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Recent Tasting Notes

82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

I’m in a green tea mood today, so I tried my next sample: Liu An Gua Pian.

With my first sip, I was picking up on spicy taste mentioned in the description. It’s really pleasant, and gives the tea body a nice “warm” feeling in my mouth. Next, I was tasting a lot of the characteristics I expect in a green tea (vegetal, sweet). Maybe I used more leaves than I should have, but the tea body had a lot of flavour.

Second to fourth steeps were pleasant, with a consistent but milder strength. There is some bitterness, but it seems to blend well with the other flavours.

Overall I liked this tea, and I downed my cups pretty quickly. Sometimes I prefer a delicate green tea, but this one had a lot of interesting flavours going on. Very happy I had a chance to try this, and I’ll brew some western style another day.

100ml gaiwan, 4g sample, 4 steeps (rinse, 30s,1m,1m30s,2m)

Edit: I prepared this later as western style (with Teavivre’s steep guidelines. It’s much as I expected, but not as flavourful. So short steeps are still my preference with this one.)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Follow up review to my last steeping with Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng.

Adjusting the tea leaf/water/heat I finally wound up with a cup of tea I really liked. The third steep was my favourite. It was a succulent vegetal liquor with fruity and floral notes. The body had a really nice creamy texture without feeling too heavy. Much more flavorful than my previous steepings a few days ago and last year.

Overall a bit more heat and tea leaf really changed my mind on this tea. It’s nice that the tea leaves are not fickle and turn bitter quickly. I think depending on your taste preferences, there are a few ways you can steep this and still be happy with the outcome (subtle flavours or more bold green tea flavour depending on steep variables).

Steep time: rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C 4 tsp 3 OZ / 75 ML

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

First steep brought back a lot of familiar characteristics; light bodied, vegetal, buttery. I didn’t remember it being so grassy, but the same unique aroma (that I’m not a fan of) was still present.

Second and third steeps were similar in taste. The vegetal/grassy, buttery, and unique aroma develop into stronger flavor, but still remained mild and didn’t overpower the tea.

Overall I feel the same about this tea as I did last year. It’s got a lot of good qualities; light body, no bitterness or astringency. But it has a flavour I don’t enjoy, and the body is perhaps a bit too light for my tastes. I’ve still got some samples left so I intend on experimenting a bit to get a better cup of tea.

Steep time: rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 3 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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82

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

I’ve been having a lot of good result’s with Teavivre’s steep guidelines. So I prepared this in my gaiwan at first, and tea mug later on.

My first through third steeps were very light and subtle. It had a refreshing, sweet, vegetal and slightly fruity aroma. (Unfortunately it was a type of vegetal flavour I don’t enjoy.)

And just to experiment, I also used my second sample to try it out western style. But really, I didn’t notice too much of a difference.

Overall, I couldn’t get into this tea. I tried, but there’s something about the vegetal aroma that displeases my palate. But aside from that, the other subtle flavours were pretty good. So I’m not a fan, but if you enjoy this sort of green tea it might be worth a try.

100ml gaiwan, 4g sample, 3 steeps (rinse,30s,1m,1m30s)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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84

If only all green teas were like this …

A sample so kindly sent by Hallie (and yes I am breaking my two caffeine teas a day rule. Temptation is too hard to resist…), I was glad of a chance to compare with the dragon wells I could find locally and there is not much of a competition – this is really much better. At all levels. Weird taste note – there was a nutty taste which is lovely and which I can not quite describe. The seller mentions chestnuts, not to me – for me it was something more like pumpkin seeds or something even greener… Lovely just the same, even if impossible to describe.

PS – downrating this a little bit. Tried to resteep and it does not work! Second steep was extremely weak, even using my tricks of much less water and hotter, and third steep was plain hot water. My generic worse-quality dragonwells are more generous. I think it is usually unfair to expect a tea to be re-steepable, it does not work with ALL teas nor should it have to – but this is a dragon well and can not help comparing it to other dragon wells!

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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90

Very delicate, fresh, peachy pear, sweet, honey and floral notes! Organic Silver Needle also made a really nice cold steep!

