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Recent Tasting Notes
There are those days when simplicity is what is just what the doctor ordered. I have mentioned it before but a good jasmine green is truly a delight. Warms the soul and calms the spirit. Especially since I’ve been battling getting rid of bronchitis. The lungs are purring like a kitty and not in a good way. I love this tea. Reminds me of Summer Breeze by Seals of Crofts. I can’t believe I have not reviewed this yet!
Received my second batch of Teavivre samples today (Many thanks!!) and decided to steep this one up while at switchboard. Because I am at work and only have my perfect tea mug I will be doing this western style – something I typically shy away from with oolongs. I kept the water temperature pretty low though, so hopefully I won’t get any bitterness from the steep time (approximately three minutes). After three minutes, the leaves haven’t really opened up much, so I’m guessing there are several steeps left in this one. I used one of the little foil sample packets, it looks to have a few teaspoons of leaves, but this is a 12 oz cup so I assume all will work out!
The dry leaf smelled quite nice, after inhaling deeply I got a faint aroma that was lightly sweet and very natural. Beyond that, however, it just smelled like tea. I’m terrible with aromatics. I always think I smell a hint of cocoa, but I rarely get much beyond that. I also don’t know what I’m looking for, so this is as detailed as it gets for now! : ) The liquor is really rich in colour, almost orange. It’s coloured more like a pale ale than tea – now I want a drink too!
First sips are surprising. The flavour is bold but mild at the same time. Not necessarily assertive, but complex. At the very end of the sip (and in the aftertaste) I get a hint of natural sweetness, almost reminds me of apricots or apples. I’m loving the aftertaste. This is much richer than I typically think of oolongs being, and I’m quite enjoying it. It tastes more like a black tea, so I am assuming this is a roasted oolog? It certainly doesn’t seem very “green.” That aftertaste really is something special. I have been thinking that darker oolongs are more my thing, and further tasting has really solidifed that belief.
Underneath the main sip I get a sense of fuzzy oolong taste, which may not make a lot of sense but is as accurate as I can get. It’s not bitter at all, but it’s almost like the idea that is could be if I weren’t careful. It’s like a warning from the tea…I wonder what this will be like with the gaiwan. As it cools/I continue sipping, the flavour seems to build up on the tongue and becomes a bit overbearing. I think I might prefer this in smaller quantities, as I’m not a true oolong lover quite yet. This is a nice offering to tempt in an oolong newbie such as myself – I can only hope I haven’t totally missed ALL the nuances. : ) Thanks again, Teavivre!
I LOVE THIS TEA! And to be honest, I am the only one around here who does! My son said Bleh, my daughter said ick, and my guest today said it was as bad as puerh. LOL! I like puerh. And I love what the ginseng does – that sweet, floral, herbal taste and FEEL that coats the palate and throat! It feels similar to licorice root to me, which the kids also dislike but I enjoy. More ginseng tea, please! This is great!
Check out our video-tasting here: http://blip.tv/the-tea-show/teavivre-flower-tea-6159996
Check out our video-tasting here: http://blip.tv/the-tea-show/teavivre-flower-tea-6159996
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!
After having such a wonderful experiment with Verdants Eight Treasures Yabao I decided to redo this one gaiwan style. Now when I first tried this I got a decent amount of saltiness to it and a bit of a metallic aftertaste. Redoing this gaiwan style has made this tea so much better, and for that I am upping the rating.
First I barely detected any saltiness to it and no weird metallic aftertaste..woo! Instead what I got was a nice plum-like fruit notes in the first few steepings, fading as the steepings continued. There was also no astringency at all this time.
About the second infusion I started to get more vegetal notes, reminding me of Dragonwell without the butteriness like so many others. Towards the fourth steeping though, when the fruity notes were barely detectable, a light creaminess did appear, more in the texture than in the taste and it wasn’t buttery.
I think with having such luck in brewing teas gaiwan style and tasting the difference from western style that for now on I shall brew gaiwan syle when I get the chance. It brings out a much better quality in the tea; I am more able to taste the different nuances in a very good way.
Mom was watching me very closely when I made my first cup of this tea. She was fascinated by the loose leaf brewing process and she said the tea looked really dark. I offered her a sip and she took it and made a face. It was too strong for her. Which I find really funny because I only brew this at 3 minutes.
