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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
I bought this a while back, and have had a few times now. I keep putting of reviewing it because the experience was so different to what I was expecting. Either way, I bought a bunch of it, so it is about time that I write something about it.
The tea comes in little individual serving packages which in turn are double packaged to protect the tea inside. Like most people have already mentioned, it is quite a shock when you open the little package and are faced with a moist and sticky little bunch of tea. When Teavivre says honey, they really meant it. The odd part is that I expected it to give off a rich honey scent, but I only smelled Oolong. I even ventured far enough to taste the sticky liquid, but it lasted like a vaguely sweet Oolong, still not getting any honey.
Also, each little packet is good for a 8oz cup of tea. If you add any more water than that it is too watered down for my taste. So I used two little packets for my 16oz teapot and ended up with a yellow golden brew. The scent was rich and mineral. To me Oolong scent is similar to smelling a lake, that is the sort of mineral that I am hinting at. It still had a tiny bit of latex to the scent, like the last Oolong I had from Teavivre, but it was definitely less prominent. Surprisingly, a bit of honey scent snuck into the brew. I was pleasantly surprised. I absolutely need for something called Honey Oolong that is actually sticky to smell like honey, at least when it is brewed!! :)
The first brew is mostly mineral with a hint of honey. But more than a honey flavor it is a vague honey sweetness (I hope that made sense). I was expecting the honey to be in your face yelling “Here I am!” but I got the honey saying “Oh, hello, I am here chilling with the Oolong…”. I feel like the honey aspect is more of a hint of sweetness when the tea first hits your tongue more than a flavor itself. The aftertaste is more mineral than sweet. Though towards the end of the cup I got a bit of the sweet aftertaste that I love in Oolongs, just not very strong.The second brew had no added sweet from. I actually enjoyed it more than the first. The taste was smoother and the transition from mineral to sweet aftertaste in every sip was
very evident. It is this magical transition that makes me love Oolong so much. I love the fact that the flavors transform as they travel through your mouth.
The third brew was a bit bland, I chugged it down mindlessly. It wasn’t bad, just not much there to sip slowly through.
Overall, I dis enjoy this tea. I had super high expectations, that just weren’t met. It is a tasty Oolong, and worth trying. I love the originality of it and the surprise you get when you first open it. I have had it a few times now and I still enjoy opening the small packets of sticky leaves. So far, I have loved Teavivre’s green teas, but their Oolongs aren’t quite my favorites. I really need to try their blacks teas! The sound sensational!
I’m thinking Teavivre is going to be a company Dylan and I patronize for some time. I’m really impressed with the quality of their tea and their customer acquisition plan. Dylan has informed me we are drinking the lowest grade of Keemun they currently sell. This stuff is just awesome! I love it.
It had a medium bodied malt that mellowed out that tea sharpness. I’m not sure how to describe the sharpness. It’s a bite that is pleasant. Basically just makes sure you know you are indeed drinking tea. The smokey flavor takes over and blends with a sweetness that is just divine. I could drink this all day long.
Approaching the end of the samples I received from Teavivre for the Facebook promotion… thanks again to Angel and the team!
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this at the beginning. The aroma is really dark and earthy, like new soil. Almost like fresh leather. It has really similar smells to the pu’erh cake we have sitting in the tea cupboard… just… not offensive.
The taste is very dark, strong, and smoky. I actually asked Missy to make sure this was the Keemun from Teavivre, and not the Lapsang I had ordered from Upton!
There is a power to this tea’s flavor. It has a really strong bite to the tea, with a smooth malty undertone, and then that smokiness is just heavenly. This is superb. It’s like I’m getting a blend, and it’s one lone tea. This is really the flavors I expected from the Baker Street blend that I got from Upton, which has both Keemun and Lapsang (along with Darjeeling) but somehow is significantly less smokey. Although, I did brew the Baker Street at work… I really should give it another chance at home (i.e. have Missy make it instead of me… she’s better at it).
Anyway, this tea is splendid. I honestly want to rate it higher, but something in the back of my mind is telling me that I have to leave room for the next two tiers of quality on this tea that Teavivre offers.
I want to rate this tea a 90, and it’s the lowest of three qualities that Teavivre offers. This boggles my mind.
Phew, I am sore! I’ve been the exemplary sedentary American. I know I need to get more, or rather I should say any, exercise. My fiancé bought me the Zumba 2 Wii game for Christmas, and I finally broke it out yesterday. Holy crap! That game is WAAAAY harder than I anticipated! I couldn’t even finish a medium intensity full length class. I kept thinking, this has to be the last song, and then another one would play. Rinse and repeat. Ugh, I literally hurt in the weirdest places, like my lower back and love handles. Hopefully, that means I’ll lose fat from those areas, but it remains to be seen how effective of a workout it will be. I even have rug burn on my toes. :( Tip: Don’t dance barefoot on carpet for an hour. I also think it would be more fun as a live class. Still, there are some benefits to being alone in my apartment, such as no one has to witness my incredibly uncoordinated dance skills, or lack thereof.