Full review on my blog, The Oolong Owl http://oolongowl.wordpress.com/2013/05/21/organic-silver-needle-white-tea-from-teavivre-tea-review/
features Owly wearing his owl scouts sash.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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92

I blame this one today on Kamyria, I read her review and couldn’t help but dig into my own. But, honestly, thank you, this was just the pick me up I needed this morning!

This is seriously my spring in a cup — it makes me think of sunshine, buds, and rainfall. This is roasted chestnuts, notes of buttery artichoke, and a delicate refined sweetness. Everything about this cup screams quality. From the gorgeous, whole unbroken leaves to the richness and depth of flavor in my cup.

Nom.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec 2 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML
Kamyria

Ha ha ha… you’re welcome! This was one delicious tea. :)

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92

Well, I was saving this for Fiance but he took too long and I have poor impulse control when it comes to tea.

I chose to do this gongfu style, which I only realised was a mistake when I had a baby allergy sneeze mid-pouring and ended up with a soppy mess and 3/4 of a cup on my third one in.

No regrets though! This is a fantastic Dragonwell. It’s crisp and vegetal with a little bit of roastiness (almost nutty). The mouthfeel is buttery and has a bit of sweetness on the swallow. It’s go so vibrant and clean! I wish I had more!

If spring had a flavor, this is absolutely what it would be.

TheTeaFairy

«If spring had a flavor», spot on!!

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96

The pretty, multi-toned dry leaves,smell sweetly fruity and floral. Not a ‘high’ sweetness but deeper almost licorice.
The steeped leaves create a beautiful straw-colored brew, which is a beautiful sweet melon and honeyed floral. Distinct, but not overpoweringly so. I bought this economically-priced white as a foil to my favorite (but more expensive) Silver Needle White. Both are decidedly different and if you like or want to try white tea, you owe it to yourself to try both. This is a lovely choice for an afternoon tea party. Perfect to share with friends in the garden, or on a rainy afternoon!

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94

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

I prepared this tea after having 5 steeps of the Superfine Dragon Well in a gaiwan. My palate isn’t the most well trained, but it was quite a difference.

The first steep tasted much more well blended. It’s light, sweet, buttery and vegetal characteristics all harmonize on my palate. They are subtle in flavour, but it has it’s own charming intensity due to none of the flavours standing out.

Second to fourth steeps were wonderful, with the fifth being a bit too weak for my preference. Overall the flavour never developed into anything repellant (no bitterness/astringency)

Truthfully, I’m not well experienced with Dragon Well tea of this quality. It’s usually out of my budget for more than occasional use. That being said, the nonpareil version is very different from any of the other types of Dragon Well offered by Teavivre. If you want a really classy and subtle tea to impress someone, gift, or reward yourself with, you couldn’t do better. The only downside to this (aside from price obviously), is that nonpareil is a subtle mix of flavours whereas the other versions are much bolder and vibrant. The great thing about subtle teas (for me at least) is that they demand your attention. I love sitting down, preparing it in a gaiwan, focusing my senses on it, and not letting any distraction get in the way of me enjoying how wonderful the experience is.

Steep time: rinse, 20s, 40s, 70s, 120s, 150s

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 tsp 3 OZ / 85 ML

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94

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

This is my first time trying a high-end/more expensive dragon well, so I chose to prepare it as Teavivre’s suggests.

First steep tasted very delicate, light, buttery, vegetal, sweet (with some cinnamon background) and crisp. I couldn’t detect any off-putting flavours.

Second through fifth steeps were consistent, with the flavour building up in my mouth at each sip. It weakened very gradually, which was enjoyable.

Overall, I had high expectations and this tea met them. Can’t say I’ve tried a lot of dragon well teas (or high end ones for that matter), but this one really pleased me. Definitely worth trying once.

As a side note, I really like the flavour so I went ahead and prepared my second sample “western style”. It’s still really good, but I prefer short steeps (plus I love watching the leaves in my gaiwan).

