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Recent Tasting Notes
This one was included as a free sample with my Teavivre order and it’s been poking about on a shelf ever since I found out what sort of tea it was. I’m not really the keenest white tea drinker in the world, to be entirely honest. I tend to get along with added flavour better than without.
The funny thing is that not that many years ago, so recent in fact that it’s documented here on Steepster, I thought BMD was the bestest thing ever. Ever! And then… I just kinda fell out of love with it without even realising it. I even went so far as to toss almost an entire tin of it the other day when I realised that I hadn’t even touched it in years, and that it was so old by now that I wouldn’t even be able to make myself give it away.
Honestly? I felt better for having just taken that particular bull by the horns and cleared out something that would otherwise just have stood there for ever. I even managed to use that same momentum to toss a couple of other things in that same sort of category. One of these days I really have to go through the tea corner and make some tough decisions on what is likely to get used up and what is likely to simply gather dust. I have to say it’s not a job I’m looking forward to, even though I know I’ll feel good about having done it afterwards.
Now, back to this tea. I debated with myself for a bit about whether to brew it western style or whether to attempt to semi-gong-fu it, but eventually decided on western style. As I discussed previously, I often feel that western style gives me a better, deeper sort of idea of the flavour profile at hand, not to mention the fact that drinking seven cups of a tea I felt a little dubious about from the beginning didn’t really sound super appealing.
I patted myself on the back when I saw that the brewing guidelines from Teavivre are actually for a western style cup.
When I opened the little envelope, I was struck by how brightly light green the leaves were. Green tea is usually bright green as well, but this was even brighter, and it was the same thing when they were wet after steeping and a few of them landed in the strainer. I recall a much more sort of brownish and greyish sort of green.
They had a vegetal aroma, rather spicy like Darjeelings and for some reason reminded me or pea pods, in spite of the fact that they smelled nothing like any part of the pea plant at all.
After steeping the tea has a darker sort of aroma, kind of vegetal and grassy. There’s also a strong aroma of something familiar that I couldn’t quite place. This is where I cheated and looked at what other people had noted there. I normally try to avoid this, as I feel it adds a bias to my own experience. If someone says they’ve found for example notes of melons in whatever it is I’m writing about, I end up sitting here trying my damndest to find those melons too. And if I then do find them, I’m never quite certain if I really think there is a note of melons or if I’ve been affected by someone else’s experience. But this time I needed some help with identifying that note.
So I used a lifeline and asked the audience.
A couple of people mentioned cucumber and that rang a bell. For me, though, it’s more along the lines of courgettes, but there isn’t really a very large difference there. Whether it’s cucumbers or courgettes I think is a question of association.
This note is enormous in the flavour as well. Courgette all over the place. Along with those there is definitely a grassy note again, but it’s not as spicy as in the arome and it’s staying in the background.
This cup of
liquid courgette tea is probably not going to bring me back into the white tea fold. I just think that the black teas and the dark oolongs have a so much more interesting flavour than the green and whites. 7 out of 10 cups, I reach for a black tea and I don’t really expect that to change any time soon. The remaining three are typically oolongs.
It does however make me curious about a couple of other BMD samples I’ve got standing around. I’ve mostly found walnutty flavours in BMD in the past and I’m interested to see if this courgette business might happen in others as well.
Second tea of the morning…….
I received this sample a several weeks ago from TeaVivre and have been putting off reviewing due to my seasonal allergies. It is hard to taste things very well when your sense of smell is off. I am a little sad it is out of stock, but am hopeful that there will be more for the next season.
This is nutty, and more vegetal than the Premium Dragonwell. There is the slightest hint of bitterness, but it works to cleanse the palate. It is a surprisingly refreshing tea, and there is not a hint of aftertaste. I would never have guessed that the lightest amount of bitterness could work so well in ones favor. It can be a good thing, when in the right amount. I am sure it will be a great resteeper, and I will thoroughly enjoy the sample. I hope to add a few more notes on this one because it is so interesting how flavors I thought were not of interest to me actually are! Thank you, again, to TeaVivre for the opportunity to sample this one.
190 water, about 2 tsp tea in a 15 oz mug. 3 minutes. No additions.
So I’ll preface this by saying a few things…
1) I was at work when I first tried this and,
2) I’m not terribly good at describing the subtle tastes of things like wine or coffee or tea and,
3) I’ve been more a Japanese green tea drinker in the last few years than a Chinese one.
With that said, I did delve into this green tea, one of three that Angel from Teavivre sent. I picked this one because of the reference to chestnut flavours…though I’m fairly uncertain what chestnut actually tastes like.
