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Recent Tasting Notes
I was reading Teavivre’s info and Steepster notes for this tea last night and just got so excited I could hardly wait until morning. Well, things happen with a baby and toddler, so it’s mid morning now by the time I’m sitting down to a cup.
I followed Teavivre’s suggestion on their site of 4 pearls (and they are big) and boiling water for 1, 2, and 3mins, using 200ml of water.
Opening the sample pack, I knew what to expect from all the reviews but I could hardly believe just how real it was! Every bit the scent of dark cocoa powder, maybe a little sweetened, and then a subtle hay scent coming at the end (maybe that was the sweetness). The wet leaf is full of cocoa and bread. I like where this is going!
I was a little concerned when I first started pouring that it wasn’t very dark in the cup. When the cup was full, it turned out to be a dark honey color. The taste—oh my word—semisweet, definitely more like dark cocoa than dark chocolate, but with a little cream or butter, and then finishing with bread. Seriously, look at those as a list of ingredients. It couldn’t have tasted more like a chocolate croissant if I was actually chewing through it! How is this possible?? It’s a straight tea, for Pete’s sake!
2nd steep: A few hours later, now that I can sit down again. I forgot to mention in the 1st steep that there was a whisper of smoke, but I can’t remember if that was in the wet leaf or in the cup. I’m guessing the wet leaf, because that’s where I find it this time. This steep is also semisweet, but also has a touch of bitterness—but it’s not bad—so I guess that makes it bittersweet! It has the same delicious flavors as the first, but it’s taking them longer to develop on my palate to become that buttery chocolate croissant. But that might not be the tea’s fault. I can feel myself having a hard time relaxing and concentrating on the tea… a migraine is trying to develop. Let me get right on to the next steep before Lil’ Man gets up from his nap.
3rd steep: A good deal thinner feel to this cup. The sweetness is still very much there, but the bitterness seems to be gone. The flavors are all there, too, but they don’t stick around. This time it’s just a cup to sit back and relax with; a cup to help you enjoy doing something else like reading, not a cup to focus on itself. If this was how the tea was from the beginning, I’d be saying, “Eh, yeah, what’s next?” But you know, this tea worked it’s heart out for the first two steeps. I’d say it’s rather entitled to fade off into the sunset.
This looks like it’s the first tea from my samples stash that makes me say “I’ve gotta get more of this!” I still can’t get over the whole chocolate croissant thing. Maybe I’ll do a blind sniff test with Hubby to see if he can tell the tea from some cocoa powder and a real choc croissant. There’s a good excuse to run up to the bakery!
This is a free sample provided by Angel and Teavivre for review. Thank you!
Opening the little sample pouch, I was greeted by an exquisite aroma almost too fresh to believe. How can the camellia sinensis plant produce such diversity? I used the whole sample in my 22 oz. pot since the instructions recommend 1-2 teaspoons per cup. I steeped for two minutes and when I removed the infuser basket the leaves looked so tasty I wanted to eat them! They are dark green, swirled, and soft, looking very much liked cooked spinach. And the smell of the liquor is so very vegetal that you know this has to be good for you!
There is not a trace of bitterness or sour taste. The tea has good strength and is not so delicate as to get lost with a meal. (I am having my tea with some Chinese takeout leftovers.) This reminds me very much of a DragonWell. Delicious!
Thank you again, Angel and Teavivre, for the opportunity to try your excellent teas.
This was more tart than I was expecting, but was still an enjoyable cup. I am finding myself liking hibiscus/roselle less and less, so I probably won’t buy this tea, but it was a good introduction to roselle and is a good one to have on hand for company that can’t handle caffeine. (I seem to have a lot of those friends! ) I didn’t try it sweetened; the next time I have some I will post the difference!
Thank you to Angel and Teavivre once again for their very generous sample sizes!
