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Recent Tasting Notes
I recently placed my first official order with Teavivre. I got free shipping but it arrived quickly. Of the teas I ordered, this was the only I had never tried, and I was especially excited about it. Of course, I could just add a bit of honey to my tea. One of my former music students became an organic farmer and sells honey as well, but I never add it to my tea, though I used to add it to herbals.
There was something special about hearing that this tea is SOAKED in honey produced by bees kept around this tea plantation. Wow! And wow, again!
I made this gong fu style. First steep – very good. Nice TGY and the honey really doesn’t mask the flavor. In fact, if I didn’t already know it was there I might not know it was there, you know? :)
Second steep – darker, more flavor. The leaves have really unfurled now and are quite large. What started as a thin layer of pellets on the bottom of the pot is now a pot bursting with leaves. I am now eating my salad for lunch, and I must say this tea is an amazing pairing for it: baby spring mix, tomatoes, celery, Swiss cheese, and Sweet Vidalia Onion dressing. The TGY just turned my salad into a feast.
Third and fourth steeps – the tea is a little tiny bit astringent now and doing just what the Chinese like for it to do…cleanse the palate after the meal. Perfect timing since my salad is now gone!
Delicious, and oh yes, I would definitely order this again.
I made two steeps of this to go with lunch today. Hubby is either getting used to green tea and wants to drink for health reasons, or his tastes are changing and he is actually enjoying it. As he was working on the kitchen re-do he kept coming in the living room and getting more.
This is a delicious green that goes well with food but is also wonderful as a contemplative cup. Buttery, lightly brothy, fresh.
I had to run errands for hubby and it is about 100 degrees outside. Youngest and I stopped at Taco Bell for takeout and she got a Baja Blast. Soda. Soda. Soda. Cold and bubbly.
But I don’t want to want soda! I got home and I opened the fridge and there was this pitcher of perfectly clear, glowing golden liquid. I made it the regular way for hot but poured it in a glass pitcher and put it in the fridge on Wednesday. I can’t get over how clean and fresh and clear this looks. Not clear as in colorless, clear as in there is no sediment, no particles at all. Beautiful. And satisfying! I don’t want soda anymore. And I believe I owe replacing sugary drinks with tea a lot of the credit for dropping my triglycerides by 103 points in 3 months, without medication. Go, tea!
This was the final tea of tea party today. I saved the green for last. Because I love this one so much, I really wanted to share it with my guest even though she is not a big fan of green teas.
How could she resist? She was very I impressed with this tea and really, truly loved it. It is an excellent green. We even brought out the big bag (that’s right, this one isn’t a free sample, it is the big bag I couldn’t resist after trying my free sample! Woot! Woot!) and poured out some leaves to show her how different they look, how the long, thin leaves have a sheen and an almost silky feel as you run your fingers down the shiny, wok toasted leaf.
I am taking a JoeMo of tea with me every day to work at early voting. I enjoy it early in the morning, but it is getting so hot and muggy I will have have to start taking iced! Yesterday’s tea was this Dragon Well, and we resteeped it last night and I shared a pot with my oldest daughter.
Dragon Well was the first type of green tea that I liked and remains one of my favorites. It isn’t sour or bitter, has a medium body, and resteeps very well. Good stuff, and this one is excellent.
Teavivre sent me a sample of this tea a while back, and I couldn’t wait until it was all gone to order it. I had to have it on hand so I wouldn’t be without it for even a day. I served this one to hubby tonight since he is warming up to green tea now thanks to Premium Silky Green from Bird Pick.
He liked this one also. I noticed he drained his cup and was refilling, and it wasn’t long before he asked youngest if she would mind starting up a resteep for us.
This is fresh and fragrant with a hint of grain flavor and light drying to cleanse the palate. I follow their recommendation of 176 degrees. The first steep was 1 1/2 minutes, and the second received two minutes. Delicious and satisfying.
