea once (Bai Hao Yin Zhen or Bai Mu Dan) is a good experience. If you’ve only had the flavoured stuff before, the original tea flavour can be lost.
Personally, I enjoy white tea because it’s not too heavy on the flavour and doesn’t become too grassy like some green teas.
Next time I brew this, I’ll try multiple short steeps in the gaiwan. The Teavivre website lists 5-6 steeps, so I will aim to get the same results.
200ml glass teapot (filled to the brim), 1 packet (5g? 2 tsp?), 2 steeps
Since my guest enjoyed the flowering tea last week, I decided to serve a flowering tea again this week. I have been craving really good green tea lately, probably because of my Teavivre samples that have been so delicious. This one was beautiful and very good. We steeped it only twice because I used a slighter larger pot this time. I had three cups! Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
I am looking forward to putting together my first Teavivre order!
This is easily one of the best Dragonwell’s I’ve had to date. OMG, The smell! Immediately after opening the package, I was completely amazed by the smell! It kind of reminded me of fish food flakes (I MEAN THAT IN THE BEST WAY POSSIBLE). It had that light, oceanic smell. The taste followed up on the smell’s promise. It was fantastic! Super-fresh, high-grade Dragonwell. It was more vegetal than most Dragonwell’s I’ve tried. It was a little less on the nutty/toasty side, which was great by me!
After my experience with Teavivre’s Yun Nan Dian Hong golden tips, I couldn’t wait to give this a try. The leaves were longer and darker than their other yunnan, and the tea brewed to a darker amber/brown. The scent is all around stronger, still fruity, but more robust and sweet.
I think this is what I’ll be ordering next time. While I love how smooth and pure the golden tips are, this stronger, heartier tea is what I was looking for. It’s dark and gorgeous and complex without being bitter or smoky. Something I could wake up to on a daily basis. Hello, new favorite black tea.
Tea sample provided by Teavivre for review
This is from my newest batch of samples from Teavivire. I always love getting packages in the mail, except when it’s at 7am. ;) Anyway, I have a yixing pot for oolong, so that’s what I’ll use for this first tasting session.
The shrink wrapped foil package has a picture of a cute bird on a flower. It’s about 5g, so I can see this as being a nice gift by itself. When I cut open the pack, the aroma of flowers hit my nose right away. It wasn’t too much, just enough to captivate me.
Onto brewing and drinking the tea, the floral notes hit my tongue first, followed by notes of mint/menthol, fresh greens (like asparagus?), and pepper. After the last sip, I noticed how refreshing this tea was. Not heavy or too sweet at all.
The second to fourth steeps had the same flavour, with each steep becoming more intense but consistent.
Fifth through eighth steeps started to lose flavour, but retained enough of it to stay interesting.
Overall, an enjoyable oolong with good consistent flavour. I don’t have much experience with Tie Guan Yin to say if it is a very good one or not. On the package, it says to brew this at boiling which didn’t seem right, but the end result was delicious and not bitter at all. (However I used a yixing pot so that may have negated the bitterness). My husband only has access to boiling water at work, so he may like to buy this and brew it there. It has a very economical price, so we may use this as our “everyday” oolong that I can brew in the yixing and hubby can take to work.
Next time I’ll try this the western way in a teapot and steep it for much longer.
125ml yixing teapot, 1 tea pouch (5g? 2tsp?), 8 steeps (rinse, 30s, +15s resteeps)
Definitely tasted sweet potatoes, and more-so like sweet potato pie because I added a bit of agave. Just a teensy bit. But it was so delicious that way. A short steep time was a good idea, since this brewed up dark quickly. I can appreciate this black tea due to it’s smoothness. I should try it at 85 C next time instead of trying to be a rebel.
I definitely love how this tea looks in the packaging. It’s so soft and beautifully rolled, and gold! You can’t go wrong with gold coloured tea. A+, from a straight black tea avoider.
Since I just had Teavivre’s other jasmine tea yesterday, I’m going to compare the two.
First impression, yum! These are quite similar teas, but I’m detecting a heavier sweetness to these pearls. The jasmine is again very nice and very well executed, but the pearls seem a little less floral than the Mo Li Yin Hao. The green tea is also more absent.
With both teas, I started out with a 1.5 minute steep and increased subsequent steeps by 30 seconds. They both held up to multiple infusions equally well. However, I am detecting a tad more astringency. I remember the Mo Li Yin Hao getting astringent at the end of the third cup. But the astringency appeared in the pearls halfway through the first cup.
I don’t want to be too critical. It’s still a delicious cup of tea. I think I just prefer the other one. The Mo Li Yin Hao was just so perfectly balanced. Still, this tea wins out on cuteness.
How adorable are these little tiny pearls??! I’ve never had jasmine pearls before, so I’m glad I finally got to see what all the hype is about. They’re much smaller than I expected, but they unfurl really beautifully. I’m not sure what pearls have to do with dragons though…Perhaps they hoard them?
Overall, a very nice tea experience tonight. Very relaxing after an incredibly stressful couple of days.
This sample very generously provided to me by Teavivre.
This tea smells and tastes like a weak black tea (I’m not familiar with white teas so I’m using the knowledge base I have). There is a roasted, vaguely honeyed undertone that I’m picking up on (the black tea part) but there is also a grassy note that exists alongside it. Together I guess that does equal the hay-ish taste others were getting.
This tea is very smooth and light, with no astringency. The brew does seem a little thin, but I may have been too stingy on the leaf used because I’ve never measured out leaves that fluffy before and likely miscalculated as a result of it. I will change that for next time and see if that improves the mouthfeel any.
This tea is quiet and understated; the kind of tea you’d want to be able to focus on while you’re drinking so you don’t miss any of the flavors.
I steeped these leaves for a second time (a day later) in 500 ml. water in my Breville.
The second steeping tasted much the same as the first; that green/ summery/floral scent wafting from the cup and tasting exactly like it. By the time I got to the second cup it had gotten cold (I’m a slow tea drinker) but that brought out the buttery flavor more and was pleasant in its own way.
Oh, and the expansion of the leaves was incredible! For those of you who have the Breville, the dry leaves literally went from covering just the bottom of the infuser basket to filling it up entirely when I went to discard them. (I should have taken a picture, is what I realize now. Grr.)
My overall impression of this is that it was a lighter tea – more of a summers’ night beverage than a winter one, and closer to green teas than black. I think I may prefer the heavier TGY just because I like heavier, intense flavors as a rule, but that said, I did have two steepings of this – and I’m usually not a multiple steeps kind of girl….
I’ve tried a few blends that called themselves white peony, but this has to honestly be the first real Bai Mu Dan I’ve encountered, and I like it. I’m truly not a fan of white tea simply because the ones I’ve tried in past were too delicate to be noticed or would otherwise have to be oversteeped to the point of being bitter to get any flavor to suit me.
Teavivre’s version is truly just a blend of different leaves and buds, the number of white downy leaves had me impressed. It came in a single-serve pack, one pack made a nice aromatic 2-cup pot that was smooth, delicate, but it also had flavor. A bit floral, and a bit of hay.
I enjoyed two pots of it on Thanksgiving day and am reserving the other two packs to sip closer to the other holidays. I now “get” what people who like Bai Mu Dan are talking about.