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Recent Tasting Notes
Sipdown! This one has just been a delight to have. I saved it for special days, so it lasted a bit longer. The leaves are an amazing color and they smell so strongly of florals and deep spinach greens. The liquor is amazingly strong at the 1min. steep times I used and very little leaf is needed to make a good cuppa. This is a must-try for oolong lovers and it’ll be hard to beat as far as Tie Guan Yin teas go.
Wohoooo! This is my 500th tasting note!
And what a great tea to be sipping. The leaves of this tea are such a deep, jade color. You can tell just from looking and smelling this that the liquor will be vibrant. The smell and taste remind of me of heady flower scents, mainly honeysuckle. There is something almost powder-like about the mouth feel of this tea; I wonder if I’m the only one who gets that from this one? This tea is very smooth and flavorful, even at a 1min. steep time. Very green, floral, very subtly sweet.
Thank you Angel! I just got my package in today. Perfect timing by the way, as I’m trying to relax. I have to say that Teavivre’s shipping is amazingly quick. This tea is just something else. The leaves are this amazing, deep green color. The dry leaf has an amazing magnolia/deep floral aspect. I’m so surprised how fragrant this one is. I’m going to steep this in my smallest teapot (~6oz) for 1min/2min/3min.
1st steep (1min): The liquor is very clear and has notes of hay and flowers. The leaves unfurled in this amount of time and are just the most amazing shade of green. This has the most interesting flavor! There is a bite of something I don’t have words for. This has some quiet floral notes and almost a hint of grape there in the background; it is very faint. This is one interesting tea!
2nd steep (2min): Much more floral this time. Very warming and strong flavored.
3rd steep (3min): Still very flavorful, a really solid tea and one that I’d recommend.
I really love Dan Cong oolong teas. This one is no exception. I love this tea. The first steep was a bit difficult because it brewed a deep golden amber very quickly. So, it was a little bitter. The flavors weren’t that pronounced. The second steep, on the other hand, was beautiful. It was a light honey color. The leaves smelled delicious like peaches. I love the fruit and slight floral tones in this tea. The lower the temperature, the better tasting this is. It has some roasted and warm components to it. This is a darker oolong.
This is a great tea that can withstand several steeps.
So…. I’m a little in love with this tea right now. Here is why.
There is a nice sweetness to this tea, which is typical of this type, but still I love it.
There is also a nice grassy/floral note that really helps to balance out the sweetness of the tea.
It resteeps very well. I lost count of the times I was able to reuse this.
Finally, it looks really cool and calming while it steeps.
In close, I love Dragonwell and this is one I like.
Gah, why am I not a fan of this tea? This tea is from Meeka from our Steepster meetup.
I always wanted to try this tea – the appearance is pretty cool! I used my gaiwan for this tea and it was a treat to watch the dusty lumps expand into large deep green leaves!
Taste? ehhh. I was getting a delicious smooth, savory ginseng medicinal but also with licorice and sweetness. The sweetness hits my tongue similar to stevia and was a big turn off. I’m not really into licorice either. Ah well, I’m happy to of tried it!
I’m supposed to be getting sweet potato out of this? not happening. It kinda tastes like a weed. Well, not that I know what a weed tastes like really, but you know…
It’s a tolerable drink, but the flavor is a bit boring. Oh well. But thank you moraiwe for giving me the opportunity to try this!
EDIT: as this cools down. I think I might be getting some of that sweet potato. Still not exciting though ヽ（´ー｀）┌
I am just about at the end of this sample – It made I have no idea how many pots of tea, maybe 10? It seemed like a ton! I’ve lost count over the last few days. My last steep wasn’t particularly long, but for the first time I can tell it is getting to the end. I’ll probably do one more longer steep, but I can definitely say this lasted a longgg time.