Anyway, get on to the tea already! This is my first milk oolong experience, courtesy of Teavivre and their generous free samples!
The dry leaves smell really good! The aroma is like regular oolong but richer somehow and maybe a little darker. Woodsy definitely isn’t the correct description because that’s reserved for the dark Formosa oolongs. But there’s definitely an added component here than what’s in a regular green oolong.
I did a quick 1 minute steep. The tightly rolled balls unfurled into huge, whole leaves with long stems attached to the ends. The brewed tea aroma is luscious. This is definitely a green oolong but again, somehow richer and more distinctive than non-milk oolongs. It’s like the difference between milk chocolate and dark chocolate. This tea is definitely the dark chocolate.
I really want to drink it, but I know I’ll burn all the taste buds off my tongue if I do. A few patient minutes later and…Wow, from that build up of aroma I didn’t expect the taste to be so subtle. It’s definitely flavorful, but a lot of the flavor is in the aftertaste. It does have a certain creaminess to it, but I wouldn’t describe it as milky.
From experience, I know that the second or third steep is usually better than the first. So, I’m hopeful that the next cup will be better. That’s not to say this cup was bad, not by any means. It just wasn’t fully developed, akin to unripened fruit.
Second steep for 2 minutes and now the leaves have fully unfurled. Ah yes, and there’s a much more developed oolong flavor now too. It’s buttery and floral, but honestly I can’t tell that much difference between this and a Tie Guan Yin. Hmm, that second cup disappeared rather quickly…time to brew a third! I’ll try 3.5 minutes this time.
The flavor is still going strong. It’s a little less creamy but still enjoyable. I don’t have much to add so I think I’ll end the tasting note here. But I plan to keep steeping these leaves until there’s no flavor left or until my belly is sloshing with tea, whichever comes first. ;)
EDIT: I completely forgot about the fourth cup and let it steep for what must have been an hour or two. But it’s still delicious! No bitterness or astringency whatsoever. This is an amazing tea!
So I also requested the organic Bailin Gongfu black to compare to the other version that others have reviewed so much. I’m not sure if other folks have reviewed the organic under the other tea’s page, but I created this one to distinguish them. Perhaps because it is in a larger sample bag instead of the small serving packets, the dry dry leaf smells more intensely chocolate. I did a very short rinse and a 10 sec steep.
Mmm getting more chocolate and less rye right off the bat, yes there is still a nice grainy quality but I’m getting some really lovely spice. Oh yes spicy chocolate, oh my! While I am not a fan of chocolate spice flavored teas (Teavana’s Azteca Fire and Zocolatte Spice ::shudder::) it is wonderful to find it as a natural characteristic of the tea. This would be wonderful on a cold fall or winter day.
The second steep is more sweet and less spice, reminding more of the non-organic version (which is a good thing as I liked it a lot). I keep on thinking either of these would be such great introductions to black tea to coffee or cola drinkers (of which I am neither). I really will have to brew the two side by side and western style to determine any real differences and which I should order.
The third is more broth-like and I get a bit more rye. It reminds me of french onion soup with rye bread crumbs, only you know chocolaty. The forth and fifth were a bit mild but still enjoyable. Will update this as I have more sessions. Thank you again Angel and Teavivre, this tea made my day better, after an epic tantrum from the toddler this morning!
Angel from Teavivre approached me via email about trying some tea. Of course I agreed since Teavivre was already on my list of future places to buy tea from. I was pretty excited when I got my box with the little chinese characters on it. I wanted to rush out and try all of them right away, but at the same time I want to make sure I take time to enjoy the tea as well. I believe this is called a conundrum. So enough rambling and on to the tea.
This is a green I could enjoy in the future. With the greens I’ve tried so far, I decided I may be a black tea person. Some times greens just remind me of mushy vegetables, not a flavor I’m looking to keep around. I found this a bit vegetal but not in the mushy sort of way. It’s actually pretty sweet. I wonder if that is that orchid taste I read about. I’m going to have to smell some of those and compare. I found this tea steeps up decently at 1 and 2 minutes. At 2 minutes you get a deeper body but largely the same flavor profile. I’m glad I got the chance to try it. Thanks to Angel and Teavivre.
I was having a cup of this for the second time this week at work, still trying to figure out what that familiar flavor was…then it hit me! Fresh juicy papaya! I am so relieved! I’ve been trying to figure it out since the first cup. So tasty!
