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Recent Tasting Notes
Backlogging from last night:
I love the rich aroma of the dry leaf of this tea! It smells like strong, fresh veggies – mostly dark, leafy greens like spinach or collards.
I didn’t have a lot left so I was guessing at how much water to add. I decided to give it just a one minute steep because my oldest daughter was having tea with me and I wanted to keep it subtle. At one minute it had plenty of flavor. The taste was similar to the aroma, toned down a bit, really lovely. There was a slight sour taste after the sip, not in a bad way. We drank the whole pot, and I plan to resteep those leaves this morning.
I have been looking forward to this yunnan ever since my tea samples came to me. The leaves were long and slender. They wouldn’t play nicely with my flat bamboo tea spoon, so I just filled the bottom of my press with leaves. The brew is nice and dark brown. It looks like a solid black tea and I could probably fool some of my friends into thinking this was coffee. It is that dark at just three minutes.
The second steep (4 mins) is just as delicious as the first (3 mins). Bold and roasty. The second steep has a slight undertone of chocolate that I love with this tea. I keep timing my teas wrong. This is a good tea to wake up with in the morning. It is slightly heavy tasting for the afternoon, but I adore it anyway. Maybe the promise of this in the morning will actually get me out of bed earlier so I can make it.
Later… third steep at 4 and a half minutes. The flavor isn’t as strong, but it is still tasty. I think I only like doing two steepings for yunnan blacks because I like them stronger.
I drank green tea this morning, but when I was cooking lunch I saw the basket of leaves from yesterday. I picked them up and sniffed them. Aaaahh! Baked sweet potatoes, holiday style, roasted until the skin burst then a little orange glaze added. I decided to try resteeping and icing this with a bit of sweetener. Not bad! And it was a great way to be thrifty with my tea.
Is it bad that I am trying to be thrifty with my tea at the same time I am trying to drink up a whole lot of tea and cull my shelves? And the main reason I am trying to clean off those shelves is so that I will feel justified ordering more tea?
This is my first milk oolong and I am excited. I brewed this at a hotter temperature. I didn’t let it come to a full rolling boil, but I did let it boil.
The first steep has a really, really light color. Almost clear with a hint of green. I’m a little worried because this is how the other oolong looked yesterday. Maybe I didn’t get the water hot enough? It is still a first steep. Maybe I didn’t let the leaves “rinse” enough by that little 5-15 second swish I gave the leaves. I won’t know until I dive in and taste it. I smell a very light scent. The taste is very interesting. It isn’t tasting like much-but then I’m not sure what unflavored tea is supposed to taste like since I normally drink flavored tea. But the mouth feel is amazing. I feel like I am drinking warm milk even if it isn’t that strong yet. I’m going to finish this cup and then steep it again. Until I come back, I’ll watch my friends play Skyrim while enjoying this cup.
10:49 PM: I managed to get three more steeps out of the leaves. But I noticed that the cooler the water got, the less flavor and the less milky it got. I have a feeling I didn’t get the water hot enough for even the first cup. I just read Azziran’s note to me about brewing oolongs like a black tea more than a green tea. I will have to try this with even hotter water in order to even start to experience more of the milk oolong’s flavor. I have a feeling this might become one of my favorite type of teas once I learn how to brew it right.
So, the last steeps I had of this I actually shared. My friends said it was ok, but I had the fifth steep and it still tasted similar to the second steep. I think the leaves were exhausted by the fifth steep or that the brewing method I was using didn’t use the tea to my full advantage. This is why I have more samples, I’ll figure out how to brew it yet.
The chores are done, so it’s time to relax with a wonderful cup of green tea! I carefully cut open the silver package and discovered very thin, very dark leaves with a lovely aroma of spinach. The leaves are such a dark green that they look black. It reminds me of dried black moss, if such a thing exists, but with a much more appealing bouquet of aromas I’m sure.
I think I’m going to go for several steeps with this one to see how the flavors morph. This is going to be fun! I was generous with the leaf too because I almost always brew my teas too weak. First infusion for one minute, and the little leaves opened all the way up! They’re actually a very vibrant green color now that they’re open. The brewed aroma is very green, very vegetal. And the taste? Matches the aroma perfectly!
This first cup is alive! There’s no better way to describe it. It reminds me of spring, flowers blooming and grass growing. Vivacious and thriving with a nice balance between spinach and nori. It’s naturally sweet and light but also very flavorful. This is a perfect complement to my mood. :)
The greatest part of this tea is that it has a lovely lingering aftertaste. And even though it’s so green, it doesn’t taste grassy. It’s definitely a steamed veggie taste. Butter not chlorophyll. But as it cools, it loses its vibrancy. Time to move on to steep number two (176 degrees for two minutes)!