The dry leaf is dark green in colour, and sort of thin spindly leaves. The smell is clean and earthy and a little roasty toasty. Brewed, they expand and turn into a mossy green colour. The liquor was pretty pale and yellow, and still smelled much like the dry leaf. The taste was crisp and clean, and reminded me a bit of a green oolong. There was a little roasty toasty flavours though. There was a barely noticeable astringency, but I wouldn’t say bitter by any means. I think that the main flavours I picked up were vegetal, and reading about asparagus as a flavours, as odd as it is, I think I can make that out, but I’d never know it unless I read others saying that.
My preparation was electric kettle boiled water, left to rest about 3-5 minutes before adding thee strainer with he tea leaves, of which I used about two bamboo spoons wort. The tea is so lightweight and thin that it was a little difficult to get a good measure. Steeped about 2 minutes in between running back and forth from customers.
Overall, I like it and will be interested to see how it compares to the other greens and oolongs I got from Teavivre. I’ll be interested to see if I can discern any subtleties in them.
I opened up the little pouch expecting an explosion of honey scent, but I was surprised to smell a green oolong. As everyone has already said, the leaves are covered in sticky honey! It’s not so bad that one cannot get the leaves into the cup, but I had to be a little careful to maneuver them into my cup. I love the idea of tea leaves soaked in honey. What a beautiful image!
The tea steeps into a rather dark, almost murky, color. It doesn’t really smell any different than other oolongs I’ve had before. The taste is of a relatively smooth oolong. It’s floral and definitely vegetal. The honey, for me, comes at the end of the sip. You know the way your mouth sometimes puckers after you have just honey? That’s how mine is feeling after each sip. In a way, the honey note at the end cuts off the smoothness of the rest of the tea. It remains enjoyable, though, because you get just a tinge of honey sweetness. This is a very unique tea and I am enjoying this cup because of it! Thank you to Teavivre for a sample!
This tea is a sample provided by Teavivre for review. It seems to be of very high quality. When I opened the package it had that floral sweetness that I love in an oolong. But, when brewed it is more of the vegetal spinachy variety. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but not my cup of tea.. heh. If you like the more vegetal variety of oolong, then you will love this tea. Giving it high marks for the quality and for the fact that it tastes really good for a Dong Ding.
I have to agree with the others that while the roselle is a bit tart, it isn’t the punch in your face from hibiscus tart. I did add some sugar to this, and I’m sure that helped mellow it out some. I got interested in this one when I saw aislingoftea write about it, and I knew that I wanted to try this in my next batch of samples from teavivre. So thanks to Angel for sending this one to me.
The smell in the bag is simply intoxicating. My palate isn’t as refined as some to be able to pick out the individual fruits, and as the roselle offers that bit of tartness, it masks the other flavours a little bit for me. But I can say that the fruits all blend seamlessly into a nice fruity concoction. I can only imagine how awesome this will be as iced tea come summer. I wonder how it would be cold brewed. This tea makes me want one of those clear tea tumblers so I can show off my cheeky fruits!
Overall, I’m pretty happy with this one. I had a feeling when I first requested this that the roselle might be a bit hibiscus-like, so I was a little nervous, but the other fruits just sounded so yummy, how could I not try this? :P
Thanks to Angel at Teavivre! I tried this today and I must say, I am impressed. Steeped Gongfu style, it provided a much needed calmness to my morning.
Dry the leaves give faint notes of cream. The liquid color is pale yellow. I went 5 steeps on this and only the 5th was noticeably less in flavor. Still good, the 5th steep was just lighter. As Dinosara noted, it lacks the intensity of ATR, owing mostly to the stated fact that ATR uses TQY. I hadint known that before but it makes sense now.
I have been a devoted fan of ATR’s Milk oolong but I think for the price, I have a new favorite.
An order will be following.
First review and a huge thank you to TEAVIVRE and ANGEL for this beautiful sample! (sample is hardly correct…it is generous and wrapped in a way that honors the tea inside)
I made sure that my glass pot, glass mug, infuser…everything was sterile so that no sneeky flavor from past tea tastings would interfer with this one. This tasting is special. I love Pu-erh! The little Toucha is cute (I know cute is tacky) with the little rosebud on top of the small dome of aged Pu-erh. I poured the water over the tea and waited….watching the dome disolve…1,2.5 minutes (tasting along the way). Pulled the basket out and smelled the leaves…small and almost black like wet potting soil earthy. The scent is like sweet straw and a bit spicy. The liquid pour looks like light molasses in color. First sip is slightly sweet, not too earthy with a slight caramel cinnamon finish. I’m a sweet lover so I added a tad of sweetening…and it brought up the caramel flavor. Delicious and mello. Now a bit of creme…um…buttery caramel Pu-erh with a bit of earthiness and still good color and body. No fishiness and I did not rinse the Toucha. The rose did not have an effect for me. Maybe it was in the background and gave the spice or sweetness.