When I opened it, the earthy smell seemed less pronounced than others that I’ve tried (that is a very small list anyway). Dry, it reminded me of charcoal leftover after a bonfire – the layers were so interesting. After rinsing, I was surprised at how many small bits of tea went through the strainer (I have a large strainer that fits in the teapot and so far this is the first time I’ve ever had anything go through it; it is very fine) but they remained settled at the bottom and didn’t have any affect whatsoever on the drinking experience.
My first steep was quite dark, but I should have left it a little longer (I’m still a bit afraid of turning it into fish soup…I don’t even know if that would happen but I’ve been doing short steeps to minimize the chance that I’ll need to pour it down the drain). It didn’t taste nearly as strong as I expected, but it had a strong smell that was clean, crisp, and earthy. Subsequent steeps were a bit longer (I’ve been judging based on colour mostly, once it gets nice and dark I take the leaves out) and each steep has been flavourful.
I’ll admit that the crumblyness and bits on the bottom had me worried at first, but this is definitely a very well rounded tea. Mellow is a great way to describe it and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, particularly to someone who is either new to puerh or who – like me – has had bad experiences in the past!
Honestly, I thought this was chamomile when I asked for this sample. So I didn’t quite know what to expect once I realized it wasn’t. The dry pieces smell like sweet, toasted rice. There’s something else, too, that I can’t quite describe. I assume it’s the persimmon identified in the Teavivre description, since I’ve never actually had persimmon.
This tisane brews up a nice, lemony yellow. And the taste is fantastic! Nothing at all like chamomile, for sure. Closer to sencha. Toasted rice, sweetness, a touch of corn… and again that something else that I can’t articulate. I think the lesson here is that I need to hit my local Chinese market and try some persimmon!
This is a nice sleepy-time tea.
Purchased some time ago, this is another tea I own that I forgot to leave a review.
First steep: tasting a lot of qualities that I expect from this type of oolong. There’s this kind of sweet-astringent flavour, slightly floral aroma, and the satisfying creaminess of an oolong.
Overall I enjoyed the tea. It’s nice to drink something besides tie guan yin when I want an oolong. My personal preference is to use a bit more leaf than I usually do for ball style oolongs.
500 ml glass mug, 3 tea spoons, 3 minute steep
Thanks once more to TeaVivre and Angel for this sample!
Again I must preface this note with a disclaimer that I am not a green tea aficionado. As an allergy sufferer, I need strong smells and tastes to penetrate my constantly tormented sinuses and taste buds. A lot of green tea selections seem to have flavors that are much weaker than the black tea powerhouses that I prefer. Plus, I require a more electrifying caffeine jolt in the morning to bring me back to life.
When I opened this package, I noticed the fresh quality of the long green tea leaves. This is probably because the harvest was less than two months ago. The unbrewed odor was very faint and somewhat grassy.
I steeped the leaves for two minutes at 185 degrees as directed on the package. The color of the brewed tea was an extremely pale greenish gold, just a tad darker than clear. I didn’t detect any aroma emanating from my cup, even when I pushed my snozz deep inside of it.
The flavor was…there…but it lacked definition, depth, and power. It wasn’t unpleasant. It wasn’t bitter. It was illusive. After really concentrating and focusing hard during a cup and a half of sips, I was finally able to register a ghostly sweet and lightly grassy taste on my palate.
If green teas are your preference, and your sinuses are in much better shape than mine, you probably won’t find anything dislikable about this selection. However, if you are olfactorily challenged (as I am), you may find yourself pining for TeaVivre’s Premium Keemun Hao Ya or Yun Nan Dian Hong – Golden Tip black teas (as I did).
Thank you Angel for this wonderful sample!!
Full review on http://sororiteasisters.com/ today at 6pm central but here are snippets:
When steeped properly there is absolutely no astringency and of course no bitterness. There is also a lovely light sweetness to the flavor that can be detected at different levels through the various steeps. The color is very light so do not be tempted to over steep this lovely tea. Take your time with it and let the flavors be gently caressed out of the leaf with shorter steep times which will provide you a longer and more relaxing brewing session. Green teas like this one from Teavivre are deserving of your time and focus. I do not recommend a tea like this for an out the door on the go tea. You can do that if you wish, but I feel it is cheating the tea from providing all that it has to offer and really just cheating yourself.
