Teavivre

Recent Tasting Notes

75

One thing that consistently amazes me with all of the Teavivre teas I’ve tried, is the number of times I can re-steep the leaves with little or no loss of flavor, and this one is no exception.

The dry leaves for this tea are long and skinny and include more stems than I’m used to, so when I scooped out my 2 teaspoons, I had to resist the temptation to throw in a pinch of extra leaves to make up for the open spaces caused by their unusual shape. I’m glad I decided to try it as is; otherwise I would have probably had to water it back down. This tea is light and nutty with a slight bitterness that reminds me a little of pecans (or maybe that’s just because I had pecan pie with my Thanksgiving dinner last night, and it’s still on my mind?…yum!) As much as I’m fond of this tea, I have to insist that my taste buds are still partial to Japanese green teas as far as pure green tea goes, so this wouldn’t be my first choice. I will definitely enjoy this on occasion though, when I want a change from the norm.

Thanks again Angel and Teavivre for all the generous samples you provided for review. Sampling your tea has been a wonderful experience. I recently purchased a selection of your assorted tea packs and I look forward to trying more varieties of your tea, and finding new favorites. Thanks for introducing me to your high-quality teas.

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84

Whoops, this is yet another overdue review on a tea from Teavivre. Out of the package, this one has a very bold aroma, roasty and rich with some completely unexpected cocoa notes, but also an earthy, mossy smell. That last note is one which I have grown to appreciate – this is a tricksy oolong, putting me more in mind of a black tea. I love black tea!

I used the whole sample in my perfect tea mug with water that’s probaby around 90ish degrees. The steep was around 3ish minutes, yielding a liquor that is dark for an oolong but would be light for a black – a warm yellow, reminds me of an IPA or similarly styled beer in colour. The steeped aroma is subdued cocoa, with some dark earthy notes – almost reminding me of peat and cocoa. I don’t know why I say peat as I’m not completely sure what that smells like, but that is what comes into my head.

First sips are rich, earthy. I get a fairly bold roasty oolong flavoured, with a hint of spice at the end. Maybe something cinnamon or nutmeg? It’s a little sweet at the finish, unexpected but really nice. I get the sense that there is a bit of bitterness lingering underneath at all, but it isn’t fully developing, so it just gives a sense of complexity. This is a fairly bold tea and could handle additions if you were so inclined but certainly doesn’t need them – the mark of a good tea, in my books.

I have had a couple Big Red Robe oolongs now, and I must say that I really enjoy them. The flavours remind me of black teas more often than not and they’re nicely complex but still drinkable. This one almost has a savoury aspect, it puts me in mind of of a nicely seasoned roast. What is going on in my head today?! IF I can get teavivre.com to finally accept my credit card, this one might get slipped onto the order. Very yum.

EDIT to add that as it cools, I get a smokey note. It explains the sense of tobacco I was getting earlier. This is the second tea I’ve had recently with that slightly smoke that develops late in the game and I am liking it. Maybe I’ll be able to try a Lapsang some day.

PS – This reminds me a lot of the Teavivre Dragon Pearls. What’s up with that? : )

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It just occured to me how similar the taste of this tea is to Shou Mei white tea, am I going crazy?:)

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Oh la la! It is still chilly (okay, it is about 52F outside but compared to the eighty degree temps we were having, that is chilly!) and it is completely overcast and drizzly. We have lots of geometry to do and it is puppy sitting day and I had Mountain Dew at supper last night (stupid, stupid, stupid) and hardly slept a wink last night. Time for fortification!

Most of the time when I set out to make tea, I know exactly what sort of thing I want. Today it took a few minutes to figure it out, but I sure picked a winner. I had five pearls remaining from my free sample and that is what I am finishing here, though I did get my own order of it last week, thus I get to click “Add to Cupboard.” :D

These five pearls have given me four eight ounce pots of tea. It is cocoa-y, smooth, and…manly. I don’t know how else to put it. It isn’t strong as in astringent, biting, or drying, yet it has a lot of presence. I am taking it plain, but I think it would hold up well to milk and sugar if such was your wont. It is very good with sweets.

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This is one of the yunnanist Yunnans I have ever had. Really, that is my first thought on sipping this.

