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Recent Tasting Notes
Tea of the afternoon…….
..with a little change. I almost always drink my black teas with a little Splenda. I know it is not the greatest choice, but I do revisit healthier sweeteners from time to time (honey, stevia, etc.), and they all have a weird taste to me. I am also trying to shift my tastes away from sweet things and eat a more plant based, whole food diet. Fewer chemicals in the diet has to be a good thing. After drinking this tea yesterday, I remembered having it without additions for my first sampling. Today, I decided to try it plain again. I think this will work. I do still get the cocoa notes, but it is a little more malty without adding sweetener.
Usual teapot method. No additions.
TeaVivre sent me some samples of their greens from last year.
When I received the package, I was quite impressed with labels. They have marked down production dates and manufacturers! Bag also had some storage and brewing instructions, and it was nice to note that wulongs, greens, white and blacks had distinctive shelf lives. Aluminium bags with TeaVivre’s labels contained smaller, sealed bags used by manufacturers.
This is fairly cheap, and judging be the leaves pricing seems fair. These aren’t strictly Mao Feng, bud and leaf. There are some lower leaves, some leaves have a bit of oxidation, some twigs etc. Leaves are generally whole. Leaves are fairly long, making production date (5/20/2011) seem realistic.
There seems to be two major tastes whirling around here. Weird, little ill-balanced round, almost milky taste, which changes into a light vegetality. I didn’t like the initial milky taste, and the vegetality should have been little stronger to balance that out, methinks. Aftertaste is fairly pleasant, round and soft, if slighly uninteresting.
Overall, I think this is fairly priced, quite decent tea. I have had a couple of casual glasses of this, and those I enjoyed a lot. Now that I sit down and drink this properly with focus, tea feels lacking in many ways. Then again, which green from 2011 isn’t now? This isn’t top tea, but TeaVivre isn’t asking a price of such from this. I would be happy to recommend this for a casual drinking, and I have very positive image of TeaVivre now.
I was really excited for my box of different teas to come from Teavivre. Spent too much money, but it’s been absolutely worth it.
It’s an oolong with the larger dry leaves, like a Li Shan or Ali Shan. They smell good, and promisingly like those of Shan Lin Xi, which is my all-time favorite. The liquor is a vivid gold, almost green, like brass. It smells sweet and floral, with just a hint of that bakiness that some of the more traditionally made oolongs have.
This steeping seems to taste rather vegetal, but still rather flora, with an aftertaste of that bakey flavor. This seems to be how some teas are supposed to taste, and others, it’s when I haven’t made it quite right, so I’ll be making a followup review, just in case. As it cools a little, that herbaceousness takes more of a background role, and it turns into a delightfully well-balanced tea. In the aftertaste, I see what people have been saying about that butteriness; it’s smooth and quite pleasantly mild.
My adjective department is somewhat lacking today, which I’ll try to fix in the followup review. Really tasty tea, and I’ll be purchasing again from Teavivre when I run out.
Tea of the morning……
Just a double check that this one is as good as Gong Fu Black (which is organic) from Zhi Tea. Yes, this works as a substitute for me! I have not tried TeaVivre’s organic version of this tea, but I am guessing it is very similar. Yum. The tea I love at a cost I can live with drinking it everyday.
Usual teapot method.
Thankyou so much again TEAVIVRE for this generous sample!
Dry leaf smell: sweet jasmine, very floral
Liqour: light golden
Watching those cute little pearls unroll is pretty!
Taste: light, sweet, not overly perfumey or scented like a lot of other jasmines. This tea has a silky, full mouth feel.
2nd steep: 80degrees, 2minutes, still silky and smooth
3rd steep: 85degrees, 2.5minutes, getting a little weak now, but still has a hint of sweet jasmine
Overall, I would say that this is the best jasmine tea I have had to date! Just wonderful…..this tea deserves to be served at fancy tea parties in pretty glass teapots!
Thankyou TEAVIVRE for this generous sample!!