*Second steeping 2.5 minutes reveals a less caramel taste but still a beautifully mild earthy flavor and round tone perfect for adding what you want for a latte. I made an iced version just to see how it would taste…thinking of the 72 weather outside. This was wonderful iced! Bravo! No bitterness at all! Ice cubes, sweetening and milk or whatever you use…ice cream…and a Puerh smoothie that you can still taste as what it is! Fantastic! Purely as straight pour…or as you wish..tea is such luxury. I found that my first tasting this morning took my appitite away which was a nice bonus since I could lose a few.
This was for a tea review of a sample of Yin Zhen sent to me by Teavivre.
The leaf was very fluffy and downy. This was very promising as their Bai Mu Dan was similarly fluffy and produced an absolutely amazing cup. I was expecting a high sweetness I think of as typical of Silver Needles over the heartier, richer White Peony.
My first hint that this was a different Yin Zhen was the scent of the leaves. It was very woody and a tad musty. Not in a bad way, just more potent than I expected.
I watched the color closely as I brewed it (in a gaiwan) since I figured it would be wise not to trust my “normal” Yin Zhen technique. The first infusion (80C for 2 min) was sweeter than a Bai Mu Dan, but not overly so. There was a noticeable and pleasant lingering effect of that sweetness on the front of my tongue. It was faintly reminiscent of thyme and rosemary, maybe even with a mintiness. The liquor was a pleasant blond-gold color.
The second infusion (at the same time and temperature) had an aroma of straw and that woodiness that I sensed in the dry leaf. There was less sweetness.
The third and fourth infusion continued to be more woody and less sweet leaving me with the distinct impression of a really good Bai Mu Dan. It’s interesting and not bad, just not what I was expecting.
Tasting note from my 7 year old grandson Micah. The tea leaves smell like chicken and smoke. The tea tastes good and not like the wet tea leaves. It tastes like a cookie…like the caramel candy you gave me today grandma.
Note from Grandma: I think this is pretty spot on! Micah knows how to clean and devein shrimp, prep veggies and likes my butter garlic with breadcrumbs brussel sprouts! We went to a Greek Taverna last night and he got to break a plate “OPA”!
Pi day. A complex day deserves a complex sort of tea. Keemun it is! I brew up some of Teavivre’s Premium Hao Ya and see if the math checks.
The dry leaf is woodsy and earthy with a slight cocoa note, typical of many keemuns. The scent of the wet leaf is not all that much different than the dry, but slightly more gentle. The liquor smell loses some of that nice earthiness and is of a far more smoky quality.
As I sip, I’m not intrigued. I’m not mystified. I’m not overly interested. This keemun would best be described as mild-flavored, with smoke. On the initial swallow, this tea is not particularly strong. There is a somewhat malty taste on the onset with a hint of sweetness. But, the aftertaste brings a stronger wave of smokiness that makes you forget the opening. The cocoa notes are relatively weak in this one, which is a disappointment. You can faintly taste the cocoa lingering, but it never dazzles and pops. Failure to reach potential. The depth in this tea is lacking.
Overall, the math is a little off. This keemun is an average offering: neither fascinating, nor drab. Intricately deep and complex like pi, this tea is not.
You may consider this a continuation of the post I wrote a couple of days ago, and which you can find here http://steepster.com/Angrboda/posts/106070
If you can’t be bothered to go link hopping, I wrote about this tea in multiple (4) short steeps but didn’t come to a rating conclusion because I found the four infusions so vastly different from one another. Some had elements that I really like and some had elements that I dislike, so it was all rather confusing. Over all though, I found it a bit wan and as though there was something missing.
This time I’m having it steeped western style. This is what I mostly do, so I have more of an idea of what to expect here. In my experience western style usually yilds a darker and deeper sort of infusion, where gong fu is more about picking up on smaller nuances. Compare it to impressionist paintings. Western style gives you the big picture and only that, where gong fu allows you to step closer, inspect the technique used in painting and the combination of colours and then piece it all together into a whole yourself. I suppose that makes gong fu an exersize in tea tasting, where western style becomes more like having the answer sheet handed to you.
This in turn leads me to wonder if the reason I tend to prefer western style may in fact be due to being lazy.
Anyway, I have made it western style today, and I do indeed now sit here with a considerably darker and deeper sort of brew.
This time I’m getting none of the floralness that I had objections about in the earlier attempt. The aroma is all bready and toasty, and with a certain amount of autumnal notes to it. Like the smell of leaves on the ground in the forest in mid-autumn. A bit earthy and a bit wooden as well. Mostly though, it’s toast and freshly baked goods I’m getting. If I really really concentrate, there is a mild chocolate note in it as well, but I can only find it if I’m searching for it and then only if I hold my nose in a very specific distance to the cup. I suspect it’s some of the toastiness that gets transformed under these circumstances.