The aroma is strong, awakening, and as fresh as a tea can smell. The dry leaf is so pretty and bright green. The flavors range through various steepings from nutty, buttery, vegetal, and salty, but every single steep brings forth the freshest flavors you could imagine.
Actually feeling like me today. No headache. No earache. Yeah! Sipping this one again today. Still tasty.
I picked up a bass guitar a few days ago. I can’t play bass – yet, but I have one. Today is the first day I have had a chance to thump on it. Used headphones so I wouldn’t annoy others or embarrass myself. A good time was had by all. Started with Paranoid. The bass line drives that song. Since I am not likely to work it in to a song at church, I guess I’ll finish my cup and go work on something more appropriate. Although we do have a punk inspired version of This Is The Day. Most fun you can have with three chords.
I have had such a headache for two days. It was making me nearly sick to my stomach. I barely ate or drank all day. This evening my brother gave me a bag of morels he and his wife found growing in their yard. They are huge. One made a sandwich. Snapped me out of my pain.
In celebration I fixed this tonight. I don’t know about the rest of you but I cannot bring myself to use as much leaf as called for on the instructions. 8g/8oz would make this $3/‘teapot’ (1 cup). I know it is a free sample, I just can’t. I used abt 3.5g (half the sample) and it is plenty hearty enough for me. I could sit and breath in the wet leaf all night, except then I wouldn’t get to drink it. This is excellent even fixed my way and it steeps 3 times.
This is my third dragon well furnished by Teavivre. Nonpareil according to Wikipedia means ‘without equal’. This is a pre-ming tea. That means this is a rare high quality tea and a treat for me to get to try it.
The leaf is straight, flat, and emerald as it is supposed to be. Once the water hits it the aroma is an amazing steamed spinach. Love the scent. The first thing I noticed about the sip is it is very smooth and mellow. It is slightly sweet and has a milky like feel across the tongue.
I have also had the Superfine and the Premium versions of this tea. Each has the basic Long Jing flavor, yet each is different. This is the most mellow of the three. The Premium had the most bite. Teavivre says this has a chestnut like taste. I am not familiar with the taste of chestnuts, so I can’t verify the similarity. To me it is non-bitter Chinese grassy green tea with a woody/nutty kind flavor. The aftertaste lingers nicely.
It has been 4 days since I have had a good cup of tea. I have been too busy fighting a virus to even care about good tea (today I declare victory over you stupid virus). It was so tempting to just grab a low quality glass out of the fridge. So glad I took the time for this one today. A very nice cup.
Oh dear, I can feel that this is going to be a really long post. I’ll let you all know when I’m going to actually start writing about the tea, so you can skip ahead if you like.
My Teavivre order arrived! I wasn’t even expecting it yet. I’ve ordered stuff from China before, obviously, and I know it usually takes a couple of weeks to get here, but I don’t know why I hadn’t realised that it had actually been that long since I ordered.
Oh well, I’m certainly not complaining! :D I have unpacked my tea and the cats have given the box and the wrappings a very thorough sniffing. I don’t know what they kept the wrapping supplies next to in China, but whatever it is, it’s very interesting to cats.
While the wrapping was undergoing such a detailed inspection, I tried to decide which one to try first. And then I smacked my forehead because DUH! Self, don’t be an eedjit. You obviously start with the Tan Yang.
If you are wondering what’s so obvious about that, you have not been following me for long enough. Fujian produces the majority of all my very favourite black teas, and my most beloved type of all is Tan Yang. This is the type where I have been known to draw little hearts on the label. So yeah. Obvious. :)
The first time I ordered from Teavivre, I believe the company was still very young, but they had marched right into the hearts of many Steepsterites with their high quality and their sample program. For me, it was the Bailin gong fu that finally drew me in and made me place that first order. There was a contact form on the site that you could fill out if you had questions or suggestions, so I asked if they were planning on stocking a Tan Yang in the future. I can’t remember what exactly the reply was, but I think I was told that they would look into it.