4teaspoons of dry leaf with 24 oz water, cold brewed for about 18 hours. I didn’t really use the recommended teavivre amount because it was brewing so long.
Dry leaf: looks fruity purple and smells wonderfully sweet
Taste: I was worried about tartness with the roselle, but it was appropriately tart. I definitely got the grape flavour with hints of blueberries and black currants! What a great tasting iced tea. I will certainly have to order more of this to have this summer. I will be making this by the pitcherfull!
Okay, so I may have steeped this one a little too short (or so said my husband), but I am always horridly afraid of oversteeping green tea, because all it takes is a few seconds for green teas to turn from perfect to omgbitternastywhatdidIjustputinmymouth.
Sue me. I planned to resteep anyway. xP
Leaf (or in this case, pearl) description: A good size, rolled a little more loosely than I’ve seen in the past. Good distribution of the jasmine leaves and the silver tips throughout all of the pearls, as far as I can tell. Very pleasant smell!
Brew description: After steeping (see time below), the liquor was a pale spring green color, with a hint of butter color, which became more like an amber near the bottom of the pot. I didn’t stir like my husband and I usually do—I wanted to see what would happen.
No sweeteners were added or necessary.
First steep: WOW! This was so much different than most other green teas I have ever tried. The first sip put me in this extremely (pardon the expression, there’s really no better word for it) zen kind of mood, vigorously awake and yet calm as still water. It was almost as if I’d been put under a spell. The jasmine is so delicious, not bitter at all, and the ‘green tea’ flavor was simply sublime!
My review on the second steep will have to wait until next post; I haven’t had the time yet, but I will definitely make the time! I will have to consider this one for my favorite jasmine tea of all time. (Teavana’s Thousand Mountain Jasmine, which I’m not entirely sure if they stole from one of those companies they absorbed, is my current favorite, but we’ll see.)
Wow, this was sweet – almost candy-like. One of the things that I always like about jasmine pearls is that you never need as much leaf as most other green teas to get a good flavor. It’s also one of the things that I forget the most and usually end up with super jasmine-y tea. Which in this case is yummy. This is probably a tie with the Bailin Gongfu for my favorite of the TeaVivre samples.
Tea of late yesterday morning…….
This one I have had to think on a bit. The leaves are very interesting looking with the green that you would expect from a green tea, and a little bit of white fluffiness thrown in that makes it very pretty to look at. I brewed it up at about 175 for just a minute, even though I usually steep greens for at least two. I must have been worried about this one being a little strong. One should not worry so much, as the tea was light and refreshing. It brewed up a lightly vegetal green, but there were definitely floral notes. It is lighter than an oolong like tie gwan yin, but kind of along those lines. It also is not near the amount of floral you would get in something with a jasmine scent, but it is definitely there.
I am not usually a drinker of green beyond Dragonwell or flavored senchas. However, this was good. I definitely see some in my future at some point, as I am really trying to explore green things in my life, even beyond tea. Thank you to TeaVivre for this sample, and again, opening my eyes to how wonderful green tea can be!
I’d say white teas are usually my least favorite. But this one ISN’T everything I hate about a white tea. It doesn’t have that crummy dry mouth feel. It doesn’t have a horrible flavor. The flavor here is mild, light, floral, delicate, sweet (basically the description above is very accurate). Probably the best white tea I’ve tried, though to be honest, I’ve avoided them in the past. This tea could actually make me like white tea. I certainly like this one. Looking forward to trying more from Teavivre! (Check their site teavivre.com , they offer amazing generous free samples.)
I have been away for a week in Cuba, not much for tea at those resorts :(
Thank you so much TEAVIVRE for the sample!!!
I thought 100degrees was a little hot, but it turned out pretty good.
Dry leaf smell: floral, slightly floral and vegetal
Taste: not as creamy as I was expecting, but it is floral and slightly vegetal. Smooth taste, also, slightly sweet.