My husband and I have been enjoying multiple steepings of this today. We think it is quite good. After sampling about 6 pu-ehrs, some raw, others ripened, I have yet to find one I didn’t like. Whether my ratings are of much value is debatable, since I know the very best pu-erhs never leave China. So it’s all relative. But there is nothing not to like about this one-it has plenty of flavor. It is earthy, mellow, smooth and holds up to a lot of steeps.
This sample came to me by way of LibeTEAS, thank you so very much for it and the generous amount as well.
I will start by saying use caution if you intend to abbreviate pu’erh as pu .Twice today I stated that “I could do pu everyday”. I need not explain the ramifications of such a statement.
So here I am loving some pu (easy) and I wanna tell ya all about it. The dry leaf smells too sweet for hay but not enough to be called floral. Another sweet plant… After doing a 30 sec rinse I steeped for 1 min to start. Wet the leaves take on a strong aquatic/earthy smell (as wife says “it’s fish,Dave”). I must note that it’s not unpleasant for those not yet exposed to pu’s.
The flavor of this pu is so rich and wonderful and silky smooth. There’s predominantly a leathery sweetness accompanied by mint. I must pause and say here that I’m either gonna have to find a new word or rethink what I’m tasting because this is the third pu I wanna say taste kinda like toothpaste! After cooling more vegeative notes are apparent.
Second steep 2 minutes with a little less water as well. Even after opting for a stronger cup this time to explore the parameters of the drink I can honestly say it’s still smooth and sweet with almost no astringency. I feel a nice buttery richness that maybe I’ve overlooked in past taste notes of teas due to my young palate. What a drink! This may make it on the ‘gotta have it’ list.
I ended up with 4 steepings before I decided to quit drinking tea for the night.
tunes-Bill Withers=Use Me Up,Geuss Who-She’s Come Undone,Harry Nilson-Everbody’s Talking At Me
Tonight I did a tasting of this tea and Silk Road Teas Jasmine pearl tea, to see if I could pick a favorite. I’m still not sure. Teavivres pearl won me over in the aroma category; it was sweeter, even though neither were overpowering in any way. Silk roads pearl was a little heavier on the jasmine ( but still not actually heavy, just heavier than Teavivres) in flavor, so at first I was leaning towards that one. But Teavivres has a sweeter aftertaste. Overall, I like this tea and I am very happy to get the chance to try some! Thank you to Angel and Teavivre! I am looking forward to spending more quality time with this tea sample. :)
I think it’s interesting that my tea cravings change as the weather gets cooler. Well, the summer isn’t over just yet and I think we still have some hot days on the way.. but I like to think that things are changing. These days I am craving darker, richer teas – Yes, at all times of the day and night!
The tea itself is pretty thick in the mouth. It’s not creamy, but just heavy. I like this quality.. it’s almost like a comforting, chunky sweater! I am enjoying a lot of the sweetness that lingers on my tongue. The taste is leathery and a bit like wet hay. I taste a tinge of pepper as well. There is also an interesting salty note that certainly doesn’t overwhelm the cup, but makes it more interesting instead. I wish I could detect something that resembled caramel.. but it’s not to be found.
This isn’t my favorite black tea, but it definitely satisfies my craving for the moment. I see this as something that would be perfect to drink this winter when the thick snow is falling from the sky. It’s bold, dark and rich!
Yesterday I did a wee bit of shoveling-up some grass that had overgrown one of my beds outside while it was over 100 degrees for about a month and I couldn’t take the heat to work in the yard. Last night, my back told me it wasn’t very happy with me. Today when I turned to take the kettle off the burner for geometry tea, my back said NO! And I screamed! Lots of time on the heating pad, lots of ibuprofen.
There is a good part – a silver lining to this cloud. We have always had a tight budget because we made the choice for me to stay home with the kids. My income is tiny. Whisper “tiny” to see how small it is! :) For many years we literally only ate at a restaurant twice a year…our anniversary and my birthday. But last month, we started a little tradition of just hubby and me going to the Chinese buffet. The food was plentiful and good, but they only have cheap black tea, so I just made green tea when we got home and we drank it together. (The kids are old enough to stay home alone and don’t Like Chinese food.)
