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Recent Tasting Notes
This sample and the one from yesterday were provided by the fabulous Teavivre. The first cup was everything I love about Chinese greens. Buttery steamed veggies, sweet, not grassy. It has a wonderful aftertaste. The first cup is definitely a 90. I think I did something wrong as later cups were not as flavorful. No one else reported this so I am blaming me at this point and will try again tomorrow. I love the first cup. Thank you Angel and Teavivre.
This one reminds me of Teavivre’s Organic Silver Needle white. I brewed it at 195 for a minute as instructed, which is hotter than I normally steep whites, but it is fine, definitely not bitter. I was generous with the quantity of leaves. Yes, this tea is gentle and soothing, but at the same time has several flavors going on. I pick up on hay, cucumber and creamy notes. This tea exceeded my expectations, as white teas are not usually what I gravitate toward. I would like to try this one again.
Have had this several times now and am appreciating the subtle yet flavorful nuances of this excellent silver needle. Though mild, it is far from boring. Following the directions, I brewed 2 (heaping) tsp in 8 oz water for 1 min, increasing by 30-60 seconds for subsequent steepings. As I read other reviews, I was nodding when I saw descriptions like cucumber, hay, floral. I would say all these were just hints-combining to give a very satisfying experience. I enjoyed it with a tiny bit of Stevia. Perfect for a soothing cup in the evening
Teavivre’s Jasmine makes me think grapes. The is the most amazing scented tea. I could just sniff this all day. The pearls are a little smaller than the premium. The brew is nearly clear. To me the difference between this and premium is this leaf has a mildly woodsy taste. I had 4 cups from one scoop. A trully beautiful tea.
Special thanks to TeaEqualsBliss for sharing this nice white in her very bountiful envelope!
First, I must say that my tasting note on this tea may seem a little different than others that have posted. It may be because I chose to add a little extra leaf in the pot, nonetheless the result is very tasty!
The aroma of the dry leaves are sweet and enticing. There is a certain floral undertone to the wet leaves, similar to blossoming honey suckle. Even though there is sweetness at its base, there is certainly much more. I found the liquid when first poured, to have a distinct aquatic flavor. Only one word that I know how to specify exactly – seaweed! I tried several smaller cups (87ml) to confirm this detection. Yes indeed!
As the cup cools, the grassy pelagic notes soften to a smoother, thicker malty sip. With the body of the tea, there is a certain coppery cocoa-like flavor. One last thing, you also find a touch of astringency towards the end, but your palate is left with a clean, ginger-like taste that lingers nicely.
Very nice cup of tea!
This is a free sample provided for review by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
Breakfast is a simple affair in my house. A piece of whole wheat toast or an English muffin for me, toast or waffles for the girls. Sometimes we just have grits. With waffles we drink milk, but everything else is accompanied by milk with Nesquik.
Today, we are out of our homemade whole wheat bread, out of English muffins, and almost out of grits. I opted for waffles and when I thought of the maple syrup somehow I couldn’t get Lapsang out of my head as a great go-with.
I did drink milk with the waffles, but this wonderful tea was waiting for us and I could hardly wait to get to it. Just as sweet and salty go together well, I have been enjoying sweet and smokey together.
Youngest and I are the only ones drinking tea on this rainy morning because middle daughter started community college today. I am really excited for her! I think she is excited, too, because she has been handling all the details without being asked; getting her ID card made, picking up her parking sticker, going to the bookstore, seeing her guidance counsellor, going to bed on time to adjust to the new schedule, buying an extended alarm clock app to guarantee that she won’t be late. Sniff, sniff! We plan to have a nice, hot pot of her favorite, London Cuppa, waiting for her when she pulls up at lunch time!
I did not look at the instructions BEFORE making this. It says to use 2 teaspoons per cup, and I only used one per cup.This is still very good and certainly strong enough to enjoy, perhaps because I gave it the extended 2 minute steep instead of cutting it short to one. I still have a bit left so perhaps I will make a cup of it with 2 teaspoons and see how it changes the taste.
As is, the body is light, the smoke is medium, the tea is sweet, smooth, and delicious!
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
Free sample from Teavivre
I love dragon pearls. The little balls of tea waiting to unfurl in my pot have an aesthetic appeal all of their own. So, when Teavivre sent me this sample I was naturally very pleased. These ones are tight little balls of dark olive with silver tips, a beatiful contrast. They smell strongly of jasmine when I open the packet, a flowery, heady aroma that makes me feel good before I have even drunk the tea.
