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Recent Tasting Notes
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.
Been crawing this tea for some time now. Putting it of in favor for new teas.
Still absolutely wonderful, my favorite yunnan black.
9p / 220ml Zhuni yixingpot.
1m/2m/2:30m/3m. 4 infusions was enough for today but the leaves could easily handle a couple more.
The overall flavour was honey, chocolate, malty. Naturaly sweet!
I did 5 infusions.
9 pearls in a 220ml yixingpot.
1: 1min 100C Clear taste of honey and a bit of chocolate aftertaste.
2: 2min 100C A bit long. will shorten to 1:30 next time. still sweet.
added 30 sec per steeping with superresult.
Ill be sure to keep this one in my cupboard.
Up early this morning to go fishing in a friend’s pond. It was almost big enough to be a small lake. Lucky him. The weather was cool (for July) and only enough clouds to keep the sun from making it miserable. Caught several small bluegill. Such a stress busting day. So why am I so tired now? I’m getting there, but I’m not that old… or am I? Sheesh. This lovely tea is my attempt at re-energizing before going to play cards with my parents.
I am trying thee 2014 harvest of this glorious tea today. I cannot tell it from last years leaf. To me that is a good thing. Given the crazy weather last year I wasn’t sure how it might affect the tea. This at least survived very well. The dry leaf always brings images of country fields full of fresh baled hay. Sweet, sour, green fresh. The wet leaf fills my tiny room with an amazing aroma of buttery veggies. The taste is corn, maybe popcorn. It is not so much buttery, though it is there, as it is milky feeling. This is very crisp with an edge that suggest bitter but in a good way. One of the reviews I saw said something like spring in a cup. To that I would agree. A very delicious cup. Time for more.
So I steeped this up and set it on my desk while listening to Emmylou Harris. She is the voice of the angels, or at least I think so. Strange I would think this seeing how most of my music is ’70’s metal (Sabbath, Zeppelin). I found a 5 pack of her early albums today at Walmart. Wow she was really old school country when she started but what a voice. Then I got distracted trying to relearn an old Promise Keepers song our band did years ago that we can’t quite remember how it goes – I refuse to give up. Anyway when I picked the cup up it was almost room temp. Oops! It is buttery, green, and beautiful just the same. And now its gone. Emmylou is still here though ;)
So after the blender mishap you would think I would learn. You would be wrong. I went to fill up my kettle and poured half the water on the table. I guess I am in too big of a hurry to drink tea today.
This one is worth the mess I made. The label says, “Superfine”, why yes, yes it is. Clean and crisp. Much love.
Off to see what I can dump or break next.
After just reading TheTeaFairy’s painful and chaotic start to the day mine is far less dramatic. I woke up this morning around 6:00 and I could taste dragonwell. I love when the mind does that and you just know what tea you are starting with this day. Got up went to the den and thought I should start with milk and toast. I often do this and immediately follow up with tea. Got sidetracked stranding 3 more kerbals on Mun. I didn’t kill them at least. I landed gently but the ship fell over as I hadn’t stopped all the lateral thrust. Honestly I didn’t have enough fuel to get them home anyway. Don’t tell them. They are still smiling thinking a rescue mission is in the works. Silly deluded guys. So at 8:00 as I was about to finally get tea, my wife asked me to take her to the doctor. Nothing serious. She is dizzy and congested like half the people we know. Get out of the doctor, go to the pharmacy, then grab a sandwich to take home from Arby’s. Finally, I am home and go to make tea only to realize my press is too grungy to use. Give it a much needed scrubbing and having my first tea of the day at 2:00 in the afternoon. You know what? It was worth the wait. So very good.
When I first tried this, my thoughts were I preferred the premium version. I’ve realized now the earlier premium was based on water when I was working and the superfine was home water. I have since fixed my home water with a Brita filter pitcher. Day and night difference. Seriously, if your tea always seems a little bland go get a filter. You will not be sorry.
So today I steeped this for two minutes in my press with 176F water. OH MAN! I can smell the butteriness across the room. This is very lightly golden colored and leaning towards green. The taste is so fresh and green. It is buttery and vegetal. A nice bite at the end. An excellent contrast to the smoky lapsang I just finished.
I have changed my mind. This is definitely tastier than the premium. Love! I’ll be sipping this probably until I go to class this afternoon.
This is the first day in over a week I am not frantically running everywhere. I have been very lazy. Finally got around to breakfast and morning tea – at noon – A bowl of rice and a warm mug of this. I think I personally prefer the more boisterous premium version but this is exquisitely smooth. The liquor is so clear and sparkly yellow. The nose is buttery veggies. The late sip and after taste have just a light bite and the flavor really lingers long after the sip is gone. A really tranquil tea for my much needed lazy day.
Just got back from town. It’s cool (my wife says cold). It’s dreary and lightly raining. This was the perfect tea for this moment. It is warm. The taste is fresh and green with enough bite toward the end of the sip, to make you take notice without crossing the line in to bitterness. Really hitting the spot.
Today we went shopping for our very first ever NEW mattress. My wife and I have slept on hand-me-downs our entire lives. We did own a new water bed years ago but that kind of doesn’t count. It will not be delivered for a week or so because we special ordered the foundation. But it is going to be awesome.
In the last month we have paid off the house, the truck, the tractor, and the credit card. The mattress is a small victory celebration. There is still a mountain of medical bills that we hope to conquer next. All this has occurred after I was permanently laid off. It does not add up on paper. All I know is we have been blessed beyond measure.
This is the Spring 2013 production of this tea. The dry scent in the sample bag is slightly sour and reminds me of fresh baled hay. The aroma of the wet leaf makes me think stew beef and buttery beans. The liquor is light yellow green and very clear and bright.
The sip is crisp and fresh with a slight bitter edge with a mineral finish that I find produces a very refreshing mug. There is a milkiness to the feel. The taste is vegetal and what I guess is best described as nutty. I find it more savory than sweet. The aftertaste lingers nicely.
Going strictly from memory (usually not a good idea) of the premium grade I tried long ago I believe this version is brighter with less of a roasty feel about it.
I would not normally think to ice this, but as I was typing my notes the mug reached room temperature and I must say I really liked this cold.