Tonight I told hubby that I just didn’t think I could go. My back is tight and not hurting quite as much, but sometimes when I stand, I scream. I didn’t really want to do that in a big restaurant. Hubby said he would go and get take out. They weigh the boxes. And guess what? It was cheaper to bring it home than to eat there plus you save the tip money AND I made two pots of this great jasmine tea to enjoy WHILE we ate, not just after! I had been worried about whether our budget would allow us to continue our Chinese food night tradition, but this is very do-able! Plus we have leftovers for tomorrow! Hooray!
I had my tea buying ban in effect, but then youngest needed Lapsang so she can do school, and I NEEDED to hit the free shipping mark, so I ordered some of the newer Extra Fine Downy Jasmine Pearls. :) They are on the way.
Oh, and here is today’s geometry doodle. Maybe I should tell her to be a drama major! :D
What a name. This is another sample provided by Teavivre. I opened the very stuffed sample bag and removed one hefty scoop. The remaining leaf, seems to leave the bag looking almost as full as before I got in to it. I believe if I had poured it all out, I would have a hard time putting it back. The leaf is dark green slightly rolled but straight. It is kind of flattened. It looks like dried grass. It smells nice and sweet.
I brewed for almost two minutes in heavily steaming water. This produced the lightest of yellow green liquids. The aroma of artichoke fills the air.
The sip is sweet and slightly salty. It reminds me of mild dragonwell without the butteriness. It does seem milky. I am getting a bit of numbing on the lips. Mid sip it takes on mineral notes. The aftertaste is fresh, not grassy, with a very slight tartness. Tart may be the wrong word but I can’t quite put a label on it.
On the first cup I added the tea to the water. All the leaf clung to the surface. The second time I steeped, I added a bit more leaf and poured the water over the tea. Now the leaf dances in the water. That is what I was after. There was not an artichoke aroma, until I poured the brew. The leaf is fully open, and reveals small pale green leaves. The taste at first seemed to be pretty much the same as the first cup. As it cooled a bit it came alive and produced a much more flavorful drink.
The third cup was the best yet. The flavor turned sort of cucumber. Not quite like a white tea. In whites, I think of the cucumber as leaning towards watermelon. This did not have the melon notes. Maybe this would go another cup but I don’t have time to find out today.
Chinese green tea fans, this is another great one!
Thank you Bonnie for this sample.
This is my first Teavivre tea.
I love the sample packaging.
I put the sample into my mesh ball.
This tea is green, and I tasted it without water.
Tastes like Japanese seaweed paper! yum.
I was impressed with this tea
Tastes great – lots of flavor.
I wish I can read the package – its in Chinese
The taste is smooth, yum!
Wet leaves take like spinach!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
This is my second time brewing this. Previously I used short steeps in a gaiwan, today I’m using a glass mug (about 400ml). I know everyone is not interested in short steeps, but I enjoy comparing a tea using both methods. For people that have read some of my previous tasting notes, you’ll notice that I typically short steep all of my black teas. Usually I prefer the flavour of that method, but I also enjoy the additional tea ritual steps. ;)
On the taste of today’s brewing results:
My two steeps came out pretty mild, which depending on your Keemun preference is good or bad (good for me). With the familiar flavours of its type coming up very subtly. I really enjoyed how the floral flavours were mild, while the spices were a bit stronger.
Overall I liked this Keemun tea because the flavour wasn’t bold and in my face. That being said, I am still not a big fan of this type of tea. If you like Keemun, but want more subtle flavours this is a nice tea to try. But if you prefer a bolder cup, Teavivre’s other Keemun teas fulfill that role better.
400ml-ish glass mug, 4-5g, 2 steeps (3m, 6m)
Just as I started preparing for this tea, I noticed the lingering cold that I thought was beat had reared its ugly head again. So my senses obviously aren’t what they should be. My first straight Keemun and I didn’t know how I’d feel about it. I knew it was something I needed to at least try though. My prejudices say that I don’t like smokiness, but that’s not a good enough reason to stay ignorant! I’m following the suggested temp of 90C and 1, 2, & 3min steeps.