Some time passed and eventually Teavivre did indeed offer a Tan Yang. Oh, how I coveted it! But unfortunately circumstances conspired against me and I didn’t feel like the time was right to buy it. We’ve been frugal, you know, what with having our wedding and then a bit later Husband having a stint with unemployedness, and now we want to start saving up so we can eventually buy a house. It’ll probably be at least a year before we’ll even consider talking to the bank, but we still have to start now.
So I sat here and watched other people drink this highly coveted tea, and then I COULD NOT TAKE IT ANY LONGER, flails AAAAAAAAARGH!!!! pant pant
I cracked and ordered. As long as I control myself I can totally save up and buy interesting tea now and then at the same time. Besides, I was getting to that point where every time I saw someone write about it, I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t bought any myself yet. You know, having suggested that they get some in their shop…
Okay, the actual drinking of the tea starts here!
The aroma is quite mild, and it’s has a bit of a honeyed caramel-ish note to it. There’s a little bit of grain underneath too. I suspect this is a more well behaved version than the (Most Highly Beloved of All) Te Ji I get from TeaSpring. But then again, that one is pretty unruly at times, so it wouldn’t be difficult to be better behaved.
Oh, so sweet! So caramel-y! There’s a bit of malt and cocoa as well, but I think it tastes mostly like sugar and caramel. I mentioned yesterday that I don’t like sugar in tea, but what I meant was that I don’t like sugar added to tea. When it is naturally occurring like this, I like it just fine. It has to do with the way added sugar changes the mouthfeel for me. Anyway, first sip gives my sugar-y caramel-y flavouring, and a summerly note of… sip sip grass?
GRASS??? o.O Well, that’s new. It’s not in overwhelming amounts, though, (like what happens with most Darjeelings for me) so it doesn’t become unpleasant.
Underneath that, and especially at the moment just before I swallow is the very important grain-y note. An awesome Fujian would only be half as awesome without that note. There is only one type of tea in which a good strong note of grain is more important, and that’s in Keemuns.
Still, like with all the notes in here, it’s fairly calm and civilized and to my surprise I find I quite enjoy that. I mean, I love that the Te Ji tastes so riotously wild sometimes, but I’m getting older and slower, and sometimes it’s better with a tea that matches.
My cup appears to have become empty… I don’t usually finish drinking before I’m finished writing. I must have needed it.
That’s it. If anybody needs me further today, I’ll be in the kitchen drawing little hearts on this label.
Pretty satisfied with this choice. I’ve been addicted to Golden Monkey; however, (unfortunately) I was addicted to the wrong company’s. I feel that compared to Teavana’s Golden Monkey, this one has a lot more going on…more complexity, if you will.
When I drank Teavana’s, I felt satisfied…like it was a rich, smooth black tea. Rather classic, nothing special. With this one, though, I was able to draw out some of the nuances mentioned in the description.
I don’t recall picking up any fruity notes, but when I held the liquid in my mouth I did catch faint notes of chocolate. I didn’t even know that was possible! You always hear these elaborate descriptions of tea tasting like chocolate and wood and whatnot, but most of the time I could never pick up on the subtleties mentioned. But this tea was almost a musky, chocolaty, caramel. I enjoyed the cup for about the first 2/3 but then I wasn’t as fond of it. It wasn’t astringent or bitter or anything, but I started feeling that the caramel-cocoa was becoming too prominent.
After brewing it for a second time today, I was very satisfied through the entire cup. Instead of drinking it straight up, I decided to add a little Sugar In The Raw to see if the sweetness would complement the rest of the cup, and boy did it! Every last drop was delicious, and I look forward to buying some from Teavivre in the future!
Thank you once again, Angel and TeaVivre, for another sample!