Steeping the tea for the first time results in an almost colourless soup with a delicate jasmine aroma. The taste is sweet and jasmine-y (well it is a jasmine tea after all!). The jasmine is not overpowering and the tea is lovely, leaving me feeling good and relaxed as I finish the cup. And then, crikey, the tea really hits with a wave of well-being and relaxation that is awesome. Brilliant!
On a second steeping the tea is just as good. The liquor is slightly darker and the leaves have unfurled completely in the pot, but the taste and effect are much the same. Now, if you will excuse me I am going to just sit here and feel suffused with well-being, relaxation and jasmine tea.
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
After trying this with short steeps, I brewed it in a teapot today. The result was a bit different, and better in some ways. I noticed a lot less strong charcoal flavour, and more of a smooth and sweet liquour.
Overall I prefer the flavour of short steeping this, but it’s still nice from a teapot. If you drink a lot of tie guan yin western style, drinking this da hong pao might be a nice change of pace. It’s a very different experience, but still a good cup of oolong.
I’ve never really been charmed by da hong pao before, but I can see why people like it. With my limited experience tasting this type of tea, I cannot vouch for it’s quality. That being said, I didn’t find any of the flavours to be off putting.
400ml, 5g, 3 steeps (1m, 2m, 3m)
Yoga, then Chinese Flute radio on Pandora, candles lit, and tea with hubby. He likes this one! I never thought I would see the day! Mr. Tetley-with-milk-and-sugar is drinking oolong plain and liking it enough to keep refilling his cup and to tell me that yes, please, he would like a resteep. I am gurgling from all this tea, but I was feeling rather dehydrated after our jaunt in the rain and thunder today to set Fluffy free over an hour north of here, then shopping in Raleigh. I need this before the coming week hits – back to (home)school, orthodontist appointment for youngest, and a Stampin Up workshop for 21 people to conduct.
The sip is first malt, then wheat, followed by honey. There are flashes of light cocoa notes. It is a bit fruity. Many report sweet potato notes. I get that, but it was not as strong as some other black Chinese teas I’ve tried. This kind of reminds me of Bailin Gongfu.
This is very, very smooth. You could slam this down with out thinking about it. I choose to sip slowly. There is no bitterness and no bite. You could probably brew this strong and work the tannins into a frenzy but prepared per the instructions this seems light on the stomach. What I am not noticing is smoke. I was fully expecting some but it is not present.
Cup two, continues where cup one left off. It is now a little sweeter and that sweetness really lingers in the aftertaste. Cup three is very similar.
This is a very nice tea. The only negative comment I could offer is that oddly, I find myself missing the smoke that frightened me a year ago. That is not the fault of the tea. Rather it is my understanding of what makes a Keemun that is to blame. If you don’t enjoy a smoky tea, then this is the Keemun for you. If you like a light smoky tea try the Premium Keemun Hao Ya Black Tea.
This is so sweet! Like brown rock sugar! I love the floral aroma. It’s also got the something that reminds me of autumn. I find that this is common in dark oolongs. If you close your eyes to inhale the aroma and then sip, it’s really like being outdoors in the woods when the leaves have mostly fallen to the ground. I’d even say it’s out in the woods during late morning after the dew has dried but before it gets too hot. It’s one of the warm autumn days with chilly mornings and evenings. One of those beautiful clear days where you don’t know if you need a jacket or not. Mmm…makes me long for fall…which is almost here! I know this because even though I have a giant pot of Oriental Beauty in the fridge, I woke up craving hot tea, which is why I brewed this. It was so chilly this morning, my puppies were sticking their cold noses into my armpits and backs of my knees. They’re lucky their cute.
Back to the tea! Where was I? Sweet, autumnal, floral and woodsy (but not woody. Wood is a funny word when you think about it.) Very tasty and warming. The second steep is proving to be as delicious as the first. The first steep was sweeter and more floral, but this second one has a more prominent roasty woodsy taste. I really think I’m starting to enjoy darker oolongs. At least when they are smooth and tasty like this one. :)
I really love hot tea on chilly days. soon…
On an unrelated note, I’ve been playing Magicka with my sister. Are any of you familiar with this game? It’s sort of really hilarious. Especially when it’s me and my sister playing because we have this terrible tendency to accidentally kill each other because we thought we hit the “heal” button when we actually hit the “Fire” button. We both learned the revive spell pretty quick. :)
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
The first through sixth steeps were actually pretty consistent in flavour. Sometimes Keemun black tea is a bit harsh or almost bitter, but this one was very nice and mellow. Just the right mixture of usual Keemun characteristics, earthy, malty, and hints of spices.