1st steep: The wet leaf has a grainy/maltiness that I really enjoyed in the Bailin Gongfu, along with what I can’t tell is either caramel or leather (is that weird?) and a gentle smokiness. Dark coppery liquor. Smooth but thin on mouthfeel (but that’s not necessarily a bad thing) and maybe even a little powdery feeling. Smoky caramel as LiberTEAS mentioned, and some not unpleasant bitter/semisweet fruit flavor. It’s not something I necessarily come running for, but I’m not throwing out the cup by any means. I just need to learn more about it. Moving on…
2nd steep: There’s a more noticeable sweetness in the wet leaf this time, or maybe I’m just getting past the smokiness. In the cup it’s sweeter as well and the smoke is receding, at least to my senses. I’m still getting the same notes as before, but they’re changing position. Ooh, there’s that caramel again. I’m getting more positive about this now. Is that my presuppositions getting dashed and my horizons expanding, or is it the tea talking? This cup got rather cold before I’d finished and now florals are coming out.
3rd steep: For any time-poor parents of babies and toddlers out there, you can understand—I made it to 3 steeps, and I’m proud of that. (On a semi-related note, halfway through the first cup I realised I forgot to have breakfast and I still haven’t fixed that. Too late now.) Sweetness is really coming through and the smokiness is decidedly just an afterthought now. I can sense more of the grains now, and this is just turning out to be a very easy cup to drink. Being the third and final steep of a tea I was originally unsure of, that’s not terribly surprising. But it also gives me the expectation that I’ll enjoy the earlier steeps of this more the next time I make it.
I had planned to treat my 2nd sample of this as a regular breakfast tea with milk and sugar, after I gave this one a good pure test. But now that I’m noticing a change in my perspective, I think I’d like to see what I think after another pure tasting first. Looks like I’ll either need to get another sample or be convinced enough to get a stash before it gets the breakfast treatment.
I like these kind of surprises, especially when they’re educating!
I saved my little pot of leaves from yesterday because I believed with all my heart that there were a few more steeps in those last five little pearls. I was right. This is still delicious.
I used my little 8 ounce pot and made steeps three and four back-to-back, pouring them into my fair cup. Every since we started back to school, I get so soooo hungry in the afternoon, so I sat down to some teas and Lindt Spring Truffles. The rugged cocoa and malt flavor of this tea is excellent with chocolates. By rugged, I don’t mean rough or brash, think of a ruggedly handsome man who kisses like silk. Swoon! As soon as I can justify it, I need to some of these. But it will have to wait until my stash of black tea goes down a little.
The second of my Teavivre samples, and I’m going to try to get all the steeps I can and that the kids will let me. Based on how the day’s been so far, I’m a fool for trying to do this now.
I’ve only had any oolong once before, and I steeped that in my Breville One-Touch because I was making some for my husband as well. This I’m doing in my glass gaiwan and at 95C even though the sample says boiling. But for the sake of my fingers alone, I may make this in a small teapot with infuser next time. It’s hot! Otherwise, I’m basically following the gongfu times suggested (25sec, 35, 45, etc.)
1st steep Buttery with rose and grassy notes
2nd steep Still buttery and rosy, but there’s a strong bitterness that takes my attention away from everything else after that. I’ll steep it at 90C next time.
3rd steep That’s better, but perhaps the damage has been done. The notes in the 1st steep are fully back, but after a couple of sips I’m sensing the bitterness rising again. Pushing through…. Wait, maybe some caramel coming now? Floral notes really hanging around.
4th steep Yes, I am getting some caramel now. I must be getting past the bitterness now as I’m finally noticing a sweeter finish.
I’m going to finish here because I’ve got to get back to my day and I also think I’m just not in the right frame of mind for this. A little disappointed, but I’m not blaming that on the tea. There are far too many glowing praises of this tea, so I’m going to cop it myself. I’ll try it next time in a teapot with more familiar timings. At the very least, my fingers will thank me!