To me, Yunnan blacks are the original dessert teas. Chocolate, honey, maltiness, sweetness. When my boyfriend spoils me with super-fancy handmade truffles from the farmer’s market, the kind you have to sit and savor not (just) because they’re practically two dollars apiece, but because they’re just that good, I reach for none other than a good Yunnan black tea to go with them.

I have a long history with Yunnan blacks, beginning with an Adagio signature blend “Silk Road” that I drank religiously every morning for breakfast. Soon I realized the element of the blend I loved most was Adagio’s own blend, “Mambo”, a mix of Yunnan black and WuYi oolong. It didn’t take me long from there to pinpoint that the Yunnan was what I was really after all along, and since then, I have taken a lot of joy in trying assorted Yunnan black teas from many vendors.

These days I even gongfu brew them, something I never would have imagined years back when I was gulping mugfuls of milk-and-sugar laden Silk Road every morning while watercolor painting sheets of would-be origami paper. But that distinct Yunnan-y flavor takes me back, regardless.

Donna A

I love Yunnan blacks too, and this one in particular.

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98

Mm, black dragon pearls, you are so delicious. The thing that amazes me about this tea is how naturally sweet it is. It is astounding! Chocolatey and caramelly, yum.

It’s hard to believe that at one point I would be uninterested in, or even not like this tea, but maybe a year ago that would have been the case. If you had asked me a year ago if I thought I would get into unflavored black teas, I would have said absolutely not, that is one I will never get into. My how our tastes change! Now this is one of my favorite teas. I do have to mostly attribute that shift to Teavivre’s tasting packages, which let me know how good black tea could be.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Babble

I’m intrigued by this. Almost got it with my first sample order, but decided not to. I’m not a big black tea person. How do you like the gongfu black?

Dinosara

I was never a black tea person until I had Chinese gongfu black! The tea that converted me was Teavivre’s Bailin Gongfu, but now I think I like this one even better. It is so naturally sweet and chocolatey. It would be a great one to sample!

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84

Ahhh… this is lovely! It seems that I’m quite a fan of Teavivre’s Silver Needle White teas. This Jasmine tea has quite a strong smell when I open the package, but as I sip, it’s nicely floral, fragrant, and sweet.

I accidentally spilled a little of this tea on the shirt I was wearing this morning, and I decided I even liked the smell of this tea as a perfume…kind of strange I know.

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this sample, this one was a perfect fit for my taste. I will have to explore any other options you might have with Silver Needle White – I’m curious what other treasures I might find. In the meantime I will be enjoying this one….mmmmm….

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69

Thank you Teavivre for this sample! It was hiding away in my cupboard! I have drank this twice already. This is a great tea. It has a nice, warm, subtly smoky, nutty and toasty flavor to it. It is a smooth tea that brews an amber color. It is bold and perfect for the morning cup. I’ve had it two mornings in a row now. I added some sugar and some milk to keep me going for a little longer.

This is a very delicious tea! I love Keemun teas, especially when I’m in the mood for them around this cooler time of year. Go Keemun!!

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 3 min, 0 sec

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73

This is the very last of my green jasmine pearls. I am probably going to drink this for the rest of tonight because I want to make sure that my pearls unfurl all the way. Especially since it is the very last of my packet that Teavivre sent to me. I have to admit, if they didn’t send it to me, I probably would have never tried a jasmine tea.

I put in more pearls than I usually do when drinking this. I have noticed that the recommended tea scoops normally fill up the bottom of my press, so I estimated the amount. I also steeped it shorter. The result is that the tea is lighter in color than I remembered, but so much sweeter! I learned how to steep by tea better over this last year.

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88

Okay, something crazy has happened to me. Ever since I had that extraordinary cup of Laoshan Black, I’ve been craving a cup of black tea every morning. It’s crazy! I’ve never been a huge fan of black teas! Especially not unflavored and unsweetened black teas. The world has gone insane! Insaaaane!

So because I’ve never had this fondness for black teas, I have no black teas in my collection. None! I wake up this morning with a craving for a black tea knowing that I probably have none. With I sigh, I rummage through my samples to find a puerh or dark oolong or something else that might be like black tea. Then I come upon this sample from Teavivre! I’ve sampled this tea before and couldn’t find anything special about it. At the time, it just tasted like black tea. Whatevs.