The second cup is less salty nori and…flatter. It’s still sweet, but a lot less so. It’s also no longer buttery. The first cup was definitely the best. But what’s remained constant is the lingering vegetal aftertaste, although it’s a little delayed now and less green. As this cup cools, it’s darker with hints towards, but not fully reaching, bitterness.
I don’t think this is a marathon infusion kind of tea. At least not the way I approached it with multiple long steeps. Maybe a series of short steeps would have yielded better results. Of course, now I’m sloshing with tea. So, I think I’m done for now. I was going to go for a third infusion, but I don’t think the leaves are up to it.
Still, that first cup was magic! So, I’m rating it accordingly. This is a solid choice for green tea fans.
A testament to how generous the samples from Teavivre have been….I just made another pot of this and still have enough leaf left to make a generous cup, ad since this resteeps, well, who knows how much tea this could end up being?
After breakfast, hubby put Mr. Samwise in the Burley trailer and took him for a bike ride. they went to Sandy’s house to do a e bit of picking up in the yard. Hubby picked up pinecones, Sam picked up bones and sticks. I joined them and was a little peckish when we got back home after riding around a bit more and decided to have elevenses.
A hard boiled egg with this tea, out on the patio, hit the spot. Youngest joined me for tea. She added milk and sugar, I took mine plain until the final cup. JacquelineM has already given the perfect description of this tea plain, so I will just briefly repeat her….sweet potatoes with a little orange flavor! YUM!
For the final cup I decided to add a little milk and sugar. At first I thought that I didn’t like it as well as it seemed to disappear under the additions, but the more I drink, the more I like it. My first preference for this one is sans additions, though. But if you really want to add sweetener or milk to your black tea, this one is still good. I wonder if the Yun Nan Dian Hong that isn’t golden tip would be better for that, though, and perhaps would make a heartier breakfast tea to take me by the collar and get me going?
This is a sample from Azzrian, Thanks! Brewed this up as the first cup of the day. Not a bad cup of tea, but not my favorite either.
It’s a very grainy, malty tea. It really reminds me of the smell a friend’s house had while he was making beer. The end of the sip is sweet, reminding me of honey. Very thick mouth feel to it. It isn’t bitter or astringent at all, good marks for that.
My first tea from Teavivre, a wonderful sample sent to me by Azzrian.
Let me say that off the bat, I’m very impressed with the quality of this tea. Opening up the sample, you get a good scent of the tea leaves themselves that is quite inviting. I opened it up to smell it, and then Missy had to go brew it up for us. She says it was so it didn’t go stale, but honestly I don’t think she could resist the aroma.
She tried something a teensy bit different with this tea, in that she brewed a first steeping in a 16 oz tumbler, and then a second steeping, and poured them into our larger pot. So consider this a review of steeping 1.5 ;)
The flavor packed into this tea is good and thick, almost mealy. I’ve thought of other teas as malty, but this truly and thoroughly blows all other maltiness, ever, away. It’s a very tasty, thick, sweet malt flavor that reminds me of a dark stout beer. Underneath that, there’s a honey-like flavor that comes out and is quite enjoyable. At the end, there’s a bit of a grainy flavor that comes out.
Its a very smooth tea, but it has a very thick mouth-feel to it. Again, I find myself likening this to the tea version of a good, dark, stout beer. It has that depth of malt flavor, and this thickness that almost makes your mouth want to chew by instinct alone. That “are we sure this is a liquid?” sense.
I think what’s interesting to me about this tea is that it’s very, very flavorful, but it doesn’t have that… aggressiveness I’m used to in black teas. It almost feels like a night time black tea, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
Definitely puts the bug in my ear to go try some more Teavivre teas, especially now that they’ve added samples to roughly all of their teas, from what I’m seeing.
I decided to make a cup of tea today and this oolong won over my other oolong that I got from the fantastic people at Teavivre. I brewed the water and took it off the heat as soon as I heard the slightest noise come from the kettle, exactly as if I was going to be brewing my green tea.
I put one sample packet into my french press and did about a 15 second rinse on the leaves. Then I steeped my first cup for two minutes. The liquid came out a very light tint of yellow. I wasn’t expecting it to be that light in color. It had a very light sweet scent. At first it didn’t taste like much, but it did have some sort of flavor.
The second steep was three minutes. The color was slightly darker and the taste was slightly stronger. Strong enough that I could taste fruit in the tea. What? Fruit in a non-fruity tea? This is amazing! Sweet and fruity. If I knew that, I would have saved this tea for the afternoon because it is really light. I’m not sure how I like it yet, but I have three samples left and I am more than willing to try it again.
I probably still have a good two steeps left in these leaves, but I’m going to save them for later. The leaves don’t have that much liquid left in them and I have the plunger down on my french press, so they should keep until the afternoon.