Tea provided by Teavivre for review
First steep, very smooth, velvety, light liquor, with the familiar Dragon Well flavour.
Second and third steeps, bolder in taste, there is also this almost fuzzy texture on my tongue.
Fourth and fifth steeps, the flavour has weakened a bit but is still enjoyable, and a bit of astringency if present (but not overdone).
Overall I really liked this Dragon Well tea. Teavivre always provides really nice green tea samples, and it’s given me a new appreciation for that type of tea.
Next time I brew this sample, I will use my competition cups to compare the Premium Dragon Well (which I purchased) with this one. After that, I’ll try it western style in a teapot.
100ml gaiwan, 4g-ish (sometimes my digital scale fudges it), 5 steeps (rinse, 20s, 40s, 1m10s, 2m, 2m30s)
Backlogging from this morning: i realized I hadn’t tealogged this one today when my youngest daughter walked by and said, with great depth of feeling, “Mom, we have GOT to get some more of that smoky tea!”
This is the last of my free sample from Angel and Teavivre. Thanks, guys, you are making me break my tea buying ban, but I am hoping this doesn’t count because it is really for my child! (yeh, right!)
We started back to school yesterday and this morning as soon as we opened the geometry book I said, “I am going to HAVE to have some tea! Smoky?” And daughter said, “Oh, yes, please!”
Middle daughter said she couldn’t have made it through Algebra II and Advanced Math without her London Cuppa. I think youngest and I will be swilling through quite a few pots of Lapsang to get through geometry. She has only had it for two days, but already says it isn’t nearly as fun as Algebra. Sigh. I hope this doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a loooong year!
The most remarkable thing is that I asked her if she wanted me to order this or her beloved Baker Street that is almost all gone. She wants this one! Wow! Teavivre, that is amazing, in case you didn’t know! So, oh well, I guess I have to order some tea tonight! It’s for school….
I steeped this again today. I was pretty sure I brewed this wrong yesterday. Today I followed the directions (doh!) The first cup at 1 minute was really good. Just like yesterday but I went 2 minutes yesterday. Cup two at 2 minutes was very similar to the first, just slightly lighter. Cup three at 4 minutes was also quite good. So, the secret with this tea for multiple steeps is to hold that first one short. Loving it.
I found an unopened sample pack of this, so I am guessing it came in an order I placed since I know I finished thoe free sample they had sent me to review! So either way, I know I got this free from Angel and Teavivre. Many thanks!
When I opened the packet, the jasmine smelled too good to describe! It was so sweet smelling I swear it was like holding a huge swig of grape Dimetapp in your mouth, and I was only sniffing the dry leaf at that point.
The steeped tea is sooo good and so smooth. The jasmine is delicious. My guest really loves black tea best, but she said she really liked this green. Another thumbs up!
The jasmine in this is so well done that this is another tea worth investing in – every jasmine from Teavivre has been excellent. They are so soothing, and I have tried jasmine teas that were more disturbing than soothing! These hit the mark perfectly!
Thank you, Angel and Teavivre!
This is the end of the very generous sample sent by Angel and Teavivre. Thank you!
This was the first tea served at tea party today! And it was the winner! I made two steeps of eight ounces each using five pearls. The liquor very quickly filled the air with a rich chocolate aroma – dark chocolate, to be specific.
The taste is tea and natural dark chocolate with a deep roasty-toasty flavor, perhaps malty. It is so rich! This is definitely going on the purchase list. My guest gave this one a big thumbs up! I may go for a third steep later! I did steep longer than recommended, giving it three minutes because I was in the mood for a hearty cup!
I have been sick all this week. When you’re sick, your tastebuds aren’t up to par, and so I’ve been drinking a lot of mediocre teas since I don’t want to waste all my good teas. Since Teavivre is having an upcoming sale on these jasmine pearls, though, I decided to try them to see what I think. I don’t need more tea, and I’ll probably resist buying them, but if they were absolutely amazing I wanted to know.