The flavour is all dark and earthy now, and there’s a nutty top note on it. It’s like I first get the basic earthiness and then the nutty note pops up at the top of the mouth and works its way downwards to the tongue. A bit wooden, but mostly nutty. And lets face it, most nuts are kind of woody in flavour anyway.
As with the aroma, I’m getting a lot of toasty notes in along with the nuts, but it no longer gives me any baked goods associations. Toasted nuts, perhaps? That makes sense, actually.
There’s an intersting difference between my gong fu results and my western style results. Gong fu gave me the barest hints of caramel, but in this round the barest hints of caramel has turned into strong hints of chocolate. Apart from both of those being sweet flavoured, they’re not really related flavours at all. I think it’s the deeper feeling to the western style flavour that does it.
As it cools a little, the nutty notes take over and it’s a very toasty and nutty sort of profile. It tastes a bit like it should be a little astringent, like many nuts are, but when you pay attention to that, you find to your surprise that it’s not astringent at all.
The aftertaste is woody and nutty as well, and unlike the gong fu session, here it’s very long, prickling on my tongue and palate long after I’ve swallowed. I always appreciate a good long aftertaste IF it’s a pleasant one (green and white teas for me often aren’t). It’s like it makes the cup last longer.
Maybe it makes me rather a philistine or perhaps I’m just too bone idle to really appreciate gong fu, but I do prefer western style brewings most of the time. Gong fu is fun to experiment with, but for me that’s all it is. I like the depth that western style provides.
First Review and thank you to Teavivre and Angel for this fine sample (ample sample)!
What a spectacularly beautiful tea! I used a double glass cup so that I could see the color of this tea and WOW! The tone is golden amber lit by firelight. I didn’t read the reviews on this tea so that I could form my own thoughts on it. Caramel was my first opinion..very light..with a little buttery pie crust taste(I used to bake pie for contests so I know crust!). There is a smidge of vegital but not a green note…more like a yellow wax bean or raw sweet potato when you cut it (not a yam). I never would have sipped this even a year ago and snapped my fingers and announced…“Ah now this is a good Chinese black tea!” For all I knew black tea would be …eh…dark…and bitter…and in a bag! ergh! This is fit for a Queen…and I suppose that sans an abusive ex-husband…I’ve become a Queen! I quite like my new TEA life and I quite like this tea for sure! 3min steep did it for me!
Thanks to Angel from TeaVivre for the great samples!
This was a very nice tea, similar in style to some silk oolongs I’ve tried in the past. There is a nice green tea-style “vegetal” flavour – it’s got that fresh grassy oolong taste which is very smooth and enjoyable. There is some light sweetness as well that blends nicely together for a very rounded taste – very straightforwardly good. This is a light tea which you could sip very casually and have a nice calm day. Very tasty and a great addition to the tea collection!
First review. Thank you again Teavivre for the beautifully packaged sample. This was the second tea that I shared with my granddaughter Megan today after watching Amadeus. I didn’t let her have a smell of the wet tea leaves…just the pour which was a steep of 3 minutes. She could not believe the flavor! “This is incredible…what is this”! I laughed and explained and asked what she tasted. It’s floral, buttery, popcorn. Then I had her smell the beautiful green wet tea leaves. “Spinach grandma! How could that smell make such a different tasting tea”? And that’s part of the magic isn’t it. The chameleon character of some tea…smells like one thing tastes like something else…huh we all know what that’s like don’t we. And we love that surprise too. This gem of a high quality A+ tea is so smooth a luscous. The flavor so well balanced that no one nuance outshines another. I found myself looking at the bottom of my cup like an addict ready to dip my finger in to grab for the last drop. Fortunately I can resteep many times without denigration. This is a keeper tea!
Mmmmm… this is delicious. I think this might be my favorite of the samples Teavivre has sent me. And of course it serves me right that this is currently out of stock since I took so long to get to reviewing this one. This will come back on stock soon, right? right??? Puppy dog eyes
I’m always surprised how flavorful the teas from Teavivre can be even when the liquid is so lightly colored. It’s a lovely light color though. Pale yellow-y green. Like new spring. :) The smell and flavor is like a cross between gyokuro and chun mei green. This brew is sweet and green and nutty with a overall sense of savory goodness. It’s completely smooth with no drying sensation whatsoever. It also complements my homemade spicy shrimp fried rice amazingly well.
Yum. So smooth and sweet and savory… Time for steep 2!
I’m brewing this according to brewing instructions and I can’t say that I’m that satisfied. Comparing it to my previous note when I did shorter steeps with far less water, this one has a mild first infusion and second comes as kicking espresso. Third infusion is more down to earth, but still there isn’t that much of flavor and aroma complexity and it retains great deal of espresso character.
Sipped this one extensively over last couple of weeks and wrote a review on my blog:
Copy-paste the content in Google Translate and translate it as Croatian.