Oh, yes! This is the kind of green I enjoy most! The dry leaves smelled nice and vegetal when I opened the pouch…not quite as sweet as buttered squash, but maybe a bit like bok choi? The liquor is pale yellow. The taste is so so smooth. I am so glad a made a pot of this and not just a cup.
Long ago I wanted to drink green tea for my health. I bought grocery store bags and prepared them all wrong, drank what tasted like hot water and got a stomach ache.
When Sandy first took me to A Southern Season, I bought a dragon well tea because I had heard they were some of the healthiest. When I made ithe tea, it was such a far cry from the first bagged green I had tried that I could hardly believe it.
This is really excellent. The greens I have had this week so far have been astringent. This one is not. It is smooth, sweet, and wonderful. Here is another tea that needs to go on my Teavivre order. I can’t wait to have my daughter try this one.
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre! This is really hitting the spot!
Last night I asked my son who is here for the holidays if he would like some tea. He said sure! I asked what kind and he replied that he would like the usual. The usual means Teavivre Puerh, usually ripened Tuocha.
This is the final Tuocha that was sent by AmyOh. Thank you, Amy!
This Tuocha is larger than the ones I bought at A Southern Season. I put it in an eight ounce glass pot and gave it a thirty second rinse because I couldn’t remember how well this one breaks up. The rinse was fine, because the next steep, also thirty seconds, was inky black. I made three steeps in rapid succession and combined them in one larger pot.
Great as always. I confess I still do not detect much if any rose flavor, though the pink bud is very pretty in the Tuocha and in the pot! This is a stronger puerh than Mengku Palace. It is not fishy but strongly horsey. Very good, and very soothing for tummies. That is a good thing with all the holiday cooking.
This is a gift from AmyOh! Thank you, Amy! I saved this for drinking with my son and his girlfriend.
This is a really great puerh. We used my gong fu set and made about five or six infusions. This has great, rich flavor. We had Rishi Pu-erh Classic afterwards and NO ONE was impressed. They preferred the Teavivre puerh.
Thank you, Amy! I shall enjoy this with my family very much!
When I made the last Ripened Aged Mini Tuo Cha from Teavivre it took until the third steep for it to really break up. I often do not rinse my tea if they seem to steep to a deep color right away. I hate to waste any of the tea so I drink it and enjoy, but that one really did need the rinse to be strong enough. This one, however, disintegrated as soon as the water hit it. As I poured off the rinse, it was at first very light and then quite dark at the end of the tiny pot.
I then added more water and did a short steep. Delicious! Earth and leather! It takes me back to my childhood when I owned a pony. This is the scent of the field full of horses and my little fellow freshly saddled. (I had prayed every night for a pony and one day a lady asked me to sing “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. Another lady heard me, started crying, said she was from West Virginia and asked me if I wanted a pony. I was about ten years old. I said yes. I named him Sam.)
I do not have the most sensitive or educated palate in the world, but I am not finding the rose flavor. Like KS, I feel that it may be there or it may exist only in my imagination. It may be lending a ghost of a hint of sweetness. The rose bud is pretty and I think this will make a beautiful tea for my son to give his girlfriend for Valentines Day, but the bud is tiny and I just don’t find the flavor of it in my cup. I agree that it might be a good thing.
The bottom line: this puerh has no fishy or shrimpy aroma or taste. There is rich earth and also saddle leather. On the third and fourth steeps the liquor is still quite dark (it was inky black at first) and it is becoming rich, plowed farm soil in summer sun. This is one of the best puerh experiences ever. I may try to have their plain puerh again a little later today to compare and see which I want to put on my order. I definitely want to keep this around, and need to since three frequent visitors to my home have become hooked on it.
I haven’t had a Chun Mei in ages! This is a great tea to pair with food because the briskness lets you taste it and keeps the food from covering up the tea. This also makes it a great tea to serve after a meal to clear the palate, and the briskness is followed by a sweet aftertaste. Served with orange chicken, veggie lo mein, and pepper steak. One of my daughter’s favorite greens.