Steep parameters (Teavivre’s recommendations):

100ml gaiwan, 4g, 5 steeps (rinse,20s,40s,1m10s,2m,2m30s)
(spot on directions, it turned out wonderful)

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C

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92

Hurrah! I seem to have my tastebuds back. Actually it was an impaired sense of smell due to allergens in the air. The wet leaf is intoxicating with its steamed vegative aroma. The sip is crisp with an edge. The leafy green scent is also present in the mug. There is a light butteriness, and a nutty element. Despite the description this is not a bold cup. It is one of those whose great strength is in drawing you in to relax and enjoy. It does it well.

Terri HarpLady

I hate it when I can’t taste or smell. It’s not fair!

K S

Especially when you steep something you know is wonderful and the lack of senses makes it just green tea. Arrgh! Might as well stick with cheap bagged stuff until it passes… Or Earl Grey. It can cut through the nasal nonsense.

Terri HarpLady

there you go! :)

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92

I feel like such a newbie today. This is the last of the spring samples from Teavivre to review. I think this is the third year I have sampled this. I should know what I am doing. Apparently that is not the case. I way under leafed. It is still very good but its just green tea. You know what I mean? All the wonderful characteristics that I know are here never have the chance to shine. It happens. I have one packet of this left, and I will prepare this gong fu (with skill) next time. I can tell you from last year this is an amazing tea.

I passed half of my samples on to a friend at church. She says she loves green tea. Upon questioning her, she drinks bagged tea from the grocery store. That means she has no idea how amazing green tea really tastes. I wrote out a page of simple instructions for her (that today I should have read). I told her if she puts the leaf any where near the microwave it will cry out to me and I will be forced to smack her fingers. I haven’t heard them cry out so I guess she is safe. Can’t wait to hear back from her.

Clicking recommend even though I messed it up.

chadao

As an alternative to gong fu, another traditional way to drink Chinese green tea is to steep the leaves in a tall clear glass and blow the leaves out of the way when you are ready to drink. If it’s a truly good green tea, it should not get bitter, only more flavorful with time. It’s also nice to watch the leaves dance in the glass.

K S

I have never tried the glass method. I am not sure how I would like it as I tend to drink all my teas just warm to room temperature. Really hot tea has no flavor to me. I’m weird, I know.

I almost always use a clear vessel as to me the dance is one of the important aspects of enjoying tea.

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92

While sipping the third cup I thought the second deserved a comment of its own. My wife made a spinach and strawberry salad with orange poppy seed dressing and a honey chicken Parmesan cheese thing she made up. This tea held up really well against it. The combination brought out some spicey notes that weren’t present before. Yum.

ashmanra

Huang Shan Mao Fengs are our favorites with Asian buffet takeout!

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92

I am generally a pretty easy going guy. Today trying to get everything organized to make a cup of tea proved to be almost too big of a task. I didn’t completely loose my cool to the point of embarrassing myself, but it was close. Didn’t break anything but there are a number of tea puddles that I am attempting to clean up.

This tea. This is my third Huang Shan Mao Feng. It is the first nonpareil. I looked at my reviews of the other versions after I tasted this one. This wins hands down. I used the entire sample, a Finum basket and a mug. It started as like clean mineral water that quickly changes to a smooth creaminess. The flavor begins, to my tastes, as grain (oats) accompanied by more vegetal notes. What I call oats, other reviews refer to as chestnut. Next, a wonderful green astringent bite kicks in. TeaVivre calls it brisk, and it is, but not like the bite I associate with Assam based tea. The aftertaste is fresh and hangs around like it is begging me to take another sip. So of course I must oblige. There is a fair amount of cooling sensation present as well.

As you can tell I really liked this one.

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 1 min, 30 sec
Angrboda

What does nonpareil mean? I’ve seen this tea around lately, but it’s a totally new word to me.

K S

According to Wikipedia it means without equal. This version is also pre-ming – picked very early in the season, before tomb sweeping day (which I don’t know what that means) The Te Gong refers to this being a tribute tea (I think). Mao Feng means a bud and two leaves. Huang Shand means yellow mountain. I love Google.

Angrboda

Oh, sounds very fancy!

ashmanra

I think Ching Ming is a sort of Chinese Spring Festival and they clean their ancestors’ final resting places at that time. Ching Ming is considered premium stuff, pre-Ching Ming even better!