OK. I don’t want to beat a dead horse (or tea leaf) but green teas and I aren’t close. I’ll try them and any other variety of tea, but I’m a black tea kind of guy.
When I opened the sample package for this selection, a fairly strong grassy aroma burst forth. The leaves were full, bright green, and flat.
I steeped this rascal for two minutes at 175 degrees. The brewed aroma was again grassy and a touch sweet. The color was a fairly golden green (which became bright gold after 30 minutes of post-brewed heating).
I was pleasantly surprised by the moderately full taste of this tea. Sometimes green teas don’t contain enough flavor to completely register with my taste buds. This selection had a very recognizable grassy and sweet flavor. The taste was light and lively with an equally affable aftertaste.
I’m not ready to replace my stash of black teas with green blends, but I did find this variety quite pleasant to sip during the early afternoon. I’m sure I would also enjoy it during my days off from work when my brain doesn’t require as much kick-starting.
Thanks again to Angel and TeaVivre for this new sample!
Let me quickly again sum up my feelings about green tea: not much into it. However, I am always willing to try new varieties, and have found a few that I’ve liked, not enough to make them a daily habit, but they’ve been tasty.
The flat bright green leaves in the sample package of this selection had a sweet grassy aroma. I steeped them for two minutes at 175 degrees as recommended in the instructions (176 degrees was recommended, but close counts).
The brewed liquid was an extremely pale golden green. The steeped aroma was very faint and slightly sweet.
It took several sips before my brain and taste buds could process enough flavor information to classify it. Then, I began to discern a sort of sweet, slightly spicy, kind of grassy taste. The flavor was smooth, very light, and too delicate to produce any bitterness.
This tea was pleasant to drink and may be a fine late afternoon or early evening selection, but I prefer stronger and more robust flavors. To be fair, I should also mention that we are now in peak pollen and allergy season here in South Carolina, so my tasting apparatus isn’t as sensitive as it is at other times of the year.
Having said that, there is nothing at all wrong with this tea’s amiable flavors. The volume just isn’t pumped up enough for my preference.
Hats off to Angel and the Teavivre crew!
This came as a part of the tea sample set I received from their company. At a glance, I was impressed by just the sheer appearance of the leaves. Clean, white, full needle-like leaves.
The scent was very potent—heavy jasmine wafts from the package. Smells like a fresh flowering garden in the spring! I was a bit nervous to try it, as I thought it would be overwhelmingly flowery (almost like an overpowering jasmine artificially soaked into the leaves) but I was mistaken!
I drink my tea straight up, no sugar or honey. This tea was incredible. The jasmine is strong, but not overpowering. For me, it’s the perfect level. The actual liquid washes over your mouth smooth and soft…like velvet.
All in all, I’d say this tea is a delicate, flowery masterpiece which is perfect for a refreshing spring day.
8p / 220ml yixing.
Ah the first cup is pure bliss! Full of honey and malty sweetness. However the following cups loose that superb taste, turns more malty and less honey. Perhaps i will try with two shorter steepings. Or the recommended parameters. :)
Will be drinking a whole lot spring teas in the time to come. 2014 spring harvest is only a couple of months away!!
7p / 220ml zhuni yixing
1m/2m/3m @ 100C
This tea is magnificent, one of the absolute best yunnan blacks ivé tried.
first cup is full of honey, so sweet and slightly malty. this time i actually added 1tsp of highquality forest honey to the last two cups. They tasted just like the first…. haha no need to add anything sweet to this tea. Never want to run out of this!
8p / 220ml zhuni yixing
1:10m/1:40m/2:20m @ 100C
After a tough week with a cold and loads of work today on a saturday :/ i felt i needed a treat. So i brought out my favorite black.
Superb as always. Full of sweet honey and maltiness with a bit of chocolate and a wee hint of citrus. First infusion was pure magic! i did the three infusions in rapid succession. first in a cup the other two in a pitcher. Don´t want to let the leaves cool between infusions.