But today! Today was different! The leaves smell so sweet and pastry like! Like a biscuit! And the flavor! I definitely am finding that baked sweet potato everyone is talking about! Tasty! Sweet potatoes baked with a touch of honey and and dash of spice! What a lovely fall tea! Now I have a whole category of tea to be obsessed about! And I will need more tea to add to my stash! Halp!

Gotta move this rating up from 70. 70! What was I thinking?!

Edit: Might I just add this this tea is perfect with a holiday morning breakfast of amaretto matcha brownies. Yes, brownies can be for breakfast because I’m an adult now! Sorry Mom!

Azzrian

Haha it happens to me too – I go through stages of what I crave – I think a lot of us do that. Welcome to the “dark” side haha.

ashmanra

Oh my gosh. Amaretto matcha brownies? Guess what I will be ordering next week…

Mercuryhime

Thanks! I think it’s more than a change change in craving. More a change in tastebuds. Either way, there’s a lot more possibilities for me now that I probably won’t be avoiding black teas anymore! :)

Mercuryhime

Ashmanra, they are so tasty! I was debating between the amaretto and the hazelnut matcha, but I ultimately went with the amaretto because I had almonds I could sprinkle on top. :) Next time it’s hazelnut for sure!

Dinosara

Haha this exact same thing happened to me a few months ago. I never liked unflavored black tea (at all!), and then suddenly I have a revalation I want it all the time. I think Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu was the catalyst for me… you should try that one if you haven’t! And their Black Dragon Pearls!

Mercuryhime

I totally want to now! Will look into that once my tea acquiring hiatus is over.

ashmanra

Mmmm, ju st got the Fengqing Black Dragon Pearls myself. Tasty!

Babble

I’m so finnicky with my black tea. I may have to check this out. Although the gong fu was a little disappointing to me (but I’m hard to impress when it comes to black tea). I do like darjeelings though :)

Mercuryhime

Verdant’s Laoshan Black will blow your mind. I had another cup today and each sip was like a miracle every time. Wow. So if you want a straight black that impresses.., well that’s the one that turned me. :)

Donna A

Like Dinosara, Teavivre’s Bailin Gong Fu was the turning point for me on black tea. I love this one too, maybe even more than Bailin Gong Fu, as well as their Black Dragon Pearls. Verdant’s Golden Fleece was my all time favorite black, but sold out.

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74

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for yet another generous sample.

This tea is quite nutty in both aroma and taste. The nuttiness is evident in the first steeping whereas the second steeping brings on a smokier flavor. For the third steeping, I got distracted emailing our real estate agent, and left the leaves in for too long so there was some definite bitterness. I’m sure that this was completely “user error” as my other brews had no bitterness – silly me! This is quite a lovely green tea, but it’s not a must-have for my cupboard. As far as pure green tea goes, it seems as though my preference leans towards Japanese green tea (probably out of familiarity).

My Teavivre samples will likely have a much better chance at winning my heart with their non-green teas (so far their organic silver needle white tea is a definite champ with my taste buds). Perhaps I will give the jasmine sample a try tomorrow. While sorting through my untried teas, I sniff at that jasmine packet like a bloodhound on a hot trail. So hopefully tomorrow will be the morning that I grab that pack out of my bag of goodies while I’m practicing my half-asleep morning tea making ritual…I’m rooting for it!

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67

It’s good but not one I like. It’s too flowery for me, or a taste I associate with flowery teas. As usual good quality and great if you like that kind of thing but for me I’ll pass :D

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87

This was a nice oolong to have with lunch today, and I can see how traditional, lightly roasted tie guan yins like this one are great everyday teas. This is quite tasty, just roasted enough to give it a light touch, and “ground” it more than an unroasted, green, floral oolong. Quite a good example of these types of teas.

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96

This is a sample for Teavivre and it’s pretty tasty as with most oolongs I can never identify a specific taste (my brain just says yummy)

Nik

lol! I’m the same way. :D I read K S’s in-depth oolong reviews and I’m all like, how? Oh well, I’m happy with the “yummy,” and I guess that’s all that really matters. =)

Claire

I feel like I can usually taste 2-3 things but I’m amazed by people who list 5 or 6 (or more). I’ve often wondered if my taste buds are ruined because I’m an ex-smoker!