I did get around to opening my new Chun Mei from Teavivre tonight. They sent this as one of my samples a while back, and that was around the time I was first learning to appreciate green tea and learning how the Chinese value the astringency for cleansing the palate after meals. With this information in hand, I was better equipped to enjoy these teas and not try to fit them into the same molds as black teas.
The first time I tried this, I noted the bitter veggie taste – a slight sourness to the tea that made me feel it would never really be my “bag.” Then I noticed how there was a sweetness that would rise in the throat well after the sip and I started craving that sensation. Thus my order for a whole bag of it!
The first notable thing was that when I opened the pouch, right away my brain said “CHOCOLATE!”
Hmmm, that didn’t happen when I opened the Harney tin. I sniffed both teas. Yes, the Teavivre one smells very distinctly like chocolate, whereas the Harney tea requires much sniffing and snuffling to find a light almost chocolate note.
The Harney leaves are larger, while the Teavivre leaves are more broken. Perhaps this is the reason for the shorter recommended steep time, although the water temp they recommend is higher than usual for green. I think I noticed brothiness more with the Harney version. Right now, slurping this cup with lots of air to distinguish the flavors better, I am getting lots of chocolate from this, something I have never found in a green before and didn’t notice with my sample. The liquor in the cup is smelling Ike chocolate, too. And no, I didn’t have a chocolate tea in this pot recently, nor even allow a tea like Florence near it!
The biggest surprise is that my hubby has downed at least two cups of each, and he was not, and I mean NOT, a green tea drinker. I thought maybe he was just suffering through it for the health benefits so I asked him how he liked it. His reply was, “It’s good!” Wow. It really is.
You know how you can breathe out slowly, just so, to fog up glass? Breathe like that and sweet plum flavor floats up. Yum. Drink a bit more and it just floats up by itself!
I made two steeps of this today, Western style. The first one I drank all by myself, the whole pot! This is one I wouldn’t have liked not so long ago. The aftertaste is what wins me on this one. It is so sweet! But up front it is a little sour, a little astringent.
I made the second steep when my daughter came over. I thought it tasted even better than the first. I couldn’t believe that thirty seconds was going to do it when brewing Western style, but believe me, it does! This green tea has a lot of color at 25 seconds! Even the second steep at 30 seconds is a deep yellow-gold. I am saving the leaves to see if they can handle a third steep in the morning.
This sample from Teavivre was so generous that I still have enough left to make another pot and get several resteeps out of that. I am really thankful for their generosity in sending these. I have tried so many things I would not have chosen on my own, and it has really expanded my tea horizons!
This is my first Chun Mei, at least as far as I know!
The aroma and look of the leaves was completely different from the green tea I drank yesterday. This was not as brightly green, and had a completely different aroma. No wet cooked turnip or mustard greens here!
I accidentally used too much leaf. The first sip was astringent and a little sour, my fault. I had already resteeped the leaves so I did what I had read in an article on serving tea in Britain through the years. I read that sometimes tea was made extra strong and the hot water pot was used for people to adjust the tea to their liking. I picked up the kettle and added water until I had the right amount for the amount of leaf I used. All better!
This is still a drying tea, as it is supposed to be. It is neither bitter nor sour. It makes me think of sunshine on dry hay. I made four steeps and combined them all into one pot after tasting a sip from both the first and second steep unmixed. There is plenty of flavor left. I shall enjoy having this as my morning green!