I think I also need to revise my opinion of this tea. I figured out that I used a bit too much leaf the first time. Also, I’ve stopped hoping for that buttery cream flavor in milk oolongs. Much better without the flavor of disappointment. I’ll just stick with calling these oolongs Jin xuan and appreciate them for what they are. Smooth and delicious papaya. :)
journalogging #1 of 4
Thank you to Bonnie for this decadent sample from TeaVivre!!
As I’ve never tried a straight White, this one completely refashioned my perception and respect for what they have to offer! This Bai Hao Yin Zhen is fragrantly refined and tempered living hayfields yet is also tinged with the slightest salt balance in the cup. The buds were amazingly downy and delicate but tripped the light fantastic when given the chance over five steepings. Simply quite wonderful and a splendid offering from TeaVivre!
It occurred to me tonight that for whatever reason (ok, it’s because I have too much tea), I hadn’t yet made it through all my samples from Teavivre! So since I was craving oolong (and dessert), it seemed like a perfect tea to try. I used the whole, sticky package in my tiny glass teapot.
First infusion (~boiling/1:15)
Honey-sweet, with a lovely round, sweet oolong aftertaste. There’s just a hint of astringency coming through at the end – glad I didn’t steep it any longer. The sweetness is reminiscent of the honey flavour I got with Treasuregreen’s Emerald (Silver). I’m really enjoying this infusion! It is perhaps a touch on the light side, but that’s ok.
Second infusion (~boiling/2 min):
Definitely moving into a woody flavour here. Perhaps that’s the astringency – I hadn’t meant to steep it this long but was trying to multitask. The sweetness is gone, but I didn’t expect it to last for a second infusion. Aftertaste is lightly oolong. This isn’t bad, but it’s not what I was expecting.
I’m a bit disappointed – after the amazing first cup, I was expecting something a little better for the second. I do have another package of this one, so perhaps will try some different parameters – perhaps a shorter first infusion and similarly short second infusion would help. I can’t recall what the price is, but it’s hard for me to justify purchasing an oolong that really is only capable of one amazing infusion. Even though it really was so very delicious…
Thanks for the sample, Teavivre!
ETA: I just finished off the last of my second infusion, and feel like I need to revise my previous opinion, as I wonder if my tastebuds were tainted by either the first infusion or the chocolate bar I ate… the last sip was actually quite good! Yes, there was astringency, but chalk that one up to my error. I got a lovely honey oolong aftertaste, and aside from the astringency, it was actually quite nice. I still think it might be a bit pricey of a tea, but I may actually try a third infusion now. Also bumping the rating.
ETA again: Third infusion, boiling-ish water for about 1:45, is kind of woody/dark/nutty, as late steepings of oolongs tend to be for me. Not bad, and still that oolong aftertaste. Overall, I’d have to say that this is a perfectly fine oolong, but not one for me.
I’m still new to unflavored black tea and I have to say that there’s a lot more too it than I expected. I wasn’t aware that so many different flavors and layers of complexity could be present in black teas. I guess the reason for that is just the fact that whenever I thought of black tea, some kind of bagged English breakfast was always what popped into my mind. And because of my expectations, when I first opened my sample bag of Teavivre’s bailin gongfu black I was blown away. I actually felt a rush of adrenaline from the excitement in knowing that I was in for a treat and a surprise. I was shocked. Upon opening this sample bag provided for me in my second round of Teavivre samples, I experienced a flashback to that moment of awakening. The leaves are beautiful. Part rich cocoa color, but mostly a rustic gold composing the beautiful twists of leaf. The golden color of the leaves is much like the amber glow pouring in through my windows just before sunset this evening. Before I got into loose-leaf tea, I NEVER would have thought that “black” tea could look this way, and to be honest I still don’t understand what causes this to happen, but it sure is cool. Now on to the taste. All of what I taste in this tea has been said before. Mostly cocoa, a little malty, with little hints of sweet potato and honey intermingled. Also, there is a definite genuine sweetness to it when I allow it to sit in my mouth for a bit and let it touch different parts of my tongue (as strange as that may sound). It is delicious, and it’s a perfect end to a not-so-good day.
I’ve been wanting a cheap Yunnan black tea so I purchased this. I figured, even if it doesn’t taste good it’s very cheap. ;)
Looking inside the tea pouch, the leaves look more complete than I imagined. There are some golden leaves, and while the leaves are broken they do not resemble specks of pepper (no tea dust).
The scent of the tea leaves is also encouraging. My senses immediately made the connection to Yunnan black tea.
Onto drinking the stuff;
Sipping from my tea mug, I’m tasting a nice full black tea body, familiar earthy Yunnan flavour, maltyness, and no bitterness (I brewed it to 5 minutes to check this).
Where I live, it is hard to buy any tea that isn’t absolutely rubbish for $7/100g locally. So for the price, it’s an amazing fresh black tea I can drink whenever and not feel guilty about the price.