She did say she would like to try more of my teas, but she is afraid of my black teas now. This will be an interesting expirament. Maybe I will try her with the last little bit of my rose black tea.
This is a part of the batch of samples that Angel and Teavivre sent me to try out. Thanks guys!
I think this is the best green tea I’ve tried so far. It’s the least stewed-veggie tasting green I’ve tried. I do get a just a bit of that to start off with but then it moves into a sweet almost spice taste. It’s really interesting that I can’t put my finger on actual spice this flavor comes closest to. It reminds me of several different spices, almost. I just get to thinking it’s like so and so and then I lose it and it’s different. It’s chameleon tea! Now I have to talk Dylan into to liking this enough that it’s the green he wants to keep around. ;)
I finally did it, I placed my first order with Verdant. I spent a lot of time debating whether or not to do it, but the curiosity has been killing me and I knew that I HAD to do it. I got an ounce of the spring harvest Laoshan green, an ounce of the cornfields shu tuo cha, and an ounce of the golden fleece black tea (which is the one I’m REALLY excited to try). For that three ounces of tea, I spent $40.00. I’m having a really hard time wrapping my head around that number, I feel a bit ashamed to be honest. But if I would have never tried their tea, I would’ve always been left wondering. Sometimes you just have to live.
But anyway, I’ve spent enough time rambling completely off-topic, I just had to get that out there because I’m PUMPED. Now to the tea at hand. This stuff never disappoints me. This is possibly the most comforting tea I’ve had to date. It’s a very light-bodied tea but the flavor is there and it’s right on point. I can summarize this tea in four simple words: Malty, roasty, chocolatey, sweet. In other words, COMFORT. So for now I’ll sit here and sip on this cup of heaven while thoughts of the wondrous teas to come drift through my mind. And then I’ll spend the next week VERY impatiently awaiting my Verdant order…
This is actually Dylan’s sample from the facebook contest. Thanks Teavivre!
I’ll be sipping this one through out the day but so far, I’m getting just a hint of a green taste, like cooked vegetables. It’s fleeting as the sweet apricot flavor takes over almost immediately. I assume the reason this is a milk oolong, is the creamy, buttery flavor that rides the tail end of the apricot flavor. I does have a decadent mouth feel to it for not being flavored. In the end of my sip, resides the floral taste. It’s rather interesting because I thought I really disliked flowery flavors, but this one is good. It’s sweet and mellow, not as heavy as jasmine. This is an excellent tea. I’m not sure it’s the oolong that will get to live in my cupboard because right now I favor the big red robe. I’d totally recommend it to others wanting to explore oolongs.
Many thanks to the Teavivre team for a nicely sized sample of this beauty. I’ve tried this tea several times now and I have to say that this is a pretty good tea. It is light yet rich, smooth yet bold. There is little to no astringency, but there is a pretty decent caffeine kick from this. This is one of the few black teas that is great for multiple infusions. The cocoa notes seem to come out more during the 2nd.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my round of samples from Teavivre and I will be putting the company on my “To Buy From” list.
This is the tea I was most excited about in my new order from Teavivre. I had never had a ginseng oolong. The manager at A Southern Season had recommended theirs to me months ago but I was already buying all I should and didn’t get it. The next time I went, I tried to buy it and they were sold out and didn’t know when they would get more. I was so excited to see it in Teavivre’s website.
I steeped it in my gong fu pot, poured the first steep into a pitcher and immediately resteeped. It was that second steep that I tasted first since I wanted to try each steep separately, not mixing them in the pitcher, and I wanted to pour the second steep so I could go ahead and make a third. I took a sip….roasted oolong. I took another sip…roasted oolong. I was thinking that I really didn’t know what ginseng tasted like anyway when suddenly BAM! On the third sip something sweet blossomed in my throat and along the sides of my tongue. Every sip from that point on was a new adventure in delight. As soon as I finished my little cup, I went to the first steep in the pitcher. WOW! This is great. I am so glad I got this one. Sometimes you get excited about a new tea and then it lets you down. This one has lived up to my hopes. I do get the licorice root-like flavor that Dorothy mentioned. I find it very soothing and it seems to coat the throat.
I am on the second steep of this one, and that is as far as I will get with it for now because I can barely hold my eyes open! So sleepy…
I gave this a two minute resteep and was rewarded with a nicely colored liquor, perhaps even darker than the first steep. The flavor is now lightly walnut-y and somewhat mineral. This is a nice green, very mild but still flavorful and interesting. I will probably mostly pair this one with food.