From what I read, this is similar how you treat an oolong when you make it in a gaiwan. But how else can you steep the tea? Is it possible to just throw it in a mug and steep it without it coming out really bitter? If it is then it would be a nice tea to drink throughout the day in classes.
I seem to keep forgetting I have this one in the drawer. Forgetting suggests its not memorable but that simply isn’t the case. I really like this one. It’s buttery and a tad bitter in a good way. The dry leaf is small and so dark it looks like black tea until you steep it then it turns a lush green and smells beefy to me. The liquor is very clear and lightly green. Seems to turn a little more golden as it cools. Maybe this tea just needs another name so I can remember
My friend who is trying to learn to like tea other than black tea and puerh came over today to try this. She loved Silky Green from Bird Pick and asked me to order some for her but she wants to try even more. This one was on her list to try because she loves to buy organic and the honey is supposed to come from bees kept around the tea plantation.
I used one pouch of leaves in a six ounce gong fu pot. We probably made six steeps before we stopped. The first steep tasted strongly of oats to me, like Cheerios. Each steep became sweeter until I was getting that plum aftertaste I had with their Chun Mee. And the best part is that my friend really enjoyed it and is expanding her horizons! We have agreed that we want to protect our arteries so we will still know each other’s names when we get old!
My Teavivre samples came in! I am so excited. I managed to pick this one to try first because it is a different black than I have been having.
For having such a short steep time, the tea came out surprisingly dark. It has this nice toasty aroma to it that is making my mouth water. I am slightly sleep deprived right now and head deep in literature, so I might get a little flowery with my description later on. Or I might not, but I figured I would give warning just in case.
I think I might have gotten the water a little too hot for the first steep. It tasted earthy and black. A pleasant taste, but kinda flat. It could be because it is a new tea to me and I’m just not picking everything up right now.
The second steep was better. I brewed it a few seconds longer and I started to get a hint of caramel. The water was cooler at this point. I’m thankful that Teavivre sent such a large sample of this tea because now I can play with it and get my brewing method down for me.
I’m too full of tea right now to try for a third steep. I think the tea might be able to take it though. It is good, but I’m going to wait to rate it until I get a few more cups of it under my belt. I’m going to use a little bit cooler water next time. I wish I had a variable temperature water kettle, but I’ll stay with my stove top kettle for now.
Edit to Add: the last of my cup was cold by the time I drank it. Cold enough to make me think that this would be a really good lightly sweetened iced tea. Like a two serving bottle of tea with a teaspoon of honey dissolved in it kind of lightly sweetened. That would make an even better iced tea than our normal iced tea.
This is my first white tea so I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t read the instructions so my first cup had about 2 cups of water and one tsp of tea. The tea was a pretty, pale yellow with a light, slightly vegetal flavor and woodsy aroma. But I wasn’t sure what I was tasting. It’s definitely relaxing and smooth. I added a little stevia, which brought out the floral undertones in the taste. Now, according to the instructions I looked at here, I didn’t have enough leaves, so I made another mug, this time stronger.
This time I can really taste the “greenness”, and as the tea cooled, there was more of a floral undertone to the aroma. I liked the tea stronger but you know what? I like it better weaker.
I very much like this tea – it’s creamy, smooth and silky. There is a strong vegetal taste, mixed with mineral and nutty notes. I’m reminded a bit of apple skins and very diluted milk. The floral component hides in the back of the sip and peeks out towards the end. This is a very tasty oolong! Thank you to Teavivre for a sample! I will be adding more of this to my next order.
A little insight into how truly strange I am – this morning on my way to work my inner Sheldon came out and I started wondering, if Spock drank tea what would he drink? Sad I know. Then I thought, wouldn’t that make a great bit on Big Bang Theory? I can hear them point/counterpointing until agreement was reached. I’ve only seen a few episodes, they may have already had the debate.
My thoughts are he would not drink Earl Grey, or any flavored tea, with the possible exception of Jasmine Dragon Pearls. I would rule out black tea all together. I think he would go green or white. His logical side would be fascinated by complexity. My two choices would be Silver Needle white, or Dragon Well green. He is vegetarian, and while the white tea is subtle and meditative, I lean towards Dragon Well for its heartier layers of vegetal goodness. So in honor of Spock I lift up multiple cups today.
I mentioned this to a co-worker who just turned and walked away. Halfway up the hall he stopped, turned, and said, “I think his mother’s human side would come out and he would just drink Lipton black tea.” Say it isn’t so! Oh, wait do I detect sarcasm? I suspect he wasn’t taking this seriously. I do give him credit for trying to assimilate all aspects of the equation into his reasoning but that is specifically why I made room for the possible inclusion of Jasmine Dragon Pearls. Wasn’t that obvious?