K S

Ashmanra – that’s kind of my understanding as well. From my looking in to this, I think the tomb sweeping day and the spring festival just kind blended together over time. It occurs so many days after the winter solstice.

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97

I am thrilled to get to try this tea because all the Gong Fu teas I’ve had from Teavivre have been fantastic. Just having this sample reminds me of all the black teas I need to reorder.

The leaves are indeed very fine. Practically none of them are broken, and they are all very narrow and pointed at the end. Each of them seem to be a different shade of chocolate brown and gold. It reminds me of a little bird’s nest as it sits in my infuser while I wait for the water to heat.

As they steep, the tea smells deliciously toasted and warm. It’s a very comforting scent. I’m somewhat reminded of cocoa and whole wheat bread. The flavor is even better. I’m getting notes of sweet potato, cocoa, caramel, and malt. I’m catching myself trying my best to drink it even though it’s too hot — it’s like I can’t stop myself.

This is the most perfect tea I could have on a wet, cool day here. It’s definitely going to be in my next Teavivre order.

Preparation
190 °F / 87 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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92

I was in the mood for something vegetal this morning, and this creamy greeny milk oolong is hitting the spot. Hurray for Oolong Sampler pack from Teavivre!

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92

Working through my sample pack of this from Angel and Teavivre. Tasty!

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92

Mmmmm! This milk oolong is GREAT! Creamy, floral, sweet and vegetal in that order! Definitely my kind of tea. Thanks so much Angel and Teavivre for the sample. This one is highly recommended. I am digging the mineral notes as well. Very smooth and well balanced!

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89

Tea provided by Teavivre for review

Just received Teavivre’s samples yesterday, and this is the first one I picked out to try. Good black teas always have a special place in my heart, so I was eager to taste this. I’ve also been wondering for a long time “what IS tan yang black tea like?”.

My initial steep tasted; fuzzy, sweetness/caramel, earthy.

Second to fourth steeps started to really build up a strong earthy flavour, that had a nice roasted, woodsy, syrupy, and slightly floral background.

Fifth through tenth steeps maintained that strong flavour, only weakening slightly with each steep. The last cup was still very flavourful considering it was the tenth.

Overall it met my expectations. Teavivre’s steep guidelines were spot-on, I enjoyed the flavour brought out in the shorter initial steeps. What I liked about this tea, is that held onto a strong flavour throughout my steeps. That being said, I’m not impressed with the level of “charm” Tan Yang brings, and I’ve tasted similar teas with different names (this is a really minor point, not meant to be taken as negative).
Compared to the other black teas Teavivre sells, this is probably my second favourite (first would be their Yunnan Dian Hong Golden Tip). If you enjoy resteeping your black tea a lot, this is a very good option to choose.

Steep parameter (as suggested on their website)

100ml gaiwan, 5g sample, 10 steeps: rinse(10s),5s,5s,10s,20s,30s,35s,35s,60s,2m30s,3m30s

Preparation
185 °F / 85 °C

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92

I’m officially in my new house with this being the first full day here. I’m surrounded by boxes and general clutter while things are being sorted and put away but at least I have my tv box and internet sorted. I did purchase some expensive Pu Erh to have as my ‘New Home Welcome Tea’ but with the mess I just don’t think I could fully appreciate it. So In a few days when I have a proper living room sorted I will get it out. For now I finish off my Strawberry Ooolong, a large 1.5 litre pot is tonight’s tea while I cross stitch a book mark….which is also tea related!

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and sales weekend. :)

yyz

Congratulations! Have fun making the house your home.

TeaBrat

yay! sounds exciting :)

Fjellrev

Yay, congrats!

Sil

woohoo!!!

Veronica

Congratulations!

Jennkay

Congrats on the move!

Kirkoneill1988

this tea was ok, im not sure if i reviewed this tea

KittyLovesTea

Thank you everyone :)

@Kirkoneil1988 This tea is beautiful on a hot day if it’s fresh. Last night it lost some of it’s strawberry flavour and sweetness though it was still nice. Some teas just don’t age well and most flavoured ones don’t seem to.