Helena

I think it’s because my brain goes “why the heck do you want to know that?!” and then refuses to answer.

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This is the last of my sample from Teavivre, and once again a sample has caught me in its nefarious snare. I will probably be buying this one on my next order.

I got three steeps from this today and possibly could have made more, but I was cooking lunch and needed to get moving. This is so smooth. The leaves are very dark presteep. This is a dark oolong, not a green oolong, but it doesn’t have the mineral punch of a monkey picked (which I love big time, just saying it for comparison) but there is a lot of nutty smooth flavor.

As requested, I am posting a link to the pictures of the newly completed Tom Baker Fourth Doctor season 16-17 scarf, the largest and longest of the entire series. A scarf for Sam the puppy is now underway.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8060458307/in/photostream/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24998856@N06/8060460390/in/photostream/

JacquelineM

Wonderful! and Long! and oh my Sam grew!!! :)

ashmanra

JacquelineM: I believe it is twenty feet! If not, it will get there quickly as it stretches under its own weight. That is what happened to the original. Sam is about 44 pounds now!

ashmanra

Oh my gosh! They are both great pictures but that first one with the close up of his face is PRICELESS! What a sweet kitty face! I would be smooching him all the time!

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95

I couldn’t bring myself to dump the rest of the leaves out just yet. I read in a tasting note that somebody had left the leaves steep for too long, but this tea developed a rich, creamy taste. Since I steeped it for three minutes last time, I’m steeping it extra long at 6 minutes this time just to see what this tea will do.

So far, the liquid is this goregous dark mahogany color. Well, maybe a couple shades lighter, but it is this wonderful color. It smells like the earth you dig up when you are out planting flowers in the garden at the beginning of summer. It just screams summer to me.

I really should have let this steep longer. It is just hinting at a nice cream mouthfeel. I love the richer, bolder flavor this brought out. It was nice before, but it now has another deep note to it. sip I want to say almost a cocoa sip but not quite. There is something there that I can’t place but it is dark.

Woah! Aftertaste is hitting the sides of my tongue when I type up my notes. Smooth and pure butter sip no, cream, sip no, heavy cream almost bordering on butter but darker.

♥ I love this! The flavor I am getting out of this right now is just amazing! ♥

It is so mellow but rich and bold at the same time. The heavy cream that is almost butter but not quite lingering taste on the edges of the tongue. I feel like royalty.

Thank you Teavivre for letting me try this amazing pu-erh. I never really liked the pu-erh and always had to tone it down with milk, but this is truly amazing.

Edit: It has now been about three hours and that wonderful creamy taste is still lingering on my tongue. Too bad I have to go to bed soon or else I would have another cup…or five.

Preparation
Boiling 6 min, 0 sec
ashmanra

I love this one! So glad you found a way to make it “sing” for you!

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83
drank Bailin Gongfu Black Tea by Teavivre
64 tasting notes

Thanks to Angel and Teavivre for this sample!

I have mixed feelings about this one. I really love the flavor spectrum, and this is a lovely desert tea: nice and chocolaty, touches of caramel, a good helping of spices, and hints of honey and malt. Butttt, I’ve tried this tea three separate times gong fu style, using different steeping times, amounts of leaves, and temperatures of water. Every time I get an unpleasant sour and salty texture and taste, especially in the first steeps. After about the fourth, this dies down a great deal, but I can still detect it. It’s not terrible enough for me to discard a steep, but it’s noticeable enough to distract from the yumminess this tea possesses. I will say, however, that my first issues were treating it as a traditional black tea and using near-boiling water. The third time I tasted this one, I treated it more like a dark oolong with much better results. Still, this coppery taste lingered. However, I’ve added milk and sugar to some of the later steeps the last time I brewed it and it came out very chai-like and was quite pleasant. I think I’ll switch over to brewing this one Western style now.

Outside of the flavor world, the dry leaves are a delight to smell. The aroma is like sticking your face into a container of Hershey’s cocoa powder, along with hints of hazelnut and spices. The wet leaves gave off scents of mocha, roasted nuts, honey, and coffee grounds. It was very rich and dark, but didn’t knock your head back—it was smooth and unaggressive.

The mouthfeel felt a bit chalky to me during some steeps. However, for the most part it was soft and smooth, especially when the water used is cooler. The aroma of the liquor doesn’t have much to it. It gets caramely some steeps, others it just smells like average black tea.