Overall this is one of the better Keemun black teas I’ve tried (which isn’t a whole lot, maybe about 6-7 now). Throughout the six steeps, it never became bitter or too strong. That being said, I’m not a big fan of this type of black tea but it still managed to exceed my expectations. I’ll have to try this western style sometime with the rest of my samples.
100ml gaiwan, 2 tsp (4g-ish), rinse and 6 short steeps (from their website: 15s, 30s, 45s, 1m10s, 1m40s, 2m10s)
This is another one I’ve had my eye on for a few months. I was thrilled when it was offered to me by Angel at Teavivre. I’ve previously tried their Keemun Hao Ya, and I loved it. While it was smoky, this doesn’t smell smoky at all.
The dry leaves are particularly dark, almost black, and extremely thin and long. Like brittle spider legs as I measure them above my slightly cooled water. They smell very strong, pungent even. Once brewed, the tea smells like honey and wood with a hint of something that kinda makes me think of pumpkin.
The taste is intriguing and delicious. This is a rather strong black tea as far as Teavivre’s lineup has been so far. It makes me think of a malty puerh. I’m going to give it maybe three minutes and thirty seconds next, in hopes of making it even stronger. Must experiment. But for now, I think I liked the Hao Ya better.
Thank you to Teavivre for this sample!
Sniffing the brewing leaves was actually kind of exciting! It smelled like delicious, simmering garden greens. I brewed it according to their directions of 194 degrees for 1 minute.
The taste is as good as I was hoping. Juicy, mouthwatering, savory, brothy, salty. I really think green teas like this could make a really good soup base. Onto the shopping list it goes!
I do love black pearls … OMG. It’s been a while since I’ve had some, and it’s kind of like meeting up with an old friend that I’ve not seen in a while. Lovely!
I brewed this in my gaiwan just so that I could watch the pearls unfurl … and I don’t know if it’s the brewing method or that these pearls are just awesome but, these taste even better than I remember (I’ve tasted the black pearls from thepuriTea and these are just as good if not better, red blossom tea company – these are just as good if not better and also the black pearls from teavana, and these are better than I remember those tasting)
Rich, malty, and very deliciously chocolatey! So very yum! I do love these pearls. Love LOVE love them!!!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
Sniffing inside the tea pouch, I’m picking up on charcoal, some sweet scent and raisins.
First through fourth steeps were pretty good. The flavours suggested by the dry leaf scent were accurate. There was also a hint of chocolate in those steeps.
Continuing on for another two, the fifth and sixth steeps were pretty light but enjoyable.
Overall I liked it, but the liquor seemed to be lacking enough depth. Maybe I’m just being picky. Like I said though, it’s still a very enjoyable tea to drink. I’ll prepare this western style the next time I use more of this sample.
100ml gaiwan, 1 sample pouch (5g?), rinse and 6 steeps (as directed on their website: 25s, 40s,60s, 80s, 1m40s, 2m20s)
I saved the leaves late last night for resteeping today, because you just shouldn’t waste good leaves. Youngest made these two steeps for me as I took pooch across the street for a playdate and to have a nice break from cleaning out all the school cabinets and getting our books ready for the new homeschooling year.
The second steep is still rich and tasty. Who would have believed that a delicate white tea could have such presence? I found it to be a little nuttier than the first steep. The third steep is especially nutty – definitely walnuts, now. This is pairing nicely with our Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.
On a side note, my friend Marsha just joined steepster and I gave her a big box of tea to start reviewing! I am luring her to the loose (leaf) side. If you have a moment, find her and follow her! Her username is The Marshain!
Free sample from Teavivre
Opening the packet I am struck by a strong grassy aroma that reminds me of a Dragonwell. Initially the dry leaf looks flat like a Dragonwell too, but then I look more closely and see that it is actually curled on the edges with colours ranging from yellow-ish green to a mid green colour.
Brewing the tea reveals a pale yellowish green liquor with a buttery feel and a grassy/nutty flavour. It is mellow with a sparkly aftertaste, and less pork-chop-in-ya-face than the Dragonwells that I have tried. Yes it is slightly meaty but there is more of the good, light grassiness about it and the aftertaste lingers nicely.
Another good tea from Teavivre and worthy of keeping some in stock for when the mood takes.