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92

Been a while since I had this Oolong but I thought I would start using it up by making some iced tea. Admittedly I made it a tad too strong as I found out this morning but after adding some calorie free sweetener it now tastes like strawberry syrup rain. Very hard to detect the Oolong with the sweetener in it, you would think it was just one of those strawberry flavoured syrup drinks that a lot of cafe’s sell as ‘iced tea’.

Story time –
First time I got a peach iced tea from Costa Coffee I saw them use two squirts of syrup over ice and add tap water, then you have sickly sugar water..oops sorry I mean ‘iced tea’. :/ I remember going into one before and asking what selection of teas they carried and they said “Summat foreign named, like a green tea but not one” and that had me intrigued, I asked to see this magical tea and she brought over a glass jar that said ‘Long Jing’ on the side. Then again she said “Yeah it’s green inside the bag but it aint a green tea, though it’s like one”, at that point I said “Well actually it is a green tea, Long Jing stands for Dragon Well and it’s a Chinese green”. Then straight away “Ooohh and how do you know that then hey? Know everything do ya?” and she starts calling the staff to tell them in a mocking sort of way. So I left after saying “I’m an amateur tea taster with my own blog and over 500 teas at home, if you bothered to look it up yourself you would see that I’m correct. Selling people a green tea and saying it’s not is just ridiculous”. Possibly one of the best storm off’s I have ever done. My parents were standing by my side think blank expressions on their face like ‘wtf just happened?’.

Preparation
Iced
Angrboda

Strange reaction from the people in the shop, thinking other people couldn’t possibly know anything about it. You’d think they would be interested in learning about their own product. eye roll

KittyLovesTea

That was my first thought, why would they not know about their own product? They are taught so much about the coffee there but nothing about the tea, or at least in the particular one I visited.

Angrboda

To be honest, no matter if it was proper green or not, I’d have been turned off already at ‘summat foreign’. It’s not even difficult to say it.

Veronica

Good for you! I love an intelligent storm off. :)

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92

I bought this tea on the same day that I received the Teavivre news letter featuring an all new ‘Strawberry Oolong’. I hadn’t known Teavivre to do anything flavour wise other than Jasmine and I decided then and there to treat myself. Well it arrived yesterday and I have had to wait until tonight to sample it.

The smell is divine, sweet and fruity strawberry with a clean and mouth watering juiciness. It looks like any other late harvest Oolong and without the smell I wouldn’t have thought anything else of it (had I known known the information on it and was blind tasting). However it really is a very nice scent, it smells a little unnatural but not too much to spoil it.

Once steeped for 3 minutes this Oolong is cloudy yellow in colour with a soft but still juicy strawberry aroma. So far it smells so fruity that it resembles a fruit only blend.

Wow! It has the same sweet and juicy flavour as it’s aroma but there is also a gentle floral and slightly toasted depth to it too. Not too sweet but at the right balance for me and it’s nice to be able to taste the Oolong beneath it all. Overall it’s quite light and refreshing but with enough flavour to be pleasing. The sweetness is almost honeyed. Very smooth and delicious!

I think it would be a good tea to try iced, maybe even worth a try at cold steeping it. Very happy that I was naughty and bought this tea despite my promise to drink what I have first…oops.

Preparation
Boiling 3 min, 0 sec
Indigobloom

dang I am tempted to get some!!

Angrboda

Gosh! I must have missed this newsletter. Sometimes I only skim quickly, but I’d have thought something like this would have caught my eye. I’m a sucker for a berry-y oolong!

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100

My second rating for this tea because yes, IT IS THAT GOOD! Well-named gorgeous dry leaf of mixed blacks and golden browns steeps to a beautiful red-brown liquor that is delightfully rich, honeyed and smooth with caramel and sweet potato overtones. You don’t have to use much to get a flavorful cup and it’s not so overwhelming that it’s a tea to tire of. No. I can drink cup after cup of this fine tea. Teavivre has outdone itself here and my larder will never be without. Please note, I am generally an ‘unflavored’ green tea drinker, but strayed into this bewitching brew via a sample. Bravo Teavivre! Excellent offering!

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