2nd: 2 1/2minutes, less vegetal taste, more floral, still not getting as much creamy as I was expecting.
3rd: 3minutes, less floral, but getting the buttery smooth oolong flavour more
Overall: very smooth and tasteful tea. Good quality
Super stressed and trying to write a paper that’s due in about 6h that I’m nowhere near complete… gah. Why do I always do this to myself.
Anyways, 6:30am, sounds like a good time for a tea break (also I need some caffeine. Fading really fast.) Time for another sample from Teavivre!
Getting quite a vegetal smell from this one – didn’t know what to expect as I haven’t tried a Dong Ding oolong before.
First infusion (3min/100C)
Smells like sweet boiled veggie. Taste is pretty strong, astringent without being drying. Probably should have gone with shorter infusions but that wasn’t happening tonight… er, this morning.
Second infusion (3min/100C)
Definitely less aroma. Also less flavour, and possibly a strange taste coming out that I’m not sure I like.
Hmm, so I’m not sure that Dong Ding oolongs are for me. This certainly isn’t bad, but it tastes to me like more of a green tea – I’m not getting that oolongy finish that I love. Also, I’m finding there’s too much astringency for me to really enjoy this, so I think I need to cut down the infusion times for the next packet, and perhaps try it when I have time to write a more detailed note!
This actually the much shortened and edited version I wrote earlier today:
AAAAARRRRRGGGHHH! Ok, I feel a little better. Yes, I am stressing out. The Cloud Minders are wearing me out. For the non-nerds that is a reference to an episode of the original series of Star Trek. It has to do with those who don’t do the work making all the decisions. I have been carrying 3 times the normal work load for too long. Yesterday, I find out I have to switch what I am working on because one of the Cloud Minders promised we would be done with another project April 1. It can’t happen but that is beside the point, I told deaf ears a month ago this would bite us in the butt. Then I come in today and find a different project on my desk marked ‘HOT! Good grief. I say all that to say this, thank you Teavivre for this wonderful tea. If not for this cup I might be curled up in a little ball in the corner and rocking. I did get to share a cup with a wonderful elderly lady who bakes cookies for the office every Wednesday. Today it was lemon sugar cookies. Oh, she thought the tea was lovely. Sorry for the ramble. It was necessary.
Experience buying from Teavivre http://steepster.com/places/2857-teavivre-online—
Date of Purchase/Date of Steeping: Received in the fall of 2011 as a free sample (Thank you Angel!), steeped up March 2012.
Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: Very aromatic, woodsy, earthy, and like other Yunnan read teas I’ve had; mostly small dark leaves, with a few golden colored ones here and there.
Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot, leaf free to roam; stevia added; used my standard Chinese red tea steeping times and temperatures; I did five steepings.
Color and Aroma of tea liquor: light coppery color, smells very aromatic and like any other Yunnan red tea.
Flavor of tea liquor: Very sweet and malty; it had good flavor up through the third steeping, and even some mild flavor on the fifth (at boiling, 10 minutes).
Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: evenly colored, brown, medium-to-high grade CTC type leaves; << no notes on the aroma >>
Value: This is where this tea stands out: it is a great value $6.90 / 100grams (3.5 OZ) which is less than $2/OZ!
Overall: I am surprised there are so many reviews on the higher quality Yunnans from Teavivre but not on this one. Granted, Yunnans are one of my favorite black/red teas, still, I really liked the flavor of this one; I did not know this was a Yunnan until after tasting it, as ‘Yunnan’ was not in the name, and the leaves were darker that the other Yunnans I have seen (oh, how funny … I just looked at the first part of the name ‘Yun Nan’ humm Now I see it … Yeah, I’m an ‘airheard’!). I highly recommend this tea for those that love Yunnans and are looking for a very affordable everyday tea. I generally don’t include the value of the tea when I rate it (I typically rate it on merit alone), but if I were rate it simply on value, I’d give it a 5/5!