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
What a cute little tea nub! I was a bit apprehensive about the pu-erh, but it’s hard to be nervous about something so harmless looking. You see, I’ve never had pu-erh before, or so I thought. Yet, the flavor is very familiar to me. It tastes like a Chinese tea house. Perhaps I have had pu-erh unknowingly because it tastes like the tea I used to get in dim sum houses. When I was young, my grandparents used to delight in taking me and my sister for “yum cha,” on weekends. It’s the Chinese version of brunch. There’s tea and greasy foods that are horrible for you. (Egg tarts!) I never paid much attention to what sort of tea my elders ordered when we ate at those dim sum places. What a young fool I was. I used to dislike tea, but I think it’s just because tea is brewed so carelessly in dim sum restaurants. I always enjoyed it when jasmine or chrysanthemum was on the table though. Flowers are tasty. Usually, some unknown dark tea was served. That tea tastes like this tea. I guess it must have been pu-erh. So all this time, I’ve been nervous for nothing. I’ve been drinking pu-erh since I was little.
I hear it’s recommended to discard the first steep, but I decided to take a taste before dumping it. hmm…not bad. Seems a waste to toss it out. I do prefer the second steep though. It tastes like rich leafy earth. It also tastes like weekends with my grandparents and other family. It brings me to crowded noisy restaurants with grouchy ladies pushing hot carts of food around. And pink table cloths. There are so many memories in this flavor. It feels wrong to drink it alone in the privacy of my home. I feel like taking my grandparents out for dim sum. My, usually, mild and jovial grandpa will fight you like a tiger for the check.
If I don’t drink pu-erh ever again, it won’t be because I don’t like it, but because I don’t want my associations with the flavor of this tea to change.
Anyway, I think I’m too emotionally attached to this tea to rate it objectively or even think about it in terms of flavor too much. Over all though, I think it’s pretty good. :)
Tea of the afternoon…..
I actually bought this tea to give to a friend, but I know she won’t mind if I sample it! I brewed this for a minute and threw out the first steep as kind of a rinsing phase. I can tell you that the smell was not great the first steep. I stuck with it and steeped for a minute the second time around. This time, I got something I actually did not mind the smell, and it was kind of chocolatey and tasted quite a bit like coffee. I am pleasantly surprised! I do see that I could be a real pu’erh drinker someday. While I did enjoy this cup, I don’t see myself drinking this kind of tea very often for now. However, a seed has been planted for sure. It is miles away from my first experiences with tuo cha from another vendor. Definitely an enlightening experience for me.
12 oz boiling water, second steep at 1 minute, 1 tuocha.
Backlogging from last night:
I love the rich aroma of the dry leaf of this tea! It smells like strong, fresh veggies – mostly dark, leafy greens like spinach or collards.
I didn’t have a lot left so I was guessing at how much water to add. I decided to give it just a one minute steep because my oldest daughter was having tea with me and I wanted to keep it subtle. At one minute it had plenty of flavor. The taste was similar to the aroma, toned down a bit, really lovely. There was a slight sour taste after the sip, not in a bad way. We drank the whole pot, and I plan to resteep those leaves this morning.
Wow. We just had a one hour tech support call with a very sweet and patient young man. I could not make it through this computer snafu without tea, so I had youngest brew a pot of this up for me.
Not long ago I would not have liked this tea. I would have called it somewhat biting and astringent.
Now I still find the beginning of the sip rough, a little drying, and maybe a little…sour? But then magic happens. A vegetal flavor fills your mouth and throat and for a long time after you swallow there is a lingering sweetness that is positively addicting. I mean, really, REALLY sweet. I am so glad that I am finally learning to appreciate greens, and it is mostly thanks to Teavivre inviting me to try these. I let them choose the teas they sent so that I would be trying things I would not normally pick myself.
This is from the new tea box that just arrived from Teavivre. Thank you! I am also grateful that it was the excellent puerh they sent me that set my son and now his girlfriend on the tea drinking path. Neither of them liked tea until I gave them the Ripened Mini Tuo Cha Puerh.
When I opened the pouch, the dry leaves smelled strongly of spinach or possibly even cooked mustard greens or tender greens. Quite aromatic! The leaves are a very rich green color, thin and twisted. I was surprised when I peeked in the pot and saw how much they had unfolded. They are not as big as oolong leaves, certainly, but unfolded to impressive size considering how they looked dry.