Flavor-wise, it is really quite similar to Verdant’s Zhu Rong from August of this year as far as flavors go. This one has a bit more chocolate and the addition of caramel, the Zhu Rong had a lot more spices. During mid-steeps of both teas (around 6 and 7) I would have to depend on mouthfeel (Zhu Rong was smoother) and aroma (Zhu Rong’s liquor’s aroma was more pronounced) to differentiate between the two if drunk side-by-side. I may consider this in the future… Actually, looking back at the raw notes I took while drinking both of these, steeps 6 and 7 look nearly identical, while the rest quite different. Hmmm, something to investigate further…

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C
Bonnie

This one is in my top 5 black tea’s.

Donna A

I, like Bonnie, really appreciate this tea.

Cody

Yeah, I can understand why this one is loved by so many. I dunno, though, I like it, but to me it just feels like it’s a bit off balance.

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72

Thank you Angel and Teavivre for this generous sample

I enjoyed the first steep of this tea the best. It was a tad softer and had a more elegant appeal. The 2nd and 3rd brew brought on a stronger and more bitter taste, which I didn’t mind, but didn’t love either. Subsequent steepings were mellower but maintained the depth of flavor with considerably less bitterness.

I must admit, my palette is a little biased towards Japanese green teas as that is just what I am more familiar with. But having said that, perhaps by time I finish all the generous samples of green tea from Angel and Teavivre, I might acquire a new-found love for the Chinese green tea. As for the number of times I steeped these leaves – I’m on number 5 and the leaves are still going strong.

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89

I like white tea, but don’t always drink it because of the cost. However, I got a sample from Teavivre and decided to break it open. This tea is so pleasant. I’ve always thought of white tea as very light (almost watery), but maybe I just wasn’t using enough leaf. This tea is rich with so many different notes. I’m getting the melon and butter, as others have mentioned.

Very enjoyable today.

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One of my first tea trades was with the lovely Azzrian, who must have read (or intuited) my bio regarding peach tea, because she sent me the most amazing array of peach blends! When I opened the box, the scent of peach was enough to put me into a blissful coma (not really…lol). So, I secretly open that box just to get a whiff at least once a day cuz it smells so good & relaxing. I’ve also been sipping some of those peach brews…I love peach!

Every morning I start off with a cup or 2 of plain black tea. This was one of the non-peach teas in the box, & I felt that it was time to drink a ‘different’ black tea from all the other ones I’m rotating through.

I couldn’t really smell the dry leaf, the outside of the baggy was permeated in the lovely scent of peach, but the brewed tea is a deep red, no peach flavor. Its a nice black tea with malty notes & a good start for the day. I kind of wish I’d brewed it a little stronger, but thus is life. Thanks Azz!

Azzrian

You are most welcome! :)

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95

I did end up having this again for breakfast. It is good, but there is nothing to keep me reaching back for it time and time again. It is mellow and slightly earthy, but that is about it. A good pu-erh.

I keep reading the other tasting notes and I’m wondering how I can modify what I am doing to bring more goodness out of this tea. I will have to experiment to see if I can get the tea to jump out at me and make me love it more.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec

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My friend Michelle and I tried this flavored version again compliments of Michelle on here, after a few steeps of the unimpresive non-flavored version. This tea smells like peaches! And tastes like peaches & cream! It’s kinda intense and unfortunately a wee bit cloying but still tasty. I have more of this to play around with so we’ll see. But neither were as good as Fong Mong’s Milk Oolong, even though I do think highly of Teavivre.

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I apologize for the abbreviated tasting note on this one, but it was two days ago and I wasn’t terribly impressed. It’s a good green oolong mind you, slightly floral (my friend had a hard time placing it, not orchid, not jasmine, oramanthus, I doubt she’s had oramanthus but I have once), a slight cooling note at the end but creamy? no. buttery? no. I’ve had two other unflavored milk oolongs from Taiwan and this I’m afraid just didn’t measure up, which is unfortunate as I had high hopes for this. Now I suppose there could have been brewing factors or that the sample I got passed on from Michelle, was older or something, but it simply didn’t resemble the other milk oolongs in anyway. ::shrug:: Thanks for letting me try it Michelle

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