WOW. I received the samples I had requested from Teavivre today, and I am blown away by their generosity! Samples of five different teas, each sample looking to be enough to brew 4 cups. I am so excited to get going on these!
My roommate has never tried a milk oolong (or straight oolong, for that matter) before, and requested we try this one first.
The dry tea definitely doesn’t smell as creamy as DavidsTea’s Quangzhou Milk Oolong, the only other one that I really have experience with, but it does smell good and a bit floral. I’ll have to take better notes next time; I’m not opening up a second packet just to write about how the dry tea smells (and I just don’t remember the details right now).
I used one packet in 250ml of water in my little steeper.
First infusion (~95C, ~2min)
Smells floral and orchidy, with perhaps a hint of creaminess. The taste is delicate and lightly floral, with just a touch of creaminess. I’m getting some vegetal classic “oolong flavour”, particularly lingering at the end of the sip, which is really tasty.
Second infusion (~96C, ~2min)
Mostly a fresh orchidy oolong smell this time. Really not getting any creaminess, just a touch of floral notes back by the delicious oolong flavour.
Third infusion (~96C, ~3min)
Very little aroma this time, and the taste is clean and a bit astringent. No creaminess and barely anything floral left, but still a good infusion because I can taste oolong! Actually, I’m getting a bit of something fruity or sweet in the finish as well. Yum.
Fourth infusion (~98C, ~3min)
Again, pretty much no aroma. The flavour is now somewhat like a fruity, astringent wood, but in the best possible way I can mean that! I’m actually getting a bit of a resurgence of creaminess although it’s a bit different this time. Perhaps buttery instead of creamy.
Probably could have gone for a fifth infusion, but I’m exhausted.
Overall, a good oolong, but the difference between this milk oolong and DT’s is quite striking, so much so that I would have assumed that this one was just a regular tieguanyin. I’ll have to do some direct comparisons to really get my head around it. If I’m looking for a tea that’s very creamy though, I probably wouldn’t pick this one. Next time I plan to keep to stricter infusion times and temperatures, perhaps trying the boiling temperature that they recommend, as it seems people have had success with it? I also should mention that my tastebuds seemed a little off today, so that could account for flavours not tasting as they should as well.
I bought 100g on a whim, thinking that there was no way I wouldn’t like this tisane. Aaaand I was right! This is so delicious with a little bit of sugar; it has a very blueberry flavour although the roselle makes it quite tart. I enjoy the colour it gives off though. After trying a few hot cups of this tisane (2 tsp loose tea), I brewed up a big mug and let it cool to use in blueberry pancakes. It didn’t impart any extra flavour into the pancakes that I could notice. Next time I will use more than 2 tsp of loose tea for baking purposes.
This is going to be awesome over ice this summer.
So I kind of have a completely neutral relationship with white tea so far. The last one I had was a silver needle, that — while I’m sure it could have been a great silver needle — didn’t really do it for me.
I think this one is better, but I didn’t really get much of a delicate floral taste. Probably due to my “throw it in a cup and add hot water” style of drinking tea at work, it tasted a little more “bakey” or “bready”. Those don’t really sound like the most appetizing words to describe tea, but it’s not in a bad way, I promise. Another aspect that I repeatedly fail to consider is that some of the little leaf pieces don’t sink to the bottom and it’s kind of tricky to drink straight out of the cup (and a bit awkward during meetings). But overall it’s a solid bai mu dan.
Finished the last of this today, and I’m a little sad it’s gone. It was a really good Tie Guan Yin. My office just got a new water dispenser as part of a switch to a new vending company, and it has a hot water spigot that dispenses clean, hot, and not funny-tasting water on a consistent basis. Yay! This means I get to take teas to work that are better than I would have normally taken, since I’m hesitant to waste good tea on “office water”. Before this I don’t think the hot water dispenser was properly maintained – it always tasted like some cleaning product. 0_o
This was a good work tea since it didn’t get bitter with extended steeping (I tend to throw the leaves in the cup and wing it) and it lasted for more steepings than I expected.