To my fellow geeks that are still with me – this is true for northern hemisphere dwellers, not sure it all applies below the equator. This is for April 2012. Go outside tonight just after the sun goes down. The bright ‘star’ high in the western sky is Venus. Below it near the horizon and much dimmer but still bright is Jupiter. Easily seen even in twilight. As it gets darker turn East and high in the sky, the moderately bright red ‘star’ is Mars. Now turn southwest. The three stars in a row are Orion’s belt. The bright red star above it is Betelgeuse (beetle juice) and below the belt is Rigel. It’s actually a double star. Close to the belt and on the Rigel side is a fuzzy patch that you might interpret as a star. This is the Great Orion Nebula. Later this summer you can see the Andromeda galaxy with your naked eyes. It is bigger than the moon and you have never noticed it because it is fairly dim and doesn’t look like the pictures.
See, I am not just another pretty face. I know stuff.
Thank you Teavivre for this huge sample! We wanted a second green tea tonight, and this one fit the bill well. Looking forward to it! I used maybe 2 tsp for my 250ml infuser.
First infusion (1.5min/80C):
Aroma’s a bit sharper and greener than the Gyokuro Yamashiro from DavidsTea. The flavour is smooth, with a sweet-ish aftertaste. Definitely not as green tasting despite my impression of the aroma, and definitely no bitterness. Quite delicious, actually.
Second infusion (2.5min/82C):
Not really getting an aroma(?), but the flavour this time is nuttier, with a “green tea” aftertaste. Still smooth, but almost a bit of… smooth astringency? Smooth bitterness? There’s a stronger flavour there too, but it’s pleasant, not objectionable.
Wish I could describe more clearly what I mean by a green tea or oolong aftertaste. It’s good though.
Again, this is as far as I’ll likely get tonight. Sigh.
ETA: Third infusion, 3min at 82C. Definitely lighter in flavour, but still nutty and a bit vegetal, and oh! There’s the green tea aftertaste. Sure sign that I’ll brew this one to the third infusion again. Yum. Still absolutely no bitterness; a very smooth cup. This tea is really quite good; I’m very impressed by the lack of bitterness/astringency. I’ll need to try more dragonwells before concluding anything, but I can see this one being a purchase.
ETA again: Fourth steep (84C/4min) nothing remarkable. Some astringency. And it tastes a little weird. I attribute that to how long the leaves sat out. My stomach sure gets tested sometimes…
I received a sample of this in my most recent shipment from Teavivre (Thanks, Angel!). I’m excited to try it out since I love a good pu-erh and I really enjoy chrysanthemum herbal infusions.
I was a little concerned at first since there was precisely one chrysanthemum in the tuo. Then I realized that it’s been in that little wrapped up tuo for quite a long time, so I really haven’t got anything to worry about, now have I?
I’m in the office, so I used my “Perfect Tea Maker” or whatever it’s called from Teavana (a very nice gift from my friend, TheDizzyPixie). The infusion is nice and dark and beautiful to me. It has the earthiness of any pu-erh, but a nice sweetness to the aroma that speaks to the chrysanthemum.
The tea itself is a surprisingly mellow, nice pu-erh with a pleasant, lightly sweet after-taste.
I’m very happy with this and imagine I shall be ordering more in future!
I love the aroma as this tea steeps. It smells fresh and earthy, like walking through a forest after a rain. The flavor is also earthy, but my tea vocabulary is too lacking to describe the tea well- I’ll leave the description to more experienced members. The tea’s aroma is so prominent that it is a true part of the drinking experience- I love it.
I’ve developed a bad habit of taking this with a teaspoon of condensed milk, much to the dismay of my waistline. Usually I drink my teas with nothing mixed in, but this tea is so smooth and well bodied that it begs for the richness of condensed milk. It ends up tasting like a weak Hong Kong milk tea..which is fine by me.
Usually I don’t drink black teas throughout the day because I find them too robust, but this one is very smooth that I like it even in the late afternoon.
Looks: Leaf texture is pretty typical of black teas. They look shredded, and a chocolate brown once brewed. Honestly, this is a tea to brew for the taste, not for looks.
Fragrance: This tea smells awesome. Very rich, caramelized fragrance. When I smell it I can taste it right in the back upper palate, it’s rich with a little astringency.
Taste: Very mild, for a black tea. With the smoothness of a smoky green tea. Full bodied with full aroma, but not so much that it makes you heady. As I said, I like it with the condensed milk because it adds richness, but you shouldn’t try it, or your waistline will cry too.
Brewing note: I cannot get as many multiple steeps out of this one as my other teas, two or three at best. The flavour degrades very quickly. Oversteep will result in extreme astringency.