Even though this tea is not comprised of golden buds, it doesn’t suffer much in the flavour department. Perhaps it’s not a terrific short steeper, but I’ve only met a handful of black teas I can slap that label on anyway.
500ml glass tea mug, 2 generous tsps, 1 steep
I’m not a big green tea drinker, or at least I never used to be. Black tea was always ‘tea’ in my head. Part of it just has to do with repetition. When you order black tea, you just ask for tea. If you want green tea, you typically have to specify. Or, taken a different way… if a restaurant only has iced tea, it will probably be iced black tea (or ‘sweet tea’).
Long story short, I don’t have a lot of green experience, and it’s all very new and a little weird. I had a somewhat disparaging experience with the Golden Moon Sencha, which served to entrench my belief in the dominance of black tea in a not-insignificant way.
So, bring in the samples from Teavivre! This one was sent to Missy actually (although, she told Angel that we’d both be drinking it… and I think they definitely upped the amount of tea they sent us because of that… so a big thank you to Angel and the Teavivre team!
Opening the bag on this tea… I was a little shocked. The leaves are huge, roughly four inches long (stop giggling). Depending on the size of your teapot and your infuser, you could really have trouble brewing this.
Then we brewed the tea. It smells a little vegetal, but the aroma isn’t strong or overwhelming. Just lightly like stewed plants.
The first sip… wow. There is a really noticeable sweetness to this green tea. It’s a very smooth, buttery, steamed vegetable flavor. It’s very pleasant, I’m not sure if it’s the sweetness or the complete lack of any bitter, seawater kind of flavor. It is a very, very good green tea.
More offerings like this could definitely make me a green tea drinker. Well, not as often as ‘real’ tea, but you know what I mean. For those of you that are really fond of green tea, I would definitely give this one a try.
Thanks again to Angel and the Teavivre team! This tea was delightful.
Anyone who follows my notes enough, must know that I love honey … and use it to sweeten my teas. This was a untested, last minute addition to my early April order, but have been busy testing other teas to do a fair tasting. Yesterday I wrote up my thoughts on Teavivre’s (non organic) TGY, so want to follow up with this one (to compare).
I bought 50g, and that means 7 separately sealed packets in the pouch. I used one for today’s comparison. Brewing, it behaved in much the same manner as yesterday’s. The brewed aroma is very similar (hey, I added honey to the TGY yesterday : ) Others have mentioned that this doesn’t strike them as sweet. I agree. Very strange. Since I like my teas on the sweet side, I’m even pondering adding some honey. More strange. The TGY is very strong and upfront, vegetal and … uh, ack … hold on (runs to add honey) … ok, it now tastes very similar to yesterday’s. Not favoring overly sweet things, this is baffling to me right now.
Organic TGY w. honey is their highest priced oolong, priced more than twice the price of the (non organic) TGY (for 100g, $10.50 vs. 22.90). I can add my own (local raw) honey.
Another yummy tea from TeaVivre! Dragon Pearl Jasmine teas (really, jasmine greens in general) are among my favorites. I’ve yet to drink one I didn’t like. And I’ve yet to try a TeaVivre tea I didn’t like, so I was pretty much guaranteed to love this one.
First off, this is delicious. Mine came out a gorgeous golden-green color, smells beautiful, and has a lovely, light flavor with floral overtones. I don’t find the jasmine as strong in this cup as I have in other DPJs, and as a jasmine fan, that was a little disappointing. It’s definitely still there — and it adds a wonderful sweetness to every sip — but it’s not as strong as I would like.
That said, I tend to like very strong teas, and there are a ton of really strongly flavored DPJs out there, so I think this one fills a niche that needs to be filled: A lightly flavored, more balanced and very yummy cup. Those who like a little less jasmine and a little more tea will love it.
After the first cup, I got a bit distracted and the second was lukewarm. It was still tasty! And I bet it would be good iced, too.
(Sample provided free by TeaVivre.)
(This sample was generously provide to me by Teavivre. Thank you Angel and the whole Teavivre Team.)
Dry Leaf: Has a vegetal aroma slight sweetness to it with a slight smokey aroma.
Wet Leaf:Has a vegetal aroma think maybe boiled spinach.
Liquor: Has a yellowish green broth.
Taste: I get a vegetal flavor with a plum after taste but can even see someone saying smokey. A very slight bitter touch that does leave a slight dryness in the mouth. The broth feels rich or thick in the mouth not watery.
Overall Opinion: I give this a 86. You will have to play with amount of tea and water and time of steeping. I feel this tea gets quit bitter after 30seconds so be careful. This tea would be good on a hot day because it is refreshing. It has a smoothness to it. I would recommend this tea to Gunpowder Green Tea fans in my humble opinion.