Second Review Less tea used and less steep time with better results!
To be honest, the first review of this tea was disappointing. All the tea’s from Teavivre have been so good that I was surprised at this one. I promised to try again to see if I had a bad day before, or if perhaps my taste buds were not feeling well. I suspected the brewing instructions were part of the bad taste the first time. In my opinion, the amount of tea and time needed for a good cup was not balanced. The tea was way too strong.
This time I followed my instinct. A scant 1TB for 24oz. at 190F. steeped for 1min.
That was enough for a stout pot of tea. The liquor was smoky, slightly astringent and very flavorful.
I had sauteed 2 pts. of mushrooms, spinach with a tiny bit of ham shank and garlic and this brought out a dark, fruity flavor paired with the tea. Yes, fruit.
There was a dried blackberry background in the smokiness that went wonderfully with my dinner.
I’m glad I gave this tea another go around. Worth a second cup! Just cut down the steep time and tea measurement quantity a bit and the cuppa is very good!
A lovely Oolong – sweet, and so delicate! The floral notes are very soft in the first cup. With subsequent infusions, the flavors do pick up a little bit, but they remain a little on the delicate side. It is like drinking the air that breezes through a garden: the flowers and the grass, and the clean, crisp air. So delicate and serene.
It is very refreshing too, I find the delicate quality of this tea to be so thirst quenching, and less dry than a more astringent tea might be. Sweet and exotic, and just the right tea for this afternoon. I find myself adoring this tea more and more with each sip.
This is another sample from Angel and Teavivre. Thanks! I remain very impressed with Teavivre after tasting this one.
I brewed this up gringo style since I was making a bazillion gallons of iced tea while I was in the kitchen. Brewing in the gaiwan takes far too much concentration to be multitasking like that. I weighed out my sample and decided it was enough to use in my ingenuitea and I followed the directions on the back of the package.
I found this to be excellent, a complex tea with different hidden flavors to surprise me. At first I thought it was mineral with a hint of that floral taste I got with the high mountain oolong. I let it cool down a bit. I generally don’t drink my tea very hot. Now I’m getting a toasty roasted, nutty flavor. It still has the mineral quality to it, but there is a new sweetness wrapping every thing together. There is a pleasant aftertaste which lingers on for quite some time.
This tea deserves a permanent spot in my cupboard. This is one I can curl up with and enjoy all day long.
WE’RE HOME! I love being on vacation, but I also love coming back! I just barely made it to the post office before they closed so I could pick up my new tea. It was so hard to pick which one to try first, but since I am hungry I chose the one that I thought would go best with food.
I can not remember what made me want to order this one. I just looked at reviews and none of them stand out as being the reason. I know a tea shop owner mentioned recently that a Chinese Mao Feng green was his favorite right now, so maybe that had something to do with it.
The dry leaves are long, thin, and light. The aroma is what I would consider to be medium high notes…a little toward fruity/vegetal and not leaning toward darker roasty tones.
The liquor is so so pale! I have used a middle of the road amount of leaf and steeping time. But once it cools enough to sip….oh my. This is going to go nicely with my meal. Soft and milky! The more you drink the creamier it seems to get. I am not getting lots of fruitiness or peach like others did. Maybe my parameters were different. I will enjoy this one just as it is! I agree that if you are a fan of DragonWell, this one is probably right up your alley.
So I requested samples of all three of the Yun Nan Dian Hong and unintentionally started with the most affordable. As such I won’t give this a numerical rating until I’ve tried the full leaf and the golden tips, which hopefully will be today.
However initial observations are that while this is a very good value and has decent leaf, it is not well suited to short steep times, which is fine as I am looking for a Yunnan for my husband who prefers western brewing anyway and I will prepare it for him in that matter. At the moment I am just trying to educate myself on this variety, I’m very curious how my taste buds will react to more tea buds.
This third steep at around a minute is really quite delicious and has much more flavor that the two previous at 15 and 30 secs. I unfortunately have a sore throat today, but this is quite soothing. This is the sweetest of the infusions and it also has some initial spice that smooths out later in the cup. Thank you Angel and Teavivre, I will add more are I do a side by side brewing this weekend with the husband.