The tea in my cup stills smells very much like spinach or mustard greens, milder now. The liquor is very pale, a light yellow that is almost clear. The taste is not mild or hidden in any way. The first grocery store green teas I tried years ago tasted like hot water. Not this cup! The liquor may be pale but the flavor is bold, the tea astringent and palate clearing. It is not bitter at all. The taste lingers.
Both steeps were two minutes. I think I would enjoy this even more going to the conservative side of their suggested steep time and stopping the first steep around one minute.
The second steep is much the same but just a wee bit milder.
Thank you, Angel Chen and Teavivre, for the opportunity to try your wonderful teas!
What a heavenly day! It was 44F this morning when the sun rose, and just a bit above that when I went out to feed the chickens. Breakfast was served by candlelight and with hot cocoa, but I knew I had to have some great tea to enjoy this first truly autumnal day. After breakfast, youngest and I made a pot of this to enjoy.
Quite a few of the Teavivre black teas have instructions for lower temps and shorter steep times, and I quite often make them by western parameters because I am used to the strength. This one, however, is best made just how they recommend. The water is cooler – 194F and the steep time quite short at two minutes, but that is fine with me because I get my tea faster!
The morning pot of tea was lovely and bracing, comforting and warming. I saved the leaves and we made two more steeps this afternoon as we enjoyed the cool air and the brilliant blue sky with the sunlight hitting the tops of the pines and making them almost glow with fresh green color. And the tea was perfect. Perfect perfect perfect for this beautiful, blessed day. There is cocoa, walnut skins, malt, and pure beauty in this.
Some of you know that hubby used to drink grocery store black tea with tons of sugar and milk, but then he really started getting into oolongs and greens and even whites. He has eschewed black tea for a long time now because he says he wouldn’t enjoy it without additions.
Since he drinks puerh and likes it, I didn’t mention what I was drinking outside on the big quilt in my secret garden. Guess who drank two cups?
Lots of reasons to shout “Hooray!” today.
Last night, I got a text from my oldest daughter who recently went from being a tea hater to a tea-because-it-is-good-for-me drinker. She asked me to order both some green and white tea for her.
A couple of hours later, this was followed up by a text from my son, who also never drank tea until a couple of weeks ago, asking me to order tea for his girlfriend for a Valentines gift from him, as she had really liked the puerh I gave her. Hours later, another text came in asking me to order some puerh for him as well. I am positively giddy.
Then the mailman brought my third and final box from Teavivre. I think he was afraid I was going to hug him. I refrained.
Now I am not sure. Having had this tea, he deserved that hug.
The aroma is rich and slightly smokey in the package. The steeped tea is decidedly chocolate-y, reminding me very much of the aroma of Emperor’s Red from Premium Steap. I taste chocolate and roasty toasty goodness. The smoke is now very subtle. I steeped by the suggested parameters.
I have had keemuns that I loved, keemuns that I liked a lot as long as I added milk and sugar, and keemuns that were strong enough to be undrinkable for me.
This one is flavorful yet polished. It is not overpowering, not bitter, not astringent. I could even see making it with slightly hotter water or a longer steep time if you like the really strong keemuns. But this is just about perfect for me.
The pot disappeared quickly and youngest and I wanted more. I resteeped at about 205 degrees, a little hotter than Teavivre calls for, and went an extra minute to just over three minutes for the steep.
The color is still good, the aroma still chocolate-y. Though not as strong as the first steep, this is still lovely and very drinkable.
Youngest is a real Keemun (and smoke) fan and gives it a thumbs up!
I would like to thank Asmanra for suggesting the Chinese flute on Pandora. The music and this tea are so relaxing. My last tasting I may have made a bit strong. This brew is perfect. A teaspoon for about 2 minutes and with my Chinese flute music I am in Heaven. Thank you again Angel at Teavivre for your generosity.