They are definitely very good. Jasmine pearls are one of my favorite teas, and this is very nice. The flavor is subtle, but I only steeped it for a minute, so we’ll have to see what happens when I steep it for a whopping 2 minutes next time.
I do feel a little bad giving this tea a rating when I’m sick and I’m not 100%, but I suppose it’s all right.
Another sample provided by Angel at Teavivre. This one is smack your lips good! (even though smacking lips is one of my biggest pet peeves lol) Thank you!!
First steep, one min. At first it was mostly just a roasted nutty flavor , which I was enjoying, with an occasional fleeting floral note. As I neared the bottom of the cup it got increasingly sweet and bakey, like whatever oven it had been roasted in was also used to bake bread, and the tea had soaked up bread nuances. Bread is kind a big deal for me. I have several close relatives and friends that are either celiac or gluten intolerant; I’m hanging on to bread with everything I’ve got!! :P
2nd steep, two min. Mmm it smells so good! I’m trying to wait to sip it, my experiences so far have proven that it tastes the best when it’s cooled a minute or two. I busied myself with getting my daughters lunch ready. She has the strangest tastes for a two year old. We had leftovers from a Japanese place and she was so excited to get edamame (Beans!!!) and stir fried noodles (Noodles!!!). Now that she’s preoccupied, back to my tea! So far this steep is primarily roasty, with some barely discernible floral notes. That oh-so-sweet baked bread profile returns somewhere around the middle of the cup, and strangely more floral notes as well. It’s delicious.
This tea doesn’t strike me as a typical Tieguanyin; isn’t it usually greener, and more floral, not so roasted? Either way, I like this tea! I’m going to save the leaves for steepings later, it doesn’t taste nearly done!
After totaling my truck and having some aches and pains I’m starting to feel back to normal so maybe I can start getting more tasting notes in.
This is another LiberTeas sample and I’m sure glad she selected it for my sample box. It’s good!
Dry leaf has a nice sweet aroma. I’m starting to fully subcsribe to the thought that my nose is not to be trusted; for the second time in a week I say leaf smells like bubblegum-probably grape.
Add boiling water and that soon changes. Its still fruity, even berry notes, but definitely not grape. Color is a deep red/brown.
First thing I found after sipping was a coppery malt flavor. The sweet vein is undeniable and reminds me of a certain type of syrup. I’m not sure what kind, but can pretty much rule out maple. There’s a little astringency, though not enough to scare me away.
This tea gives me a nice warmth in the back of my throat. Couple that with the third shift that I can’t seem to adjust to and my eyes are getting heavy. I will put this in the;‘will make a new tasting note later’ file so I can pay better attention then. The drink got cold and so did this note, better luck next time. Thank you and goodnight,…your humble servant.
tunes-Bob Weir & Ratdog=Two Djinn/Even So/October Queen/Lucky Enough
Trying to remember, but I’m pretty sure this is the first unflavored or non-blended black tea I’ve had besides a Spring Darjeeling (during an Afternoon Tea at the QVB Tea Room in Sydney). It’s also the first of my samples from Teavivre, so there’s another reason to be excited about it. Well never fear, it’s lived up to the high expectations and surpasses them! That seems hard to do given such glowing praise it’s received on here, but the fact is, I finished the first cup well over half an hour ago and I’m still relishing the flavor in my mouth!
It is what everyone has already mentioned. Semi-sweet (TeaEqualsBliss). “Psuedo-smoky” (Angrboda). Thick mouthfeel and very malty—a new flavor in tea for me—without aggressiveness (Dylan Oxford). And so many others said how rich and bold it is. I may have missed it, but didn’t see anyone write how long the sensations last: it is astounding!
Since I’m really learning now and trying to train my palate, I don’t think it’s fair or helpful for me to give number scores yet. But this tea is a real lesson in richness, length of flavor, and HOW GOOD a straight black tea can be without any additions! I’m looking forward to a couple more steeps for these leaves (and the 2nd sample pack of it!) and my big stash of other Teavivre samples is looking even better than it was before!